An Apple for the Teacher

Happy First Day of Autumn!

I like to move into the season a bit more slowly than most. I don’t pull out the pumpkins until October. Usually, I start with apple decorations and save the yellow, orange, and brown decorations for later. Last year, it was all about fruit, see here.

My granddaughter, Olivia, started first grade this year and as I decorated, I thought about what you would see in a classroom. I had David pull out the apple decorations from my Rustic Christmas Decorations box. I used them on my wreath with a flag from the July 4th box, two pencils, and a yellow ribbon.

School Wreath "An Apple for the Teacher" frugalfish.org

You may recognize the globe in my kitchen from my Christmas decorating last year. It represents geography in my decorating this month. The paints and crayons are for art and the apples are salt and pepper shakers!

Globe, Crayons, and Paint in kitchen "An Apple for the Teacher" frugalfish.org

Apples fill the trifle dish and another bowl in my china cabinet.

Apples in the China Cabinet "An Apple for the Teacher" frugalfish.org

There is more art downstairs in my dining room. I framed four more pieces of priceless art my children made in school. I used the frames from pictures I bought at Goodwill.

Framed Children's Artwork "An Apple for the Teacher" frugalfish.org

The theme for the dining room table downstairs is music. As you can tell, I collect small rhythm instruments.

Music in the Dining Room "An Apple for the Teacher" frugalfish.org

I was not sure how to decorate my glass block until I remembered most elementary classrooms have a fish or other small animal. I made it a fake fishbowl with a fish-shaped candle resting in a sea of blue glass marbles. Every fake fish needs fake fish food. I just turned the carton of popcorn salt around. The Liberty Bell from my July 4th box represents history.Fake Fish Tank "An Apple for the Teacher" frugalfish.org

My son offered to loan me his calculator to represent math but that is a class most people want to forget! I didn’t accept his offer.

I used primary colored towels in the bathroom and pinned a bicycle pin on them. Above it is a printable saying I saw from theinspiredroom.net. She has a link to get a free one!

Fall Printable "An Apple for the Teacher" frugalfish.org

My Frugalfish tip for this week is to personalize your printable sayings. I used markers on mine to match my decor. (I think I will use watercolors on a spring printable.) I got the frame at Goodwill for less than $3.00!

Personalized Fall Printable "An Apple for the Teacher" frugalfish.orgNext week I will show you how I store produce now that works better than just using Green Bags.

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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.

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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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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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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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Artwork Repair

I recently read of a lady who kept her Easter decorations up until “Ascension Day” 40 days later. She must not decorate with any Easter Eggs. I won’t leave mine up that long but I decided to show you something before it all goes back in the box.

Easter Vignette "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

At the end of the hall, I had a vignette with a picture of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane in the center. I even posted a photo of it. What you don’t see is the damage. It is an antique picture mounted on a slab of wood. There are tears in a few spots and a chunk was missing.

 

 

I almost gave it away a few years ago but kept it because I liked it. I got out my package of 100 markers and found shades that closely matched the damaged areas. I just colored the exposed wood with the marker. You can see the damage in this closeup photo.

Damaged Picture, "Artwork Repair" frugalfish.org

No one noticed the repair, even when they had to look behind it for an egg in my “Easter Egg Treasure Hunt!”

Related Post – Repairing Bleach Spots

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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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After

My Facebook feed, after last week’s post, proved my point. The first few comments were from those looking through a camera lens.Then everyone tried guessing what was different.

That’s when the magnifying glasses came out. None of the guesses were correct! (Not even my family members who live here guessed correctly!) One even decided she needed new glasses!

The problem was everyone was studying the “after” picture, not the “before” picture! I included a link to the “before” picture, but that didn’t help.

Here is my kitchen “before.”

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

Do you see anything that could be improved? Here is my kitchen “after.”

My kitchen "The big Picture" frugalfish.org

Since I made you wait a week, I will tell you. I touched up the paint on the back of the stove. It was a glaring flaw to me but not to anyone else!

We see the flaws, our friends see the kitchen. If you are using your house as a reason not to entertain, forget it. Your friends will never see the flaws that you see. But if something bugs you, fix it!

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