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!)

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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

2017 Thanksgiving Table

My inspiration for my 2017 Thanksgiving table was the runner that I used on my kitchen table. I love the black and red with sunflowers on the edges.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece "2017 Thanksgiving Home Tour" frugalfish.org

I used a black tablecloth with a red runner to mimic the table runner’s background. My gold charger plates stood in for the sunflower petals.

Gold Charges as Sunflowers "2017 Thanksgiving Table" frugalfish.org

I set the table and folded black napkins into rosettes for the centers of my sunflowers. The centerpiece is simply artificial vegetables my sister, Michele, gave me. Oh, the Indian corn in the center is real – it was given to me by my children’s preschool teacher! (Shout out to Roger and Deb!) I can’t believe it lasted this long!

Napkins Folded into Rosettes Make Sunflower Centers "2017 Thanksgiving Table" frugalfish.org

My frugal tip for this week may not save you money, but it will save you time!

I learned this tip, (for those with a separate dining room), from flylady.net. She sets her table a few days before Thanksgiving and covers it with clean sheets or tablecloths. I used my white tablecloths as dust covers. I set my table 11 days before Thanksgiving. That is one less thing on my to-do list!Cover Set Table with Tablecloths or Sheets "2017 Thanksgiving Table" frugalfish.org

Next week, I will share something everyone needs on Black Friday!

©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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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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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.)

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

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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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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