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 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 2, 2012

After getting sidetracked all week-end with carloads of shelves and plants , it was time to turn my attention back to the dirt pile waiting patiently in the back yard!   After seeing my post, several of you  advised that I should have a barrier of bricks between the house and the dirt.

That seemed like a  pretty good suggestion, so it was back to the Craig’s list free section, searching for bricks.  Not wanting to disappoint me, or have my house rot;  the universe led me to Awesome Al in Marina Del Ray.  Al is building his dream home for his three children and is  eco-concious;  so he’s listed his left over building materials, so that they dont go to waste!

Al was super  nice and helped me load up a huge load of bricks into the back of my truck.  He also suggested I check out Habitat for Humanity  for some home renovation treasures( tomorrow’s adventure),  and sent me off with several packets of hot chocolate!  ( Which I’m drinking as I write this!)

I got home,  unloaded the bricks into the back yard, and started digging a small channel along the wall.  I sprayed down the  whole area with Ortho Home Defense Max, before laying down 3 rows of bricks on top of each other along the length of the wall, so that the bricks were level with the dirt.   I was a little daunted at first, but I just went brick by brick, and  it didn’t take as long as I had expected and  turned out pretty good!  Not bad for a days work!  ( And another life lesson)

Now I can actually start planting things in there!

THANK YOU for the bricks and hot chocolate AL!  🙂

May 1, 2012

My little cottage had been vacant for quite sometime before I moved in;  and apparently it’s porch had been a frequent pit-stop for transients and vagrants.   My second night here, I surprised one gentleman in the middle of loosening  his pants with,  “Please don’t pee on my porch”,  through the window!   He left pretty quickly, and I hoped that was the end of it, until  Sunday morning I woke up to find  trash and salsa all over my porch from someone’s feast… along with a trail of eager ants!

I was annoyed!    I wouldn’t make a mess on someone else’s steps!  Don’t make mess on mine!   After I cleaned it up,  I sat down with my morning coffee to check out the free section on Craig’s list, and once again the universe spoke directly to me through Craig’s list!!  ( Hey- some people see Jesus on a slice of toast!  So there’s nothing wrong with thinking the Universe is reaching out directly to me through Craig’s list!)   ” FREE PLANTS”, said the Universe!    “Yes”, I said, ”  I’m claiming my territory, and that’s just  what I need, lots of plants!”

I quickly raced out to meet Zeke at Avon truck rental- to unburden him from the assorted mass of neglected plants stranded in his parking lot!  Zeke has many sizes of plants,  as well as,  huge terra-cotta pots, palms, & plant stands!   Two of which were so large and heavy, we needed to use the fork lift to get them up into my car!   It was an entire SUV packed to the brim with plants– and for the 2nd day in a row that week end, I was doing a slow-crawl across town,  with hazards on  and obstructed visibility!

I got home and unloaded all but the two large ones.   I  needed some extra  muscle from the very friendly Edwardo and Nixon, who work at the tile store next door, to move those two!  And after much arranging and re-arranging–  my little  deserted porch is  amazingly transformed into somebody’s home!

(I’m not done yet– but it’s a good start!)


Here’s the before and after pictures!

April 26, 2012

Today, via the genius that is Craig’s list, I continued on my quest for free dirt- and meet up with the delightful Melissa!   I pulled up to her home- and she was outside, working on one of her many, halfway-done projects involving masonry, carpentry, painting, gardening, ect!  You name it- and Melissa has done it-  and  done it all looking super cute & fit in her short shorts!  I was very  impressed with her skills!   As I listened to her quirky war-stories while loading my car up with dirt;  recognition dawns on me- and I  realize,  like looking in the mirror,  I’ve just met someone from my  home planet!

” Are you an Aquarius?”  I interrupt.   YES!  Of  corse she is!   It was all so  obvious –  the hand painted multi-color trim, the sweaters in the kitchen  & shoes in the dining room, the crazy cocoffany of invention!   I’ve found  my do-it-yourself guru!

I went home and unleaded my  dirt– almost done!!  I’ll have to get some  more  dirt from Melissa tomrrow.

here’s a picture of my progress.

April 25, 2012


It had  been a  really  long  time  since  I last posted!!  I’ve made  a big change in my  life-  and  have moved out of my spacious holly-hood apartment into a tiny cottage on the west side!   I was really surprised how much anxiety moving caused –  especially since at one point in my life- I didn’t think twice about moving across the country or overseas EVEN!–  and  now,  moving across town was giving me panic attacks??!!  WHO  have I become?   I’m suddenly re-discovering myself– EEEK!

So now- in one short month, i have given my 30 day  notice, looked for a new place, found one,  been approved , and moved my giant accumulation of STUFF  across town and into the tiny cottage with NO STORAGE!    Don’t get me wrong-  I am now blissfully happy in my new place- but I have a lot of  work to do to get  all set up and  moved in  properly!

So I figure, this is the perfect time to start blogging again- so i can share my journey in do-it-yourself-ing and home repair!   I’m kind of surprised to find that I am not as skilled as  i  thought!! LOL!  So hopefully, some of you will be able to give me suggestions and advice along the way as well!

My first plans are to  A., fix up the  back yard and made a garden & create green privacy wall.   B.,  fix up the front with pots, planters, shrubs, flowers- so that it looks like a cute cottage!  C., solve my  huge  lack if storage problems in the  bathroom, bed room, closet, and pantry!  Theres more  to do after that– but  those are my 1st  three objectives!

To that end- ive already spent an afternoon in Pasadena trying ( unsuccessfully) to dig up free bamboo!  – since then ive been warned of the dangers of planting  bamboo ( it spreads like cancer & must be contained!!)   I’ve  also tried to build my own  bathroom space saver/shelf to go over the  toilet ( also unsuccessful)  Note to readers-  home depot will cut your wood for free- but their saw is warped & does  not give a precision cut!!  — Meaning….your shelf will look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa!!!

So- that’s the introduction to the Love Shack Project & Blog!  I will post pictures and share this journey with you!

🙂 xoxo


September 27, 2010

Finally, at the end of September, it’s  really hot  in LA!  YAY!

  I love  going to  the Sunday Farmer’s Market  on Ivar, and picking up some fresh,ripe, juicy, organic produce!   The fresh squeezed orange juice makes my whole body feel good–it  feels like sunshine is flowing into every cell!  

 All that juicy goodness energizes me with potential.  I’m  inspired by nature’s bounty to feed both my body and my soul with the good stuff.    It reminds me just  how lucky we all are  to live where we  do. 


%d bloggers like this: