Condo Blues: ideas
Showing posts with label ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ideas. 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

Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share this idea with your friends!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Can You Replace Halogen Light Bulbs with LED Light Bulbs?

Photobucket
I light my home office with a row of halogen desk lamps on top of the bookcase wall because our builder didn't install an overhead lighting option.

I chose halogen lights because that's what was available at the time and while halogen light bulbs are physically hotter when they turn on they are more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs. I also hoped that the halogen light bulbs would last longer than the incandescent light bulbs that came with my house and replaced as they burned out with CLFs. LED light bulbs were extremely expensive and not widely available at the time.

That didn't seem to be the case.

Any time I turned on the lights and wondered why it was still dark in the office, I'd see that one or more halogen light bulbs burned out. This happened much more often than in other rooms of the house when I switched over from my CFL light bulbs as they burned out to LED light bulbs now that they are cheaper and more widely available. 

I figured it was time to upgrade my halogen desk lamps (that I still like) to LED desk lamps because this constant bulb changing was getting annoying.

Unfortunately, most of the LED goose neck desk lights I found used a permanent LED light bulb which after 10 or 13 years is going to burn out and I'd have to get rid of four lamps instead of four measly light bulbs. 

OK. Fine. Halogen light bulbs it will be. 
 
Or will it?

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.

Monday, November 22, 2021

A Christmas Story House Tour

A Christmas Story is one of my favorite Christmas movies (I skip the problematic Chinese restaurant scene) because I was a kid living in the Cleveland area where they shot some of the movie. I love looking for the dollops of 1980’s anachronisms like Ralphie’s glasses and Mom’s hair. You can watch the movie A Christmas Story here. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

The house they used in the movie has an interesting history. Before and after they made A Christmas Story a regular family lived in it as a regular house and modernized it accordingly. The current owner of the house saw it for sale on eBay and bought it fully intending to turn back into its movie accurate glory.

This proved a little harder than it first seemed to be because the inside of the house didn’t look like it did in the movie. They shot the interiors on a soundstage in Toronto Canada.

The owners watched A Christmas Story a million times, slowed it down frame by frame, gutted the house,  and recreated the staircase and sets we all know and love. They also put as much care searching for replica furniture and props to furnish it and now you can tour it! 

a christmas story house tour

Save Christmas house tour to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

How to Make a Gnome Costume

I am playing a gnome at a renaissance festival. It’s a fun project because I’m a  second generation Danish American and nisse (what the Danish call gnomes. Some countries also call them tomte) are something we celebrate all year round but especially at Christmas when we thank the nisser (plural for nisse) for protecting the family and helping farms prosper with a bowl of rice porridge with a pat of butter on top on Christmas Eve (similar to American kids leaving cookies and milk out for Santa.) 

That’s why some non Scandinavians call them Christmas Gnomes when in reality, there is no such thing as a Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc. gnome. Gnomes are just gnomes all year round (similar to Irish leprechauns. They are dress and act the same year round too.)

 

Nissa the Gnome Ohio Reniassance Festival 2021
Everyone say hi to Nissa Tomtesdottir the Gnome!

Traditionally gnomes look like a little man (with or without beard) or woman wearing a red hat, a red, blue, or gray Scandinavian peasant tunic/bodice and skirt, and is the about the size of an 8 to 10 year old child. This is what I am using as the start of my women’s gnome costume while making it in a 16th century silhouette with Scandinavian elements (more difficult than it sounds because the Danish national costume is different by region and based on clothing from the 17th to 19th centuries.) 

I have the added challenge of designing a mythical creature described as looking like a small human (at least I have that part down!) like she belongs with a group of Shakespearean fairies who have very elaborate makeup which doesn’t work for a gnome.  I’m required to have rosy red cheeks (which I’d rather not do at all but I’d rather that than being required to airbrush all of my exposed skin a different color) and wear my hair in braids (I bought these cute rose metal hair hooks to hide my modern hair ties.) (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) 


Ohio Renaissance Festival Fairies and Gnome

 Family entertainment from the Fae Family! Sprout, the Seed Fairy (left,) Fawn the Fairy of Fluffy Animals (center,) and me as Nissa the Gnome (right.) Photo courtesy of Steven Kohus

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Fall Chili and Friday Favorites Linky Party 600

 Yesterday was the official start of the Fall Season and the weather decided to cooperate.

With a 20 degree dip in temperature and overcast rainy day. Which makes it a perfect opportunity to brew a cup of tea, break out a cozy afghan, and count the minutes until tonight's chili dinner finishes cooking in the Instant Pot.

Why do they call it chili when it's hot?

Let's get this party started! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

How to Make a Fairy Walking Stick

I will be walking untold miles throughout the day while I’m performing at a 35 acre renaissance festival. I’m thrilled to “people” (with safety precautions) again! 

 

Until the day after a first rehearsal when my legs reminded me how much time I sat around the house in 2020  instead of being active and out and about. Let’s hear it for Epsom salt baths!

 

A walking (or more like hiking towards the end of the day) stick should help. Let’s make one!

 

DIY fairy costume walking staff
Save this costume idea to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Easy DIY Elf, Fairy, Gnome, or Wizard Staff

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Dutch Wood Shoes and Friday Favorites 595

I'm in rehearsal for a show (all things being equal given the current health climate.) I'm hard at work breaking in my new character shoes!

  how to wear wood clogs 

This is an immediately slapped shoes on my feet after opening the box photo. You are supposed to wear thick socks which makes them more comfortable.


I quickly learned why the Dutch call clogs klompin
.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

How to Buy the Correct Size Backpack and Friday Favorites 594

Many parents are buying school supplies before their children start school (a few schools have already started!) It's much easier to tote that stuff back and forth to school, or anywhere really, in a backpack. 

 I almost always use my old college backpack instead of giant purse to hold our stuff. I almost always end up with a backache and at least one migraine during the trip too. I thought that is just the way it is when wearing backpack and after some research, I realized I couldn't be more wrong!

Once I learned to look for certain strap configurations, where the backpack sits on your back, and the proper size for my height (bigger and tiny small is not always better) I bought a backpack that hasn't given me issues and wrote a guide so you know what to look for too. You can read my comfortable book bag backpack buying guide 7 Tips for Buying a Comfortable Backpack here.

 

Let's get this party started! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Saving Tomato Plants from End Rot and Friday Favorites 593

The tomatoes on my plants started to ripen with a bad case end blossom rot last month because there wasn't enough calcium in the soil to allow the tomato plant to grow well (this was news to me.) 

I gave my tomatoes a good dose of this exact organic tomato fertilizer to get the calcium party started. I also started watering my tomato plants with a few teaspoons of powdered milk dissolved into my watering can. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) 

The only reason I used powdered not fat milk instead of watering down regular milk is I bought the no fat milk by mistake and didn't realize it until I used to make a batch of failed yogurt. Turns out my yogurt's loss is my tomato's gain.

After a week of having more little fails than successes laying bathroom tile and sourcing material for a new costume commission, I finally have a big, fat, huge win! My tomatoes are ripening and there isn't any black rot eating away at the end of the tomato! 

how to save tomato plants from end blossom rot
My tomatoes are on the small side for Roma tomatoes but that probably has to do to the lack of calcium in the soil from the time I planted them. At least I know what not to do next year!

  

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Friday Favorites Linky Party 591

Let's get this party started! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

 


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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!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Container Garden Organization Ideas and Friday Favorites Week 586

 Lacey realized that all of the plants in our patio garden are herbs and vegetables and tries to sneak  snacks from the small pots whenever we go outside. I needed a fast (and hopefully less expensive) solution to organize all of the new plants we bought from the garden center.


how to organize a container garden
The white tubes are watering tubes. You read my DIY self watering planter tutorial here

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, June 3, 2021

Edible Landscaping Groundcover Ideas and Friday Favorites Week 584

Last weekend was a long holiday weekend here in the US and my husband and I spent a chunk of it digging in the dirt. We want to add more color to our front flowerbeds which is largely an oasis of black mulch. Wood mulch isn't a bad thing. Mulching protects the soil from eroding and helps keep moisture in the soil after watering. Wood mulch also breaks down over time and add nutrients to the soil - which a good thing for our clay soil but also a bag thing because we have keep buying heavy bags of mulch. Anything we can do to less the chance of the yearly hefting mulch into the landscaping beds is a good thing in our book.

We didn't have to look any further than our own backyard for a practical zone 6 living groundcover solution: transplant the golden oregano overflowing its pots in the container garden to the front yard.  Thyme is another fast growing perianal garden groundcover we could use or mix in with the golden oregano but we don't cook with thyme as often as we do with oregano. We're hopping the yellow in the ground cover will make the lavender blooms pop a bit more.

Please don't die.

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. 

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.


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