A reader wrote: To keep that partial can of expensive varnish from getting thick and gummy (and becoming unusable), try this little trick that I’ve used for years.
Before sealing up the can, float a little bit (drop by drop) of mineral spirits on the top of the remaining varnish. Place the lid on tight and set away without tipping the can. This will seal the varnish from the air so it won’t thicken and the spirits can be stirred into the varnish before using it once again.
(tip submitted by CW, WA)
Candy Mailing Hint
If you plan on sending fudge or brownie type cookies in your Christmas boxes, it will keep fresher much longer if you pour the cooked candy into the small disposable foil tins and ship it that way. The brownies or other bar cookies can be baked in the pan and shipped uncut. The foil pan is light enough to not add much cost to the shipping weight and the things will arrive just as fresh as can be.
(tip submitted by MS, IA)
I was given a couple of nice photographs by a friend but had no wire on hand when it came time to hang them on the walls. I used some of my son’s clear fishing line (I think I doubled or tripled it for strength) and used it in place of the wire. It’s very strong and is holding up quite well.
(tip submitted by VU, SD)
Easy Hemming Hint
When I have to hem up a pair of pants, I don’t use straight pins. Instead, I use the big paper clips from my office. I don’t bleed all over the stitching job like I would if I used pins and the clips go back into the desk when I’m done. My mother used to use ‘bobby pins’ back in the day, but I’ve not seen them anywhere in years.
(tip submitted by CE, NE)
Sweet Stain Remover
To take those awful grass stains out of children’s clothes, I do what my grandma did. She would rub molasses straight from the jar over the stains, let it set for 20- 30 minutes and then wash it out in hot soapy water before laundering.
(tip submitted by LD, IL)
(PENNYWISE says: This is one I would have used years ago when my kids were getting grass stains on their clothing!)
This time of year when so many people are working on ladders preparing their houses ready for winter, I thought this tip might be worth passing on.
When you paint the steps of your wooden ladders, sprinkle on some sand or even some sawdust from that latest woodworking project. This will make the steps much more ‘slip proof’ and perhaps prevent a serious fall.
(tip submitted by SO, MN)
One of my ‘city kid’ grandsons was with his siblings out here on our farm this fall and was playing down by an old building when he took a tumble. When he got up, he was covered with burrs and came howling into the house. His mother took the worst of the stickers off with her fingers and then more with the tweezers, but some of the stickers were really stuck into his tender skin. His mother took a piece of ice and put it over the imbedded sticker bits for about a minute until the area was numb and then proceeded to pluck them out without the child crying and trying to move away.
(tip submitted by GP,SD)
Recycling Stair Treads
My mother gave me a box of stair treads that my grandmother had laying around for years and since they were fairly new, Mom thought maybe I could find a use for them even though I have no stairs in my house.
I found a use for them in my entryway, which is lined with shelves made from painted boards. The kids toss their big toys on the bottom shelves and the metal trucks, cars and tractors always scratch the paint. Then, the guys toss their tools on the higher shelves and do damage to that paint. So, I lined the shelves with those black stair treads and not only did it stop the paint from scratching, it also cut the noise level down considerably.
(tip submitted by BP, ND)
This time of year when we start the vehicles in the morning, the moisture condenses on the inside of the windshield and makes it hard to see. We have discovered that the felt erasers used for chalkboards will wipe away this condensation in a flash and doesn’t take up nearly as much room as the rags we used to use. The eraser can be stowed away in the center console.
(tip submitted by NP, IA)
If you’ve had a new baby in the past year, the chances are that the little one has outgrown those first tiny little socks. An easy way to make a keepsake ornament or sachet for yourself or for the Grandmas and Grandpas is to stuff some cotton balls in the sock to fill the foot. Put a few drops of scented oil on one of the cotton balls and put it in the center of the sock, fill it up with more cotton balls and tie the top with a pretty ribbon so it can be hung like a sachet on the Christmas tree (or in a closet).
(tip submitted by RS, VA)