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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Goodbye Disco Balls

I play in a worship band three times a week, except for one week in June when we have a Faith Conference. There are services with different speakers for four days. This year, I played for two of those services.

I wanted to look my best and I actually put together outfits for each service the week before – right down to the jewelry! One day I wore purple/white and on another day cobalt blue/white.  I wore my favorite combination of colors on the other days – black and red.

I had two newer black and red necklaces I wanted to wear on those days. I couldn’t decide on earrings to wear with the second necklace.

(As a keyboard player, I only wear my wedding band without my engagement ring. Rings and bracelets weigh my hands down when I play. That is why I normally wear a statement necklace and earrings.)

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I picked up this pair of earrings on clearance because of the red and black beads. I called them my “Disco Earrings” because the last bead looked like a “Disco Ball.” I rarely wore them because they were heavy and a little flashy for me.

Disco Earrings "Goodbye Disco Balls" frugalfish.org

But, I liked the red and black beads. I decided to take them apart using needle nose pliers.

Took 2 bottom beads off of earrings "Goodbye Disco Balls" frugalfish.org

I reattached the second bead using the bottom wire. (I did keep the “Disco Ball” beads. You never know when they will come in handy!)

Attached 2nd bead with bottom wire, "Goodbye Disco Balls" frugalfish.org

I loved the look of my “new” black and red earrings with the statement necklace David gave me on my birthday.

My Refurbished Earrings with my statement necklace "Goodbye Disco Balls" frugalfish.org

If there is something that you don’t like about a piece of jewelry, take it off. :)

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Same Bandannas, Different Wreath

Last year, I shared my version of a patriotic, bandanna wreath. This year I used the same bandanna pieces on my new grapevine wreath. When I made the first wreath, I cut the blue bandanna in half but didn’t cut both halves again. I used the uncut half to make a ribbon. I just folded it into a bow and tied it with a matching thin ribbon.

Patriotic Bandanna Grapevine Wreath, "Same Bandannas, Different Wreath" frugalfish.org

The lighted glass block has red glass stones and blue glass marbles. I wrapped the copper lights around the base to reflect through the red stones. Instead of adding something white on top, I stuck silver stars on the outside of the block. (I found the revolutionary war soldiers at the Bargain Box.)

Patriotic Glass Block, "Same Bandannas, Different Wreath" frugalfish.org

I made the centerpiece for my table with items from at the Dollar Store. The star-shaped, flameless, votive candles fit nicely in the star-shaped dishes. I found three of them at Goodwill a few months ago.

Dollar Store Patriotic Tablescape "Same Bandannas, Different Wreath" frugalfish.org

I put a fourth star-shaped dish in the china cabinet behind a resin cardinal that I picked up at Dollar General. I found another cobalt vase at Goodwill and used it to provide symmetry on my vignette.

Patriotic Cardinal and Strawberry Candles "Same Bandannas, Different Wreath" fruglafish.org

Happy Independence Day!

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Another Perfect Gift

David and I had a misunderstanding. He wasn’t ready to talk about it but I was! What do you do when frustrated? You call the only one who understands – his sister.

She dropped everything and went shopping with me. We went to the Farmer’s Market for fruit and I came home with a Huckleberry pie . . . and a cinnamon roll. Even after loading up on Amish baked goods, we went through the Women’s Club’s Cookie Walk.

She went with me to 3 consignment stores! She is the first one I call. When I ended up in the ER before emergency surgery, she was the one who took me there. She understands when I am irritated at David because she lived with him, too!

The Women’s Club had a plant sale along with their cookie walk. Melinda mentioned she was looking for a Snake Plant. Her birthday was Monday and I gave her the perfect gift – a snake plant.

I have a huge one and I dug one of the plants out of it. (I broke two of my “houseplant tools” in the process.) I had an extra pot, potting soil, and aquarium gravel on hand. I use aquarium gravel on top of the soil of my houseplants because it keeps mold from developing.

I like to fill a need when I give a gift. Sometimes, the perfect gift is already in your home.

Snake plant "Another Perfect Gift" frugalfish.org

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Displaying Precious Artwork

“The clock that’s hung in our kitchen for 15 years, that our daughter crafted at kinder when she was three, has finally been taken down and relegated to the garage.

It was such an imperfect clock with childish numbers misaligned and it was never easy to tell the time. I loved it.”

outanabout.com

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I read this post from Outanabout.com, (Melbourne, Australia), and realized I had relegated my children’s artwork to the shelf on the stairway. She proudly displayed her daughter’s clock for 15 years! I received most of the clay artwork as gifts on Mother’s Day. This year, my decorating features the artwork from my children’s school years.

It started when I made my wreath. I wanted to put the nest with three eggs on the wreath and the only way I could attach it was with brown yarn. I used 2 paper flowers my daughter made when she was young to hide the yarn.

Mother's Day Wreath "Displaying Priceless Artwrok" frugalfish.org

Not all of my Mother’s Day gifts were homemade. I received this plaque last year from my daughter and displayed it in the hall with a gray whale my youngest son made.

Plaque and Clay Whale "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

My daughter’s softball statues found a home in the china cabinet behind two tea cups and saucers. All three of my children made clay bowls displayed here and on the tables.

Clay Art in China Cabinet "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

I balanced the big clay bowl with a teapot made by my oldest son and a heart made by my daughter. I used two tart pans painted with roses as the centerpiece for my tables. This one has a black bowl filled with roses. Our youngest son made the marble plaque.

Clay Bowl, Teapot, Heart, and Marble Plaque with Roses Bouquet "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

Upstairs in the kitchen, I used a green, glass bowl filled with pink, rose-shaped candles. This green bowl always reminded me of my mother because she had green vases, pitchers, and glasses. On each side are homemade clay bowls.

Bowl of Roses with Clay Pots "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

I think of my Grandmother when I look at the glass block, cat, and kittens. The cat and kittens were a gift from my grandmother on my 8th birthday. The package to the right was given to me by my daughter with instructions to never open it because it contains all her love. I filled the glass block with three ingredients found in my rose potpourri and pink, glass rocks.

Cats and Mother's Day Glass Block "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

I even included a reminder of something I made when I put a pin on my roses towels. Those footprints are the size of a baby’s feet at 12 weeks after conception. Yes, my greatest blessings do call me Mom.

Roses Towels with Baby Feet Pin "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

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Combine Leftovers for a New Dish

I hate hot dogs!

I feel the same about bologna. My kids try to trick me into eating hot dogs as a joke. I will buy them and serve them along with several hamburgers. They can have the hot dogs, but I will stick to the burgers.

It’s crazy how those who manufacture hot dog buns do not make the same amount as found in a package of hot dogs. Sometimes, I make mini sub sandwiches with the leftover buns. Last week I had a leftover hot dog bun and leftover taco meat. I combined them to make a taco sub sandwich.

Taco Sub "Combine Leftovers for a New Dish" frugalfish.org

When you have leftover taco meat you can make taco soup, taco salad, burritos, enchiladas, taco casserole, or taco pizza. You can make garlic bread out of leftover hot dog buns, cut them up for stuffing or reduce them to bread crumbs.

Look in your refrigerator. There are probably leftovers that you could combine to make a new dish or a new sandwich!

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Lilac Easter Dinner

My Easter Wreath "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

Last week I showed you my Easter decorations with purple as the accent color. This week I want to show you what you would see if you came to my home for Easter dinner. On the front door, my Easter wreath has blue eggs which remind me of robin’s eggs and a purple bow that I made myself.

 

 

Easter Baskets in Stairwell "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

 

Walking down the freshly painted stairs you will see my children’s Easter baskets that were gifts from their Aunt Michele. There are also stuffed rabbits for my children to color but they were never finished. Perhaps this Easter? On either side of them are wooden rabbits with colored eggs in their backpacks.

 

 

 

In my basement dining room, the table is ready for dinner. Gold is popular this year and I used my gold chargers with my white and blue plates. Everything seems to match perfectly until you look closer.

Ready for Easter Dinner "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

 

My purple candles do not match. I used the sparkly lilac candle for the centerpiece. The largest rabbit holding a pink egg was hand painted by my sister. (Ceramics were big when we were teenagers.) She put it in a box to give away before she moved out of the family home. I rescued it because I love holiday items! The tapestry of “The Last Supper” stays on the wall all year.

Lilac Easter Tablescape "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

I did not have enough gold napkin rings and alternated them with silk floral ones. I put two purple ones on the candles in the center of the table and used the blue and yellow ones on napkins. The yellow floral napkin rings bring out the yellow in the centerpiece.

Mismatched Napkin Rings "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

My secret this week is to use items based on color, not the holiday. My Easter table has a Christmas tablecloth! You have to look really closely to see the holly and ivy on it. (Although, my daughter-in-law noticed it the first time I used it. She has an eye for detail!) I don’t have room to store two white, two red, and two green tablecloths. I use all three of them throughout the year, even though they have a holly and ivy pattern.

Happy Easter!

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Lilac Easter

Paula: “I love your centerpiece.”

Me: “Thank you. That is the scarf I wore to church last Sunday.”

Paula: “Seriously? I thought it was a table runner!”

See, I have never been one to keep my decorating secrets to myself. I pick a color to highlight in my theme and take it from there. I wanted purple in the table runner to compliment the lavender candle. I folded the long scarf in half lengthwise and then folded it in thirds, making sure I didn’t cover up the tassels. I made this centerpiece by stuffing Easter grass around a jar candle in the center of a Trifle dish and resting white and brown eggs on the grass. Two of the brown eggs are ceramic and the rest are plastic.

Easter Centerpiece "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

I chose my accent color when I was layering my guest towels. I wanted a pink towel to match the pink leaf but only had a pink washcloth. Then I noticed the lettering was purple. I pulled out a plum-colored towel to match it. Using an Easter Basket pin, I covered the Shamrock, (see here), and the word “Luck” now applies to an Easter Egg Hunt. (I will show you my secret to layering towels at the end of this post.)

Towels for Easter "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

It was a half-price day at the Bargain Box, (the hospital auxiliary consignment store), and my daughter found a new, purple Easter flag. I also picked up a roll of purple ribbon and a vinyl Easter tablecloth $3.75. :)

Purple Easter Flag "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

One of the purple accents was accidental. The vignette at the end of the hall has a picture of Jesus Christ praying in the Garden of Eden, a brown rooster, 3 wooden communion cups, a ceramic cross, a jar of perfume, and a small burlap bag that would hold 30 pieces of silver. The robe Jesus was wearing is purple.

Easter Vignette "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

After placing hen baskets and rabbit mugs on both sides of a small nest of white eggs, I added lavender votive candles in wine glasses. The wine glasses add a height to the arrangement and the candles provided the purple accent.

Hen Baskets and Bunny Mugs in China Cabinet "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

My Easter glass block contains 3 long nails, a wooden communion cup, another burlap bag with “silver” and a miniature stone tomb that friends brought back from Israel. I left the lid off to show the tomb is empty. (The wooden communion cups came from Israel, also.) I wrapped the copper lights around the glass block to form a cross and placed a ceramic cross next to it.

Easter Glass Block "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

My towel secret is to lay them on the bed to layer them. It is easier to line up the decorated parts on the bed than it is on the towel rack. You have to pay attention to the center of the longest towel. Each towel has to overlap the center by an inch or two. As you can see, I folded a washcloth and used it in place of a small hand towel. Sometimes, I pin the washcloth to the back of the other towels to secure it, see here.

Lay towels on bed to layer "Lilac Easter" fruglafish.org

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New Kitchen for Five Bucks

It started with chipped paint in between the bottom cabinet doors. That chip peeled and eventually became a hole. I only intended to fill the hole and touch up the paint.

Our cabinets are original to the house, 1971. When we moved the refrigerator to the corner, it left a 12″ space. There was an oak cabinet at the lumberyard that someone ordered and then changed their mind. We bought it and I painted all the cabinets white. The original cabinets were “pecan.”

The door fronts were similar enough that you didn’t notice it was a different cabinet – until you looked down. The toe kick was an inch higher than the “pecan” cabinets. It had bugged me for years and I decided to do something about it.

I found a piece of scrap trim downstairs. (I always keep scrap wood.) It wasn’t long enough or deep enough, but I nailed it to the cabinet anyway. I used a paint stirrer taped to the cabinet with duct tape to line up the outside edge.

Nailed on trim "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

 

Then I glued the trim to the bottom of the cabinet. I used scraps of wood and broke a paint stirrer in half, to support the trim while the glue dried. (I keep wood glue and wood filler on hand.) It took three coats of wood filler to completely fill in the seam.

Glued on trim "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

Wood filler in cracks "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

David asked if I wanted him to remove the handles and hinges. I said “Yes!”

We put these new handles on in the 90’s when I painted the cabinets white. They were black with just a touch of copper showing through. At the time, I was collecting copper to “warm” up the decor in the kitchen. But I am over that copper phase, it looked “country.”

Kitchen cabinet with copper hardware "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

We talked about replacing the hardware, but I liked the traditional style. I just wished they were black to look like wrought iron. He took them off on Saturday, and I spent the day scraping white paint off of them with a metal nail file and steel wool. I used craft paint that I had on hand to paint them.

 

David brought home a $5.00 can of Acrylic spray paint because he didn’t want the paint to come off from the metal hardware. I finished scraping and painting the hardware on Saturday night. We let the paint cure on Sunday and he sprayed them with acrylic on Monday night.

Tuesday, I finished touching up the paint on the doors and the seam of the trim I added. We put the doors back up and installed the handles.

When our son got home, I asked him to turn on the light and check out the cabinets. He said,

“Wow, it looks like a new kitchen!”

New Kitchen "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

I got a new kitchen for $5.00! In maintaining our homes, we forget the two most important items to use: time and elbow grease! I worked on the cabinets a little every weekday for 10 days. I spent 9 hours scraping and painting the hardware on Saturday. I believe that was time well spent.

You may find a project in your house that only needs things you already have on hand, time, and a little elbow grease.

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Lighted Valentine Glass Block

Last year I decorated the same wooden wreath for each holiday and season. I will be doing the same thing this year with a lighted, glass block. I received it from my friend, Paula, who said, “You will love this because you can open it up and change the inside!”

She knows I like to put decorative items on the windowsill between my kitchen and living room to disguise the back of the microwave. This glass block fits that area perfectly. It had two pine trees, snow, and lighted copper wires that reminded me of “Aurora Borealis” in it. I didn’t show it in my snowmen post because the picture was not clear.

Winter scene Glass Block "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

I tried adding a Valentine decoration to the winter scene, but the snow covered most of it up. After removed the trees, snow, and lights, I decided to flip the block because it was difficult to fill from the bottom.

 

Glass Block "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

 

A “Valentine Candy” theme, the red, heart-shaped, glass stones reminded me of hard candy. The other pieces of candy are actually pins! (Thanks, Whitney, for the conversation heart pins.)

Side of Glass Block "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

 

I tried putting the copper lights back in but they looked funny or just sank to the bottom. I ended up wrapping them around the outside of the glass block.

 

 

 

 

 

To get a Valentine background, I slipped a gift bag under the lights in the back. It is just a little bigger than the glass block. I rested the bottom of it on the window sill trim to line the top of it up with the top of the glass block.

Back of Glass Block "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

 

On one side of the glass block is a counted cross-stitch Valentine greeting in a roses frame. A “Jelly Bean” pomegranate candle completed my candy-themed windowsill vignette. It adds a soft glow to the area in the evenings. Remember, your decorating and crafts do not have to be permanent.

Glass Block with LIghts "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

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