Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This is an amazing way to close out my first blogging year. As you may recall, Apartment Therapy’s Re-Nest featured two of my Condo Blues creative reuse projects on their blog in October, Blitzkrieg’s raised dog feeder, and my wine glass chandelier.
So, let’s see, that’s a big THREE stories featuring yours truly on Apartment Therapy this year. I blog I love and read even before I started blogging. Next goal – write an article or have a project featured in Readymade – another of my all time favorite magazines.
What a great way to end 2008! Have you had any unexpected good things come your way this year?
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Monday, December 22, 2008
I didn’t want to jump into the car and go to the store and buy something because honestly, I knew I wanted something on that side table, but I had no idea what. In other words, going to the store and trying find and buy the perfect holiday something was a kin to a multistore and multiday vision quest. And while fun, I just didn’t have time for that. Not that day.
So I scrounged around and came across my decorating standby – the giant martini glass. You may remember that I filled it with seedpods from a neighborhood park during the Fall.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
In order to hang the greens, I would either have to remove all of the rope caulk from the inside of the windows or get out a ladder and climb up on the roof of the porch and possibly fall off of the roof because I am. That. Talented. Neither of these tasks was very onerous but both lacked appeal since I wanted to do the outdoor decorating job quickly and immediately – it was cold outside!
Oh, and I had one other small problem.
I didn’t buy greenery for the windows.
A shopping trip changed all of that. No, I didn’t buy wreaths or boughs of holly. That would be too easy. I walked by Anthropology’s holiday windows and found them covered in paper snowflakes.
I got inspired.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sure, we’d quickly tear through that huge pack of paper napkins because He Who Cooks My Dinner used to use them to clean the kitchen instead of the small army of wipes, towels, cleaners, and sponges that we store under the kitchen sink (Harrumph!) Annoying, but still cheap.
However on one snowy, icey, and all around cruddy December day we ran out of paper napkins. I didn’t want to slog through all of that yuck to drive to the store and buy just one pack of paper napkins. I pulled the cloth napkins out of the drawer. I figured I’d try using the cloth napkins for daily dinners until my next grocery shopping trip. Well, my laziness paid off. I found that the cloth napkins were easier, cheaper, and a whole lot classier to use than the paper napkins. Not quite the pain in the hoo-ha I originally imagined. And, yes, the cloth napkins are more environmentally friendly too. This goes double for me, because I already had them in that the-greenest-thing-you-can-do-is-use-the-stuff-you-already-have way. Bonus.
Monday, December 15, 2008
November Natural Gas Usage
How I Lowered My Natural Gas Bill in November
Friday, December 12, 2008
I still have my 12 inch bachelorette Christmas tree**. I put it up on the second floor landing of The Condo. This tree is now our Rennie Tree. It has some of the ornaments that Husband and I collected and displayed when we performed at renaissance festivals. Back in the day, our large tree was The Rennie Tree decked out in purple lights, gold ribbon, and Elizabethan animal ornaments. To fill in the holes in the that large tree, I bought some frame ornaments from Restoration Hardware and put photos of Husband and I in our many characters on the tree. For more filler, I string a few jingle bells on ribbon from my sewing stash. After all these years, they still look good. These ornaments sum up my personal decorating style -pair and pull off a combinaton of the expensive with the clever but very inexpensive.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Winter Heating Bill
Monday, December 8, 2008
On the other hand, if you’ve decided this holiday season not to give gifts not as a token of love and appreciation but as a way to force your recipients to live the green life by doing everything exactly like you do – NO EXCEPTIONS then these sucky enviro-gifts may be for you. (Personally, I’m not into the Greenzilla line of thinking because I think that there’s always more than one way to do something and achieve the same goal, which in this case, is a living a more sustainable life.)
10 Green Gift No Nos
Friday, December 5, 2008
Anywayz, my New Year’s resolution that year was to try to use up some of the stuff in craft stash that in some cases had been sitting around for more years than I like to admit. Some of the items languishing in my craft stash were pieces of fleece that were too big to throw away but not large enough to make anything out of. That is, until this gift exchange. Turns out the fleece squares I had were just the right size to turn into small dog blankets. This project was the perfect time to try my hand at a little hand appliqué as well.
I had to use my PDA to take the photos.
How to make a personalized appliqué fleece dog blanket
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Quite the contrary, the Dad told me. In their house, a Lisa Gift is something unusual, awesome, and something the giver didn’t know that they wanted or needed until they got the gift and used it – a lot.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Design Within Reach is also having a Floor Sample Sale where you can save up to 50% off. The email I received from Design Within Reach says that their Floor Sample Sale starts November 28th but some stores may be marking down items and selling them early. Last weekend while Husband and I were doing some Christmas shopping recon we visited our local Design Within Reach Studio and saw that they had many floor samples already marked down. (And sweetie, if you’re reading this, it was the Nelson Crisscross Pendant that I repeatedly mentioned how nice it would look in the living room. Christmas is coming hint, hint!)
If you don’t live near a Design Within Reach Studio, or like me, some of the items you want to buy aren’t available in the brick and mortar store, the online store is holding a clearance sale.
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Monday, November 24, 2008
The KOR ONE is a one of the few water bottles I have that I can but in the dishwasher. Given the rounded bottom, the bottle is surprisingly sturdy and doesn’t tip over easily. And just for fun, the KOR ONE features a “stone” cap insert with inspirational sayings such as “Never Settle” or “Laugh Often.” They also include a blank stone so you can create your own message. I got all Alice in Wonderland and made a “Drink Me” stone for my - oh, geez, I’ll just say it - my Hydration Vessel’s lid.
Friday, November 21, 2008
makes dog look like Spaceman Spiff
Blitzkrieg is a very active little dog. And he’s smart. He knows tons of tricks sit, speak, down, wait, shake, and high 5 with his left and right (blind side thankyouverymuch) paw and the favorite of the neighborhood kids, dance on his hind legs, which Peke people commonly refer to as The Pekingese Dance. Teaching Blitzkrieg these behaviors has helped us use positive reinforcement training turn the shy and fear aggressive abused dog we rescued into the confident and well-adjusted goofball we have today. One of the Blitzkrieg Rules is that if Blitzkrieg wants to join a human who is already sitting on the sofa then he has to “ask” permission by sitting first before the human (me) tells him “OK, hup”. This is Blitzkrieg’s cue to jump up on the sofa for a good snuggle.
As of last Saturday, Blitzkrieg couldn’t hup.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Power Cutter’s designed to cut material that is up to ¼” thick such as carpeting, vinyl flooring, wallpaper, heavy fabric like canvas, window screens, plastic pond liners, or items that are a little too thick to cut with regular scissors like cardboard, foam core board, or heavy cardstock. I tested the Power Cutter on cutting cardboard, paper, canvas, and a remnant of vinyl flooring the builder left at our house and that I will someday make into a floor cloth. I found that the Power Cutter works best on straight cuts; it didn’t do too well on detailed curvy cuts. The Power Cutter didn’t take very long to charge up and they say keeps it charge up to 18 months (which due to deadlines for this review I can’t test that, so I’ll have to take Skil’s word for it.) That’s impressive because there’s nothing I hate more than to grab a rechargeable tool from my toolbox for a quick DIY task and find that the battery’s dead.
Monday, November 17, 2008
My first centerpiece couldn’t be easier to make. I literally tossed a small collection of leaves, crabapples, seedpods, and a couple of buckeyes that I gathered from my yard and neighborhood park (always make sure that you have permission to take anything from property that isn’t yours first) around a paraffin free candle on an old tray.
Since I’m working with natural and dried elements near an open flame, you’ll notice that I have the candle in a protective glass holder so I don’t accidently set my centerpiece on fire. I also make sure that I do not leave burning candles unattended.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I decided to make my small rice bags into larger shopping tote bags.
Shopping Tote Bag#1
I opened up the seams and removed the handles from this burlap rice bag with a seam ripper. Then I cut two 5 inch (3 inches wide + 1 inch seam allowances) rectangles out of a way too-faded-to-donate-to-charity 100% cotton curtain panel and sewed them to the sides of bag. I made and attached handles to the top of the bag for easy toting around town. I like how the green reclaimed curtain panel coordinates with the green lettering on the burlap rice bag.
The zipper is not functional. I just left it in the side of the bag so everyone knows that yes, this was once a small Basmati rice bag.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Since I have some freebies and I generally not a fan of the reusable plastic water bottles we currently have, I’ve been slow to jump on the metal reusable water bottle bandwagon. Especially when I saw that some of those supposed-to-be-better-for-you-and-the- environment metal water bottles have plastic liners. So if you want me to ditch my current #2 plastic-but-bad–reusable-water-bottle for your metal-but-supposed-to-be-greener-but-lined-with- #2 plastic-reusable-water-bottle you had better offer me something that’s much better than what I currently have sitting in my cupboard.
Earthlust did just that. They make a naturally safe stainless steel water bottle that is not only unlined (no plastic in this reusable metal water bottle!) but uses non-toxic paints, and looks good.
I got to try an Earthlust water bottle and I’m hooked. First, I like that the Earthlust bottles are just plainer prettier to look at than some of those other reusable metal water bottles. In fact, some Earthlust designs are inspired by what the owner sees around her during walks with her child. I love that. I’m a total sucker for something that has both good design and an interesting back story.
Friday, October 31, 2008
This is Captain Twiggy. He’s the guy that started it all. For about 8 years, Captain Twiggy was our lone Halloween decoration because Husband and I were performing at the Ohio Renaissance Festival every weekend in October and honestly between the weekend acting job and our weekday professional jobs, a pirate skeleton on the door was about as much holiday décor that we could handle at the time. Now Captain Twiggy hangs out in our sea dog cemetery drinking his favorite brew – Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I hung it on my porch next to a bamboo-handled broom. I tied the broom to the sign with raffia so it wouldn’t be tempted to fly away with any mischievous goblins or ghouls on Beggars Night.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
How to Make Halloween Blood From Kitchen Ingredients
Monday, October 20, 2008
And it is butt cheap too - bonus!
I sprinkled the crud with baking powder, then a bit of vinegar and let the foaming begin. After the foaming stopped, I easily wiped up the mess. This method worked much better than any other cleaner & loads of elbow grease I tried (and failed) on the job earlier that day.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
That’s why my laundry room looks like a dorm room.
BIL has a friendly competition with his neighbor on who carves the best pumpkin each Halloween. Both guys bought pumpkin carving kits at the store. After using the store bought templates, they both quickly ditched that idea the following year and have been doing their own thing every since.
As an homage to my Evil Dead laundry room, my brother in law carved this pumpkin for Halloween. Bruce Campbell as Ash in the movie The Evil Dead. On the other hand, it could be Ash in Evil Dead 2. Or possibly Ash in Army of Darkness? Anyway, here is his masterpiece.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Husband and I are going to a Halloween party. The theme is Scary. After rooting around what costume pieces we had around the house (not only a budget conscious costume but environmentally friendly too), I put together three options. I'm not sure which one I should do. Will you help me decide?
Option 1: Witch
Friday, October 3, 2008
I’m absent-mindedly looking around online for items that I could use to decorate The Condo for Halloween. And wouldn’t you know it, the Bad Idea Bears showed up and tried to convince me to buy a bunch of weird stuff and redecorate.
Bad Idea Bears: These items all go together; you could use them all to decorate your kitchen! Don’t pay attention to what Kenneth Brown says in his TV show Over Designed. Theme kitchens are very in this year.
Me: Well yeah, if you’re some homicidal nutcase like Serial Mom or Norman Bates from the movie Psycho! No. I’m not doing a CSI kitchen theme in the Condo.
Bad Idea Bears: (Batting their eyelashes and looking excessively cute) Pleeeeeese!
Me: Weeeell. I suppose I could blog about it. I haven’t done a design-centered post in awhile. It’s October and time to plan for Halloween. And I am feeling kinda cheeky…
Bad Idea Bears: Yaaaaaay!
So let’s take a look at how Norman Bates may decorate his kitchen if we wanted to proudly proclaim to the world that he is in fact, a psycho nut job. (And before you ask, no. I don’t seriously recommend decorating a house in this theme. I’m just trying to appease the Bad Idea Bears and my Inner Brat after having a not so great week.)
Let’s have some fun, shall we?
Setting: The kitchen of the Psycho house on the Universal Studios lot. Where else?
(Norman Bates walks into the back door of his house and into the kitchen after a hard day of work at the Bates hotel. Norman fumbles in the dark for the Hanging Harry Light Pull and turns on the overhead kitchen light.)
(Then Norman puts on a manly black chef’s apron and begins to prepare a sumptuous meal for his mother.)
In fact, Norman likes to chop things up so much that keeps around two sets of knives in his kitchen! When a situation demands a good hack, slash, or chop, he knows he can count on the knives in his Throwzini knife holder.
Norman thinks Mother may be a little peckish after sitting in the basement all day. He decides to make her some hors d'oeuvres and looks for the Pound party picks.
Norman: Oh goodness! The party picks are in the dishwasher. I can’t use dirty party picks. Mother would not approve. I suppose I’ll serve her a plate of cheese cubes instead. Now, where did I put the OUCH! Voodoo doll toothpick holder? Oh there it is!
SFX: the telephone rings. (Norman puts his cup of tea (hemlock, perhaps?) on a Splat Stan Coaster. He answers the telephone.)
Welcome to the inner workings of my mind. For the record, no amount of prescription medication or therapy makes the Bad Idea Bears go away. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it. That’s a fact.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
“EPA estimates that homeowners can typically save up to 20% of heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% of total energy costs) by air sealing their homes
and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists.”
There are generally two places where air leaks occur and that you need to seal: