Condo Blues

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sparkly Glam Recycled Outdoor Christmas Décor

I wanted to do something a little different to shake up my outdoor Christmas decorations this year. I’m leaning towards glitzy glam, because I’m still pining for those shiny silver and red trees I didn’t buy at the Restore. I want to keep it environmentally friendly too. Difficult because sparkly wow! isn’t generally associated with environmentally friendly. Environmentally friendly usually means country burlap. Not what’ I’m looking for this year.

After a little rooting around in the outdoor Christmas décor box, found these sparkly dood-dads. They came as part of a Christmas decoration that a cousin made and gave me that didn’t quite make it to my house in one piece during shipping so I never used it. They will do just nicely on the swoopy parts of the garland on my porch.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Helper: Making Quick Meals From Scratch

I'm so excited that my friend Lisa from RetroHousewife Goes Green offered to do a Guest Post on Condo Blues. Take it away Lisa!

Thanks to Lisa for letting me do a guest post for her! Her blog is one of the first blogs I started reading and I have gotten to know her from the Green Moms Carnival. Be sure to check out my blog Retro Housewife Goes Green as well.

We all know there are days you just don't want to cook. While most of America would just go get some fast food or call for take out, that is often not so green and not very healthy.

A great way to still have quick meals but stay healthy and green is to make some meals you can freeze and heat later. It's like making your own frozen dinners.

I like to take a day that I have very little else going on and make a lot of meals at once. The favorite in our house is pizza. It's super easy! All you need to do to make your own frozen pizzas is take your favorite dough recipe and make enough for however many you want to freeze.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Low Key Christmas Party – a Green Holiday Favorite!

Last year I read an article in the New York Times Style section where the writer boo hoo’ed that because the economy was tanking they had to skip throwing a swanky expensive Christmas party and ended up doing something at home. They were surprised that their downsized party was more fun than the lavish ones of their past, predicted it a huge trend (because of course they just created such a thing), and oh by-the-way it’s a little greener way to go.

Well I suppose that makes my very Midwestern friends Alex and Anne trendsetters! They are way ahead of their time because they’ve been throwing this kind of Christmas party for years. It’s one of the best parties I attend and I’ve been to some swank holiday parties let me tell you.

Funny thing is, if you met Alex and Anne, you wouldn’t say that they were trendsetters at all. They don’t wear trendy clothes or drive sports cars or even a Prius. Their traditional Christmas party also flies in the face of any green cynic who says that Christmas, and parties, and gifting are a wasteful, unthoughtful, consumer-ridden humbug that we should just remove from our yurts completely. Because they are the type of people who, like most of my friends, emphasize people and fun. Although our idea of fun is usually a little kookier than most.

The Party, the Details, the Fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mom’s Homemade Soy Candles

My Mom has an addictive new hobby – making scented soy candles. Since I love burning candles and Mom usually gives her creations as gifts to people like say, me, this is one addiction that I wholeheartedly encourage

Might be a Danish thing (Danes burn so many candles that as a nation Denmark consumes more candles per capita than any other country on earth – no lie) might be an inner pyromaniac thing. Either way I find that burning a scented soy candle is a festive way to get rid of cooking smells after dinner without resorting to icky fake flower scented sprays that are full of questionable chemicals. Feh.

Mom’s dealer, source of inspiration came from her favorite candle store The Swan Creek Candle Company. It’s a little candle shop that sells the most fragrant soy candles with lead free wicks. She promises to take me there when I visit her but we end up not going for one reason or another. I forgive her because she gives me candles. Yes, I let her to buy my love because I"m nice like that.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Recycled Buttons? Oh Yes Please!

I was shopping at Joann’s for fabric for Christmas gifts. I found myself in the button section, not that I needed new buttons for my project; I planned on reusing some buttons from my grandmother’s button box because of course using what you already have is the greenest practice of all.

Well, that, and I have a ton of buttons in that box. They have sat largely unused because while I was in a costume sewing frenzy during our Renaissance festival performing years, I couldn’t use those buttons because they were plastic*.

Yes, I designed, drafted patterns for most, and made everything from the skin out and hats on down for Husband and I with the except of the shawl (a gift from Mother-in-Law) and the vintage muff.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Habitat Restore Treasure Hunt

One of my favorite places to shop (and donate) materials for my creative reuse projects is the Habitat Restore. Several readers have asked me. “What’s the Habitat Restore?” The Restore is a thrift store that helps fund Habitat for Humanity so they can build houses for low income people. But this is no ordinary thrift store my friends, oh no! The Restore is a thrift store of home improvement supplies. I put on my Big Game Bargain Huntress pith helmet, grabbed the bathroom fan I replaced and wanted to donate, and hopped on down to my local Restore to poke a round. Here’s what I found.

The first thing to greet me when I walked in the door where these big silver Christmas trees. Love. They are shiny, would look perfect flanking my porch in two groups of three, and remind me of drag queens. Probably donated by the Limited Brands, Gap or some other store that’s based in Columbus. I want!


Sadly storage is an issue. Maybe I could go with the baby ones? Instead of drag queen trees, I suppose that makes these little gems drag princesses?