Our Featured Guest Star- Condo Blues


Today we are thrilled to have with us Lisa from Condo Blues.  Lisa’s site is a fabulous source of money saving tips, green living ideas and frugal decorating.  She is an endless source of ideas and her posts are full of great ideas tossed in with a bit of humor and some doggy hair.  A lady after my own heart…

I asked my buddy Tom Selleck and his mustache to spiff up the Green Room a bit, after all, Lisa does appreciate a bit of organization.  However, Tom has been freaking out all week preparing for an audition to be on Celebrity Apprentice.  I can’t seem to get his mind on the task of cleaning up.  And then in popped the man himself, Donald Trump.  Really?  There are still cheetos on the floor.  Sigh…

Donald immediately set him on a task of selling Girl Scout cookies.  If Tom and his mustache can sell a whole truckload of Girl Scout Cookies in the next three hours, both he and his mustache could earn a place on the next Celebrity Apprentice.  Tom is standing beside himself.

So, as soon as poor Lisa makes her way through the crowd of little girls in green headed up by the mustache himself, we can start the interview.  No, Tom- we will buy cookies later.  Tom!  Quit harrassing our guest! She can resist your charm, just like I did.  You can’t just wink and flash a smile and assume that every woman will bend to your will.  We are strong!  We are faithful to our diets!  We are determined!

Fine.  Lisa, just set the case of Samoas over there.  Next to my stack of Thin Mints.  What?  They are diet right?  THIN mints.  Just saying.

Suzy: Tell me a little about yourself, your family, your other hobbies…
Lisa: I use everything from a sewing machine to a jackhammer to make my condo stylish and green on a budget. I love repurposing and making things over. My husband and I are foodies. The most popular member of my happy family is Blitzkrieg our one eyed rescue Pekingese.

Suzy:When and why did you start blogging, and where would you like your blogging to lead?
Lisa: I started Condo Blues in 2008 because I didn’t see anything that about green living options for regular people who don’t have movie star budgets. When I turned to the Internet for green living options all I found were absolutes. I grew up remaking and repurposing things. It helped me save money and put myself through college. I decided to start the blog I wanted to read.

Lisa: I want my blogging to turn my blog to into a business. My immediate goal is to start speaking at blog conferences.

Suzy: Can you tell us a few things that most folks don’t know about you?
Lisa: My first DIY project was “helping” my dad build a step stool when I was a toddler. I probably stood there and handed him stuff but he didn’t kick me out of the garage and said ‘we’ made it. My mom still has the step stool. She won’t let me have it!

Lisa: My parents first house was a serious fixer upper. The previous owner kept live chickens under the sink (I will NEVER have backyard chickens. My eggs will always come from a paper carton.) and painted over dirt instead of cleaning it. My parents transformed that house into something beautiful that looking nothing like the mess they started out with. I grew up with them fixing, refinishing, and making custom items for that house. That’s why I don’t like wasting things and recycle items into something clever, useful, or beautiful.

Lisa: I once was a professional jester and featured in the New York Times. I loved entertaining, making people laugh, and teaching them a little history when they weren’t paying attention. If you read my blog posts, my inner jester shines through because finding Dog Vomit Slime mold in the bottom of a homemade compost bin is funny. I’m the funny green blogger and I’m OK with that.

Suzy: Your blog is a wonderful collection of green living, money saving ideas and tips. Can you tell me what inspires your posts?
Lisa: I’m decorating and improving my first home. I don’t have a movie star budget (sad, I know) which means I save money doing it DIY style! I quickly found out that home improvement isn’t always as easy as it appears on TV! Every project seems to take a wrong turn at Albuquerque that the shows leave it. Since I’m a freelance IT writer and e learning course developer, it’s natural for me to write “How to” posts about what I learned in the process.

Lisa: I’m not here to take down companies. I don’t find environmental gloom and doom posts inspiring. Instead of kvetching about issues I want give people ideas on things they can do to make their corner of the world a little better place for their families. If I can make someone laugh while I’m doing it that’s just gravy. (Hmm…gravy.) If it’s something that saves money that’s even better (then there’s more money to spend on gravy!)

Lisa: When I see someone giving green absolutes, it inspires me to write a post giving other options for that absolute. Not everyone lives in the same part of the country, has the same type of house, family, or has the same preferences. I often need more than one way to do the same thing because I live in an area of the country that has very distinct seasons.

Suzy: Since I’m kinda a crafty blog, I have to ask. Do you have a particular favorite craft?
Lisa: My mom taught me to sew potholders when I was in Kindergarten. They were a Christmas gift for my teacher. I’m short and spent my lifetime altering my clothes. I designed, drafted patterns, and sewed my own costumes when I was a jester. For the last 10 years I’ve mostly sewn historical costumes and for the home. I’m trying to declutter my fabric stash so I can renovate my sewing/guest room. I have more sewing projects planned.

Lisa: I remodeled a bathroom and like doing simple electrical work. I got a compound miter saw for Christmas. I want to do more woodworking once it’s warm enough to work in my garage.

Suzy: I know you have a very busy life. I also know first hand how time-consuming a good blog is. How do you schedule it all in?
Lisa: I do most of the projects I blog about on weekends. They usually take a little longer because I take lots of photos during the process. My dog Blitzkrieg likes to jump into my project photos so I started styling photos around him. It is easier that way. People love the Blitzkrieg photos!

Lisa: I write as much as I can in advance preschedule what I can. I’m experimenting with vlogging as a time saver. I’m not so sure about that because making my first You Tube video took just as long or longer than writing a tutorial blog post!

Suzy: Since I’m also kinda a sitcom blog, Tom wants to know if you have a favorite movie star. Besides himself, of course…
Lisa: I loved the play on characters Tom did in Meet the Robinsons. I had a mention that as a total suck up to Tom and all of his rugged Tomness. I really like character actors because they get to play such interesting roles. Alan Rickman and William H. Macy are two of my favorites.

Suzy: This bloggy community is full of wonderful folks. Can you tell me what blogs inspire you?
Lisa: Readymade is a HUGE influence on me, what I do, and how I do it. Their magazine speaks to my Mid-century modern-Bauhaus -Contemporary-Found-and-Funkified-Retro-DaDa-Danish decorating style. Allison at House of Hepworths is clever, funny, and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty when it comes to a DIY project. Apartment Therapy -I love the sense of style and read it before I started blogging. I’m not just saying that because they featured some of my projects either!

Lisa: On the green side of things…Rob’s World – Rob is great at turning trash into clever treasure. His recipes are very good too. All of the women of the Green Mom’s Carnival -I am so proud to be a member of such a caring group of women. If I have a green living question, I know someone in this group will have an answer or resource to help me.  I can’t leave out Cooking with Caitlin.  She inspired me to start my food blog Lazy Budget Chef.

Suzy: Can you tell us a little about what you are promoting right now? Any upcoming events?
Lisa: I have several painting room projects I want to do. My Husband wants me to stick to sewing projects. We’ll see who wins that battle.  I’m working with White Cloud on a fun project that kicks off in March. I’ve been saving toilet tissue rolls and paper towel tubes for months to use for this project!  I’m also looking ahead to Earth Day. Hopefully I’ll have a contest or two to help folks go in a green direction if they want to give it a try. I’m always looking for opportunities to work with others in the blogging community. It’s more fun that way!

Lisa, thanks so much for taking the time to visit us.  Tom, his mustache and I were thrilled to have you! 

Please take a few moments to swing by Lisa’s blog, Condo Blues and see what she has going on.  I was frankly thrilled by all the new ideas she threw my way.  You really need to check it out. 

As for Tom and his Girl Scouts, well it looks like the truckload is nearly gone.  Apparently, he called his buddy William Shatner and they invited over all the folks from a local Trekkies convention.  My Green Room is full of mutant aliens, klingons and weird guys with bad cases of dandruff who still live in their mom’s basement.  But they are all carrying away boxes of cookies.  And isn’t that what it is all about? 

Hope there are two spots available on the next Celebrity Apprentice.  Tom goes nowhere without the mustache.