Fence Painting Pointers
Painting a fence is not my idea of a good time, but we have a picket fence around the yard of our ‘new to us’ home and it was looking a little bit shabby. I was out on the sidewalk the other day, painting away with my 2” wide brush and wishing I were anywhere else! The mailman came along and told me to use a roller instead of a brush–BINGO! He also said to use a small roller on the sides of the pickets…I went to the hardware store, bought two sizes of rollers, found an old cake pan to hold the rollers and went to work. I had the front fence finished that afternoon! So much easier and quicker than the brush. I’m going to give it a second coat in a few days and the paint job should last for several years!
(tip submitted by JW, GA)

Stop Paint Smells
I can’t tolerate the smell of fresh paint–it makes me sick to my stomach and I get so dizzy I can’t stand up. But, I have found a way (thanks to a friend) to get rid of the smell so I can get my house interior painted.
I take a couple of big onions, chop them up and set them in 2 or 3 bowls in the room I’m working on. As long as the onion smell is there, I can work with ease. If they quit ‘stinking’, I just take a fork and stir them up some to get the smell going again! I don’t know why it works, but it does.

(tip submitted by BI, AZ)

‘Free’ Paint Tray
Want to paint and have no tray? Do you have a metal cake pan in the cupboard?  Simply put the pan in a small plastic garbage bag, put the bag down into the pan leaving plenty of overhang. Pour the paint in the pan and paint away until the job is done. Pour any remaining paint back into the can, pull the plastic bag off (your pan is clean and can simply be placed back in the cupboard), rinse out your brush and it’s done!  And you didn’t spend any money on a roller pan that will have to be stored someplace taking up room you don’t really have.
(tip submitted by DJ, CA

Cheap Paint Brushes for the Small Fry
All kids like to paint with watercolors but the problem is that the tray of paints only has one brush–and I have 4 kids! Four sharing one brush just doesn’t really ‘cut the mustard’. So, grandma came up with a fantastic solution. She was in the hardware store the other day and found those cheap foam brushes–little narrow ones for 29 cents each and bigger ones for 39 cents each. She got a couple of each size and now the kids can all paint together without fighting over who’s turn it is to use ‘the brush’.
(tip submitted by JL, CO)

Lighten the Load on Hanging Plants
Do you have some of those foam peanuts in a bag someplace? Are you getting ready to put some petunias or other plants in a hanging basket? You can ‘lighten the load’ on the container by placing three or four handfuls of the peanuts in a mesh bag (avocados/onions, etc. come in these). Put the bag of foam peanuts in the bottom of your planter, add the soil and the plants and hang it up. The foam works well for drainage and saves you a lot of weight!
(tip submitted by TW, NE)

Spook the Birds
We’ve all seen those plastic ‘snakes’ used to keep the birds out of the garden so they don’t tear up the newly seeded rows, or eat the berries off of the bushes, but, they cost money.
I have a husband and children who all wear leather belts. Leather belts wear out after a while or just get too small for the wearer. I had several such belts in the drawer and decided to try them last year instead of buying plastic snakes. The belts worked just as well as the plastic fakes and they were FREE to me!

(tip submitted by RM, TX)

‘De-bugging’ Used Toys
A friend of mine and I were shopping at a yard sale and she found several plush toys that her children had asked for several times but didn’t buy them because they were not in her budget. She said she was afraid to buy used toys because of dust mites and other creepy crawlies that might hurt her children.
A lady standing next to the toys told her that the simple solution is to put them in the dryer long enough to get the filling warm and then toss them in the freezer for a week. She said the combination of hot and cold will kill any kind of bug. My friend’s children are now enjoying their ‘new to them toys’.

(tip submitted by CN, WY)

Rescue Rummage Sale Dolls
If you buy dolls at yard sales, either the baby doll or Barbie type dolls….chances are that the hair is a total mess of tangles knots, etc. and one feels tempted to just whack it off and let the kids have bald -‘babies’.
However, there is a few things you can do to try and rescue said hair. If it’s full of ‘stuff’, shampoo with your own shampoo or if all else fails, grab the dish soap bottle and use it. The dish soap can cut through grease and grime pretty quickly. Rinse well and then use some of your own hair conditioner–a good handful and squish it through the hair thoroughly. Then you can usually de-tangle the mess, let it dry and style it. I found some little brush rollers at a yard sale several years ago and that is what I use to fix doll’s hair. I roll it up when it’s wet (after combing out of course), let it dry and then brush it out and style it. Add a little spritz of hair spray and dolly looks like new!

(tip submitted by BP, AK)

New Car Mats For Cheap
If you need to put down some replacement floor mats in your car, go to the carpet stores (or big box stores)  and check out their samples. They usually are pretty close to the right size and come in a zillion colors and styles and cost very little! I got some for my car this spring for $1.98 each. The samples were being closed out and I didn’t care what color they were–the boys were in track and their shoes dumped tons of dirt on the car floor every week. After I got the samples, they would just lift them out, bang them on the side of the garage and replace them back in the car. Sure made less headaches for me and for cheap!
(tip submitted by LD, NC)

Do you have any tips or ideas you would like to share? Email them to Paula at [email protected]  Be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.

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