Condo Blues: How to
Showing posts with label How to. Show all posts
Showing posts with label How to. Show all posts

Thursday, May 19, 2022

How to Make Flower Pots with Drainage Holes into Self Watering Planters

I have two large planters in my patio garden that have drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. I grow vegetables in them but they they need a little more attention in the watering department than the rest of my container garden that is planted in self watering flower pots.

I tried using these terra cotta watering stakes   to get the drainage pots on the same watering schedule as the self watering pots with varying degrees of success. I think the watering stakes work better when I’m going to be away from the house for a bit than as a full time self watering solution. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

I’m redesigning and adding more space to grow herbs and vegetables on my patio. Since I am removing and remixing the current potting soil with new in all of my planters, I figure it is a good time to plug the drainage holes in the green planters and convert them into self watering planters.

How to Make a Self Watering Container Garden

how to make easy self watering garden planters

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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

How to Make an Upcycled Lucet Crochet Fork

While drooling over wood crochet hooks and doodads on line (talk to me folks about yarn bowls. Are they good for large skeins of yarn?) I came across this weird sling shot shaped thing called a lucet (it is also called a lucet fork) that has been used since the Viking era to make cords and I-cords.

I didn’t think much about it other than a lucet looks like a cool tool (a lucet looks like this ) I may not use often enough to justify it taking up space in my cramped craft room. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

Until later on when I needed a drawstring for a crochet project and wanted something less bumpy than a row or two of traditional crochet stitches.

how to make an use a lucet fork
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You can braid/crochet/knit the round style cord that I wanted to use as a drawstring on a lucet. Which I didn’t have, couldn’t buy locally, and really didn’t want to wait for it to be delivered because I really wanted to finish this quick little bit and call the project done.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

How to Lower High Utility Bills

When I moved into my first apartment it was in the Spring. My water, electric, and heating bills were low and manageable since the apartment didn't have air conditioning.

That changed drastically during the Winter. My natural gas bill in particular jumped to crazy high proportions even though my roommate and I wore layers and kept the thermostat at a reasonable temperature. Of course the first time we had a storm and the windows shook because they had so many air leaks you could see daylight through parts of the window and frame, we realized that our heating money was literally going out the windows. 

We tried to seal the air leaks with window insulation kits like this kind. It helped a little but the windows were so far gone that the windows AND the plastic violently shook in the wind as our natural gas bill started to climb. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience,)

Welcome to paying bills as an adult. High heating bills in the winter, high electric and water bills in the summer (if you have air conditioning and a garden.)

I learned my lesson and after some research, learned how to lower my water, gas, and electric bills for the year with a phone call.

how to budget and save money on utilities
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The One Easy Thing You are Not Doing to Lower Utility Bills

Thursday, February 10, 2022

How to Seal Tile Grout

I get asked all of the time, do I really need to seal grout?

The answer is yes. 

Yes, you do.

Grout is generally made from a mix of water, sand, and cement (unless you are installing tile with small grout lines like mine which required unsanded grout.) Which means the finished product will dry with microscopic spaces in between the sand/cement and is porous. Water and liquids can seep through and cause mold and mildew on your subfloor and trust me when I say this, it is NOT a fun thing to remove and replace.



This is only one small part of the moldy bathroom subfloor I had to remove and replace. 0/10 do not recommend.


Not to mention, even when dry, if the grout is not sealed it is very easy to remove by getting it wet. That's great when you need to clean hazy tile after grouting it but not great for long term wear and tear. This is why you need to add a sealant to protect the grout from liquids and such.

Fortunately, sealing grout lines couldn't be easier. Here's how to do it.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

How to Make a Fairy Ivy Leaf Parasol

I’m performing a fae (a fairy. Well, actually, I’m a gnome) character at an outdoor renaissance festival. True to a gnome’s (and my own) Scandinavian roots, I’m fair skinned and burn easily in the sun. I’m also not fond of standing out in the rain without an umbrella either. 

In the past, I carried a waterproof bamboo parasol but that is not really going to work for the over the top Shakespearean fairy esthetic I need to create. Can we talk about how difficult it is to design a mythical creature described as looking like a human the size of an 8 year old boy and  looks like she belongs with a group of fairies who look like natural elements like this this acorn green man wall decoration (you can buy it here.) (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) Elizabethan fairies look less human and more like trees, flowers, animals with a humanish face. The more human-looking Tinkerbell type of fairy we are more used to came about during the Victorian era.

 

I figure the best way to do that is make a waterproof canvas bamboo parasol in the shape an ivy leaf.

 

diy fairy ivy leaf parasol
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How to Make a Waterproof Bamboo Parasol

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Greatest Waterproofing Spray Can Hack of All Time

I made a new canvas cover for an outdoor umbrella. Naturally I wanted to waterproof the canvas. If I can keep the sun from fading the color, that would be nice too.

The most eco friendly way to waterproof fabric is to coat it in melted beeswax. It's a messy process and  I'm afraid the wax coating will melt in the high heat days of summer we like to describe as Hell's Front Porch.

A fabric waterproofing spray is the easiest and least messy way to go. Since I am doing this project outside while wearing a dust mask, I used this exact Scotchgard Sun and Water Shield Spray because it repels water and UV ray resistant. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) Although truthfully, I wasn't looking forward to the finger cramps and pain and uneven coating result of using a traditional aerosol spray can - until I hacked it!

When I noticed the button on the can of Scotchguard looked like it was the same size the large button on a can of spray paint, I had a flash of inspiration and hoped it would work. I made my aerosol spray can pain free by grabbing this exact wide button spray paint trigger, excuse me comfort grip from the garage and attached it to the Scotchguard can. It fit! 

 

how to spray scotchguard waterproofing spray evenly
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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

How to Machine Embroider Leather and Pleather for Beginners

My new Bernette sewing machine says it can sew everything from light chiffon fabric to leather. I need a new belt bag/pouch and figure this is a good project to get my feet wet  and lean how to sew leather.

Since everything worth doing is worth over doing (and I bought a cute machine embroidery file from Urban Threads) I am going to machine embroider the leather before I cut and sew it into a purse!

 

How to machine embroider leather for beginners
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I admit, I had concerns about sewing and embroidering leather. If you sew a mistake and remove the stitches the holes left behind in the leather hide will not  close like fabric will. But with practice, patience, and a few sewing hacks, you can embroider leather and the results will look fabulous!

7 Tips and Hacks for Sewing Leather, Suede, and Vegan Leather on a Home Sewing Machine

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Why Are My Tomatoes Rotting on the Bottom?

I’m attempting to grow tomatoes in this year’s garden. I say attempt because I haven’t had much luck in the way of getting a plant to give me more than a handful of tomatoes any time I plant tomatoes.

I am determined that this summer will be different. I read everything I could find on how to grow tomatoes. I bought a more mature tomato plant instead of attempting from seed and upped the watering schedule.

I was excited to see more  blossoms than I’ve ever had on a tomato plant. I cheered when they grew into green tomatoes.  I was overjoyed when I plucked the first red tomato. Finally I broke our tomato curse!

Until I turned the tomato over and found this.

how to prevent blossom end rot in the garden
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Blossom end rot!

Vegetable Garden Blossom End Rot What it is, How it Happens, and How to Fix It

Thursday, July 15, 2021

How to Make Easy DIY Compost Tea and Friday Favorites 590

If you garden, one of the best zero waste ways to deal with food scraps is to compost them. 

So what do you do when everything breaks down into a lovely full bin of compost? 

Make compost tea and fertilize your lawn and garden the natural way! My husband and I couldn't have turned the sad chunk of clay pretending to be our yard into dark, rich soil without adding compost to the soil when we plant and compost tea fertilizer later in the season to keep them growing.

 

If you can steep a tea bag in a cup of hot water you have all of the skills necessary to brew compost tea. You can read my How to Make Compost Tea Fertilizer the Easy Way tutorial here. Your plants will thank you for it!

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

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Ten Things You Need to Know to Level and Repair an Uneven Floor

After  I replaced the moldy wood subfloor in my master bathroom, I checked it with a torpedo level (a torpedo level looks like this,) declared it level, and promptly passed out in bed from exhaustion. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) The next day, I double checked the new subfloor with the correct tool for the job, a large I-beam level (an I-beam level looks like this.)

The new wood subfloor is not level.

There are a few random areas where the floor isn’t flat, mainly where some of the seams of plywood sheets meet - a pretty common thing when you are replacing a subfloor (especially if it is the first time you’ve removed and replaced a subfloor.)

You can’t lay tile on an uneven floor. Well, you could, but the grout and tile will eventually crack and break in those areas and you’ll curse the day you were born when you have to rip everything out (probably) and do what you should have done in the first place. Fix the uneven wood subfloor with a self leveling underlayment coating for floors.

how to fix an uneven sloping floor

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

How to Spring Clean Your Dryer Vent and Friday Favorites Week 577

I'm Spring Cleaning inside of the house, like ya do, and I noticed one thing I need to Spring Clean on the outside of my house - my dryer vent!

DIY dryer vent cleaning
I'll spare you the current gory state of dryer lint build up and give you this one when I first installed my energy efficient dryer vent.

Even if you clean the link trap/screen in your dryer after every load lint can still build up in the dryer duct, vent, and end cap. Dryer lint is highly flammable (which is one the reasons why people use it to make homemade fire starters) and according to experts it doesn’t take much for accumulated dryer lint to cause a dryer fire. Fortunately cleaning a dryer vent is a quick and easy thing to do. Learn how in my post How to Clean a Dryer Vent the Easy Way! you'll be glad you did.

I showed you my project, now you show me yours! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

How to Make a Recycled Wine Cork Wall Organizer

After putting the job off as long as humanly possible, it is time to clean and reorganize my craft room.  Every craft supply and tool found an organized storage space with the exception of my embroidery hoops. I kept moving them place to place during the decluttering project. It didn’t help matters that I added several big and hard to store machine embroidery hoops to the mix when I got a sewing and embroidery machine for my birthday.  

how to organize machine embroidery hoops

Her name is Bernadette. She can sew everything from chiffon to leather and has so many settings and features it is like flying a rocket ship. Cool, I always wanted to be an astronaut! 


 I sat and looked around the room trying to find a place for more storage. After quite a bit of time (I may have also been streaming Netflix) I found it – blank wall space under a shelf.  Great!

One of the things I like about cleaning, decluttering, and organizing a creative space is rediscovering supplies (fancy talk for I forgot I had that!)  I almost always end up using the found objects to make storage and organizers for the item I uncovered that don’t have a good store bought solution including this one. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

DIY Harlequin Jester Costume and Friday Favorites Week 575

Happy April Fool's Day!!!

As a professional jester in the Before Times, I consider April 1st to be My Day.  I don't play tricks or jokes on people, I just walk around extra happy and foolish. See?

how to make a harlequin jester costume
This costume is my first and probably last quilting project because it took four months to build!

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

Monday, March 22, 2021

DIY Compost Station

When someone asks why we started composting, my husband and I say it’s because we had to because all we had for garden was clay and zero topsoil. We sang the condo blues over how very little would grow in that pretending to be soil, researched how to amend it, and experimented with composting in a DIY compost bin.

I made our first compost bin by drilling a bazillion holes in a black plastic trash can. We loaded it up with food scraps and paper from our paper shredder and in about a year we had compost! We added the homemade compost to our soil and after awhile our tan clay soil started to turn black with nutrients. I practically dance the first time I dug a hole and found an earthworm – it is another indicator that the soil is improving!

 

We take our composting very seriously. Why do you ask?

 

And we’ve been composting ever since.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

How to Make an Easy Indoor Fairy Door

Columbus has many visit this type of business, stamp a passport, and collect a prize trails. We have a local coffee trail, craft brewery trail, a local small business trail, and a delicious donut trail among others. I recently learned about a cool one in Dublin, Ohio – The Fairy Door Trail. Dublin goes completely nuts for all things Irish,  Celtic, and St. Patrick’s Day. So it makes sense that they start a new trail by putting new fairy doors in their local small businesses in March for St Patrick’s Day just in case a leprechaun would like to use it. Which is mighty thoughtful.

I fell into an Internet fairy door rabbit hole after that and wanted to add another fairy door to my house just in case a fairy, gnome, leprechaun, or hopefully - a Borrower - would use it. I loved the Borrower books and movies as a kid and I often think a Borrow probably borrowed that thing I can’t find (which is way more fun than acknowledging I misplaced it.) If you don’t know what I’m talking about  you can read The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers series here. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience)

 

It’s National Craft Month so why not make an indoor fairy door (or the mythical sprite of your choice) to celebrate?

 

Let’s make stuff!

How to Make an Indoor Fairy, Leprechaun, Gnome, Elf, or Borrowers Door


how to make an indoor fairy door

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

How to Put a Removable Pompom on a Knit or Crochet Hat and Friday Favorites Linky Party Week 568

I'm attempting to crochet a winter hat. It isn't going very well. I've had to rip out stitches/start over at least six times! At this rate I'll probably finish it by the middle of summer.

In the meantime, it has been snowing all week and my head is cold.

I found a cute chunky knit with a warm fleece liner similar to this Heat Holders thermal hat on winter clearance. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) The price was more than right but it didn't have a cute pompom like the style of  hat I will hopefully make.

quick and easy DIY pompom hat
BRRRRRRRR!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

DIY Dollar Store Valentine's Day Wreath and Friday Favorites Linky Party Week 566

February will be here in no time and with it brings Valentine's Day! If you are looking for something a little different for your DIY Valentine's Day decor my glass bead heart wreath is just the thing! It is quick, easy, and best of all inexpensive because everything I used to make it came from the dollar store. Woot.

easy dollar store valentine's day wreath

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

12 Real World Ways I Went Zero Waste This Week

Some of the things they don’t tell you about trying to reduce your household trash with zero waste living is that it depends a lot on where and how you want to live. Most of the year’s worth of garbage in jar folks have access to big fill your own container stores, year round farm markets, or huge gardens where they can grow almost everything  they need. Not all of us are that lucky,  would rather not drive all over the place, or crunched the numbers and found some the prices in those shops sky high. *raises hand*


But’s not to say that zero waste is impossible!  Instead try the more realistic goal of concentrating on reducing your household waste than making it absolute zero. By focusing on reusing, the Rule of Half, recycling, reducing, and composting (when the bin isn’t frozen shut) my family has reduced our weekly household waste to approximately one grocery store size shopping bag (ish. We reuse any packaging, dog food, etc.  bags for garbage which means the size varies) a week. We average a 3/4 full recycling bin every two weeks. We also give ourselves a break if our output is more than that because we have seasons and that can determine what we can do and how we do it.


To give you some realistic ways to reduce your household waste (and possibly save some money doing it) I made a list of the zero waste practices, tips, and tricks I do in a normal week to give you some ideas and jump start your thinking machines to find a zero waste solution that works for you!

 

12 real world zero waste tips
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Sunday, November 8, 2020

How to Make Bottle Gnome Christmas Decorations

much invisible because that’s the way the tomte like it. You don’t want to make a nisse mad because it they really feel like getting even, their bite is poisonous.

So personally, I think it is best to decorate with the not so fickle recycled variety and make quick and easy bottle Christmas gnome decorations! Although, just like the Irish leprechaun, Danish gnomes don’t go away after the holiday and you can decorate with gnomes all year round if you like.

 

how to make Christmas gnome decorations
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This is a very forgiving Christmas craft project because the way you make your gnome is only limited to your imagination and what craft supplies you have on hand or want to use for this project.

Monday, October 19, 2020

How to Make Comfortable Padded Headphone Covers

I found a set of headphones with a microphone I forgot I had in that random box of cords you’re supposed to have when you hit 30. The foam ear covers where deteriorated but the microphone windscreen was fine. What good luck I thought! I don’t have to by a new pair! I used them for my next Zoom meeting. 

Of which, the last half an hour was the longest of my life because the bare headphones hurt my ears. OW!

 

how to make replacement headphone covers
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I  went into my craft studio, gathered materials, popped on an audiobook (I use Audible. You can Try Audible and Get Two FREE Audiobooks here,) and started to play. In the end I had new cute and comfortable ear covers for my headphones. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

 

Let’ do this!

How to Make Replacement Headphone Covers