Thursday, January 22 , 2015

Renew Your Leather Purse

If your leather jacket, boots, handbag or luggage (time for warm-weather travel!) looks dingy from winter weather or storage, here's a way to make it shine…

Separate two eggs, saving the yokes for a delicious pudding. Dip a clean, dry cloth into the egg whites and lightly coat your leather surface. Let the egg sit for three minutes, then wipe it off with a slightly damp cloth. Then buff immediately with a soft, dry cloth. You can also use this egg wash on your leather upholstery. It'll smile back at you!

More ways to keep leather looking great…


Wednesday, January 21 , 2015

A Trick to Iron Sleeves

Does anyone love to iron? We sure don’t…especially the weird parts, like sleeves! We know you can buy special ironing board attachments to accommodate sleeves, but that’s just one more awkward thing to fold up and figure out where to store. Here’s an easy way to iron sleeves…

Slide a small rolled-up towel into the sleeve. Use a thin linen dish towel for your delicate wear. Now you can iron these appendages without creating a terrible-looking sleeve crease.

More help with your wardrobe…


Monday, January 12 , 2015

Handy Cure for Sweater Pills

Your favorite sweater accidentally got mixed in with the regular wash, and now it's covered with woolen lumps and pills. Do not throw it out! Here's what to do…

Gently rub the surface of your sweater with a pumice stone (yes, that thing that smoothes out rough heels). You might need to (carefully!) clip big pills with scissors, but the stone will detach the rest without harming the weave. Your sweater will look as good as new!

Thanks to Julie Edelman, author of The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time (Ballantine), for help with this tip.

More help with your woolens…


Tuesday, January 06 , 2015

Watch Our Trick to Get Rid of Flies

Mr. Buzzy and his little buddies are back. But I know his weak spot! Flies are repelled by the herb thyme—so if you want to force them outside, fill a plant mister with a cup of thyme tea. With kettle and measuring cup, brew a teaspoon of dried thyme in an eight-ounce cup of just-boiled water for five minutes. When it cools, fill a spray bottle and spray the window frames, countertops...wherever and whenever the flies tend to congregate. It is safe and nonchemical! You can use it every day, if need be—it's free of chemicals and harsh smells. But flies hate it and will think twice before sneaking inside your home!

Tuesday, January 06 , 2015

Better Than a Stinky Sponge

Did you squeeze the juice out of half a lemon and now you have a juiced-out lemon half with some guts and great smell? It would be a shame to just throw it out. Here's what to do with it…

Clean with your lemon! You can use it to clean dishes, grimy pans, bathroom tile…just be sure your dirty surface is nonreactive (do not use a lemon to clean cast iron) and nonporous (do not use a lemon to clean nonlaminated marble or limestone). We used a lemon recently on a nonstick pan we didn't want to use a scrubby sponge on, and it worked very nicely!

If you don't like to use chemical cleaners, sprinkle baking soda on your nonporous surface (to be ultra-safe, test an inconspicuous area before using), and buff with your halved lemon shell. For tougher messes or burnt-on gunk, dip the lemon half in salt—this makes it a more abrasive scrubber.

After your cleanup, cut your lemon rind up and chuck a small bit at a time in your sink disposal. When you run your disposal, your sink drain will smell fresh and clean.

Thanks to Julie Edelman, author of The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time (Ballantine) for help with this tip.

More ways to make cleaning a breeze…


Tuesday, December 23 , 2014

Don’t Freeze Your Cat’s Ears Off

You probably know it's not a good idea to let your cat outside when it's below freezing, but do you know the specific reason? Here's why…

Cats should not go outside in subfreezing weather because their ears have very little protective fur, and frostbite can set in very easily. So ignore their cries to leave the house when it's super cold outside.

More natural pet care…


Friday, December 19 , 2014

Keep Your Car Doors from Freezing Shut

If you aren't blessed with a garage, like some lucky so-and-sos, and wet, cold weather is in the forecast, you need a way to get into your car in the morning (or late in the evening!) without denting the driver's-side door with an ice pick. Here's what to do…

Before the Ice Bowl sets in, coat the rubber gaskets around the doors with vegetable oil or a thin layer of petroleum jelly to prevent them from freezing shut.

You can also use a bit of vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to prevent your trunk from freezing solid.

And here's what to to do for frozen car locks.

Ways to keep your car forever…


Thursday, December 18 , 2014

How to Clean Up Cat Barf

Homemade cat-vomit removal…easier than you think.

Meet Patches. She’s like a member of the family, but sometimes, she finds herself in the doghouse! Why? Barf cleanup! If you licked the hair off yourself all day, I guess you'd barf, too! The most common form of cat throw-up is the hairball and the easiest way to clean that off your furniture or carpet is to just let it dry and then simply lift or scrape it away. Don't use liquid cleaners on a hairball barf— those will smear the hairball goo into your carpet. If the barf is not a ball- or log-shaped clump of hair, but an icky liquid or food-based slime, here's what to do: Carefully blot up the excess throw-up with a rag or paper towel, taking care to rub as little as possible into your rug. Then mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one-half tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. This will make a thin, spreadable paste. Spread this paste over the barf spot, covering it completely (double the mixture if needed). If the barf is on a delicate or patterned material such as an Oriental rug, test the paste on an inconspicuous area, since hydrogen peroxide can yellow some materials. Let it sit until its dry (two hours to overnight), then vacuum it. The barf goo should come up with the dried baking soda paste.


Wednesday, December 17 , 2014

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, December 16 , 2014

Last-Minute Gifts for Your Loved Ones

If you're short a few gifts at the 11th hour, you don't have to run out to the mall or run up your bill-me-later tabs online. All you have to do is direct your visitors to your Christmas tree. Here's why…

Write out note cards that say wonderful things. You can use leftover Christmas cards, attractive scrap paper folded over…whatever you have available. Or, for something special, place your notes in small red envelopes (in some Asian countries, red is believed to be the color of good fortune and happiness). Then attach them around the Christmas tree with paper clips, binder clips, small clothespins or clamps. Tell every guest that comes into your home to select a red envelope. The uplifting message will make the person feel hopeful, happy and glad he/she stopped by.

Here are some examples of what the cards could say…

All of your dreams will come true in the New Year.

Your dazzling personality makes the sun shine brighter.

Many memorable adventures are in store for you.

Your creative ideas will soon pay off.

Expect the best because you are the best.

Your kindness is a gift that rewards all those around you.

Kind words for the New Year make great gifts!

More ways to give…