Update from What I “Read Today”

When the Coronavirus “shelter in place” order came, I felt relief. I battled a rash on my face and watery, itchy eyes for months. I didn’t want to go anywhere.

The rash was a reaction to the Eucalyptus oil in my diffuser. The dermatologist said that I could not use a diffuser, scented candles, or perfume.

The first time I had to “shelter in place” was Labor Day weekend in 2004. The allergy shots didn’t work, even though we started over three times, and my only option was to avoid allergens.

Painting is one way I fill the hours. It was difficult with watery eyes but last year, during several rounds of Prednisone, I painted every room, ceiling, closet, shelf, and started painting furniture!

“Don’t despise the day of small things”

My husband bought some kitchen chairs at a friend’s garage sale last spring. They are black with oak seats. They have gold appliques on the backs and it didn’t fit my style.

We had family over for Easter and I wanted to paint the chairs before then. But there was no time. The most scuffed part of the chairs was the bottom segment of the legs. I painted just those segments. No one noticed but I smiled every time I entered the kitchen.

I painted one section of one chair every chance I could. I finished them on September 1st. I’m glad I didn’t wait until I had time to do them all at once!

“Two streams of golden oil pouring through two gold conduits”

“Where do I post the interest?” asked David.

“In the same line as the IRA,” I replied.

Granted the amount is not a lot! But I learned a secret from “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason. You want to invest the interest no matter how small.

If I leave it in my account it will get spent but if I invest it in stocks or bonds it will grow. The goal is to have multiple streams of income when we retire.

“Fully obey the Lord”

Another way I fill the hours is to play the piano. I am in limbo at the moment because I flunked my allergy test. How? I had a build-up of antihistamines in my system. There were no reactions on the prick test. We are waiting for a killing frost and then I will stop meds for two weeks and test again. I am staying inside except for a few hours on Sunday mornings when I play the keyboard for church.

I started playing for services when I was 16. I remember one worship leader asking me to practice for 15 minutes a day. I balked but I just had my second baby in two years and was a bit overwhelmed.

After a hiatus of 8 years, I started playing again. Boy did I practice then! I had to learn 4 new songs a week until I caught up. My new worship leader asked me to memorize the songs. I balked again. I was doing well just learning them.

Finally, I obeyed and started memorizing the music. There is such freedom to play without worrying about losing your place. I watch my fingers, and thanks to daily practice, the muscles remember where to go when my brain is not sure.

There is more to playing for a church service than following the music. You are there to aid in worship and must remember to worship through your fingers.

Last night I practiced an older song. I shut my eyes and sang along. It was me and God. That was when I felt I “fully obeyed the Lord.”

“Turn a pleasant land into desolation”

This is a beautiful time in Iowa. The crops are fully grown. Now we wait for the corn and beans to dry in the fields. Next month harvest will begin. The fields will look desolate without their covering of crops.

It is good to remember when I receive a blessing there will be a time of emptiness. If I continue to plant seeds all along, I will have a harvest that doesn’t end.

“Streets filled with boys and girls playing”

I was pregnant with our first child when we bought this house. The neighbor across the street had an empty nest. She told me she loved watching our children play in the front yard.

She passed away and a few years ago a young couple moved in. Their oldest was learning to ride a bicycle. His dad ran alongside him for a time or two. After the first trip down the street, he switched from holding the bicycle seat to laying his hand on his son’s back. His son knew he was still right there beside him but he was responsible to keep his balance. (That is how God works.)

David and I watched from our couch as they went back and forth a few times. We both jumped up and cheered when he took off on his own. Now I am the one watching the children playing in the streets.

“It may seem impossible”

I still battle the red, watery eyes. The ophthalmologist said it is dry eye. I have to get over it because we are scheduled to visit Israel next spring.

The trip has been postponed four times because of the pandemic. We sacrificed our truck, satellite TV, and several small things to pay for this trip. I trust that God has a plan.

“Don’t be afraid, let your hands be strong”

I refuse to give up on the Israel trip. I made a shadowbox of gifts others brought back from Israel. It’s the first thing I see when I wake up. I will keep hope alive.

“Speak the truth; make true and sound decisions”

My husband and I enjoy playing Spider Solitaire. He plays on the weekends and I play while I eat lunch. Sometimes, I play until I win. Tuesday, was one of those times. I am ashamed to admit that I played for 4 hours.

While I soaked my eyes for the third time, God whispered, “Spider is drying your eyes out.”

When we are looking at a screen, we don’t blink as often as normal. My concentration was such that I barely blinked at all!

I determined to set a timer on my phone and only spend 10 minutes at a time looking at a screen. I used it for Facebook and email, too. Amazingly, I won in 10 minutes yesterday! Today, I lost.

“Love truth and peace”

I told David about my long session and my decision. He will keep me accountable. When I hid my Spider Solitaire addiction, I felt guilt and remorse. Now that I have a plan, I have peace.

©2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Daybed for Less Than $135

The need for a daybed did not get critical until our granddaughter graduated from the “Pack and Play.” We tried an air mattress on the floor but it was up so often that the seams on top pulled apart.

I also wanted a daybed in my office to use as a couch and for a place to spread papers out. I did not want it too low or too high. When I received a coupon in the mail for a single size mattress we decided to check it out.

We looked at consignment shops before we went to the furniture store. I also looked in my storage room to see what was available. (We did not want a daybed with a frame because it would block the window.)

We did buy the $75.00 mattress at the furniture store but picked up a new bunkie board at a consignment shop for $20.00 less. I found an adjustable frame at Goodwill for $5.88 and a set of bed raisers in my storage room.

We put the bed together and found it was not high enough to store boxes underneath. I picked up some castor cups and put them on top of the bed raisers. They also keep the legs of the adjustable frame from sliding around.

Last fall, I bought a reversible comforter for our bed. It was not as long as I liked but I kept it because of the navy color. I put that comforter on my “new” daybed and let it drape to the floor hiding the boxes.

I had three, bed pillows and one pillow my daughter made as a gift. I put my extra, light blue shams on two of them and we bought some navy colored shams for the other two.

Since the daybed does not have a frame, that left one problem. I didn’t want to place it completely in the corner because it would block an outlet and crush the floor-length drapes. In the storage room, I found a box used to ship Derek’s latest guitar. I covered it with a fabric shower curtain that I no longer use. It made a nice spacer and left access to the outlet. It keeps the fourth pillow from falling on the floor.

Outlet at head of bed "Daybed for less than $135" frugalfish.org

My granddaughter approved of the new bed! Derek had a friend over when we were out-of-town and he said it was very comfortable.

Daybed cost:

  1. Mattress $75.
  2. Bunkie Board $40.
  3. Adjustable Frame $6.
  4. Bed Raisers Free.
  5. Comforter Free.
  6. Pillows Free.
  7. 2 Pillow Shams 12.
  8. Headboard Spacer Free.
  9. Headboard Spacer Cover Free.
  10. Total Cost $133.

New daybed "Daybed for less than $135." frugalfish.org

My Frugalfish tip is to make your own daybed by getting some of the parts at consignment stores.

Next week I will show you how I improved my glasses!

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Ottoman Rescue

I chose this ottoman with my granddaughter in mind. I used it to store her toys. But it became a problem when all the family was here. She would want to get in the ottoman to get her toys and someone would be using it! I moved her toys to bookshelves hidden behind a curtain under the TV, see here. Now I store my quilts in it.

This ottoman fits perfectly between the two reclining seats on my couch. If not in the center, it gets bumped when someone reclines. It has serviced us well for a few years and started showing its age.

I didn’t want to replace it yet and decided to do a little cosmetic surgery. You can see where the vinyl has worn away on some of the corners.

Damaged Ottoman "Ottoman Rescue" frugalfish.org

I have a love/hate relationship with the secret weapon I used. I love it for repairs and labeling but hated it when my kids got a hold of it. I still have dressers with autographs and pictures on the backs. (Like I would never see them!)

My secret weapon worked perfectly. It looks like new again!

Repaired Ottoman "Ottoman Rescue" frugalfish.org

Here’s my weapon – a Red Sharpie Pen! It “stained” the white material where the vinyl had rubbed off. I colored the worn spots and wiped off the excess with a paper towel as I went along. I let it dry a day before using it.  (Hint: you can use “Armorall” to extend the life of your vinyl furniture.)Red Sharpie Pen "Ottoman Rescue" frugalfish.org

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Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound

I reached the age . . . somewhere around 40 . . .  where my arms aren’t long enough to read. The eye doctor said that dreaded word,

“BIFOCALS!”

The top of my glasses is for seeing far away, the bottom for seeing close up. When I recline, the angle has me looking through the bottom of my glasses and I have trouble focusing on the TV!TV on TV Stand "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound" frugalfish.org

David has the same problem. We either prop our head on a pillow or on one arm to look through the correct part of our glasses. Then we would get a “crick in the neck.”

We needed to raise the TV!

We could mount it on the wall but would have to buy a kit. I looked around for a more frugal solution. Then I remembered the hutch in the bedroom with a large mirror set on it.

Hutch with mirror on it "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound" frugalfish.org

We brought it out and placed the TV on it. The height was perfect! I moved a bookshelf under the hutch and set the soundboard on it.TV Raised Up on Hutch, "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound" frugalfish.org

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Next week is Thanksgiving and I did some serious thinking about after the meal. We eat at noon and my family will usually watch TV. The best seats are on either end of the couch, which has built-in recliners, or in the big recliner. Usually, 1 or 2 will sit in the middle of the couch and the rest will take the chairs which we bring in from the other rooms.

Another problem is we store the toys for our granddaughter in the ottoman. She can’t get to the toys because the one(s) sitting in the middle of the couch have their feet on it. When she is playing, her movements can block the TV. I moved Olivia’s toys to the bookshelf and hid them behind a curtain on a tension bar.

That solved 2 problems!Toys on Shelf Behind Curtain "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound" frugalfish.org

Invariably, I am the last to sit down and the only seat left is next to the TV. Everyone can see the TV, but me!

David hung the large mirror over the couch. I sat down in the chair and said, “Ouch!” I had moved a CD organizer to use as a side table next to the chair. It was too tall and it hit my elbow! It disappointed me that I could not see the TV in the mirror!

I got out a smaller mirror and David moved it along the wall until I could see the TV while sitting in my chair. We tried 2 different mirrors until I could see the entire TV in the reflection. (This second mirror was David’s grandmother’s and recently given to us by his aunt. I love having something of hers in my front room.)TV Reflected in Mirror "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound" frugalfish.org

I brought up a white bookshelf to put in the bedroom where the hutch was formerly. It wasn’t as deep and that gave us 6 more inches between it and the bed.Shallow Bookshelf Gives More Room "Surround Sound, Not Surround Sight" frugalfish.org

I wanted to raise the TV in the bedroom, too. I looked around but couldn’t find anything the right size that was sturdy.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Back in the front room, I tried a few side tables, that were 3″ above or below the arm of the chair, to replace the CD organizer and finally decided on a square column. (It was a demo of the four different styles available at the lumberyard where my husband worked. They switched companies and he brought it home.)Column Demo Makes a Side Table "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound" frugalfish.org

I started to take the CD organizer back downstairs when I realized it was very sturdy. We laid it on its side on the piano and put the TV on top of it. It worked!CD Organizer Raised TV "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound" frugalfish.org

I raised both TVs, and can watch them from any seat, without spending any money! It increased the square footage of the front room because the TV stand was a foot deeper. Between the narrow hutch and the mirrors, my room looks much larger.

This weekend look around your family room. Can you switch pieces and free up some square footage for your family this holiday? How about mounting a mirror on the wall across from the TV to let it be viewed by both sides of the room.

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Shopping for a Chest of Drawers with a $65.00 Budget and $7.00 Cash

My husband works for a small lumber company. How small is it? There are only two salesmen…and one is a farmer…and you work every other Saturday morning. That means you can only take vacations in the winter.

Unless your Saturday off is a Holiday weekend!

David got lucky and had Saturday, July 2nd off. We decided to spend the long weekend in Des Moines. I looked at everything there was to do, but decided I wanted to spend the time shopping for a chest of drawers for our youngest.

His buffet/dresser served three generations. The repaired drawers were more suited for cloth napkins and tablecloths than for clothes.

We just replaced the washer and I knew our budget for appliances was not large. It discouraged me to find there was only $65.00 in that account. On top of that, I had purchased 4 pairs of shoes on clearance prices and didn’t even have much spending money left.

We took off on Saturday and I had $7.00 in my wallet. David had the money for food in his wallet. The motel and gas money came out of our vacation budget. I actually thought about staying home, but we love eating at new places, so off we went.

We pulled up the used furniture stores in the Des Moines area on David’s phone and used the GPS to try to find them. Several were in the poorer sections and we didn’t even bother to stop. We did go through D.A.V. Thrift Store, run by disabled veterans because we wanted to support them. We didn’t find what we were looking for there.

Our last stop was “Do Overz.” I loved the look of this store when I went to their website and I was not disappointed when I went inside! The owner sells furniture on consignment and she is very choosy about what she takes.

We found two!

The first chest we found was dark wood and had a bit of scratching on the top and the front. But it had two things going for it: 1) It had the same manufacturer of the chest of drawers we purchased a few months ago, and 2) It was $68.00!

The second chest was in better shape, but it was light wood and cost $124.00. I thought it was a better deal, but it will be in the “locker room.” (The guys keep their clothes in our large laundry room/bathroom and we dubbed it the “locker room.”) When we first moved in, the basement flooded and we had to throw away carpets, couches, and chairs. If that happened again, I would be crushed to have this nice chest be damaged.

We bought the dark chest. It fit our budget and it matches.

Don’t be discouraged when you don’t have a large budget to work with. You might be surprised at what you can find in consignment shops, thrift stores, auctions, and garage sales. Chest of drawers

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“Snuggie’s” Summer Use

I shared on April 29, 2013, how I used the “Snuggie” we received as a gift. It really helped keep me warm on cold, rainy days.

I found I could use it to keep me comfortable during the hot days of summer. I use a leather office chair, and when it is hot and sticky out, that chair becomes hot and sticky. I got out that “Snuggie” and tied it to my office chair. My arms and legs no longer stick!Snuggie covered office chairOffice chair

When I am comfortable in the office chair, I am not tempted to turn the air conditioner down.

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

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Enough

I was at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party and I noticed she had a “Pack and Play” tucked in the walk-in closet of her master bedroom. I remembered when my granddaughter was a baby, I would put the “Pack and Play” between the bed and the closet door.

There is just enough room for the "Pack and Play"

There is just enough room for the “Pack and Play”

I would like to have a bigger bedroom but found there is enough room.

When my daughter moved out…again…I moved a computer desk into that room. We also keep an air mattress set up for those times my granddaughter visits. I rolled the comfortable office chair in there because I spend more time writing than David spends working on the finances! I was happy that there is just enough room in there for both functions.

There is just enough room to pull out the extension to write in the spare bedroom.

There is just enough room to pull out the extension and write in the spare bedroom.

Bigger is not always better. It is more expensive to purchase maintain. I am happy with just enough.

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repair Wheeled Desk Leg

Of all the computer desks we bought, this was my favorite. Instead of a keyboard drawer it has a nesting extension that rolls out. Unfortunately, one leg kept bending under.

It ended up in storage for a few years and I got it out when my daughter moved out. I finally took the broken leg completely apart. The nuts, that the screws were to join, had come out of the leg into the framework of the extension. No matter how much we tightened it, the leg was just barely hanging on.

I took it all apart, glued the nuts back into the leg and put a dab of glue on the screw before I inserted them. That leg is solid now.

The wheel? Not so much.

The rubber had come off of my desk leg wheel.

The rubber had come off of my desk leg wheel.

Then I remembered how I fixed the feet that kept falling off of the keyboard bench, see here. I got out my thickest rubber band and cut it open.

I slid the rubber “tire” off of the wheel and tied the rubber band around the wheel.

Rubberband tied around wooden wheel.

Rubber band tied around wooden wheel.

Then I slipped the “tire” back on. Now it is as solid as the leg and I feel like I have a new computer desk!

Repaired Wheeled leg

Repaired Wheeled leg

In Honor of My Son’s Birthday

I thought the happiest day of my life was the day I married David.

I was wrong.

The happiest day was when our son, Luke, was born. I never thought I would feel more content.

Then my daughter, Laura, was born and little baby girls are so sweet. It couldn’t get any better. Right?

Nope, when our youngest son, Derek, was born there was such a feeling of satisfaction…our family was complete.

Or so we thought.

Then Luke married Bethany. It was the best party I have ever attended and such a sweet day for David and I to share.

It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Wrong again.

I watched Luke walk on air right after his daughter, Olivia, was born and in that little bundle of pink was happiness, joy, and contentment like I have never experienced before. People try to explain it, but until you become a grandparent you just can’t understand.

You get all of the wonderful things a child brings…plus you can send them home and go to sleep!

Occasionally, our granddaughter will spend the day and I had trouble getting her to take a nap. Then I had a brainstorm.

Since she loves camping, I made her a tent. She loved it. All I did was drape a fitted sheet over 2 chairs at each end of the air mattress.

In fact…her grandpa loved it too! I caught him napping there on the weekends!

Temporary Canopy

 

Don’t Start Over, Tweak Your Decorating

Last week I put away my Valentine’s Day decorations and pulled out the Shamrocks! Normally, I build a centerpiece from scratch, but I really liked the vignette I created for Valentine’s Day, see http://wp.me/pKNzn-Fr. I decided to remove the Valentine’s and add a little green.

We need to take this approach to all of our decorating. It is tempting to trash everything in a room and start over, but each piece has a story and memories attached to it. It is better to tweak our decorating.

How?

  1.  Remove clutter.
  2. Take out a piece or two.
  3. Replace just one item, i.e. worn out furniture.
  4. Add just one item from another room, i.e. area rug.
  5. Make a replacement from scratch, see Bookshelves to Bookcase http://wp.me/pKNzn-yl.

I was amazed when we moved an area rug from the living room to under the kitchen table. I fell in love with it all over again!

St. Patrick’s Day Centerpice