Wednesday, March 25 , 2015

New Ways to Have Easter Fun

It's time to plan your Easter party! Here's what to do…

Rather than the same old Easter egg hunt, create a special scavenger hunt with themes of spring that could include baseball cards, seed packets, plastic flowers, dolls in summer outfits, bicycle accessories, funky sunglasses…whatever fun items to help ring in the warm weather. Hide your items, and write a fun little rhyming riddle about where each might be located and what it is. Your party guests can try to guess what each item is before they go looking—that's more fun than just poking around for eggs!

But you still want eggs—hard-boil them and use them as place cards. Cut out strips of construction paper or cardboard (about 1" x 5"). Form a circle, overlapping one end of the strip on top of the other, and glue or tape it to stay that way. Use this as an egg stand and place one at each table setting. Write your guests' names on the eggs with crayon, then dye them with food coloring or egg dye.

If you have extra time and enough chutzpah, you can also decorate the eggs to resemble each guest. Your bald guests will be the easiest.

More help with your celebrations…


Tuesday, March 24 , 2015

Tomato Bra—April Fool’s or Is It Real?

Have your homegrown tomatoes lacked support in the past? Well, prepare yourself for the ultimate recycle solution that will give your tomatoes a lift…

Instead of throwing out that shabby old bra, use it to support zaftig tomatoes. Brace the tomato plant by tying its main stalk to two stakes set about two feet apart. Then attach one end of the bra strap to one stake and the other end to the other stake, making sure the bra cups are positioned under the larger tomatoes. Position the stakes accordingly.

The bra will give the plant the extra support it needs and prevent it from collapsing under the weight of the plant’s oversized love apples. And you’ve also solved the problem of what to do with your old bras! It seems like such a waste of ingenuity to throw them away.

Best colors for the job: If you have a choice as to which color bra to use, black will attract more sun and should be used before the tomatoes ripen…a white bra should be used for ripe tomatoes, during the last days before picking.

Hey, it's April Fool's Day! Are we serious about this tomato bra trick? Actually, we are! But if you don't like the idea of having your old bras (or your wife's) displayed in your tomato garden, we understand. Then again, it could end up being the life of your garden party.

More gardening secrets…


Monday, March 23 , 2015

Disinfect Without the Bleach

Do you really want your bathroom to smell like a hospital…especially when your guests are just about to arrive? Here's what to do…

If you want to avoid the harsh smell of bleach, you can clean and disinfect your toilet by using this simple formula. In a spray bottle, add one-half cup of distilled white vinegar, one-half cup of plain water and 15 drops of tea tree oil (available at health-food stores). Shake the bottle, then spray both sides of the toilet seat, under the rim, around the bowl, etc. Wipe the seat dry with a clean cloth and brush and flush the inside bowl. The slight vinegar smell will disappear, leaving the unusual, fresh scent of tea tree oil.

And, by the way…always put the lid down before you flush. When you flush without closing the toilet seat lid, a polluted plume of water vapor and bacteria can spew out of the flushing toilet bowl. The polluted water particles waft around the bathroom and eventually land. If there are toothbrushes out in a nearby cup or holder, they may be a landing strip for some of those particles. Yuck!

More ways to easy cleaning…


Wednesday, March 18 , 2015

No-Slip Purse Trick

It's so annoying to carry a purse with a strap that keeps slipping off your shoulder. Don't put up with this hassle! Do this instead…

Sew a big button on your jacket or coat on the side where you usually carry your bag. Test to see what part of your shoulder is most comfortable for the strap and position the button accordingly. It'll work as a hook to keep the slippery strap in place.

Try to find a button that matches the color of your jacket so that it will blend in…or no—you could use a glamorous button that blares out your individual style.

More help with your wardrobe…


Tuesday, March 17 , 2015

No More Foggy Eyeglasses

Are you tired of stepping outside in humid or cold weather—or stepping inside in cool weather—only to have your glasses fog up, making you look silly and creating hazards galore? Here's what to do…

Smear tiny dollops of foam shaving cream on the inside and outside of your lenses, then wipe them off with a soft cloth. Doing this leaves a very thin, invisible coating on the lenses, which will help fend off moisture and prevent the glasses from fogging up each time you go out in weird weather (or even while dumping spaghetti into a colander!). We've also found that a film of shaving cream keeps plastic eyeglass lenses cleaner longer. We apply the foam every morning (when we remember) or before we know for sure that we will encounter an extra-steamy situation. You can also spit on your lenses the way scuba divers do to their face masks, but we think shaving cream is a lot more pleasant to work with.

More on the best corrective lenses for you…


Wednesday, March 11 , 2015

Unstick Stuck Stacked Glasses

That was a great party you threw, and you whipped through cleanup in no time at all—except to save steps, you nested your tall glasses together. Now you have some unique glass sculptures that will not pull apart! Here's what to do…

Submerge the bottom glass in hot water, which will expand it...then pour ice-cold water in the top glass, which will contract it. Once you have the hot-and-cold thing happening, you should be able to pull the glasses apart easily.

More help with your glassware…


Tuesday, March 10 , 2015

Don’t Plant Your Garden Wrong

Depending on what climate you live in, you might be getting ready to sow some seeds or plant some seedlings! Here's the word on what to put where, based on how much sun you get.

If a section of your garden is bathed in sunlight, consider growing corn, melons, peppers and/or tomatoes. They thrive in the sun.

If a section of your garden doesn’t get much sun, consider growing lettuce, pumpkins and/or spinach, which all thrive in the shade.

More help with your garden…


Monday, March 09 , 2015

Ink-Removing Formula

Did you forget to cap a pen and now it has left its mark on your gym outfit, upholstery or other fabric? We've got a homemade stain-removing formula for you to try.

First, try some easy remedies on that ink spot…

If it's a colored piece of fabric, soak the stained area in milk, then toss in the washer. You can also douse the ink stain with rubbing alcohol. Let it sit for five minutes, then launder as usual.

For all fabrics (and if you don't want to use harsh bleach on your white shirt), spray a good two-second spritz of hairspray on the ink mark, then launder the clothing as usual.

If the ink blot is on upholstery, soak the spot with rubbing alcohol or vodka. The stain should dissipate within a few minutes. Caution: Be sure to test an inconspicuous area of the fabric with the alcohol. The spot should dry completely (no water stains or rings) after an hour or two.

If none of the above simple solutions work, here’s our heavy-duty ink-removing formula...

In a bowl, combine one tablespoon of milk, one tablespoon of white vinegar, one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of borax powder (available at supermarkets in the laundry detergent section).

For ink-stained clothing, cloth napkins, etc., sandwich the stained area of the fabric between four thick sheets of paper towel. Dip a sponge in the mixture, and pat it on the area of paper towel covering the stain. (You want the liquid to reach the fabric, but you don’t want to put it directly on the stain.) After about three minutes, remove the paper towels, and sponge the stained area with cool water. Repeat the entire procedure until the stain is gone. When it is, launder the item as usual. (You may need to professionally clean a removable upholstery cover.)

More help with household stains…


Wednesday, March 04 , 2015

Watch How to Fix a Sticky Iron


Hate ironing? If the underside of your iron tends to stick to your clothes when you use it, try this trick. Wait until the iron is cool...that's important! Then put some baby powder on a cloth and coat the iron's bottom. Once it's coated with powder, turn on the heat and watch the powder disappear. At this point, the iron should no longer be sticky. To be sure, test the iron on an inconspicuous part of any delicate garment that needs to be pressed. It should glide over silks and other delicate, catchy, clingy fabrics—with the greatest of ease!

Tuesday, February 24 , 2015

Take Your Delicates for a Spin

You finally got around to hand-washing that lacy top or silk scarf. Now, after all your careful handling, the last thing you want to do is wring out the garment, which could ruin the delicate fibers. Here's what to do instead…

Give your hand-washed gentle wear a drying headstart by swirling them around in a salad spinner (you might want to designate a spinner just for this purpose). Once the excess moisture is removed, they'll dry a lot quicker when you hang them up.

More help with your laundry…