Condo Blues




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Changed 303,736 Light Bulbs. What Did You Do Today?

Even though I’ve been living a green life for longer than the three years I’ve been blogging about it, I don’t consider myself a dark green blogger or even an expert most days.

Yes, I was on TV last winter but I think that was more of being a crazy freak who keeps her house too cold during winter than being a held up as Big Green Champion. Saving energy is very important to me and I blog about it a lot , but let’s face it, saving energy is not as sexy or unusual as some other areas of green living that get more press.

So I do my daily green thing and try to do my best with what life hands me. If I can make you laugh or make you think or offer you a new tool for your Greening Living Swiss Army Knife, make your home a little prettier or challenge you to personally change 303,736 incandescent light nulbs for CFLs in fourth months then it’s a good day here on Condo Blues. 

“What?! Are you nuts?!” you say, “Do you think I could actually change all of those light bulbs in a such a short amount of time?!”

I sure do. It's easy!

How I Planted 8,209 Trees in Four Months


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Three Great Gift Bag Ideas

Oh gift bags how you make wrapping gifts so speedy! Gift bags are fabulous for wrapping odd shaped gifts like soccer balls and stuffed animals. Gift bags can easily be reused from one year to the next, which makes them an easy and  inexpensive way to go green without being so In Your Face Trying To Send a Message. 

Don’t you just love it when the cheapest and easiest way is the greenest way?

According to an article on Lehman’s blog: “We throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year.  This amounts to 25 million tons of extra trash.”

Wow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Three Amazing Toilet Paper Tube Crafts

My favorite type of recycled craft projects is the type that completely transforms a seemly simple item into something amazing and unrecognizable. I think all of the people who entered the White Cloud Imagination Unrolled Contest did just that. Look at the winner’s projects!

 First Place Winner is this Garland



 

 The Second Place winner is the Titanic
The third place winner made these cute TP people

I have a hard time deciding if the Titanic is my favorite or the garland. I’m leaning toward the garland because that’s something I could use if I made it.

I had better start saving toilet tissues rolls just in case.



If you’re looking for a great kid or holiday craft, check out the rest of the entries on My White Cloud . 

Disclaimer: I am a White Cloud blogger and they are compensating me for the considerable time I  am spending on this project. However all opinions are my own and are not  influenced by this compensation which is going directly into the Blitzkrieg Surgery Fund.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Three Basket Laundry Method Saves Time, Money, and Energy

When I first met Husband, he made laundry a one time only task by shoving everything he owned into one load in the washing machine – whites, darks, reds, every thing! Then he ran the washer on the hottest setting possible. What didn’t shrink, faded and all of his white t-shirts were gray

Husband has been banned from doing laundry.

For Husband separating your dirty clothes into whites, darks, and brightly colored loads mystifies him. He thinks that we would be doing several little loads of laundry a week instead of full loads of laundry that not only save time but also save energy.

That’s when I created the Three Laundry Hamper Method. We have three identical laundry hampers in our closet. Each hamper has a label.

  • White Clothes – All dirty white items should be deposited here for washing.
  • Dark and Red Clothes – All dirty dark and red items should be deposited here for washing.
  • Brightly Colored Clothes - All dirty brightly colored items should be deposited here for washing.

Each family member is responsible for putting his or her dirty items in the appropriate hamper. If I had small children, I’d color code the tags or draw pictures of the items so they can identify what goes where.

The three laundry baskets allow me to see when a hamper will make a full load of laundry.  To save even more electricity I wash all of my clothes in cold water. According to Treehugger

“Washing every load on the hot/warm cycle (in a top loading machine and an electric water heater) for a year is equivalent to burning about 182 gallons of gasoline in a car; in an average (19.8 miles per gallon) car, that'll get you around 3595 miles. So, wash in hot/warm, or drive almost 3600 miles -- same difference”

I’ve been washing in cold for years and my clothes get just as clean as they did when I used warm and hot water but without the fading! I credit my whites staying white and my bright colors staying bright because I wash them in cold water and add a bit of oxygen bleach when needed.

If you’re worried about killing dust mites or germs on your clothes, pop them in the dryer. A dryer heats your clothes hotter than washing machine water.

I sent A Gift of Green ecard   to my mom as a little reminder about her laundry situation.


 
You can still pledge and acts of green, which would be helpful since Cisco hasn’t met their goal of one million people completing at least one small act of green. 
 
What is your laundry tip or woe?

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Disclosure:  Rockfish Interactive, in partnership with  Cisco are compensating me for my considerable time on this project. However, my ideas, words, and opinions are my own and are not influenced by this compensation. See what the other ambassadors have to say about One Million Acts of Green: Crunchy Domestic Goddess, Green Your D├ęcor and Green and Clean Mom.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Make Gift Bows from Magazines Without Staples or Tape

I had the Christmas crafting itch but no time to get involved in a huge project since I was leaving town for Thanksgiving.What’s a creative, crafty girl to do? 

As I was about to put a bunch of travel magazines that a friend had given me into the recycling bin I saw that I was out of gift bows in my gift wrapping supply box. 
I just found my quickie Christmas craft!

I recycled those old magazines to make Christmas gift bows from old magazines. You can also make Christmas gift bows from potato chip bags but I didn’t have any of those at the time.

I used How About Orange’s gift bow tutorial but instead of using glue, staples or tape like she did I used metal paper fasteners, which made the project a lot less messy.

How to Recycle Magazines into Gift Bows

You will need:

1 magazine page or clean empty chip bag
Pair of scissors or exacto knife (I think using the exacto is easier)
1 1-inch metal paper fastener
Ruler
Cutting mat (if you have it and are using the exacto knife)

Make it:

1. Cut three 3/4" wide by 10 ½” tall strips from the magazine or empty chip bag. 

2. Cut three 3/4" wide by 9 ½” tall strips.

3. Cut two 3/4" wide by 7 ½” tall strips.

4. Cut one 3/4" wide by 3 1/2” tall strip.  You should have nine strips total.


5. Twist each end of a 10 ½” tall strip into a figure 8.

6. Push the figure 8 strip onto the paper fastener. I found that making a small hole with a pair of scissors in the center of my figure 8 made it easier to pierce the figure 8 with the 1-inch fastener.


7. Twist the remaining 10 ½” tall strips into figure 8s and add them to the paper fastener.

8. Twist each of the 9 ½” tall strips into figure 8s and add them to the paper fastener.


9. Twist each of the 7½” tall strips into figure 8s and add them to the paper fastener.

10. Make a loop with the 3 1/2” tall strip and add it to the paper fastener.


11. Bend the ends of the paper fastener to hold the loops in place.

12.  Slap that bad boy on a gift and gaze in wonder!

WARNING: Magazine bow making can be addictive!

The first few bows I made were a little wonky. The more I made, the more store bought bow-like they became. You can adjust the overall size of the bow by using longer or shorter strips to make it.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

30 Homemade Gift Ideas for Women, Men, Girls, Boys and Dogs

I Christmas shop year round for items as well as for ideas. That way I have time to make sure my gift is meaningful to the recipient. It spreads the spending out throughout the year so I never have to pay with credit. Sometimes I buy and sometimes I DIY it really depends upon what I think the person will like or need that year.




Jenn of The Green Parent  suggested to those of us in The Green Mom’s Carnival with craftier blogs could write about gifts/decorations that folks could make with the stuff they already have around the house as a way to offer suggestions on how to celebrate the holidays without going overboard.

This year my DIY options are severely limited. I killed my sewing machine last year making Christmas gifts. Seriously. The thing won’t run. At. All.

*whimper*

Since I can't make anything new, I went through some old posts and came up with 30 ideas for homemade holiday gifts for women and girls, men and boys, families, and your little dog too!