Before you pitch those old windshield wiper blades, try using some rubbing alcohol on an old piece of terry cloth or a microfiber cloth.  Sometimes, they aren’t really worn out, but just full of roadway gunk and a good cleaning is all they need.  A bottle of rubbing alcohol is under a dollar and can clean a lot of wipers. Check it out!

If you do a lot of sewing, please remember to change the needle in your machine after every 2 or 3 garments.  The new fabrics with the polyester, stretch, and other coatings on the thread will dull the needle and it starts to skip stitches, break thread. (Don’t take it to the repair shop for an expensive once-over when there is nothing wrong with it – except for a dull needle!)

A reader wrote:
If you use the cents-off coupons in your grocery store, or purchase something on sale, take those extra pennies, quarters, etc. and put them in a fruit jar.  When the jar is half-full, take it to the bank and start a savings account for next Christmas. I’ve been doing this for several years and my Christmas is all paid for from using those 25 cents off coupons.
(I’m with her – I don’t use many coupons because I use very few ‘box’ food items, but this does make sense to me.)

If you’ve ever had a cooking pan with something stuck/burned on the bottom that you just absolutely can’t get off, try this approach sent in by a reader.
She says to just put it outside in the snow!  The freezing and thawing action will eventually loosen and break up the burned on gunk thus saving your expensive pan from the landfill.
(If you don’t live where there is snow, try taking it in and out of your freezer and it will eventually come out.)
When you need a booster seat for a visiting little one, stack up some of those old phone books and tape them together. If you want something more permanent, tape the whole thing over with that silver tape everyone uses for everything.  It lasts a long time and is easily wiped clean.  I got a big roll of the tape and made three boosters from the one roll for about 75 cents a seat. – tip submitted by AEK, IA

I have a hard time moving my garbage can to the curbside every week for trash pickup.  My son put it on his skateboard and just wheeled the can out so easily.  I intend to use this idea every week. – tip submitted by MS, NE

My meatball recipe calls for dried bread crumbs and since I didn’t have any on hand, I used some onion-flavored potato chips one of my children had brought home. The chips flavored the meatballs so differently we’ve begun to try other things besides the breadcrumbs. We’ve used smashed pretzels, crushed cornflakes, and smashed garlic flavored salad croutons. The sky is the limit and my children are constantly finding new ways to flavor the meat. – tip submitted by AC, WI

I freeze the juice I drain from canned tomatoes in some old ice cube trays.  I then bag up the cubes and store in my freezer. It’s so easy to add just the amount of liquid I need to a casserole dish, and I don’t waste something I paid good money for down the drain! – tip submitted by SK, MN


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As always, if you have tips or ideas to share, send them to me at Pennywise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543 or better yet, email me at [email protected]
Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond!

Do-It-Yourself Project:

the Hand-Me-Up Quilt

January is the month when I clean closets. It’s too cold here to do any more outside other than the necessary chores, and sometimes they take all day and half the night – but that’s another story and usually happens around calving time.
Take everything out of the closet and lay it on the bed.  Wipe down the walls and floor, and put back the clothing you wear.
You probably will have a pile of ‘get-rid-of’ clothing and this is the time to think about a Hand-Me-Up quilt.  
We all have stuff too good to throw out and that nobody else wants, and that you just couldn’t bring yourself to sell for next to nothing at a yard sale.
Tank tops, sweaters, t-shirts with silly sayings on them (I have a few of these), that ugly blouse or shirt that was a gift from a friend who went on a trip – wrong size, wrong color, out of style. Socks – the ones you found in the bottom of the washer with no mate – you get the picture.
Gather up all of this stuff and then find an old blanket or a big hunk of ugly fabric (if you sew, you have one someplace). It will be on the back and won’t show much anyway! I’ve even used an old sheet. If the edges are frayed, fix those first.
Now, lay the backing out on the floor or a bed wrong side up and start laying those sweaters, shirts, shorts, etc. on the backing. You can layer the pieces over one another to hide ketchup stains or a hole in a sock heel. Let the kids help with this – it’s kinda fun!
When you get the backing covered, pin or baste everything into place and start stitching. I start in the middle with a zig-zag stitch and just ‘get it nailed down’. 
This is also a good time for you to clean up those bobbins of all that odd thread. It doesn’t matter if it matches or not. If you don’t have a sewing machine, use a big needle and just stitch everything down with a good sized stitch. I do put a few extra stitches in the middle of some of the bigger shirts or sweatshirts as they will stretch over time and sag a bit.   Flip the outside edges over the front for a binding and stitch them down solid.
And there you have it – a ‘Hand-Me-Up’ quilt. No batting, no quilting for days on end. And best of all, you can make it at no cost to you.  These are great for the kids to flop on the floor to watch television, cover up with in the car on a long ride, or snuggle under for a quiet nap. (And it didn’t cost but some time with your kids – and that’s the fun part!)