Yardwork and Moving Forward

It’s been a busy weekend for me.  Got things done around the house, plotted out World Domination, and Cleared The Yard (phase 1).  My fingernails hurt.  That reminds me …it’s summer now, which means the nails need cut down and manicured.  Long manicured nails don’t work for me in summer – too many things going on that result in wrecking said manicure.  Therefore it’s time to chop ’em off, clean up the edges all nicely, and go on about my business.

This weekend’s business involved a lot of hard work that I’m paying for today, but I like the progress that was made.

I started on The Backyard.

Before:

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More ‘before’, with Darnell (the random neighborhood cat) pictured in top right.2

Six hours later, this is what I accomplished with a rake and shovel:

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Here’s a shot looking out from my bedroom window. Note the missing iceplant.
There was also a line of fake plastic rocks that is now MIA.

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Today, I hurt. Last night I hurt so much that I woke up in the middle of the night wanting to vomit from how painful my arms felt.  No vomiting occurred, thank goodness.

The photo above shows how I got a large section almost completely cleared. The goal is to get the rest of that stuff pulled up so it’s just back to bare dirt.  Now I’m planning my next step, and I think this is how it will work out:

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Top-down view, fence at the top, hopefully vegetable planters and a compost box will be off at the left.  Potted plants – probably jasmine – I want to grow up to cover the fence; at least a large portion of it that isn’t currently covered.  In between, railroad-tie-style rectangular beams of wood will split up the yard while providing something similar to tiers.

Like this, but using rock filler instead of sod:

The yard slants down in kind of a curve, and has a fairly steep grade.  The section of squiggles along the bottom of the drawing would be that red bark/mulch stuff.  The top section (top right in drawing) will be flat enough for a nice patio area, and then just have to figure out if it would look better with a tarp cover or a pergola cover.

Awwww:

 

My goal is not to spend a lot of money, just to make something inexpensive that’s enjoyable for us while we’re living here and also improve the value when we sell.  Any additional reading/art nooks I can create in the meantime… thumbs up.  🙂

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Adventures in Domesticity

Hello!  It’s been a minute.  I’ve been busy in that way that completes the things you need to get done, but not the things you want to get done.  It’s all for the greater good, apparently.

Essentially time after work is spent corralling, feeding, herding, and cleaning up after the cats.  We’re all on a pretty good schedule and things are finally settling down.

Last weekend I was rather domestic and built a succulent garden (and cleaned, and .  I finally got everything properly potted, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

before1

Before

I had to dig out a bunch of that dirt that neighborhood strays had crapped in, scour the bricks of the porch (causing hordes of ants to climb everywhere), and paint the bricks.  Whomever ‘built’ the weird little planter area  decided the best way to do it would be set concrete blocks in cement.  I doubt there was any measuring or leveling.  In theory it’s a nice idea, it reality it made things a hassle.

The next step was to measure the area, head to Home Depot, buy the wood, stain and paint it, then put it together to cover up everything while being strong enough to hold the brilliant plant idea I came up with.  (“Brilliant” typically means “In Over Your Head” with my projects.)  After we got everything situated, the only thing left to do was add plants.

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After

This makes me much happier. It also rained all week, and two days ago one of the strays knocked over a rectangular planter, but it seems to be mostly okay.  Jason straightened it up and I’ll deal with making sure all the plants are snug in their homes (they don’t look too bad).

Oh, I also re-did the container gardens on the porch.  There are two small succulents at about 1100 and 1200 in the left arrangement, and those are from the wedding.  THAT makes me happy.  Now that they’ve been replanted in good soil and watered, they’ve come back from being dormant, and are blending right in with the rest of the crew.

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Container gardens

Did you guys know that I have another blog?  Yes.  Domesticity (http://dmestic.wordpress.com/) except I haven’t updated since 2010. Everything seems to just fall into place in this blog, so this is where most of the updates happen.  Also, as the kittens slowly settle down and stop requiring me to pay attention to them every single nanosecond (else they’ll destroy everything), I have a smidgen more time to do things not involving them.  Things that are a touch more relaxing, like drinking tea, or writing an email, or looking at the internet.  That latter part is tough because they tend to want to jump up and down on the laptop specifically when I’m using it, making updates rather difficult.

Bonus round: my home office finally has a desktop system, which is loaded up with Adobe’s CS6 Suite.  It only took me five years to get back on track, but there was that whole search-and-buy a house thing, and that wedding thing, so life was a bit hectic.

See, there’s this thing floating around the Interwebs, one of those memes, and it says (essentially) that “When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Uh, this sh/t is NOT what I expected.”
Here’s the part where (if I was a kid), I’d brag all about how I cleaned my room AND put away the laundry AND made my bed.  Then I did the dishes! They’re put away!!

Anyway, since I’m an adult, you get to hear me being excited over my accomplishments of that single day last weekend, which include:
-going to the doctor
-going to Home Depot
-bought a ton of plants and supplies for the succulent gardens
-brought the plants and supplies home AND set them up (the painting/potting adventure (during which I spilled white latex paint all over the driveway had to wait until there was more daylight)
-made yet another homemade smoothie and dinner in efforts to get myself healthy and back in shape (now I’m drinking juice concoctions on a regular basis, mostly thanks to Casa De Juice)
-washed and put away the majority of the dishes (which is impressive because the majority of all dishes we owned were everywhere but in their proper place)
-cleaned out the spice drawer and made a spice area elsewhere (!!! there was stuff from 2004, you guys! it’s cleaned out! we now have a cat food drawer, oh man. OH MAN.)
-reorganized the kitchen and cleaned it
-SWIFFERED
-cleaned out the utility area and made room for the kittens’ litter to be moved over
-actually cleaned the litter (argh)

I know there was more, but that’s a metric ton of stuff for me to do on my day off, which is typically reserved for sitting on the couch With Snacks, reading and passing out when whatever’s on TV bores me to unconsciousness.  I even broke a sweat.

That was two weekends ago (oh, I had a birthday on Jan 10th, so last weekend was all about partying it up). This weekend was reserved for more standard cleaning involving laundry and vacuuming; psuedo-spring cleaning.  My next domestic project for today/tomorrow is to reorganize my linen storage area and office, then tackle the huge pile of freshly cleaned laundry.  I need to reorganize the office to make it more conducive to art stuff and also kitty-proof it.  The sun is out but not strong and there’s a nice breeze, so I’ve got the house brightened up and am hoping my allergies stop sucking my life away. I’ve sneezed more in the past two months than I have in my life; seriously.  Sneezing fits are not something that happen to me, nor are constantly itchy eyes and throat.  People that suffer from this constantly have my sympathies.

The juicing thing has been good. I’ve been making daquiri-looking concoctions at home, and drinking juice blends as meal replacement every couple days.  It’s helping a lot, because my weight and skin were making me very unhappy.  Now that the house is much more organized, the space is here to do that stuff at home.

Anyway, it’s been a long strange trip, but for the most part, 2013 is off to a great start.  I’m even doing yoga a bit more frequently.  Now to remember this feeling when it gets crazy…

Art and Domesticity and Somebody Turn My Brain Off

Insert preferred greeting according to localized time and colloquialisms.

It’s been a rough month.  My brain has been busy working on carefully compartmentalizing (aka blocking out) the time from the 9th to the 23rd of July 2012, but I’m not ready to even publicly think about that yet, let alone discuss it.

You know how when you’re on direct deposit you typically get a copy of your pay stub?  Well, I just found out that my PTO got messed up and my paycheck was short by roughly the amount I budget for food and gas during a pay period, so if somebody wants to send me some money I will make them some art.  This means all you do is covers shipping costs and then kick me back whatever you feel you can afford over that price.

This means I will make you a Limited Edition Custom Thing until I run out of canvas (I have four right now).

So if you want an 18”x24” canvas panel, I’ll go online and get shipping quotes, and then we go from there.  If you want an 8.5”x11” sketch on paper, I can do a flat rate cost because there are Flat Rate Envelopes out there as well, and it’s just a piece of paper.  I might even try to make you a watercolor painting.

And tell your friends.  I’ll do this kind of pricing for the next two months or until I run out of canvas, whichever comes first.

I keep trying to stay positive but it’s like we’re playing Chicken in the pool and there’s a 7’ tall, 350 lb guy sitting on my shoulders.

Red shorts on my head, clearly.

So.

Let’s just talk about good things right now.

1)      My friend D-fabulous runs this magazine called FourCulture, and asked me if I’d like to be a featured artist and have a 3 page thing in there. Uh, YES, thank you very much.  So that made my week, and you guys will get details as I get them during the last two weeks of this month.

2)      I’m going to make a custom piece for that, since D-fab is a fan of my Cuppycakes stuff.  Limited edition, aw snap.  The rough draft sketch came out stellar, so I’m excited that this one might turn out the way it looks in my head.  I’m a little more comfortable with my technique of over-watering the paint so that each layer is almost a watercolor, and it makes things easier to mold, so to speak.

3)      This is the last week for my art to be up at Alchemy.  Monday August 6th is when the exhibition ends, so that means my upcoming Monday will involve a doctor’s appointment, a passport appointment (ERMERGHERED CURBO SERN LERCURS TRERP), and then picking up my art from them (most likely).  All next week will be working on getting the stuff ready for prints.  PREENTS!  I’ve also been working on getting various sites/profiles ready so I can promote and sell the prints, so that makes me happy.

4)      My daily iVillage newsletter produced some amazing DO WANT links, by way of “20 Awesome Finds to Save Space in Every Corner of Your Home”   Let’s discuss this, shall we?

Enclume’s Rack It Up bookshelf pot rack would be better than the standard rack I have (heh heh) in the kitchen.  My current rack (heh heh heh) is a flat metal bar that runs along the wall, and that means my pots and pans scratch up the paint a bit.  This would be good because the long-handled stuff could hang over the sink, while bigger stuff like colanders could sit up top.

simplehuman™’s Steel Frame Dish Rack with Wine Glass Dryer is nice. Our 1930’s craftsman home has a VERY small sink counter area, so this may be too big, but it’s definitely better than the IKEA wire dish rack we have now.  Doing dishes more frequently would be too difficult, because while hard work pays off later, laziness pays off now.

West Elm’s Rustic Storage Table is adorable, wouldn’t be obnoxious with the color schemes of my house, and gives the mega ultra bonus round of extra storage AND workspace.  This is nice.

World Market’s Lawson Space Saver Table & Chair Set, Wenge finish is basically amazing for the very tiny dining nook area that we have.  Not to mention both the table AND chairs fold up, so that’s a definite score.

Sur La Table’s Rösle® Small Collapsible Colander is way Mo Betta than the large metal colander hanging off my current pots-and-pans rack, taking up all sorts of space.  Chuck this in a drawer?  Yes please.

Anthropologie charges way too much for everything but these Milk Bottle Measuring Cups are worthwhile because I will absolutely use them.

Pottery Barn’s Behind the Door wire storage will basically change my entire life, or at least the parts of my life spent in the kitchen.  There would be more of those parts if I had this storage thing.  Our drawers are a disaster, because most of them are missing handles, and are just what you’d expect from a 1930’s craftsman that we bought as a foreclosure in 2009.  Whee!

That’s all. Go fix yourself a glass of iced tea, sit on the porch, read a book, and be thankful that you’re here to see another day.  [That’s what I’ll be doing this weekend.]

It’s A Nice Day For A …Trip To The Fabric Store?

It’s a typical San Diego Sunday: mid-70’s, light breeze, strains of music floating through the neighborhood. The curtains are all drawn back and the house is getting a nice airing out. There’s been a light winter cleaning – sorted out a drawer of canned goods, cleaned off the random debris on top of the fridge (so THAT’S where my hummingbird feeder nectar went to!), and started laundry. I’m taking a little break to write before heading out to the dollar store for hairspray, which will hopefully aid me in my attempt to do a fauxhawk.

My hair is a bit long, but I’m hoping to achieve something like this:

Also, I found THE BEST volume hair tip ever (for real). Go check out the video, and watch the whole thing. I’m sure it helps if you have a flat iron, but my house is very product-and-accessory free, so … yeah. Dollar store it is.

So, the fabric store.

My wonderful lovely creative fabulous friend Morgan is getting MAWWIED in September, oh-em-gee, and she’s been sweet enough to send an invite to Casa de Awesome. (Yes, that’s my house’s name.) It’ll be in Seattle, a place I’ve always wanted to go – ceremony at an old gas works and reception at a yat club. Some people say yacht, some say yat, and that’s what we’re calling it right now. 😉

Look how cute their wedding site is! Matt & LindsayMorgan

Since the two of us here have been getting more involved and interested in steampunk lately, it seemed like the perfect occasion to acquire some apparel in that genre. So began The Great Outfit Search.

First of all, the stuff is not cheap. It’s not cheap because it’s all custom made, and generally of good quality. As are most discussions (surprisingly and thankfully) – most fans of the genre tend to be well spoken and well read. It’s a nice change if you want to give your brain a break from YouTube or ICanHasCheezburger comments.

The thing about it is that a lot of people do tend to just “glue some gears on it and call it SteamPunk”, myself being one of them. Yes, some people say if the gears/buckles/bells and whistles aren’t functional then it’s all for naught, but you can’t deny the aesthetic appeal.

Here’s an example.

Plain Black Arm Cuff

Steampunk Arm Cuff:

See? Just glue some gears on it. And if anybody wants to track down the manufacturer of that second cuff and then PURCHASE the cuff for me I’d be much obliged. I bet you dollars to donuts (best phrase ever) that it’s at least a hundred bucks if it’s hand-tooled or anything.

We got to talking here at The Casa, and J feels that he’s capable of sewing things. Maybe even clothes. After picking both my eyebrows off the ceiling, we talked about local fabric stores and how I want to make my own mini cocktail top hat instead of paying $150 for the one that caught my eye. So after breakfast, he crutched on over to the local Discount Fabric Store where we looked at all the awesome items. I spent most of last night looking for a hat pattern/tutorial, and he spent most of yesterday looking for a vest pattern. It was fun.

Anyway, we have the beginnings of a sewing kit, and an old holiday popcorn gallon tin is where the excess fabric will go for now. I think we can pull something off.

I’m not sure who this new crafty person is that’s living with me, but I like him.