Condo Blues

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where are the Environmentally Friendly Carpet Cleaners?

Last weekend I woke up with a scratchy sore throat. Since it didn’t get any worse or better throughout the day, I knew that my allergies were the culprit. Doing a deep Spring cleaning of our bedroom usually clears up whatever dust or dander is bothering me. When Husband got home from his 15 mile run (yes 15 miles – the man is a machine! Oh, and he runs too.) I asked him to be careful because the carpets might still be wet because I steam cleaned them with the carpet shampooer while he was out.

“Yeah, I know”, he said and wrinkled his nose; “I can smell chemicals.”

We haven’t had that conversation since I started cleaning the kitchen floor with food for Blitzkrieg’s sake.


I grabbed the bottle of carpet shampoo and did a little research on what might be in my carpet cleaner. It wasn’t very easy because in the law doesn’t require US companies to list the ingredients of their cleaning products on their labels.

My bottle of carpet cleaner was a store brand, so it wasn't in the Household Products Database but I found a few comparable brands. I found two iffy chemicals that may be in my carpet shampoo, Propane and Isobutane. The database reports that with liquid forms of both chemicals can cause chemical burns. Now the levels they are talking about are a pure form of the liquid chemical and not watered down or mixed in a solution as in my carpet cleaner. But since 12 pound Blitzkrieg pads around on my freshly cleaned and damp carpets (despite my best efforts to keep him from doing so) I don’t want to take any chances of those nasty chemicals getting on his paws and then inside him when he grooms himself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crochet Your Own Doctor Who Dolls

Geek alert! I have a confession, “Hi, my name’s Lisa and I am a Doctor Who fan.”
“Hi Lisa!” you say.

I’ve been watching Doctor Who since I found old episodes of the show running on PBS in the 90’s. Naturally, I’m watching the new Doctor Who series. Husband and I make it appointment television.

Husband even bought me my own Doctor Who sonic screwdriver toy (and pen!) for Christmas one year. It sits on my desk in front of my computer at all times just in case I need to write a note, put up a lot of cupboards, or confuse a Dalek – your choice.

So imagine my interest when I checked out snuffykin's journal and saw that she crocheted an amigurumi style Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) doll. So cute!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

10 Ways to Use Orange Peels

I remember standing in my Grandmother’s Florida kitchen and as we chatted, she was squeezing lemons. She said that a neighbor gave her a bunch of lemons from her lemon tree and since they were getting soft she was going to squeeze the juice out of them, freeze it in one-cup containers to use whenever she needed a cup of lemon juice for cooking. That little instance was one of many, “We didn’t get where we are in this life by wasting things” lessons she taught me.
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I don’t have a lemon tree in my yard, but I did have a bunch of oranges in my refrigerator. After enjoying the oranges, I looked at the peels and thought about that long ago conversation with my Grandmother. I can’t compost orange peels but I figured that they had to be useful. I put the orange peels in a container the freezer and did some research. Here are 10 ways I found that you can put those old orange peels to good reuse.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I’m Going to BlogHer ’09!

Going to BlogHer
Wrangling mics, greening conferences
Will I see you there?

That’s right kids, this July I’m packing up my bags and going to BlogHer ‘09. But me being me, I can’t just attend a conference. Oh no. I have to get involved in some way. So, I volunteered to use my mad podcasting skillz and will be a Mic Wrangler during the conference. What does that mean? Well, it means that if you want to ask a question or make a comment during one of conference sessions some woman who is fleet of foot is going to sidle up to you and thrust a microphone into your face so you can make your voice heard during the conference and be recorded for the conference sessions’ podcasts. And one of those fleet of foot women might just be me! So make sure you say a big “Hi Lisa!” or “Hi Condo!” to me during the conference!

I'm Going to BlogHer '09

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to Make a Gas Fireplace Chimney Balloon/Chimney Pillow

Even after caulking the windows and adding draft strips to the outside doors of The Condo the living room was chilly during the winter. No matter how high I set the thermostat, there was a mighty draft coming from somewhere in my living room. I set out to find it. I didn’t have to go very far, because according to the US Department of Energy 15% of the heat loss in a home is through an open fireplace damper when the fireplace is not in use.

I put a hand in front of the gas fireplace grill and felt a cold breeze. Caught ya you little energy napper!

You can easily solve this problem if you have a wood burning fireplace by just closing the damper. Boom. Problem solved. Unfortunately, I have a gas burning fireplace and the dampers on a gas burning fireplace are permanently kept open.

Since we only use the fireplace during power outages and for entertaining, I wondered if there was a way that I could close the damper when it wasn’t in use to keep the heated air from escaping up the chimney, and save money on my utility bills, and reduce my natural gas usage.

Fortunately, you can stop drafts in a gas fireplace with a Chimney Balloon, or Chimney Pillow . It looks like a Mylar balloon that that you stuff up your chimney when it’s not in use. You can buy one of those or make your own version.

Do I have to even have to tell you that I made my own DIY version? Of course not.

Keep Heat and Utility Bills from Going Up the Chimney

Monday, February 16, 2009

How to Hang a Yellow Ribbon

I have a family member who is in the military and deployed to Iraq. I dug out the yellow ribbon from the box of front porch decorations and hung it on the small tree in my front yard.

Traditionally people hang yellow ribbons to symbolize that they are waiting for the safe return of a loved one or of military troops who are unable to come home due to an overseas assignment.

Since my tree is small, I chained two cable ties together and used those to attach it to my tree. Yes, the whole thing is plastic, but I wanted something that wouldn’t fade, was reusable, and could survive the crazy Ohio weather since it’s going to be up for at least a year.