Whiter Than Snow

“Hey, mom, did you paint the stairwell?”

“No, I just washed the walls.”

It was my first decorating project for 2017 – revamping the stairwell walls. I showed you in October how I display the art my children made in elementary and middle school on a shelf and the walls of the stairwell. After seeing my son duck his head going down the stairs I decided it was time for an update. That was when I realized . . .

 . . . we had been robbed!

I was removing the staples from the artwork on the back and right side of the stairwell, and taking them down, when I noticed staples in the wall and no artwork! I should have taken the art down from the right side of the stairwell when Derek got his drum set. The bass drum in the hard case barely fits between the banister and the wall. Some of the artwork had been torn by it. (Later when I questioned him, he admitted he may have disposed of artwork that was torn in two.)

After taking down the art, I filled in the holes and wiped the wall with a Mr. Clean magic eraser. That eraser works really well! I used some peel and stick letters to form the word “DUCK” on the header at the bottom of the stairs. Our basement ceiling is 7 1/2′ high. If you are over 6′, you can hit your head going down the stairs!

Artwork on a stairwell "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I wanted a fresh start for 2017 and there is nothing more clean-looking than snow. While I was at it, I set out some snowmen decor. The snowman on the towel inspired me to have hope.

Snowman towels "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I kept one New Year’s Resolution on Monday when I paid the full price for an 18″ grapevine wreath. Last year, I redecorated a wooden wreath each month, but it was so small it covered the peephole. My Christmas wreath was 18″ and I decided that was the perfect size for my door because it did not block the peephole.

Grapevine wreath on door "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I loved all the lights at Christmas and kept out one string of white lights. I ran them along the bottom of my windowsill to light up the snowmen and tree on it.

Snowmen on Windowsill "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I set out flameless candles that change colors around the room. They remind me of the “Aurora Borealis” up north.

Flameless candle "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

Even though there currently isn’t snow on the ground, I placed white-tipped pine cones on the soil of my plants. It put a little “snow” in the room.

Pinecones in plants "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I used the snowflakes my kids made as coasters on a navy blue runner in my kitchen tablescape. The snowmen are filled with salt and pepper. (What should I put in the glass jar?)

Snowmen tablescape "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

Of course, there are snowmen in my china cabinet and a tea-cup from China because Chinese New Year is January 28th.

Cup and Snowmen "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

My tour ends with a juggling snowman hanging out between two Cardinal mugs. I love seeing Cardinals in the snow!

Mugs and Snowman "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

There are no pictures from the basement because I am still sorting and packing up Christmas decorations. Oddly enough, not one has made it to the Goodwill box! My Frugalfish tip for this week is…

…Try washing your wall, before deciding to paint!

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Can You Guess My Christmas Theme?

Mom was here early in the week and I asked if she could guess my Christmas theme.

She couldn’t!

She was in good company. David and Derek have looked at it for ten days and they couldn’t guess it either! Derek asked, “Why is there a seagull on the tree?”

When I explained the theme to my Mom she said two things: 1) “You have too much time on your hands,” and 2) “Can you print off a copy of your post? I want to fool my friends!”

The Tree

My theme is best reflected with my Christmas tree. Under the Star of Bethlehem, there is a section covered with stars from Hobby Lobby, like this. . . Clear Stars and Black Ribbon "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

Below the stars are Christmas Carols rolled up into scrolls and wrapped in black ribbon. I used them the first time in “Free Christmas Tree Decorations.” Scroll of Christmas Carol "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

Angels with various instruments are hung on the next level of branches. My favorite is the one with the harp. Angel Playing Harp "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

What Derek thought were seagulls were actually doves. I found them in the Christmas section of Dollar Tree. Doves represent peace. The “Peace on Earth” ornaments were from Dollar General. Christmas Dove "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

Peace on Earth "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

 

The crown ornaments below the globes were first used in 2013 when my theme was “Birthday of a King.” King's Crown Ornament "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

These globe ornaments were my Thanksgiving craft project. We shredded foil tissue paper and stuffed it into glass ornaments. I drew the continents on with a black Sharpie and filled them in with a green Sharpie. Homemade Earth Ornament "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

 

The bottom layer of angels was in the same spot last year for “Angles We Have Heard on High.” There are three “angel tree toppers” resting on the bottom boughs. Gold Angel Tree Topper "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

My niece, Brittney, was here on Monday and she told me she loved my tree skirt. I had to admit that it is a twin, fitted sheet that I borrowed from Derek! The glitter on it fell off of the ornaments on the tree! Glitter Tree Skirt "Can You guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

Other Decor

I wasn’t able to put all the clues on my wreath but it did get: a Christmas Carol scroll, an angel playing an instrument, a dove, and a star. I added small, black ribbons to the wreath. I used these ribbons around the “Horn of Plenty” appetizers that I made for Thanksgiving last year. Theme Wreath "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

My towels are only adorned with an angel and a dove sitting in a wreath. Angels and Dove on Towels "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

I drew continents on a large, blue ornament and filled them in with a green Sharpie to mimic the globe ornaments on the tree for a kissing ball. I hung a crystal angel and a crystal music note from the ribbon. Themed Kissing Ball "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

The Kitchen

On the swag light in the kitchen is a heavenly host of angels from last year. Angels on Swag Light "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

 

The kitchen tablescape has crystal angels and a crystal nativity scene. The only other clues are the colors of the runner and folded napkin on top of it. Crystal Creche and Angles "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

The Dining Room

My dining room table covered a bit more of the theme. Viewed coming down the stairs, the clues go from right to left: an angel playing an instrument, a dove (Kirkland) in a nest (Hobby Lobby), a manger scene in a crown (2013), a globe (Hobby Lobby), and another angel without an instrument. The nest is on top of a garden stand that usually holds a gazing ball. Dining Room Tablescape "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

Did you guess my theme? Too bad, I am going to make you wait! (Type your guess in the comment section below.)

The important thing is I did not spend a lot of money, $31.00. I bought the stars, globe, and nest at Hobby Lobby and they were 50% off. I reused several ornaments from earlier years. I never use all of my decorations, and after sitting in a box for a few years, they seem like new decorations when I finally do!

If you enjoyed my Christmas decorations, you might enjoy seeing others in the “Christmas Tour 2016” that I found at my favorite decorating blog, theinspiredroom.net.

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“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it! But what if you do not have a fireplace? I guess you can roast the chestnuts in the oven, but what about the glow of a fireplace?

A few years ago, I turned the TV on to the “UP” station during a family Christmas because it was showing a “Yule Log.” Yep, it was a video of a fire burning with Christmas music in the background.

I pinned a better idea from At the Picket Fence on my Christmas board. The link for instructions led me to redheadcandecorate.com. I love their faux fireplaces, but I don’t have room for one. I decided to fake the look of a gas fireplace that was like a line of fire.

I remembered my CD organizer turned on its side on the piano. The TV is on top and what better place to have a fire/light feature than there! I got out the battery operated LED button lights my niece gave me for Christmas a few years ago. I put one in each box and made my fire/light feature.LED Button Votives "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" frugalfish.org

I can have the glow during the day or . . .Light Feature as Viewed from my bed "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" frugalfish.org

. . . turn them on at night.Faux Fire Light Feature at Night "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" frugalfish.org

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Indian Summer Thanksgiving

What happens when there is a four-day weekend? Wednesday becomes Friday! Yes, it is Wednesday, but I made it Frugalfish Friday!

This fall has been the warmest I have ever remembered. It’s like Indian Summer was going to hang on until Thanksgiving! I actually used a marigold bloom in my wreath!Marigold Bloom in Bow on Wreath "Indian Summer Thanksgiving" frugalfish.org

The grass is still green and a few flowers still blooming. I wanted to reflect those colors in my Thanksgiving decorations. I used a green runner on the kitchen table and put “Turkey” Salt & Pepper Shakers, Candlesticks, and Napkin Holder on it.Kitchen Tablescape "Indian Summer Thanksgiving" frugalfish.org

I ended up using turkeys throughout my decorations because they were so colorful. This homemade turkey, made from recycled baskets, won me a blue ribbon in the county fair!Turkey made from Baskets "Indian Summer Thanksgiving" frugalfish.org

I put a “Turkey” plate, that was given to us by David’s aunt, in the china cabinet. The ceramic bear is pretending he is a turkey!Turkey Plate from David's Aunt "Indian Summer Thanksgiving" frugalfish.org

I even used a “Turkey” Pin on the towels in the bathroom. This is the first year I decorated with green!Turkey PIn on Towels "Indian Summer Thanksgiving" frugalfish.org

 

I used more “Turkey” Candleholders on the dining room table. The flowers in the horn of plenty reminded me of the flowers still blooming on the south side of my house.Dining Room Tablescape "Indian Summer Thanksgiving" frugalfish.org

Green tablecloths covered the table and buffet. I set out some dishes that I will use on the dessert table. The cake plate will elevate a pie and make room for more desserts. I plan on putting rolls in the Trifle dish and have already roasted pumpkin seeds for the wooden bowl. Serving Dishes on Dessert Table "Indian Summer Thanksgiving" frugalfish.org

 

You can see more photos of past Thanksgiving decorations on my Pinterest.com/frugalfish page.

“Happy Thanksgiving!”

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October Birthday Decorations

Adults everywhere dread any birthday ending in zero. You know your friends are going to get you gag gifts, like a cane, or some bring reminders of death: skeleton, coffin, tombstone.

My birthday is in October, and though it is not ending in a zero this year, I don’t want my home decorated with skeletons, bats, coffins, tombstones, and other Halloween decorations. I usually have a few smiling Jack O’lanterns and put up fall decorations.

This year we will be celebrating 4 birthdays because my surgery canceled my oldest son’s dinner, and my husband’s birthday came before we could reschedule. My youngest son was born in early October and we decided to have one dinner for all the guys. They aren’t that big on parties anyway, but they love to eat! I decided to go all out and decorate the house with a birthday theme.

Starting with the wreath at the front door, I covered it with birthday bows and chose colors to coordinate with my October flag.October flag, "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

The wreath is between the door and the screen door. It is visible, but out of the wind. I just used packing tape on the back of each bow.Wreath of bows "October Birthday Decorations, frugalfish.org

I used primary colors as my palate for the rest of the decorations. Blue, green, and orange towels were topped with a red washcloth, yellow bow, and tied together with a yellow ribbon. I tied the ends of the ribbon together behind the towels.Ribbon wrapped towels "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

The bow is secured with a pearl-topped florists pin that I pushed through the center of it. It is a long pin from a corsage.Florist pin secures ribbon "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

The inspirational print was given to me by my daughter-in-law and I chose to display it because of the rainbow-colored font. The red candle, surrounded by corn meal, fit with my color scheme and I left it. The gold trim in the candle holder matched the gold trim in the picture frame.Picture with rainbow colored font "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

The same type of font was used on a birthday mug I hung from a hook. It was given to me on a dreaded birthday ending with a zero.Birthday Mug "October Birthday Decorations

The Precious Moments Cup with my name on it is displayed in the china cabinet. The lavender color did not go with my theme!Precious Moments Pam Cup "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

Last month I shared my trick of using the back sides of table runners, see here. I flipped my apple table runner to the navy side, folded a red napkin into the same shape and placed it on top. An orange Jack O’lantern and green pumpkins added 2 more colors of the rainbow. I topped the pumpkin with a yellow bow for my birthday theme.October Tablescape "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

The dining table has 2 table runners layered over a red tablecloth. I used white pumpkins here and brought in yellow and green with flameless candles. The centerpiece is a fake angel food cake, see here.October Rainbow Birthday Tablescape "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

I stuck a “Happy Birthday” sign left over from a cake into the center of a decorated balloon weight to balance out the figurine on the other side.Birthday Balloon Weight "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

See, there are touches of Halloween, the figurine is of three children dressed as ghosts.Ghostly kids figurine "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

My children’s Halloween crafts are displayed on the shelf going up the stairs. I loved seeing their work from kindergarten and the clever items my daughter made in Girl Scouts.Children's Crafts "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.orgBlack Cat from crushed pop can "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

There’s another Jack O’lantern on a shelf in the kitchen.Jack O'lantern candle "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

Over the years, I have received some pretty funny gag gifts. These fake balloons were made for me a few years ago. They brought them in holding the balloons up high. It is actually balloons made of card stock. I love a good joke and decided to display them this year.Fake Balloons "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

I didn’t spend any money decorating for Halloween and when it is over, I won’t be looking for Halloween decorations on sale, I will be in the birthday aisle!

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September Decoration Flip

Derek was not impressed when I got out my flag for September. He was hoping for colorful leaves and pumpkins. He was not expecting the apples!Fall Flag, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

But September is still warm; it was 80° yesterday. Everything is still green and you can run around barefoot.Barefoot girls on Vase, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

It is also when the fruit ripens; pears, apples, and grapes are on sale.Pear Candle, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

Rubber grapes make a nice bow on my plain wooden wreath.Wooden wreath with grapes, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

Apples and leaves are my themes for this month, mainly because I had a new, flameless candle, embedded with leaves. I set it on my apple runner and put “Apple Salt and Pepper” shakers on each side.Leaf candle with apple salt & pepper shakers, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

Instead of putting my decorative dishes in the china cabinet, I put them on the shelf leading to the basement and filled them with apple/cinnamon potpourri.Dishes filled with apple cinnamon potpourri, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

Now for My Secrets!

There are three leaf-shaped votive candles on top of wooden napkin rings on the tiny shelf by the door. Underneath, a mug with gold leaves on it.Leaf-shaped votive candles on wooden napkin rings, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

On the windowsill between the kitchen and dining room, I put a plaque and two votive candles.Plaque and candles, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

The candles were not tall enough. I filled the votive holders with cornmeal to raise them up!Cornmeal raises candle, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

On the dining room table, I put a burgundy tablecloth and a red runner for the two different shades of apples. This runner is tone on tone and the backside blended with the tablecloth better. I removed the tag and you cannot tell it is the backside. Apple, acorn, candle, centerpiece, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

A leaf brooch dresses up the towels in the bathroom.Leaf brooch on towels, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

Without a washcloth in the color I desired, I used the “spring” washcloth and folded the decorated side over the back.Tuck decorated portion of towel behind, "September Decoration Flip" frugalfish.org

Those are my “September Decorating Flips:”

  1. Use a napkin ring as a votive candle holder or small pine cone holder.
  2. Use cornmeal, or popcorn, to raise a small candle up to the desired level.
  3. Flip your table runner and remove the tag.
  4. Tuck the decorated side of a washcloth behind to have a plain colored washcloth.

I didn’t spend any money to decorate for September; since I picked up the leaf candle last winter on clearance. You can see different ways I used these same decorations on my Pinterest page!

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Summer Decorating Secrets

Today is the first day of the Iowa State Fair! (Cue the music: “Our state fair is a great state fair…”) I had such a good time last year; I used my “State Fair” cup in my summer decorating! You can see how we saved money at the fair last year here.cookie cutter, cup, and keys

I promised to show you may tricks and secrets on Tuesday. The runner on the kitchen table is actually my St. Patrick’s Day runner turned over.Candle in bowl with flowers on table runner

The runner on the dining room table isn’t a runner at all! It is 2 napkins strategically folded. Another example of using napkins to make a runner is here.2 folded napkins

There is a rose pin attached to the washcloth in my bathroom. The roses in the towels are light pink to dark pink. The pin is actually red!Red rose pin

Colors do not have to match exactly, they have to agree. Another example of decorating with colors that agree is here.

I hope these secrets give you an idea of another way to use a decorative item in your home.

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My Summer Decorations

Last week, I showed you my “Iowa Summer Wreath.” It consisted of the many shades of green in Iowa during the summer. Along with the green, there is every color in the rainbow shown in our flowers. I wanted to reflect both in my decorating.

My kitchen table has a simple green runner with a floral, ceramic, mixing bowl. Inside the bowl are a flameless candle and three napkin rings that have flowers on them. Candle in bowl on table runner

You can see the detail on the on the other two mixing bowls displayed in the china cabinet.Floral Mixing bowls in china cabinet

The dining room table has a butterfly vignette as a centerpiece. There are two plaques with butterflies on them, a butterfly cookie cutter, and a tiny book about butterflies. I put the other three napkin rings in a tiny watering can.Butterfly-themed centerpiece on table runner.

The window sill, between the kitchen and living room, has a small painting of a green, glass vase, full of multi-colored flowers. The glass in the fish-shaped candle matches the vase in the painting. Fish-shaped candle and painting.

I displayed my tiny ceramic pieces on the shelf leading down the stairs. Ceramic garden figures on shelf

Iowa’s state flower is the Wild Prairie Rose. I included roses in the throw on the couch and the matching hand painted pillow.Roses throw with hand-painted rose pillow.

I also used roses when I set out towels in the bathroom. The rose towel compliments the green hand towel with an applique rose. As a final touch, I added a small rose-shaped pin.Pin on towels

Total spent? Zero. Zip. Zilch. (I will let you in on a few secrets Thursday.)

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Iowa Summer Wreath

Usually, after July 4th, I get out my sea shells and other decorations that depict a vacation. But – I live in Iowa and there is no ocean! Iowa has a beauty all its own. In July, there are several shades of green. I decided to decorate with the beauty of Iowa.

I started with my wreath…and it did not go well. I couldn’t find the colors of material in large enough sizes to tie them around the hearts. Finally, I decided to pin them.Material pinned to wreath

Iowa skies are the prettiest blue when the sun is shining. We also get a sufficient amount of rain. Some days the clouds are puffy like cotton balls and on other days, they are wispy.

I wanted to include all the shades of green:

  1. The green corn fields before the tassels appear.
  2. The grassy green of the lawns.
  3. The greens of the clover and alfalfa fields.
  4. The greens of the woods with their evergreens.

I believe I captured most of the shades. I decided to add decorative elements to each heart, to help you tell which green it represented. That meant I raided my decorations from other holidays: corn from Thanksgiving, grass from Easter, and a pine cone from Fall. The most unusual element is a green bee that came from some toy. It must have been from one of the cousins’ toys when they visited because none of my kids could figure out where it came from. I almost threw it away a multitude of times. I’m glad I kept it. It looks cool on the fabric covered with clovers.Iowa Summer Wreath

Next week, I’ll show you the rest of my summer decorations.

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Blogger’s Secret

Last week I shared my patriotic themed decorations. I hope you thought the pictures were pretty. I love looking at other blogger’s homes. They always seem so perfect. Everything looks new and clean.

It’s not.

No one has a perfect house that is 100% organized all the time. That is not realistic. But, each blogger will show you only part of their home. I may never post a photo of my storage room because my son’s drum set and cases have taken it over.

The best blogs use expensive cameras, filtered lighting, and then they Photoshop their pictures before they ever publish them. I just steal my husband’s phone and shoot from the prettiest angle.

Today I will show you the ugly side of one photo.

This photo looks pretty from this angle.Candles on a table runner

But if you look closely at the white candle you will see that there are red dye and blue dye from the other candles on it.White candle

Even worse, when I burned the candles the blue candle did not burn evenly and it marred the shape.Star-shaped candle

But you can’t tell because of the angle I used when I took the photo.

My point is: when you decorate, you do not need new items; and you can use flawed decorations, just make sure the flaw is not front and center.  Items with the most character are never pristine. I could have polished the silver plate, but it would not have fit in as well.

Nothing is ever perfect. I messed up making the patriotic wreath by tying one of the bandannas on backward. Heart Wreath

Can you tell which one? I took it down, turned the bandanna and tied it on again. Now can you tell?Patriotic Wreath

It was the white one on the left.

It’s Flag day. Pull out a patriotic piece and display it until July 4th regardless of its condition!

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