Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

June 8, 2012

This past week and a half I have been  completely immersed in my most challenging project yet; the bathroom!   There were a couple of times on this one, where I really hit a wall and didn’t know how I was gonna finish this!

My tiny cottage has an equally tiny bathroom, with no storage, no cabinet, no linen closet,  not even a towel rack!!  Being a bit of a product-junkie, I have a LOT of stuff that needs to be put away–  and now,  after my successful bedroom transformation,  I really wanted  to make  something  that matched that, and didn’t feel claustrophobic or cluttered.

So,  I perused  Craig’s List again, and found a group of small white shelves that I could use as my “raw materials”.   I  have found this to be an easier way to build things–  kind of like altering clothes to fit you!   The shelves were cheaper than buying wood and  starting from  scratch,  and  are easier to cut-and-piece and alter into what you want.  And I did a LOT of altering on  this one!!

I started by building the over the toilet space-saver/shelf  first, and built it almost up to the ceiling!   I added doors and lots of small shelves inside to house all my  cosmetics!  I also traded out the wooden shelf I built for a smaller, less bulky pre-made shelf,  which I  adjusted to house a hamper on the bottom!   ( Don’t worry, the wooden shelf  is not going to waste, and has moved to the pantry.)   I also added a  ring of shelves  around the ceiling for  extra storage.

Next, I built an under the sink cabinet, with a shelf inside.  The whole cabinet actually pulls out, in case you need to get to the plumbing!  Like in the  bedroom, I tried to make most everything free-standing with  only a  few anchors for safety so as not  to mess up the  plaster walls.

I’m very proud of myself for pushing through all my doubts and frustrations on this one, and really pleased with my results!!  I can’t believe I built this all!!  WOW!


Here is what I started with–  pretty  much nothing!

June 1, 2012

I have been  immersed in a soon-to-be-revealed,  very  challenging construction project in the bathroom all week,  so, to tide you over until the big reveal– here’s  a couple of pictures of the beautiful window boxes and Geraniums I got from Remarkable Rita.

It was really easy to put them up because I totally cheated– and used Rebar  wire to install them instead of nuts and bolts.  Who needs  nuts and bolts when you have the wonderful pliable bendyness of Rebar wire!   The kind folks at Home Depot introduced me to my new friend, Rebar wire;  and for anyone who doesn’t know,  it’s the metal equivalent of fishing wire!  Two items one should  keep on hand to fix almost anything!

Enjoy!  And look how happy all the plants in the front  are starting to look!

Thank you!

May 25, 2012

After spending a good part of the past month ridding the rose garden of the latticed  ganglia of thick weeds, entrenched deep into the soil, I was finally ready to start adding some plants!   I transplanted 4 rose bushes from Remarkable Rita into the  rose garden!   Home depot had a special sale,  3 for 10$ on shrubs, so you’ll be shocked to hear, I splurged and actually bought something, instead of getting  it  for  free on Craig’s List!  I bought 6 plants for only 20$

I decided to use 3 of the shrubs in alley in front of my  cottage.  There was a mass of tall weeds and trash  behind one of the buildings– that was just begging for a make-over!   I ripped up all the weeds, raked out the trash, and watered and worked up the soil so that it would be ready for planting.   Hoping that the dirt that was there, would sufficient to support plant life other than just weeds!  I planted some of the flowers that I’d gotten from  Zeke, as well as  3 of the bushes I bought.  Because of the location,  I selected smaller plants that wouldn’t  disturb the building foundation as they grew.

After they were all planted, I realized I needed some bricks to edge the garden and hold the soil in place;  so I went back to Awesome Al’s construction site to get some more  free used  bricks.  Al was there, along with his son, and they both helped to load a pile of bricks into my car!   I got home and arranged the bricks, and once again- magically had exactly the right amount of bricks for the job!  Not even one left over!  I don’t know how that happened again,  but  we now have flowers in the alley!


Here’s some pictures of the alley garden!

May 23, 2012

For the past week, I have been working furiously on creating a storage system for  my tiny 9 1/2 by 9 1/2 bedroom.    My challenge was to  devise a way  to  put everything away, ( including my  very large shoe collection)  without making the room look cluttered or cramped.

To start with, I had all the shelves that I had gotten from Marvelous Michael during  my adventures in shelving.   But those alone were not enough to hold everything!  I  needed to double to capacity of the shelves, which I figured could be done by dismantling one and combining it into the others, as well as adding more levels.

I  went back to Home Depot for more wood, and  Super Saul helped me pick out a power saw!  Now  I was unstoppable!  It  took a lot of work; but by cutting more shelves, drilling more holes, measuring & remeasuring, and painting,  I’ve been able to create my own masterpiece of organization!  I have to admit, I’m  pretty impressed with myself!  This definitely turned out better than expected  and  is much more than I ever thought I could accomplish!

Amazingly,  EVERYTHING  is  put away, organised by color, and it doesn’t look cluttered!  And on top of that,  it’s basically free-standing!  I anchored it at a  few places for safety, but that’s all!  The plaster walls are unscathed!

Thank you!

Behold my masterpiece!

May 18, 2012

Fresh off the success of my closet shelves construction, I felt empowered to  push my skills even further and revisit my first  and unsuccessful attempt at building a shelf out of  wood for the bathroom!  ( the first one was the leaning tower of Pisa).

The bathroom doesn’t have ANY storage!  Not a towel rack, not a cabinet, nothing!     I’ve been going  a little crazy trying to find anything amongst the tower boxes full of stuff, so it would  be really nice just to get things off the floor!

This time,  I refashioned my design so that it would not be dependent on precision cuts,  and placed the legs against long side of the wood  and  not  the  cut edges.   With a  little measuring,  and a few nails–  my second attempt  at building a shelf is a success!  It’s very simple and utilitarian– but it’s standing up straight!!  YAY!!  I also got creative and extended the window sill out to make it a shelf as well!

Here’s a couple pictures!!



May 15, 2012

This past week, I tackled my most challenging task  thus far…the closet!   My tiny cottage only has one very small and narrow closet! —  (30″x 60”)   That doesn’t even come close to accommodating my very  healthy wardrobe!    I investigated closet systems online but found everything to be way too expensive and the wrong size!   It seemed like the only way to get what I needed would be to build it myself!!

I felt a little intimidated, I’m not a builder!   I muscled up my determination, and  went to Home Depot, armed with pictures and measurements.   The Home Depot staff was very knowledgable and helpful!  They walked me around to each department and helped me pick out all the right supplies!  For expert advice, I was directed to Super Saul!  Super Saul  was amused by my naive assumption that I would be able to screw 3 inch screws in with a screwdriver, and  hooked me up with my very first power tool!   I am now the proud owner and operator of a power dill!  (My lust for  owning all my own power tools has just begun!)

I went home, equipped with my  new stud finder- only to realize that I have old plaster and lathe walls! ( No wonder my stud finder was confused and whimpering! )  My only recourse was manual excavation of the plaster ( that’s hammer to wall) ,to find the studs– which I might add, were NOT a standard 16 inch  distance apart!   Once I found my 24 inch  spaced studs,  I was able to attach a large plank, length wise across the wall using  my 3 inch screws and my POWER DRILL!  (OH YEAH! ) This would be my support board to mount the brackets for the shelf on.    I did the same thing for the lower shelf, and then mounted 3 brackets each, attached a shelf across the top of the brackets,  and a wooden dowel for hanging my  clothes!

It sounds simple,  and would have  taken a professional a couple hours, but for me , it was five days in the closet  with  daily trips back  to Home Depot for  more supplies and advice from Super Saul!  But I surprised myself and actually  did it!    I successfully installed a double  row of closet shelves on the long side of the wall, and miraculously,  they did not collapse!!   Finally,  for the first time since I moved in,  my clothes  are out of the living room and hanging  up in the closet!

WOW!   I can build things!!

The world is my oyster!

Here’s some before, during and after pictures!

May 10, 2012

I spent most of the other day bent over,  painting lines on the parking lot and continuing my battle with the weeds in the rose garden!   It’s still up in the air, who the victor will be, but I’m putting my  chips on me.    However,  the vivid stripe of hot pink sunburn on my lower back is a tender reminder  to  pay  better attention to detail  and pull down my shirt and  cover my ass!  Ouch!  Point taken!

While weeding, it was amazing to see how pernicious the weeds are ,  how they seem to be deliberately trying to gang up  overpower the  flowers,  wrapping  themselves around and strangling them!    Getting under the skin of the parking lot and  undermining it!

I was struck by how much the  weeds  resemble  negativity in your  brain!   In the very same way, negativity can take over your thoughts and actions, undermining  the beautiful flowers inside you, and strangling your growth!  Even below   the seemingly smooth calm surface of the asphalt,  there is a web of weeds spreading out underneath, slowly  destroying the parking lot from the inside!

I’ve been  spraying weed killer on the weeds, and getting down on my hands and knees and ripping them out of the ground.  In the same way,   I realize that  I’m gonna have to get  in my own head, and  remove some old weeds of fear and negativity  that have been taking up residence for far too long!     WOW!


These are a couple of pictures of the weeds growing under the asphalt, or  the effects of negativity on your brain!

May 7, 2012

I was reflecting on all the positive people I  encountered this weekend;  and every day for that matter, and feeling really lucky.  I’ve listened to many of the popular self-help guru’s out there, and  agree with them for the most part– but ever since I took action and moved,  there’s been a kind of shift!    As if I’d turned a corner, and suddenly everything went from grey to color!

Friday I found a  small glass shop where they could cut replacements for the 2 slats of glass I  broke moving in.  ( It’s not a party until something breaks, right? )    Tiny Yolanda, cut my glass in all of 3 minutes for only 6$ each!!  Who  knew  glass was so easy to cut!

Then I met up with Martha, who had come to collect  my  “for free” listing on Craigslist ( you cant’s just take from the circle of life- you have to give as well!)  It was a box of beads, crafting supplies, and intentions that never manifested.  Martha does craft project with her daughter, and was so happy with my treasure trove of beads, she  gave me a big hug.    What a sweet lady!

Friday night I took a break, and went to see my beautiful and exquisitely talented friend Juliet in a play.   This is the 3rd  play I’ve seen her in, and each time am so impressed with her talent and versatility.  And not only is she a talented actress,  but also  an amazing soul,  and  an army  onto herself of productivity and organization.    Every time I see her, I’m inspired on so many levels.

Saturday, Remarkable Rita, a friend for many years,  came over to see my place and  brought me a 4 beautiful rose trees, lavender, and geraniums!   WOW!  We had a really nice visit and she even bought me lunch! How cool is that,  plants and lunch!

Sunday I met up with Ames and his wife, – a super  cute and positive couple with the best yard in Lareda Heights- and they gave me a huge papyrus tree, and beautiful pot and flower seeds!! WOW!

It was  a really  good week-end and I have enough plants to create a beautiful oasis!   Los Angeles is full of angels!  They’re everywhere!  You just have to  open your  eyes!

I feel  lucky!


Here are some pictures on the Rose trees and  Papyrus  tree!

May 4, 2012

Feeling somewhat recovered from my overexertion,  I was ready to get back to work on the back yard!    First, I finished laying the bricks at the end, by the fence;  and in a weird little accidental miracle or perfect planning,  used every single brick!   I didn’t have any left over and didn’t need any!!   I have no idea how that worked out so perfectly!     However, I did need more dirt!

So it was back to Awesome Al’s construction site for another  load of dirt. (Hopefully my last– because  I’m really, really  tired of hauling dirt!!)  Proving that chivalry is not dead,  Awesome Al shoveled and loaded   4  full wheel barrel’s of dirt into my truck;  all while wearing his dress shoes!    What a nice man!

I got back home and used some of the dirt to re-pot 2 of the plants from the weekend into bigger pots, ( they thanked me), and then emptied the rest into the backyard.   And then, finally….. I planted something!!  I planted the Bougainvillea Bush from Marvelous Melissa at the end of the yard by the fence.  I think it will look pretty there when it grows in.   YAY!   Its starting to look really nice!

Now I have to decide what to plant along the  brick wall?  Something tall and thin, for privacy.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the dirt pile in my truck and the end result!

May 3, 2012

After yesterday’s very productive day of brick laying, vlogging, blogging, and a dinner date with my Love- I was feeling pretty invincible!   I am woman, hear me roar, and all that stuff!  However, this morning all  I was feeling was, boy am I sore!  Every single part of my body hurts!   Even my thumb muscles hurt!   Obnoxiously  reminding my that I’m not as young or as strong as I think I am.  Ok, point taken!

So instead of hauling more dirt today, I  try to take it easy  and  just run errands to collect the various supplies I need from Home Depot, Big Lots, the 99 cents store,  and visit the Habitat for Humanity store.  Even just my errands  seem exhausting!   Still, I can’t  resist taking another pass at the weeds in the rose bushes, doing my  internet show, and then taking a walk!  ( It’s really  hard to stop and smell the roses, when there’s weeds to pull!!)

Why do I have such a hard time relaxing?    I’m always advising others to; take it easy, don’t burn yourself out, listen to your body—  and yet,  have such a hard time taking my own advice?     Why is it so difficult to give yourself the same kind of support and care that you easily give to others?    Is this another lesson the universe is sending me?   Moderation?  Love yourself?  Oh gosh- this is gonna take a while, isn’t it?!

Luckily, I’m blessed with many loving and supportive people in my life- ready to slay  dragons for me if needed!    Thank you , my knight in Shining  armour! —  I’m gonna try and follow  some of my own advice now… ( why is that soo hard?)  & give my body some love & streching for my  aching muscles.  Baby steps!

Here’s one of the rose bushes!

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