Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What it is Like to Spend New Year's Eve in Times Square

I remember as a kid, telling my parents on New Year's Eve that someday I want to be in Times Square with all of the people we saw on TV. I never thought about that childhood wish until many years later as an adult, Husband and I announced to our New Year's Eve party guests that we weren't throwing a party the following year to give other friends a chance to host.

One of our best couple friends were relieved. They said we made it easy for them to move forward with their plans to spend New Year's Eve in Times Square the following year.

"Lucky, I've always wanted to do that!" I said.

"Come with us!" They said.

So we did.

Ironically the day after we signed our lives away and closed on our condo Husband and I skipped town on a plane to New York City to meet our friends for New Year's Eve. We had the trip planned long before we decided to become homeowners!

Spending New Year's Eve in Time Square is a little different than what you see on TV. I wrote about our Times Square New Year's Eve tips, tricks, and what to expect on my food blog Lazy Budget Chef in  this post:


The Everything Guide for Spending New Years Eve in Times Square

 



What are you doing for New Year's Eve?


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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Our Top Condo Blues Blog Posts for 2015

 Before we can say hello to 2016 we should take a look back at 2015. It is always interesting to me when I take a look at which Condo Blues projects and blog posts are the most popular posts of the year because I am almost always surprised!

2015 is no exception. I had no idea there were so many readers who want to cut glass bottles without fire or risk of burning down your house. I thought it was just me!
As we say good bye to 2015 and before we say hello to a bright, shiny, and new 2015 let’s take a look at my most popular Condo Blues in 2015.
 

How to Cut a Glass Bottle with Hot Water

 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How to Make Quick and Easy Peppermint Gift Tags

I have one more gift tag tutorial in this year’s series and it couldn’t be easier! We’re using cute printed packing tape to make Christmas gift tags!

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You will need:

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Make Minion Gift Wrap!

I will let you in on a little gift wrapping secret. The reason why people rave over my pretty and clever gift wrap is not because I have a grand creative design going into the project, oh no.

It is usually the result of wrapping a present at the 11th hour when the stores are closed and running out of traditional gift wrap supplies.

Blind panic is the Mother of Creativity.

Now you know.

That’s how I came up with this Despicable Me Minion gift wrap idea. I used the last of my wrapping paper to wrap this gift. It looked plain. I didn’t have any stick on bows and since I was going to mail the gift, I didn’t want to make a magazine bow (read the tutorial here) because it might be crushed.

A yellow Twinkie shaped present with twisted puffs reminded me of a Minion. Hey, let’s make Minion gift wrap!

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How to Wrap a Present to Look Like a Minion

Friday, December 18, 2015

Vintage Button Gift Tag Tutorial

I have another craft supply stash bust gift tag tutorial for you. Today we’re making gift tags with fabric ribbon and vintage buttons! Oh heck, let’s throw caution to the wind and use some scrapbook paper too.


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Many of the buttons I have in my grandmother’s button box are plain old shirt buttons. Great for replacing a lost one and better for crafting because there are so many of them. I also have odd lengths of ribbon from sewing projects that are too long to throw away and too small for my recent sewing projects. Inspired by finding  a box of business cards from my old company (may it rest in peace) I figured I could get these kids together and let them make quick, easy, and beautiful recycled gift tags together.

I’m sure you can figure out how I made the gift tags by looking at the picture so I almost don’t have to write a tutorial but since this is the holiday season is all about giving I will.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Everyone Has a Secret. Rosacea is Mine.

I am sharing my rosacea story in this sponsored post on behalf of Galderma Laboratories, L.P., the maker of Soolantra® Cream, because I hope by sharing it you won’t have to experience the humiliation I do every day or if you do, I want you to know you are not alone and it can get better. All of the opinions in this post are my own. Tracking Pixel

I’m sharing my deepest secret and the scars I keep hidden. I have rosacea. Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that you can manage but never truly goes away. Before I was diagnosed as an adult, I had a breakout so severe, my forehead was disfigured and I have permanent scars. I’m not one for plastic surgery but if they could remove my scars I’d take it in a heartbeat. The disfigurement and scars mortify me and cut me to my very core. 

OK. Deep breath. Here goes.

This is me. No make-up, rosacea redness, mottling, scars, and all.

 Approximately 1 in 20 Americans suffer from rosacea. It causes many sufferers (up to 75%) to have low self-esteem and (up to 70%) to feel embarrassed – including me.

Monday, December 14, 2015

How to Make Evergreen Window Swags for Free!

We’re bumping up our outdoor Christmas decorations this year. We have a house full of energy efficient disco projector Christmas lights to replace our dead strings of LED Christmas lights.

I saved some Amazon Subscribe and Save boxes and wrapped them as Christmas presents and put them in the barren flower beds. We’ll recycle them after the holiday because storage space for holiday decorations is at a premium.


The front yard still needed a little something and when I saw a pair of dachshund Christmas decorations (learn more about them here.) in a neighbor's yard I had to have them too as a tribute to Lacey. What can I say? We are dog suckers through and through.
 
 The dachshund lights come apart for storage after the holiday. They make make me insanely happy.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

How to Decorate a House with Christmas Lights in 15 Minutes or Less!

I like decorating with Christmas lights. I admit my Christmas light obsession may not be very green, but I never promised you a perfect green life, just an honest one.

I honestly like the look of a house full of Christmas lights.

 I also honestly hate standing in the snow and cold putting away a house full of Christmas lights after the holiday. The weather is always colder when the outdoor Christmas decoration have to come down than when they go up. That’s our motivation behind decorating our house with lights only on the porch rails.


 This year, I found a way to decorate a house full of energy saving Christmas lights and it only took 15 minutes! It will take even less time to take them down after the holiday. Woohoo!

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Make Peek a Boo Window Gift Tags

After a two day craft room excavation I had a couple of boxes of old business cards and nice little pile of random paper, ribbon, buttons, and punches on my worktable. The following day and fueled by probably more hot chocolate than one person should drink in an afternoon I started to play.


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Once I got on a creative roll, I upcycled a bunch of old business cards into gift tags I’m not ashamed to tie onto our Christmas gifts this year. I have so many handmade stash buster gift tags, that I’m going to turn this craft project into a blog series. Come craft with me!

 

How to Make Embossed Gift Tags for Hanukkah or Christmas

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to Fix a Broken Dishwasher Rack

The top rack of the dishwasher was a little wonky.
 
Scratch that. A lot wonky.

The top rack wouldn’t slide in and out of the dishwasher easily. When it does, the rack dips down to an angle instead of being parallel to the bottom dishwasher rack.


Husband did a little investigation.  Instead of something being misaligned, the sliding brackets on both sides of the dishwasher rack broke off. So that’s why the dishwasher recently wasn’t cleaning dishes well!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Star Wars Crafts: Princess Leia Ear Muffs

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is about to open (can’t wait!) winter is coming, and so the Christmas gift season. I can’t think of a better excuse make something that has been on my idea list since the  first time I saw Spaceballs, (affiliate link)  the Star Wars parody movie – Princess Leia Hair Bun Ear Muffs!

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How to Make Princess Leia Ear Muffs

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Make a Christmas Countdown Calendar Candle

When it comes to Advent calendars, I am more about the Christmas Countdown than the extra treats and trinkets that fill the calendar. I’m not knocking anyone who likes the prizes. It’s hard to find one that isn’t filled with milk chocolate. With a milk allergy, I don’t need the daily reminder that I’m stuck with a relish tray at the Christmas party while everyone else is wolfing down yummy milk chocolate desserts and treats.

But Christmas is the time of year I like to honor my Danish heritage and Danes love their Advent Calendars. Danes also love burning candles. That means Christmas countdown candles are very popular in Denmark.

Instead of opening a little door or pocket, you countdown the days until Christmas by burning the candle to each marked day until Christmas Day.  Unfortunately, Advent calendar candles are hard to find and when I did find some on line they were $30 for a decorated taper candle.

30 bucks a pop? I can make it for less!

So I did.

How to Make an Advent Calendar Candle

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bottle Cap Wreath

Husband and I have have a huge bottle cap collection just waiting for me to reuse them to make awesome bottle cap crafts and DIY projects. Last year Create. Craft. Love. gave me a blank wreath form and challenged me to make a wreath for her blog. The first thing that popped into my mind was - make a bottlecap wreath!


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If you do not have five years worth of bottle caps in coordinating colors you can still do this project if you spray paint your mismatched bottle caps in coordinating colors before you start making this wreath.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

10 Garage Storage and Organizing Hacks

Fall is one of those busy DIY transition times in the garage. The summer things need to be cleaned and put away for winter and it’s time to dig out the rakes to deal with all of those leaves falling off the trees that make Fall, well, Fall.


Fall is also a great time to reorganize the storage in your garage. Need some help? I have 10 garage hacks to share with you!


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(Not that I pinned all of these hacks to Pinterest (follow Condo Blues on Pinterest, please?)  because I personally need every single one of them. OK. I’ll be honest. I need to all of these hacks to keep our garage neat and tidy.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Washi Tape Headphones

I decorated the headphones I keep on my desk with washi tape. By using paper washi tape I have a plastic free craft and the option to easily change the design in the future.

After awhile I wanted to step up my washi tape craft game from covering an object with the same washi tape design to projects that mix and match different tape patterns and colors. But here’s a little secret you don’t know about me: I choke when it comes to mixing and matching patterns in my décor projects. Also I only have two rolls of washi tape and they don’t coordinate.


Pin this post for reference!


Luckily, I received a review copy of  Washi Tape Crafts: 110 Ways to Decorate Just About Anything by Amy Anderson, the author of the book Mod Podge Rocks! I knew Amy was writing a washi tape craft book but what I didn’t know is her book comes with 10 rolls of custom design washi tape.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How to Make Wine Cork Napkin Rings

I want to switch up my dining room decor for Thanksgiving. One of the easiest and cheapest way to do that is to decorate with fall colored napkins and napkin rings. The cloth napkins I have. The cute fall napkin rings I do not.

I have a TON of wine corks in my craft room, just waiting for a crafty wine cork project. Time to get my upcycling on and recycle some of the corks into handmade napkin rings!


Recycled Copper Beaded Wine Cork Napkin Rings

This is a quick little project you can do for yourself or make and give them to someone as a homemade gift. Christmas is just around the corner you know!


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For each napkin ring you will need:

Monday, October 26, 2015

10 Natural, Reycled, and Upcycled Acorn Crafts

Fall is one of the best times of the year to decorate with nature. A simple walk in the park or, if you are lucky, a few steps from your front door is a whole host of Mother Nature’s splendor just waiting for a little green Fall decorating and craft magic.

 
 Pin these clever ideas for later!


Autumn leaves, pumpkins, and cornstalks (I almost bought some from a farmer’s market on a whim last weekend,) are what I normally think of when it comes to Fall décor.

It wasn’t until I saw Dandelion Patina ‘s  recycled sweater and coconut shell acorns that I thought about decorating with acorns and acorn crafts. I pinned her post to my Fall decorating Pinterest board (follow me @condoblues on Pinterest pretty please?) and fell head first into real, recycled, and upcycled acorn crafts and decorations.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Renaissance Festival Handmade Craft Shopping Haul

Through vendor friends and fellow performers, the renaissance festival is where I started learning about essential oils, creating herbal tea blends for both medicinal and yummy purposes, and fell head over heels with handmade health and beauty products.

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It is also where we got the idea of starting our Christmas gift shopping early and somewhat year round. Years ago a fellow performer proudly declared that he finished all of his Christmas shopping at the faire and was chuffed he was finished in September. Naturally being the good friends that we are, we kidded him about it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Non Toxic Cleanser for Challenging Skin: Block Island Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser

Recreating history for your entertainment can be a dirty business.

We try to stay as authentic to the period as possible but sometimes we have to make allowances for  climate (there is no way anyone can wear 15 petticoats or more during the summer in the US and not get heatstroke.) So while I build my costumes and do my hair and makeup with attention to historical detail, I will not be achieving the pale white skin of a noblewoman according to the period by washing my face with mercury for a period – and poisonous – Elizabethan face wash.  No thanks.

 But I do have to wash my face at the end of a long fair day with something. It has to be something that contains ingredients that are not harsh which makes my rosacea flare. My cleanser also has to be strong enough to remove makeup mixed with sunscreen, sweat, and grime and clean my skin.  I told you living history is a dirty business!

I clean up pretty good, don't I?


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Quick and Easy Boat Cleat Towel Rack

I need to to organize the towels in the guest bathroom and found my design inspiration at the vet’s office. Wha? Let me explain.

Lacey’s vet has boat cleats on the main desk which allows you to anchor your pet’s leash (pun intended) over the cleat so your hands are free to make payments and sign paperwork.  It is quite genius and something I’d totally expect seeing growing up on Lake Erie.

The guest bathroom is taking on a nautical vibe. I like repurposed and reclaimed design elements. So why not organize my bathroom by repurposing dock cleats? Sounds like a plan.

How to Make a Boat Dock Cleat Towel or Coat Rack

 
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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Homemade Fairy Wing Dog Halloween Costume

Costuming is my favorite part of Halloween, but Lacey? Not so much.  Lacey’s favorite part is earning treats at Halloween pet charity events. I can’t blame her for that.

Husband and I use dog charity events as fun socialization training to help Lacey work on her fear and anxiety issues (Read more about that on this dog training post on Condo Blues.) Unlike her humans, Lacey isn’t into wearing dog Halloween costumes or clothes (unless it is freezing outside.) We don’t push it because the costume thing is really for the humans, not the dogs.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

What Are Your Favorite Sore Throat and Ear Ache Home Remedies?

Hi gang. I'm under the weather and singing the blues. I need a little help from you.


I have another ear infection. Well, actually, it is the same ear infection I had two weeks ago. I thought it went away but it got worse instead of better.

I shouldn't be surprised. I spent last Saturday practicing and performing with my high school alumni marching band in a bone chilling cold and drizzling rain. Sunday afternoon I felt a familiar pop! pop! pop! in my ear and couldn't balance during yoga for neither love nor money.


I'm spending quality time with hot tea with lemon and honey in ol' Snoop dog more often than I'd like. It helps some but most of the time my throat feels like I swallowed a fistful of straight pins. Ouch.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Carve a Life Size Snake Pumpkin for Halloween!

You may not know this but I have something in common with the archaeological adventurer Indiana Jones.

I hate snakes.

I think snakes are creepy, ugly, slimy, and icky! Icky! Icky!

Spiders I can handle, but snakes? Not unless they are incredibly and undoubtably fake.


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 Or they light up. Like this guy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Decorating with Real Pumpkin Topiaries and Mosaics

I appreciate carving and decorating with real pumpkins for fall and Halloween.

Doing it is another story.

 Pin this post for pumpkin decorating ideas!

Carving pumpkins is messy, goopy, and if you do it too early, moldy by the time Halloween rolls around. Besides, if don't carve the pumpkins, we can make fresh pumpkin puree (learn how on my food blog Lazy Budget Chef) and use it to make fantastic food after Halloween. Lacey likes this idea very much.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The House of Unfinished DIY Projects

Husband had a dream.

One of those I dreamed I ate a giant marshmallow and in the morning my pillow was gone kind of dreams.

His dream was about making a list of DIY projects we need to do and actually finishing them.




I have no idea how his subconscious cooked up that idea for a dream.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cedar Point Halloweekends Halloween Easter Eggs

Last weekend I went to the BloggyConference blog conference to learn how to be a better blogger for all of you, the greatest community on plant Earth.

BloggyCon is a little different than the blogging conferences I attended in the past because it was held at Cedar Point. During the day, I took a ton of notes during the sessions and networked with bloggers and brands to bring you the best content possible. At night, I rode all of the roller coasters and saw the sights at Cedar Point. It is right next to the conference hotel, how could I not?


Keep reading and pin this post! I made a video about Halloweekend and embedded it in this post!
Just so you don’t think I’m biased because I got free stuff, I here to tell you I didn't get free stuff. I paid for my tickets to Cedar Point. My enthusiasm in the video is fueled with 6 hours sleep for the weekend total and a ton of coffee.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Build a Rain Barrel Drainage Pad

Late summer/early fall is a great time to do garden landscaping projects. The weather isn’t as blazing hot as it is in the middle of summer and most of the materials are now on clearance to make room for fall and winter merchandise.

  
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Or in our case, you end up with a bunch of extra bricks from repairing your vintage brick garden border and want to do something with the lovely, worn, and free reclaimed bricks.

Thanks to two months of never ending rain and me replacing the broken spigot on the rain barrel (read the tutorial here) before the rains came, Husband and I have plenty of water to use for watering our new plantings. Eco Dork that I am, I get positively giddy watering my plants with rain water but I’m not happy with stepping in the mud that sometimes surrounds the rain barrel spigot.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

100 Homemade Halloween Costumes!



 
My absolute favorite, favorite thing about Halloween is costumes! It is the only day of the year you can dress up as weird as you like and no one will think you are a weirdo.

Unless your costume is a Weirdo.


Husband and I as Raving Rabbid Weirdos. Bwaaaaaaaaaaa!