Tag Archives: boyfriend

50 (or so) Date Ideas

We are BORED! Bored out of our minds. Bored with ourselves, bored with our stuff, bored with our house, bored with our day-to-day lives. Just plain bored. It’s about time to spice things up around here. We want more time with each other, more time without stuff, more time away from the house, more excitement and creativity. I found an idea on Pinterest (regretfully I forgot to pin it and have no link) to fill a jar with popsicles sticks each with a date idea written on it. We went ahead and gave it a try.

First we gathered our supplies:

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multi-colored popsicle sticks, thin point Sharpies, two plastic bags (one for new ideas and one for used ideas), and sustenance

We assigned the colors of the popsicle sticks as follows:

  • Red = Things to do at home
  • Yellow = Free things
  • Green = $
  • Blue = $$$

We then started brainstorming ideas and writing them down, some examples are listed here:

  • Go to the local art museum
  • Take a brewery tour
  • Write a novel
  • Buy coloring books and color in them
  • Make a home video
  • Rent a hotel room for the night
  • etc.

Originally we were going to use bags but I found this jar in my cabinet so the new ideas were placed in it when completed (used ideas still go in a little bag).

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We didn’t fill in all of the popsicle sticks so we made one that says simple “Make new popsicle sticks.”

For ideas for your own popsicle stick dates follow the links below.

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

What are some of your great date-night ideas?

Small Space Gardening on a Budget

My Grandpa bought me a book called In a Japanese Garden by Charmaine Aserappa with original woodcuts by Akiko Maomura for my birthday. It is full of short phrases about each component of a Japanese garden and a corresponding image (woodcut).  At the end there is a description of Japanese gardens and what they mean, “not merely decorative, but meticulously designed and maintained as meditative spaces for contemplation, refreshment and reflection.” I hope I can find both refreshment and order in my garden space.

If you’ve read my other posts you may know that this summer my biggest project has been my balcony garden. It all began with the Hanging Gutter Garden Part 1 and Part 2. While the gutter garden was certainly the most intensive of my projects this summer, it was not the only one.  You may remember this flower tower mentioned in this post; let me tell you how I made my version.

My Version

Materials:

  • Decreasing sizes of pots – you can use any number of pots I used four (they should have holes in the bottom).  I got the three terra cotta pots from Michael’s for fairly cheap (sale + coupons) and the big plastic pot from WalMart for about $7 bucks and I didn’t need to buy a water collection dish because it has it’s own draining mechanism built it.
  • Long metal rod – I used one of those threaded rods they have at Home Depot. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea what it’s actually for but it was cheaper than buying rebar (and I didn’t have to cut it).
  • Plants – I lucked out because the King Soopers had a big sale on flowers (10 4-packs for $10) I also bought the potato vines for about $2.50 because I love the way they look. Any annuals will do, you could even plant edible plants or herbs.
  • Soil – I used some with water beads since it’s been so dry, but any kind will do.

You start by filling the base pot half-full with soil. Stick the rod in the center, slide the next pot down the rod.  Fill that pot halfway with soil and repeat the process with the remaining pots. If the rod sticks out the top, simply add more soil between pots. Then plant your flowers or what have you as you normally would. Simple right?

“Be the bud. Prepare to blossom.”

The remaining flowers are planted in flowerpots around the railings.

“Be the gardener. Create order.”

I also mentioned that I wanted to plant tomatoes and peppers in pots. I used water walls to increase their growing season. Here are my results.

I used fallen branches as support (free vs. not free… I choose free)

This is the third ripe tomato so far

My First Pepper

My strawberry plant is in a hanging basket. It’s been doing well, only the birds keep getting the fruit before I do. I would mind more if they weren’t so dang cute and didn’t sing such pretty songs to me while I drink my tea in the morning.

I also ended up planting peas from seed using this tutorial. They started out growing like mad; I harvested two bowls of peas in their peak. However, it turns out container gardening is quite difficult.  I think I over-watered them causing their roots to run out of oxygen and rot, finally they started dying off. I’m too embarrassed to share the picture. On the bright side there is some re-growth now that the soil has dried out a bit.

The final addition to my farm was sort of last minute. I had an extra pot and some carrot seeds so I planted them in the pot. I’ve never heard of this being done and this is crazy (but here’s my number, so call me maybe). Anyway we’ll see how it turns out; all I have at the moment is greens. I did a thinning last week so hopefully the carrots start being carrots.

My watering can is in the front (isn’t it cute?). The carrots are in the terra cotta pot just behind the watering can.

As for this project, I couldn’t figure out a way to stabilize it. I think the best way would be to drive the rebar deep into the ground.  Well I don’t have ground, I have concrete and a wooden railing.  I scratched that project but my grandmother found these cute colorful pots at the dollar store.  She bought a bunch and I am using them for herbs (I realize now this is better because I can bring them inside this winter). P.S. Notice the tomato on the window sill through the window. 🙂

“Be the seasons. Welcome change.”
From left to right: dill, cilantro (used to be cilantro), spearmint, lemon balm, oregano, basil, spring onions
They sit on my air conditioner

Rosemary Bush

I wanted a way to enjoy my space so I have been keeping my eyes open for a small-ish patio set.  This bistro set caught my eye at Home Depot. At that point I told my parents about it and guess what I got for my birthday? Well see for yourself.

It didn’t come with the cushions, those were a separate gift from my grandparents

You can see the grill in the background; Reid has wanted a grill since, as long as I’ve known him (and we just celebrated our 3 year anniversary last week). We found this charcoal grill at a flea market in south (SOUTH) Fort Collins for $12.  One night he was grilling as the sun was setting and it started getting too dark for him to see. He used his camping headlamp that night but the next day he went out and got a strand of lights to hang from the ceiling. Now it feels like an outdoor café.

“Be the moth. Seek the light.
Be the lantern. Guide the lost.”

We also found two wind chimes (and I made a third)

“Be the wind chime. Let the breeze blow through you. Turn the storms into song.”

Now that all the hard work is done I have had the chance to relax in and enjoy the space. We eat dinner at our café, I read books in the morning with my breakfast and tea, and I tend and water the plants (the best part of container gardening is that there are no weeds, only insect pests). Though it took most of my savings to set it up I have no regrets about the rewarding outcome. My first real experience with gardening has overall been successful, maybe not bountiful, but successful none-the-less.

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

Leave a comment; I need all the advice I can get. What are your best gardening tips?

Hanging Gutter Garden Part 2: Putting it Together

I know it has been over 3 months since Hanging Gutter Garden Part 1: Adventures in Home Depot. But I do have excuses. One excuse is that I lost my camera battery charger and I could not take pictures of my progress, another is that I’m lazy. But, just before the backpacking extravaganza (and after losing Reid’s camera in the Canyonlands) I broke down and purchased a new (expensive) charger (with LED charging screen and European outlet adapter).

Now that I have the means to take picture I figured it was about time to share my patio garden with you lovely people.

As I said in this post, I wanted to create the hanging gutter garden like this one.

For mine I didn’t have the fancy pants hardware (or the fancy pants bank account). I used the gutter given to me by the gutter guys (A story told here). I also purchased a plastic gutter for $5 at Resource 2000, where they sell salvaged construction materials.

The finished product – metal gutter

Bottom Level = Lettuce

Middle Level = Radishes (recently harvested and replanted)

Top Level = Spinach (recently replanted due to struggling first crop)

The finished product – plastic gutter

All Levels = salad mix (sprouting)

The materials:

  • 1 gutter cut into three equal parts (process is almost identical no matter the material, I tried with both plastic and metal gutters)
  • 6 gutter caps – the plastic ones are quite nice and can be purchased at Home Depot, Metal are also nice but mine had to be bent to fit the gutter, which was quite a process.
  • 2 hooks – I chose some that screw into a drilled hole
  • 16’ of 1/8” steel cable cut into 6 equal lengths (or as much as you’ll need to fill your space, gutters should be at least 18” apart to allow adequate sun exposure and plant growth) – I bought this kit at walmart because I was there buying pots and it was the only cable they had. The kit actually came in handy as the clips (though not exactly what I was looking for) worked perfectly. As I worked I realized I needed 32” of cable for both my gutter gardens so I ended up having to go to Home Depot for a yard of steel cable.
  • 12 clips – 6 came in the kit mentioned above and there was another pack nearby without 3 clips (no cable) so I bought two of these packs
  • 2 thimbles – these came in the kit mentioned above but they are also sold alone

Above = clips, Below = thimble,
Source

  • Wire Cutters – sharpened
  • Electric drill – with attachments for drilling holes large enough for the steel wire to go through and for tightening nuts on the clips

Step 1. Cut the gutters
The gutter man who gave it to me cut the metal gutter in uneven thirds; my dad then cut into equal length pieces. I sawed the plastic gutter into (almost) equal thirds (I did it all by myself thank you).

Step 2. Drill holes
My dad helped me drill two holes, large enough for the steel cable to fit through, across from each other on each end, and one hole at the center of the base on each end (6 holes per gutter section).

Step 3. Fit the end caps
This part was quite complicated for the metal gutter. The plastic gutter was simple, the caps fit perfectly. My Metal Gutter was not the exact shape of the cap. My dad used pliers to shape the end of the gutter to fit into the cap and a rubber mallet to force it in where it wasn’t exactly perfect. He did this for each of the 6 end caps and I am so grateful for that. If you buy your gutter where you buy your end cap this shouldn’t be a problem for you, mine came from different sources.

Step 4. Cut steel cable into 6 36” sections
We definitely over estimated the amount of steel cable to use. My dad and I were not at my apartment during the building process so we wanted to give ourselves some extra. You might not need so much extra slack when building your gutter garden. Be careful when cutting the wire, it tend to fray; very sharp wire cutters can help prevent fraying.

Step 5. Thread the steel cable
With one end shorter than the other thread the cable through the two holes at the top of the gutter. This can be quite difficult if the cable has frayed. Also be prepared to be poked with sharp metal; gloves are probably a good idea at this point.

Step 6. Secure the cable
Loosen the nuts on the clip and thread both ends of the cable through the clip. Pull the clip down on the cable where its not pulling to much but is tight. Finagle the cable so the short end only pokes out of the clip about an inch and tighten the nuts on the clip, a little on each nut so it tightens evenly. Repeat this process (step 5 and 6) for each gutter on each end (a total of 6 times)

The Metal Gutter

The Plastic Gutter

Step 7. Connect the pieces
Starting with the gutter section you want at the base of your garden thread the long end of the cable through the hole in the base of the middle gutter section. Attach a clip around this single end of cable and tighten. Make sure the clip is at the length you want. Do this on both ends, keeping the gutter level. Do the same thing with the middle gutter and the top gutter. Leave the top gutter for now.

The Metal Gutter

The Plastic Gutter

Step 8. Hanging the dang thing
This was another complicated step. The whole contraption is very heavy, awkward and dynamic. This stage was obviously done at my apartment with my boyfriends help to replace my dad. There is most definitely a better way than how we did this but I am the queen of doing things in the most complicated way. We measured the distance between cables, drilled holes for the screw hook and screwed them in. Then we hauled the apparatus up a step stool and one of our kitchen chairs between the two of us. I stabilized my end as he threaded a clip onto the cable then a thimble around the hook and tightened it. We kept the thing slightly above the railing so that when we screwed it down it would be tight. Mind you this took many, many, many, many, MANY tries because there were so many pieces to hold steady at a precise place, but we finally got it and 3 months later it looks fantastic.

Side note: The method above details how we hung the metal gutters. For the plastic gutters we screwed the bottom gutter onto the railing first, but we couldn’t get it tight enough at the top and it looks like it’s leaning forward since the hooks at the top and the screws at the base are not directly vertical. Therefore we developed the method above, which was also difficult but returned better results.

The Hook in the Ceiling

These gutters dry out VERY fast, especially in an arid climate like Colorado. I have struggled with wilting, browning, and flat out dying plants in these gutters since planting. I have discovered that on hot days I must water them twice: once in the morning and once in the evening, in order to keep them healthy. Someone in a more humid environment might not experience these problems.

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

How did you like this post? Are you interested in making a gutter garden? Do you have questions about my process? Leave a comment.

The continual battle between my time traveling selves

pro·cras·ti·na·tion [proh-kras-tuhney-shuhn, pruh‐] 

 noun

the act or habit of procrastination, or putting something off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention: She was smart, but her constant procrastination led her to be late with almost every assignment.

The definition according to Dictionary.com

I am a procrastinator.   Fortunately, for me (and for my grades) I am not like the girl in the use-it-in-a-sentence portion of this definition and I work well under pressure. A typical weekend in my humble abode looks something like the following.

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That's my boyfriend Reid looking in the empty fridge.

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Our couch is actually tan.

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Fortunately he puts up with my crazy.

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The continual conflict between my past, present and future selves is how the world will end this year. True story: ask the Mayans.

And now, presenting the 10 reasons I procrastinate:

  1.  I will get back to this tomorrow.

The continual battle between my time traveling selves

pro·cras·ti·na·tion [proh-kras-tuhney-shuhn, pruh‐]

 noun

the act or habit of procrastination, or putting something off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention: She was smart, but her constant procrastination led her to be late with almost every assignment.

The definition according to Dictionary.com

I am a procrastinator.   Fortunately, for me (and for my grades) I am not like the girl in the use-it-in-a-sentence portion of this definition and I work well under pressure. A typical weekend in my humble abode looks something like the following.

Image

That’s my boyfriend Reid looking in the empty fridge.

Image

Our couch is actually tan.

Image

Fortunately he puts up with my crazy.

Image

The continual conflict between my past, present and future selves is how the world will end this year. True story: ask the Mayans.

And now, presenting the 10 reasons I procrastinate:

  1.  I will get back to this tomorrow.

 

 

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)