Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Top 10 Posts of 2013

 2013 was an exciting time for our family because we welcomed the pitter patter of little feet (which is really more of a romp! romp! romp!) with Lacey's adoption.

Working with Lacey on her behavioral issues took precedence over most DIY projects, including finishing  my garage workshop – again. It was worth it though. Lacey has come a long way in learning dog manners, obedience and a few cute tricks, and is puppy stepping her way through socialization. Lacey still has a way to go with her behavioral rehab and we are looking for a good confidence building sport or activity she will like to do. 

It is a good time to reflect on my 2013 top posts and projects on Condo Blues with the new year and a fresh start right around the corner.
Besides, that’s pretty much all I can do right now because I’m spending my holidays like this.


Nurse Lacey is on the job. She hasn’t moved from my side since I had to stay off my feet.
You may have already seen this picture if you follow the Condo Blues Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to Make Duck Tape Stars

This post brought to you by Duck Brand provided by ShurTech Brands, LLC. All opinions are 100% mine.

Decorating the Christmas tree is one of my holiday highlights.  Every ornament has a story and I try to artfully place each one in just the right spot on the Christmas tree.

This year I switched up some of the ornaments we display. It made  the big holes in between the some of the branches of our Christmas tree more noticeable. Instead of running to the store to buy bigger ornaments, I ran to the garage and grabbed the Holiday Duck Brand® Tape


how to make Duck Tape stars



Let's Duck the Halls!

No, silly, I'm not going to tape the holes in my tree together.  I'm going to use the Duck Brand® Holiday designs (Seasonal Sweets, Snowmen, Holiday Bows, and Penguin) to make stars to fill the gaps in my Christmas tree.

Monday, December 16, 2013

House of Love Christmas House Tour


I'm teaming up with a fabulous group of bloggers to tour how we decorated our homes for the holidays.

I'm trying to balance my desire to run out and buy all new whimsy fun Christmas decor to celebrate how much adopting Lacey has made us smile and laugh again with a potential tirade from Husband about our current state of Christmas tree ornament overpopulation, uh, I mean being green,  having more money to spoil Lacey with on Christmas Day. (Same eco goal, but sorry environment, spoiling our girl is the truth this year.)
To get my idea machine running, I took the decorations out of storage and grouped them on the floor in mixed up combinations  from the way I usually display them. I played with grouping items by color, theme (all snowmen, etc.) as well as things I haven't displayed in a while.

 I realized I have plenty of Christmas whimsy decor if I change how, when, and where I use it. This year I decorated using red and bright green. It really  sings with the red curtains and lime green accent wall in the living room! I clustered snowmen in the bathrooms, wood Christmas decorations on the end tables, and created my first North Pole Christmas mantel.

And glitter.

Lots of shiny glitter! Because we have more girls than boys in this house now and girls like sparkly things (that I already had on hand and never used together until this year.)

Let's start at the top!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Everything Christmas Mega House Tour!

I just cannot believe that Christmas is almost here!

Join me and get ready to Be Inspired as I participate in the Everything Christmas Tour!

everything christmas tour 500 


What is an Everything Christmas Tour you ask? Well...because it seems as though we are all running a little behind, I thought you could use some Inspiration, Motivation or just help getting into the Christmas Spirit! To do that, I am participating with a few other bloggers, fourteen of them, to be specific, as we spend a week sharing Everything Christmas with you...Mantels, Home Decor, Porches and Wall Designs!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Make a Harry Potter House Tie Necklace

Miss 3 of 10 is a magical child. She went to Diagon Alley with her family. Her wand picked her in the Ollivander's show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Lucky kid!

I wanted to give her a Christmas gift that helped her remember that day (besides the wand souvenir her parents bought her in the gift shop.) Miss 3 of 10's favorite Hogwarts house is Ravenclaw. I made her a Hogwarts house tie necklace for Christmas.

How to Make a Hogwarts House Tie Necklace





Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to Make Cute and Simple Christmas Gift Jars

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Duck Brand provided by ShurTech Brands, LLC for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine. There are affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

I made dried pumpkin treats for two deserving and out of state doggies who love to exchange Christmas gifts. Well, their humans like to exchange Christmas presents. The dogs just go along for the ride.

I saved two empty natural peanut butter jars from a fate worse than the recycling bin. The BPA free plastic jars are a good size and will survive shipping, but they are a little plain.  Let's change that, shall we?


how to decorate easy gift jars


Sunday, December 8, 2013

How to Make a Ho Ho Ho Christmas House Flag

 I like to hang a flag as part of my outdoor Christmas décor because it helps my guests identify my house in a neighborhood where most of the houses look a like.

I usually go with flying the Dannenberg at Christmas per Danish tradition. Unfortunately, my Danish flag has flown more than its share of holidays and birthdays (another Danish tradition) and needs to be replaced.
Lacey’s first Christmas with us is the perfect time to start a new Christmas flag tradition.


geekchristmasflag
I didn’t say it was a good tradition, just a  new and funny one.

I used fabric I had on hand to replace my nylon flag with a cloth homemade Christmas flag.  I used a little bit of mathematical/scientific/geek shorthand to make Ho cubed because I didn’t have room for Ho, Ho, Ho.

Husband didn’t buy that excuse either.

Then we had a comic in depth discussion on the correct way to Ho, Ho, Ho. I say it should be mathematical, Ho cubed. Husband argued it should be scientific notation H three O three.


How to Make a Geek Christmas Flag

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

10 Holiday Gift Guides including Food Gifts, Homemade Gifts, and Meaningful Gifts to Give Everyone on Your Shopping List

One of the things I enjoy about the holidays is selecting the perfect gift for my friends and family. I need a few ideas for my hard to shop for people on my gift list and figure since I'm combing through Christmas gift guides for ideas, you might be interested in what I found too.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Easy Lavender Goat's Milk Soap

Tis the season to get gifting, fa-lalala-la-lala-la!

One of my favorite gifts to give (and get, if you are listening Santa,) is homemade soap. This year, I'm putting my lavender bushes to good use. I'm making quick and easy calming lavender soap to give as Christmas gift exchange/teacher/hostess gifts.


 Two of the bars of soap are off white because I scented them with my homemade lavender extract and it colored the soap a bit. The white bar of goat milk soap stayed pure white because I scented it with lavender essential oil I bought from Amazon. The bars perform the same, what you use for this project will come down to availability and color preference.


I am using lavender I cut from my garden lavender and dried last summer. If you don't have home grown lavender, you can buy dried lavender flowers from Amazon.

How to Make Lavender Soap


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No Sew Drop Cloth Placemats

I use tablecloths to hide the fact I need to refinish our dining room table and haven’t gotten around to it. Lacey likes my tablecloths because she figured out how to use them to pull things off the table and into her eager mouth. 

I guess I better get some placemats, huh?

I got my inspiration for this project from some of the little bits of supplies I wanted to use up while I was clearing a path through the crap meticulously cleaning and reorganizing my craft room. 


rusticshimmerdropclothplacemats


How to Make Drop Cloth Placemats

Monday, November 25, 2013

4 Ways for Small Families Can Save Money at a Warehouse Club

I have this preconceived notion that the only way to save money at a warehouse club is to buy giant sizes I don’t have room to store of products full of stuff I won’t buy due to additives, etc. that won’t save money for our small family of two people and the most cuddly dog that ever lived. I got almost an equal number of yeses and noes when I asked Can Small Families Shop At Warehouse Clubs and Save Money? I figure I’ll never know for certain unless I shop at a wholesale club and find out myself.

I accepted an invitation to a holiday blogger event at BJ’s Wholesale Club. I didn’t think there would be much I would want to buy there, but tried to go with an open mind about what I’d find. If nothing else, I figured I’d find things that are useful for The Most Fabulous Readers on the Planet (that’s you!) which is the point of inviting me to this event in the first place.

4tipssmallfamiliessavemoneyatwarehouseclub

Four Ways to Save Money at a Warehouse Club

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

37 Doctor Who Crafts

Doctor Who Crafts-001
I am a big, big, big Doctor Who fan. When I needed more USB ports on my computer I bought a Doctor Who TARDIS USB Hub from Amazon.

The light flashes and it makes the engine noise when you use it.

I write notes at my desk with a Sonic Screwdriver Pen.

 
It makes a better pen than a screwdriver. Apparently you have to be a Time Lord to work the sonic part.

I bought a bought a Tom Baker Era TARDIS Key Keychain shortly after I discovered the classic Doctor Who episodes playing on public television and carried it for years until it  wore out.

What am I going to do if I see a police box and don’t have my TARDIS key with me?

For those of you who don’t know your Who, Doctor Who is a British science fiction show about a Time Lord named The Doctor who travels through time and space in his ship the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) which looks like a police box and saves the universe from bug eyed monsters.

The show first aired from 1963 to 1989 and took a little break until they made a Doctor Who TV movie in 1996. The BBC brought Doctor Who back in 2005. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. 

I put together a collection of Doctor Who DIYs and crafts to celebrate the geekiest week of the year. On November 22, 2013 the BBC will simulcast the Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special around the world and, if you are lucky, in 3D a local theater!


Doctor Who Crafts-001



Allons-y!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Do Clothing Designers Hate Women?

I am so upset on what was supposed to be a happy occasion. Husband took me to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for my birthday. I used the birthday card to visit since I haven't been there which is practically criminal considering I live in Ohio, have family we visit nearby, and I named a dog after inductee The Ramones song Blitzkrieg Bop.

If you follow @condoblues on Instagram you might have already seen this photo.

The Rock Hall part of the day was great. Husband and I appreciated how much space the museum devotes to the country, jazz, and blues legends that influenced and created what became rock and roll. Out of all of the museums I visited this one has the best soundtrack.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

DIY Chemical Free Dryer Sheets

Winter is coming.

So is static cling.

I used to pop a couple of tennis balls into the dryer as a fabric softener free way to fight static cling until Lacey came to live with us. The sound of bouncing  tennis balls she can't play with drives her (and us) bazonkers!

Dumping the dryer balls for summer worked OK but I need to come up with a less noisy and non toxic chemical free solution to keep us from getting shocked by static electricity from our clothes during the dry winter months.

 Becky from Glue and Glitter  was in a similar situation and made a fantastic solution - DIY Dryer Sheets!



Check out Glue and Glitter's DIY Dryer Sheet tutorial here.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shredded Cardboard Mulch

Husband and I are so occupied with an interior house wide, declutter and donate mission that we haven’t paid much attention to the outside of the house.

howtomakeshreddedcardboardmulch
By the time we realized we should keep our lovely compost and spendy topsoil from eroding during the winter with mulch, the stores replaced their garden supplies with Christmas decorations.

True story.

Last year I thought I was being a smarty smart when I raked all of the fallen leaves from the front yard into the flower beds to use as leaf mulch.

That didn’t work very well. I didn’t shred the leaves. The first big gust of wind blew my leaf mulch out of the flower beds and back into the yard.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Homemade Pumpkin Jerky Dog Treats

Lacey was glued to my side all weekend.

I know it is because she loves me.

It has nothing to my cutting, gutting, and drying pumpkins into treats for her on Lazy Budget Chef.

This is a great time to get a deal on discounted Halloween pumpkins and make them into dried pumpkin dog treats to give as Christmas gifts.

Yes, dogs get Christmas gifts in this house. Always!

You can make my pumpkin jerky treats in the oven if you do not have a dehydrator.

Learn how I make allergy free dried pumpkin dog treats on Lazy Budget Chef.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Drop Cloth Patio Chair Covers

It only took me 8 years to realize I should do something to protect the chairs on my front porch from rain and winter snow unless I want to keep making my chairs over every two years or so.

That is not a difficult thing to do. But I’d rather spend that time working on a new project, like helping our girl Lacey become a balanced and confident dog. That project gives kisses!

dropclothpatiochaircover



My chair projects do not give me kisses.

Sad Lisa Sad smile

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Highball Halloween Party!

Happy Halloween!

Today is one our favorite holidays because it is all about frivolous fun. I got my costumer on and made a rare set of matching costumes for Husband and I to wear to this year’s Highball Halloween party. We were Raving Rabbids!


RavingRabbidscostumes
BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!

I’m glad I made our full length Rabbid suits from fleece. It was freezing that night!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Have You Tried Slow Cooking without Electricity?

For the most part my emergency storm blackout supplies include a bottle of red wine,a manual corkscrew, (you will understand why if you read what happened during our last multiday blackout) and a whole bunch of candles.

We got a grill shortly after that so at least we could cook something that is melting in the freezer and avoid standing in very long lines at area restaurants with all of our neighbors who can’t cook in their all-electric kitchens either.

While I appreciate being able to cook on a grill on my patio during a summer blackout, standing knee-deep in snow is something I’d like to avoid during a winter blackout if I can. And I will with my new eco non-electric slow cooker the Wonderbag.


How can this big pillow cook food without fire or electricity?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Covered Kitchen Storage Boxes

My kitchen is shrinking.

Not really but it feels that way.

We have one cupboard we use to store food. The rest of the cupboards hold dishes, cups, and stuff we want  to keep but don’t use often. In my dream kitchen all of these special dishes and things would live on the tippy top shelves of cupboards that go all the way to the ceiling so they are accessible but not in the every day way.

A kitchen remodel isn’t in the plan this year. Moving to a bigger house is too much work. I need to find some space in the kitchen I have.

I found it!

Kitchencabinetstoragebox




I know I’m supposed to like having a decorating space on top of my kitchen cabinets. I tried hanging plates on the wall because that is what you are supposed to do in a kitchen, right? I didn’t like it. I tried groupings of doodads on top of the cabinets - meh. I just can’t make it work.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Topsy Turvey Bookcases

I was beyond happy when we bought our house and replaced our mish mosh of overflowing bookshelves with one wall of matching bookshelves in our computer room.  Seeing all of our books in one place made me giddy.

Then we bought more books.

And a few more.

And a few more.

We could use more shelves.

I started poking around for arty book shelves because it is way more fun than sorting through and donating our old and outdated books. Yes, yes. I’ll get to it. It is on the punch list for our computer room revamp project.

In the meantime, let’s have some fun and check out some crazy fun bookshelves. For what they don’t hold in the amount of stuff, they make up for in the amount of whimsy they add to a room.

I can’t help but look at the Woodcurve Curved Bookshelf  and smile. This piece was inspired by the Dr. Seuss books as are several of the pieces in Woodcurve’s Etsy shop.


Woodcurvebookcase
Warning: Curves Ahead!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

21 Ways to Decorate Real Halloween Pumpkins

Husband suggested I bump up my Halloween décor for Lacey since it is her first Halloween with us.

pumpkinlacey
ALL of these are for me to eat?!


That’s right. He said for Lacey.

It’s not like the guy likes Halloween or pumpkins or manipulating me into doing something he wants for Lacey (and I certainly do not do this on him because it works 100% of the time on both of us.)


I usually keep the pumpkins plain because I bake, puree, and freeze our pumpkins after Halloween. Cute but not as festive.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to Make Outdoor Flying Bat Halloween Decorations #HalloweenMP

Husband and I are decorating the house for Lacey’s first Halloween.

I asked Lacey what type of  Halloween decorations she wante on the front porch she asked for a swarm of 3D flying bats she can chase. Typical spaniel. Lacey loves to “hunt” anything that flies.

howtomakeflyingbatdecorations



I knew how I wanted Lacey's bats to look but I wasn't sure what materials I could make them from. I can shape paper but it won't hold up outdoors in damp weather (is was drizzling when I took the outdoor photos for this post.)

Hm…think, think, thinkidy, think.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to Fake Crown Molding with Paint

This post brought to you by FrogTape brand painter’s tape. All opinions are 100% mine.

I knew I picked the right wall color in my guest room/craft room the minute I moved my antique black and white table into the room. It it popped against the yellow wall. I am smitten with color scheme!

However, I'm not smitten with the closet.

I never liked the doors or oak stain on the molding at the top. I know I'm supposed to like wood molding but the oak stain makes it look cheap. I tried to hide the molding by painting it the same color as the wall. It is not as awful but it still use a little something while I'm thinking about what to do with the closet doors.

how to fake crown molding with paint



Thursday, October 10, 2013

One Eco Dress, Three Looks, and a $75 Giveaway!

Happy news! I met my weight loss goal! I am now back into what is considered thedressyOasisdress healthy range of my Body Mass Index (BMI.) I realize BMI measurements and numbers aren’t a perfect indication of health because there are other factors in play such as muscle mass that can skew BMI numbers to the overweight range of a perfectly healthy and fit person.

I’m using BMI as a healthier target range for my height instead of  picking an arbitrary weight or saying that I want be a size 2 like I was in high school. Not realistic and probably unhealthy skinny for my only slightly older than high school body. (I may not lie about my weight but age is fair game!)

Eating a whole foods, no trans fat, no hydrogenated oil, no processed food from a box diet to lose the weight wasn’t difficult. In fact, I’m following the same no bad stuff diet that made me gain the extra 25 pounds I had to lose. I’m proof that if you eat too much of anything, even very good for you things, and get little to no exercise you will gain weight.

Thanks to my trainer and high energy exercise buddy Lacey, I lost the last of those 25 extra pounds. I feel better (especially now that my waist is no longer larger than Husband’s.) I also have a new problem. My clothes don’t fit! I need new duds.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

How to Make Halloween Zombie Skull Bath Bombs

Fall brings corn mazes, jumping in leaf piles, hay rides, and other good dirty fall fun.

Why not extend it into bath time and give your little monsters an incentive to scrub a dub dub in the tub with a Halloween bath bomb?





Don't worry, your tub won't really explode after you plunk them in water. We are making Halloween bath fizzies!

How to Make Exploding Skull Bath Bombs for Halloween