Painting With Coffee

Coffee in conjunction to Indian ink can produce lovely art works.

Make strong coffee and when cold, brush the coffee on bond paper, water color paper or Strathmore board and apply different layers to build the shade of brown you desire.

coffee + indian ink

The look will be one of water colors and the beauty of the coffee verses other liquids such as juices and wines is that it will leave neither pulp nor residue on your canvas.

When using paper for art work it might be wise to obtain acid free paper or museum board.  These will keep the paper white for years to come and while there are different kinds of papers, alkaline paper can last 1000 years.

The bamboo artwork shown was not done on acid free paper so yellowing is occurring but in this case, it works.
Would you not rather tell a friend that your painting was done with gourmet coffee rather than water colors?

Plastic Storage Jars

Plastic storage jars with lids to store dry foods are sold in stores for say an average of $ 5.00ea..  Stores also sell foods and other items in plastic containers which come in a multitude of shapes and sizes;  of course we pay for them.
We can however direct these containers to personal use rather than recycle.

a few that are available

At Costco one can find very nice large plastic jars that usually contain biscotti.  The biscotti do no justice to the real biscotti but these wide mouth plastic jars are very nice and can hold, depending the family size, large amounts of say flour, sugar, rice and so on.
Costco also has octagonal and almost oval jars that work very well to hold pastas, trail mix, jelly beans and the like.  Lids come in a variety of colors.
Potato chips will stay fresh but cereal in its beauty may be a little more critical.  Costco sells chocolates and jelly beans in these plastic candy jars at Christmas time.

Next size down, Target sells items such as caramel popcorn in tall round clear plastic jars which are perfect for spaghetti and fettuccine.  Their lids are aluminum and they look nice.

The Kraft Parmesan cheese jars can be very handy for smaller quantities needing storage such as sour gummy bears and worms on the go, pastina, polenta and so on.
They also work very well to hold and sprinkle Miracle Grow to plants.garage storage

Spices sold in the Mrs. Dash brand jars with their colorful lids are small and elegant as well as hold smaller items such as in the crafts world or in the garage.
Use them also to store the different kinds of beach sands you encounter on your vacations.

What about the labels?  Some labels are water soluble but most will come off easily with paint thinner.
When searching for an item, cupboards with clear plastic jars can be visually scanned at once and render an elegant and organized look.  Lids are usually standard in size and interchangeable allowing color coordination if desired.

kitchen storage

Plastic storage jars will also allow you to fit more in the cupboards since product packaging comes in all different awkward sizes that do not relate to one another and therefore rob space.

Bamboo Hamper Light

double exposure

Bamboo hampers that we often use for soiled laundry provide wonderful mood lighting with a light bulb inside.  Limit the wattage for fire prevention and of course a fluorescent bulb might be safer, less expensive to burn and offer a different lighting atmosphere.
Use Christmas lights for color.

For fire prevention purposes stabilize the light bulb inside the hamper so that it does not touch any of the basket’s surfaces.
For a cord use the ones like for the Christmas tree that have a foot button.

Hampers can be dyed with Rit Dye if desired.

Credit Type Cards: You Keep The Interest

cards as tools

Sometimes we get in the mail credit card offers or offers with cards from other entities.
We might even have an old expired card from the library around the house.
Do not throw them away but instead store them somewhere together.

You will notice they come in different thicknesses and flexibility and their surgical uses are endless and up to your imagination.

• Cards are great to scrape delicate objects without leaving behind a ferrous trail.
• A paper towel wrapped around the card is good for buffing and at times for sanding.
• With sand paper you can sand small tight grooves and the card’s flexibility also allows it to bend and sand something with several curvatures, such as molding.
• They can be used to shave excess amounts of spackle or joint compound when used at an angle in small surgical jobs.  Yes, one could use a 6” knife but that does not feel the same nor allows the dexterity of the card.  Shaving the ridges reduces the amount of air borne dust caused by sanding.
• Fantastic for applying spackle in curves or anywhere and having four edges it allows having the spackle on two opposite sides.  It also allows delivery of the spackle with one edge and smoothen the spackle with another clean edge.
• The cards can be cleaned easily during use with two fingers or a small paper towel.
• When the need arises they can be handled as a pencil rather than a putty knife and they can be easily cut with scissors to fit your purpose.
• When applying pictures on an album each of the card’s corners can hold one of the photo mounts that will hold the picture.  A simple rotation of the card in between the fingers can deliver very rapidly and speed up the process when adhering hundreds of photos to an album.
• They are great also to be used as a throw away but of course we would recycle the plastic.
Of the cards shown above looks like the American Express ones are the most used.  They are somewhat thin and flexible.  The Discover is the most flexible.

Rubbing Alcohol

rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol in a small spray bottle is a wonderful kitchen companion.  It cleans, disinfects and evaporates rapidly.

  • Counter tops, especially where tiles and grout are present, love it and so do stove tops and microwaves where spills (scrape with a thin “credit” type card) and grease need to be removed.
  • Rubbing alcohol is also a mighty fine stainless steel sink cleaner and leaves uniformity without smudges.
  • Spraying rubbing alcohol is also extremely successful in bathrooms.  It gets rid of soap scum unlike, in my view, the store brands.  Spray the rubbing alcohol over the shower tiles and with minimum effort watch the soap scum disappear and the tiles dry on the fly.
    It cleans chrome fixtures nicely but has trouble with hard water spots.
  • A dab of rubbing alcohol can be helpful in removing sap from the car as well as a dab of paint thinner could.  Thorough rinsing of water is highly recommended and in my experience it has been totally fine.
  • Rubbing alcohol is a great ally in combating sticky odorous hands and surfaces and it is also a wonderful neutralizer of mosquito bites.
  • Last but not least you can spray and disable flying nuisance creatures such as flies, mosquitoes, gnats and moths prior to the coup de grace.

Hanging Clothes

Drying clothes and storing coat hangers in a garage can be practical.

2 foot towel bars

just hanging ;)

Hang plastic towel bars from joists or where possible.

Roasting Coffee

For Father’s Day my son gave me 2 pounds of raw unroasted Green Colombian Supremo coffee beans and a Toastmaster pop corn popper, model TPC2, to be more exact.

Toastmaster model TPC2

We inserted the raw beans in the popper and after two minutes the beans started popping gently.
Six minutes from the start the raw beans had roasted to a shiny and greasy brown perfection.  After a few roasted bean loads we concluded that the longer the roast, the darker and stronger the bean.  Maybe our scientific analysis was incorrect but the espressos we made were magnificent.  We might have even raised the bar to Starbucks and Pete’s Coffee which in their own virtue are mighty fine.
We decided to roast the beans outside next time because roasting coffee makes a lot of smoke.

The last time I looked on the web for Green Columbian Supremo it was about $4.45 x lb for a 5 lb bag.  Starbucks coffee at the market is an average of $10.00 per 12 ounces (3/4 of a lb) and Pete’s coffee is even more.


It might be wise not to take for granted the things we see for their sole purpose of which they were made and intended for and it is up to our imagination to see what else they could be or used for.
There is a sense of pride in using conventional items in unconventional ways and to know money has been saved in not having to purchase, even though at times it is simply just required, a tool or item for every occasion.  Need not to mention the carbon footprint we are reducing by not having to drive to the store on every occasion leave alone reducing energy and emissions in manufacturing and their demise after use.

Frugality can be seen as using only what is needed sensibly while saving all around, money and energy waste.  It makes proud sense and it is a way to live green naturally.
Frugality takes time and effort but the outcome is one of self satisfaction in circumventing what is status quo.
Maria Ludwig Michael Mies Van Der Rohe would often say “less is more”.