Condo Blues: tips




Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Monday, May 11, 2020

20 New Sewing Tips, Ticks, and Hacks for Beginners to Professionals!

The first thing I ever sewed was a pair of potholders for my Kindergarten teacher’s Christmas gift and I’ve been sewing in one way or another ever since. I’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks along the way through formal classes, fellow sewists, and the good ol’ trial and error (and error and error) and I’m pretty good at it. Or at least good enough that other people pay me to sew things for them from time to time.

Lately I’ve been fielding questions from folks who are breaking out their old sewing machines after a long hiatus – a quarantine will do that, you know. I’ve also been brushing up on new sewing hacks from fellow sewing and costuming friends as we dive into sewing cloth face masks for our family and friends. I figure it is my turn to share what I know to help you make your sewing projects go a little easier, a little quicker, or allow you to make that one little unexpected tweak that takes your sewing project from OK to Wow!

 20 best sewing tips tricks hacks and ideas
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20 Sewing Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How to Deep Spring Clean Your Bedroom with a Free Checklist!

While most people wait until actual warm weather date on the calendar to start their Spring Cleaning, I usually follow my nose. If I do too many oh I’ll deep dust/clean that thing next time when the house is buttoned up during the winter, my dust allergies kick up and let me know that was one time too many (which happens more often than I want to admit.)

My Bedroom Deep Spring Cleaning Checklist for Dust Allergies
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 According to my allergist, I have been dusting my house all wrong for someone who has seasonal allergies. He told me to stop using a feather duster (or Swiffer type dusters like these) to dust shelves and doodads because they don’t actually remove dust. Dusters clean by throwing the dust on the shelves into the air. Oops! (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience. If you make a purchase through these links I receive a small commission that allows me to keep the lights on. Thank you for your support!)

He also told me to stop using dusting sprays, especially the scented kind, because they can affect seasonal allergies too. He told me the absolute best dusting spray to use is plain, old fashioned water.
He’s right.

I cleaned and filled an empty spray bottle with water, sprayed it onto a piece of an old towel I cut up to use as dust rags, and was amazed (and kinda grossed out) and how much dust plain water on a rag picked up from a surface that didn’t look dirty or dusty. Oh, and the price is right too!

My Bedroom Deep Spring Cleaning Checklist for Dust Allergies

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How to Plant an Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden the Easy Way!

I have more time to grow a garden during the winter and spring than during the summer. Unfortunately it is way too cold outside and I just don’t get enough sunlight inside of my house to grow even a tiny herb garden. Trust me. We tried. 

Also there is the whole I forget plants need water to grow thing. The only reason I can keep a succulent alive is that they thrive on low light and neglect.

I’ve been interested in hydroponic gardening (growing plants in water instead of soil) ever since my husband and I saw an exhibit on aquaponic gardening (similar to hydroponics except fish in a tank fertilize the plants.) I looked at several of them off and on but most of them needed preparatory (and spendy) seed pods that weren’t always what we were interested in growing or eating. Fortunately, on Christmas morning my husband unwrapped our gift and learned that you can use your own seeds to grow whatever you like in an AeroGarden.

how to set up and troubleshoot an AeroGarden indoor hydroponic herb garden
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We set up our indoor hydroponic herb garden and have been enjoying cooking with fresh herbs all winter which feels decadent because up until now, that as been a summer only thing.

How to Set Up an AeroGarden Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden

Sunday, March 8, 2020

How to Install a Bidet Attachment

Disclosure: Tushy supplied product to facilitate this tutorial and review. It had no influence on my opinion because all opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate links for your convenience.

I’m working on the details of the guest bathroom renovation while looking forward to the master bathroom renovation. Well planning actually. I’m not looking forward to this even more involved project where are water leak began.

Anyway.

I would have liked to add a bidet in the bathroom to save on toilet paper because according to Tushy it takes 37 gallons of water to make a roll of toilet paper and most people use 1.5 toilet rolls a week! That is a lot of water to flush down the drain, which doesn't include the amount of water it takes to flush it all down the drain.

But more importantly, with a bidet, even if you run out of toilet paper at the time you need it most, you have an option.

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Unfortunately all of our condo bathrooms are too small to add a free standing bidet. I didn’t think much more of it until friends raved about just installing a bidet toilet seat. I was  intrigued. A bidet toilet seat attachment I can do. Then I promptly forgot about it because I'm awesome like that.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Zero Waste on a Budget: How to Grocery Shop without a Bulk Bin Store

After seeing the explosion of zero waste ideas online (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing,) I get a little worried that people may not try or quit because they aren’t meeting the strict one year’s full of trash in a jar “standard” they see shown on social media.

Which is a bummer because Zero Waste living isn’t black and white or should be so restrictive it is a struggle.

Or at least it shouldn’t’ be.

In reality, shifting your mindset to a lower waste living is much more sustainable because it takes into consideration what you have available locally, what you can’t, or don’t want to give up. Are you seriously going to deny grandma life saving medication because it comes in a plastic bottle?!

zero waste living on a budget at a conventional grocery store
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Often how zero waste you can go depends upon what is available where you live. Fill your own container bulk bin sections and stores are fairly anemic around here because local code enforcement strongly reminded everyone that shoppers have to use store provided containers. Winter means nothing grows here for 6 months out of the year.  Sadly zero waste utopia doesn’t mention that. So what do you do?

You do it by concentrate on reducing and stop focusing on the zero - without guilt.

Guilt is not productive. Trying is.

How to Live Zero Waste When You Shop a Regular Grocery Store

Sunday, February 16, 2020

11 Floor Tiling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Tiling a floor is a pretty easy DIY job.

It is also a DIY job that is easy to mess up if you don’t follow a few precautions first. You really don’t want to put in all of the work of tiling a floor only for the tiles to eventually come loose or crack after the job is done.

how to tile a bathroom floor
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1. Not adding an extra 10% of tile to your tile order – Depending upon the design, you may need extra to match up the pattern in the room. It is also good to have extra tile on hand just in case you cut one incorrectly or worse drop one and break it.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

How to Go Zero Waste on a Budget: Use the Rule of Half

When someone brings up trying to reduce their household waste with zero waste living and one of the first things they ask is me is why does it have to be so strict, expensive, and hard?

I understand how you can get that impression seeing photos online of DIY everything, people using plastic free as a synonym for zero waste (plastic free living is a noble goal but is not the same thing, ) and mason jars full of one year’s trash, but those are the rare, edited for the Internet exceptions, and not the reality.


zero waste ideas that dont cost money

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I get it. I truly do. Local laws prohibit me from using my own containers at bulk bins, my farm markets are only open during the summer, and frankly both of those options are more expensive than Aldi where I can do a monthly grocery shop in under an hour.  However, over time I was able to reduce my household weekly trash to a small grocery store size bag a week.

How do we do it?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

12 Ways to Reuse Old Pillows

When our bed pillows flatten I fluff them up after washing them by popping a couple of dryer balls like these into the dryer along with my pillows. (I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) That usually does the trick but after many years, there isn’t much left to fluff in our current set of bed pillows. It is time to replace them.

12 of the best ways to reuse old pillows
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Monday, April 29, 2019

Gardening Hack: How to Know When to Water Your Vegetable Garden the Lazy Way!

The only reason my first attempt at growing a vegetable garden survived is because my husband and I worked on the project together.

Basically, I forget that plants need water to grow.

Gardening experts say vegetable gardens should be watered 2 to 3 times a week to promote healthy growth and nice deep roots. I start out doing that after I plant my garden but once you throw rain into the mix,  I either accidentally over water or under water depending upon if I wait for a rainstorm.

Either it doesn’t rain enough to water the plants enough or I don’t want to take a chance on the weather forecast for rain failing me again and water the garden only to be followed by a heavy thunderstorm.

So yeah, up until now my garden fails are a result of watering too much or not enough.


how much water does a vegetable garden need
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Photo used with permission by MSI Sakib on Unsplash

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

6 Ways Plastic Helps Me Live Zero Waste

Almost every blog post I read that offers tips and tricks how to live Zero Waste they almost always use plastic free as a synonym. They say something like, “We got rid of all of our plastic stuff and bought the same exact thing in wood/bamboo/natural fiber to replace it and wow how cool we are living zero waste now!”

It. Drives. Me. Crazy.

Throwing away usable items to buy a cool looking replacement is the exact opposite of zero waste living folks!

Zero waste living means giving up using disposable single use plastic and items as much as possible, not no plastic at all.

Plastic free is great but that is a different goal.


6 Easy Ways to Live Zero Waste (ish) and Save Money Doing It!

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Photo used with permission  by Sophia Marston on Unsplash


Sunday, March 3, 2019

15 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Store on the Back of a Bedroom Closet Door

I like living in a condo, but there are days when small space living feels a little too small. One of my favorite daydreams to is to have a bedroom full of closets that are bigger on the inside like Doctor Who’s TARDIS (learn more about my favorite sci fi show here.) Oh, think of how many shoes they could hold! *drool*

Sadly Time Lord technology is not available to Earthlings (and firmly lives in the land of make believe,) which means I have to find and use as much clever and often looked over storage space to organize my clothes – by using the back of our closet doors.

I use a combination of door organizers that hook over the door (which perfect for renters!) and screw into the door itself. If you want to hang your organizers on a hollow core door, you will need to install drywall and hollow core door anchors like these first.  That’s what I use on my hollow core closet doors and I haven’t had anything come crashing down yet! (Disclosure: I am including some big bold affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


15 Small Space Bedroom Closet Organizers You Need Right Now!

5 things you didnt know you can store on the back of a bedroom closet door
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Sunday, October 28, 2018

The One Thing You AREN’T Doing to Save Money on Your Heating Bill but Should!

In 2008, my husband and I started a year long project to reduce our utility bills by what we though was a too lofty goal of 20% with cheap home improvements and new habits. We beat our original goal and reduced our electricity and natural gas our use by 32%!

We’ve kept our yearly average lower than comparable size energy efficient rated homes in our area for 10 years running and with all of the things that make life worth living: holiday lights, electronics, and toasty warm toes in the dead of winter.

So while my heating bill stayed low and the rest of the house is toasty warm (thanks in no small part to adding weather stripping like this to the bottom on my window sashes installing a programmable thermostat like this one and using it) my laundry room was always colder than the rest of the house. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

the one thing you MUST do to save money on your energy bill
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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Small Space Garage Workshop Organizer Ideas for Short People

It is amazing how the size of an empty garage shrinks once you park the car. Or at least it felt that way after we bought our condo.  I have to get really creative when it comes to carving out but storage space AND workspace in a small garage. Add to the mix that I’m short gal and most organizers are made for people much taller than me and really creative turns into super duper really creative.

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Starting the right of my workshop is my shop vac  (This is the exact wall mounted remote controlled wet dry vacuum I bought ) that is always right where I need it for dust collection when I’m working with power tools on the workbench. I thought I’d miss having the giant size shop vac like everyone says you are supposed to have but I really like the smaller size because it is much easier to empty (compost bins LOOOOVE sawdust!) and heft around the house. Not to mention, it won’t get buried under stuff hanging on the wall.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Everything Guide to Sewing Jersey Knit Sleep Shorts

I need a new pair of summer pajamas for a marching band trip. A cute pair of sleep shorts fits the bill since I will be sharing my hotel room with roommates. An easy thing to buy, right?

Well not if I want a pair of pajama shorts that are long enough to cover my but, otherwise I risk a sleep wedgie. Have you ever been woken up by a sleep short creeper? Trust me, you don't want to if you can help it.

tips for sewing jersey knit fabric

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DIY Music Summer Pajama Shorts

Sunday, April 22, 2018

7 Recycling Solutions for Small Houses, Condos, and Apartments

When we first moved into our condo my husband and I were looking forward to having room for a recycling center in the kitchen. I had my eye on this double pullout trash and recycling bins for under the kitchen sink but as luck would have it, it was too big for my condo sink cabinet.

I installed a smaller single pullout garbage can similar to this one (mine is discontinued) and I’m glad I did. (I can’t live without the products I mention in this post and believe in them so strongly I’m willing to use my affiliate links to do it!)

Little did I know that using a kitchen trash can smaller than our household recycling bin would be the incentive for my family to eventually start recycling and reducing waste in almost every way we can. In addition to reusing, and refusing, we starting recycling to the max using local businesses and organizations that recycle the items our curbside city recycling program does not.

How do I recycle in a small space while keeping the collection bins accessible and from cluttering up the house? Keep reading and I’ll show you how!
 
 

7 Small Space Recycling Solutions


Let’s take a tour of my small space recycling centers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

8 Zero Waste Lies

If you are trying to be a Zero Waste or Trash Fee home you try to reduce the need to use the landfill by refusing, reducing, reusing, repairing, recycling, and donating your household waste to get your output to as close to zero as you can.

There are some in Internet Land who show you how they do it with Pinterest perfect photos of bamboo toothbrushes like these, stylishly minimalist rooms (you can learn about the minimalism movement here), and  haughtily looking down their nose at people who  – gasp! – follow low waste practices because their primary goal is to pay off bills, live within their means, or save money, with environmental concerns coming in a close second or even lower down the list.

Disclosure: I am including some affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

8 Truths of Trash Free and Zero Waste Living

In my over 10 years of blogging about green living and doing it in one form or another for even longer, I know there are some truths to Zero Waste Living and I also know that the reality is not always what you see in those Pinterest perfect Zero Waste Kitchens either.


8 Truths of Trash Free and Zero Waste Living
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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

6 Ways to Use Less Plastic without Going Crazy

Many folks in the United Kingdom are looking for ways to live plastic free or with less single use plastic for the 40 days of Lent. This is as part of a national Plastic Free (Less) Lent Challenge influenced by the BBC TV program Blue Planet 2: Seas of Life (this show has such gorgeous nature photography and information that I have no problem recommending it to you and using my affiliate links to do it!)

So far, the folks I’m working with are excited when they find a plastic free bamboo toothbrush (read more about it here) or their grocery store allows them to use reusable cloth produce bags and that's fantastic! 

But as they have been living awhile with the low plastic challenge, there are many people who are becoming overwhelmed, or are too time poor to DIY plastic free everything, or worse, being shamed when they admit that they can’t afford the perfect plastic free option. That’s not cool.


6 Ways to Go Plastic Free without Going Broke or Crazy
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I feel for ya, because I think I am the only person in the world who lives in an area where my farmer’s market, bulk food bins, and fresh vegetable summer CSA subscriptions are typically more expensive than a conventional grocery store. I want to do my bit but I don’t always have the time to regularly grocery shop at three or more markets every other week when one conventional grocery store has everything I need.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

10 Easy Ways to Lower Winter Heating Bills

In 2008, my family went on a year long experience to try lowering our heating bills by %20 thinking it was a lofty goal we may not meet. a slew of Greenzillas swore up and down that the only solution was to trash everything that came new with our house (and was working great) and replace it by buying new top of the time super energy efficient everything. Replacing working and still fairly new things didn't seem very eco friendly. Instead we focused on changing old habits and a few inexpensive home improvements.

And we beat our goal by reducing our use and bill by 32%.

10 years later and we’re still using less energy to heat our condo than comparable energy efficient rated homes in our area – and we’re toasty warm doing it too!

10 Super Simple Hacks That Keep Your House Warm and Your Heat Bill Low

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The 15 Best DIY and Green Living Ideas You Need to Try Right Now!

We’re celebrating the New Year by taking a look back at some of our favorite Condo Blues DIY projects for 2017.

From the looks of it, there are a bunch of you who like to garden but hating watering plant and  like to decorate and make things with recycled materials and add green home improvements to our homes, myself included!


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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What’s in Your Trash and How Do You Reduce it (or Not?)

I’ve been thinking a lot about trash lately. The stuff in the bin outside your house, not about tawdry things. Lacey is a genteel lady who not tolerate dirty things in her home (unless it is something muddy or smelly to roll in.)

 I love mud!

I’ve been mulling over ideas to share how to reduce your household trash since the New Year.  I’m coming up short because every draft I write sounds like some big green guru sitting on a mountain top looking down  her nose at the world thinking that my Swiss Army knife of low waste options are the Pinnacle of One Size Fits All Solution to reducing household waste.

Or at least it feels that way and that is not my intent at all.

I want to offer options not absolutes because, honestly, there aren’t any one size fits all eco friendly low waste living solutions. It all depends on where you live, how you like to live, family size, etc.