April 25, 2013

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

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 28, 2012

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

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

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!


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 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, Рa 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!

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