Quick And Easy Placemats

There are so many cute kitchen towels on the market today. I have decided to use them for placemats for my grandchildren at Christmas this year.

Here’s why:

  • The towels come in a myriad of patterns and colors for every season
  • They are fairly inexpensive
  • They soak up spilled milk or juice and catch the catsup falling off of the sandwich
  • They wash like a dream–after all, they are just terry towels

I started buying two or three a month starting in September, and when Christmas rolls around, I will have enough for all–and an intact budget.

(tip submitted by MW, CA)


Next Year’s Garden Planter

I just saw the neatest idea at a friend’s home and had to share. She took her children’s old worn out overshoes/rubber boots and turned them into planters for various areas in her yard. She put some holes in the bottoms with a sharp knife so there was good drainage, lined them with recycled coffee filters, put in about 3 inches of yard gravel for drainage and then filled the boots with potting soil and plants purchased at the ‘end of the season’ sale at the local greenhouse. 

At the end of the growing season, she took out the spent plants and put them in the compost heap along with about half of the potting soil. She figured that the plant had taken up some of the nutrients, so she was going to mix the old and new potting soil together next spring for replanting. She has her unique planters sitting upright in a box in her garage, at the ready for planting next spring.

(tip submitted by RU, MN)


Fall Window Washing Time

I cheated on window cleaning fluid this year, but I have to tell you why. I usually make my own concoction of alcohol and other ingredients for my window cleaner, but this year I found gallon jugs of commercial window washing fluid on sale for just 69 cents a gallon. So I bought 4 gallons–which will last me for several years, and I can even use it in my vehicle’s window washing tank for my windshield if I need to.

 (tip submitted by ST, MT)


Save Those Buttons!

Have you checked the price of new buttons lately? I hadn’t for years and was I ever in for a shock… I’m used to paying 25 cents per card of six, but they now cost more than that for each button! So, I am back to doing what grandma did–I have started to recycle buttons off of blouses and shirts that are on their way to the grease rag box in the shop! It takes just a few seconds to snip off those buttons and put them in an old glass jar for later use.

I also use an idea grandma used–she had some very large safety pins and threaded the buttons on them, then put the closed-up pin in the jar.  That way, she had all the same kind and color of button in one spot and didn’t have to sort through the whole jar to get what she needed.

 (tip submitted by CL, ME)


 Set The Colors

My granddaughter bought herself a pair of expensive blue jeans with her birthday money–the kind with lots of ‘bling’. She was worried about them fading out, so before she wore them for the first time, she mixed up a solution of one cup of plain table salt to two gallons of cold water and soaked those brand new jeans in this solution for 2 hours. She then washed them in the washing machine in cool water. 

The color didn’t come out of the jeans at all! She said that a friend of hers does this all the time and it saves them from fading out so fast.

 (tip submitted by JL, CT)


 Save The Frosting/Topping

We’ve all done it–made a cake or fancy dessert, frosted it and then put foil or plastic wrap over the top of the pan to transport it to the party–but when we got there and took the cover off, half of the topping/frosting has stuck to the cover, making a grand mess. Here is a solution for this problem. Just take your can of cooking spray and just mist the foil or plastic wrap just before you put it over the topping/frosting.  It won’t stick and that yummy stuff will be right where it’s supposed to be when you serve it.

(tip submitted by NB , TN)


Double Duty Puzzle Presents

A kindergarten teacher shared this idea with me years ago when my children were small, and it really works. She would buy puzzles for preschoolers with about 25 pieces–put it together, flip it over and then put the letters of the alphabet, in order, across the puzzle pieces. She would also use numbers on other puzzles.

Made sense to me–if the kid is sick of the puzzle, they can flip it over and then arrange the alphabet or numbers in the correct order.

(tip submitted by TT, WY)


Pennywise Tip: To remove the crusted brown/white lime deposit in a glass coffeepot or teakettle, cut a lemon in half, add water and simmer together in the kettle for about 30 minutes. This loosens the deposit so you can wipe it out.


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.