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Dear Mary: Drowning in Debt, Bouquet Garni How-To, Quilt Rescue

It’s mailbag day, when I reach into my virtual mailbag and pull out for few questions from my dear Readers, attempting to respond with specific help and resources.

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Dear Mary: How can I find a good financial counselor? We are not covering our monthly obligations and falling further and further behind. I am a nervous wreck and my health and family are suffering. I just don’t know what to do! Tina B.

Dear Tina: Stop what you’re doing and get to National Foundation for Credit Counseling. This is a non-profit consumer help organization you can trust, and the only credit counseling and debt management organization I recommend.

These days, many shysters try to pose as reputable counselors and advisors. You cannot be too careful. Once accepted into their program (I think you are a good candidate), they will contact your creditors and work out a payment schedule you can handle. The cost will be very reasonable if any.

Go to NFCC.org to get started, or call toll free 1-800-388-2227. Follow the prompts. You will be matched to the Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) office near you. You can trust NFCC to direct you to a certified CCCS office near you, so please do this today. I won’t be able to sleep until I know you can, too.

Dear Mary: Where can I purchase cheesecloth bags for adding spices for pickling? I am currently hand sewing them and it’s time consuming. I have searched the internet and have not come up with any yet. Thanks for your help. Cheryl M.

Dear Cheryl: You can put away your needle and thread. A bouquet garni, the French term for bundle of herbs does not require sewing. Just do this: Lay a 6- or 8-inch square of cheesecloth (available in supermarkets, Target, Walmart) or muslin on the counter. Place the spices in the center. Bring the corners together and gather the edges to the middle. Tie with a piece of string. That’s it. Drop the bouquet garni into your pickles, leaving the string hanging over the side of the crock. When it’s time for retrieval, just pull on the string. 

By my rough calculations, 1 yard of cheesecloth (18 sq. ft.)  can be cut into 36 (6×6-inch.) bags. At $3.50 per yard, making your own bags in this way will cost about ten cents ($.10) per bag. Of course, you could try to reuse the, but for me, this method allows them to be disposable. 

If you really want to spend your money on pre-made spice bags, The Spice House, an online retailer, offers 5-pack Bouquet Garni Bags for $5. Shipping and handling will run about $8 bringing the cost per bag to a hefty $2.60 each. You can find other options at Amazon.

Dear Mary: My mother pieced and hand quilted a lovely quilt that is now mine. It is like new except for a very old coffee stain. Is there any way to remove the stain without destroying the fabric? Any help is appreciated. Thanks. Beverly S.

Dear Beverly: A good fabric store or quilt shop in your area will carry a product, Orvus Quilt Soap. A museum would use this to restore and maintain a vintage quilt. 

Fill your bathtub with tepid water and add one tablespoon of the soap (it is very concentrated).

Lay the quilt in fan fashion in the water. Gently hand press down and up on the quilt, forcing water through the layers.

Rinse in clean water several times following the same procedure. Drain. Press and squeeze to remove as much water from the quilt as possible.

Place a bed sheet under the wet quilt and lift out of tub using the sheet. Allow drying opened out and out of sunlight.

I sure hope that helps so you will be free to enjoy your beautiful treasure!


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5 replies
  1. learn more says:

    Thanks for another informative blog. The place else could I get that kind of information written in such a perfect means? I’ve a project that I’m simply now working on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.

  2. learn more says:

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  3. NJ says:

    A tea ball can also be used to hold spices for pickling. It’s easy to clean and less expensive than buying/using cheesecloth!


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