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Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 | 0 comments

Our DIY Cedar Garden Beds

Our DIY Cedar Garden Beds

Earlier this year, we moved into a house with a larger yard. My husband Matt and I wanted to take advantage of the added space by building raised garden beds. We decided to make two 8 x 4 foot beds, each 12 inches tall. While I was away camping with the girl scouts, Matt surprised us by building the beds. We had done some research ahead of time and decided on making two boxes using cedar, the most rot-resistant type of wood, said to last about 10 years. Matt drove out to Smoot Lumber yard to pick up the wood planks. He also bought eight feet of 4 x 4 inch fir at Home Depot to use for the corner joints. After marking off the grass with spray paint (not shown), Matt dug up the grass sod (probably the hardest part of the job). He borrowed a saw from a neighbor to cut four of the boards for the sides. He also cut the 4 x 4 piece of...

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Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 | 0 comments

Dawn and Tim’s DIY Living Room Expansion

Dawn and Tim’s DIY Living Room Expansion

What do you do when the furniture you really want won’t work in your living room? You do what Dawn and Tim did – you “simply” move a wall. “It all started with getting a new couch,” says Dawn. “We moved into our new house and the space screamed for large sectional. Upon finding the perfect slip-covered sofa from Red Barn Mercantile,  we realized it nearly bumped up against the hallway and entrance wall.” I drew a crude (not to scale) sketch of the front entrance, stairs, and living room to help visualize what they did. You can see the dotted line, which is the original living room wall, with a hallway to the side. The stairs go up to their Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO) rental. The plan was to tear down the wall and move it 2 feet right next to the stairs as the hallway was wasted space. They determined that the wall was not load bearing, so they were good to go. Here is the original...

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Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 | 1 comment

Creating a Backyard Community Garden From the Ground Up

Creating a Backyard Community Garden From the Ground Up

I’ve always been impressed with Catherine’s garden. By September it’s overflowing — tomatoes, peppers, carrots, greens, beans, garlic, onions, herbs and more. She even grows flowers solely for arrangements. But this year, the garden is going to change. It’s getting bigger (2-3 times bigger) and turning into a community garden she and her neighbors can work on together, sharing expenses, time and, of course, harvest. Right now, there are about five raised beds along the side of Catherine’s fence, and an additional five by her neighbor Lauren’s house. But they want more. The boxes above contain unassembled frames for more beds. Everyone on the block was invited to participate in the community garden project, they held brainstorming meetings over the winter. Currently three households are participating, but they hope more will jump on board once the real work gets started. Catherine and Lauren created a detailed map for the expanded garden, each raised bed is numbered and coordinates with a spreadsheet that lists what will go in each bed,...

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Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 | 1 comment

A Repair Café Comes to Alexandria

A Repair Café Comes to Alexandria

What do you do with lamps that no longer work? Frustration with yarn or a necklace that’s become a tangled mess? A watch that doesn’t tick no matter what you do? You can attend a Repair Café for inspiration and tips. We were delighted when Del Ray resident Sarah Soulliere invited us to participate in a Repair Café this past weekend. The event brought friendly people of all backgrounds to the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church near Hollin Hills to share their DIY fix-it expertise. DIY Del Ray contributor, Kay Sidhamed, came with me, to share a recipe for DIY chalk paint. We also brought a few craft and upcycle projects to show to café-goers and chatted about many other renovation and DIY projects we’ve shared on the blog. Throughout the morning, the lamp repair expert kept busy working on lamps (as well as toasters) of all shapes, sizes, and eras. While, in the other room, a knitting specialist helped out with a problem pattern, and at one point, fixed...

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Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 | 2 comments

How To: Homemade Christmas Orbs

How To: Homemade Christmas Orbs

If you walk up Rosecrest Ave (between Commonwealth Ave. and Russell Rd.) in the evening you will see something pretty amazing — 10 or so glowing Christmas orbs, each a different color, hanging high up in the trees like magical balls of holiday cheer. They are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. These are the work of Del Ray residents Hilary and Andy Schmidt who constructed the orbs out of chicken wire and Christmas lights (and a few other supplies). This past weekend, Hilary showed me and my neighbor Heather how to make them. Hilary got the idea to make the orbs while living in North Carolina where there’s a tradition of entire neighborhoods decorating their trees with the hand-made balls. After moving to Del Ray three years ago, she decided to keep that tradition going — and it’s already spreading on her block. Before we started with the demo, Hilary showed us a few of the orbs they were planning to add to their display that...

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