If you are having large seated dinner parties and don’t have enough tablecloths, be creative. Here are suggestions for clever sub-ins:
1. Use a lovely shawl as a table runner or nicely placed cloth.
2. A serape draped over a table will add colorful drama.
3. Extra pretty sheets can be used with placemats put on top, along with a centerpiece, and no one will know!
4. If you don’t have enough napkins for a casual or outdoor party, colorful washcloths that you can buy in stacks, can add interest to the table too.
Every home should have a working fire extinguisher in and around the kitchen, as well as others strategically placed where they might be needed. However, if you discover yours isn’t effective (check periodically to see that they are working), here’s what you can do with small kitchen emergency:
1. Baking soda can be used to douse a small kitchen fire. Toss a handful over the flames; it produces carbon dioxide, which quells the fire.
2. Never use cornstarch or flour because they can be combustible.
3. Do not toss water on a grease fire because it can spatter and cause the fire to spread.
Baking Soda can be a lifesaver! For more Heloise money-saving baking soda hints, click here to find them on my website: www.Heloise.com.
As you prepare for cold weather, take the time to your roof a visual inspection. Get a ladder and use binoculars to examine the roof. Here’s what you should look for:
1. Check for loose or missing singles or cracks in tiles. All will need to be repaired.
2. Look at each flashing (the sheet metal at the breaks on the roof) to be sure that it’s secure. Also check flashing around the chimney.
3. Examine the chimney. Make sure nesting materials from bird or squirrel nests are removed, so it does not block the chimney and create a fire hazard.
4. Don’t forget the eaves and gutters. Remove tree debris or anything that can clog them up. Make certain they are still attached firmly to the roof and sides of your home.
These awful biting little insects can create havoc and a big mess in your home that needs to be addressed immediately. Here are three steps you should take ASAP:
1. Clean, disinfect and remove these critters where they are invading. Examine your bed and wash linens, bedding, curtains and clothing in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric and then dry at high temperatures.
2. Vacuum the bed area, including floors, carpets, baseboards, furniture and bed frame. Be aware that bedbugs hide or nest in seams, tufts of folds or in piles of clutter in the bedroom. Point a hot hair dryer at the area where they are to flush them out and destroy.
3. If the infestation is overwhelming, you will most likely need to call a professional to do the job.
The mattress will have to be steam-cleaned or thrown out or they may use a specific pesticide for bedbug removal.
During the upcoming holiday season we use our best crystal and good china for all family gatherings and parties. Here are some Heloise hints on how to protect them when cleaning:
1. If your good china is rimmed with gold or silver, it’s best to hand-wash. Don’t put it into the dishwasher on a high heat cycle. To hand wash without fear, lay a soft terry towel in the sink before adding china or (crystal). It’s better to put only a plate or two and really only one glass in at a time. That way, they won’t get chipped or cracked by hitting each other. Hold the crystal by the stem when washing and rinsing.
2. If the crystal still seems to be cloudy after washing, dip it into a warm vinegar rinse. If the cloudiness remains, the glasses could be etched with tiny scratches, which cannot be removed. Dry ASAP after washing with a lint-free cloth. Then there won’t be any spots.
3. When you store plates, place a round coffee filter between each one to stop scratches or chipping. Cover the stack of plates with plastic wrap so they don’t collect dust.
With the holiday looming and lots of fall parties to go to, you always want to bring a gift to the hostess. I like to take homemade gifts because they are personal. Depending on your talent, they can be crafts or delicious treats from your kitchen. Here is one my friends like. I put it in a decorative jar with a pretty bow and sometimes include a tea cup or mug or cookies.
HELOISE’S FRIENDSHIP TEA
2 ½ cups powdered orange-flavored breakfast drink
1 ¾ powered instant tea, not sweetened
2 to 2 ½ cups sugar or to taste
1 small package lemonade mix (makes 2 quarts)
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. Blend together all dry mix ingredients. Store in a tightly sealed jar.
2. To serve, use 1 to 2 teaspoons mix per 6 to 8 ounces of hot water.
Dental floss is used to well, keeping gums and teeth healthy. But there are many other Heloise Hints to use the cheap product around the house. It’s great for emergencies too. Can you guess?
1. Sew on a button. It works better than thread.
2. Cut cheese, cakes or other food items. Unflavored please!
3. Use as a shoelace when you don’t have time to buy new ones.
4. String beads or popcorn.
Old furniture can develop small cracks or scratches. Wood furniture needs good polish, so it does not dry out. If there are big problems, check with a furniture pro, but there are a few Heloise Hints you can do to cover the small issues:
1. Wax sticks that you can find at hardware or big-box stores are handy. Match the wax stick color to the wood finish. They can cover up deep scratches or cracks in wood.
2. Rub the stick into the crack until the wax is flush with the surface.
3. Then, heat a putty knife with a hair dryer or in hot water. Use the flat side to press the area filled with the wax to make sure you have an even, smooth surface. You may need to re-do until it’s filled in.
We know, it’s important for every family member to have all of the key numbers needed in case of an emergency. Some numbers are more important than others. Here are the steps you should take to ensure your family is protected:
1. Post emergency numbers by home phones and program them into everyone’s cell phone. Be sure work numbers of Mom and Dad or emergency contact are in those phones! These numbers also can be kept in wallets, appointment/family calendars or in your computer.
2. Key numbers, such as police and fire are at the top of the list. Teach small children how to call 9-1-1. Nine, One, One. NOT Nine Eleven.
3. Here is the checklist of other numbers family members should be able to access easily: Poison control, hospital, family doctor, insurance agent, electric, gas and water, plumber and at least 2 neighbors.
Clean your home generally is not fun! Do you know what steps to take or what products would be best to do the job better? Here are four Heloise Hints to help you:
1. Before you choose a commercial cleaning product for a specific task, read the label first! Cleaners vary widely. Be aware that a number may have to be diluted before using. Others should not be mixed or applied to some surfaces.
2. Prepare the area to be cleaned by removing food, dirt or debris. Vacuuming will get rid of dirt from many surfaces.
3. Exactly what is the dirt? All dirt is NOT the same. Use the right cleaner for the right job. If you are unclear of whether the cleanser could hurt the surface, test a small spot or do not use it at all.
4. Be certain you apply enough cleaner to cover the surface. Then leave it on for the recommended time or at least 30-60 seconds, so it can work. Do not wipe it off right away because you’ll have to repeat the cleaning process. Why waste your effort and money doing a job twice!