Friday, February 26, 2010

Cleaning: Best Jewelry Cleaner

WINDEX! Yes, the window cleaner is the best jewelry cleaner I've ever found; it even beats the commercial jewelry cleaners. It should not be used on silver or costume jewelry, but it's great for real gold and hard stones. Never use it on any soft or porous stones such as pearls and opals!

In a small container, pour Windex over jewelry. You can let it soak for awhile or clean it immediately. Use an old toothbrush to clean in detail the entire piece. Rinse thoroughly, and your jewelry will sparkle like new!

Recipe: Quick Garlic Fries

Garlic Fries

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee, 2008
Prep Time:5 min/Cook Time:8 min
ves: 4 servings


(26-ounce) bag frozen "fast food" fries (recommended: Ore-Ida)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
Store-bought tzatziki or gyro dressing, for serving


ht broiler. On a baking sheet, toss together fries, olive oil, garlic, and seasoning. Arrange fries in a single layer. Broil 6 inches from heat source for 5 to 8 minutes.

Serve fries hot with tzatziki for dipping.

Leather Furniture

***First of all, let me say this: “some professionals” will disagree with this suggestion about cleaning and protecting your leather. With that said, I want to say that many times people are conditioned with what they believe for the reason that it’s what they were taught.***

Prolonging your leather furniture’s life is simple. Many people believe that leather furniture needs to be conditioned regularly with professional products—NOT SO! In most cases the only cleaning required is weekly dusting with a soft vacuum brush or a micro-fiber towel, and a warm damp cloth (no soap) to wash the surface. Constantly using the leather cleaners, soaps, and oils can cause a build up over time, and in the long run actually shorten the life of your leather furniture.

Most people arrange their furniture with seating placement in mind, and never consider the furniture’s exposure to light from a window, heat from an air duct-vent, radiator or even space heaters. All this can damage your leather. If you must place the furniture in front of a large window, keep the drapes or blinds closed during the time of day that exposes the leather to direct sunlight—that will fade the color. If this is not possible, then place an old sheet over the back or arms—any part that will be exposed to the sunlight. Keep leather pieces away from heating sources that will dry it out, and eventually cause cracking.

What should be avoided at all cost is a newspaper or magazine on a leather sofa or chair. The chemicals can be damaging, and in some cases transfer the print to the leather, especially if there’s a build up of body oil on the leather. I know it’s a habit of convenience to put reading material on the nearest surface, but leather is not the place you should do this. Another enemy of leather is alcoholic drinks. Alcohol should be wiped off immediately, and washed with a hot damp cloth at least twice to remove all the residue. Alcohol can dry out leather, but it can cause the leather to stretch.

Leather has long been a favorite for it’s durability, and especially for how it holds it’s shape compared to regular fabrics that stretch with time. However, leather upholstered cushions should be fluffed and turned regularly. If you don’t flip and rotate the leather seat cushions, they can become wrinkled over time, and be impossible to repair. Yes a well worn leather chair may be comfortable, but it’s not eye appealing with a saggy seat, so remember rotate, fluff, and protect, and no chemicals!

***If you have a stain, it’s best to contact a professional cleaner who is experienced in leather. You could make the stain worse or set the stain permanently if you try cleaning it yourself. Leather is too pricey to take the chance that your attempt will not harm the furniture.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

***Hat & Scarf in One***

Ladies, remember this from the 70s and 80s? I have one from the ‘old days’, and still use it.

For a long time they weren’t available, but they’re back and better than before. I'm thinking my girlfriend, Mary Jo, who is in Minnesota, could use one with all the snow and cold weather!!!

They are now made with two layers of fleece. The fleece will keep you warm and dry, unlike the old models. Fleece has a tendency to be water repellent, but the new ones have a built in 'Blizzard Guard' that is wind and water proof. The new model has a side loop that keeps one end securely wrapped; another problem with the old model--the scarf would slip and open.

They're machine washable and dryer safe.

The design keeps the back of the neck warm and dry, the reason I always loved this item. Remember my tip of static and dryer sheets—wipe the inside with a used dryer sheet to hold down the static or keep one handy for when you remove the hat.

I purchased two tonight!

You can purchase them on line at:

In their search box, type in the item number: FB4402

***The item didn't appear when I searched by: Hat & Scarf in One

Recipe: Pizza Dip

***This one disappears immediately at parties. I usually make two or three. Make these in a Micro-wave safe dish, and they can be reheated repeatedly to soften the cheese if they last that long. :-) Also, great to make ahead, cook, and rewarm in a microwave upon arriving at a function.


8 oz. Of cream cheese
1/2 C of sour cream
I/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 cup of pizza sauce
1/2 cup of chopped pepperoni
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella

Lightly spray pie dish with non-stick spray.

Mix sour cream, cream cheese, garlic powder and oregano.

Layer above ingredients on bottom of pie dish, pizza sauce on next, then onion, pepperoni, top with mozzarella.

Bake about 20 minutes on 350F or until cheese melts. If cheese hardens during serving, can reheat in microwave. Serve with Nacho Chips for dipping.

Best served with a large spoon to be dipped onto individual serving plates as chips will break off in dip if everyone is dipping in same bowl.

***And for those who know me personally, yes-this is the one Sandy used to bring to our parties.

A Note From Lady Trish

Hi, Everyone. I hope you're enjoying my blog, and receiving tips to help make your life easier. Even though my blog site doesn’t show a lot of “Followers”, there seems to be many who are silently following my posts. If you’re not aware of this feature, you can sign up to be a “Follower”, and the updates will be individually emailed to you. Sign up on the left side of page, under my photo and “About Me”.

Since starting the blog, I’ve had email requests to post more recipes, especially some of the “oldies”. I think all of us were tired of these, with every party or gathering having the same food prepared, and they fell to the backside or were lost. Everything old, truly is new again, and to the younger generation they’ll be brand new.

I’ll continue to post these, but will try to make the posts diverse, so there’s something for everyone. Thanks for the support, and all feedback is welcome.
Lady Trish

Cleaning: Bathtubs Without Pain

Having joint problems that makes it difficult to clean your bathtub, or a deep whirlpool bath?

Try buying a new sponge mop, the kind that has a squeeze device attached to wring it out. Mark the handle with a permanent marker or duct tape to identify it from other mops, and use this one only for the tub cleaning chore.

The mop eliminates the need to bend over or get on your knees. If you have a linen closet in the bathroom, then keep the tub-cleaning mop there or keep it in a separate area from the regular mops. This will keep family members from accidently using it to clean a floor.

Cleaning: Artwork and Mirrors

I was surprised that cleaning companies are NOT taught this rule.

NEVER spray the glass cleaner directly to the glass covered artwork or mirror. Over a period of time, the moisture will discolor or cause mold if the cleaner should get under the frame. Always spray the cleaning towel, and then clean the art/mirror. This will keep them looking new for many years of enjoyment.

Decorating: Area Rugs for Dining Area

Considering an area rug under the dining table? Stop! Before you buy there’s things to consider.

The area rug must be larger than just the area where the table and chairs sit. DO NOT purchase a rug that will not allow the chairs pushed back far enough to sit, without the chair legs going off the rug. This will cause major problems for using the table; the chair legs will constantly be hanging up on the rugs edge, and besides being a nuisance, will eventually damage your rug.

There are no exact rules, but here’s a guide: The average person needs 18 inches from the table edge to the front back of the chair when seated. If family members are larger in build, then add more to the inches. Next, when seated, the average person needs an additional 16 inches to push back the chair to get up. Again, add more if family members are larger than average. If all family members are of average size, then think about the guests who may not be; it’s best to be generous with measurements for everyone to be comfortable.

Also, look at your floor for duct vents. You do not want to cover any vents with the rug. Even with vents closed, they are weak when people step on them. Remember, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. You can’t expect even family members to remember there’s a vent under the rug.

Covering the vent will also cut down on the room’s air circulation. A table full of people seated, plus perhaps candles burning, generates a lot of heat. You’ll definitely want to keep the air flowing. Making sure everyone is comfortable with the room temperature, and enough personal space; this will make the entire dining experience more pleasant.

If you can’t make a rug work due to lack of space or floor vents, then don’t try to squeeze one into the area. Move on, and find other ways to bring warmth and color into your dining space. I’ve wanted a rug in my dining room for years, and unfortunately there’s not enough space without covering my vents.

***Area rugs can be used on top of carpet. Make sure you use a rug pad to keep the rug secure. There are rug pads to use on different floor surfaces; wood floor and carpets pads—only use the one appropriate for your area.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Decorating: Creating an Entry/Storage

I may have lived in the same house for 30 plus years, but our two daughters have lived more of a nomadic lifestyle, especially during their college years. There’s been many apartments decorated, with an equal number of challenges.

One problem I’ve encountered often is no separate entry. You can make one visually, and gain extra storage. This same decorating trick can also be used to divide a long narrow room into two functional spaces; a living/TV area, and the other space a reading or a play area for children.

If the room is a rectangle with the entry door on one end, try putting two bookcases together back to back with their side against the room’s wall, making a divider wall. No coat closet, put an armoire and bookcase back to back or even two armoires. Just make sure both units are the same height and width. There’s great ‘unassembled furniture’ available at a low cost, and many different styles. If you haven’t looked, you might be surprised at how much better the quality is today.

*** For stability, bolt them together, back to back in a way that they can easily be disassembled without damage. The next place you live may be a different room arrangement, and they can be used in another way.

If the living room is small, try using cases that are table height to keep the area open. Put a table runner on top, and that will hide the seam, then decorate the top with a few items as if it were a sofa table. A lamp would be nice on the end next to the room’s wall—instant light when entering the room. Just make sure to keep the lamp in proportion to the bookcases, and the shade isn’t bigger than the width of the cases. You don’t want anyone brushing against the lamp, and knocking it off. A rectangle shaped shade would work great.

If you use bookcases with solid doors, this will also provide extra storage for shoes, mittens, scarves, and other things that you want to hide; two great functions from a clever decorating idea. Remember, think outside the box!

Recipe: Outback-Coconut Shrimp

Outback Steakhouse-style Gold Coast shrimp

May 13, 1998
Makes 4 servings (I’ve made more, just prepare more batter)

Marmalade dipping sauce:

1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Dash salt


1 cup flat beer
1 cup self-rising flour
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 large fresh shrimp
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 cups vegetable oil for frying

1. Prepare the marmalade dipping sauce: Place marmalade, mustard, horseradish and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2. Make the shrimp: In a large bowl, combine beer, flour, 1/2 cup coconut, the sugar and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving the last segment of the shell and tailfins intact to serve as a ``handle'' when dipping and eating. Dry shrimp with paper towels and sprinkle lightly with paprika.

4. In a deep saucepan, preheat oil to 350 degrees (measure with a deep-fat thermometer). Place remaining 1-1/2 cups coconut in a shallow bowl. Dip shrimp, one at a time, into batter, coating generously. Drop battered shrimp into coconut and roll until well-coated.

5. Fry shrimp, four at a time, about 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, flipping shrimp halfway through cooking time. Remove from hot oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Hold cooked shrimp in a preheated 325-degree oven until remaining shrimp are cooked.

6. Serve hot with marmalade dipping sauce on the side.

***These can be baked on a olive oil sprayed cookie sheet and baked. Bake at 350 F until done—each oven is different with the cooking time, but they should be golden brown--not burned.

***From Top Secret Restaurant Recipes, by Todd Wilbur, Plume

Crooked Pictures

Have artwork, pictures or a mirror that you’re constantly straightening? Maybe it goes crooked on the wall every time the door is shut hard?

There are little rubber disk with an adhesive back (when the paper is pulled off). Use these to stick to the back of the artwork/mirror and the rubber side will keep the frame from shifting on the wall, and they DO NOT leave marks on the wall.

They’re called ‘
self adhesive, rubber bumper pads’. The photo is from Lowe’s web site. They can be found at hardware stores, and I’ve seen them at Kroger’s grocery in the household isle. The photo above is from Lowe's.

***Another use: If you have an small appliance (coffee maker) or anything similar that is missing a small foot, these can be used to help level the item. I’ve actually used them sticking one on top of the other to make a replacement leg level with the remaining original legs.

Also, if you have a rough bottom item, and afraid it’ll scratch your table; these will work for protection.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recipe: Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Type Kid-Friendly, Quick & Easy, Sandwich
dietary considerations Low Cal

yield: Makes 4 servings
ive time: 35 minutes
total time: 35 minutes


10 1/2 inch think slices of French bread (4 inches in diameter); 8 slices toasted, 2 slices (crust removed) diced

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons minced fresh basil, divided, plus 12 large basil leaves

3/4 cup purchased refrigerated marinara sauce

12 ounces ground chicken (white meat)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon grated onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

4 large radicchio leaves


Blend diced bread and Parmesan in processor to fine crumbs Transfer to pie dish; mix in 2 tablespoons minced basil.

Mix marinara and 2 tablespoons basil in small saucepan. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce to large bowl.

Add chicken, 1/2 tablespoon oil, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with pepper; blend. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties; coat with crumbs. Heat sauce over low heat.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until bottoms are crusty, 4 minutes. Turn patties over; top with cheese. Cook 3 minutes. Cover; cook until cooked through and cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Assemble burgers with bread, radicchio, basil leaves, and warm marinara.

Cooking for One or Two

If you’re an empty-nester, cooking for two or even just for yourself: Try cooking the main course (your meat or fish) in the toaster oven. I’ve found that the meat is much better because it’s cooked near the cooking element. The cooking time is shorter, and much of the meat’s moisture is retained.

There are all types of dishes made from ceramic, Pyrex, and non-stick metal that will fit in the oven. Just make sure to take your measurements (width, depth, and height) inside the oven before shopping for a dish, to make sure it’ll fit. Make sure you don’t get the dish too high as you don’t want the dish to touch the top heating element. In a pinch, put the meat/fish in foil wrap, add ingredients and cook in the toaster oven.

***You’ll need to watch your entrée until you figure out the exact cooking time, as it will be a lot faster than the conventional oven, but so much better in taste!

Snow Removal for Sotherners or Not

For those of you who live south or other areas where there’s little snow, and you’re getting the white stuff—you’re not equipped with the gear for the removal. Try your leaf blower—it works great. I’ve even used mine here in the Midwest for a quick clean at my front door! I have an electric one that's very light. I plug it into an entry wall outlet, and clean the front walk from inside the house.

***It's a great device to have even if you live in a condo or apartment where the snow is cleaned for you. You can keep your front door step clean or your back patio for your dog a path to do their outside business.

Recipe & Coupon Site

Just found this wonderful site on a Facebook Ad--Joined, and love it. I've already printed some discount coupons, and recipes! Hope you'll find something helpful, too at:

Lighting During Power Outage!

Before we get into the Spring thunderstorm power outages, consider this little helpful device. Unfortunately, one doesn’t have a warning when the power goes off, and many times it can catch us totally in the dark, fumbling around for a flashlight.

These are better than the standard night light which I find too bright, and disturbing to my sleep. Instead of the white bright light from a regular 4 watt bulb, this device has a soft orange glow that is unobtrusive. The other nice feature is that when it’s plugged into an outlet, the device has a plug outlet on the front, so the outlet is still available. When the power goes off, a bright white light kicks on that is battery-powered, and there’s a built in flashlight with an on/off button on the bottom of unit. The batteries last a long time before they need to be replaced.

We’ve used these for several years, and they’ve never failed to do the job when needed. They give one a sense of direction in the dark—easy to see, and unplug and you have a flashlight to use until you can get other back-up lights working. We’ve installed them in several locations directing us to exits. Remember, it’s easy to get confused in a smoke filled home, and in a house fire the electricity may not work—these could save your life by marking the exits.

These are available through—which is the cheapest price I’ve found. Don’t wait for the next power outage, consider these helpful little devices!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flameless Candles

Given up your candles due to small children or pets in the household? Don't worry, there's a way you can have the look of candlelight without the danger of fire. If you haven't heard, there are battery-operated Flameless Candles. Give them a try; they're a great alternative.

The Flameless Candles have come a long way in the few years since they first appeared on the market. They are unscented or scented, and come in many colors, and sizes. The newest feature is they are now available with timers, most 4-6 hours. Once the timer is set, they’ll automatically turn on and off. The timer doesn’t have to be used, as all come with an on/off switch!

***These are great for senior citizens, dorms, nursing homes, hospitals, and bathrooms where you might forget to extinguish them after an evening of entertaining. So, bring back the candlelight and enjoy!

Polishing Stainless Appliances

This tip comes from my daughter, Tara:

Use Pledge Furniture Polish to clean your stainless appliances. Don't use the Lemon scent for the outdoor grill.

Thanks, Tara

Entertaining: Appetizer Party Details

Ever have a gathering where everyone is supposed to bring an appetizer, and all you end up with is a table full of salty chips, and creamy dips? Not very filling is it?

Try distinguishing next time whether on the phone or on the invitation: “Heavy Appetizers”. This should be obvious that the appetizers are supposed to be something significant, and not chips and nuts.

Also, if you’re hosting the gathering, and DO NOT require guests to bring something, it would be considerate to include what will be served on the invite. I don’t mean specific details of each food, but simply something like this:

Please Join Us for Heavy Appetizers and Drinks’ or ‘You’re Invited for Heavy Appetizers and Drinks’.

This will let the guests know if they should eat before arriving.

Unfortunately, the word ‘snacks’ can mean almost any type of food to nibble on—so play it safe, and use the new description: “Heavy Appetizers”. This way guests and hosts will both be happy!

Recipe: Appetizer-Sausage Balls

Some things are better the second time around. Many of us will rcognize this "Oldie" recipe!
~~Sausage Balls~~

These handy tidbits were developed in the 1960s, with the advent of biscuit mix. They are simple, delicious, and very popular. To freeze, wrap the unbaked balls well in freezer wrap, label, and freeze. To reheat, bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until hot and golden.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Serves 8-10
Cook Time: 15 minutes


1 lb. Italian sausage (Turkey Sausage may be substituted)
2 cups shredded Colby cheese
1 egg, beaten
dash cayenne pepper
2-3 cups biscuit mix


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place uncooked sausage, cheese, egg, cayenne pepper, and 2 cups of the biscuit mix in large bowl and mix well until blended. If you can, work in an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of biscuit mix (dough should be stiff and slightly dry). Form into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake at 375 degrees for 14-19 minutes until deep golden brown and cooked through. The little balls should be sizzling on the cookie sheet. You may want to turn the cheese balls over halfway through cooking time so they brown more evenly.

These freeze well after baking. Place cooked balls on a cookie sheet lined in wax paper. Make sure they’re not touching. Can make up to 3 layers as long as wax paper is between layers. Once frozen, store in a zip-loc freezer bag, and date.

Serve with a dipping sauce made of equal parts seafood cocktail sauce or chili sauce and buffalo chicken wing sauce. It may sound improbable, but the combination is spicy and rich, perfect with the crunchy and creamy Sausage Cheese Balls.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Entertaining: Guest's Toiletry Needs

When entertaining one or fifty people, there are some things that should be available to guests, for their convenience. Also, guests should not have to ask for personal items that would cause embarrassment.

Something I find constantly over looked, even in the best of homes, is the consideration given to guest’s toiletry needs. With all the nasty germs going around, this is something that should NEVER be over looked when entertaining. There are also some essentials that I advise to be stocked, besides the extra bathroom tissue. I’ll address several issues of concern as I list the items for the guest bath. If you don’t have a separate bath for guests, then it’s even more important to create a clean and well stocked area in your personal bath for them.

Guest Towels: I’m not talking fabric towels! I personally do NOT want to dry my hands on a fabric towel even if it’s clean; it’s only clean for the first person, and the first person to use it is unsure just how clean it is.

A package of pretty paper guests towels can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Paper Dinner Napkins (the ones folded in a rectangle, not the square ones) can be just as functional and for less cost. I’ve found pretty ones at Dollar Stores, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Big Lots, TJMaxx, and Marshall’s. Also, discount party stores are an excellent source—all colors and designs. Most cities have these type of stores. If you’re in a hurry, pick up a package of colored or white Dinner Napkins at the grocery. Always keep a package on hand for unexpected guests. I don’t know why, but if the package is marked ‘Guest Towels’, they’re more expensive than those marked ‘Dinner Napkin’--there’s only a slight difference in thickness.

***You don’t have to keep these out all the time, especially if you have small kids. These are for
‘Guests’. If you have guests, and don’t have paper dinner napkins or guests towels, use paper towels by folding each full size towel in half and stacking them on the sink counter. Trust me, you’re guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Liquid Soap: There’s nothing more germy than a bar of soap. Everyone touches it, germs are easily passed around. The discount warehouses such as Sam’s has the gallon container that can be bought in bulk to refill the small pump bottles.

Hand Sanitizer: If possible, this is a nice extra for guests, and family too. I keep one at every sink, including the kitchen. I prefer the unscented, especially if guests will be eating—the smells can be strong enough to get on the food, and ruin one’s taste. Sam’s also sells the gallon containers of this.

Small Trash Can: This may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised. I was at a home where there were paper guest towels, but no trash bin. I didn’t know what to do with my used towel. I folded it, and discreetly carried it to the kitchen trash. Also, a disposal for some female products.

Female Products: This is something that is often overlooked, especially if there’s NO need for them in the host’s home where the women are older. A small container of tampons, preferably with the plastic applicator, and full size sanitary pads should be kept under the sink or in a bathroom linen closet or cabinet. One small container of each can be available for years without getting old. If space is limited, then put several of each item in a clear zip-lock storage bag instead of using the entire box for storage. This way the guest can easily find them if needed.

Extra Bathroom Tissue: When entertaining, there should always be more than one extra roll of tissue. Make sure there are several rolls so there won’t be any embarrassing moments.

Aerosol Room Deodorant: Keep a can of room spray, preferable an odor eliminating one, and not the perfume kind under the sink. Plug in room fresheners are also a nice item to consider.

***If you do have a guest bath, keep it regularly stocked so that it’s always ready for unexpected guests.

Your guest may never mention your special attention given to the bath, but your effort will be greatly appreciated, especially for those unexpected moments that could be embarrassing.

Moving the Christmas Tree

Ever decorate the Christmas tree away from the wall, and then need to move it into the corner or closer to the window? Easy solution! Buy carpet samples and put the carpet side down, and sit the tree stand on the back of carpet sample (jute back). Decorate tree, and then slowly push and pull the carpet sample until tree is in desired position.

Two tips: this is better if someone helps by holding the center pole of tree half way down length as other person moves the sample. Also, make sure the carpet sample is turned, and all feet of stand are securely on it, and it’s angled where the Christmas tree skirt will cover the sample.

***This works great on tile and wood floors, but it makes it easier to move tree on carpet too. The carpet sample keeps the stands feet from sinking into the room’s carpet which makes the tree difficult to move. Carpet samples come in two doormat sizes. Make sure to measure the diameter of the stand’s width, and you buy the correct size, so the stand’s feet fits securely on the entire sample.

Moving Furniture on Wood Floors

At the hardware store, purchase the sticky felt pads, the kind that has peel off paper backs. These are usually in the department where rubber chair tips, and furniture coasters are stocked. They come in all sizes, and even sheets that you can cut.

These are wonderful to have on all furniture. This makes the furniture easy to move for cleaning. I can move our heavy oak armoire without any help! It also keeps your beautiful floors from scratching when furniture is moved—especially kitchen chairs that gets moved often!

Nailing Nails Without Breaking Nails!

When hammering nails that are too small to hold, use needle-nose pliers to hold the nail while you hammer—No smashed fingers or broken finger nails! You’ll only hit the nail you want! :-)

Cucumber/Shoe Shine

This comes from my author friend, Kas:

You don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoes. It's chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great, but also repels water. This worked for us military types on a rush inspection.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fire Proof Storage at Home

A fireman told me several years ago, that a freezer is the safest place to keep important papers or items because it’s usually undamaged after a house fire. Just make sure you put the items in a plastic zip lock bag to keep moisture at a minimum. Also, it's a good place to hide extra cash instead of keeping it in obvious places.

Cleaning Brick/Stone Fireplaces

To remove the black suet around the opening off the brick or stone fireplace—Use the “Cold Oven Cleaner”. Yes, they now make oven cleaner that doesn’t have to be cooked to activate. Spray the oven cleaner on the brick, and use a fine grade steel wool to scrub the brick. Don’t forget to use rubber gloves!

Nicked Candles

Use a paper towel or an old sock or pantyhose to rub down the length of the wax candle. This will buff all small scratches and dents smooth, and make the candle almost like new.

Cleaning Coffee Pots


Put two tablespoons of dishwasher soap with a teaspoon of bleach, and let soak over night. This will remove the coffee drugs buildup that happens over time. Rinse thoroughly before using. This really works well on the metal coffee pots.

Clean Garage Walkways

Dirty ledges or walk paths in garages can be a problem if you have a second fridge or freezer.

Use the peel-and-press carpet tiles to cover small areas where you walk frequently, and want a clean area. This will keep down the grime and dirt with constant trips in and out to the area. Vacuum every time you do the inside carpets, and you’ll be surprised how much cleaner your home will be. It’s amazing how much filth we bring in on our feet.

When carpets are soiled, they’re easy to replace with new ones, and the cost is very inexpensive!.

***Keep a roll of double-face carpet tape on hand to repair any tiles that come loose.

Fantastic Coat Hangers

I debated for years if I should give them a try, and with Ruth, my girlfriend’s recommendation, I bought my first set. THEY ARE WONDERFUL!!! That was three years ago, and since then I’ve purchased several more sets. I’ll NEVER use any other type of hangers. I now have all our clothes on these hangers.

The hangers are sturdy enough for the heaviest coats, and take up less space than regular hangers. Blouses and pants will NOT slide off the hangers as they’re covered in a felt like fabric—Excellent for tank tops and other strappy garments.

They’re sold through different sources, but the best value I’ve found is on Home Shopping Network at: Go to their web site, and in the top right corner in the search block, type in: huggable hangers. The best set to start with is the one I’ve posted above, the “top to bottom fashion 50-pack”. This gives you 25 shirt/25 pant hangers at $1.00 a hanger.

***If you want a similar item, I’ve found knock-off brands at TJMaxx, Marshall’s, and Home Good’s stores.

Smushed Lipstick

To revamp broken lipstick, put in the fridge for 30 minutes, then use a sharp knife to slice off the broken tip at an angle. Smooth angle with a paper towel—just like new!

Clumpy and Extending Mascara

Mascara has a tendency to get clumpy in the container, and the application brush retains the clumps, transferring to the eye lash.

Solution: Hold applicator brush under running hot water for a couple of minutes, rotating the brush to allow the water to completely rinse the brush free of debris. Leave a bit of water on the brush. This puts a bit of moisture back into the container, and your mascara will go on more smoothly. This is a good thing to do if you run out of mascara—the water will allow you to get a bit more mascara until you can purchase new.

*** DO NOT put water in the actual container—this will cause the mascara to be to thin and runny. This can be used with water-proof mascara too.

Winter Static Hair

Winter is a bad time for hair, especially hair that tends to stand up in all the wrong places due to Static Electricity. Solution—Used, fabric-softener sheets such as “Bounce” that’s used in the dryer.

Rub the used dryer sheet over your hair, and under hair at the neck if your hair is longer. This also works for clothes clinging to satin slips or pantyhose. This is much better than the non-pleasant odor of the aerosol, “Static-Guard”. Also, you can rub the sheets over leather or fabric car seats, and this will keep the static to a minimum.

***Keep a few used sheets in a zip-lock plastic bag in your purse for on-the-go help to keep away static!

Sharp Heal Pain or Numbness

Planter fascitis is the sharp heel pain or numbness caused by irritation of the tissue that runs the length of your sole—can result from drastic increases in mileage when jogging or lack of flexibility in the muscles in your calves, hamstrings, and hips. I’ve found standing for long periods on hard surface floors irritates the problem, no matter what type of shoes I wear.

Massaging your foot by rolling a tennis ball under each foot, from heel to toe, can help relax the foot and increase flexibility. Another exercise: flex foot back, arching top of toes toward front of ankle, causing the muscles in the back of calves to stretch. Also, standing on the edge of a step, and doing tip-toe flexes (up and down on the ball of the foot) will help.

Candle Wax Removal from Brick Terraces/Concrete Patios

Wax from patio candles can be very difficult to remove from brick pavers and concrete because of the absorbent texture. After trying many chemicals and different sources of heat, we found that using a small propane blow torch is the best. It’s still a time consuming chore, but the flame will burn off the wax, and leave an oil stain. With continuous heat, the oil stain will eventually disappear!

Difficult Opening Drawers and Windows

Rub the side of drawer top that is sticking with a candle (wax) or a bar of soap. The same can be done in the track of a window that goes up and down. Both will glide freely after this treatment.

Quick Shoe Shine

In a hurry—lightly spray Pam non-stick kitchen spray on a paper towel and wipe over shoes, buff with a dry paper towel—instant shiny shoes!

Difficult Sliding Doors & Screens

Never use WD-40 to lubricate sliding doors and screen tracks. A door repairman told me that WD-40 will cause dirt to adhere to the track over time, and cause a worse problem. Instead use the non-stick Pam kitchen spray, applying it regular when the door/screen starts to be difficult to slide.

Measuring Yardage without a Tape Measure

Hold fabric in tip of left hand straight out from your body, turn head to the far right, and hold fabric from left hand tip to tip of nose=roughly will measure a yard=36 inches.

Removing Black Shoe Marks off Floors

Tooth paste mixed with a little water is excellent for removing those nasty scuff marks from tile, stone, or vinyl flooring—Baking Soda made into a paste works too. But use neither on wood flooring. Use a dry “Magic Eraser” for wood.