Condo Blues: frugal living
Showing posts with label frugal living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugal living. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

How to Waterproof a Nylon Camping Tent

Last year the tent floor leaked in a few spots of water here, even though we put a tarp down first. We let the tent air out and dry in the garage before putting it away for the year. Can you add extra waterproofing to a tent and floor? 

Yes you can! Here’s how.  

how to waterproof a leaking tent
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Selecting the Right Waterproofing Products


Before diving into the actual waterproofing process, it's crucial to select the right products that will effectively provide a waterproof barrier for your nylon camping tent. With so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the right products for your tent.

First, consider the type of waterproofing product you want to use. There are two main types: 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Rain Barrel Planter Renovation!

One of the first garden improvement projects I did after we bought our condo was to install a rain barrel that looks like a rock in my front yard. I figured (correctly) that if my rain barrel looks more like a lawn ornament I wouldn’t get the stink eye from my neighbors or my Homeowner’s Association.

But mostly I wanted something that looks nice since I have to look at it.

The only downside is that the rain barrel is one solid piece and almost impossible to clean when leaves and whatnot block the spigot from the inside of the rain barrel. After many years of service, the rain barrel started to leak. Instead of trying to repair it again, I decided to replace it with this exact decorative rain barrel planter that is easier to clean and winterize. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)


how to install a rain barrel
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Friday, July 29, 2022

How to Dye Fabric Shoes and Sandals

I needed a pair of sandals. After a fair bit of shopping I found a pair of wedges that fit (this is harder to do since I have to shop in the kid’s department) but are the wrong color. However the price was cheap enough that I thought I’d try my hand at dying a pair of the white shoes black and other pair brown – the colors I wanted.

I’ve dyed 100% cotton fabric shoes. I’ve also dyed suede shoes using this exact suede dye with great success. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) Dying these sandals will be a bit more challenging because they are a cotton and synthetic fabric blend and all of the fabric dyes I’ve used up until now require 100% natural fiber fabric.

 Can you dye polyester fabric and synthetic fibers? Yes you can! Here’s how.

 

How to dye fabric shoes and sandals the easy way
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How to Dye Cotton Blend Shoes

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

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

How to Recycle Wax Candles the Quick and Easy Way!

There is nothing I enjoy more than an evening on the sofa snuggling with Lacey, enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and the sight and smell of a candle burning in the living room. Hygge at its finest!

Also, burning a scented candle clears after dinner cooking smells which means I’m content and practical. Go me.

I always seem to have a decent sized chunk of wax left when my candle wicks burn out. I’d look at the candle jar and think someday I should melt the wax down and make a new candle out of it. A few times I did but mostly I didn’t. 

Making new candles out of old candle wax usually involves rigging up a double boiler with a can in water in a pot on the stove or digging through the hard wax to remove the metal wick tab so I can melt the leftover soft vegetable candle wax in short microwave bursts. It was much easier to put the spent candle in a box with its comrades and light a new candle from my small stash and invoke a Someday that never comes.

Quick, Easy, and Cheap DIY Candle

how to recycle old candles into new ones

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Someday came in the form of a crazy freak storm that took down electric power lines all over the city and we sat in the dark for days on end. Naturally, I had more used up candle nubs than I had candles to burn for light during that time. I figured it was time to come up with a quick and easy way to recycle old candle wax into new candles so I wouldn’t be sitting in the dark again. Also, it would allow me to enjoy the scented candle wax I never can seem to find the next time I need to buy candles.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

How to Repair a Broken Zipper the Easy Way!

The zipper split on my down winter coat. I’m fortunate to have another winter coat to wear but I always grab the down coat when Lacey needs to go outside and the temperature plummets, especially when there is a negative wind chill factor.

Fortunately the zipper got stuck at a point that I could wriggle out of the coat and pull it off over my head. I tried zipping and unzipping the coat. That zipper was stuck. It would not move.

No worries! Fixing a split zipper is a quick, easy, and no sew fix. You don’t need to replace the zipper. You don’t have to take anything apart. All you need is a pair of needle nose pliers and 5 minutes of your time.

Or 15 minutes if you have to hunt for your pliers to do the job. Ahem.

how to fix a stuck zipper
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How to Repair a Split Zipper the No Sew Way!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

10 Zero Waste Craft Projects that also Save Money

I recently read an article claiming that zero waste living doesn’t have to be expensive.

That immediately said to an interviewed college student who said that they couldn’t afford a $20 zero waste made from adopted unicorn tears deodorant that the student just needs to change their attitude because they are buying better and more expensive stuff. 

Because apparently the superior feeling of spending more money on low waste deodorant outweighs the reality of the starving student   having enough money for school books, tuition, food, and shelter I guess?

The author also said that no one who wants to go low waste (which is a more accurate description than the search engine friendly term zero waste) does it to save money.  It really burns my cookies that when confronted with the reality of price, a zero waste expert ignores it and tells you to buy it anyway when they are claiming zero waste living doesn't have to be expensive. That's how zero and low waste living gets the (wrong) perception that its only for the privileged!

10 ways to make zero waste save money

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My family is practically debt free because we don’t waste things. As we started switching from disposables to reusables the amount of trash we make plummeted and extra dollars accumulated in the bank.

For example it cost zero dollars to stop using plastic zipper baggies and plastic wrap for sandwiches and leftovers and start using the containers with lids (many repurposed) I already had. I had no idea how much money we wasted on that stuff until we didn’t need to buy it anymore - and you could see a serious dent in how much landfill trash it kept out of our bin.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Easy DIY Small Space Under Sink Water Filter Friday Favorites Linky Party 532

My mini DIY project for the week was decided for me by my old water filtration system because it started to leak after I changed the filter. After some tinkering, some Googling, and tinkering some more, the only solution was to replace the whole thing. Which lead to more Googling and researching for the best under sink water filter for small spaces like our condo. 

Since our water tests at a good quality, we don't need a super duper reverse osmosis water filter system. Good thing because there isn't room under the kitchen sink for one. I didn't look at whole house water filter systems because I have even less room to install one of those on the water main and frankly all of our drinking and cooking water comes from the kitchen sink.


easy DIY undersink water filter installation
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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

12 Knit and Crochet Dishcloth, Washcloth, and Scrubby Patterns

I’m  attempting to phase out disposable kitchen sponges and scrubbers because you’re supposed to throw them out after a week or so and most hacks to clean them actually cause more bacteria to grow on them – ew!

That adds up to a lot of kitchen sponges in the trash and if I'm lucky, compost bin.*sad face*

When I hand wash dishes I’m trying to with reusables over disposables. I’m currently washing dishes with reusable  Skoy cloths (learn how you can wash them in the dishwasher here)  and reusable Paperless kitchen pot scrubbers you can also wash in the dishwasher (learn more here.) We also use this cast iron chainmail cast iron scrubber to clean sticky stuff from our cast iron pans. (Disclosure: I am including some affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


And most recently, I’m washing up with a set of handmade dish wash clothes my mother in law made and gave me for Christmas. The cotton dishcloths are quickly becoming my favorite (if there is such a thing about having a favorite pot scrubber. Oh, the joys of adulthood!) because I can easily pop them in the washing machine a couple of uses and pull out a clean one lickety split.


Save this list of easy crochet and knitting patterns to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

Her thoughtful gift has me toying with picking up crochet again (something I haven’t done since I was a kid) or maybe actually finishing a project on that knitting loom (a knitting loom looks like this) I bought and gave up on. Which in that case, making dish cloths, wash cloth, and pot scrubber are the perfect project to practice knit and crochet patterns!