It takes a Village to Make a Bottle Lamp

This Sunday should’ve been the last post on our Midcentury Built-in series. Instead it turned into this…

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Our electrician was stuck at a job last week and is now coming today. Hopefully we’ll have working speakers by the end of the week. In the meantime I thought I’d fill the blog-post void with a “quick and easy” lamp project. (Notice the quotations…this is to denote heavy sarcasm)

First I’ve been admiring glass bottle lamps for quite a while. Except their price tags…

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Even at Home Goods, Ross and Target these lamps were pushing $65-$85 a piece! Also the lamps were puny, I wanted something BIG, to light up our very dark guest house.

Luckily I already had an antique water bottle, picked up at the Sacramento antique fair for $5. Also a huge lamp shade sitting idle around the house (I think the shade was a Ross clearance for $6 since it has a small tear)
Lastly I bought a lamp kit with extra gold cord (together for $16) at Home Depot. Total cost out the door for this project $27 buckaroos if you’re starting from scratch. Since I already had some items on hand I’m calling it my BIG, “designer” glass lamp for $16.

As for making the lamp, I watched a couple YouTube videos on drilling into glass wine bottles, vases etc. Looked pretty easy, and quick right….WRONG!

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That’s my awesome Uncle Joe on our third battery pack for the cordless drill!(and an hour into the project) I had underestimated the thickness of the antique glass. 😝

Luckily I had the foresight to bring the project up to my parents place for guidance, the correct tools and just safety sake. Also considering my penchant for diy injuries and knowing there would be 4 EMTs and a Nurse on the premise, in case I took out a finger or an eye.

Only to find out this project needed a dremel, (which my dad didn’t have one) and a family of DIYers who enjoyed “cocktail” hour” in my parents garage watching our progress.

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Everyone got into the blogging action. Notice I’m holding the bottle, my fabulous uncle is drilling the hole, my cousin Craig is holding up a work light, and my sweet cousin Danielle is taking all the pictures on my phone.

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(it’s not a true family gathering without power tools and home project conversation)

I’m going to spare you the “how to” on how we drilled the hole since I don’t know if we even did it correctly. However per pinterest and videos we used painters tape on the bottle, a tile/glass drill bit, and lots of patience to drill the hole.

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Once I got the project back home, the light kit was super easy (15 minutes to complete the project)

I found a relish lid that snapped onto the bottle opening perfectly, and punched a hole in the middle of it.

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Then I assembled the kit following the instructions:

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Finally I added the bulb, lamp shade, and plugged her in…

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Not too shabby right?😉 When the guest house is finished and staged I will take new pictures of our lamp in the proper setting. For now I’m just grateful for awesome family and that I didn’t accidentally shock myself or take out an eye. Happy Sunday everyone!

THIS DROUGHT IS FOR REAL!…Beautiful and Water-wise Backyards

Fourth of July Weekend was a bit of a reality check (and even a little scary) for us…

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This is a massive tree branch that fell from our front yard tree, due to “summer drop” an event that can commonly occur in hot and drought conditions. We are regulated by the city to water only twice a week, which can cause stress to trees during the hot summer months…Next was this…wild-fires-in-california.jpg
A nasty little wildfire that came a bit too close to home, and if the wind had been blowing a different direction, could have easily jumped the river in the 100+ degree heat.

If we had any doubts of losing the lawn in the backyard, they are completely gone now. In fact these events only solidified our love for drought tolerant, water wise gardens. Yet many people equate “water-wise” with dry, cacti, or desert. Yet drought tolerant can be lush and beautiful…

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elegant lush drought tolerant backyard

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We also love lush and tropical gardens. Luckily you can have both beauty and the tropics with water wise gardens. By planting with palms, grasses, succulents, etc you can find plants that can mimic tropical foliage and flowers. Now let me introduce you to our newest garden editions…

 

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Meet “Juan”, (our Queen Ann palm which was bought for a steal of a deal at $50) and these little cuties…

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They were part of the Smart Planet plant line at Home Depot, plants specifically tailored for water wise gardens. Now here they are happy in their new home…

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We also deviated a bit by adding a Bird of paradise, (closest to the palm for the extra water run off), Canas, hardy Agapanthas and Fortnight lilies. cana-tropicana-in-drought-tolerant-full-sun-garden.jpg
The Canas, and Kangaroo paw really help bring a unique and the tropical look to the yard. Another great trick to achieving a lush yard, and prevent water loss, is by laying large stones and boulders. In our case we used 2 cubic yards of 6 to 12 inch river cobbles and boulders called Feather rock. (A volcanic rock that looks heavy but is actually very light)

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We chose larger rocks and boulders, rather than mulch or smaller stones because it makes for easier yard clean up in the fall. (literally the leaves are so crazy that we use a snow shovel not a rake) Also boulders and rocks are fabulous for deterring pups from napping on the new plants. (Sutter thinks my flax plants make great pillows)
All in all, we hope we inspired you to go water-wise and will be sharing some of the final project pics soon. Happy Sunday everyone!

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Gator Done!… (Laying a Flagstone Patio)

Disclaimer: Corny jokes and awful word puns reside at this blog. Especially after laying a flagstone patio, and the celebratory wine kicks in…

Here is where we left off…removing-weeds-and-sod-in-backyard.jpg
A barren wasteland of dirt that was once weed infested grass…There were two options, resod and start fresh, or get creative and drought “appropriate”…We went with option nĂșmero dos.

If you haven’t heard, Northern California is under extreme drought conditions and even though there is talk of El Niño (freakish storm systems that finally bring rain every five years). We knew we’d be back to drought conditions again.

Also there are still these two hams to consider…floppy-ear-dobermans-begging-for-a-treat.jpg
 

Who were responsible for this…

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In our previous home we knew flagstone works for both us and the two bruisers. They like to sunbathe, we like less dust and dirt. However with this go- around we’d change it up a bit. Instead of real flagstone and piles of DG (decomposed granite) we’d opt for the faux flagstone and a product called Gator dust.

Why? Well, to be honest as we’re getting older we appreciate the easier and less expensive approach to projects. Plus Gator dust is a polymeric stone dust that hardens to a mortar-like joint when in contact with water. YAY FOR LESS DUST!

Heres how the project started…It began with multiple trips to Home Depot in (tiny cars) for many loads of Canyon oak faux flagstone, bender board, all purpose sand, and weed block. (This is when I sing, “some day my truck will come” and hubby rolls eyes…We’re saving up for one as we speak)

Followed by laying down said bender board, weed block, leveling sand, and the flagstone.

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Once the flagstone is squared away, and you’re happy with the layout…(For any other uber-analytical, perfectionists out there, setting the flagstone was the worst part) “Honey wait I need to rotate that one 36 degrees!”

Then follow the instructions on the gator dust bag. Dump a bag on the flagstone, sweep, and repeat. Making sure all joints, cracks and crevices are filled and level with the stones. (Just remember if your flagstone joints are up to 4inches, use the “large joint” gator dust)

Then spray the stones, by carefully following the water schedule explained in the directions. Once done with the water, using a powered blower, blow the remaining puddles away.
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Let the patio cure for 24-48 hours, keeping the pups off it (if it’s even possible). Then sit back and enjoy with a glass of well deserved vino. Cheers and Happy Sunday everyone!

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Pillow Talk…

In a stroke of good luck, and timing we were able to score some Hampton Bay deep seat cushions at a great deal! I’d been eyeing the outdoor furniture at Home Depot for the past several weeks, and hoping for end of summer sales. Normal price per two cushions $59 each…Ouch!

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Finally after weeks of waiting we found our Hampton Bay cushions in cream for $33 each. Follow that price with a gift card and they were almost free…Yay! (Again, let the snoopy dance commence!)

Now here they are in their new home…

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We knew outdoor cushions are pretty sturdy and stains can be easily wiped away. Also the cushions are incredibly comfortable. Luckily we found two little decorative pillows to tie the gray bench seat and yellow/cream cushions together. These came in a two-pack at Marshall’s for $16.99.

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I was also playing around with alternative fabrics for re-upholstering the bench seat. Here are the new cushions against tan colored linen. (Above) However we’re still not sure what our new color scheme will be for the kitchen. Until then we’ll hold off on the custom pillow and cushion covers. (Admittedly I need to hone my sewing skills first.)

All in all a very sweet deal and very simple update!

TOP 10 Reasons…You might be a DIY (Do it Yourself) Addict…

1. On the way to your friend’s dinner party they text you to ask, “Have you checked your hair for paint?”

2. The Home Depot staff watch for your car. 

3. Your best friend deletes your Pinterest App to stage an “intervention”

4. Your house has its own Twitter account (#DIYandLovin’it!)

5. You’ve just received your third ticket for 4×8 wood posts hanging out your front passenger window.

6. Your husband buys you a circular saw as a Valentine’s day gift. 

7. You go without a TV remote for a week, because it was misplaced while staging your living room for the perfect “after” shot. 

8. You just reached the Ideabook limit of “photos allowed” on your Houzz account

9. Your husband has set the parental controls and blocked you from HGTV, and the DIY network- he just can’t take anymore inspiration!

10. Better Homes and Gardens has filed a harassment suit against you for submitting too many projects to them. 

I hope this gives all my fellow DIYers a good laugh! Happy Sunday everyone!

 

We Don’t Do “Easy”

DIYers can attest to the mantra, “we don’t do easy.” Especially a DIYer with the guts and gumption to buy an ugly, old, fixer home. Did you experience “the look” from friends and family when you were showing them your “little bundle of joy” the 60+ year old bungalow/cottage/mid century/craftsman, etc that you were now about to buy? The one with the roof so bad that looked like it was a hobbit’s home. The one with the tri- color master bath, the twenty six different kinds of wallpaper, and the ultimate, modern day, home- buying sin… the one without a dishwasher. (For shame!)

You know, “the look” where the friends and family glance at you as if you’ve grown a unicorn horn and your freckles turned to skittles. DIYers know if we chose the “easy” way, we would be stuck in a cookie cutter home, possibly in a location that required uber commuting, and neighbors living on top of you. (At least out here in California). If we did “easy” we’d call for the nearest handyman, or contractor, and be overcharged for a renovation with no heart and a cost that left us with no money.

DIYers have learned there is an intrinsic value of not doing “easy.” Primarily that value is experience and knowledge. Yes, the creative, mechanical, part of us loves to tinker, craft and play in the mud. However the real reason we DIY is for the gained experience. We also want to save a ton of money, but more importantly we want to push the experience envelope. We want that badge of honor in the form of fork-sized splinters, rough hands, and biceps that would put Madonna’s to shame.

When friends and family ask “how did you do that? You will have the experience and knowledge to explain or help them. Gained experience is so much more valuable (and fun) than “easy”. Don’t do easy! This can be related to so many aspects of our lives, not just home improvement. If struggling with a decision, or life issue, remember this well known quote, “All things worth doing are never easy.” Instead do creative, frustrating, sweat equity, and cheap, do it yourself. Gain experience, start small, take classes. Also evaluate your skill level and time against the huge list of tasks. Oftentimes if you know yourself well enough through experience gained, you can diagnose a task quickly and ask for help. Sometimes professional help is necessary when it involves safety, but at least you had the wisdom. knowledge, and experience to know when to ask.

Does “easy” not work for you either? Not just DIY, but also other aspects of our life?