Condo Blues: 2024

Friday, April 12, 2024

Quick and Easy Lavender Bath Salt Recipe for Sore Muscles and Itchy Skin

No matter how well I try to protect myself from my pollen allergies, I often end up with itchy skin and sore muscles after a day spent tending to plants in my garden.

That’s when I like to indulge in my favorite bedtime ritual. I find that the best way I found to soothe itchy skin and sore muscles is with a nice, relaxing bath with soothing DIY bath salts.

This easy recipe combines Epson and sea salts, known for their muscle-relaxing properties, with baking soda, which can sooth itchy and irritated skin, and is quick and easy to make. It also is a fantastic handmade gift idea for anyone in need of a little pampering.

Homemade lavendar bath soak gift idea
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Friday, March 29, 2024

Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts is Broken and Here’s How to Fix It

If you've ever wondered why Joann Fabric and Crafts corporate office seems to make purposefully terrible business decisions, let me assure you – it's not in your head. The truth is, the upper management at Joann’s has a long history of being completely out-of-touch with their stores and customers. This finally led to the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2024.

Joann Fabrics made 210.9 million to 212.9 million in profit dollars and added 9 million new customers by the end of the 2020 fiscal year.  A lot of this is due to 2020 lock downs when people were turning to old and new hobbies to pass the time. If Joann's corporate was smart and paid attention to what their customers want and need, Joann’s would still be riding this customer wave, but they didn’t.

Going from being profitable to bankruptcy in four short years takes a lot of talent in upper management to screw up a company that much. Corporate tries to explain it away by saying customers are skipping discretionary spending, but that’s only a tiny piece of the puzzle. Do you know what people do in tough times? Make, repair, or upcycle things instead of buying a new one.  There is a reason visible mending is a popular trend right now! It sure would be nice to buy a cute iron on patch at Joann’s to fix my favorite pair of jeans but I can’t. Those shelves at my store are practically bare and have been for a long time.

Joann Fabrics files for bankruptcy March 2024

I took these photos of my local Joann Fabrics store in February 2024. Please share this article with your friends!

Friday, March 8, 2024

How to Replace a Folding Camp Stool Seat

I bought two folding camp stools to use as foot stools on my front porch last year. I like that the folding stools are versatile. I don’t like that Michael's didn’t have two with matching fabric. Not to mention the fabric is pretty cheesy and cheap.

Let’s fix that.

 

how to replace a folding camp stool seat
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It’s time for a folding camp stool makeover!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Easy Coat Closet Organization Makeover!

Our coat closet is supposed to be for coats and hats, but it turns into a big mess because we store all kinds of things in there. I regularly clean and organize it, but it always ends up messy again. The closet organizer that came with our condo isn't good enough because we keep more than just coats and winter gear in there.

 This coat closet needs better organization and a makeover! 

 

hall coat closet organization ideas
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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

DIY Stylish Throw Blanket Storage

On cold nights, I find myself reaching for one of the many handmade throw blankets I have scattered throughout my house. Lacey, my dog, is drawn to these cozy blankets like a magnet.  In fact, she loves them so much that she often takes over the entire blanket, leaving me no choice but to grab a second one for myself. Which is why more often than not, I use a throw blanket.

As a result of the crafty women in my family, I have amassed quite the collection of hand-knit and crochet throws. However, storing them in our coat closet has become a chaotic challenge.

disorganized coat closet before
Coat closet BEFORE - Yikes!

Our coat closet is a disaster! It's overflowing with random items, and the blankets contribute to the chaos. I knew I needed a better storage solution for our beloved handmade throws.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Easy Beginner Women's Hat and Mittens Crochet Patterns

I am always on the lookout for unique and stylish winter accessories. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the perfect winter hat in stores. That's when I turned to Pinterest, where I stumbled upon the ideal beanie - but as a crochet pattern, not for sale. With the help of my talented mother-in-law, I rediscovered the art of crocheting, which I had learned as a child from my grandmother.

I spent countless hours perfecting my skills, starting with simple wash and dust cloths and gradually working my way up to a scarf made from practice yarn. Finally, I felt confident enough to tackle the hat pattern that started the relearning process, so I splurged on some luxurious alpaca blend yarn (you can buy alpaca blend yarn similar to the type I used here ) and followed Crochet Dreamz's DIY Crochet Hat pattern the Jenna Beanie. To add a touch of fun, I topped it off with a leopard print pom pom (you can buy similar faux fur pom poms like I used here.) (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

 

But then, as fate would have it, I finished the hat just in time for Spring. So it sat untouched until this December, when I finally had the chance to wear a winter hat. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait! The chunky alpaca yarn keeps me toasty warm, and the softness of the fibers is the most luxurious I've ever felt (and I have many, many knit and crochet gifts that I love and use.) 

 

easy beginner womens crochet winter hat pattern

This is the warmest winter hat I own
 

Some may argue that I should have used 100% alpaca fiber yarn for this project, but as someone who is forgetful when it comes to chucking all of the laundry from the hamper and into the washer and dryer, I prefer blends that will survive a machine wash. 

 

With one skein of yarn left over, I was in search of a one skein project that I could work on while traveling. That's when I discovered Make and Do Crew's 3-Hour Crochet Mittens pattern. I've always struggled to find gloves that fit my small hands, so I was excited to try my hand at crocheting my own. Though the pattern proved to be a little more challenging than I anticipated, I still managed to complete a cozy pair of custom size mittens (which took me longer than three hours, because I crochet slow.) 

 

easy beginner crochet mitten pattern

I am smitten with my chunky crochet mittens!
 

I also learned through this project that the best way for me to actually finish a crochet project is to be either be trapped in an airport or in a metal tube hurtling through the sky. Good to know. 

 

 

easy womens crochet hat and mitten pattern
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Wednesday, January 17, 2024

How to Repair an Adjustable Dress Form

Lola, my trusty adjustable dress form mannequin, has been through some wear and tear. Her cover is peeling and her base is constantly falling over. It's no wonder, really. After so many years of being poked and prodded with pins I’d be a bit tipsy and unglued too.

Poor Lola.

Lola is still usable and I especially rely my dress form’s adjustability and functionality for commissioned sewing projects. She just needs a little makeover and refurbish that keeps her adjustable and not as a decoration. 

 DIY dressmaker form makeover

The sewing mannequin's plastic dials are difficult to adjust and need attention too.

 To renovate my adjustable dressmaker mannequin I decided to start at the bottom and work my way up.