Renovation & Design

Microfiber cloth great for cleaning your phone

Question: What can I use to clean my cell phone without damaging it? Andrea

Answer: Purchase a soft microfiber cloth. Wipe the phone with a solution of 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water. Use the damp cloth to polish each side, including the screen.

Question: In preparing for the holidays, I am planning on having a few Christmas parties at my house. We will be serving vegetarian food choices: cheese, crackers and cabbage soup. What can I do to make my house smell good? Thank you for your column. Benito

Answer: Consider serving a fragrant drink. Before company arrives, fill a slow cooker with a British drink known as wassail. Let the aroma of Christmas fill the air all evening while guests help themselves to a delicious cup of this hot drink. Combine one quart (1 L) apple cider, four cinnamon sticks, one whole nutmeg, half cup (125 mL) honey, quarter cup (60 mL) lemon juice. Simmer the wassail on the stove or in a slow cooker and encourage guests to help themselves.

Question: What can I do to prevent pilling on my winter sweaters? Ellice

Answer: Those little fuzz balls can be prevented with a few simple steps. Before washing sweaters, turn them inside out. Add a half cup of vinegar to the wash load. Avoid putting sweaters in the dryer, this is an effective way to prevent pilling. Try not to overload your clothes in the washing machine, fabrics that rub together can add to the damage. When the damage is done, purchase a fabric shaver to remove the balls.

Question: How can I make boxed pancakes that taste more like restaurant pancakes? What is the difference? Yolanda

Answer: The first difference between home kitchen versus commercial kitchen pancakes is the griddle. Restaurants typically use a cooking surface that cooks pancakes evenly, and crispy around the edges. Use buttermilk instead of water or regular milk. If you don’t have buttermilk, add a little vinegar to your regular milk. Flip the pancakes when you see bubbles appear. For better texture, add an egg to the batter. Grease the pan with butter instead of oil. Add flavor such as vanilla or cinnamon to the batter.

Friendly feedback

Re: Shovelling snow

My best tip for shovelling is to spray the shovel with WD-40 before I start shovelling. This extra step prevents my shovel from rusting and stops the snow from sticking to the surface. This is information that every Manitoban should have — pass it on. — Norman

Gift wrapping hacks

Instead of traditional wrapping paper, consider purchasing a roll of brown contractor’s paper from a home improvement store, or a second-hand store. The paper is inexpensive and lasts a long time. Add embellishments such as bows, bells, pine branches or pinecones to each package.

Make an ordinary gift appear unique and extra special by purchasing a festive box from a dollar store. Wrap each object using tissue paper. Tie a bow around the box. Make sure to remove all price tags.

Instead of a bow, tie chocolate or a candy cane or a cookie cutter to the outside of each gift.

Attach a bread tag to the cut edge of tape on the roll, this will make it much easier to find your place.

Never cut another crooked line, use laser scissors, and direct your cut in the right direction.

Make gift cards using last year’s Christmas cards.

Gift bags are not recyclable, consider a more environmentally friendly way to package your presents.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

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