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 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!  🙂

April 25, 2012

My love ( yes- there’s someone putting the love in the shack… omg- that sounds kinda wrong)  suggested that I fill in the one side with dirt- so that i can  plant my garden and a treed privacy wall.  That sounded like a great idea- and since its so small- only  3 feet by 17 feet – sounded pretty easy.  So I went on Craigslist, and  responded to a listing for ” free dirt”  from a  nearby couple that lived nearby that had a pile of dirt left over from their own backyard excavation.  They were very nice- and  to my good fortune- even loaded the dirt for me into my  car.    They were happy to finally be getting rid of their massive dirt pile haunting their back yard-  and I suspect- also took pity on my feeble attempt to load and maneuver the wheel barrel!  – Or perhaps they were just  saving themselves from the inevitable pile of dirt landing upon their lawn when I eventually lost control of  their very wobbly wheel barrel.   So the husband very nicely loaded up the back of my SUV ( I put a couple of old sheets down on the way-back) with 4 full wheel barrel loads twice on saturday and once on sunday.  3 carloads!!   I then unloaded them from my truck to the backyard with a plastic waste basket from the bathroom.  Not very much – and slow going- but sadly, that’s all I could carry.  ( I’m much weaker that I realized!)

So I spent a great part of the week-end trudging back and forth with my dirt-  and have only managed to fill about 2/3 of the space and every part of my  body hurts!   Hopefully the nice couple will still have some more dirt for me this week-end!

here’s what I have so far….

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. 


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