I’m a landscaping queen.

OK, I’m not really a landscaping queen.  In fact, I’m a total wanna be and a bit of a IMG_20130527_152756_764putz when it comes to growing anything.  But, I’m learning!  A couple of weeks back I planted my first garden and I’m proud to report that the plants have tripled in size.  Yes, tripled!  However, I can’t take credit.  It’s all thanks to that dang mother nature.  She has been a total basket case lately and hasn’t let up on the rain.  Boooo.  Hiiisssss.  I guess the good news is that I haven’t had to water anything myself which is obviously why it’s doing so well.

After I planted my first garden, I got the itch to do something about the eye sore of a space by our shed.  It had 4 sad-looking hostas  which I had dropped into the ground and did nothing with.  I literally dug holes in the grass and plopped them in.  Totally trashy.  So, instead of pouting about how it looked, I grabbed the hubby and headed to the Home Depot.  We picked up some cute pavers and a couple of plants.  I had leftover cedar chips at home so only had to spend about $50.

I tore up the grass, turned over the soil, laid the pavers, dug some holes and plopped in the new plants.  I was even able to salvage 2 of the hostas and they are looking great.

Up next?  Who knows.  You will likely just see food blogs for the rest of the summer and maybe a post or two about my thriving (or dying) garden.  Oh, and a BIG announcement about an upcoming event we are participating in next September. More to come!

P.S. When I used the word “putz”, I thought I had better Google it to ensure it meant what I was trying to say.  Apparently it means “A stupid or worthless person.”.  Totally cracked me up.  Verdict was to leave it in the post 🙂

putz

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Pulling landscaping duty…

I have officially completed my first ever landscaping project.  And as usual with my projects, it took me about 5 times longer than expected.  I clearly have a severe lack of judgement when it comes to estimating how long it will take me to complete a home project.  So instead of spending Saturday morning on my landscaping project, and Saturday afternoon on my patio with a Margarita, I spend 8 hours lifting rock, washing rock and planting.

Before

After

This project was something cheap that I was able to knock out and bring a little curb appeal to the property.  There was existing landscaping around the trees, but it was covered in pine needles and obviously hadn’t been touched in years.  I had as much fun as possible working hard with the tunes blasting  away in the nearby garage.  Two neighbors stopped by to chat and check out my work too which was nice.  I totally love talking with new people when I am a sweaty, dirty mess [insert sarcasm].  I did not look like those ladies who garden on made for TV movies with make up done, a cute sun dress on and manicured fingers.  Anyhow…

Why did it take so long?  For some reason, I thought there was one or two small layers of rock on top of the dirt. Nope.  There was a good 6-8 layers of rock with the bottom 3-4 layers buried in hard back dirt.  There were tons of ant nests too wich had me batting ants of my hands non stop.  Ick!  The good thing was that once the rock was pulled out and washed off, it looked brand new and amazing.

Remove Rocks

Wash Rocks

From there, I used some bricks my husband found under the deck to make an outline in the area. Apparently they were from the old Smith Avenue high bridge in St. Paul and seemed to have names of people who I can only assume, sponsored the bridge when it was built.

From there, I planted 3 tiger lily plants for some color and hauled all the existing rock back in.  Big thanks to my husband who helped me put the rock back.  I was exhausted by this point and beyond sore (worse that Bikram yoga)!  For the final touches, I poured in the mulch my mom gave me, hung a bird feeder from my grandparents and I was done!

Plant Flowers

Lay brick

After all the hard work, I loved this project.  The best part was the whole thing only cost me $9 for the 3 plants!  How thrifty am I?!

Bird Feeder

Project Cost: $9

  • Rock: Free since it was there to start
  • 3 Tiger Lilly Plants: $9 at Walmart
  • Cedar Mulch: Free from my mom
  • Brick: Free from under the deck 🙂
  • Bird Feeder: Free from my grandparents (SUPER cute & hand-made from Florida!)

If it’s broke…FIX it! Sewing Machines & GHD Flatirons

I grew up with a dad who is very handy; he can seriously fix or build anything.  He builds cabinets, fixes cars, puts in sprinkler systems, installs heated floors, and if he doesn’t know how to do it, he figures it out.  I call him anytime I have a question about anything I don’t know about – garbage the disposal, sheet rock holes, plumbing issues and more.  Most recently, my sewing machine was broken and wouldn’t you know it, he also used to repair sewing machines when he and my mom owned a fabric store!  I tried to fix the machine over the phone with my dad’s coaching, but I just couldn’t figure it out.  I brought it down to Red Wing so he could help fix it.  After much tinkering around, he figured out that the cord to the foot pedal was broken and needed to be replaced.  I watched as he showed me how to replace the cord.  I had no idea something that seems so complex could be relatively easy.  As I watched him fix it, I remembered I had a $240.00 broken GHD flatiron at home.  It seemed, that the reason the sewing machine wasn’t working, could be the same reason my flatiron wasn’t working.  He encouraged me to try to fix it, so I did!

I got home that day and proceeded to immediately take apart my entire flatiron piece by piece just to find out the inside was totally different from the inside of the sewing machine foot pedal.  My husband watched as I tinkered with it for about an hour.  Finally, I googled the problem and found a fantastic website, http://www.ghd-repair.co.uk/SS2.html.  I quickly realized I didn’t need to tear the whole thing apart.  So, I put it back together and started over.

First things first.  I needed to order a cord compatible with the flatiron.  I used my best Boolean search strings to find a U.S. based website that sold cords compatible with GHD flatirons and came up with nothing.  All I could find was a UK-based website, where I had to pay for the power cord which was priced in pounds.  I used a conversion calculator to find out how much £7.95 was in dollars.  It ended up being $12.38 plus tax, shipping, etc.  In total, only about $17 for the cord.  I was very nervous ordering something from an international website, but 5 days later, the cord arrived in the mail.  Good thing, it looked like the right cord.  Bad thing, it had a European plug.  At that point, I drove up to the Ace Hardware 3 blocks away and purchased a power cord adapter kit.

When I got home, I pulled up a YouTube video I found and followed the step by step directions on how to replace the cord.  Clearly, I am not the first person to do this; there are over 23,000 hits on this video.  After I finished installing the new cord, it was the moment of truth.  I plugged the hair straightener into the wall and…it WORKED! Satisfaction and excitement all rolled into one.  I immediately called my dad to let him know I fixed it, and then proceeded to straighten my hair.

So, next time you have something break, don’t immediately throw it away or buy a new one.  Ask you handy dad like I did or Google it and try to fix it yourself!  It cost me about $30 in total to fix it, but to buy this same flatiron again would cost $240.  I saved money and learned something new!