Friday, May 29, 2009

Passive cooling

Got a window that lets the hot sun in during the summer? Plant annual vines to shade it. It's still early enough in most parts to plant morning glories, black-eyed Susan vines, cup and saucer vines or a double duty vine like (edible) scarlet runner bean. You'll need to offer some support - a light wood or metal system of some kind, but that needn't be expensive if you make your own or creatively use old grills, stakes, etc. Plant the vine so that it will shade the window during the hottest part of the day and take into consideration the angle of the sunshine later in the year.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Using old socks

Got old cotton socks? Cut the toes off and cut them along one side, then sew a zigzag stitch around them to use for cleaning rags. I've even used them as dishcloths. The tops make good sweat bands for cold drinks. Put the rest of the sock over your hand to dust with, or sew a piece of lace or ruffle onto the top and use as a personalized wash cloth in the shower. OR... sew velcro to fasten the top, then use up those soap slivers by putting them inside the sock.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Twist'em ties

A peeled twist'em tie wire is handy to have around! Strip it to the wire and use it as an emergency repair to replace a screw in your glasses, hang pictures, repair jewelry... or use it without stripping to hold things together. Let your imagination run with it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sunburn remedy

It's getting about that time of year again - time for sunburns. No matter how careful we are, it still happens. When it does, reach for the apple cider vinegar and splash it on. Not only will it help relieve the burn, it will keep your skin from blistering and peeling and that means a better tan.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vegetable oil saver

Yet another use for those empty liquid dish detergent bottles: Rinse on thoroughly and put vegetable oil in it. It allows a little better control of how much you use, so it saves on oil and calories, too. And you can buy those humongous, frugal containers and won't have to drag them out every time you need oil.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Get the most for your grocery money

Did you know that the color of the fastener on a bread sack can tell you how fresh the bread is? Or that by reading the PLU code you can find out how produce was grown? Read Grocery Codes and Tricks and find out more.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Make a kite

This is the perfect time of the year for kite flying! You don't have to buy a kite or even a kit to make one, though. I came across this eHow article that shows you how to make one from an ordinary piece of paper:

How to Make a Kite by Folding Paper

Talk about frugal fun!

Saving on vacuum cleaner bags

If you have pets that shed, you know how fast a vacuum bag can fill with their hair. Put a panty hose over the end of your vacuum cleaner and go over places where the pet hair is the worst. It will stick to the panty hose and you can pull it off and put it in the garbage, saving space in the bag for other things.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Baked potato skins

The next time you peel potatoes, wash them first and trim off any bad spots or eyes. Drop the peelings in a bowl of cold water until you're ready, then drain, toss them with oil, lightly salt them and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 until crisp and browned. They keep very well without refrigeration, but make such a good snack you probably won't have to worry about keeping them very long!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Free" cooking oil

If you buy tuna or fish steaks in oil, drain it into a container and use it in stir fry or to fry potatoes or saute other foods. No sense in wasting it; it's good oil for cooking although it might have a slightly fishy taste, so be judicious where you use it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Liquid laundry detergent

Out of liquid laundry detergent? Maybe not. You can pry the spout off with a butter knife or screwdriver to get the last bit of liquid from the bottle. There's usually enough for at least one more load of laundry - two if you're sparing. When that's used up, add a little water to the bottle and use it to clean floors, tubs, sinks, woodwork - whatever needs it.