Monday, September 13, 2010

A few helpful tips from Martha Stewart

I received a sales letter in the mail a few days ago encouraging me to subscribe to Martha Stewart Living. I threw away the letter as I already receive more magazines than I have time to read and give most of them to the library so someone else can enjoy them. As a matter of fact, I hauled 75, yes 75!, over there one day last week. Anyway, I did keep the little tear-out tip sheet and thought you might benefit from some of MS's wisdom.

I, personally, loved this one about how to remove red wine stains, as I am someone who loves red wine! Here's what she says to do if some of your fine linens, or in my case, my not-so-fine linens get stained with the fruit of the vine (I'm guessing this would work on grape juice as well):
  • Wet the stain with luke-warm water
  • Add a layer of table salt
  • Rub
  • Let sit for 5 minutes
  • Pull fabric tightly across a heat-proof bowl and secure with a rubber band
  • Put the bowl in the sink and pour boiling water on the stain from a height of 3 feet (she said 'carefully pour,' but I think you're smart enough that I don't have to add that!)
Why does this work? Well, according to Martha, it's because of the combined pressure and heat of the water. Cool.

Have you ever laid out a freshly ironed tablecloth (c'mon, I know some of you still iron!) on the table only to find a wrinkle here and there? Well, Martha suggests putting a towel underneath it and spritzing it lightly with water. However, you have to do this the night before so gravity can do its thing while you sleep, gently pulling the wrinkles out of the cloth...too bad my facial wrinkles...and neck wrinkles...oh, and those nasty underarm wrinkles, don't fade away each night as I sleep! I swear I wake up with more every morning.

Here's a tip I already knew, but thought I'd share. How to Remove Melted Wax. I was hoping Martha would address the problem of melted wax on table runners, mantels, etc., but she didn't. Here she just pointed out how to get melted votives out of their glass holders. Simply place them in the freezer for a few hours, which will shrink the wax just enough to pop right out of the containers. Nice.

Okay, here's something I didn't know, but most of you probably do. Don't store tomatoes in the fridge. I guess I didn't know this because I'm not fond of tomatoes. But I used to make a Bisquick Impossible Garden Pie with tomatoes, zucchini, onions and parmesan cheese that I absolutely loved. So guess what's in my fridge right now? Tomatoes! Guess I better go downstairs and do what Martha tells me to do with them, which is: Put them in a large, shallow ceramic bowl so they can look beautiful on my kitchen counter. Yeah, right. I don't think I own a large, shallow ceramic bowl, but I'm sure I can find something to put them in that doesn't include a small paper bag in the refrigerator!

Now here's a tip I won't be following: "Commercial window-cleaner evaporates quickly, making it better for mirrors than homemade solutions." Martha, Martha, Martha!! Is Windex paying you to say that?? I do like her idea of spraying the cleaner (in our case, it's a homemade, eco-friendly type involving vinegar, right?!) onto a clean, lint-free cloth and then wiping the mirror rather than spraying the solution directly onto the mirror. Then dry immediately with another clean, lint-free cloth (she recommends using old T-shirts -- how green of you, MS!)

Okay, here's one that earns Martha some points. Whitening with lemons. Here's what you do:
  • Set a large pot of water on the stove
  • Add several slices of fresh lemon
  • Bring to a boil
  • Turn off the heat
  • Throw in yellowed linens and/or dingy white socks
  • Let soak for up to an hour
  • Launder as usual
  • Hang out in the sun to dry (this adds an extra boost to the whitening factor)
I think this would be perfect to do right before your hubby comes home from work at night. He'll lift the lid on the pot on the stove to see what delicious lemony meal you've made for him, only to find a pot of his old socks soaking in lemons. Of course, that's my idea, not Martha's.

If anyone tries out this suggestion, let me know how it works out for you. Maybe it'll motivate your husband to take you out for dinner. After all, you've been slaving in the kitchen way too long already trying to get his socks bright white just for him!

Keeping it green with Martha,


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