Have I told you lately how much I enjoy it when you fill up my inbox with your clever tips, tricks and solutions? Well, I do. It allows me to take a guilt-free break now and then to ponder and wonder why I didn’t think of that.
CANDLE REMADE. I had a peppermint-scented Christmas candle that was inside a metal container. It had been made that way, so you couldn’t take the candle out of the container. The wick had burned down to the bottom, making a narrow well, but the sides of the container still had a lot of the candle wax. I didn’t want to throw it away, as the container was very festive and the candle’s scent was really nice. So I placed the container on an electric candle warmer (an electric mug warmer would serve the same purpose.) After everything melted, I took out what was left of the wick and replaced it with a small taper candle. I removed the container from the warmer and let the wax harden. Voila! The remade candle is once again usable. The taper candle provided a new wick and was much easier than trying to dangle a string over the container. --Lynn B., Texas Continue reading
I am so excited. I have the perfect gift to stuff into my husband’s Christmas stocking. Do you recall me telling you what a lousy cook he is? Well, thanks to today’s first tipster’s heads up, he will never have to deal with a sizzling skillet and burned grilled cheese sandwiches again. Just keep it quiet, OK? I want this to be a surprise!
TOASTER BAGS. I just wanted to let you know that in the bread aisle of some grocery stores, as well as online, you can buy toaster bags. You butter your bread, add the cheese and place in the bag and put it into the toaster (or toaster oven). The cheese is melted completely and the bread is crunchy. You can wash and re-use the bags. This is great for people (like your husband maybe?!) who need help with cooking. –Jeannie, email Continue reading
In a recent column I showed you how to make a very effective fruit fly trap. I thought my trap was quite effective because I caught those flies that were driving me nuts. Then I got an email message from reader Betty, who offered a couple of improvements. I immediately upgraded my trap accordingly. So much better.
DELUXE FRUIT FLY TRAP. I make fruit fly traps and just put apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and mix in a little bit of dish washing soap. The soap breaks the tensile strength of the surface of the water and the fruit flies sink and drown. No plastic wrap needed.
I have heard of using saran wrap on top of the bowl and poking small holes in the top—apparently they can get in and not out, but I have great success with just the bowl, vinegar and dish soap. –Betty B., email Continue reading
Today’s first tip is going to make my fellow hand knitters wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Is this just the greatest idea ever? I couldn’t wait to share this and other clever tips with you today.
SPIN DRY. I love using a salad spinner as a quick way to get the water out of a knitting project before blocking. Yay, centrifugal force! –Kathleen, Washington
CARPET CLEAN-UP. Baby wipes get every stain you can imagine out of carpet! I use Pampers Natural Clean(unscented). This works on coffee, chocolate and even blood stains. Baby wipes are cheap and it takes about 2 seconds to remove the stain. Example: My little boy fell and cut his head, leaving blood spots on the carpet. He’s fine, but the carpet suffered. When the carpet cleaning service couldn’t remove the spots I decided to hit them with a baby wipe. It was amazing. My mom had 11-year old stubborn stains on her carpet and the wipes took them out, too. Baby wipes are my carpet spotter of choice because they’re so easy to use. –Annette, Pennsylvania Continue reading
Have I told you lately how much I love opening my mail to find so many great reader tips? Every day I learn something new and that just makes me happy. I had no idea I could throw a leather bag into the laundry or roast a frozen turkey. Seriously? Yep, that’s exactly what a couple of today’s readers suggest.
QUICK CHICKEN SOUP. Whenever I feel like I may be coming down with a cold, I go to the store, pick up a rotisserie chicken, chicken stock and frozen egg noodles. Sounds expensive, but I can make a large pot of soup for very little money. I just take most of the meat off the bones and add the carcass to the stock. When the stock is boiling, remove the bones, add the frozen noodles and diced chicken, and cut up veggies (or the usual bag of frozen stew vegetables) and wow! Delicious, fresh, homemade chicken noodle soup is ready in 20 minutes. When you’re trying to fight off a cold or flu, there is nothing better or more homey. Feels like grandma is still there to watch over you. –Mel, email
ROUTINE REMINDERS. I clean my AC filters, put vinegar in my AC condensation line and other monthly maintenance items when I pay my mortgage. This is a convenient way to remember reoccurring functions. Today was the first cool day of the year here in central Florida and that was my cue to get up early and turn on the auto-clean feature on my oven As this process takes three (3) hours and really heats up the kitchen, the combination of starting early, open windows and a cool day makes for a perfect opportunity for this once-a-year-cleaning! –Kim, Florida Continue reading