Condo Blues: September 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

El Dia de los Muertos Mod Podge Flower Pots

One of my very best girl chums celebrates Mexican culture. That means a big chunk of her October holiday decorations are actually El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) decorations over Halloween decorations.

I found some Día de los Muertos sugar skull fabric while surfing Etsy. Somehow, the fabric ended up in my mailbox. It is funny how often that happens when I surf Etsy.

I took advantage of the situation to try something I have wanted to do for a while – use Modge Podge on fabric. I made Day of the Dead flower pots as a gift for my friend.

I used Outdoor Mod Podge in case my friend wants to use them outside. After I had a few coats of indoor craft paint on the flower pots, I realized the paint will not hold up outdoors and switched to spray paint. That’s why the paint on the top of the pot looks a little lumpy shiny. Let’s pretend it adds character and is not an almost oops.

I’m not sure how my fabric Mod Podge flower pots will work with a real potted plant inside. To be safe, I’d use the Modge Podge flowerpot to disguise an ugly put practical plastic flower pot. If that is not your thing, my fabric covered flower pots make a festive candy dish or candle holder.

How to Make Mod Podge Fabric Flower Pots

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to Dye a Thrift Store Shirt Bright Yellow with Turmeric

Lacey and I take several walks a day around our neighborhood. It is a good thing for both of us. Lacey drains her high energy in a positive way. I get off my duff and exercise. Everybody wins!

Except weight. That, I am losing.  

Time to get some new clothes that fit!


I love the Minions! They look like Twinkies with eyes.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Buy a Dishwasher: What I Bought and Why I Bought It

Long time readers know I am a fix it instead of replace it kind of gal. It is cheaper, it is greener, and it allows me to have a little more money leftover to sometimes spoil Lacey.

I want Lisa to use her smart shopping skillz to keep me rolling in grass fed T bone steaks!

Except when it comes to my High Efficiency (HE) dishwasher. At first, I liked the idea of saving water while it cleaned our dishes.  Later a plumber told us since HE dishwashers use less water, the water heat up cycle is shorter than a standard dishwasher, and we have to jack the heat on the water heater to remove the grit on my clean dishes problem.

Husband wryly observed, “We can save water, or natural gas but not both.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

How to Clean Dog Pee from Carpet WITHOUT a Carpet Cleaning Machine

Potty training Lacey is a challenge. She was litter box trained and could go pretty much when and where she wanted in her former home.

Guess what? She does here too.

Potty training Lacey to go outside was even more difficult because all of her barks where the same high pitched and loud (girlfriend is part dachshund. They are not exactly soft barkers) freaked out alert barks that we couldn't tell which one is a potty bark and which one is a  freaking out over the noises of close neighbors bark.

The result? Cleaning up a lot of pee and poo accidents might ruin the current and all future carpets in our house. Most some days we're cleaning up more than one and are frustrated and tired to haul the carpet cleaning machine from the closet to clean up the mess.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DIY Sit Stay Porch Chairs

Snow, rain, and sun faded the outdoor fabric I used to recover on my porch chairs. I took the opportunity to look for replacement chairs that are a little more plush and inviting.

Unfortunately all the outdoor chairs I like are too big for the space.

Time for a revamp!

I want something that will look decent during post summer but not quite time to decorate for Fall and Halloween. I didn’t have much luck finding replacement outdoor fabric to recover the seat and chair back. I figure the chairs can't be much worse as they are and experimented with spray painting the fabric instead of replacing it.

Yup. You can spray paint fabric. The fabric will be a bit stiff but it won’t fade as easily in the weather as my fabric. It will get me through until next year when I have a whole season to look for new outdoor fabric.
Lacey is the inspiration for this makeover.

What can I say? We are a Dog House.

How to Spray Paint Fabric

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Last of the Summer Fun and Lacey Update!

Oh Summer. I wait for you all year long and before you know it – poof! – you are gone.

Our summer got off to a weirdly slow start due to the constant heavy rain. Husband and I tag teamed a few necessary business trips so Lacey would not be face her greatest fear – being left behind. 

Lacey’s behavior is not consistent enough to earn the privilege of a vacation or to keep us from being kicked out because of her behavior. Husband and I took long weekend staycations instead because we still need time off to unplug, be silly, and recharge.

We started with short trips to the dog park. Lacey thinks she has to challenge other dogs and get them before they get her - a classic case of Little Dog Syndrome.  We keep the dog park trips short so Lacey won’t get overwhelmed.

Some of Lacey's summer adventures!

Just like with human kids, there are well behaved dogs that play well with others and sometimes there are bullies who try to challenge the other dogs or dominate them. It is critical you keep an eye on your dogs at all times to head off any potential problems and be ready to leave to avoid them even if it means you are only there for 15 minutes.

Sometimes we had to leave the park shortly after we arrived with our tail between our legs because our kid was the one whipping the other dogs into a frenzy. It doesn't happen often, and it is part of the process as we puppy step her in the right direction.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Can Small Families Save Money at Warehouse Clubs?

Bulk buying is usually the greener choice because it reduces the amount of individual packaging for the item but will bulk buying at a warehouse club save a small family like mine money?


Once upon a time Husband and I had a warehouse club membership. That particular club leans more toward small businesses than families but we regularly purchased items we needed when we performed at the renaissance festival like vats of sports drink mix (90 degree F in 3 layers of brocade yo) and an industrial bag of flour to bake the many loaves of bread we needed for The Queen’s Feast. We knew after careful tracking, that some things cost the same as in a regular grocery store but were easier to buy them at the Sam’s Club if we needed a large quantity of say, soda,  for an event.

We eventually quit Sam’s Club after we stopped performing at the renaissance festival. We didn’t need the super giant size quantities since we weren’t feeding fellow performers. We lived in a small duplex with almost no food storage space to hold giant quantities of well priced baking ingredients before they expire. It stopped making sense for us.

I’ve been thinking on and off about joining a warehouse club to cut down on our packaging waste, especially after My Zero Waste’s Zero Waste Week and the discussions of buying in bulk. I’m sure we will cut down on packaging waste if we join but will it save us money or should be keep on keeping on with our fairly low waste ways?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

DIY His and Hers Diva, Maestro Signs

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of FrogTape brand painter’s tape for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

While shifting items around in my craft room I found two blank plaques I bought to make His and Hers signs for the house. I figure it is about time I do the project but with a twist. Instead of labeling our items His and Hers, I invoked our old renaissance festival characters and made Diva and Maestro  signs.

DIY Diva and Maestro sign

How to Make Diva and Maestro Signs

13 DIY Craft Storage Ideas

I’m taking the opportunity to rethink how I organize my craft supplies as part of my craft room/guest room remodel. When I bought our house my main hobby was sewing and costume design. All of my other craft supplies fit into my vintage wood crate storage drawers.

Don’t worry. I am not giving these beauties up! 
They will get a tweak in the new room. Stay tuned!

Soda Six Pack Organizers kept all six of my craft paints organized.

Well, OK. This is a beer six pack organizer. I have several soda six pack holders covered with wrapping paper organizing other bits and bobs throughout the house and in my craft room.