Condo Blues: May 2021




Thursday, May 27, 2021

My First DIY Cold Process Soap Project and Friday Favorites Week 583

I fell in love with using handmade soaps after trying some I bought at a renaissance festival. Every year I'd buy a bar or five. I dabbled with making soap with a melt and pour kit like this one   because I could play with herb add ins, natural scents, and colorants without messing around with lye because lye sounded scary! (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) A soap maker friend encouraged me to keep experimenting because that's how you learn how different herbs and oils interact and influence the final product.

When I stumbled upon a liquid hot process soap tutorial online, I realized I had most of the equipment needed and I could buy the soap ingredients at the grocery store. I gave it a whirl and realized working with lye isn't as scary as I thought!  But liquid soap is tricky (at least for me.) The book I have doesn't give a lot of why to the how and there is even less information on line unless you're making cold process bar soap. Cold process soap tutorials didn't seem as scary as they did before I started making soap in an old crock pot. I bought this exact The Natural Soap Making Book for Beginners book and made my first batch of cold process soap!

DIY cold process soap
The color is a little *intense*  and there were some slight bubbling after sequestering but overall I'm pleased with how my first batch of real deal bar soap came out. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How to Permanently Kill Weeds in a Sidewalk or Driveway the Easy Way!

I have an annoying group of weeds that grow in the space between my garage door and driveway. I don’t want to use commercial weed killer because I don’t want use that kind of stuff around my dog and we also have a bunch of neighborhood kids that use our driveways as turnarounds spots for their bikes, scooters, and such. I try to garden as organically as I can.

 

Also, commercial weed killer containers are so big I doubt I’d use it all.


I tried all of the normal natural weed killers that people with green thumbs swear work:

 

  • I pulling the weeds by digging out the roots and removing the plant – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by pouring hot water from my electric kettle on the weeds over a series of days – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by dousing them with vinegar – the weeds came back.

 

DIY organic weed killer

I’m pretty sure that the weeds just laughed at me by this point. Ha! Ha! Ha! We are mighty! We are indestructible! WE ARE WEEDS!!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Steampunk Dinosaur Decor and Friday Favorites Week 582

I have a bad habit of buying a piece of wall art and not framing it and hanging  because I want to paint a  wall, rearrange a room, or have some grand project that often gets moved down in priority on my project punch list. 

I have bare walls when I could at least have something interesting on them. 

I decided it was time to frame and display this piece I bought at the Columbus Art Festival in the before times. Everybody say Hi to Uncle Morty!


steampunk decorating ideas
Uncle Morty is not the title of the work. I named him Morty, because its a name that brings up the idea of a lovable, life of the party, fun uncle, who miiiiight have a business where he knows a guy and you shouldn't make him mad but probably not because he's always a sweet guy who pulls a quarter out of your ear every time he sees you (maybe.)


Oh and if you are wondering, the friend I went to the Art Festival with when I bought the piece thought I was weird when I bought it and so did my husband when I brought it home.

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

7 Beginner Resin Casting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

I was able to salvage the last builder grade vanity  from my bathroom renovation for my workshop. I want to make it into the miter saw cabinet I desperately need – on wheels!

how to turn a cabinet into a rolling miter saw stand
I love that standard bathroom vanities are the perfect Lisa height work bench

I had to make some repairs to the cabinet to fix the damage I made to it when I removed it. I added a few reinforcements to ensure the cabinet  will take stand up to a heavy saw and before I added four locking casters just like these to the bottom. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) I chose casters I can lock in place to reduce the chance of the miter saw stand rolling backwards when I use the saw. I don’t think that would be a pleasant experience.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Easy Garden Watering Hack and Friday Favorites Week 581

I used to have a hard time not killing plants in my flower, herb, and vegetable gardens. I'd either overwater them or under water them. 

Often I thought a recent summer rain had already watered plants for me because the soil was wet on top but not deep down at the root of the plant. The result? Plant murder. (Unintentional, but it's still death.)

A few years ago, I learned a great little gardening hack on how to know when you need to water a garden that works 100% of the time - use a simple rain gage like this one! (Disclosure: I'm including an affiliate link for your convenience.)


best gardening tip and watering idea
I put my rain gage in a pot in my outdoor container garden.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Easy DIY Wood Crate Storage and Drawer Organizers

In our early just bought a new house and need new stuff to store our old stuff days I turned some vintage fruit crates I discovered neglected in the basement of our old rental into a down and dirty wood crate storage dresser by slapping the drawers from an old  cardboard night stand into the crates and calling it a day. The storage boxes aren’t very pretty but it worked at the time. I had every intension of upgrading to a better solution later.

 You can probably guess that Later never came.

This version of my fruit crate storage dresser is not working for me any more. The supplies inside quickly turn into a jumble that I have to paw through to find the thing I need. The final straw was finding feathers turning up here, there, and everywhere in the drawers and room except in the drawer that is supposed to store them with my hat making supplies. Gah! I need an organization makeover – stat!


 vintage wood crate dresser

I used a hodge podge of baby food jars and such to store beads and jewelry findings that barfed out their drawers. This isn't pretty, but it is honest. An honest hot mess!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

DIY Door Sign and Friday Favorites Week 580

It's funny how you think you come up with a totally new and original idea for a craft or decor project to find out someone (or many someones) have done it too. It's fun to see  how another person put their creative spin on a great mind think alike situation. Case in point:

I added a hanger to a sign I made with this exact Home paw print stencil and added my little creative spin using a woodburning tool like this one to add texture so it looks like the bottom of a dog paw. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

how to stencil and wood burn a Home door sign
I hang the sign on the front door sometimes instead of decorating with a wreath

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

How to Make Easy Storage Bin Labels

I am a famous for storing something in "a better place" and forgetting where I put it. 

And that goes double for my sewing room and craft studio.

I eventually learned that if I take 10 minutes of my time to make a label for an item, I will always put it back where it belongs and save an hour of searching for it later. It also keeps family members from asking me to stop what I'm doing to find household items that are staring them in the face. I tell them to read the label to the bin/caddy/pocket/shelf/whatever.

Genius!

I need to label the new storage bins I'm putting in my craft room. I want them to look cute but they also need to be something I can easily update because my supplies rotate in and out. I considered chalkboard labels like these  but figure the writing will wear off with handling based on other chalkboard labels I use (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.

how to make clip on storage container labels
Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


One thing I like about decluttering and organizing a creative space is I often find a long forgotten cache of supplies that I can use to make or build the custom storage solution I need. In this case, the buried treasure is a bunch of discontinued countertop samples a friend gave me. I'm going to craft those countertop samples into storage bin and box labels and show you how to do it! 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Best Ever Quick and Easy Sewing Pattern Storage and Organization Idea

I store my sewing patterns in a recycled shoebox because it is the width of a sewing pattern envelope.

Also, with a husband who is a long distance runner, I can get a replacement shoe box when I need it on the regular.

It worked for awhile - until it didn’t.

As I’ve done more costuming work, my pattern envelopes are  in all shapes and sizes. On more than one occasion I plopped the whole pattern into a gallon size zipper baggie because the pattern pieces won’t fold to fit back into its envelope. I try to store my sewing patterns by category but they quickly return to their natural disorganized state – a pile busting out of its shoe box(es.)

how to store and organize craft and sewing patterns
Please excuse the carpet that needs vacuuming. That’s what prompted me to move the pile and find a better solution.

This is not working. I need to find a better way to store and organize my sewing patterns that fits in a small, limited craft room space.