Condo Blues: Challenges




Showing posts with label Challenges. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Challenges. Show all posts

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How to Appear Confident When You Don't Feel Confident


When I need a boost of confidence or a push out of my comfort zone in an unfamiliar situation music is my secret weapon.  For example, a power ballad running through my head is all I need to change my mindset and body language to become a confident pack leader in a dog training situation.

When I doubted my ability to relearn how to play my high school instrument, my community band mates pushed me to try playing what I can and wouldn't let me give up on myself. Many of them are teachers and it just goes to show teachers never turn Teacher Mode off. Thank you teacher friends!




Spinning double swing flag routine makes me feel like I'm flying.
! I'll teach you how to make swing flags in a later post.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Romantic and Modern Pink Rose Centerpiece

 Husband likes to surprise me with flowers – often. I’ve gotten decent at arranging flowers by necessity. (I know you feel sorry for me.)  A few times, people have asked me to do flowers for them, most recently for Mother and Father-in-Law’s 50th anniversary party.

By luck I bought the flowers for their centerpieces from ProFlowers because they were having a rose sale. That’s when I clued in that ProFlowers sells flowers you can arrange any way you want.


masuline romantic rose centerpiece


Need a DIY fresh flower Valentine’s Day, wedding, anniversary, or party centerpiece? Keep reading I’ll teach you how I made this one!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One Eco Dress, Three Looks, and a $75 Giveaway!

Happy news! I met my weight loss goal! I am now back into what is considered thedressyOasisdress healthy range of my Body Mass Index (BMI.) I realize BMI measurements and numbers aren’t a perfect indication of health because there are other factors in play such as muscle mass that can skew BMI numbers to the overweight range of a perfectly healthy and fit person.

I’m using BMI as a healthier target range for my height instead of  picking an arbitrary weight or saying that I want be a size 2 like I was in high school. Not realistic and probably unhealthy skinny for my only slightly older than high school body. (I may not lie about my weight but age is fair game!)

Eating a whole foods, no trans fat, no hydrogenated oil, no processed food from a box diet to lose the weight wasn’t difficult. In fact, I’m following the same no bad stuff diet that made me gain the extra 25 pounds I had to lose. I’m proof that if you eat too much of anything, even very good for you things, and get little to no exercise you will gain weight.

Thanks to my trainer and high energy exercise buddy Lacey, I lost the last of those 25 extra pounds. I feel better (especially now that my waist is no longer larger than Husband’s.) I also have a new problem. My clothes don’t fit! I need new duds.


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.

howtobuyadishwasher
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 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.

LaceySummer2014
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?

dowarehouseclubssavemoney



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?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Make a Mini Wood Pallet Butterfly

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Today that challenge came courtesy of Scribble Shop on line craft shop. No, they didn’t challenge me to DIY with a chain saw, or fire, or anything mildly explosive.

 Pity.

Scribble Shop asked if I wanted to participate in an Iron Chef type of craft challenge. Except I didn’t have to go to Japan or compete against Masaharu Morimoto.

Double pity. The original Iron Chef is tops in this house!

ScribbleShop sent me and a group of bloggers a mystery box of supplies from their shop. They challenged me to use everything in the box to make one craft project.

Bitzkrieg helped me open the box.



Friday, January 20, 2012

Clear Your Clutter: Five Temporary Garage Organizers

I’m participating in the Clear Your Clutter Challenge because my garage workshop project is making nothing but clutter in the garage.

I know things will get worse before they get better but I need a temporary fix. I have a big fat bruise on my arm (OW!) when a couple of tool cases leapt from a shelf and cannon balled onto my arms and head during a I-swear-I-put-it-in-the-garage type search. 

A garage clean up and temporary reorganization should put the workshop project back on track. It is either that or post Beware of Falling Power Tools signs all over the garage. Oh, heck I still might.

I want to spend as little money as possible on this project because all of my organization and storage will change in a few months when I build the new garage storage system. My repurposed freebies may not be the prettiest but they are doing the job for now. 

 This is my working plan for final garage project.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

30 DIY Goals for 2012

I learned early on that it’s better in the Spousal Management department if I give Husband a head’s up on a major DIY project. For some crazy reason, the man doesn’t like to come home to surprises that look like this:

Surprise! I’m painting the kitchen! Doesn't it look GREAT?!

The Nester is holding a Home Goals party. In the interest of holding myself accountable for actually doing a planned project instead of plunking my tush in front of DIY Network and only dreaming about it, I made a list of DIY project goals for the year.

Husband, consider this list your head’s up for 2012.

Garage

Yeah, I know I said 2011 was going to be the Year of the Garage Workshop. It accidently turned into the Summer of the Remodeled Garden and Porch which had yummier results than accidentally ingesting sawdust. Although I reserve the right to ingest sawdust at any time in the future because who couldn't use a little more fiber in their diet? 

This looks largely the same except I painted the wall blue.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Organized My Office!

Clutter makes me cranky. Which made it easy to pick a project when Apartment Guide asked me to participate in their Holiday Home Organization Blogger Challenge.  I was sitting at it.

 Before: Clutter Central!

Apartment Guide gave me a budget of $150 dollars for my project. I spent a chunk of the budget on repainting and repairing a thrift store wood filing cabinet to replace the flimsy little guy in the office. Good call on that one because the drawer front snapped off when I opened the drawer on the old cabinet to clean it out for the last time. I can't tell you how happy I was when I chucked that baby into the city recycling bin!

After: Clean and Organized!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trash to Treasure Filing Cabinet

I am the reason we do not have nice things.


 I rebuilt and made over this thrift store filing cabinet after breaking the old one too many times.

Why? Because I snapped the plastic, handle off this filing cabinet drawer almost as soon as we got it home.
Photobucket
Uncle Bob?

My Green DIY Diva powers came to the rescue! I spiffed up a set of sturdy second hand cabinet handles with paint, attached them to the drawer fronts, and Bob’s your uncle. 
  • A little later a drawer broke; Husband kvetched we need a less flimsy cabinet. I fixed the drawer.
  • A year later the bottom drawer broke, Husband kvetched we need a less flimsy cabinet. I fixed the drawer.
  • A few months after that the top drawer broke, Husband kvetched we need a less flimsy cabinet. I fixed the drawer.
A drawer broke again. I agreed. We need a less flimsy filing cabinet.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holiday Home Organization Blogger Challenge and Giveaway

The public areas of our home are generally neat and tidy. The Condo Blues World Headquarters and Thunderdome is not the neat and organized space it should be. Our filing cabinet is woefully inadequate to keep things from exploding onto my desk. I need to get a handle on this because in that pile of papers are blog business receipts and paperwork I need to organize for my taxes in January.

Now that I've embarrassed myself by showing you my messy desk, I HAVE to clean it up.

The office gets a little worse when it comes time to decorate for December because I need a place to stash my current d├ęcor for a month to make room for the holiday stuff. My temporary (as in several years running) solution is to shut the door to the office and not let visitors in.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Make Popsicles!

Last summer in between racing from shop to shop tasting as much locally made ice cream as our stomachs could hold we snarfed down frozen fruit and juice Popsicles with abandon. A box of four lasted two days max.

What can I say? We’re fruit piranhas. 

Sure, I recycled the box and chucked the wood sticks into the compost bin if I didn’t find a reuse for them. The small mountain of unrecyclable plastic wrappers on the other hand, grew exponentially in the kitchen trash can. Not to mention to expense when I started buying Popsicles four boxes at a time to keep up with the demand.

Do you know how much waste that makes?

Lots.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Built a Birdhouse. It's Kinda Insane.

I’ve been sitting on this news for so long, I’m surprised I haven’t burst by now! Craftsman tools asked me to teach a group of mom and dad bloggers how to use power tools at the Craftsman Blogger Summit this week!

Little ol’ ME!?

*Faints*

It’s part of my lifelong campaign to get women to stop making Honey Do lists and start making Do It Yourself Honey! lists.

Blitzkrieg thinks this is a silly goal and I should put my efforts into something nobler like world domination. *sigh* I really wish he would use his powers for good and not evil. I’m trying to teach him but it’s hard…

Enough about our family drama. You want to see my birdhouse, right?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Changed 303,736 Light Bulbs. What Did You Do Today?

Even though I’ve been living a green life for longer than the three years I’ve been blogging about it, I don’t consider myself a dark green blogger or even an expert most days.

Yes, I was on TV last winter but I think that was more of being a crazy freak who keeps her house too cold during winter than being a held up as Big Green Champion. Saving energy is very important to me and I blog about it a lot , but let’s face it, saving energy is not as sexy or unusual as some other areas of green living that get more press.

So I do my daily green thing and try to do my best with what life hands me. If I can make you laugh or make you think or offer you a new tool for your Greening Living Swiss Army Knife, make your home a little prettier or challenge you to personally change 303,736 incandescent light nulbs for CFLs in fourth months then it’s a good day here on Condo Blues. 

“What?! Are you nuts?!” you say, “Do you think I could actually change all of those light bulbs in a such a short amount of time?!”

I sure do. It's easy!

How I Planted 8,209 Trees in Four Months


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Three Great Gift Bag Ideas

Oh gift bags how you make wrapping gifts so speedy! Gift bags are fabulous for wrapping odd shaped gifts like soccer balls and stuffed animals. Gift bags can easily be reused from one year to the next, which makes them an easy and  inexpensive way to go green without being so In Your Face Trying To Send a Message. 

Don’t you just love it when the cheapest and easiest way is the greenest way?

According to an article on Lehman’s blog: “We throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year.  This amounts to 25 million tons of extra trash.”

Wow.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Green Bag Lady

I don’t support laws that ban plastic shopping bags because it ends up hurting people that cannot afford to buy reusable shopping bags. I’d rather a store or city offer incentives for using your own bag because I think you get more flies with honey than vinegar. That’s why I had to interview Teresa VanHatten-Granath when I heard about her Green Bag Lady Project.


In an attempt to make her corner of the world greener, Teresa makes and gives away free cloth shopping bags! The project started in her own college classroom. She now has people using her free cloth shopping bags around the world!


Green Bag Lady Bag Number 111170.


How long have you sewn? How did you get started making shopping tote bags?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trying Recycled Content Toilet Paper, Take Three

Monday I talked about how my family is doing a blind tushie test of two brands of recycled content toilet paper. White Cloud sent us two rolls of toilet paper marked A and B. They also said we should “have fun” with the testing.

Husband and I took this as a cue to do scientific experiments like on Mythbusters. That didn’t work out very well because all of our favorite episodes are the ones that involve blowing stuff up. Apparently they don’t sell C4 and blast shields to just anybody, let alone let you use the your local police bomb range to test durability by blowing up rolls of toilet paper. The nerve!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Remake Your Swag Challenge Link Party

Where some see trash in those free promotional items you get at a street fair, summer festival, or convention, called swag in the PR buiz for Stuff We All Get, I see it as something to remake into treasure.

Now that the summer is almost over - sob! - I have several free stainless steel water bottles I got from various events. I like that the metal bottles keep water colder longer than my BPA free plastic water bottles. However free doesn't always come with cute,  like this water bottle I got from Crystal Light at Blogher.


Free and functional.


A little Modge Podge, scrapbook paper, paper punches, laser printer, and smarty pants attitude later I remade that water bottle into something I want to show off around town.


It says My other water bottle is 10,000 Styrofoam cups.

*Giggle*

Do you think people will laugh with me or beat me with a stick when I take my new water bottle to my next green event?

Let’s see what you came up with! The rules are simple. Use the Linky below to submit your reuse/revamp/remade or swag thing you find useful blog post to Condo Blues. Please put a link at the bottom of your post back to Condo Blues so everyone will know that you are participating in my Remake Your Swag Link Party.

I made a button if you want to use it to make it easy for you!







Condo Blues Remake Your Swag Challenge






Reminder: You can still enter my 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse Book Giveaway until midnight tonight!


I can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with!

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Make a Woven Ribbon and Washer Bracelet

I open the email and sat there, stunned. Martha Stewart Omnimedia invited me to their Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Bloggers' Night Out! party to meet the Martha Stewart creative team!

Mecca!

Mindful Momma said we should make something to wear to the party.

Dare I?

Inspired by the belt on my new dress, I grabbed some washers left over from the cornhole game boards I built in the garage, a bit of ribbon from my sewing stash, and made a woven washer bracelet using A Steno Pad for My Thoughts woven washer necklace tutorial.

Another project that perfectly illustrates my tool girl side and my girly girl crafty side.