Better Than Instant

When I was a teenager I loved instant oatmeal. My favorite flavors were: strawberries and cream and peaches and cream.  I usually add fruit to my oatmeal and this week I added strawberries to it. I topped it with whipped cream. I found that making it homemade is better than instant!

Make a Tee Shirt Quilt

I saved the tee shirts from my kid’s ball teams, camps, plays and clubs. This is a photo of the tee-shirt quilt I made for my oldest son. I gave it to him for Christmas the year he got married. This was the first quilt I ever made. To make it unique, I quilted each square in a different pattern.

There are companies that will take your tee shirts and make a quilt for a couple hundred dollars. You can make it yourself without taking a bunch of quilting lessons. The quilt I made has something that the company does not do.


I embroidered, by hand, the signatures from the kids who signed his camp shirts. Those “autographs” are preserved for posterity.

If you have a lot of signatures to embroider, this is not a project to finish in a couple of months. I am now working on my daughters tee-shirt quilt. She had so many friends sign her shirts that I have worked on the embroidery for over two years!

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

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Make Your Own Spacer

When we got our new computer desk we noticed the tower was lower than on our old desk. The cord on the headphones was not long enough to reach comfortably.

My husband took a 2”X4” board and made a square that would fit under the tower. He screwed the boards together and painted it black to match. That raised the tower to a level where the headphone cord is now long enough.












Drapes Make an Air Pocket

I read that the most heat or cool air loss is at our windows.  In my post “Dress Your Windows” on January 12, 2010, I shared that each window has a sheer curtain, blind and energy-efficient drapes. You would think that those three layers would trap any cool or warm air, but I go one step further. ..

…I Velcro the outside edge of the drapes to the wall.

1. I sew the soft side of “Sew on Velcro” tape to the outside edge of the drape.











2. I put the rough side of “Self Stick Velcro Dots” on the wall. I paint them the wall color.











3. When I hang the drape I push the Velcro pieces together.






This creates an air lock that traps the cool or warm air depending on the season.

Save on Trail Mix

My husband loves trail mix, but I get concerned when he eats a half a bag while watching a game. I decided to make my own.

There are three levels to saving money on Trail mix:

  1. Buy a bag and put ¼ a cup in snack size Ziploc bags. It will go further because you will not mindlessly eat several servings while watching TV.
  2. Make your own mix and put it in Ziploc bags. The beauty of making your own mix is you can put in it only the ingredients you like. You can also use unsalted nuts.
  3. Buy peanuts, shell peanuts. Substitute chocolate chips for the M & M’s.

Trail Mix

1 Jar Unsalted Peanuts

½ Can Unsalted Cashews

½ Can Unsalted Almonds

½ Cup Raisins

½ bag M & M’s or Chocolate Chips

1/8 Cup Sunflower Kernels

Mix together. Put ¼ cup mixture in each snack size Ziploc bag.

Saving money is not an all or nothing proposition. Choose whatever level fits you.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Hide That Outlet

I have a red wall at the end of the hall with a black table.  The lamp I chose to put on that table had a white cord.  Since it was on a red wall, the cord and outlet were really noticeable.

I placed a walnut-stained board behind the table in front of the outlet. It doesn’t match the table or the outlet, but it blends with both and hides the outlet and cord.

Hide Those Cords

When I made my “mirrored back splash” there was not enough mirrors and I had an outlet in the wall. I did not want to look at the outlet or the cords. I found a basket of the correct width and length and hung it over the outlet. I hung another basket in the corner to make it look like both baskets were for decoration.

It Doesn’t Have to Match, It Has to Agree

You do not have to spend big bucks decorating your home. Furniture stores love it when you buy the couch, loveseat, chair and matching tables, or when you buy the bed, dresser, chest of drawers and matching bedside tables. The only problem is you end up with a room that looks more like a hotel than a home. It is better to be creative and mix it up a bit.

I don’t have a window near my kitchen sink. I read that a mirror is a good substitute for a window. I decided to “make” a mirrored backsplash. I had several Plexiglas mirrors that my dad gave me. I hung those on the wall on nails. It really brightened up the counter area and I wanted to add more. I used an unframed mirror and a framed mirror that was the same height. People don’t notice the difference.

Who stops to inspect a back splash?

I think I will paint the black frame silver to make it less noticeable.  (Once I wrapped a cord in tin foil because it went partly over a mirror to camouflage it.)

Furniture Cups Saved the Day

When we bought our table we bought chairs to match, but they were poorly made and we only have three left. When the last one broke, I decided to bring up the chairs from the table in the basement. The only problem was they are captain’s chairs and the arms would not slide under the table. I got out some glass furniture cups and put them under the table legs. It raised the table just enough to let the chairs go under it.

My Hamper…A Dumb-Waiter

Since my home is small, I store most things in the basement. I only keep 1 or 2 rolls of extra toilet paper in the bathroom. As I put the last roll on, I throw the empty roll in my hamper.  When I take it downstairs to do the laundry, the empty roll reminds me to bring more upstairs. I do the same with paper towel rolls and empty Kleenex boxes.

My son’s bedroom is in the basement. As I straighten up the house, I throw his shoes, hats, etc. in the hamper to be taken downstairs when I go.  Using my hamper as a dumb-waiter helps me keep the upstairs clutter free and saves me from making extra trips downstairs.