LOVE SHACK PROJECT- BACKYARD UPDATE
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!
Enjoy!

THANK YOU!
ūüôā

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- BABY GOT BACK PATIO
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!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- FULL FRONTAL UPDATE
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!!

THANK YOU!

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

LOVE SHACK PROJECT– IN THE KITCHEN
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!

THANK YOU!

xoxo

This is what it looked like when I moved in.

And this is what I”ve done so far!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- ALLEY GARDEN UPDATE
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!

THANK YOU!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT–MY BACKYARD!
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!

THANK YOU!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- GETTING IN MY PANTRY
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.

THANK YOU!

BEFORE!

AFTER!!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- WINDOW BOXES!
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!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- FLOWERS IN THE ALLEY
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!

THANK YOU!

Here’s some pictures of the alley garden!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- WAR OF THE ROSES
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!

THANK YOU!

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

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