Renovation & Design

Preserve leaves with wax paper and an iron

Question: What is an easy way to preserve leaves so that they last for many years? Jainy

Answer: Place foliage between two pieces of waxed paper (waxy side against the leaves and cover the ironing board cover with a towel). Press the wax paper with a medium-hot iron, coating the leaves with the wax. Peel off the wax paper. Replace the wax paper for each pressing.


Question: I received a pot of flowers from someone a few weeks ago — what is the purpose of deadheading flowers? Is it done as a way to help the plant live longer? Linda

Answer: Deadheading is done to enhance the appearance of the potted flowers by grooming the plant to keep it looking fresh. Removing dead buds also directs the plant's energy towards healthy blooms. The simplest way to deadhead is to pinch the flower head between your fingers, and gently pull.


Question: I was wondering if you have any ideas for removing white powder from concrete foundations, I believe it is called efflorescence. Desmond

Answer: You may want to have an expert take a look at the area. However, it does sound like the white that is forming on the floor is alkaline or efflorescence. To remove simply wash with a muriatic acid mixture of 60 per cent water and 40 per cent muriatic acid. Always wear protective clothing and eye protection when you are working with acid and use it according to the directions on the bottle because it is dangerous when not used properly. After washing rinse well and allow to dry. Seal concrete. You should NOT be experiencing efflorescence on newly poured concrete. Sometimes salt additives to concrete mixes for cold weather pouring can produce what looks like efflorescence, but it is actually a breaking down of the concrete mix itself.


Question: What is the difference between red, yellow and white onions? How should I choose the proper onion for cooking? Saticha

Answer: Yellow onions are inexpensive and the most versatile of the onions. Store them in a cool, dark place. They are slightly sweet and not overpowering. I store mine in the fridge, but they can also be stored in a cool, dark, dry place such as the basement. White onions are stronger and tend to fall apart when cooked. They are a great choice if you love onions and are hoping for a stronger flavor. Red onions are the most popular choice for chopping and adding to burgers, potato or Greek salad, really any dish where you don’t want cooked onions. A little goes a long way.


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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