Renovation & Design

Garden-dwelling spiders a good sign


Spiders are a sign of a healthy garden and eat other pests which may harm plants.

Question: How can I repel spiders in my garden? They are so ugly and creepy. I can’t stand them. They might be poisonous, I don’t know, but I dread going to work in the garden just in case I see a spider. — Thanks, Frank

Answer: Spiders in your garden are a great sign of a healthy area. They eat mosquitoes, aphids and other bugs that may harm your plants. When planting your garden, keep in mind that spiders are repelled by the following smells: citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, curry, peppers, tobacco and pepper.


Question: I recently moved into a condo, and I am having trouble cleaning the mirrors in both bathrooms. After cleaning (I tried water and vinegar, Windex and wiping them with newsprint) they look smeared. Any suggestions for cleaning the mirrors would be most appreciated. — Thank you, Connie

Answer: The water in your home may be contributing to your streaky woes; therefore, try bottled water if your tap water is mineral rich.

Nothing beats a great quality microfibre cloth for removing streaky looking mirrors.

Water and a cloth is all you need, microfibre drying cloths are also a worthwhile investment, but don’t settle for the cheap stuff, or you will be disappointed.

The following is my absolute favourite squeaky-clean window recipe. In a spray bottle, combine: one teaspoon inexpensive shampoo, one quarter cup rubbing alcohol and fill remaining portion of the bottle with white vinegar. Spray and wipe.

For extra shine, make a paste of cornstarch and water, wipe on mirrors and wipe away with a clean cloth. To avoid foggy mirrors following hot showers, smear shaving cream or gel over mirrors once a month, remove all excess.


Clever Solutions!

If you find that the sauce you are cooking is liquid and thin, thicken with a combination of flour and butter (add in small batches). Cornstarch is usually a good thickener, but it might help to mix it with water first. A little goes a long way. Some cooks use dried potato flakes as an emergency thickener. If the sauce would not do well with these ingredients, you may try a reduction. Allow the excess liquid to boil out of the sauce until it is reduced in volume. — Lisa

Brush a little clear nail polish on the underside of metal containers to prevent rust marks on countertops. — Lisa

I just struggled to clean a pot with burnt relish, containing sugar, I tried several different products to clean it, and had no luck. Then I bought a can of oven cleaner, and sprayed the pot. I left it overnight and it came shiny clean. — Manfred


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