Monday, April 28, 2008

Grub Resistant Gardening

I am allergic to anything green. Spending a lot of time digging in a garden guarantees me a welt-covered body. So when we found out that The Condo came with “low maintenance landscaping” I was all for condo living!


Unfortunately, within two years of owning The Condo three of the seven low maintenance bushes that came new with The Condo were dead.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Haiku Friday: Selling the Condo for an Ewok House?

Haiku Friday

I want an Ewok House
with margarita machine
Ewoks optional

I grew up a Star Wars geek. So when saw Tom Chudleigh’s Free Spirit Sphere homes for sale , I didn’t know how much they cost but I did know a couple of things:

1. No way it’s a Free Spirit Sphere -- It’s an Ewok house!

2. I want one.

The Ewok houses are built to house four people but they don’t look very roomy to live in full time (unless those four people are four little Ewok people.) However, it looks like it would make an excellent tree fort. It almost makes me want to have a kid so I can get one to use has their playhouse which I might actually let the kid step foot in. Nah. Maybe not. I’d be too tempted to turn my Sphere into the Ewok Bar and Grill complete with a Margarita Machine. No kids or Imperial Storm Troopers allowed.

What would you do if you had your very own Ewok house?

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Celebrate Earth Day - Feel Guilty?

I think we should live more environmental responsible lives. I have been living this way years before it was Green=trendy=cool. Most of these practices started as money-saving measures way back during The Early Marriage Years but kept on keeping on because it is a more environmentally responsible way to live. When I mention this in some Green circles, I'm denounced as a heretic by the Greenzillas. What is a Greenzilla? It’s my term for an environmental advocate who with cult-like obsession lives to point out the flaws in others environmentally aware practices or products.

In other words, a Greenzilla is not the normal environmentally aware person like you, dear reader; you’re one of the normal greenies. Living green for you is a passionate way of life for you but not a psycho-cult. Unlike a Greenzilla, you don’t live to make the rest of us greenies feel guilty because we’ve chosen sustainable over the Green Hip Flavor of the Month. Sure, I’d love to replace all of current my bath towels with new towels made from bamboo but the current towels are holding up just fine right now. However, when the old towels wear out and are passed down to the dog, I’ll certainly give the eco-towel option serious consideration if it lasts as long as the not quite 100% organic towel option. But please don’t make me feel guilty because I’m more interesting in doing more with what I have right now than I am with chucking everything I own to buy the eco-option as some badge of honor.

When did environmental living become a religion?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Good Use For Bad Barcoloungers

Crafster find of the day. CamOovas shows us her pot rack made from a recliner curbside find and a bucket of free washers.
Great design and creative recycling all rolled into one project.


Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.

Friday, April 18, 2008

How Make anl Ironing Board Cover

The cover on my ironing board was stained. It never stayed on the ironing board when I was trying to iron something. I needed a replacement but never remembered to buy one. That was until I saw some flaming skull fabric at Joann Fabrics. "Hey!"says I, "I could make a new ironing board cover out of that fabric using my old ironing board cover as a pattern." So I did.


Here's how I made my ironing board cover.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Donna Karan’s In The House!

Well, actually Donna’s been at my house for a while, in the form of a great go-with-everything pair of DKNY chocolate brown microfiber pointy toe boots. Not feeling the need for boots, (it is Spring after all). Then how about new sheets or bath towels?

Yes, bath towels. I was very excited to hear that Donna Karan’s created a DKNY Home Collection for Bed Bath and Beyond. Overall, I liked what I saw. The prices for the DKNY BB&B collection are lower than the DKNY Bedding Collection Karan designed for Bloomingdales and is a less girly.
I think the BB&B collection would definitely work for those Mar-Venus decorating situations. The designs are not too femme-cutesy for the guy in your life but just pretty enough to acknowledge the female side of the decorating equation. I was a little disappointed that the designs in both DKNY Home Collections are what I’d consider “safe” and not very daring or innovative. However, in these economic times most consumers are looking for home goods that are of a style that has longevity so they can dress something up or down as their tastes change. Much like the design philosophy behind those fabulous brown DKNY boots I have in my closet.

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How to Make a Compost Bin from a Trash Can

Any plant unlucky enough to be stuck in my yard with it’s nothing but clay and zippo topsoil is destined for a slow painful death. I needed do something to enrich my so-called soil. Compost was the answer. However Condo Association mows our lawn. They won’t allow us to have freestanding doo-dads like sheds, playhouses, or compost bins that the lawn people have to circumnavigate with their mowers. So what to do about my desire to make compost? Easy. I decided make a Covert Composting Bin out of a COA-allowable garbage can.

How to Make a Compost Bin Out of a Garbage Can

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bad Idea Bears: Haiku Friday

cute Bad Idea Bears
let’s play drinking games yay!
later regrets come

Ever make a craft or design decision that sounded like a good idea at the time but in the end came out bad idea bearslooking like crap? Chances are it was all the work of Avenue Q’s Bad Idea Bears. The Bad Idea Bears are my new favorite characters from the musical Avenue Q. Imagine if Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear (also designed by Rick Lyon) used his high sickly sweet voice to be the mouthpiece of the Devil. That’s the Bad Idea Bears and they're coming to get you.
These cute, but malevolent bears love nothing more than to use their Powers of Cuteness to get people to make bad decisions and do irresponsible things. When the Bad Idea succeed, they happily jump up and down and yell, “yaaaaaaaay!” Most of the Bad Idea Bears suggestions in the musical involve alcohol in excessive amounts. For example:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Save Money

According to Energy Star, lighting accounts for up to 20% of the average home’s electric bill. Yowza!

They say if I switch out at least 25 % of  my incandescent light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) it is an easy peasy way for me to be on my merry way of reducing my energy usage this by 20% this year. Just by the simple act of changing a light bulb? Lazy environmentalism. Sweet. Just the way I like it.

For giggles, I counted the number of light bulbs in the house so I could calculate my current household percentage of eco-bulbs before The Great Light Bulb Switch. It took me awhile to get an accurate number because my initial count forgot the light bulbs in fixtures I don’t use very often or think about like in various closets, the back porch, and the utility room. 

I have 58 light bulbs. Seems like a lot, but some of my light fixtures use more than one light bulb. Twenty five of these light bulbs are some form of energy efficient light bulb: a combination of fluorescent, compact florescent (CFL), halogen, and Verilux Full Spectrum Light Bulbs

Expense yes, but the Verilux Full Spectrum Light Bulbs are supposed to use less energy and show colors more accurately than a standard incandescent light bulb, which is important when I’m designing something. They are also supposed to make me happy during those gray Ohio days and save me from putting a bid on the colossally expensive Happy House.

Now that I have the numbers, what’s my percentage of energy saving light bulbs? Let’s do some math and calculate this puppy. Well, actually, we’re about to calculate a percentage of numbers. If you want to calculate a puppy, I suggest you go to your local animal shelter or rescue group and adopt.

25 eco-bulbs divided by 58 total household light bulbs = 43% of our light bulbs are energy efficient.


...and yet why isn’t my 43% of energy efficient lighting goodness reflected on my not-yet-lower electric bill? Time to switch out more light bulbs even before the suckers burn out. I'll make the financial hit a little less by buying one three pack of CFLs every time I go grocery shopping. It may take me a little longer to do the switchover, but at least it I wont' have to put up an extra $200 all at once to do it.

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed  or to Condo Blues by Email.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Welcome to the House of Fun?

Take a look at the funky mod pad designed by artists Madeline Gins and Arakawa North Hampton, NY.


It’s called the Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa) and the artist’s claim that the design “will make visitors use their bodies in unexpected ways to maintain equilibrium” and, they claim, help the people who live in the house live longer.


Personally, I think it looks a lot like Pee Wee’s Playhouse on acid.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dollar Store Crafting Death Match

The creativity megaplex Craftster goes Thunderdome. They are issuing the following craft challenge for April.

I love dollar stores! You never know what craziness you're going
to find! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make something
fabulous and hopefully totally unexpected out of items you buy at a
dollar store that cost a total $10 or less. (Last time it was $5 but
we'll account for a lil inflation!) You can also use traditional craft
supplies glue, thread, etc but the main focal point of the project
should be what you buy at the dollar store.
Here's my entry titled Pawtastic Pooch . A while ago, I found three paw print fleece scarves at a dollar store that I knew would make for good craft. Later, while checking out the weirdness at my local Dollar Tree I saw fleece receiving blankets for $1.00.

"Ah-ha!" says I,” The perfect thing to marry the paw print scarves!"

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How to Search for Air Leaks and Drafts

PhotobucketIt’s a sad fact of life that every home has air leaks in its walls, windows, foundation, and attic. Even a newly built home like mine. How much your home leaks air will vary depending upon the design and construction of the home, where you live, what you do, and how you do it. .

Air leaks make your heating and cooling system use more energy and work harder to do the job you want it to do. This can cost you money. Big money.  In fact, experts say that if you don't seal all of the little air leaks in your home, you might as well keep a window open during the winter.

Don't worry. It's easy as pie o find those little and sometimes big air leaks in our home. Once you find them, seal them. Then put that extra money to good use, celebrate by buying yourself a pie. Nom....pie...

How to Find Exterior Air Leaks and Drafts