Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles

It started with this picture of an angel. I bought her during a really rough year, (11 funerals), and her expression matched what I was feeling. But the grieving process is over and I am no longer sad! Angel Picture "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

I am slowing purchasing frames at Goodwill and framing my children’s artwork. There was one picture I framed that my daughter drew during a rough year in her life. The drawing was not what I thought it was. When I found out what she really drew, that picture made me sad. I took that picture out of the frame and gave it back to her.

Earlier, I framed 6 pieces of artwork based on the piece that looked the best in the frame. My youngest son pointed out there were 2 of my oldest son’s pieces, 3 of my daughter’s pieces and only 1 of his. I decided to correct that.

Using the frame from the piece I returned, I tried to find one of my youngest son’s pieces to put in it. They were all too large. Then I noticed one torn piece.Torn Artwork "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

I took the mat out of the frame and put it over an undamaged portion. I cut the artwork to fit in the frame and disposed of the rest.Matted Fragment "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles" frugalfish.org

I taped it to the mat, put it back together, and taped the backing paper down.Taped paper backing down "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

This was the picture before…Original picture "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

…and this is the picture after. Wouldn’t it make a great gift? It’s an original!Framed Children's Artwork, "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

I took the backing paper off of the angel print and found the print, matting, and cardboard were all stapled to the frame. I cannot reuse this frame. I taped it back together and put it in my box for Goodwill.Artwork stapled to frame "Priceless Gift for Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles" frugalfish.org

My frugalfish tip this week is to frame a piece of your children’s artwork in a frame from artwork you no longer like. It is inexpensive, but “priceless.”

Next week, I will reveal my 2017 Christmas theme. Have you guessed it yet? (My sister-in-law found out that Google is no help!)

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

2017 Christmas Tour

Once again, I based my Christmas theme on a Christmas Carol. But I believe this will be the most difficult theme to guess! I will only respond to guesses posted in the comments below because I’m ornery. (Sorry, Facebook doesn’t count!)

At the front door, a cardinal is sitting in a nest on my wreath. An angel presides over the bird and there are musical ornaments on the sides. I made it by wrapping garland around my grapevine wreath and then wrapped red bead garland and lace around it. The poinsettias on the top are two napkin holders! Under the angel is a red ribbon with a bell tied to it that jingles merrily when the door opens.

Cardinal Christmas Wreath "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

As you hang your coat on the hook in the entryway, you will see two lamps. One is a Tiffany lamp with a tea light and the other is a Victorian lamp.

Tiffany Lamp and Victorian Lamp "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

You will notice Cardinals on this Victorian lamp. I have now given you three clues.

Victorian Lamp "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

The Christmas Tree is the first thing you will see when you step into the living room. I am only showing you the top because I have several more ornaments to add. There are angels, instruments, wreaths with cardinals, beaded fruit, and homemade Victoria cones on it. (Someone didn’t get the Christmas boxes down until late Saturday night.)

We made the cones after Thanksgiving dinner, by unrolling some music scrolls. We rolled them into cones, taped them, and added lace and buttons with a hot glue gun, and filled them with multicolored lifesavers. We made the smaller ones from paper doilies. We painted the tips and around the top with gold paint. (Shout out to Melinda, Rachel, and Olivia for helping!)

We also painted the tips of large pine cones, but there was something on the cones that caused an allergic reaction. They are now in the garage. (Sorry, Rachel, I know you spent a long time painting them.)

Oh, yeah, Luke and Derek helped by pulling out my retractable clothesline and hanging the ornaments as we painted them. (They made sure to use the one in the walkway to give us gold highlights in our hair.)

Top of Christmas Tree "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

It was this quilted throw that confirmed my theme for this year.

Cardinals on a Quilt "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

I tried to include all the colors of the stockings in the swag on the window between the kitchen and the living room. I used the kissing ball a few years ago and just added lace to it. The beaded plums represent “sugar plums dancing in their heads.” (Shout out to Melinda who made the candy garland out of lifesavers my daughter left here months ago!)

I found the singing Cardinals at Goodwill. I used them in place of the glass block. There is a glass angel next to them.

Candy Garland and Stockings "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

I wired a wreath to the bottom of the swag light and decorated it with cobalt blue beads and ornaments. I tied burgundy bows to the beads at the points of the window valance and to the top of the light.

Decorated Swag Light "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

The centerpiece is a wreath on top of a plate. Inside is a gold angel and on the other side of the decorations are more cardinals.

Angel and Cardinals Centerpiece "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

As you walk down the hall, you will see the “JOY” candlesticks that I painted. Three years, well worth it!

Christmas JOY Candlestickes "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

In the bathroom are more cardinals and another angel. (Shout out to Laura who made the angel in Girl Scouts!) I picked up the white decorated towels on clearance last year and the red towels at a Black Friday sale. The decorated French horn is a brooch.

Cardinals on the Towels "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

The dining room is lit with my Christmas village and a lighted garland. I wrapped red beads around the garland and used it to hide the cords from the lights. The lights brighten the cake stand and punch bowl on the buffet. There are several baskets and other decorations mixed in on the bookshelf.

Christmas Village on the Bookshelf "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

I put three angels in the center of the table facing out. That way an angel is facing every direction. There are cardinals sitting around their feet.

Angles and Cardinals Centerpiece "2017 Christmas Tour" frugalfish.org

In case you missed them, the three clues are:

  1. Angels
  2. Cardinals
  3. Victorian

My frugalfish tip for this week is to pick a theme for next year now. You can pick up Christmas decor on clearance after Christmas and you can shop at consignment shops and garage sales for the items you want all year.

If you have the cash in your pocket, it is okay to splurge every once in a while. I found the quilted throw and Victorian Lamp on my trip to Virginia with my mom and sisters. My younger sister had to talk me into buying them, even though I had enough cash on me. My husband loves them. He’s a St. Louis Cardinals fan. (I’m not and that is not my theme!)

I am so convinced that no one will guess the theme this year, that I am going to wait 2 weeks to reveal it! Next week, I will show you a priceless Christmas gift to make for grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org

Kid Tested, Mother Approved Hot Chocolate Mix

How are you spending Black Friday? Have you been up for hours? Did you stand in line in the cold?

I’m decorating for Christmas! I chose this year’s theme last December! There is no way you will guess it! (Actually, in the last three years, only one person guessed my theme correctly and he found a clue I left in a pretty obvious place. Go, Luke!)

Whether you are just getting home from shopping or are in the middle of your decorating, you need a cup of hot chocolate!Homemade Hot Chocolate "Kid Tested, Mother Approved Hot Chocolate Mix" frugalfish.org

I have a recipe for “Hot Chocolate Mix” that every kid will love and every mother will approve. My kids still love it!

“Hot Chocolate Mix”

  • 7 Cups Nonfat Dry Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cups Dry Coffeemate
  • 1 – 2 pound can of Nestle’s Quick

Mix all ingredients together and store in a sealed container. Use 1/3 cup of mix for each cup of hot water.Jar of Hot Chocolate Mix "Kid Tested, Mother Approved Hot Chocolate Mix" frugalfish.org

Mothers love this mix because each cup is a cup of milk! Kids love it because it is sweet from the powdered sugar and creamy from the Coffeemate!

 

You can top the hot chocolate with one of the following:

  1. Marshmallows
  2. Crushed Peppermints
  3. Whipped Topping
  4. A Scoop of Ice Cream

My frugalfish tip is – homemade is always better! Make your own!

Next week I will reveal my “2017 Christmas Theme.” I’m so excited!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org

 

“2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour”

When you walk to my front door, you will see my Thanksgiving wreath. I made it by wrapping a gilded leaf garland my sister gave me around a grapevine wreath. All I needed to add was a plaid bow!

Gilded Garland Wreath "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

Before you knock, you will see a Pilgrim Bear greeting you from the windowsill. He’ll leave the lights on for ya!

Pilgrim Bear "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

Stepping into the living room, the lights from my glass block will draw your eye. I filled it with river rock and copper cookie cutters. It brings out the copper wire on the lights wrapped around the glass block. Next to it is my humble coaster stand. The cork and wood fit in with the autumn decorations. I decorated it with an artificial leaf and twine that came wrapped around Angie’s wedding invitation. (Congratulations Angie and Brock!)

Copper Cookie Cutters in a Glass Block "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

On the couch is my new pillow cover that says, “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound.” The braided burlap trim says, “Autumn” to me! I love how the black and white lettering plays off of my black and white music quilt.

New Pillow Cover with Throw "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

The centerpiece on the kitchen table inspired my scheme for this Thanksgiving. You may remember I used it on my dining room table two years ago. I folded it in thirds to make it the proper size for my kitchen table. On top are my turkey napkin holder, candlesticks, and salt and pepper shakers. (Yes, Rachel, I did fill them.)

Thanksgiving Centerpiece "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

There are various vegetables around the base of the turkey napkin holder. I decided to use vegetables in my decor. I put a pumpkin basket and a glass pumpkin in my china cabinet.

Pumpkins in a China Cabinet "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

Using the colors from the table runner, I layered towels in the bathroom. I kept the autumn print I got from a link at theinspiredroom.net on the wall and pinned a turkey pin on one towel. On top I put a turkey I made with washcloths.

Washcloth Turkey "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

My frugalfish tip for this week is…

“Buy Pillow Covers, Not Pillows!”

Last week the clocks turned back one hour. In the spirit of changing times, I am going to “fall back” 7 hours next week! I will publish my post at 5:00 p.m. CST instead of 10:00 a.m. Come back to see my Thanksgiving Table!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org

How I Improved My Glasses

I have long eyelashes.

How long?

When I got my first pair of glasses in second grade I trimmed them!

(It broke Mom’s heart.)

My lashes are long and curly and Mom always said they were my best feature. But, when I got glasses they got in the way. I kept ripping the glasses off to remove the spider I saw only to find it was just my eyelashes.

The problem got worse when I started wearing makeup. If I didn’t allow the mascara to dry completely, I would find myself looking through bars! Contacts solved that problem for several years until the ophthalmologist told me I could never wear them again because of allergies!

I had a terrible time picking out glasses frames. The first pair I chose had an opening between the front and sides of the glasses. My hair kept getting trapped in the opening. Ouch.

The next pair was too small for the dreaded bifocals. I tried semi-rimless frames, but they magnified any dark circles under my eyes because I am near-sighted.

The last time I purchased frames, I made sure they would mask those dark circles. I forgot that I had to have a nose piece on my glasses because of my long eyelashes. (The spiders were back.)

At the beginning of the summer, I went back to the eye doctor and asked for help. They tried adding little nose pads but they were flesh-colored and my glasses are black.

New Glasses "How I improved my glasses" frugalfish.org

We found silicone nose pads in a larger town but they didn’t stay on! I went back for more and they told me they no longer make them! My glasses cost $500.00 because of my prescription and I did not want to buy another pair.

Glasses with silicone pads "How I improved my glasses" frugalfish.org

Then I had a brainstorm – Bumpers!

Bumpers "How I improved my glasses" frugalfish.org

I had a package already that I used to keep the keyboard pedal from slipping away. They are larger than nose pads and they pushed the frames away from my lashes. The silicone keeps the frames from sliding down my nose on warm days. I have several more in the package and don’t worry about losing one. They keep my glasses firmly in place and that helps me to look out of the correct part of the glasses.

Glasses with Bumpers on them "How I improved my glasses" frugalfish.org

My Frugalfish Tip is to look around, you may have just the thing to solve a problem already on hand.

Next week is my birthday – I may take the day off – or the month. Lol

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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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JOY Candlesticks

I bought these candlesticks at Goodwill.
Unpainted Christmas Candlesticks, "Christmas Projects" frugalfish.org

I love painting figurines and decided to paint them.

JOY Christmas Candlesticks "Christmas Projects" frugalfish.org

It took three years! (This is why the stores have Christmas Craft projects in July. These things take time!) Now I have one-of-a-kind Christmas Candlesticks painted in colors that match my decor.

Take advantage of the Labor Day weekend to look through your projects. Your favorite, new Christmas decoration may already be there! (Yes, I have my Christmas decorating theme already!)

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Ocean in the Middle of Iowa

“This post brought to you by Derek!”

Derek got out the boxes of summer decorations and cobalt blue glassware that the doctor ordered me not to move! One was on the bottom of a stack of boxes.

Decorating this month reminded me of two things:

  1. Buying out of season makes it feel like Christmas all year-long, and
  2. I’m an Iowa girl.

Last week, I shared my inspiration for my August decorating. I talked about the “whale lights” I purchased earlier. Only, they aren’t whales, they’re dolphins! I also bought a glass dolphin, not a glass whale!

I unpacked my box of summer decorations and found a candle embedded with shells! Surprise! I purchased it last fall on a clearance rack and packed it in my summer box right away. Finding it was like opening a Christmas present!

It became the centerpiece for my kitchen table. I put my clear glass dolphin on one side of it and my new cobalt blue, glass dolphin in a vase on the other side. I didn’t have a cobalt blue table runner and pulled a scarf from my closet to use instead.Glass Dolphins and Seashell Candle "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.orgOverturned vases are the platforms for my glass fish and a crystal oyster. My china cabinet is on a side wall. I try to have two layers of decorations in it because you are not looking at it from the front. I put a large starfish in front of my cobalt blue plate for that reason. The plate with a beach scene was a gift from Aunt Lesta! The candle in front of the plate is fish-shaped.Glass Fish and Crystal Oyster in China Cabinet "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.orgI hung “dolphin lights” in my front window and put my three largest shells on the windowsill. I used shells everywhere!Dolphin Lights in Window "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.orgShells fill my blue vases and I put a layer of small shells in the bottom of my glass block. On top, I put cobalt blue marbles and a few blue glass stones.Shells, Marbles, and Glass Rocks in Glass Block "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.orgEven my wreath has shells on it. I opened up the blue bandana bow and wrapped it around the base of my wreath as an ocean. I added two white bandanas for the sea-foam on each side. I reused the material I used on last year’s wreath for the sky, see here. The rest of my seashells are in a net that I tied and wired to the bottom of the wreath.Ocean Themed Wreath "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.org

The best way to shop is at the end of the season or in the opposite season. I buy summer clothes in July and winter clothes in January. The stores are trying to make room for fall clothes in July and drastically mark the spring and summer clothes down.

My next shopping trip I will be looking for patriotic and beach decor. I will pack them up and surprise myself again next summer. Of course, that means I have to pass on the items I no longer love to make room. It’s how you survive living in a small house.

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Towel Animals, Not Just For Cruises

When I took this picture, I thought it would be a sneak peek to my summer decorating. But then I helped my husband move a china cabinet and when he told me to let go – I didn’t. :(

China Cabinet: 1,  Frugalfish: 0

The doctor told me not to exercise for 3 weeks and to limit physical activity for 6 weeks. (Wait. Exercise isn’t physical activity?) He was trying to tell me to take it easy. I figure moving boxes of decorations and dishes would be considered physical activity.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

Participating in a “Coffee and Canvas” with my mother and sisters inspired my August decorating theme. When they gave us the paint I thought, “I would never put those colors together!” But the beach scene turned out better than I expected – after I painted over the mossy green in the ocean. ;)

In my summer decorations box, there is a glass dolphin, crystal oyster (complete with a pearl), and a cobalt blue, glass fish. I decided to pull out my cobalt blue dishes and use them in my summer decorating.

I found some cobalt blue whale lights at “Joanne’s” and a cobalt blue, glass whale at “Hobby Lobby.” I had my theme and colors chosen. (Then I moved the china cabinet.)

Looking at suggested pins from Pinterest while eating breakfast one morning, I saw directions to make a swan out of hand towels. I folded two white hand towels into a swan and secured the two towels together with white, bead head pins. I found two black, bead head pins and used them for eyes. They also keep the head of my swan at the correct angle.

Layering several shades of blue towels on a towel rack, I placed the swan on top. The fish pin is now swimming underneath the swan on the blue towels. I added the picture I painted at the “Coffee and Canvas” to the wall.

Towel animals are not just for cruise ships!

Swan Made out of Towels "Towlel Animals, Not Just For Cruise Ships" frugalfish.org

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No Oven April to October

Tomorrow is a big family reunion. David’s mother had 9 brothers and sisters, who married and had a few kids, and those kids are now grandparents. It’s a pretty big reunion! One cousin always brings homemade berry pie. (I try to get a piece every year.)

Since he has the pie covered, I bring a different dessert. One of my favorites is “Cherry Delight.” The only problem is, you bake the crust in the oven and I don’t like to use the oven from April to October. The last time I made it, I experimented baking the crust in the microwave.

Normally, I cook it 20 minutes in a 350° oven. This time I cooked it, on high, 30 seconds at a time in the microwave for a minute and a half. It didn’t get brown but the flavor was the same.

Cherry Delight Crust "No Oven April to October" frugalfish.org

Cherry Delight

1 Cup Flour

1 Teaspoon Sugar

1 Stick Butter, cut up

1 – 8 Ounce Cream Cheese

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

2 Cups Frozen Whipped Topping, thawed

1 Can Cherry or Blueberry Pie Filling

Stir flour and sugar together. Cut butter into mixture using a pastry blender or 2 knives. Press firmly into 9 x 13 glass pan. (I used and 7 x 11 pan because my microwave is smaller.) Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or 30 seconds at a time in a microwave on high for a minute and a half.

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and whipped topping together. Spread over cooled crust. Spread pie filling on top of cheese mixture. Chill and serve later. It is best made a day ahead.

Cherry Delight "No Oven April to October" frugalfish.org

I may try lemon bars in the microwave next. Has anyone else used the microwave for their baking?

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