Monday, March 28, 2011

Moss Letters

Image from Pottery Barn
Image from dear lillie

What you'll need:
Wooden craft letters (I used 6" letters)
Reindeer moss
Hot glue gun + glue
Total project cost for 6 letters: $11

Using a got glue gun, glue the moss to the front and sides of the letter. I suggest doing one small section at a time, so the hot glue doesn't harden before you have a chance to stick the moss on. For six 6" letters, I used one 4 oz bag of moss. The moss tears easily and is very pliable, so it's not difficult to fit it to the shape of the letter. However, to help define small curves, I found it helpful to wrap the moss around to the back of the letter and secure with a drop of hot glue.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You run, you slide...

you hit the bump and take a dive! (If you have no idea what you just read, click the video below and be transported back to 1991.)

So why the reference to backyard summer fun in the middle of March? This is why:

The sprinkler system is finally done! But I'm getting ahead of myself...let's recap the final stage of the project (Read the rest of the story here).

We dug up and replaced all of the valves and valve boxes and did a little rewiring.

And since we're now experts at replacing sprinker heads, here's a brief how-to:

What You'll Need:
Teflon tape
PVC pipe cutter
Sprinkler head

First, dig around the old sprinkler head until you reach the white PVC pipe at its base. Take care while digging so you don't break the underground line. Unscrew the old head and throw away. You may need to clean out the PVC pipe if it has a bunch of gunk in it. Wrap the end of the riser with teflon tape and screw in to the sprinkler line. Screw on the sprinkler head to determine the right height. You want the top of the head to be level with the ground so it doesn't get damaged by the lawnmower or foot traffic. Unscrew the sprinkler head and cut the riser at one of the unthreaded sections, using a PVC pipe cutter. One you've cut your riser to the correct height, wrap the top with more teflon tape and screw on the sprinkler head. Fill in the hole and your done! Repeat 30 times.

We also installed micro-drip lines in some of the flower beds. Adapters are available that can be easily screwed onto a riser where you would normally install a sprinkler head. From this adapter you can run flexible rubber hosing that connects to a variety of drip irrigation heads, like the one below.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flagstone Walkway


Before, you had a direct line of sight from the street to our lovely brown trashcan. This area was constantly muddy, and despite our best efforts, we couldn't get any grass to grow here....of course the weeds and moss had no objections.

We removed a couple inches of dirt to make room for the gravel and flagstone, then dug a trench around the perimeter of the walkway for the edging. We went with a composite edging for it's affordability and resistance to rot. It's also made from recycled materials and more flexible than metal edging. It's very easy to install; all you need is a rubber mallet and the metal stakes included with the edging to secure it into the ground. We added a wooden trellis and framed out a small flower bed in front of it.

The next step was to lay the flagstone. We started with a layer of limestone road base then layed down our flagstone pavers. On top of that went crushed granite, to fill in all the cracks between the stones.


We planted a knock out rose bush in the front flower bed and a bougainvillea in the bed along the fence. They should be very pretty when in full bloom, and the rose bush will help disguise the trash can even more.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meow Meow Meow Meow

Our already low maintaince cat has become even less demanding thanks to this:

Introducing the Ergo Systems Auto Pet Feeder. That's right, we're living the American dream, and automating yet another one of our daily chores. We're one step closer to the House of Tomorrow.

Our cat, like many cats, insists on sitting outside our bedroom door every morning and meowing. For hours. Or until we get out of bed and feed him. And if we have overnight guests, he figures he'll have better luck outside their door. Our motives for buying an automatic pet feeder were not based entirely on laziness though. We also wanted a better way to feed him when we went out of town, instead of leaving a bowl full of food for him to gorge himself on.

We'd been considering this purchase for a while, but finally had the incentive to buy one thanks to Offermatic, which offered us a $30 discount to Vitamin Emporium, where we bought the pet feeder.

This thing holds over 40 cups of food, which translates to over 40 daily feedings for our cat. After researching several different products, the Ergo pet feeder was the only one to receive consistently positive ratings. One of the biggest complaints about other models was that the cat figured out how to get food out of the dispenser whenever they wanted.

So we've solved the early morning feedings, but of course our cat still demands several hours of lap time and paw kneading each day. But we're happy to oblige.