Prevent Rusty Paint:

If one of your fall projects involved some last-minute painting and you had just a little bit left over to save for touchups, here is a way to keep it.  Pour the paint into a glass jar and put some good plastic wrap over the top and screw the lid on tight. You can see the color through the jar, and the cover can’t rust because it doesn’t touch the paint.

I write a label for the jar with the color, type of paint and year as well as any unique clean up instructions and attach it to the jar and then cover the whole label with clear tape.

(tip submitted by DR, AL)

PENNYWISE comments: I did some research on how long paint can last before it got too old to use. If the paint has been stored well, oil paint can be held up to 15 years if kept tightly sealed. Acrylic paint can be held up to 10 years if kept tightly sealed. This is good to know because the paint I am using in my basement is several years old and has been stored upside down to prevent the lid from rusting.

White Spots Be Gone

We recently inherited some of my grandmother’s furniture when she moved into an assisted living home.  We noticed that the big dining room table and even some of the chairs had white spots on them, as did the buffet.

We had no idea how to get rid of the spots without spending a fortune to get them refinished and then my next door neighbor told me what to do. She asked if I had a jar of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) in the house, of which I did. She then proceeded to smear it all over the large white spots and told me to leave it for at least three days, then rub it off and the spots would be gone. She was right!

We cleaned off all the dust and grime from the legs and the chairs (found a few spots on them and doctored them as well). The set looks like new, all for the cost of a jar of petroleum jelly and a little elbow grease.

(tip submitted by M & JS, WY)

Easy Gum Removal

If your little one/or big one comes home from school with gum in their hair, don’t panic. Just get an egg out of the fridge and separate the white from the yolk. Rub the white all over the gummy place, and the stuff will come right out. This also works for anything else gum is stuck to – clothing, toys, carpeting, etc.

(tip submitted by FG, SD)

Seal Those Cracks

I just read an article online about how much money you can save on energy costs by using plastic indoor window wrap before winter hits. I was amazed to read that it can be up to a 35 percent savings on your heating bill. On a $1,000 bill, that’s quite a chunk of change saved.

I’ve been using the stuff ever since we found it in a local hardware store years ago. I start in the living room by stuffing the inside of the water cooler air conditioner with insulation and putting some strips around the edges. I use peel and stick tape and work around the edges of the window, cutting the amount of plastic needed. I start at the top of the window, then do the sides and then finally the bottom of the big double window. I do the front porch and then the kitchen and the rest of the main floor, then it’s upstairs to do the bedrooms. I don’t work too fast, because the plastic is thin and will rip if I get too rough with it.

It costs me about $50 a year for the plastic for the whole house and a tarp to wrap around the air conditioner – a small price to pay for so much energy savings.

Shipping Food Gifts

If you want to send cookies or candy to someone overseas or far away in college for the holidays, put a layer of unsalted popcorn in the bottom of the box, then, add your tray(s) of goodies, etc. and then put more popcorn around the edges and over the top. Seal, label and send the package. The unsalted popcorn can be fed to the birds without a problem, and the ‘goodies’ can will be enjoyed in one piece instead of crumbs.

(tip submitted by CS, IA)

Make Your Own Christmas Decorations

I’ve just finished making a wire wreath from some old barbed wire I found in the corner of a shed. I can use cedar and pine branches and wire them on with craft wire for a big wreath on my front porch. I will decorate it with some of the bittersweet vines that grow in my front yard and top it off with a bow.

After Christmas, I can take off the branches, bow and bittersweet and hang the wreath on the fence for a decoration that didn’t cost a dime!

Best Present

The best present we ever found for our boys was a ream of plain white paper you can buy for about $4 – $5 for 500 sheets. They had a blast drawing picture of all sorts of things and since it was their paper, they could use all they wanted to. We also bought them each a small box of colored pencils and a box of crayons. So simple, and they loved it!

(tip submitted by CS, SD)

Sweet Packaging

Instead of using ribbons on packages that get mailed, try taping on some candy canes instead. They are pretty flat and usually make it to the destination without breaking. Plus, they’re edible!

(tip submitted by PL, WY)

Building Blocks

I wanted to get some blocks for my grandson and about fell over when I saw how much they cost in the store. So, I went to my garage and got some scrap lumber that was stacked in a corner and made my own blocks.  I just used a hand saw to cut the squares I wanted and then made some longer pieces too so he could build a building if he wanted to later on. My wife got out her craft paints and painted them all sorts of bright colors (he’s only two). This way, he can match the colors if he likes.

(tip submitted by  JN, KS)

Stocking Stuffers

I start collecting stocking stuffers in the fall of the year as things come on sale, such as markers, crayons, colored paper, and all sorts of little craft supplies my children want, and need. By the time Christmas rolls around, the crayons at school are pretty well used up and they always appreciate a new box. Same goes for colored markers and water color paints too – inexpensive and easy to find on sale.