Condo Blues: June 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

How to Compost Paper

The clay soil in my garden is so bad,

"How bad is it?!" you say.

That I was so frustrated, tired, and sore from a week jumping on the shovel with my whole body to dig into the dirt and turn it I named my blog Condo Blues.

It took a good long while to amend our soil and get it healthy enough to grow something that didn't die the following year. What is the secret to our now thriving landscape?


This is what the compost in my compost bin I built from a storage tub looked like when I checked the bin in last spring.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to Emboss Ribbon with a Sizzix Big Shot

I forgot to buy a birthday card.

I had a stack of colored paper, a brand new Sizzix Big Shot die cutting and embossing machine and the 10 dies from the Sizzix Big Shot Balancing Act Value Pack (courtesy of  Sizzix and The Balancing Act on Lifetime TV) sitting in front of me on the craft room table.

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I should be able to whip up a cute card in no time with all of this stuff, right?

Not so much.

I couldn't come up a design I liked and was feeling out of my element because I don't do paper crafts very often. Thanks a lot Pinterest!

Then it hit me. The Big Shot die cuts fabric (my comfort zone), as well as the  paper, card stock, metal (think soda pop can thin type) I tested while I was figuring out how I wanted to make the birthday card.

Fabric got my creative wheels turning. If I can die cut fabric, I wonder if the Big Shot can emboss ribbon?

Let's find out.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

11 Pretty Summer Things to Inspire Your Home Decor

While running errands and being otherwise frazzled during one of those weeks, I needed a little Me Time to recharge my creative brain. One way I do that is to look at pretty home decor eye candy. 

That's how I found myself in Homegoods after buying dog food for Lacey. This isn't a sponsored post or ad or anything. It just so happens we buy Lacey's human grade ingredient and only full of good stuff  dog food at a regional pet store that just so happens to share a shopping center with a Marshall's/Homegoods and  sometimes eye candy drive bys happen.

Let's "shop" for home decor and DIY ideas and inspiration!

First up, are mint green shabby chic, pretend antique candle holders. One thing I like about this particular store (other than it is close to home) is they put together some since shelf displays in the dinnerware section. It is hard to tell from my cell phone photos, that the candleholders are displayed with the pseudo jadeite light green dishware and decor. The light green color is what makes this mismatch of items into a pretty display that works. This is something anyone can do to make what you already have look less of a hodge podge of stuff you have and like and more like a purposeful and spendy display of stuff you have and like for zero dollars. Not to mention the whole the greenest thing is to use what you already own thing.

I laugh to myself when I see a ready made knock off made to look like something a DIYer did or found in a antique/junk shop. Although I realize not that everyone has access to those real goodies or  time to redo them. A few fake goodies somehow have found their way into my house for the same reason.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

12 Tips for Low Waste Air Travel

I love to travel and have always hated dealing with checked luggage even before airlines started charging for it. Through many trips for pleasure and business I have packing a suitcase down to a science. I can travel almost anywhere – including a week in England – with a carry on suitcase and a backpack as my personal item.

 Air Travel Packing Tips 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Homemade Lavender All-purpose Cleaner

I made a super scum busting and disinfecting all-purpose cleaner that is all natural AND smells like the sweet, sweet smell of all natural lavender.

Lavender is a natural antiseptic. In fact, medics in World War I bound soldier’s wounds with sprigs of lavender to fight infection when their regular medications ran low.

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, which makes it a great natural cleaner for most things although not everyone is fond of the smell.

After some DIY cleaner experiments with my lavender bush based on last winter’s all-purpose orange cleaner recipe, I came up a super scum busting antiseptic disinfecting all natural all-purpose cleaner

How to Make Lavender Antiseptic and Disinfecting All-Purpose Cleaner

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Father’s Day Gift to the Most Important Men in My Life

I’m lucky gal. When I see something I want or need, I am not afraid to go into my workshop, pull out my tools, and make it. If I don’t know how to do or use what I need to make my idea a reality, I’m not afraid to ask (especially my BFF Google) or take a class and learn how to do it.

I always thought if people couldn’t find what they liked or have a champagne taste on a (craft) beer budget like I do they just build or make over something to fit their vision. Stereotypical Man’s Work and Woman’s Work never existed in my world. It has always been You Have Two Hands And The Job Needs To Be Done So Do It work.

Do you know who I have to thank for this?

My Dad.

My Father in law too.

Collectively Husband and I call them The DIY Dads.  Without these two men in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. This post is my tribute to them and their Father’s Day gift. Well, part of it anyway.

Thanks Dad for not kicking me out of the garage while you worked on something, especially when I was little. For teaching me if I want something and don't want to wait, it usually best if you build yourself like our first DIY project,  the scrap wood step stool we needed so toddler me could reach the bathroom sink and brush my teeth. I’m sure I didn’t help much except maybe to hand you something or stay out of the way but I will never forget that once the paint was dry you said we built it. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to Make a Juice Pouch Belt

All of the walking I'm doing to burn off Lacey's nervous energy is paying off. My jeans and shorts are too loose in the waist! I haven't lost enough weight to go down a size yet but I have lost just enough weight to make my current pants droop to I-need-to-do-something-about-this levels.

I recently added more empty Go Go squeeZ applesauce squeeze pouches to my craft room stash (I don't care if they are supposed to be kid food. They are fake sugar, GMO, and artificially color and flavor free,  made from real apples, and a life saver when I'm traveling lactose intolerant.) Then it hit me - why don't I solve my baggy pants problem and clear out the soon to be painted craft closet by making a belt out of Go Go squeeZ packets?

 How to Make a Belt Out of Go Go squeeZ Pouches

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I Don't Play the Lottery Because Winning Just Leads to Fights About Faucets

I dreamed Husband and I won the lottery. Then strangers and scammers swarmed our house asking for money for shady reasons. We had to to move so the scammers wouldn't find us and we could donate cheese doodles to our favorite pet charities in peace. Dream logic = pet charities run on cheese doodles or something like that I guess but not really because cheese doodles make dogs gassy. Do you really want to work in a shelter full of gassy doodle dogs? My guess is no.

Then Husband and I got into a huge fight (unusual for us) because I wanted to take the Delta Faucet Company upgrades I made to our condo with us to  the Secret House. Husband said I couldn't take them with us because we could buy new ones BECAUSE WE WON THE LOTTERY LISA!

My Corrente toilet (read about it here.)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Craft Room Remodel Before

I lovingly call my craft room/guest room The Room Where Old Furniture Goes to Die because that's where we shoved everything that didn't have an immediate home after we moved into our condo. For nine years, it looked like this photo from the Pinterest envy busting post I wrote last December

You are jealous of this room, aren't you?

Then Miss Lacey joined our family and taught me a new game: The Floor is Lava.

When Lacey is feeling insecure or feels that Husband and I have stared enough at those boxes on our desks, Lacey grabs something I have stored under the guest room bed,  ever so casually carries it into the computer room, and sits near me so I am sure to notice her because in her mind even bad attention is better than no attention at all.

Here's the current post-Lacey guest room/craft room design:

I have no idea why Better Homes and Gardens hasn't called me to feature my beautiful guest room.

Friday, June 7, 2013

OZ China Town Fairy Garden

We have a bare spot in one of the front flower beds that always needs extra attention. We'd like to make lower maintenance this summer. I wasn't sure how to make this happen in a pretty way, until we received an advanced copy of the Blue Ray Combo Pack of the movie Oz the Great and Powerful (Thank you Disney!)

Then I knew.

If I could travel to Oz, I would rebuild dear, sweet China Girl's village after the Wicked Witch destroyed it and her people. China Girl stole our hearts, especially after seeing the care they took in creating her character after we watched the extra making of featurette. It must be the magic of Oz because I never was a doll person as a kid and yet China Girl ended up being my favorite character in the movie.

My China Town fairy garden, inspired by Oz the Great and Powerful

OZ is full of wonderful people and creatures. I'm sure if I rebuilt China Town as a fairy garden, the fairies would move in and keep China Girl company.

I also hope the fairies will help me out and tend our garden, because I doubt we can grow anything that comes close to director Sam Rami’s gorgeous OZ visuals but I will try.

Let's journey to OZ!

How to Make an OZ the Great and Powerful China Town Fairy Garden

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to Make a Champagne Cork Cage Chair

Husband opened a bottle of champagne and promptly popped the cork in a little basket we keep on the kitchen counter for wine cork upcycling emergencies.

He looked the wire cork cage over and issued me a challenge, "Can you come up with something to do with this? The recycling won't take it and it seems a shame to throw it away."

I sat down to thinkidy think on it.

Sit down?

There's my idea!

I made the champagne cork cage into a little bistro chair.

How to Make a Chair Out of a Champagne Cork

Monday, June 3, 2013

Socializing Miss Lacey - Our Fearful Rescue Dog

Lacey’s obedience and behavioral training is working! Lacey is consistently walking at our side 90% of the time on a loose leash. Yay Lacey!

We are now able to work on the next layer of Lacey’s behavioral issue onion – meeting other dogs and introducing her to new people and places.

Family time!

First, our behaviorist brought a fake dog into our yard and instructed Husband and I to give Lacey a verbal correction when she acted out. We use the sound AH AH because it has the force behind like a Momma Dog's You-Are-Not-Behaving-Stop-It-Right-Now bark unlike using the word NO.  The only people I knew who forcefully use NO consistently are toddlers and we are a smidge past that age.

On the one hand, it makes perfect safety sense to use a fake stuffed animal in this situation because you don’t know what reaction you are going to get from the real fearful dog. Poor fake dog has been growled at, attacked, and peed on in the line of duty. Sad fake dog face.

On the other hand, and in the crazy part of my brain that is not a responsible adult, it is funny seeing a grown man bounce a stuffed animal on a in leash in my backyard. However dedicated dog people know that sometimes you have to do strange things to help your dog learn how to be balanced and happy. Besides fake dog worked and we were able to work with his real dog on later appoints. Thank you fake dog!