Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

SOLUTIONS: Scratches, rings and measuring things

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QUESTION: My daughter has some scratches on her new laminate flooring. What can she use to repair or cover them up? Harv, Gladstone

ANSWER: For minor scratches on laminate floors there are special, color-coordinating pencils that may be used to fill scratches. Touch-up markers and pencils are easy to use by applying the color and finish in one operation. Rub the stick onto the damaged area until it is completely filled, then remove the excess until the filled area is level with the floor surface.

For chips, deep scratches and gouges there are colored burn-in sticks available which are used in conjunction with special electric knives to repair these areas (you might want to call in a professional depending on your home improvement confidence). In a nutshell, your daughter's best bet is to visit her local hardware store and color match her flooring to the available touch-up pencils.

QUESTION: My friend needs a treatment for ring around the collar. Do you have a "green" solution for this problem? Karen, Pinawa

ANSWER: The easiest way to get rid of ring around the collar is to wash the collar with shampoo. However, to keep ring around the collar from becoming a problem in the first place, rub the collar with chalk before throwing it into your hamper. Regular white chalk is an old proven solution for this problem. You can also add washing soda to your wash for brighter fabrics; it contains no bleaches or phosphates.

QUESTION: We are looking for something that will keep weeds down outside our back fence. Thank you. Ruth, Winnipeg

ANSWER: The following recipe is from my book Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions. In a spray bottle combine: one gallon of pickling vinegar, one cup of table salt and one tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Mix together until salt is dissolved. Pour into either a spray bottle or weed sprayer. Spray directly onto weeds. Remember this solution should not be sprayed on anything you don't want to kill and don't spray it on the soil. It is non-selective in what it kills, meaning it will kill any plants it comes into contact with and it will sterilize the soil for up to two years depending on how much you get on the soil.

If you are concerned about getting the vinegar solution on your desirable plants you can use a cloth to wipe the solution onto the leafy parts of weeds. It is advisable to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the acidic effects of the vinegar. Happy summer!

QUESTION: How do you measure ingredients for recipes using the palm of your hand instead of a measuring spoon? Helga, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Neat question. When it comes to baking, precision is important therefore don't use the palm method until you have mastered it with great accuracy. Cooking is a completely different art and many choose to estimate the small measurements of ingredients to save time. Pour the measured amount of an ingredient into the palm of your hand. Observe the look and feel of the quantity and then try to pour that same amount into your palm without measuring first. Measure the amount you poured out to see how close you are to the actual measure. Practice doing this and soon you will be able to measure the ingredients by look and feel. This will greatly reduce prep time when cooking.

Fabulous Tip of the Week:

*Did you know spiders hate chestnuts? To keep spiders from coming near the house, shell chestnuts and place them near entrances. Pledge Lemon Clean works in the same way. Betty!

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Check out my brand new videos/blog/website:


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 6, 2013 F7

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