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!


June 15, 2012

This last project has me re-evaluating what I thought I was capable of,  and realizing that most of my percieved limitations and barriers have been self-imposed!   This feels like some kind of awakening!  I’m feeling so greatly empowered,  strong and capable;  and yet at the same time,  bittersweet at the realization that I’ve been my own biggest limiter!   I don’t necessarily need to  know  how  to  do everything, or how  it’s all gong to come together, before I can start.   I JUST HAVE TO START!   WOW!   I feel like a self-help guru this week!

This week I was tackling my tiny living room!  The living room  is a narrow rectangle, and  not separated from the kitchen;    so I decided to build a wall!   Thereby dividing the rooms, and  creating more wall space to hang my very large paintings.

I went back to  home depot, where the fine folks there helped me plan out how to build a 5 foot room divider wall.  Since I was doing it all myself, I picked out  the lightest sheet rock available,  ( 1/4” since that was as much as I could lift! ) and  used 2×3’s to  make the frame.  I also wanted to avoid  disturbing the plaster walls,  so my entire wall would be almost free-standing, only anchored by a few screws into the exposed support beam along the ceiling.


Just getting the sheet rock home was a challenge!  Each piece is like a giant  heavy  4 foot by 8 foot  cracker,  ready to snap at any moment!  I drove home very slowly with it all strapped into my  truck, tailgate open,  red flag hanging off the back,  and hazards on.     Then I almost blew away trying to get it  all into the house–  it  was like a sail!

Once inside–  I  hard to figure out  how  to  build the frame ( did I mention,  I’ve never done anything like this before!)   Then once the  frame was built,  size and cut up the sheet rock and attach it!   Once the sheet rock was all mounted, I had to tape and spackle the ends and seams.   After that was dry,  I used a scrubbing sponge from the  kitchen to smooth over  the  spackle (its less messy  than sand paper).   Then finally, it all had to  be  painted !





(  I may be roaring, however my back is whimpering,   and has requested that I keep the  heavy lifting to a minimum )


here are some pictures of my wall!

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 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 3, 2012

After yesterday’s very productive day of brick laying, vlogging, blogging, and a dinner date with my Love- I was feeling pretty invincible!   I am woman, hear me roar, and all that stuff!  However, this morning all  I was feeling was, boy am I sore!  Every single part of my body hurts!   Even my thumb muscles hurt!   Obnoxiously  reminding my that I’m not as young or as strong as I think I am.  Ok, point taken!

So instead of hauling more dirt today, I  try to take it easy  and  just run errands to collect the various supplies I need from Home Depot, Big Lots, the 99 cents store,  and visit the Habitat for Humanity store.  Even just my errands  seem exhausting!   Still, I can’t  resist taking another pass at the weeds in the rose bushes, doing my  internet show, and then taking a walk!  ( It’s really  hard to stop and smell the roses, when there’s weeds to pull!!)

Why do I have such a hard time relaxing?    I’m always advising others to; take it easy, don’t burn yourself out, listen to your body—  and yet,  have such a hard time taking my own advice?     Why is it so difficult to give yourself the same kind of support and care that you easily give to others?    Is this another lesson the universe is sending me?   Moderation?  Love yourself?  Oh gosh- this is gonna take a while, isn’t it?!

Luckily, I’m blessed with many loving and supportive people in my life- ready to slay  dragons for me if needed!    Thank you , my knight in Shining  armour! —  I’m gonna try and follow  some of my own advice now… ( why is that soo hard?)  & give my body some love & streching for my  aching muscles.  Baby steps!

Here’s one of the rose bushes!

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