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Winter not-so-down time

Hello, dear readers! I know I’ve been away again, and my posts have been slacking profusely. But I’m back! Yay!

This past fall, I made a decision that I’m hoping I’ll stick with. I’m very excited about it, and, since it’s inception, has grown to become a monstrous project.

I want to plant a vegetable garden in my back yard.

Now, for most people, this would be pretty simple. Decide on where to put it, plant the seeds/baby plants, and maintain. However, my life can never be that simple. My back yard is, for lack of a better term, trashed. We’ve got a nice dead branch collection along the back fence, massively overgrown weeds around the shed, and some various trees, including that pesky palm, have made themselves comfortable all the way around the back porch. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have the slightest idea where my septic tank is, and there’s a sturdy, though slightly decrepit picnic table smack dab in the middle of my yard.

So, since I have until mid-February before I have to start planting and taking care of itty bitty green things, I’ve decided that this winter, I’ll fix up the backyard and the back porch, and seriously take some time to rethink my life.

Let’s just take a quick little look-see at my to-do list before Valentine’s day.

First and foremost, I need to dispose of the dead tree limbs, which, I should note, didn’t even come from the tree in my yard. No, the neighbors behind me couldn’t be bothered to haul the branches out to the street before the city switched over to automated trash pick-up, so they just casually dumped them over the fence into out yard. Wasn’t that sweet of them?

Once those are out, I have to cut down/dig up/poison the volunteer trees and weeds cropping up all over the place. I swear, we started with two little palm trees, one in the front, and one in the back, and now, suddenly, we’re up to our noses in them. Their reign of annoyance is coming to a close, though. I’m sorry, Lorax, but these trees have got to go. I’ll also be trimming back a lot of the wanted trees that are blocking out my precious sunlight.

Next goes the “salvaged” trash piled up against the shed; screen doors, half-rotten sawhorses, planks of wood that were going to be used, but that just never managed to happen, and a bird cage that’s a quiet, though sharp reminder of the little feathered friend my brother and I had once upon a time. I might fix that up and make it a decorative plant hanger, or something.

Moving on to the picnic table. I’m actually not totally opposed to keeping it in the yard. While carefully inspecting the wholly disheartening space, I tested the table, and it’s still in semi-decent shape. I will have to scrub it down and sand it smooth, and invest in some carpenter’s putty and varnish, though. I’ll get it all spruced up, and probably leave it right where it is, since it’s directly between where I wanted to plant a couple of apple trees. Just to keep myself from turning my yard completely into a stereotypical housewife garden thing, I think I’ll paint it black. Maybe put some studs in it.

Or a giant devil face in the middle of the table.

No, I’ll probably just see if I can stain it really dark.

Kinda liking the studs, though.

Anyway, I also have to figure out the cheapest way to kill a large patch of grass/weeds without putting a load of chemicals into the soil sand. (Because this is Florida, and we don’t have soil.) I don’t want my garden choked out before I get a chance to test my gardening skills, and honestly, our lawn could use a resent anyway.

And by reset, I of course mean “kill everything and pretend I didn’t feel like a god.”

Sometime during all of this, I’ll figure out where the septic tank is, and rope that off, and then it’s on to the back porch!

That should be less of a time suck, as all I really have to do to prepare it is get rid of all of the junk that’s been sitting there for ten years and clean it up a bit. Granted, me being me, I’ll find a way to make this considerably more complicated than it has to be, such as making an attempt to turn it into a dual-purpose gardening/social area, and I’ll end up running myself ragged before the end of January.

I’m so excited.

Do you any of, my darling readers, have any tips or suggestions for my upcoming projects?

Have any of you had any experience with gardening, or restoring a neglected yard?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

 

Yet another short hiatus. Also, Wings!

I apologize, but I’d gotten sucked into the TARDIS and only just made it back to my own time stream.

Anyway, I thought I’d make today’s blog a little DIY manual for my crafty friends out there.

“What cute craft project do you have in store for us?” You’re probably not wondering. Well, this one is multipurpose! Yayyy!

You can use it for a costume, or if you just want to sit in a public area and confuse the hell out of the random passerby, or if you’re into whimsical photography, or if you’re into whimsical hipster pictures taken with instagram. Whatever your fancy, this is pretty neat.

Pretty wings for people who like to be difficult.

You will need:

Old stockings or pantyhose in whatever color floats your boat

Several wire hangers or a spool of thick wire.

Wire cutters. Nice heavy ones.

Needle-nose pliers. or whatever pliers you fancy.

Incense stick (Alternatively, you can use a hot pointed metal thing, but I’m assuming my readers are as… special… as me, and the hot pointed metal thing is probably a bad idea.)

Glitter!

Glue

Thinner wire

Electrical tape (Or duct tape, but electrical holds up better for this.)

Two long ribbons

Hot glue. (Adult supervision required. This goes for you, too, Kristen.)

Your choice of paint. (Optional. The glitter’s optional, too, but let’s face it, who passes up glitter?)

Have all your supplies? Let’s get to it!

Step 1: Shape

The size of your wings depends on the number of wire hangers or the amount of thick wire you’re using. You can make teeny tiny ones for a baby or some poor defenseless pet, or great big ones, it’s really up to you. Just remember that the nylon stockings only stretch so far. Unless you’re going for a patchwork look, and I’ll get to that later. This is a basic how-to.

First and foremost, untwist and straighten the hangers or thick wire as best you can. You can clip them to size or twist some together now if you like. Now pretend you’re a bender robot and bend that wire into a basic wing shape. Add curvy bits if you like or just do a rounded-ish wing like a flutterby. (Ever notice all my tutorials have a lot of “Your choice”s in them?) Make sure the ends of your wire can come together, and use your pliers to twist the ends tightly and wrap them in thinner wire and electrical tape. You don’t want wire ends stabbing you while you’re trying to pretend you’re a fairy. Unless you’re into that.

Rinse and repeat for another wing, and a second lower set, if you want a nice full set of wings.

Got the shape now? No? Well, somebody doesn’t like to follow directions. I’m not waiting for you.

Step 2: Stretchy stretchy

Assuming you’ve kept the elasticity of the nylon stockings in mind, your frame should fit just fine into it. If it’s looser than you anticipated, simply stretch is out more and clip to fit. To secure it, you can either melt the opening a little, or just tape it up with electrical tape. I always recommend the tape.

Always.

Moving on.

Step 3: Decorate and make a huge mess.

Now you get to do the fun part. Paints, glitter, glue, leaves, dangly bits, small dogs, whatever you want to decorate your wings with, have at. You can use a lit incense stick or hot metal poky thing to melt controlled designs in the nylon, as long as you’re careful, Kristen.

Once you’re done decorating, there’s one last step. Ready? No? Okay, let’s move on.

Step 4: Ribbons. Ribbons everywhere!

Arrange your wings the way you’d want them while you’re wearing them, secure them with lots of tape and wire, and then attach your ribbons so they can be tied over your shoulders. You can substitute elastic bands, but what’s the fun in that? What? Oh yeah, it’s easier. Whatever floats your goat.

Now let everything dry completely.

Completely, Kristen.

Once that’s all done, tie those babies on and run around your local shopping mall like a kid whose mom doesn’t care if they get diabetes.

Hope you enjoyed my serious, informative tutorial on a completely serious project. I’ll be back next time with a somethingsomethingsomething.

Ciao!