I love watching shows where they make over a room on TV. It starts out looking like a room in my house, and ends up looking spacious, functional, organized and pretty!

How do they do it?

  1. They decide the function(s) of the room and choose the furniture they will need for that purpose(s).
  2. They measure everything and make a floor plan.
  3. They use as much built-in storage as possible.
  4. They limit the clutter.
  5. They don’t pile stuff on the floor.

Last year, we converted our oldest son’s former bedroom into an office for two and a sewing/craft room with room for a play pen! I ended up with boxes on the floor along the wall and under the tables. I kept bumping my elbow on a shelf unit and hitting boxes with my feet.

This year I asked Mr. Frugalfish to build me two closet-sized shelves, since I had boxes stacked in the closet that kept tipping over.  When he finished, I loaded them up. I was able to move all of the boxes up off of the floor.

We purchased a tall, narrow bookcase and replaced the long short bookcase that I kept hitting my elbow on. I was able to turn it and place it behind my chair next to a filing cabinet.

When my girlfriends came over, I took them to the office to show them my new shelves. They each said the same thing…

“Wow, I love your drapes!”

What? I bought the drapes last January and I showed them off them. I realized that clutter hides the things of beauty in a room.

As you are decorating for the holidays, look at the stuff on the floor. Can you put it in a closet, under a bed, or better yet, give it away? Then you will see the things of beauty in your rooms.

My newly uncluttered office.



My first job was selling waterbeds and next door was a shoe repair business run by a father and son. The son delivered waterbeds for my boss part-time.

When I mentioned I needed a new purse he said, “Find a leather one with a cloth lining and it will last a decade. No matter what breaks on it, I can repair it.”

I have simple tastes; I like a white purse for spring and summer and a black purse for fall and winter.

My current black purse has a cloth lining, and although the exterior is not leather, it has lasted me six years. It was a little small – now that I have to carry 2 Epipens, an inhaler, wrap-around sunglasses and an allergy mask in a protective bag.

When the tab on the zipper tore off, I replaced it with a key ring because I knew it would take some time to find a leather, cloth-lined purse. I like being able to hook the key ring in my finger and pull the zipper shut.

I replaced the torn tab piece with a key ring.



A spring broke in our recliner. It started bending and felt like you were sitting in a hole. I found the broken piece and hooked one end into the clip. I save the heavy-duty twist ties that are from buying new appliances. I got out a few of those to secure it to the adjoining springs. Then I tied a string to the spring all around to keep it secure. It no longer feels like a hole in the seat.

As I was working on it, I remembered our aunt is a furniture upholsterer. I called her and she asked if it was a spring or a coil. She had me measure the length, width, and space between the zigzags. As I was measuring it, I noticed a coil I had wired with a heavy-duty twist tie last year! I forgot about it!

When we were at their house that weekend, she gave me a replacement coil and told me she would pick up a small zigzag spring the next time she was in Des Moines at “Gilbreath Upholstery Supply.” (My uncle had an even better idea. He told me to look for a chair set out for trash pickup and just get a spring from it!)

The moral of my story is to save those heavy-duty twist ties, they make a great temporary fix.

My temporary repair on the broken spring.

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“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”…Christmas movies are on TV. I love Christmas Movies…my family…not so much. Usually it is not a problem unless there are two new movies on at the same time. I can watch one while recording the other.

We have a TV in our living room and in our dining room in the basement, as well as one in our bedroom. My daughter purchased a TV of her own for her bedroom.

We found the Dish satellite to be the best value in our area and when we switched to it we were given a box with a DVR for the two main TV’s and a plain box for the two bedroom TV’s. I would record movies on the TV in the basement while Mr. Frugalfish watched a game in the living room. I would watch the other movie in the bedroom. Then the others started recording shows they were missing, and when college boy is home, he watches the TV I normally record on.

I got excited when Dish came out with “The Hopper”. I wanted it! I did a little research on the cost and realized I didn’t want to increase my entertainment budget that much for TV…I’d rather eat out!

As I was dusting my bedroom TV, I remembered that each TV had a DVD player or a DVD/VCR combo hooked up to it. I smacked myself on the forehead and said, “Duh, we can record the shows or movies on the VCR!” The best part is I will have tapes of new Christmas movies to watch all winter long without tying up the hours on the DVD player. I don’t need “The Hopper”.

The VCR player that is attached to the bedroom TV.



Today I am putting the final touches on my table for Thanksgiving. The table is set for 17 plus a high chair! I love, love, love dinner parties! At Christmas, and on my birthday, I ask for napkin rings, cloth napkins, serving dishes, etc. Last year I ironed the napkins into turkeys.

Last year’s Thanksgiving table.

I bought a glass butter dish for my dinner at Easter. I was looking for a glass cream and sugar set. I didn’t like any I saw in the store; they all seemed too small.

After my last shopping trip, I walked by my china cabinet and noticed a small pitcher I used for syrup and a candy dish that was missing the lid. They both are cut glass and the perfect size for my crowd! I have my new cream and sugar containers! Who knew, I just needed to shop in my china cabinet!

My “new” cream and sugar set.


You may have heard you can peel the stalk of broccoli and slice it into broccoli coins. Broccoli coins are great dipped in Ranch dressing.

I go one step further…I dice it and add it to casseroles or soups. In fact, I am starting a  soup bag. This broccoli is in it and I will add any leftover vegetables, pastas, diced meat, or rice to it.


I used to have trouble using the entire package of bacon. I would forget about it and soon end up with green, moldy bacon.

Then we bought this microwave bacon pan. You fold the strips over the supports and the grease drains off of each piece.  You end up with crisp, bacon with less grease than cooking any other way.

I cook all of the bacon in the package, and when it is cool, I put it in a bag in the freezer. I can warm it in the microwave for a minute, if I want to have it with my eggs. If I need diced bacon pieces, I crush the frozen bacon and it breaks into little pieces.


Children are notorious for not liking onions or food that is too spicy. The ingredients that make an adult say “Yum”, makes a child say, “Yuck”. And for those adults who suffer from acid reflux disease, chili can cause pain. This recipe makes both cases happy…and when I serve it I set out the chili powder and salsa for those who like it hot.


1 can Tomato Juice

1 can Chili Beans

1 lb. Ground Beef

1 Tablespoon Minced Onion

1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic

1 Tablespoon Sugar

Salt and Pepper

Pour tomato juice in a Crock-pot or pan. Stir in chili beans. You may brown the ground beef if you desire, or let it cook in the Crock-pot with the other ingredients. If you use the second option the ground beef breaks down into tiny pieces, not browned clumps. Sprinkle with onion, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.  Cook in Crock-pot on low all day, high for four hours or in  sauce pan for an hour.

There is enough chili powder in the chili beans to flavor it for children. You can always make it spicier. It is harder to cool down the heat.

Three main ingredients.


My granddaughter is growing up so fast. She is tall enough now that she can no longer run under the table. She cut the corner too close and whacked her head.

Since I knew I would not be at Wal-Mart before she came over again, I got out extra folding chairs and pulled them up to the table. There is a chair on each corner and she has to go around the chair. There have been no mishaps since.

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday and saw the bumper guards for $8.00. I am glad I had already come up with a frugal solution.

Line the table with chairs and you will not need bumper guards.


My home is rather small and I am extremely choosy when I buy new furniture. Several years ago, we purchased a recliner…but it is also a rocking chair.

Last year we needed a side table to go next to our new sofa. I knew I wanted closed storage to keep the dust out. The table we chose has a unique feature…the top slides forward to give you access to the top shelf. You can see what is hiding in the back!

My bed is also mufti-functional. There are drawers underneath of it. I do not have a dresser in my bedroom. All of my clothes, all four seasons, fit in my closet and in the drawers under the bed. Of course, Mr. Frugalfish had to move his clothes and dressers to the laundry room.  It is large and has a full bathroom on one end. He likes being able to shower, dress, and toss his dirty clothes all in the same room.

Each table I purchase has to have a drawer in it. I love hidden storage. I am looking for an ottoman with a lid to hide my granddaughter’s toys next!

The top on my side table slides forward for easy access to items on the top shelf.