Goodbye Shed, Hello Garden

Back in the spring, we had our AC unit serviced and it turned out the unit was 35 years old! Not only did it rely on the an older cooling agent thats no longer used in the state of CA, but it needed about $2000+ work just to get it to maybe limp through the summer. We opted to invest in a new AC unit and had the ducts redone as well as add a vent in the master bedroom. However, during the attempt to get the AC project permitted we found out that the shed attached to the back of our garage was un-permitted and we were faced with the choice of getting permitted ($$$) or take it down. We chose to take it down. Which was a shame because we (my dad and brother) had worked fairly hard fixing it up to actually use it.


It’s been very nice having new AC, the the nest thermostat is really fun to play with. BTW, they just came out with the new nest E thermostat!


For a few months we were left with a lovely mess in the back as we tried to figure out what exactly we wanted to do with the space.

The last couple of weekends we’ve been working really hard at breaking the rest of the debris down and getting it out of there. There’s still some debris back there, but we didn’t want to rent a truck and take it all to the dump. We’ve been trying to do this project without spending a lot of money. However we did buy two saws and a crowbar…

Plans for the space

At first we thought we would do a big raised bed in the middle with narrow beds around the parameter and somehow extend the four foot brick wall to add privacy. But that was sounding like a much larger project. So instead we found some picture inspiration for “movable privacy planters” which we wouldn’t need a permit for and can block out our crazy neighbor!


One of the challenges with the space is its all concrete so we’ll have to focus on mostly container gardening so the plants can drain. Another challenge is that the back of the garage and yard get a lot of afternoon sun with the SSW exposure. We’ll have to focus on drought tolerant and/or native plants that can climb the planters.

The concrete behind the garage is also this patchy green paint. So I’m hoping we can rent a power washer and clean it up and paint it. Maybe with a design, make it look like a cool rug or something.

Hopefully in November or January we can start cracking away at building the “movable privacy planters” and I’ll be able to tell you how to make them yourselves!

DIY Tire Ottoman

Shortly after we moved into the house, J got some much needed new tires for his car. He had the wheels and tires mounted and balanced by the company so all we had to do was pop off the old ones and put on the new ones. This left us with 4 tires that sat in the garage and old shed for quite a few months. Then the shed had to come down so the tires got relocated to the driveway for a few more months. Until last week we had just thought about putting them out at the curb with a free sign, but who would want 4 very worn and mismatched tires with wheels? Luckily, I had a stroke of genius, DIY tire ottoman! We’re prepping for our big Oktoberfest party here next weekend and can always use more seating for the event so why not!! For less than $40 I was able to create 4 tire ottomans for the patio. Plus, its an up-cycle, repurposed, greenish project!!


old tires

Spray paint primer

spray paint colors are vintage turquoise and green apple

plywood (had from shed demo)

Jig Saw

cushion material 

outdoor fabric ~ 1.5 yards for 4 tires (watch for sale or use a coupon)

staple gun with staples


Start by cleaning the tires really good. I used car wash soap with a sturdy brush, followed by a degreaser to really get the dirt off.


Measure the wheel well of the tire and cut rounds with jig saw out of plywood to cover it. You can math it and use a pencil with string or do like I did and find an object that was the same size and trace it, in this case an empty planter. I would recommend sanding the wood a bit if its rough, I however failed to do this step until it was too late.


Pick up a priming spray paint and give it a quick coat to help the spray paint adhere to the tire. Also, if you don’t want spray paint all over your patio, cover it with a plastic tarp or cardboard.

It took about a can and a half to cover two tires with spray paint. I did two coats, flipping the tires between the coast to get all directions of the tread.


I knew for my tires that they were 19′ inches across so I would need fabric that was slightly bigger to fold over the ends. The foam cushion doesn’t fit 100% but it was the best/ cheapest option.

Make a sandwich with the fabric, cushion and wood. Notice I painted the wood, that part was optional.

Wrap the fabric around the wood like a present and staple away!



Place the tires where you would like them and top with the cushions you just made! I plan on bringing in my cushions most days when the tires are not in use. This will help to preserve the fabric from the CA sun and dust.

Kitchen Refresh + Coffee Bar

Kitchen Refresh

If you’ve been following along on Instagram recently you may have seen that I was on a painting roll recently. I painted the bedroom hallways, the living room, the dining room and the kitchen! I’m hoping to get to the family room next month. It’s so nice to have put our own personal touch on our house and not have that horrid brown color. It was also all flat paint, which is not ideal for a kitchen area so it’s nice to have a surface that can easily be cleaned now.

I’m tempted to add a stainless steal backsplash piece behind the stove like this one here.

Paint is Toasty Gray by BEHR found at The Home Depot. I chose to do the same color for the dining room, living room, bedroom hallways and the family room since they are all somewhat open to each other.

Coffee Bar

I’ve been wanting to do a coffee bar in the kitchen for a while now and after painting the kitchen it seemed like the perfect time. I love being able to hang up my pretty mugs and have all of my whale-y fun coffee and tea stuff out. It helps that the kitchen is big enough for this. For specific items you see here keep reading.

Coffee Bar details:

Rail | S hooks | Under cabinet lightMugs | Cream and sugar set | Reusable coffee pods | Coffee scoop, similar here and here| Whale bowl, gift but you can find similar and similar | Whale spoon rest/ tea bag holder, also a gift but this one is cute | Tea box, similar here |

Nectarine Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake

You may have also seen on Instagram I posted a picture of a nectarine blueberry greek yogurt cake. Recipe can be found here

DIY Hook rack

DIY Hook Rack:

Aren’t those whale hooks cute!! I got one as a gift and then I happened to find two more at Hobby Lobby of all places. I knew once I had a set of three that I should make a hook rack for somewhere in the house. I finally settled on the guest bedroom where it should get plenty of use.

Supplies needed:

wood piece | spray paint | tape – blue painters tape and washi tape worked for me | craft or leftover interior paint | small paint brush | hooks | back mounting hardware |


I took yet another piece of leftover side yard gate fence wood and trimmed the edges up. I then sanded it down and cleaned it off. I stained it a mahogany color and then sanded it a bit to ‘distress’ it.

I then cleaned it off again and taped the different sections that I wanted to remain stained.

Make sure you prep your area for spray paint. Using an old moving box worked for me.

After spray painting, I filled in with leftover bedroom paint color for the other blue stripe.

Once the paint was dry I coated it in a clear sealing spray paint.

I measured where I wanted the hooks to go and added the screws to mount them. I also added hardware to the back to hang it up.


Its now on display in the guest bedroom! I know for sure I’ll get some use over the next could of months.

Cloth Napkins DIY


My brother made a request for cloth napkins for his birthday this year. It took me a while to find a fabric I was happy with, I found this one at a new quilt shop in Snohomish, WA. This cloth napkin DIY is super easy, beginner sewing project that make a wonderful gift for birthday, house warming, mothers day, holidays, anniversary, wedding or shower. Plus, cloth napkins are eco-friendly. Instead of buying disposable paper ones, you can use these over and over again.

Cloth Napkin DIY

Supplies needed:

I purchased two yards of fabric, washed it and cut it down to 18″x18″ squares. Two yards make 8 cloth napkins.

hemming ruler

rotary cutter and ruler

sewing machine

iron and ironing board

matching thread


How to:

I used the little hemming ruler to measure and iron 1/4″, then fold that 1/4″ over and ironed again. I pinned the hem in place.

Stitch 1/8″ all the way around, I did a pivot turn at the corners.

Pivot turn. Make sure you tie off the threads at the end by pulling through to the underside. You  could also do a couple of reverse stitches at the beginning and end to ensure that they last a long time.

Finished napkins are about 17″ square. Perfect lunch sized napkins. Typically dinner sized napkins are 22″-24″ while buffet napkins are 27″, cocktail are 6″ while Hors D’oeuvres are 13″. So, if you want to create a whole collection of napkins you could plan on making the different sizes for different occasions.

I suppose if you wanted a more bohemian/ eclectic look, you could collect a bunch of coordinating fat-quarters and make napkins with those. But I like how these ones turned out, slightly modern with a little asian inspiration. If you really wanted to you could dye your own fabric and make napkins too. You could even make your own napkin rings to go with!