Condo Blues: natural




Showing posts with label natural. Show all posts
Showing posts with label natural. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How to Permanently Kill Weeds in a Sidewalk or Driveway the Easy Way!

I have an annoying group of weeds that grow in the space between my garage door and driveway. I don’t want to use commercial weed killer because I don’t want use that kind of stuff around my dog and we also have a bunch of neighborhood kids that use our driveways as turnarounds spots for their bikes, scooters, and such. I try to garden as organically as I can.

 

Also, commercial weed killer containers are so big I doubt I’d use it all.


I tried all of the normal natural weed killers that people with green thumbs swear work:

 

  • I pulling the weeds by digging out the roots and removing the plant – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by pouring hot water from my electric kettle on the weeds over a series of days – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by dousing them with vinegar – the weeds came back.

 

DIY organic weed killer

I’m pretty sure that the weeds just laughed at me by this point. Ha! Ha! Ha! We are mighty! We are indestructible! WE ARE WEEDS!!!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Super Silky Oh So Fluffy Coco Butter Body Butter Recipe

My latest batch of liquid soap came together beautifully. That gave me the courage to retry making the coco butter soap recipe from this soap making book that I messed up so horribly it came out like Flubber. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) I learned from my mistakes and had e a perfect batch of coco butter soap cooking in the slow cooker. I also had a wee bit of melted coco butter and coconut oil leftover – too little to use it for soap, too much to throw away. I am just about out of moisturizer and coco butter is one of my favorite types of lotion and body butter. Hey, let’s make some!

Except.

I don’t like how my previous homemade body butters made coconut oil eventually lose their fluffy texture, the oils started to separate,  and coconut oil turn grainy in the jar.

So much so that I told myself the next time I make it, it will not include coconut oil as an ingredient and that I’d make a lotion instead of a body butter. (Lotion= moisturizing oils/butters+emulsifier+ distilled water. Body butter= moisturizing oils/butters only.)

Which I remembered after I had measured and combined the melted coconut oil, coco butter, and vitamin E oil in the measuring cup I use for water. D’oh!

Can these homemade moisturizer ingredients be saved? Yes! Keep reading to find out how!

All is not lost! First up, using a high speed stick blender or mixer (like a like this KitchenAid Stand Mixer) over a hand mixer will help loads but to really keep the ingredients fluffy and from separating you need to use an emulsifier because well, that’s what emulsifiers were born to do. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

How to Make 6 DIY Cooling Body Spray Recipes (Hydrosols)

Summer is hot.

Really hot.

Add a big dollop of Ohio humidity and it feels ridiculously stupid hot.

All I can think of when the heat index makes the air temperature feel like it is 105 degrees outside (like yesterday. Ugh!) is how nice it would be if I could accessorize my outfit of the day with a wearable air conditioner.

Which  I can, sort of, if I make and use a quick, easy, and cheap body cooling spray that feels like an air conditioner in a bottle! Or if you are not the DIY type, you can buy a refreshing cooling spray here (I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


how to make 6 natural essential oil cooling hydrosol spray recipes
Pin this post for later! Share it with your friends!

Six Quick and Easy Essential Oil Cooling Spray Recipes

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

How to Naturally Kill Grubs and Japanese Beetles with Milky Spore

When we bought our condo, the builder planted spirea bushes in front of all of the houses in the neighborhood. Those pretty pink flowers were quite attractive – to Japanese beetles and grubs.

Commercial grub killers from the big box store do not work for me which I only tried as a last resort. I was leery of what the 90% OTHER INGREDNETS listed on the ingredients label actually were since they had a warning about not using the stuff around kids, dogs, and fish ponds.

The only thing that worked was using the all natural, people and pet safe organic grub killing combo of Milky Spore powder and Beneficial nematodes in my flowerbeds. (Disclosure: I am including a few big bold affiliate links in this post for your convenience because I couldn’t find any of these items for sale locally and figure you might be in the same boat too.)

Now if I was smart and applied Milky Spore to my grass and lawn when I did the flower bed years ago, the good Milky Spore bacteria would have been fruitful and multiplied in the soil throughout my property by now.

While the flower beds are naturally pest free but I found a grub in the yard recently and where there is one grub there are a dozen or more. Live and learn  should have applied my organic pest killer to the yard too. But my shortsightedness is your gain because I can write you a quick and easy tutorial.

How to Easily Apply Milky Spore to Your Lawn and Garden


Monday, January 22, 2018

How to Make a Disinfecting All Purpose Cleaner without Vinegar

I like to keep the recipes to my homemade cleaners as simple as possible so they are easy to make on the fly. That’s why I clean my kitchen counter tops with one part vinegar to three parts water. Because in the world of being me, if I run out of counter cleaner, it is always when I am in the middle of cleaning something. Always!

Some of you tell me you don’t want to use A homemade cleaners made with vinegar. This is particularly true if you have granite or stone counter tops. The acid in the vinegar will damage or eat away at the finish.

I hear you. I have granite in my half bathroom.


Pin this idea for later and share it with your friends!


How to Make Homemade Granite, Natural Stone, and Countertop Cleaner


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

12 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Hot Water Heating Bill

Tens years ago, in 2008 my family started a year long product to reduce how much energy we use and our bill in our new home because a ton of Greenzillas said I couldn’t until I trashed all of my conventional and came new with the house major appliances and systems and replaced them with new super duper high efficiency (and expensive) everything.

I blogged about our new habits and inexpensive energy efficient DIY projects right here on Condo Blues in the very first year of this blog. Long story short, we reduced our use by 32% and kept it that way while staying toasty warm, clean, and well fed.

And using less energy than comparable families and homes in our area – including the Energy Star rated homes of which we are not.

Until recently when natural gas bill started to creep higher. Not break the bank,  we’rel going to starve high, but high enough to knock our house from constantly rating Very Good to smack dab in the middle of  Good. 

I wanted to figure out what’s going on because I had bragging rights on the line!

Turns out we were wasting too much energy heating water and after addressing  Tips One through Three we lowered our energy and hot water heating bill. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How to Make Compost Tea Fertilizer

Every evening as part of my post dinner cleanup,  I try to dump our kitchen compost collector into the big tumbling compost bin outside to keep the little guy from stinking up the joint.

This particular evening I gave the compost bin a crank like I have done so many evenings before only for the half full bin to suddenly become much easier to turn, like it was practically empty – because it was.

The hinges and latch on the door to the compost bin failed and dumped compost all over the yard.
For the third time.

I didn’t have enough finished compost to fertilize my garden but instead of singing the Condo Blues, I used it to make compost tea. Compost tea is an excellent plant food and fertilizer and well earns its nickname – Black Gold.

How to Brew Compost Tea Concentrate the Easy Way

Pin this post for later!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

How to Make Rosemary Mint Salt Scrub

I recently declared a Treat Yo’ Self weekend after buying a massage special from Groupon (so much cheaper than going to the massage school and I got a much better massage too!)

A fun little family adventure with Lacey, dinner and drinks out followed. Sunday, prompted by the desire to wear a skirt on a gloriously warm day, and the state of some winter skin in desperate need of exfoliation, an in home spa day was in order since everything was closed. Otherwise - you guessed it - Groupon time.

Fortunately, everything I need to make a fantastic nontoxic and natural exfoliating skin scrub is sitting right here in my kitchen. I bet you do too!

Exfoliating Rosemary Peppermint Salt Scrub: The Step by Step Tutorial

 

  Pin this post for later!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

14 Homemade Laundry Cleaning Supplies

I’m Spring Cleaning and Stash Busting. I found a stash of laundry detergent and whatnot. Some of these old items aren’t compatible as they are with my High Efficiency (HE) washing machine because HE washing machine use less water and can overflow if I use my old mega sudsing laundry cleaners in it.

I hate to throw anything usable away. I’m also kinda cheap in that way too. So I found a way to repurpose and save money by making my own  green laundry stain spray, static cling fighter, wrinkle releaser, wool wash and laundry detergent. You can too. Here’s how.


14 easy DIY zero waste laundry cleaning supply recipes
 Pin this list of ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


7 DIY Laundry Stain Fighter Recipes


  • Mix 3 parts water and 1 part of your favorite laundry detergent in a spray bottle. Ta Da! Instant homemade laundry stain spray. This works with powdered laundry detergent too but you might have to shake the bottle to mix it up before each use.

    Photobucket
  • Soak stained items in a bucket with borax and water does wonders especially for whites. The cleaning power of borax impresses me with each new use I find for it.

  • Pour shampoo directly on the stain especially if it’s a perspiration or ring around the collar stain.

  • Wet and rub a bar of laundry soap like Zote (learn more about my favorite here) or Fels Naptha (you can buy it here) on the stain before popping in the water. Note: For those of you who don't like to use animal products both of these laundry soaps have animal tallow in it. This isn't an issue for me but it may be for you. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


  • Pour a bit of liquid laundry detergent (or add water to powdered laundry detergent to make a paste) directly on stain and scrub the stain with an old toothbrush is also effective and something I use all of the time with tough stains. Why buy more items than you have to, right?

  • Scrub the stain with an old toothbrush and your favorite stain fighter. I mark the handles of old toothbrushes with nail polish so there’s no mistaking that the toothbrush has been repurposed for cleaning.

3 DIY Static Cling Stoppers


  • Tennis balls in the dryer are the perfect homemade dryer ball. I've been using tennis ball dryer balls in my dryer for over 10 years and it hasn't damaged my dryer one bit. 

funny Culture Club inspired dryer balls



  • Pin metal safety pins to small fabric squares and toss them in the dryer. I use these with dryer ball tennis balls when the air is especially dry during the winter.


  • Cut dryer sheets in half and use the same sheet more than once. You might be able to get away with cutting them into fourths too.

2 Easy Homemade Wrinkle Releasers Recipes


I keep a small bottle of homemade wrinkle releaser in my clothes closet because I’m not a big fan of ironing but I do like wrinkle free clothing.

  • Spritz water from a spray bottle on the wrinkle and gently stretch it out. This is favorite. I always have more on hand and it doesn't compete with any scent I've used on my clothing or myself like Downey does. 
  • Mix ½ water and ½ fabric softener in a spray bottle

Homemade Wool Wash Hack


  • Shampoo or hair conditioner- works just as well or better than Woolite when hand washing wool sweaters and is much, much cheaper!

How to Make Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent



My homemade HE laundry detergent works on everything from delicate costumes to my husband's practically a bio hazard workout clothes. It is the ONLY laundry detergent that doesn't make my front loading washing machine stink!


If you'd rather buy than DIY, check out the following options - and more! - below!



Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed  or to Condo Blues by Email.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

40 Ways to Organically Repel Japanese Beetles

The natural predictors that keep Japanese Beetles from ruining plants in their native Japan do not exist here in the United States. That’s what makes Japanese Beetles so difficult to control and kill.

One of the best organic and pesticide free ways to keep Japanese Beetles from eating and killing the plants in your yard is to simply remove the plants that attract Japanese beetles from your home and landscaping.

If you have a Japanese beetle problem in your garden, you might want to thing twice about keeping or planting the following flowers, shrubs, vines, plants, and trees in your yard.


Eighteen Flowers, Shrubs, and Vines That Attract Japanese Beetles

1. Gladiolus - bulb/flower - Annual
2. Coneflower - flower - Perennial
3. Dailah - flower - Annual
4. Daylilies - flower - Perennial
5. Shasta Daisies - flower - Annual
6. Hollyhock - flower - short lived Perennial/Biennial
7. Hibiscus - flower - Annual & Perennial
8. Evening Primrose - flower - Biennial
9. Clemantis - flower - Perennial
10. Sunflower - flower - Annual
11. Cardinal Flower - flower -Perennial
12. Peony - flower - Perennial
13. Zinnia - flower - Annual & Perennial
14. Pennsylvania Smartweed/Heart's Ease - flower/herb - Perennial
15. Rose - flowering shrub/vine - Perennial
16. Viburnums - flowering shrub - Perennial
17. Climbing Hydrangeas - flowering vine - Perennial
18. Morning-Glory - flowering vine - Perennial


Six Food and Fruit Plants That Attract Japanese Beetles

1. Soybean - food - Annual
2. Sweet Corn - food - Annual
3. Asparagus - food - Annual
4. Rhubarb - food - Annual
5. Grapes - fruit - Perennial
6. Red Raspberry - fruit -Perennial


Sixteen Plant, Tree, and Vines That Attract Japanese Beetles

1. Common Mallow - plant - Annual or Biennial
2. Birch - tree - Perennial
3. Cherry - tree - Perennial
4. Elms - tree - Perennial
5. Fruit (some types) - tree - Perennial
6. Horse Chestnut - tree - Perennial
7. Japanese and Norway Maple - tree - Perennial
8. Lindens - tree - Perennial
9. Mountain Ash - tree - Perennial
10. Ornamental Apple - tree - Perennial
11. Pin Oak - tree - Perennial
12. Plum - tree - Perennial
13. Sycamore - tree - Perennial
14. Willow - tree - Perennial
15. Porcelain Vine - vine - Perennial
16. Virginia Creeper - vine - Perennial



For more ways to kill Japanese Beetles in your garden check out the following ideas - and more! below!


Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed  or to Condo Blues by Email.

This post is an updated and reprinted version of  the post of the same title that appeared on 7/22/08.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

4 Homemade Sugar Scrubs that Go from Your Pantry to the Bath

As much as I am all over power tools and DIY projects I really am a girly girl at heart. I like pamper myself now and again and using a sugar body scrub is an excellent way to do it. Sugar is as a natural exfoliate but is still gentle enough to be used on skin. The oil in the sugar scrub can protect your skin against moisture loss. Add a few natural essential oils and you have a wonderful way to make an expensive professional spa treatment from ingredients you may already have in your kitchen!

 Pin these sugar scrub recipes to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

Here are four of my favorite natural sugar scrub recipes. They make great gifts too!

1.Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe