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

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Thursday, April 7, 2022

How to Repair and Replace a Moldy Bathroom Floor

 My master bathroom renovation is coming along at a good clip. We had a leak and a little 5 minute flood in our master bathroom. Everything was just wet enough that we had to call in remediators with giant dryers to dry out what couldn't be removed. After they removed the vinyl flooring, they also found batches of mold around the toilet and recommended ripping out all of the flooring down to the joists. Which gave us an opportunity to replace everything in the bathroom from the ground up - literally!

DIY bathroom floor repair
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I found more surprises when I removed the bathroom vanityy More leaks and more mold!


How to Repair a Moldy Floor 
I’m not a doctor, but I have the feeling the cause of my constant ear and sinus infections was living under this sink.
 

Working in sections, I unscrewed the sub-flooring from the joists and used an oscillating multi tool to remove the glued flooring from the joists (you can learn more about my Rockwell Oscillating Tool that uses universal blades here which I chose the Rockwell over other brands, TBH.) (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

Once I removed the old moldy subfloor, I realized that there wasn’t anything to screw the new flooring to around the edges of the room. I can’t leave it this way or the new floor could slope over time, the tile will crack, and we’d have to start the process all over again. Trust me, once is more than enough! 

I fixed the issue by using construction adhesive and screwing supports along the existing joists and around the toilet flange (this is called sistering.)  

The wax ring underneath the old toilet was smashed to one side (another unknown water leak!) and the floor flange sat at angle around the plumbing. The toilet didn’t sit level and this caused one of leaks and eventually mold.  I figured that possibly going overboard with sistering and adding framing  in between the joists to keep the toilet level is better than taking a shortcut and regretting it later. Wood is cheap. Mistakes are expensive.


how to sister joists

 I can't tell you how tempted I was to stick a toy skeleton down there before I covered it with plywood.

Cutting the subfloor sections to size wasn't difficult because before I removed the original subflooring I cut the tile underlayment to fit and to used the underlayment pieces as a pattern when it came time to cut the new plywood sub floor.

How to install subflooring

A ton of screws, construction adhesives, and bruises later I installed the new subflooring in the bathroom!

I filled the seams in between the sheets of sub flooring with  Fix It All (you learn about this patching compound that’s made specifically for wood sub-floors here)  put on my dust mask, and hand sanded the seams smooth. There were a few random spots that I couldn’t get perfectly level with sanding. I didn’t want to take a chance on the tile floor cracking over time because of it and started prepping the floor for leveling compound by using spray foam insulation to make an expansion joint around the wall of the room and as a barrier around the furnace duct and toilet flange.

how to patch seams in a wood floor

 Patched!

When you are suing self leveler on a wood floor it is the same technique as using self leveler on an uneven concrete floor. Only the type of products you use is different. You need to use a self leveling compound made for wood floors which requires the extra step of priming the entire floor first.

I filled all of the cracks and seams between sheets of plywood with patching compound first. (learn more about the Henry Pre-Mixed Floor Patch I used here ) – If there is even the tiniest sliver or gap, by its very nature the self leveling concrete will find it and drip down into it and make a huge mess. After the patching compound dried I applied self leveling compound primer for wood floors (you can learn more about find Level Pro Underlayment Primer for wood I used here) with a chip brush.

Once it was dry, it was time to don my super sexy concrete work boots and apply the leveler to the floor. This part if fairly easy (pour stuff from a bucket and push it around the room) but nerve wracking because self leveling compound has a 10 to 15 minute window before it starts to dry and is unmovable. Meaning, if you get it wrong outside of that window, it stays wrong. 


 

 Given the short working window my husband and I teamed up for this project. He mixed the cement leveler in small batches while I poured and worked it around the room.

 

Success!

how to use self leveling floor compound cemet  

Don't worry if you have swirling or color variations in the dried concrete underlayment. As long as those parts of the floor are hard, dry, solid, and level, you're ready to go to the next step in your project.

 

Finally it was tile time! I applied same tile underlayment and seam sealering "tape" as I used in our guest bathroom. Yes the orange stuff is more expensive than other options but it is water resistant and the fact that I can cut it on the fly with scissors or a utility knife makes it worth it in my book. You can learn more about the Schlter Ditra underlayment I used here.

 

how to install waterproof bathroom tile underlayment
Dry fit time!

Then it was time to get messy installing the tile floor and grout!

 

how to grout tile and sealant

I'm using ceramic porcelain tile that looks like marble. I don't need to seal the tile itself according to the manufacturer but it won't hurt if I do.
 

The finishing touch was using this exact spray grout sealer  to seal the grout because is made for moisture laden rooms like bathrooms.

Because I never, ever, ever want to replace a moldy sub floor again.

The next step is installing the new plumbing fixtures and lighting!

 

Looking for more bathroom floor renovation, organizing, and decorating ideas? Check out the following options - and more! - below!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

How to Make an Upcycled Lucet Crochet Fork

While drooling over wood crochet hooks and doodads on line (talk to me folks about yarn bowls. Are they good for large skeins of yarn?) I came across this weird sling shot shaped thing called a lucet (it is also called a lucet fork) that has been used since the Viking era to make cords and I-cords.

I didn’t think much about it other than a lucet looks like a cool tool (a lucet looks like this ) I may not use often enough to justify it taking up space in my cramped craft room. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

Until later on when I needed a drawstring for a crochet project and wanted something less bumpy than a row or two of traditional crochet stitches.

how to make an use a lucet fork
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You can braid/crochet/knit the round style cord that I wanted to use as a drawstring on a lucet. Which I didn’t have, couldn’t buy locally, and really didn’t want to wait for it to be delivered because I really wanted to finish this quick little bit and call the project done.

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

Monday, November 8, 2021

How to Machine Embroider a Canvas Tote Bag

Normally when I machine embroider something, I embroider the design on uncut fabric, layout and cut the pattern piece on the embroidered fabric, and sew it into the final project for perfect placement.

Which is what I planned on doing when I popped down to the fabric store for supplies to make personalized tote bags as a thank you gift for two friends who did huge favors for me, even though I was short on time to both sew and embroider the bags from scratch.

Luckily when I zipped through the Circuit section of the store on my way to the fabric I saw this exact lined blank canvas tote bag for sale.

The bag is super cute and has a nice big area to machine embroider a name. Best of all I didn’t have to decide on fabric (which always takes me forever because I must look at every bolt available in the store every single time) or a pattern, and would save time in the construction department. Not to mention, the ready made blank fabric tote bag probably cost less than buying all of the materials to make the exact same thing.

The only thing that made me pause is thinking, how to I embroider a store bought tote bag without taking it apart? 

 

handmade gift idea how to embroider a tote bag
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Easy! You float the tote bag  fabric on top of the hooped embroidery stabilizer instead of trying and failing to smash it all in between the hoops.

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

Sunday, August 22, 2021

How to Make a Fairy Ivy Leaf Parasol

I’m performing a fae (a fairy. Well, actually, I’m a gnome) character at an outdoor renaissance festival. True to a gnome’s (and my own) Scandinavian roots, I’m fair skinned and burn easily in the sun. I’m also not fond of standing out in the rain without an umbrella either. 

In the past, I carried a waterproof bamboo parasol but that is not really going to work for the over the top Shakespearean fairy esthetic I need to create. Can we talk about how difficult it is to design a mythical creature described as looking like a human the size of an 8 year old boy and  looks like she belongs with a group of fairies who look like natural elements like this this acorn green man wall decoration (you can buy it here.) (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) Elizabethan fairies look less human and more like trees, flowers, animals with a humanish face. The more human-looking Tinkerbell type of fairy we are more used to came about during the Victorian era.

 

I figure the best way to do that is make a waterproof canvas bamboo parasol in the shape an ivy leaf.

 

diy fairy ivy leaf parasol
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How to Make a Waterproof Bamboo Parasol

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
.

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Greatest Waterproofing Spray Can Hack of All Time

I made a new canvas cover for an outdoor umbrella. Naturally I wanted to waterproof the canvas. If I can keep the sun from fading the color, that would be nice too.

The most eco friendly way to waterproof fabric is to coat it in melted beeswax. It's a messy process and  I'm afraid the wax coating will melt in the high heat days of summer we like to describe as Hell's Front Porch.

A fabric waterproofing spray is the easiest and least messy way to go. Since I am doing this project outside while wearing a dust mask, I used this exact Scotchgard Sun and Water Shield Spray because it repels water and UV ray resistant. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) Although truthfully, I wasn't looking forward to the finger cramps and pain and uneven coating result of using a traditional aerosol spray can - until I hacked it!

When I noticed the button on the can of Scotchguard looked like it was the same size the large button on a can of spray paint, I had a flash of inspiration and hoped it would work. I made my aerosol spray can pain free by grabbing this exact wide button spray paint trigger, excuse me comfort grip from the garage and attached it to the Scotchguard can. It fit! 

 

how to spray scotchguard waterproofing spray evenly
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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!

  

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Why Are My Tomatoes Rotting on the Bottom?

I’m attempting to grow tomatoes in this year’s garden. I say attempt because I haven’t had much luck in the way of getting a plant to give me more than a handful of tomatoes any time I plant tomatoes.

I am determined that this summer will be different. I read everything I could find on how to grow tomatoes. I bought a more mature tomato plant instead of attempting from seed and upped the watering schedule.

I was excited to see more  blossoms than I’ve ever had on a tomato plant. I cheered when they grew into green tomatoes.  I was overjoyed when I plucked the first red tomato. Finally I broke our tomato curse!

Until I turned the tomato over and found this.

how to prevent blossom end rot in the garden
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Blossom end rot!

Vegetable Garden Blossom End Rot What it is, How it Happens, and How to Fix It

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!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

How to Prepare Walls for Painting

As much as I would love to jump into my bathroom and start slapping new paint on the walls, the new paint would look awful. I’d make the job ten times harder if I don’t prepare the walls for paint first. I lot of folks  don’t bother filling nail holes and such thinking they’ll hang the same stuff in the same place on the walls of the newly painted room. Sometimes that’s the case. More often than not, plans change and the little hole you have to fill and repaint is going to look worse than if you filled it before you started the project.

Trust me. I get it. I’ve had this conversation with myself every time I’m tempted to take a shortcut when my master bathroom renovation throws me another unexpected curve ball.

“Do you want to do it fast or do you want to do right?” is always the last question I ask myself before I make a decision about a task. Then I sigh and say,”I want to do it right.” Sure it may be more of a pain or take longer (hence the internal sigh) but doing it right the first time is better than cheating and having to do it over again.

 

how prepare a room for painting
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How much preparation your room will need for paint will depend upon:

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Giant Lawn Flamingos and Friday Favorites Week 585

How do you know it is officially summer?

  • It is after Memorial Day?
  • The lavender is starting bloom in my garden?
  • The weather is warm and kids are playing in neighborhood spinklers?
NO!

At my house it isn't officially summer until Divine my metal lawn flamingo takes residence in my garden  (much to the chagrin of my husband.)


She's no Frank the Christmas Gargoyle but she's 6 feet tall and I love her.



Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

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. 

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.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

How to Make Easy Storage Bin Labels

I am a famous for storing something in "a better place" and forgetting where I put it. 

And that goes double for my sewing room and craft studio.

I eventually learned that if I take 10 minutes of my time to make a label for an item, I will always put it back where it belongs and save an hour of searching for it later. It also keeps family members from asking me to stop what I'm doing to find household items that are staring them in the face. I tell them to read the label to the bin/caddy/pocket/shelf/whatever.

Genius!

I need to label the new storage bins I'm putting in my craft room. I want them to look cute but they also need to be something I can easily update because my supplies rotate in and out. I considered chalkboard labels like these  but figure the writing will wear off with handling based on other chalkboard labels I use (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.

how to make clip on storage container labels
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One thing I like about decluttering and organizing a creative space is I often find a long forgotten cache of supplies that I can use to make or build the custom storage solution I need. In this case, the buried treasure is a bunch of discontinued countertop samples a friend gave me. I'm going to craft those countertop samples into storage bin and box labels and show you how to do it!