Household Tips for Creative Types

Edited by Margaret H. McCann

Dear Hazel,
I have been collecting the small wooden chips that break off furniture from time to time for about six years. I finally have enough to create a scentless potpourri -- a twist from the usual also because there remain bits of varnish and paint on parts of each piece to form a colorful remembrance of how our natural world becomes artificial. To contain them, use a spray-painted cottage cheese container or a net covered candle holder. Love your column.
Phyllis Flabbermeister

Dear Hazel,
I keep worn-out potholders near the back door instead of throwing them out. They can be used as Handi-wipes for anything from a slushie that spills on your way in the door to cleaning up the bottom of your shoes in case you step on something you shouldn't have, even though Pooper Scooper laws around here are strictly enforced. Then, just throw them out.
Harry Bentfuddle

Dear Hazel,
One way our family has spent a lot of time together this year is: We have collected photos or Xeroxed photos of every American president. We have arranged them in a pleasing design on our card table, and have lain a piece of transparent Contac paper over the entire surface. We now have an interesting tabletop card players can look at when it's not their turn, plus no more need for coasters.
Sherri Lubbs

Dear Hazel,
A piece of cotton glued to a Popsicle stick makes for a handy way to clean under the toilet rim in places the brush can't reach.
Mary Blattkin

Dear Hazel,
I'm 230 pounds overweight and so have difficulty moving about. My husband cuts old cardboard boxes into 12-inch squares and staples thick bands of elastic across the top. I can use these like snowshoes to slide around our carpeted house. So far, no falls, and moving about is easier and more fun. My husband Randy worked as a Maytag repairman for 35 years.
Donna Farmfudge

Dear Hazel,
My 14-year-old son Krazy-Glued bottle caps to the underside of his skateboard.
Ralph Wort

Dear Hazel,
I have placed all the earrings I've lost the mates to in a Tupperware container, and when my 10-year-old daughter does something good, I let her select one. Since she loses them pretty quickly, by the time she does another "goody" she's ready for a new earring.
Beth Flamm
P.S. Thanks for the hint about popcorn-stuffed shoulderpads.

Dear Hazel,
The neighbor's three rambunctious boys kept batting their wiffle ball into our yard until I stretched a 20-foot-high by 40-foot-wide piece of nylon net between our yards. If hit by a baseball, football, or basketball, it will need mending. It casts an unusual glow over our neighbor's backyard and in the winter freezes solid in places.
Ted Tearnth   

Story copyright © 1994 Margaret McCann.

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