April 25, 2013 - 2 Responses

I wanted to post some pictures to show the growth of the backyard in the months since I planted everything. Everything is growing like crazy!



September 15, 2012 - 3 Responses

The last section of my Love Shack¬†Project make-over is the back patio!¬†¬†Like the¬†garden side, the patio is also long and narrow, but the patio side has a smooth cement floor and is about a foot wider ( 4′ x 20′).¬† That extra foot gives me enough room to actually have some tables and chairs out there!

My first task was to re-hang the large wooden door so that it opens out, instead of in;  thus freeing up that previously unusable space.  Next, I used the left over exterior paint to paint the unfinished section under the covered roof, the wooden door,  and the electrical housing.  Once that was finished, I put up a few hooks so I could neatly hang the ladder, tools, and hose.

To break up the length of the patio and add texture and intimacy, I decided to build an arbour!  This was very simple.  I  bought 5 ladder trellises from  Home Depot,  and placed 4 of them ( 2 on each side) against the walls of my patio alley.  Then I connected them across the top with few lengths of redwood.  Lastly, I took the remaining 5th trellis and laid it across the top, between them, as the roof.

Next, I added¬† 2 sets of tables and chairs, both of which I got free from¬†Craig’s List.¬† They were all mis-matched colors, so I simply¬†spray painted¬†everything white to¬†match.¬† I also spray painted my metal utility shelves, planter boxes and baskets; ¬†and just about anything else that was going to be on the patio!¬† Spray painting makes matching easy, however, its messy!¬† Make sure you have a large drop cloth, plastic gloves and booties on your feet! ( I spray painted my feet and ruined a pair of sandals¬†and¬†a pedicure the first time!)

Lastly, I added some plants and climbing vines to start climbing up the arbour;  and for the finishing touch,  wove white twinkle lights throughout all the trellises on both the patio side and the garden side.

The first time I turned on the lights was amazing!  I had created my own private, magical, oasis;  perfect for entertaining very small parties!  I am thrilled with the result!

Thank you!

Here are two before pix:

And this is my pretty patio now!



August 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

This is a progress update to the front of my tiny cottage!   I found some left-over exterior paint, and after checking with a representative from the DWP regarding any safety issues; decided to paint the unsightly metal meters on the side of the house.   After a coat of metal primer and 3 coats of exterior paint, the boxes are nicely camouflaged and I am very happy!!


Here’s a before and after picture!¬† You can also see how nice my plants are looking!


August 28, 2012 - One Response

The Kitchen¬†has been¬†particularly¬†frustrating to me, because it really needs to be completely¬†re-done with new¬†cabinets and counters.¬†¬† I’ve¬†tried to do what I can¬†until I’m able to do that!¬†¬† Its¬†long and¬†narrow with one overhead¬†cabinet and¬†a long counter¬†with nothing underneath!

I’ve framed some of my linoleum block reduction prints¬†and hung them on the other side of the wall¬† I built; ¬†¬†and added curtains underneath the counter and¬† in the doorway to the pantry.

Here are some pictures!



This is what it looked like when I moved in.

And this is what I”ve done so far!


August 4, 2012 - One Response

Here are some updated pictures, showing how well my alley garden is coming along!  It is flourishing, despite the ongoing assault from the public urinators and deficators!!  ( EEWWW!!!)

I am currently working on trying to finish the kitchen and patio side of the back yard!



July 22, 2012 - 2 Responses

For the past two weeks, I have been working on the back yard!¬†¬†¬† Trying to transform a¬†tiny¬† 3′ by 20′ strip of dirt into¬†an¬†oasis of peace and tranquility.¬† ¬†This¬†turned out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated!

The¬†¬†dirt I brought in when I first started these renovations¬†had a lot of clay in it,¬†and over the last couple months had hardened into one¬†solid rock!¬† This all had to be broken¬†up and mixed with¬†lots of organic materials!¬† Translation,¬† lots more manual labor and hauling manure!¬†¬† I ended up¬†doubling the depth of the dirt,¬† and as a result,¬† needed to add¬†¬†two more rows of¬† bricks to¬†separate the house walls from the dirt, which I got from Awesome Al’s construction site!¬† This time, Al was there with all of his sons, and they loaded¬†¬†the bricks¬†into my car for me!¬† What a nice family!

After I¬† got the bricks and¬†dirt taken care of, my next task was¬†to install a fence.¬† I wanted¬† more privacy, but didn’t¬†want to completely obliterate the sun by making a huge shadow;¬† so I decided to go with¬†couple rolls of reed fencing.¬† They are inexpensive and easy to install!

I didn’t¬†want to drill into the cinderblock wall to secure my fence, ¬†so I let the¬† helpful¬† folks at Home depot direct me to a concrete adhesive, which¬†I applied in small spots with¬†a caulking gun, all along the top and bottom of the wall.¬† Then I cut small ¬†lengths of rebar¬†wire and inserted then into the adhesive¬†so that when it dried,¬†I would have a whole bunch of tie wires to attach my fence to.¬† ( It was kinda like making cookies!)

It worked perfectly!   I was able to easily unroll the fence and secure it to the wall.  I then  also used the same  tie wires to secure trellises to the fence!   I put up 3 fan-shaped trellises and one large ladder  trellis right in front  of the  back door.  I shortened the ladder trellis and used the  cut pieces to extend the middle section.

After that, I  was able to finally start planting all the plants that had been patiently waiting to go in  the ground!    I also bought a few flowers and climbing vines  for my trellises.    I planted all the succulents that my wonderful friend Uzi had given me as a house-warming present.  ( they have grown a LOT over the past few months!)

Next,  I used  the remaining bricks to make a  walking path down the middle.  As a last touch, I repurposed a discarded wooden end table into a tiny bench by sawing it in half,  making a few alterations and painting it!

While it’s not¬†completely¬†finished yet,¬† it’s starting to look¬†really really ¬†cute!



July 9, 2012 - One Response

My  little cottage is feeling so cute and cozy now!   I LOVE IT!   This week  I turned my attention to the Pantry.  The pantry is a super tiny entryway between the kitchen and the back door.  It already had shelves built-in on one side, but the other side was an ugly mess of exposed pipes,  rough unpainted surfaces,  a circuit breaker box, holes, and the water heater.  Pretty much anything  I did would be a vast improvement!

The first thing I did was give it several coats of paint;  painting over all the  metal pipes,  rough surfaces,  and boxes so they blended in to the wall more.   Then I took the wooden shelf that I had originally built for the bathroom, and fit it into the  corner where the circuit breaker box was.   It fit perfectly into the space with shelves above and below,  and I  still had safe  access for the box.

Next, I built-in a ring of shelves around the top of the ceiling, circling the whole space, similar to what I had already done in the bathroom and bedroom.   After that,  I constructed  a small wall to hide the water heater, with a door on front, so you could still get to it if needed.

It’s not the most glamorous room in my cottage, but so much better than it was before!¬† Now it’s organised, functional, and¬† no longer the hideous eyesore it once was.





June 29, 2012 - 3 Responses

Now that I’ve finally gotten my art up on the walls,¬† I’m able to start working on the¬†rest of the living room!¬†¬† The challenge is that it’s¬†very small!¬† ( 9′ x 15′)

I started by building¬†in a wall of shelves along the far wall,¬†¬†echoing the shelving in the bedroom.¬†¬† I did this by taking¬†some of the shelves I’d¬†gotten¬†during ” Adventures in Shelving” and¬†deconstructing one into extra shelves to add into the others,¬†and¬† connected them in the middle under the window.¬† That¬†gives me¬†double capacity for the same amount of space!

I¬† also¬†created a small desk in the center of¬†wall unit, under the window, by adding in a large piece of plywood and legs!¬†¬† The whole thing is only connected to the¬†wall at the window sill,¬†¬†so¬†it’s stable but¬†doesn’t disturb the plaster walls!

Next,¬†I hung a bedroom door!¬†¬† I built the door¬†frame into the giant¬†picture frames,¬†to again; ¬†avoid having to disturb¬†the cottage walls.¬†¬† I found¬†the door used¬†on Craig’s List, along with several awesome and¬†super tiny chairs!

YAY!  I have a living room  now!!



June 19, 2012 - One Response

Feeling like a champion after my successful wall construction, I decided to  press on with my living room make-over.   Next, I needed  to devise a way to display my very large paintings, and store blank canvasses.

My¬† wall space was limited to 3 walls,¬† (one of¬† which had a large wall heater in the middle of¬† it),¬† and¬†being plaster walls, not strong enough to hold a large painting!¬† ¬†¬†So I came up¬†with a plan to¬† build 2 large frames¬†on the plaster walls.¬† ¬†I¬†attached a¬† couple¬† of 2×4’s to the door frame,¬†¬†and¬† ran a¬† flat ¬†board across¬† them¬†to hang¬†¬†the paintings¬†on.

The¬†depth of the 2×4’s¬†created a¬† small¬† pocket¬† behind the painting ¬†for storage, ¬†and¬† also¬†hid¬† the¬† non-functioning wall¬† heater.¬†¬† I finished¬† the bottom¬† off with¬† some¬† extra sheet rock, ¬† so¬†it was barely noticeable that the ¬†wall¬† was now extended¬†four inches.

YAY!  My paintings are off the ground!



June 15, 2012 - One Response

This last project¬†has me re-evaluating what I thought I was capable of, ¬†and realizing that most¬†of my percieved¬†limitations and barriers¬†have been¬†self-imposed!¬†¬†¬†This feels like some kind of awakening! ¬†I’m feeling so greatly empowered, ¬†strong and capable;¬† and yet at the same time,¬† bittersweet at the realization that I’ve been my own biggest limiter!¬† ¬†I don’t¬†necessarily need to¬† know¬† how¬† to¬† do everything, or how¬† it’s all gong to come together, before I¬†can start. ¬†¬†I JUST HAVE TO START!¬†¬† WOW!¬† ¬†I feel like a self-help guru this week!

This week I was tackling my tiny living room!  The living room  is a narrow rectangle, and  not separated from the kitchen;    so I decided to build a wall!   Thereby dividing the rooms, and  creating more wall space to hang my very large paintings.

I went back to¬† home depot,¬†where the fine folks there helped me plan out how to build¬†a 5 foot room divider wall.¬† Since¬†I¬†was doing it all myself, I picked out¬† the lightest¬†sheet¬†rock¬†available, ¬†( 1/4”¬†since that¬†was as much as I could lift!¬†) and¬† used 2×3’s¬†to¬† make the frame.¬† I also wanted¬†to avoid¬† disturbing¬†the plaster walls,¬† so¬†my entire wall would¬†be almost free-standing,¬†only anchored by a few screws into the exposed support beam along the ceiling.


Just getting the sheet rock¬†home was a challenge!¬† Each piece is like a giant ¬†heavy ¬†4 foot by 8 foot ¬†cracker,¬† ready to snap at any moment!¬† I drove home very slowly with it all strapped into my¬† truck, tailgate open,¬† red flag hanging¬†off the back, ¬†and hazards on.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Then I almost blew away trying to get it¬† all into the house–¬† it¬† was like a sail!

Once inside–¬†¬†I¬† hard to figure out¬† how¬† to¬† build the frame ( did¬†I¬†mention,¬† I’ve never done anything¬†like¬†this before!)¬†¬† Then once the¬† frame was built, ¬†size and cut up the sheet rock and attach it! ¬† Once the sheet rock¬†was all mounted, I had to tape and¬†spackle¬†the ends and seams.¬†¬† After that was dry, ¬†I¬†used a scrubbing¬†sponge from the¬† kitchen to smooth over¬† the¬† spackle (its less messy¬† than sand paper).¬†¬† Then¬†finally,¬†it¬†all had to¬† be¬† painted !





(  I may be roaring, however my back is whimpering,   and has requested that I keep the  heavy lifting to a minimum )


here are some pictures of my wall!

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