Condo Blues: outdoor




Showing posts with label outdoor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outdoor. Show all 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, February 21, 2021

How to Build an Outdoor Dog Ramp

Our dog Lacey lives life at 90 miles an hour. She runs. She jumps. She barks. She barks some more.

So. Much. Barking.

When Lacey practically flipped a switch from her normal bouncing off of satellites self to barely and cautiously walking it meant a quick trip to the vet for x rays.

Lacey has two slipped discs in her back which is common for dachshunds. We left the vet with meds for the pain and inflammation, bed rest for two weeks (good luck with that!) and to eliminate jumping situations as much as possible so her back doesn’t get any worse.

I bought these light weight dog stairs with a washable cover for the living room furniture Lacey is allowed to sit on. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) They aren’t the prettiest but they were cheap enough to buy a few more to add to what we have so that every chair/sofa in the living room has stairs leading up to it. We think jumping up on a chair that didn't have dog steps is how she hurt herself. 

Sitting next to my people is my favorite place to be!

I also scored this exact folding dog ramp on Marketplace for a song because OMG folding dog ramps for cars are spendy! Hopefully we can get Lacey to use the ramp to get in and out of  the car. No matter how many times we tell her to wait until we pick her up Lacey will catapult herself into the back seat of the car because waiting is for sissies – apparently.

 

How to Make a Down and Dirty Small Dog Ramp

Monday, November 2, 2020

How to Make Outdoor Christmas Tree Decorations

For the last couple of Christmases, I’ve struggled to find something to go with two lighted Christmas dachshunds decorations we display outside because an odd number of decorations grouped together is more pleasing to the eye than an even number. Since I bought those dachunds to celebrate of all things Lacey, why not put our fake dogs where our real dog likes to be - snoozing under the Christmas tree. In fact, we usually keep a spot under the tree clear of presents so Lacey can lounge on the fancy blanket surrounding it (although you may call it a Christmas tree skirt.)

I went with a more modern Christmas tree design because I really wanted to show off what makes my DIY tree different – the ornament windows. Also I can’t draw a traditional Christmas tree shape for beans.

 

quick and easy diy outdoor Christmas tree decor with ornament windows
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Quick and Easy DIY Outdoor Christmas Tree with Ornament Windows

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Quick and Easy DIY Heart Door Decoration

I like to decorate the front door of my house but lately I haven’t been feeling the winter door wreath.  It probably has a lot to do with most of the wreaths I like have greenery that doesn’t show up well on our green front door.

Not to mention I seem to have a love hate wreath relationship. I love the wreaths my neighbors use to decorate their doors and seem to hate every wreath in the store. What can I say? I’m the Goldilocks of front door décor, apparently.

I found a contemporary, modern, classic, or rustic (depending upon how you view it) front door decoration idea when I made a fast and simple Danish Christmas Heart decoration to coordinate with the giant outdoor Christmas gnome decorations I made from tomato cages last year.

DIY outdoor Scandinavian Christmas gnome decorations

I like the look.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

How to Make Outdoor Scandinavian Christmas Gnome Decorations

I saw a big Christmas gnome decorations on line at IKEA and knew two of them would look perfect decorating both sides of my front door this Christmas. Unfortunately they were already sold out of them by the first few days of November!

I was severely bummed.

It was all the encouragement I needed to shop IKEA for the materials and go with my original plan of making a set of outdoor Christmas gnomes built around tomato cages.  Since storage space is at a premium in my condo, I made my Christmas gnomes (which we Scandinavians call Tomte or Nisser) as a temporary slipcover. That way I can use the cages in my summer garden, clean them, and use them again during the Christmas decorating season.  If you have the storage space you can permanently hot glue the fabric to your tomato cage instead of holding it in place with clothes pins like I did.

how to make outdoor Scandinavian Christmas gnome decorations
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How to Make Scandinavian Christmas Gnomes


Sunday, May 19, 2019

How to Make a Grill Cover

The four seasons have taken their toll on the cover on my outdoor gas grill. I need a replacement grill cover. 

I don’t want to buy a vinyl grill cover because they rarely last more than two years in the elements. Fabric seems the best way to go since the BBQ cover I made from a drop cloth lasted seven years.
I planned to scope out the heavy duty outdoor fabric at the fabric store after a stop at Homegoods when I found a cheaper and cuter outdoor fabric option – an indoor /outdoor tablecloth.

Which also just so happens to go with this majestic beauty that I also picked up for the front yard.

Her name is Divine.

She is 6 feet tall.

And I love her.

Yes, I am THAT neighbor. You know the one.

How to Make an Outdoor Grill Cover from a Tablecloth

Sunday, December 9, 2018

How to Make an Outdoor Mod Podge Christmas Sign

I decorated outside my house with two lighted Santa Dachshund decorations similar to these as my crazy dog lady homage to our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dachshund mix Lacey. (Disclosure; I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

Lacey Condo Blues
I fell asleep while Lisa was decorating the Christmas tree and woke up in a Christmas collar! 
She's bonkers about decorating for the holidays.

In the décor world, an odd number of decorations is usually more visually pleasing than even numbers which is why my two little Christmas dogs looked a little sad and lonely. I wanted to make a DIY vertical Christmas sign to fill that visual void but I don’t have big stencils to paint it or fancy die cutting machine to use vinyl letters.  Instead I used my crafty BFF Mod Podge to make a weather resistant outdoor decoration.

Yes! You can use Mod Podge on outdoor decorating projects and it will brave the elements – as long as you use the right formula. Keep reading and I’ll tell you how!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DIY Solar Snowman Jar Lights

I need to add new lighting to our outdoor Christmas decorations this year because for some inexplicable reason, our lawn service company felt the need to mow our  lawns in December. They ran over and destroyed my lights with a lawn mower despite the fact we are allowed to have holiday decorations in our yard for Christmas.

Uff da.

My HOA didn’t understand it either.

I’m turning an annoying head scratching negative and turning it into a positive. I’m taking the opportunity to change up our outdoor Christmas decorations a little bit this year by going green and making recycled glass jar solar snowman lights!


 Pin this tutorial for later!

I'm also giving my summer solar yard lights a big green reuse and repurpose by making them into energy efficient outdoor Christmas lights.

You can use glass Mason jars to make this project if you don’t have empty glass food  jars. At the time of this writing all of my spare Mason jars are storing and organizing food in my kitchen cupboards because it stays fresher longer and I can stuff more food in the cupboards than if I keep it in the original packaging.

How to Make Quick and Easy Solar Salsa Jar Snowmen

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Orleans French Quarter Fall Porch Decor

Decorating the outside of a duplex for holidays is usually more miss than hit since neither side coordinates with the other (at least in my experience.)

What can I say? I like symmetry in my outdoor holiday décor.

That’s why I stopped in my tracks when Husband and I passed this sweet yellow duplex in New Orleans last November and took it all in.


Pin this Fall outdoor porch decorating idea for later!

First of all, even undecorated, it is a lovely double shotgun style home. One of many that fills the French Quarter with architectural charm.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Wine Cork Porch Decoration Ideas

I have this visually dead corner on my front porch. Trying to find something either practical or pretty to fill it gives me fits.

Storage space for new autumn decorations is practically nonexistent in our condo. So I did a little summer and fall decoration shuffle from backyard fall patio decorations (take the fall patio decorating tour here on Condo Blues) to the front porch now that it is too chilly to eat dinner outside on the regular.

Killing one of the mums I bought for the backyard actually worked in my favor. I used the pot of dirt in the metal planter to anchor the wood flagpole I used to hang the quilted scarecrow I made forever ago and haven’t found a good use for until now.
 
I traced the metal container and cut a circle to fit inside the metal planter with a hole in it for the scarecrow pole to keep it centered in the planter. The flower pot isn’t as deep as the metal planter so I chucked a couple of Husband’s empty protein powder containers in the pot to keep the cardboard from sinking into the planter so I can cover it with decorations and hide the cardboard lid.



Keep reading for more decorating ideas and pin this post for later!



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

12 Amazing Ghost Decorating Ideas for Halloween


I like to make our Halloween decorations spooky cute instead of scary gory because we have a bunch of little kids in our neighborhood. The last thing we want is to scare the Trick or Treaters so much that they are afraid to come to our door on Begger’s Night. Giving out candy and going gaga over the kid’s costumes (house rule) is one of Husband’s favorite things about Halloween.

The other thing Husband likes is decorating with Halloween decorations that move. I’m all about Halloween lights and décor that lights up.

We like to poke our heads in home décor and pop up Halloween stores this time of year to do some hard core Halloween trend and décor idea shopping.


 Pin these Halloween decorating idea for later!

It looks like ghost decorations are popular this year because everywhere we look we’re surrounded by ghosts. Boooooooooo!

13 Halloween Ghosts

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fall Wreath Alternative: DIY Birch Sunflower Basket

After I decorated the backyard patio for Fall, I figure I better turn my attention to the front of the house. My plan is to transition the front porch from summer decorations to a Fall outdoor décor theme that I can transition to Halloween if time permits (life happens!) and back to Fall for Thanksgiving (wishful thinking because of that time thing, ya know) until it is time to pack it all up and decorate for Christmas.
 

 Pin this wreath idea for later!


Instead of decorating with something like the DIY Fall wreath I made for the back patio, I decorate with a half wall birch basket.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to Decorate a Small Patio for Fall

This post is sponsored by Enbrighten Café Lights by Jasco. All thoughts and opinions are my own #EnbrightenLights


I want to make our small patio more inviting for evening entertaining this fall.

Pin these Fall outdoor decorating ideas for later!

The planter box I built for Husband’s container kitchen garden adds a little privacy since our condo homeowners association will not allow us to install a fence.

And we get fresh herbs and peppers, yay!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

How to Make an Outdoor Chalkboard Paint Table

My outdoor mosaic bistro table and chairs developed so much dry rot mushrooms grew in the table and chairs. I decided to repair it rather than replace it for a greener, cheaper, and more personalized patio table and chair set.

Also, I didn’t find a replacement that I liked in the store. That’s the real incentive for this project.

I got my reused bottle cap craft on and made four coordinating recycled bottle cap mosaic chairs. Read the bottle cap chair tutorial here on Condo Blues. Now it is time to turn my attention to making over the outdoor bistro table with chalkboard paint.

Outdoor Game Table Tutorial

 

Pin this tutorial for later!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

How to Make a Bottle Cap Mosaic Chair

mushrooms growing in chairs
Ewwww!

The cute little mosaic tile bistro set on our patio has lived outside in the rain sleet and snow for a very long time.

How long?

Long enough for the elements to take their toll and dry rot the wood base of the table and all of the chairs.
 
The thing I like best about the current set is the size and design of the metal ice cream parlor style chairs (minus the mushrooms.)  I wasn’t in love with anything I saw in the stores as a replacement.

Well, when I can’t buy I DIY!

Recycled Bottle Cap Craft Tutorial


   Pin this recycled bottle cap craft idea for later!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How to Install a New Doorbell Chime and Button

Normally I’m a fix it instead of replace it kind of gal but neither Husband nor I have any great love for our builder basic doorbell. When our doorbell wouldn’t chime even after I replaced the transformer, we took the opportunity to upgrade it to a door chime we can actually hear from upstairs as well as down.

I wanted a pretty doorbell button to replace the plastic builder grade monstrosity we had. Husband thought the door chimes that played different music and tones are more fun than the faint, “ding dong!” that bit the dust.

How to Install a New Doorbell Chime and Button
 Pin this post for later!

So of course we acted like two dorks testing all of the doorbell chimes in Lowes multiple times to find one we liked.

Sorry Lowes fellow shoppers.

Sometimes we are 12.

We bought the Utilitech Wireless Doorbell and Utilitech Antique Brass Doorbell Button (affiliate links for your convenience) to coordinate with the front doorknob and lock. This particular doorbell comes with a bunch of chimes (we are currently using the Westminster chimes setting.)

I got the opportunity to pick out a prettier doorbell button. Most importantly this doorbell lets us hardwire it to our current doorbell wiring although you can also install it as a wireless doorbell if you like.

We wanted to stay with a hardwired doorbell so we didn’t have to play Where are the rest of the rechargeable batteries? Did you recharge them? game on a regular basis but that’s just us.


How to Replace a Hard Wired Doorbell

Sunday, May 1, 2016

How to Make a Colorful Year Round Wood Wreath

I found a bag of round hole saw scraps in the reclaimed wood stash in my workshop.  I’m not sure why I kept them. Most of the “wood holes” in the bag were cracked, split, and otherwise wonky because that’s how hole saws work.

A hole saws is designed to cut a round hole in wood and not for cutting a piece of wood into a perfectly round shape.

I could blow it off as part of a being DIYer who works with recycled materials but the fact of the matter is, my reclaimed wood stash is starting to outgrow its storage area. I need to either use it or start making up gift boxes of scraps for friends to use as kindling in their fire pits. Which I may or may not have gotten puzzling looks when I may or may not have tried to pass off a box of wood scraps for a fire pit as a hostess gift in the past.


hole saw scrap wood
 Hole saw scraps!

Fortunately, there were a few wood rounds that were in good enough shape - or could be with a smattering of wood filler and some sanding - that I decided to use them to make a scrap wood wreath. And you can too! Read my step by step tutorial to learn how!

How to Make a  Wood Wreath

Monday, June 4, 2012

DIY Drop Cloth Grill Cover

If it doesn’t move, grill it. That’s my summer cooking mantra. Vegetables, fruit, meat, and fish are all fair game when it comes to grilling.

LOLCat grill cover
Learn how I stenciled this grill cover with help from my friends at Plaid Crafts.

A few Christmases ago, we got a gas grill upgrade and a cover to protect it from Ohio winters.

Two years later the grill looks great.

The grill cover does not. 


ripped grill cover
Mother Nature is the reason we do not have nice things.