Friday, October 15, 2010


My very first compost!


I made it with this little bad boy, but not like the advertiser's claim:


I don't know if you've seen these advertised, but I found after 6 months of use, it's not the simple matter of neatly throwing stuff in the top then shoveling it out the handy little door in the bottom (while wearing cute white chinos and some Sunday mocs).

For one thing, the door is too small to really get a shovel into. You can get a few shovel loads out of the space near the door (which of course isn't well composted because it's on the outside), but trying to get to the good stuff in the middle is nearly impossible. And forget turning it or mixing it up. Extremely awkward.

BUT!!! I really love the bin, love the handy wide lid, love how neat it is--important since our California yard is measured in square feet not acres. So what I did was remove the bottom panel. The rest of the bin stays together just fine without it. Now, I throw all my stuff in the top, add some water, and on those occasions when I want to turn the pile to speed things up, I simply lift the container off the pile, set it down a couple feet away and refill.

I created a screen with stuff I had laying around:


With my concrete projects, I've got lots of reinforcement screen and mixing bins laying around. I shovel the compost over the top of the screen then dump it into my wheel barrow through the space. Not as ideal as a good wood-framed screen, but I can't nail 4 boards into a rectangle to save my life.

So I'm off! Told the hubby to pick up speed saving those coffee grounds and vegetable scraps. I've got my system down and I'm ready to make dirt!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ooh, my new love!

I gave this new method of mosaic a shot and now I'm totally in love.

You place the tiles on the bottom of the form, back-side-up, then pour the concrete on top. The following day, you pop them out of the form, use a stiff brush and water to clean off the "top" and here you go.

The paper shifted a bit on this one and they ended up crooked. Note to self to use something to keep them stuck in the future--double-sided tape maybe.

I used shelving paper, sticky side up, to adhere the tiles in place. It's a must that the tiles have one flat side that will adhere well to the sticky paper. Place the finished design in the bottom of the concrete form. I poured a "slurry" over the design, which is just some of the concrete mix with more water so it's a creamier consistency to get in between the tiles. Fill the rest of the form with concrete. I used a mortar mix for these, reinforced with a sheet of mesh.

The glass cubes came out BEAUTIFULLY! The effect is so cool. But I've got a ton of leftover tile--ceramic, porcelain, stone--so I'm going to make more using different materials. But I love these! They're so fun to make, and turning them over the next day and scrubbing them up is like opening a Christmas present. You don't know exactly what you're going to get.

Happy, Happy, Happy!!!