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Archive for August, 2012

Make Cork Garden Markers

The other day I was looking at my DIY board on Pinterest and realized I’ve pinned some really cool projects. I’d like to tackle one each week, but I’m not sure I have time to commit fully to that. Nevertheless, I present this week’s project: make cork garden markers.

Picture of an oregano garden marker

Possibly the easiest project ever.

Pics of what you need to make cork garden markers

You’ll need: Bamboo skewers, corks, and a sharpie.

Write "Grapes" on cork with sharpie

Write the name of your plant on the cork with the sharpie. I kind of wish I would’ve used more decorative lettering but maybe I’ll do that next season.

push cork into skewer

Push the cork into the pointed end of the skewer. I was surprised at how secure it was–I was thinking I’d have to glue it in place but no.

finished marker

Here’s your finished garden marker!

grapes garden marker

Push your finished marker into the soil in front of your plant and voila! You are done.

Here’s another one:

Chives garden marker

As simple as they are, they look so much better than the plastic markers that come in plants or the seed packets. It adds a rustic touch to the garden that I love. This is one project I’m glad I completed because let’s face it, it’s just too easy not to.

Building a Redwood Planter Raised Bed 8×3′

After we got rid of the hot tub we were left with an 8 foot square gravel patch bordered in the ground with 2×6 pressure treated lumber. The idea has always been to use the area for one or more raised beds, and so we immediately set to work. Here’s what we ended up with, a nice solid redwood planter:

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Make a Mid Century Stool

I never thought it would be easy to make a mid century stool, but I was wrong. I got the idea from this post on Salvage Love.

Chair and stool

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Tweaking the Living Room

I don’t think any room, or house for that matter, is ever done. I’m constantly changing things, moving furniture to other rooms, adjusting my decor to meet my current needs–tweaking, if you will (I will!). Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been tweaking the living room.

Here’s what it looked like when Mick took the photos for our house tour.

Picture of living room before

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CSA Box Challenge

Today our CSA box came. As you already know, that makes for a great day at Casa West, but now my challenge is to figure out what I’m gonna make with all the goodness. This is what I have to work with:

Picture of CSA Box ingredients

CSA box goodness: Garnet sweet potatoes, gravenstein apples, eureka lemon, shishito peppers, red plums, sweet peppers, zucchini, globe eggplant, bi-color corn, beets, and leaf lettuce. Not shown: cantaloupe. Read more

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Chili isn’t necessarily all that ground-breaking imagination-wise, but I created my own version of slow cooker turkey chili that Mick and I love. In the winter months I make this several times a month, and during the summer it’s a quick, easy meal that doesn’t require turning on the oven.

Picture of ingredients

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Hot Tub Disconnection and Removal

After we finally decided to get rid of our hot tub the actual removal was pretty quick. We placed an ad on Craigslist (probably priced it a bit low), got some calls, and the first guy arranged pickup two days later, and now it’s gone.

I made it very clear in the ad that they would have to have experienced movers, as the tub weighs about a thousand pounds. As it turned out the guys who showed up were experienced hot tub movers, but it was almost too much for them. Had it just been a bunch of guys and a pickup, then that would have been a recipe for disaster.


First step was to drain the tub. You can just drain it as normal, by gravity, but the movers brought a pump, which made it all go a lot faster. While it pumped they removed the cover and loaded it on the truck. Read more

Get Your Project On: Young House Love’s New Book

The other day, one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, posted something that made me very happy. Their new book, titled Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love, is officially available for pre-order!

You can hear the whole story from them right here.

In my other life, I’m a crime fiction writer trying to get my first novel published. The process for publishing fiction is different than for non-fiction, but hearing about John & Sherry’s journey in getting this book done rang some familiar bells for me:

It’s so funny because we distinctly remember every single phase: signing on with an agent well before Clara was born, writing an 100 page proposal in 2010, pitching it to publishers and picking the right one for the job right after moving in 2011, turning our proposal into a complete book outline and then a complete manuscript right around New Year’s, shooting for three straight weeks in our house back in February of this year, and then refining and proofing and proofing some more, and finally – finally! – sending this baby off to be printed.

One thing is certain, the world of publishing is not what you’d describe as a high-speed bullet train. It’s more like a horse-drawn carriage. Read more

Hot Tub for Sale

I’ve been bitten by the gardening bug big time. I have my heart set on planting a fall garden but unless I do it in the front yard there’s just no space. I’ve seen plenty of front yard gardens and they are great looking, but I’d like to keep ours as is, at least for now. Unfortunately, we live in the city and outdoor space is at a premium. Something has to be sacrificed if I’m going to have that beautiful vegetable garden I’ve been dreaming of. Turns out, it’s the hot tub. Yes, there’s a hot tub for sale at our house.

Picture of hot tub

Sad to say goodbye

Curse Mick for taking a picture of it that makes me want to jump in and never get out.

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Exhaust Fan Install in the Garage

I spend quite a bit of time in the garage, as that’s where my workbench and tools are. But it gets very hot in the summer. There’s no ventilation, and the black roof just soaks up the sun, heating up the air in the garage from the top down. So I decided to install a fan to suck out that hot air, to be replaced with cool air in through the window.

The obvious spot for a fan would be through the roof, at the highest point possible. But I decided to do it through the wall instead, only slightly lower, as it seemed like an easier install, and far less chance of leaking, and causing rot. Here’s where it ended up (it’s the black square just to the left)

Exhaust fan on the garage exterior, alley side.

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