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Sunday, July 31, 2011

How to Install a Rain Barrel

The clay soil around my house compacted over the French drains in my side yard. Water pools instead of drains before, during, and several days after a rain. It’s perfect breeding ground for root rot and slime mold that kills everything in your flowerbeds.

Guess how I know?

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I lived with the dead front garden for far too long

My Home Owner’s Association is supposed to take care of things like this but the Queen of No likes to half quote the rules so it’s on my dime instead of the HOA’s. As much as I would love to rent a backhoe and dig up my yard (seriously), the thought of laying out big dollar signs to do it stop me.

A cheaper solution is to install a rain barrel on that side of the house. I hope a rain barrel will solve my poor  drainage problem and encourage me to water the plants in the front yard more often.

Free water for my garden makes me giddy too.

Emsco Group 2284 WaterStones Rain Water Collection System 40 Gallon CapacityMy rain barrel is a rock.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why I Can't Be Part of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition


On my Bucket List is to help build a Habitat for Humanity House. I love their hand up not hand out philosophy and how they train the future homeowner money management and along with the community volunteers DIY skills. A friend of mine is becoming quite the handyman because he started volunteering at Habitat through his work. You go Jack!

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is in Columbus. They put out a call for professional volunteers (professional seamstresses, and licensed contractors, plumbers, and electricians) as well as asking for general volunteers.

With my professional costuming experience, I qualify as a professional seamstress. I considered volunteering because I strongly believe if people need help and you can help them, you help them.

It's not a Habitat house, but it would be an opportuntity to help build a house (or sew the stuff for inside the house) for a family in need.

I’m conflicted. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

HGTV Design Star – Home Owner Challenge

Three episodes into Design Star and the personalities of the designers are starting to emerge. The unofficial theme of tonight’s episode? How to work nicely with others. Doug and Cathy take note.

The other theme? Product placement! Product placement! Product placement! It was the usual HGTV sponsor suspects – Lumber Liquidators and Cabinets To Go, with a few surprises thrown in. Painters tape! Accessory stores! Furniture storage! Oooh la la! (Not really.) Photobucket

The final design count: two great rooms, one meh room, and one Oh my God, what the hell were you thinking?! room. I found it interesting that the Callegaris family ended up with the absolute best and worst rooms from the challenge in their home. Sorry kids. You rolled the dice, won, and lost with this thing. Hope you enjoy repainting your living room!

What worked:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lactose-Free Frosty Paws Dog Treat Recipe

How are you holding up during the heat wave? Are you staying hydrated? Are you eating smart snacks to replace the electrolytes that are sweating out of every pore of your body? (Well, the super sweaty thing might just be me.) Are you trying to stay cool? Yes?

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Don't you wish your Peke were hot like me?
What about your dog?

Dogs don’t sweat to cool their bodies like humans. The best they can do is pant. Some breeds tolerate heat more than others do. Pekingese and their brachiocephalic (smashed face) brethren are particularly susceptible to the heat and heat stroke.

Have you ever had heat stroke? I did and it was the most miserable and scary experience ever. I wouldn’t wish heat stroke on my worst enemy and definitely not my dog.

After a walk Blitzkrieg is a seriously hot dog and wants me to do something about it besides running the air conditioning. Sadly, Blitzkrieg is lactose intolerant so making Frosty Paws treats isn’t an option.

Unless, I come up with a lactose free Frosty Paw dog treat recipe!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Make Popsicles!

Last summer in between racing from shop to shop tasting as much locally made ice cream as our stomachs could hold we snarfed down frozen fruit and juice Popsicles with abandon. A box of four lasted two days max.

What can I say? We’re fruit piranhas. 

Sure, I recycled the box and chucked the wood sticks into the compost bin if I didn’t find a reuse for them. The small mountain of unrecyclable plastic wrappers on the other hand, grew exponentially in the kitchen trash can. Not to mention to expense when I started buying Popsicles four boxes at a time to keep up with the demand.

Do you know how much waste that makes?

Lots.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DuPont Killed My Pine Tree

Last December’s One Small Green Change was to grow my Christmas tree from a pine sapling I won in a contest.

The little guy grew well in his pot on my sunny patio. I transplanted it this spring when Husband and I made a raised garden bed and filled it with plants. 

 The front yard shortly after we planted the garden bed

Husband took over the hand weeding and watering duties. It is his moment of zen after a long workday. Blitzkrieg likes to supervise. It’s their Guy Time.
You missed a spot.

Monday, July 18, 2011

HGTV Design Star – Hope for Season Six


Did you watch HGTV's Design Star last week? What did you think? Thankfully, the tone for Season Six is not Survivor with Paint Rollers like Season Five.

PhotobucketWhew.

That’s not to say there was not drama! Cathy and Leslie went at it during the traditional first episode Design Your Living Space Challenge. When designers on the same team clash, their room is usually the worst one. I was surprised given the fireworks; Cathy and Leslie’s room was not only one of my favorites but won the  challenge!


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I am in LOVE with Leslie’s tire coffee table. I’ll take one please.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How to Make Lavender Essential Oil

The mix of crisp morning air with an end note of the mid day heat to come makes morning my favorite time of day during the summer.

When I can, I grab a cup of coffee and sip it while I watch the bees enjoy the lavender in my flowerbeds.


It feels so decadent to start my Saturdays this way.
I wish I could enjoy my fresh lavender in the dead of winter too.

I can if I use my  fresh lavender to make lavender essential oil!

The technique is similar I the directions I use to make orange essential oil from orange peels.

Lavender Essential Oil Recipe

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Don’t Like Front Yard Vegtable Gardens and Yet I Have One

This is my yard after we moved into our condo.

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A group of neighborhood darlings smashed my gazing ball. Boo.

A year or two later my front yard looked like like something out of an apocalyptic sci fi movie. Japanese beetles and grubs killed most of my shrubs and flowers. Slime mold killed the rest.

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The reason this blog is called Condo Blues. *sigh*

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sew Tabletop CornHole Mini Bean Bags

Now that you made a set of tabletop corn hole game boards, you need (4) 2 inch by 2 inch bean bags for each team (8 beanbags in all) to play Tabletop Cornhole!



Craftsman Blogger Summit
Table top corn hole game board

What?! You didn't make my tabletop cornhole boards? Click on over to my tabletop cornhole ttutorial and make a set. 

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I made a paper pattern to make sure I cut off of my squares the same size.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Design Star Premieres Tonight on HGTV!

If I am working on a craft or sewing project chances are I have HGTV on the TV while I work. Husband jokes that we can’t get rid of cable because I’ll get the DTs if I go without HGTV and DIY Network for too long. 

It’s as if he knows me or something.

Even during the summer rerun season. I’ll watch shows I have already watched because I’m starved for design TV.

That ends tonight at 9 pm with the new season of HGTV’s Design Star ! Whoo!

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Design Star Season Six Designers, Host Tanika Ray, and Mentor David Bromstad

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Dog Writes a Guest Post

Hi Everyone, Blitzkrieg here. Lisa’s building something in the garage, which makes this the perfect opportunity to use her computer to say hi to all of my fans!

PhotobucketHi fans!

Actually, I have something real important to ask you.. This one’s important to me because I’ve lived it and it stinks. Not stinks in a good way like muddy pond water but stinks like rifling through somebody's trash and eating charcoal because I was stray kind of stinks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Kind of Car Do You Drive? Do You Like It?

Blitzkrieg in his car seat in our ZX2.
Our 2002 Ford ZX2 is acting funny. The air conditioning is oddly intermittent. After Husband parked in the garage, I smelled burning rubber. I thought a belt needed replacing. Husband said it was due for a tune up and took the car in for repair.

The engine block cracked.

Ugh!

The estimate to rebuild the engine is a mere $9,000.00 – almost half way to the price of a new car.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Got Cardboard? Make Art!

This is one of the low cost high style recycled art projects I wish I knew about when I moved into my first apartment. My lack of funds meant I had blank white walls for longer than I wanted.

If only we had blogs back in the day! I can’t believe I just wrote that. Old people say that. I’m not an old woman! I’m not! I’m not! I’m not!

Pardon me while I have an extensional crisis.

And chocolate.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bye Bye Readymade *Sob!*

One of my favorite DIY magazines of all time, Readymade, is shutting its doors.

I am beyond sad.

Readymade’s parent company Meredith moved Readymade’s base of operations from California to their headquarters in Iowa as a cost saving measure. Well, with the economy the way that it is and people cutting discretionary spending on things like magazines; it was not enough to save Readymade.

When I found Readymade, it spoke to me and my Mid-Century Modern-Bauhaus-Contemporary-Found-and-Funkified-Retro-DaDa-Danish decorating style. Readymade was a huge influence when I started Condo Blues in 2008.