Tag Archives: DIY


I ain’t sleeping on the floor no mo’!

It’s already been a couple of weeks now, but I forgot to post pics of my bed!  For a month and a half after I moved, I was sleeping on the tatami floor – not even a futon! (which I really need to get so that friends can stay over comfortably).  But, I finally got myself a bed!

To be honest, I was a little surprised that it arrived in pieces.   For some reason, I had expected that the delivery people would help put it together, but no – they brought in the boxes, asked me to sign, and poof were gone~

Putting it together was a fun experience though – I have to say I do like hands-on work. 🙂

The images are below, though I have yet to get a mattress pad!

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I know my blogging has been sporadic lately, but it’s just been a combination of too much going on, or following the busy periods, plain old weariness with no enthusiasm for coming back home to sit in front of a computer again.

Put another way, I haven’t been utterly sluggish – I just haven’t been writing.  🙂

For example, last Monday (which was a national holiday, making it a blissfully long weekend) I did some gardening!  Actually, I did a mix of carpentry and gardening.  A friend of mine (Josh) had visited my place and though there’s not much to do (I am thinking of grabbing a Wii at some point so that friends who come over can have some fun) he saw the little “shelf/stand” that I had started creating the night before.

I have a balcony at my new place and from the beginning I’ve been planning on growing some flowers, herbs, and vegetables in planters out there.  One of the spots I wanted to use was the top of the A/C unit since that was really just “wasted” space.  I bought some planks of wood at Tokyu Hands to form a sort of stand over the A/C so that I could place some pots there.  The night before Josh came I had been sawing the wood to the length I needed, but I stopped short of hammering the pieces together since I didn’t want neighbors to start yelling. :p

When Josh came by the next day, he saw the wood parts and offered to help both with that and the planting since he’s had experience with both in the US.  The shelf took about 15 minutes to complete (Josh made a couple of suggestions to strengthen the design of my original plan) and I soon had a serviceable spot where I could set a number of pots.

With that done, we both started filling up the various pots with dirt.  Ultimately we set up 1 pot of lemongrass (supposedly really hard to grow so if it fails I may look into getting an actual pre-potted plant instead of trying to grow from scratch), 1 small pot of basil, 1 small pot of mint, 1 pot of spinach, 1 pot of salad/lettuce, 1 pot of jasmine, and 1 pot of moonflower.  Oh, and I’ve got an avocado seed in a glass of water as well as a couple of ylang-ylang seeds in a dirt-filled plastic baggie on my window sill. 🙂

(and that’s not all I plan on planting!)

It’s amazing, but as of last night (a mere 2 days later) the salad, spinach, and basil are already sprouting!  I’m actually a little concerned about the lettuce because I didn’t plant the seeds one by one but rather sprinkled them (fairly generously too) in the soil – and it looks like ALL the lettuce seeds are sprouting!!  If they all grow, I’ll have to consider transplanting them into a couple more pots at some point…

Another worry is that if all this lettuce grows, it’s going to be too much for me to eat!!

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Tweaks & Tech

DIY – window screen

My new place doesn’t have any real windows.  Rather, the 2 rooms have glass sliding doors that open up onto a small balcony.  The kitchen has a tiny little window that’s more to help the air circulate than to let in any light.  It’s certainly not intended to be used as window to look out onto any kind of scenery – it doesn’t open far enough!

Ideally I would want to leave this little “window” open all day.  Since I keep the balcony doors closed and locked (Japan may be a safe country compared to most other countries, but I’m just not that trusting), my place is always more than a little stuffy when I get home.  Having that little window left open would help circulate the air a little.  The problem?  It doesn’t have a screen!  The window may not be big enough to open up to any kind of scenery – but it’s more than big enough to let the “skeeters” (mosquitos) in.  So… leaving it open is a definite no-no, especially since summer is coming around.

I decided I needed a screen.

Obviously it would have to cover the entire window, and for a while I toyed with the idea of getting a big sheet of netting and wrapping it around the bars outside (the reason the window can’t open up very wide is because of the bars – they do make the outside of my place look a little like a prison, I have to say…).

However, I decided that was impractical.  I needed something on the inside, something that would allow me to open or close the window as needed.  This meant that I couldn’t just stick a netting on the front and leave it (unless I planned on taking down the netting each time I wanted to open/close the window).  I decided to try sewing a zipper onto the screen.

There’s a large sewing/arts/crafts/knitting shop 10 minutes away from my place and I got a zipper, thread, and needles for about 600 yen.  I got the netting and some magnets from Tokyu Hands for about 500 yen.  It took me a good hour/hour and a half to put it all together… but I did it!

I measured out the size of the netting to match the dimensions of the window and cut it just a little bigger.  Then I took a pair of scissors and made a half-centimeter-thick cut up the middle the netting, just long enough to match the length of the zipper.  Finally, I painstakingly sewed the zipper on (only pricking myself once I might add!).

Once all that was finished, I decided to strengthen the sides of the netting by stapling on some discarded polypropylene strapping I had lying around, and voila – my own homemade screen! 🙂

I hung in in place with a few thumbtacks and now my little window stays open all day! (It does let in more noise, but I can live with it).

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P.S. You can barely see them in the 4th and 6th pictures, but the little magnets also serve their purpose – I glued them onto the window sill and the staples (that I had used on the strapping) hang on just strongly enough to prevent the bottom of the screen from flapping around and letting bugs in. 🙂