Thursday, October 23, 2014

Indoor Garden

Our house doesn't have a lot of extra space, so I'm always on the lookout for underutilized spots that I can turn into something more practical. One such space I found was very obvious---a courtyard that covers about a fourth of the common space in our home. We use this courtyard when we have friends over for drinks, but other than that, it's pretty much wasted space.

I call it wasted space because a screen door separates it from the living room. That's not much of a hindrance, but for some reason it makes it just that much more effortful to go to.


What I wanted to do was to be able to leave the entryway from the living room to the courtyard open so it can be just one huge space that people can just go in and out of. That's when I decided to (once again) steal an idea from my mother. That's her lanai below:


I too will the open spaces so that I can leave the entryway open without having to worry about bugs, thus:


It took two men two days to get the whole thing done. Just measure the screen you need for every portion, secure to the grills with wire, and there you have it. I sealed everything up with chicken wire for to make it more sturdy--keeps the cats out too.

Now the kids have twice as much space to run around in, and there are more options for me and my husband if we want some quiet space to read, work, or just unwind. Being able to leave the screen door open makes a big difference in terms of ventilation and coolness.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Glass-Bottle Garden Lighting

When it comes to homemaking (among other things), my hands-down hero is my mother. She can do everything, and she does everything well. So while some women are saying they don't want to turn into their mothers, I'm saying there's no one else I'd rather be like.

Recently she came across the idea of using old bottles as accessories for garden lighting. Of course, it turned out looking fabulous.

She placed it in strategic parts of the garden, so it looks like accent lighting, soft to the eyes.

The glass scatters the light very well and can illuminate even the darkest night. Mom used 1-watt and 3-watt LED bulbs for her setup, which are expensive per piece but cost-effective in the long run.

She installed these just in time for Christmas, so no more spending for Christmas lights that have to be replaced every year.

Some tips if you want to work on the same glass bottle lighting installation:

1) Don't attempt to cut the glass yourself if you don't have the tools for it. There are people who do this for a decent price, and they sand the bottles too so you won't have to.

2) Some bottles break in the process of cutting, so it is best to have more than you think you need.

3) Use bulbs in 1 to 3 watts to save on energy.

4) Don't use bottles that are too narrow since the lighting mechanism might not fit inside them.

5) Unless you're an electrician, get a professional to work on the lighting setup for you. A lot of accident can be avoided this way.

6) Before you do anything, make sure you know where the power source to which this lighting setup will be connected is located.

7) Conceal the wires as much as you can.

I intend to do the same project on my tree at home. Watch out for pictures when I finally get to it!