Today’s first great reader tip makes me smile. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen ugly on a clearance rack and just had to walk away. Wish I’d been clever enough to know a quick and cheap way to make it beautiful. This may be the best idea I’ve heard all day. I think you’ll agree.
NO MORE UGLY
I bought some very expensive shoes that were marked down 90% at a clearance sale! The only problem was the ugly color. I’m hard to fit, so I bought them anyway. I stopped by the shoe repair shop on the way home and bought a can of color spray ($8 for a 4 oz. can). I sprayed the shoes black and they turned out beautifully. The secret is to spray lightly and cover up the soles with masking tape. Recently I sprayed a handbag ($220 marked down to $20 because of its ugly color) that is gorgeous. — Kim L., North Carolina
FIRE ANT EXTINGUISHER
In many areas of the country fire ants are a very serious problem. The hills they build are difficult to get rid of, they attack very quickly, and their sting burns for a long time. Instead of spraying with poisonous, expensive pesticides just pour enough uncooked grits over the hill to completely cover it and then water the hill very well. The ants eat the grits and when the water is applied they “swell up” and die. It works great and leaves no toxins in the surrounding areas for your children and pets to be exposed to. — Elaina M., Florida
If your hobby is genealogy, creating a notebook of the family history information including scanned photos if you have access to a scanner is a welcome gift for family members — especially older teens and others who are hard to buy for. This could also be a great wedding gift for a couple who will be starting a new family, especially if you have access to both the bride and groom’s family histories. This history can be as simple or as elaborate as your time and finances allow. — Jeanette P., North Carolina
STAND THE BIRD
To roast a whole chicken evenly and more quickly, set your Bundt pan on a cookie sheet. Now stand that chicken over the center cone of the Bundt pan. Roast as you usually do or at 375F until done. A standing chicken browns more evenly and cooks faster. — Priscilla G., email
Here’s a simple and foolproof way to take lipstick stains out of white cotton. Mix three equal parts of household laundry bleach, warm tap water and milk in a spray bottle. Spritz the stain, scrub it with an old toothbrush. Presto-white-o, the lipstick is gone! Don’t use this on anything but whites because it does contain bleach and will discolor dyed fabrics. — Marjoree F., North Carolina
If you’re trying to save for something special and are one to use grocery store coupons, try this: When checking out at the grocery store ask the checker to subtotal your bill. Write the check for that amount, then have the coupons credited and receive cash back for the savings. Put that extra money in an envelope or special account to save for that item you’ve been wanting. You will learn that it adds up quickly. — Mary G., Illinois
Got a tip you’d like to share? Send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!