Patio Makeover

I have a large brick patio at the front of my house that had previously been an area filled in with plants and a ginormous stone pine tree planted in the center of it all. The plants had seen better days and the stone pine tree was a hazard just waiting to happen...so it was all removed. I laid the bricks myself many-many years ago, nothing fancy, just a quick way to cover the dirt area. Recently, I've noticed the area was needing to be spruced up a bit.... it was looking pretty ratty. I decided to pull up all of the brick and relay it. I had planned on purchasing plastic molds you lay on the ground and simply lay your brick in them and it spaces them perfectly... but upon ready the reviews of this product, quickly realized it wouldn't work for me because all of my brick are different sizes. Some are really old clay bricks, a lot are newer tumbled kinda-clay but not really brick... all different sizes. Bummer. I kept poking around the internet and read that you can use a small spacer between each brick to over come the different sizes of brick. Brilliant! I cut a few pieces of lattice and used that between the bricks, so far so good! I'm also running drip system tubing under the brick while I'm at it.
Here is the previous running pattern that was laid super close together. It looks ok in this particular area, but as you look further into the patio area the lines start getting crooked due to the different types and sizes of bricks.
This is the look I was going for, much better. Not only was the brick size a problem, but the area was in desperate need of sand to build it up. I used twenty three bags..... wha'?..... I started with four bags thinking--- eek, I bought to much!... Yep, twenty three bags to make it level.
While relaying the brick, I decided to pull out the rose bushes I had against the house and make the planter narrower... and make a diamond grid on the wall and grow Star Jasmine up the diamonds. I measured the wall space and drew my plans onto paper and then transferred the lines to the wall with chalk. Here you can see the lines below....
 I had tick marks on the wall--- and free handing the lines wasn't cutting it, so I used a long 1 x 4 board as a ruler to get straighter lines. I had to get my hubs to draw the tall bits!
We drilled holes into the stucco and put in screws and attached the new trellis with wire. Oh.My.Goodness. Starting to look so good already!! I went in one direction at first.... *swoon*
 Then I had to cut the other directional wire and fit it together in the center to create a nice looking center to each diamond.... easy-peasy... but a little time consuming.
 Of course, I couldn't wait to plant the Star of Jasmine plants along the new diamond trellis! I had bought four and only planted two so far as I didn't want to plant one in full sun. The other plant will have to wait for next weekend when I complete the last diamond shape. I am needing to add some wood trim around the window first-- always something to slow me down! But here is what I had envisioned:
What did I used to create this wire trellis you ask? Can you guess??? It is a 2-1/2" x 10' metal corner bead. This is normally placed on the corners of houses during construction and then they cover it with cement/stucco to create a nice strong corner to the house. I had spotted this years ago at the hardware store and thought it would make a cute trellis and it does! (I spray painted it black)
The front patio is far from being completed. I don't know about you, but working around my house is like standing dominoes in a row... you change one thing... then have to change something else.... then you might was well do something over there too. Eiy-eiy-eiy....I guess I should rename this post, "Starting my Patio Makeover."
big hugs,


Works in Progress

We are having an end of summer heat wave here in California. Blah. It has been 104 to 109 this past week... with another week of yucky temperatures to come. I guess I'm longing for colder weather-- because I've started a lot of new crocheting projects. I saw online someone had made little birds out of small crocheted circles. I thought they were super cute....yep... this is as far as I've gotten with those....yawn....
I then spotted a small stool online covered with a crocheted medallion of sorts. That was a fun project for a little while... yep, got bored with that... Had.To.Stop.
 My daughter had mentioned that it looked like a soft Frisbee- that is all the rage. So, I googled it... and of course I had to make at least one right? But first I had to make a pattern...
It was a lot of trial and error with creating my own pattern. But after ripping out stitches and reworking it I finally had something that looked like a soft Frisbee.....
Well, you know how it goes, I just can't make one of anything. So far, I've made six... 
Surprisingly I'm enjoying making these. I did fling one down the hallway in my house to see if it would fly... I think it flies better than a plastic Frisbee. I've got plans to make some in my grandkids school colors and whatever other colors they would like.

With the extremely hot temperatures outside I've been wetting down my outdoor kitties with wet face cloths to help them tolerate the heat. I was worried about my feral cat Barney because he pants when he is hot. None of my other cats do that. He and I have become fast friends and he let me soak him down good-style, I'm talking drenched. I did this every couple of hours and then noticed he was taking the matter in his own paws... and was rolling around in a wet/muddy spot caused by my drip system.

I am in the process of pulling up the brick patio by my front door and relaying it... that is, before the intense heat wave started. This is one outdoor project that is on hold until it gets considerably cooler!
 Barney is enjoying laying in the cool mud... By morning he will be spotless clean once again and then throughout the day he will get muddier and muddier as the day goes on. Pretty smart kitty~ Here he is giving the other cat a Raspberry....
Barney eats pretty good at my house. Of course he gets wet and dry cat food, but he also gets cooked chicken and tri-tip. I normally feed my cats on vintage china plates but they are all in the dishwasher.
I'm able to pick up Barney now and set him on my lap for about a minute at a time. He still gets nervous if I make eye contact with him when I am holding him. He acts like he is going to scratch me so I have to make sure to look away... funny ol' cat.... it is a slow process but worth it.
big hugs,



What a lazy summer I've been having... emphasis  on LAZY.  I feel like I've not gotten anything of tremendous importance done.... wait, I have been spending long-lazy-afternoons sitting on the grass petting my feral cat Barney. I've also been teaching him how to play with toys. He is picking that up ever-so-slowly. Barney is becoming quite friendly (to me anyway) and loves a belly rub, which is very surprising for a feral cat to roll over on his back with his tummy exposed. I guess I can say that I have been "working very hard" at taming a wild beast! Along with all that hard work I've been doing *wink* I have been acquiring more treasures. I hit the mother load of lanterns all at one yard sale. These three... caute~
 Plus these five....
 plus these four....
 All twelve for only $20. I also got another mannequin/dress form torso for only $5.00, I think it is from an Eddie Bauer store. I'm thinking about recover the form with burlap.... which will be adorable.
 Loads of junk jewelry.... half a box full...
 a bag full...

and a whole bunch of other containers of jewelry too! All of the jewelry combined was only $15. I've gone through it and I'd say about 40% was usable to me, the other 60% I'll bag up and resell at a yard sale.
I also bought a HUGE lot of brand new jewelry findings. I always think I need it ALL!!!.... but, when I finally go through it, I find myself thinking, "I'll never use this!" I guess I could fire up my Etsy site and resell it there... because you know... I. Had. To. Have. It. All.

There are some Mad Hatter charms, a lot of bezels, beautiful beads, rhinestones, skull beads...on and on...
There are a few things I'm not sure I'm going to use/keep.... like all of the different colored chains and clasps.... No harm in adding them to my every growing stash- for now anywho~
Some of the beads and charms are so darn cute! Other things, all usable, but I have no use for- but "had" to have. What did I pay for all of these fabulous new jewelry findings? Only $25 bucks.
Sounds pricey, but just one strand of beads had a price tag of $10.00 on it and there was three of those in the lot..... Out of all of these fun items I'd say that I am keeping about half of it. Still a great value :-)

Well, I had better get offline and get to work... and by work, I mean go pet my feral cat Barney. *wink*
big hugs,


Swimming Dog

I had bought my dog Akira a dog life jacket so she could swim in our pool. You could tell she was scared of the water and never wanted to swim past the first step. Now, she has finally learned to swim with confidence and without a life jacket. So much so, that she goes into the pool and does a few laps all by herself even though we are not pool-side with her. She is a sneaky-sneak and has figured out she can swim to the side seat we have in our pool and hop out and get to an area she is blocked from getting to. Bad doggy!
 I wouldn't mind her over there, but she likes to eat the bark-- and she thinks she is a decorator and likes to move things around. Silly girl. Often times there is so much splashed water on the pool deck I think she has had some doggy friends over for a pool party... but its just her having a gay-old-time all by herself. Here she is getting ready to get back into the pool...
 "Don't push me crocodile!"
 If you notice she has a plastic soda bottle in her mouth.
 I spend tons of money on "dog toys" and all she wants is plastic bottles.
 She brings them to the steps then lets them float away--- and goes back in after them....
Rescued bottle once again back at the steps...
She is one clean dog!
Once she is semi-dry I let her come back inside and get in her dog crate..... and then I turn on her personal fan and she takes a nap until she is ready to do it all over again. She isn't spoiled, just deeply loved. *wink*
big hugs,



Treasures, treasures... treasures! I spotted an ad for a yard sale located about 45 minutes away from my house that advertised that they had "beads and jewelry making supplies" for sale, which peeked my interest to say the least. Even though I was not the first person there-- I did manage to get a lot of the items that she was selling. Here is the bounty I came away with:
Let me unpack it for you.... Tons and tons of little baggies with great stuff in each one! The bottom left of the photo is a baggie full of ready to wear druzy pendents.

Here is a little closer look...

You know how much these things cost when you go to any hobby store....
Bags of wire, beading thread, cords, chains, and strands of beads all brand new...

Lots and lots of bezels for doing ice resin and also shadow box pendents...
I also got several plastic containers with beads and clasps...
Inside the wicker basket there was a lot of seashells. I added a triangle shaped filler piece to the inside of this glass jar my mother gave me and added the seashells to the jar. It will eventually be filled to the brim.
I also got a bag full of beautiful paper embellishments. Also a full set of "Artist Loft" water color pencils and "Rikota" Brush markers. What did I pay for all of this crafty goodness? Twenty five bucker~roos. At first I thought, blah... I overpaid for all this stuff. I always second guess myself! Then I saw a pair of new Fisker easy action bent scissors which retail for $22.99 all by themselves... and that "righted my sails" about the money I spent.

After driving away, I thought to myself, "Where on earth am I going to put all this stuff in my studio? I drove up to another yard sale and found this beautiful Ethan Allen four drawer night stand for only $10.00. It is going to serve double duty in my studio as a side table next to my comfy chair along with storage that the drawers are going to provide.
I got all of this jewelry for $5.00. The ring is 10k gold, the two box charms, the onyx pendent and the two bracelets are stamped 925 (silver)
I also got this pearl necklace for .50¢... Yep, real pearls. The necklace strands do not belong attached to the choker, those were added by someone at some point. An easy fix to unhook them. It would be garish to wear it this way, I guess that is why they didn't even give them a second look at the yard sale I bought them from. I can tell real pearls a mile away. Even without giving them a look with an eye loop, the weight of them gives you a good indication that they are real.

I bought six strands of drift wood for $5.00... Why do I need it? I dunno, but it all--> Had.To.Come.Home.With.Me. The metal basket was only $4.00.
Now comes the fun part of going through all of those baggies and playing with it ALL. Happy-happy-joy-joy~
big hugs,


Barney Rubble

This is my newest cat, Barney.
Barney is a Feral Cat, no hugs and kisses from this little fella. *sigh*

I purchased a large animal trap to catch Barney so I could get him neutered, but Barney was to smart and wouldn't go inside the trap. So, every day for about three months, I've been working with this wild cat to get him to the point where I can pet him, pick him up (if only briefly)... and ultimately get him into a cat carrier and get him neutered. Food is a good motivator when your trying to befriend a wild/feral cat. While the cat was eating, I would sneak up on Barney and pet him. The first few times were merely a touch, but over time I've been able to pet Barney the whole entire time it takes him to finish a can of food. Recently, I've been able to pick up Barney, for short periods of time without getting mauled. Success!

 So, I bought a large cat carrier thinking that would be easier than the trap. I set the cat carrier standing up with the door open and quickly picked him up and tried to put him in. Yup, I got scratched up. Undeterred, I tried several more times.  Finally, I picked him up and held him over the opening of the cat carrier back feet first, and just "let him go" and he dropped right into the carrier... which he then proceeded to go round and around like he was inside a washing machine... poor scared cat. But it had to be done..... Had.To.Be.Done. *sniffle*
Here is Barney at home the day after having been neutered... giving me the ol' stink eye for sure.... You can see they cut the tip off of his right ear. So, from a distance anyone who knows about feral cats will know this one is "shooting blanks" and to let him be.

Here is some information about ear-tipping or notching of feral cats.
Also, some info about the trap-neuter-return theory.
We have a great Spay and Neuter facility called, Hope. They do the "Trap Neuter Release" for feral cats but you have to bring the cat in-in a trap. I explained to them what I did, and that the cat is indeed feral--- and if they didn't believe me to stick their hand in the carrier.  Wouldn't you know it? They believed me. So, for $60.00 they neutered Barney, gave him a rabies shot, cut his ear tip and gave him an antibiotic shot to boost his health.
I had recently done some "artsy-fartsy" stuff for a friend of mine, and he had given me some money for my artistic endeavors. I really appreciate those that realize that your time is valuable and don't take you for granted. Anywho--- I told him that I was going to put that money towards getting a feral cat neutered. Well, of course I needed to make him a "Thank you" card right? Here is the card:

Sometimes simplicity is best, right?
Barney still isn't to happy with me, but he'll come around I'm sure. I think I'll speed up the forgiving process and give him some tuna fish, that should do the trick!

Trap, Neuter and return because every life matters!
big hugs,