Category Archives: Home Improvement

Yucca Farm

We got a house!  We’re in escrow now for new house and for selling this one.  Life is crazy with packing, inspections, filling out forms, and dreaming of all the wonderful things we get to do to make this new house our home.

Here’s a peak at our yucca farm:

HouseThat bit in the bottom photo on the right… that’s yucca.  And it wraps all the way around to the side yard.  We’re going to fill the green waste bin more than once with this yard.

We’re also going to be able to fill a dumpster with cheap wood paneling and wood shingles in the kitchen.  The kind of wood shingles that go on the outside of a cabin in the woods.


You don’t get to see the shingles in the above shot, but you do get to see the green plaid wall paper that goes with it.  You also see the previous owner had our love of colors, but didn’t do it quite as well.  Note the highlighter yellow hallway.

I do, however, love the huge studio space in the picture below.  It has nice sliding doors out to the back yard.


Moving day is scheduled for August 31st.  I promise to take more pictures.  The video I took is neat, but darn if I can upload it.

I hope your life is going fabulously!  See you soon.





Good House Ju Ju

Nope, still no new house for us.

However, I’m working some good house ju ju.  I’ve got an altar on my mantel to house, home, and family.




The yellow vases were my Grandma Fran’s.  The pitcher holds the “good faith” checks we write for offers, as well as cash and change.  Money is good.  The large vase has a necklace on it from my mom with a key.

I’ve drawn a picture of a house.  Something with veggies growing in the yard, sunshine, happiness, color.  There are photos of our families, us, and homey things.





The blue foo dogs  were my Great Grandma Irene’s.  The wall altar was a fantastic holiday gift from my in-laws.  We found it at the Petaluma Antique Fair.  Kind of perfect it was bought in the city we want to move to.


House JuJu



There are all kinds of tokens of us, in elephants and octopi, images of our cats, there is paint and brush, a cooking spoon, fruit and flowers.  I’ve added some rum since the pictures.  We’re kicking it up a notch.

The altar is a place of focused thoughts and energy.  A physical form for the intangible desire.  A place to release my hopes, dreams, and even frustrations.

It’s also a great reminder of what I have.


Houses I Can’t Have




Here’s the first house we put an offer on, a few weeks ago.  Pretty cute.  Lots of sun for gardening.  Small detached studio.  It has been flipped, so things were in pretty good shape.  MckenzieNo response until we got a crazy counter offer.  This is a house I can’t have.

This is the second house we put an offer on.  Short sale.  Smelled like three packs of cigarettes a day for twenty years.  18 x 18 studio fabulousness in the backyard.  No actual front lawn, this photo is a lie (which I don’t mind, since I’d rip it out for my victory garden, anyways).


No response, ever.  Saw the status change to “pending”, which means they’re taking someone else’s offer.

Saw a really god awful wrecked house today.  So in love.  I could work on that house for years.  But, the listing agent should have listed it as “cash only”.  It’s doubtful that a bank is going to want to loan someone money for a house in that condition.  Mold in the converted garage, broken window, no drywall in the master/downstairs public bathroom.  Nothing I couldn’t deal with.  But rules are rules.  It’s been on the market a long time.

Our amazing, gorgeous, persistent realtor Brook is going to talk to the listing agent and see if they are accepting non-cash offers.  I know it’s not likely (snowball in hell not likely) that we’ll get considered for this house, but I haven’t managed to give up hope and move on.  I’m a little bit in love with this house.

The front yard is a weird little skinny nothing, since it’s in a cul de sac (which wikipedia tells me literally translates to “arse of the bag” meaning a dead end… I suddenly like cul de sacs a lot more).  The further back you go, however, the wider and wider the lot gets.  It’s HUGE in the back yard.  My mind’s eye sees patios, raised garden beds, a dog, a fountain, laundry hanging out, kids, a little bistro table by the kitchen for al fresco mornings with my tea.  There is a little courtyard snug behind a fence in the front, flanked by the garage that has been converted into a room.   There’s a great french door from the courtyard into the garage. (I love french doors).  The front door has a little window in it.  A big fountain in that courtyard and we’re perfect.  The window over the kitchen sink would have a perfect view of it.

So here’s to the hope that won’t die for a house that needs a lot of work.




Something New & Just for Me

Most of my creative endeavors lately are something I might sell.  Even if I don’t plan on selling that particular one, it’s a tester for something I’m considering selling.  I did make a new necklace for myself, but that’s in a way to help me sell.  It’s embarrassing to go to a networking event, say I make jewelry, and not be wearing a fabulous statement piece that I made.

This new project, however, is just for me (and my cats, really)!   I had a funky thrift store rug the cats loved to sleep on.  It was thick and comfy in the afternoon sun.  But the last time I washed it, it really shed a lot, had more obvious gaps, and still smelled weird.  Time to toss it.

Old Rug


I don’t know what I saw, but I suddenly thought I should make a hooked rag rug.  Not a braided one, but one with lots of little tufts.  I’ve raided my fabric stash and come across fabulous, bright colors.  Cutting them into strips 1/2″ by 3″ is the hardest part,  I started with my pinking shears so there would be less shedding, but it was taking even longer and hurting my middle finger knuckle.  Regular scissors it is!

Rag1As my husband says, this is going to take forever, but I’m not worried.  I’m two rows into  a bazillion of them.  I have a little latch hook that helps me tie the strips into lovely little knots. Right now working on my rug is the closest I can come to relaxing.  (I really do suck at relaxing).

The little bit that I have done already feels nice when I step on it.  The cats are already laying on the rug, even though it’s bare canvas webbing.  Milo really liked being underneath it and popping again.  Sorry, I didn’t get a picture, I was too busy laughing at him.

Sure, I needed a new project like I needed a hole in my head.  But it’s a present for me and I deserve it.  And my cats deserve it, too, I guess.


It’s All in the Details

I love little details.  I smile whenever I pass by a fabulous change in my house.  Someone else might not even notice it, but I do.  Last night I made a lovely little change.  These boring knobs on my laundry closet are gone.

And replaced with these gorgeous knobs I got for cheap at ReStore.

It took awhile from purchasing the knobs to getting them properly on.  I needed a longer brass screw than they had.

I really like that they are two different colors.  Reminds me of a cat with two different eyes.  I looks great in the ocher hallway.

Madame Saslow is a Gardener

I worked in my front yard!  This is taboo, according to my HOA, but I WILL NOT have ivy growing under my siding!

In my fantasy world where I am fully allowed to do what I want in the front I’d rip out all the ivy.  I’d put a super comfy “morning reading with a cup of tea” chair and side table to the left of the front door.  It gets great sun in the morning and would be delightful to sit there.  But, that would be a bit TOO obvious under the HOA circumstances.

So, I am content with my bit of ripped out ivy and newly added chocolate mint, provincial lavender, and peppermint.  I figure the mint will grow like a weed, leaving little room for any ivy I can’t purge from filling in.  I plan on using the mint in ice cream, sorbet, iced tea, and whatever else strikes my fancy.  The lavender is for upcoming local wool dryer balls to compliment my line of “Sonoma Maid” cleaning products.  Right now it’s just the Laundry Soap.  After local lavender and wool dryer balls I’ll be making “Sonoma County White Wine Vinegar”.  Super excited!

Back to gardening… the lavender will also attract happy insects like bees and butterflies.  I plan on ripping out more ivy from my front yard every week as my little trash can can accommodate it.  In will go more mint and lavender.  I need to research some more good herbs for spreading out, looking good, and tasting good.  Something low maintenance/low water.  There is a drip system, but it seems to do very little.   That dirt is crappy and hard, much like the dirt in my back yard was when we moved in.


Any suggestions on good plants for the front?  Any fabulous foodie thing you are growing?

See How My Garden Grows

Spring is at my house and in my garden, full force!  I’ve been planting tasty things to eat.  This is the first real yard of my own I’ve ever had.  When we first moved in, July 2010, I simply planted the bits from pots I already had and stuck in what my Mother in Law dug out of her yard for me.  It’s beautiful, lush, and jungly, but I want more tasty plants.

I have egg cartons turned into little seed beds to get things started.  I’ve got bush beans, cucumbers, and some spaghetti squash seeds in one; turnips and more bush beans in another.  I just started some peas, I’ll need to get little poles for those later.  Little pots hold yet more cucumber (it’s a good thing Alex and I both love cucumber!).  Outside I’ve got swiss card that’s been doing well for awhile, some spinach and basil that’s just starting, kale, my awesome herb pot with chives, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.  I just cut the thyme WAY back, you can see it hanging by lovely orange ribbon from my hanging baskets.

The very cool thing I’ve just set up is my filing cabinet turned planter.  That little patch of yard has hardly any dirt, maybe only 4 inches from the fence, so this has created so much more dirt square footage.  The file hanger from in the drawers are now a cage for the beans I’ll plant there from my seedlings.  Cucumbers can hang down from the second drawer and more beans can grow up from the bottom drawer.

I took so many pictures, I’ll let you browse through a slideshow at your leisure.

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