August 30, 2012

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

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!


July 9, 2012

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

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 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 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!

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