And the winner is…

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Best Picture of the Year

Yes! We won!

The staff of Outdoor Living Today chose this picture as 2011 Best Picture of the Year. I blogged about building this pergola last October and we decided to enter some of the pictures I posted on Outdoor Living Today’s photo contest. Last week I received an e-mail informing me we won this year’s contest.

Thank you OLT!

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May your days be merry and bright…

Christmas 2011

And may all your Christmases be white…

I feel truly blessed and very lucky for being to able to spend the Christmas holidays with my family and friends. During these times of uncertainty, world unrest and austerity measures, let us all take time to count our blessings and send our thoughts and prayers to those who are less fortunate.  I wish you all a merry Christmas and a bountiful year ahead.

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Happy Halloween!

Trick or treat!

I don’t know she is, what she does or what this poster is all about but it was a picture we took while strolling down the streets of Coney Island.

Until I saw the rest of her group — Electra, Insectavora, Heather Holliday and Serpentera. Nice ladies!

Anyway, I’ve always dreamed of going to Coney Island but after going there, I wasn’t sure if it was the same place I had in my mind since I was a kid. Perhaps it was a little late at night. I don’t know. But it felt really eerie, desolate and abandoned.

After aimlessly walking for a while we finally saw people. Lots of them, buzzing around by the iconic Wonder Wheel.

And finally, here’s the treat!

Nathan’s Famous…

Yum!

All in all, it certainly wasn’t what I expected but I’m glad we went there. It is Coney Island after all.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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The Pergola Project

“Pergo-wha?”

As I have mentioned in my previous post, we took on a project which we thought would be done by the end of spring. Unfortunately, with the constant rain and mosquito infestation in the city, the project took longer to complete than we expected. However, it was definitely worth it. It was a lot of work but we couldn’t be any more proud of what we have accomplished.

May I present, our backyard project — the pergola.

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The structure itself is made from red cedar which we bought as a kit from Outdoor Living Today. We enhanced the look of it by using premium cedar stain. Now that it’s up, it has become the focal point in our backyard.

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The hardest part of this whole project is actually installing the base, which as you can see, is halfway buried in the ground. It was very exhausting and back-breaking — digging the trench, laying and levelling the stones, pouring the concrete footings and filling it with gravel. However, it was necessary that the base be as solid as possible so the structure wouldn’t move during the freezing and thawing cycles.

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As with any outdoor project of this sort, we realized we had to improvise and find some creative ways to dress it up and soften the hard lines of the structure. We actually found a lot of items we needed from our local hardware store.

For instance, we bought a set of deck lights which we decided to install higher in order to provide some ambient lighting. They automatically come on at night and are connected to a timer.

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We also bought a few pairs of sheer curtains from Ikea. Not only were they very affordable but they also look really gorgeous. They’re made of polyester so they’re washable and could be used outdoors.

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As for the tie-backs for the curtains, we made them out of manila rope, galvanized hooks and stainless steel wire. Good thing we also found these galvanized ring hitches to fasten the tie-backs to the posts and electrical conduits for the drapery rods.

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Lastly, we got these fishing weights and attached them to curtain clips. These were then affixed to the bottom of the curtains so they don’t get blown away when it gets windy.

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And there it is, a beautiful garden feature that will allow us to enjoy our backyard in the summer. The retractable canopy will provide much needed shade as it can get pretty hot in the afternoons.

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We’re glad it is finally done. All that work during evenings and weekends have certainly paid off.

The question we ask ourselves is, would we do it all over again? Absolutely!

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