Category Archives: Art of Making Do

Jams, Christmas present ideas, Cooking, gardening, Planting, Harvesting, Sewing, self help, Money saving tips, Jellies,freezing food, canning, pickles, rags, houses, repairs,

Creative Card Collage for Under $3.00

Are plain walls in your home begging for decoration, but you have no money in your budget for artwork? Do you have any greeting cards around?

Greeting cards are paper cards that are sent as Christmas cards, thank you notes, Easter cards, or birthday cards. Sort through the cards you have and look for cards that have some similarities and that you think are really beautiful. For instance, you may have a card with a golden retriever on it. You then find a card with a picture of a dog under a tree. Third you find among your cards, a picture of just a tree with the word “Persistence” on it.

Look for a few really beautiful cards.

I found a card with a pair of cardinals on it. I found a card with a beautiful tree on it with sparkles and the word, “Believe.” The third card I chose had a snowman surrounded by children.

Next you need frames for your artwork. I looked around the house and found three small, empty frames. You could buy some inexpensive frames for a few dollars at the Dollar Store if you do not have any around the house.

One of the cards I chose fit perfectly into one of the frames I had without needing to be cut. The card with the cardinals had to be cut and then trimmed in order to fit properly into the frame I had. The other card was smaller than the frame so I centered it on a red background.

Once all the cards you selected are framed, arrange them in small groups on your wall in an appealing arrangement. If you like art, this part of the project will be the easiest I think.

Does this creative card collage make the room so much more cozy?

I hope you enjoy this project and the results. Being frugal does not mean we have to have drab homes. A little creativity mixed with a little work and just a few dollars is a recipe for a creative card collage. God bless!

Inexpensive Gifts: Small Quilt

Small 16 block quilt with purple border, two extra pink blocks were used in the corners.
This quilt was a gift for my granddaughter.

Need an inexpensive, personal gift you can make yourself? How about making a small quilt.

Take two or three pieces of fabric that coordinate. Cut out a pattern from cardboard in the shape of a five inch square. Trace the square onto the fabric starting at the edge in the corner, so you do not waste fabric.  I traced ten squares and cut them out. I cut ten squares in order to make the border a little different. You may want to cut only eight. Go to the next fabric, again starting in the corner, trace another eight squares and cut them out. Hint: if your fabric is folded in half, you only have to trace four to cut out eight.

From the third fabric I cut out 18 squares. You will need twenty if you did not cut ten from the first fabric. Do you have access to a sewing machine? A sewing machine will make this project go much faster, but you can also sew it by hand. 

Next take one square from the third fabric and two from the other fabrics. Sew a square from the third fabric to a square from the second fabric. Next sew a square from the first fabric to the square from the second fabric. Then sew a square from the second fabric to the square of the first. Once more sew a square from the first to a square from the second. Finally sew on a square from the third fabric. Do the directions for this paragraph twice so you have two identical rows.

Basically you want to sew the squares strips to make the pattern you want. Sew the strips together to make the face of the quilt.

Now take one square from the third fabric and two from the other fabrics. Sew a square from the third fabric to a square from the first fabric. Next sew a square from the second fabric to the edge of the first fabric. Then sew a square from the first fabric to the square of the second fabric. Sew the rows together to complete the face.

The picture is of a pieced and quilted quilt. The backing has extra fabric that is about to be folded over for the border.
The quilt has been pieced and quilted. I left extra on the backing to fold over for a border.

After the face is sewn together, place a piece of batting between the face and the backing. Quilting is sewing through all layers. I made the backing larger than the quilt so I could fold it over to make the border. I used chalk and a yardstick to make a guide for my quilting.

After I quilted the face, I folded the border over and tucked in the cut edge of the fabric. With the sewing machine, I sewed over all the layers to secure the border. Quilt finished.

A small quilt can be used as a wall hanging for an adult. A small quilt is great for a baby to lie on. A small quilt can be a comfort to a small child. There is so much more love enfolded in a homemade gift because someone took their precious time to make a personal gift just for the recipient.

Mashed Potato —-Pancakes—-

Do you have extra mashed potatoes you do not know what to do with, but you do not want to throw them away?  I created a recipe that uses per cup portions so that it is easier for you to use whatever amount of leftovers you have. I recently made a batch using 7 cups of mashed potatoes and the kids really enjoyed them. They put ketchup on them or sour cream. Some of my kids ate them plain. You could make them with eggs or like I did, just make them the whole breakfast like you would with pancakes.

Don’t they look appetizing?
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons milk per cup of mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg per cup of mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup flour per cup of mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Butter to fry them in

Mix together the mashed potatoes, milk, flour, and salt.  If the leftover mashed potato are a little dry you may need to add a little more milk. Heat the frying pan. Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in the pan, then drop large spoonfuls into the heated pan. Flip the cakes once they are lightly browned. Brown them on the other side and remove from the pan.

Mixing the ingredients.

Keep adding a little butter to the pan or vegetable oil as the pan dries out, when you remove a batch from the pan. Serve them warm. Using what we have instead of running to the grocery store saves money.

4 Meals for 8 people: 1 Ham: Pink Bean Soup

Real life happenings.  A few weeks ago ham went on sale for 98 cents a pound so I bought a twelve pound ham. I put it in the freezer until the weather got colder. I thawed the meat in a large pot. I covered the ham with water and simmered it for a few hours.

An hour and a half before I wanted to serve the meal, I sent one of my boys to go pick a cabbage from the garden. Meanwhile , the other boys and myself cut the bad spots off the potatoes, and cut them in half. We added the potatoes to the simmering broth and then the cabbage a little later. My husband and two older boys came home. As soon as the potatoes were cooked, I served supper.

The next afternoon, we did almost the same thing. We heated up the leftover broth and ham. Adding more water as needed. Then about an hour and a half before supper, my son peeled more potatoes and cut them in half. My other son picked a cabbage, washed it, cut it in half. The cabbage is added about half an hour before supper is expected to be ready. Same warm, nourishing meal is served. After the broth cooled and before we put the broth away, I removed the bones from the ham and some of the fat from the ham.

Again we put away the leftover broth and ham. There are a few potatoes left in the broth but most of the cabbage is gone. The third day, I get out two bags of pink beans. I rinse the beans and place them in a pot with eight cups of water. I bring the mixture to a boil. Then boil the water and habichuelas rosadas for about an hour. Let them cool for about two hours. Drain the water and add to the leftover broth and ham. While the broth was still cool, I cut up the remaining potatoes into bite size pieces. Simmer the broth and the beans for two more hours. Add garlic powder and some kosher salt. Another meal: same twelve pound ham. Everyone seemed happy with the meal.

There is still a half gallon of soup leftover. Four meals for eight people from a twelve pound ham. This way of cooking saves much time too.  If I can do it, so can you!

Double Your Counter Space

Do you lack enough space to fit more than a load or two of recently canned food on your counter? I know canning a large amount of food is hard work and requires quite a bit of clean-up. Many experienced canning people try to get as much canning done in a day as possible in order to minimize the amount of time spent cleaning up and the amount of time they are stuck in the kitchen.

Use this trick to double your space on the counter. First fill the space you have on your counter with the jars you have canned so far wrapped in an old towel to keep them nice and cozy. Place the bottom half of an old towel on a large tray while the next batch is in the canner or boiling water bath. Place the tray on top of the towel that is on top of the canned goods. When they are ready, remove the jars from the pot, and place them on top of the towel on the tray. Use the top half of the towel to cover the jars when they are all unloaded from the canner. Keep adding jars until you are finished or the tray is full.

Set a tray with a towel on it on top of the jars already removed from the canner.

Make sure the jars are balanced as you add them to the tray.

Cover all the jars to keep them warm until they return to room temperature. Once at room temperature the jars can be wiped clean and put away.

Many of the women who I have helped to learn to can or just encouraged to can, say they have such a wonderful sense of accomplishment when they have all those goodies stored away in the cellar. In Biblical times they stored oil, but people who can in the present are able to store away: salsa, fruits, tomato sauce, juice, sauerkraut and many other treats!

Paint Protection for Interior Doors

This is the time of year to fall clean and spruce up your home. The ground is too soaked to work in, so now is the time to focus on cleaning and painting inside your home!!!

A closet door wrapped in vinyl tablecloth material.

Did you have leftover plastic tablecloth that comes on a roll? Are you about to paint a room or even just a closet? Wrap your interior doors with the plastic tablecloth and tape it together with painter’s tape.  Your doors will be protected from paint splatter and other accidents like touching the door while you have paint on your hands. By wrapping your doors in a protective shield, you will save yourself hours of time!

We also wrapped the trim with painter’s tape, to keep the trim free from stray paint. The kids helped with every step. The kids wrapped the closet doors and helped tape them. My children helped taping the trim. My sons helped paint using rollers.

A painted wall with bookshelf brackets.

Go ahead get something accomplished this fall or even this weekend!

Use For Old Terrycloth Towels

Do you have an old terrycloth towel that has lost the terry? Do not throw it away yet! You can use it for disposable rags, and save money on paper towels.

Cut the towel into pieces that are just larger than your hand. Use them for rags for very dirty jobs like cleaning the oven or the toilet. When you are finished with the rag, throw it away!

Pieces of an old beach towel!

Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Cake

The recipe for : Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Cake was created by Carol Reen

This recipe was created to utilize the abundance of berries many of us have in our personal patches and of course to enjoy!!

1 teaspoon stevia   or    3/4 cup sugar blend    or    1 1/2 cup sugar

& 1/2 cup sugar


1 1/4 cup Canola oil.                                    Dry Ingredients

3 eggs.                                                                   1 cup whole wheat flour

4 cups fresh raspberries.                             2 cups white flour

1 teaspoon vanilla.                                          2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 cup buttermilk


8 ounces cream cheese.                               1/4 cup sugar

1 egg.                                                                         1 cup chocolate chips

Beat sugar and oil until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in raspberries and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Add some of the dry mixture and then some of the buttermilk to the sugar and oil mixture. Alternately adding wet and dry until both have been completely utilized. Pour into a greased 13×9 inch 


Beat the softened cream cheese with the 1/4 cup sugar and egg in a different bowl until well blended. I like to use the mixer for the cream cheese mixture. Spoon creamed mixture onto the top of the cake in the shape of a figure eight. Cut through the marbling mixture with a knife, with the goal of reaching the edges with the marble or cream cheese. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake 45 minutes to an hour at 350degrees. Insert toothpick, if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Do not poke a chocolate chip, doing so may mar your results. Let cool! Enjoy!

At the top of the recipe are three different options for sweetening this cake please choose: either 1 teaspoon stevia and 1/2 cup sugar or 3/4 cup sugar blend or 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Using all three would make the cake much too sweet.

Succulent Sausage Rolls

Looking for something new and delicious for Easter breakfast this year?

Succulent Sausage Rolls

We may have the right recipe for you! These rolls are a golden yellow color once they are baked. They smell delicious! The special ingredient that makes them moist is healthful for you! We can keep that ingredient a secret just between us.

Succulent Sausage Rolls

  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed squash
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 one-pound packages breakfast sausages

1 cup of warm water into which you dissolve 2 tablespoons of yeast(that is 2 packages of yeast if you do not buy it in bulk.)

While the yeast is proofing, combine 1 egg, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup cooked and mashed squash. There it is the ingredient you may just want to keep to your self! Mix the above ingredients together well. Then add the proofed yeast. Mix a little. Add the flour 1 cup at a time. First you will stir in the flour. As the mixture becomes thicker, you need to knead. Keep kneading and adding flour (up to 6 cups) until the dough is not too sticky. Make sure you use flour to get all the dough off the sides of the bowl also the spoon, and knead that in as well. The kneading should take about 5-6 minutes. Grease the bowl. Plop the dough into it, turn the dough over in the bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rise in a prewarmed oven of 180 degrees that is off, for one hour.

Frying breakfast sausages

Start frying the little breakfast sausages. 2  one pound packages should be enough. When they are all fried, cover them with aluminum foil to keep them warm.

Cutting triangles of dough

When the hour is over, knead the dough a few times. Flour part of your work surface.  Take a large handful of dough, place it in the center of the flour and roll it to about an eighth inch thickness. Trim off the ends to make a rough rectangle. Now cut the rectangle into triangles that start out about the width of the sausage and taper down to a point. See the picture above. Wrap a sausage in the triangle of dough starting at the wide end. See the picture below. When it is wrapped, place it on a greased tray. Repeat these steps until you you have all the sausages wrapped.

Rolling the dough around the sausage

If you still have dough left, take a small handful and roll it like you would to make a meatball. Place on the tray.  When all the dough has been utilized, cover the trays and let rise for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes has elapsed light the oven to 400 degrees. When the oven is at the correct temperature, place rolls in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Left-Dinner rolls
Right-Succulent sausage rolls

You can store the rolls in a plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat the rolls at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Take some time this weekend to ponder the questions: Is Jesus Lord of my life? Is Jesus Lord over every area of my Life?

Happy Easter Everyone!

Thank you to my son, Benjamin, who thought of the new idea!

Cleaning With a Coffee Container

Spring is right around the corner and so is spring cleaning. I was raised, that when you clean something, you get the cleaning bucket. You fill the cleaning bucket with warm water and then pour in the cleaner. Perhaps there is a better way!

To save money on cleaning products look at the manufacturers direction and used the advised amount of cleaner per gallon of water. Measuring saves money!

My daughter had this idea. For smaller jobs use less cleaner by filling a coffee container with warm water and using a fraction of what you would put in a bucket of water. If you are like me or my daughter, you may only have time to clean for an hour or even a half hour. That is okay. Doing a little bit at a time is better than putting off til tomorrow what should be done today.  You do not need a full bucket of steaming water to clean one cabinet or the refrigerator.

Sometimes I only have time to clean one shelf in a cabinet during the evening.  I grab an empty coffee container fill it halfway with warm water and then add a little wood cleaning detergent. I empty the dishes from the shelf into the dishwasher. I wipe the ceiling of the cabinet, the three walls of the cabinet. If there is a reusable shelf liner, I put that in another coffee container with some warm water and dish detergent to soak. Later I wash it out and then hang it over the shower head to dry if it is winter or nighttime or outside in the summertime.

If there are dishes to be washed, I wash them and let them dry. While waiting for the shelf liner to dry, I put the clean, dry dishes on a tray which I leave on the counter or the table, out of the way. The next evening I put the clean shelf liner on the shelf and replace the clean dishes. If I still have time, I clean the next shelf.

Proverbs 18:9 says “He who is slothful in his work, Is brother to him who is a great destroyer.”