Magical things happen sometimes if you just look around.
I was looking for tiles for the roof terrace of our new guest room, and could not find any that did not look brand spanking new and sort of out of place.  Ok, there were SOME that looked like they would work really well.  Hand hammered slate, for example, which would have cost almost as much as the whole project together.
Then we thought of the pile of tiles we had taken out of a guest room a couple of years ago.  The tiles are terracotta which had been painted over time and time again over the years.  But by standing outside, some of those layers of paint had started to peel, revealing the frost resistant terracotta beneath:

I have about 18 square meters of these tiles, and the roof terrace is 28 square meters.  I have found a supplier in Tuscany which carries the same size and thickness of these tiles and now only have to order up 10 square meters of them.  We will mix the new ones into the old ones.  I am sure the paint will continue to peel for a few years.  Kind of cool, actually.
Now here is the sweat equity part.  I have to chisel off the old cement from the backs of the tiles.  I do this using either an actual chisel or a flexible hand saw (which I hate because of the dust. If I don't want dust I have to wet the tiles down.  It's messy, so I chisel off as much as I can by hand).  So far I have 4 square meters completed (see photo above).
Oh, and here's another one!
This might be the coup of the century.  I was lamenting to Franco that in order to fulfill the Commune's room lighting requirement, I have to order a huge window for the guest room.  A rectangular window of at least 250x130 cm.  The facade is the one facing the pool.  I would love to use something decorative but these windows are monstrously expensive. 
Franco said, "WAIT!  I have an iron framed arched window next to the chicken coup which might work! " 
(next to the chicken coup?  What in the world is it doing there?)
He explained. His friend Felice, a blacksmith, had made it for his daughter years ago but she changed her mind and renovated her house and had it removed.  Felice had worked so hard on making the window (which is double glass clad and has opening panes) that he could not bring himself to throw it out.  He gave it to Franco instead, who has no use for it.  
I went down to the chicken coup to look at it, and I think I might have found my new window. I think it is gorgeous! There is actually a second one behind there the I might be able to put to use as well!  
So what do you think?
After all that excitement it was time to go for a late afternoon walk with my two favorite guys.