Renovation & Design

Use sandpaper on Tyndall stone buildup

Question: We have a front bow window under which is Tyndall stone. The window ledge and the stone under the window have turned black. What is the best remedy for removing the unwanted buildup? If it is better done professionally, please recommend the type of company or profession that would be able to help.

— Gary

Answer: If the surface is smooth, your best bet is to sand any stained areas with 50-grit sandpaper. A belt sander is a little easier and will save time. Do not use TSP on the surface; because of the salt in TSP, you may end up with white residue (efflorescence) on the stone. If the stone is rough, clean with a nylon-bristle brush. In both cases, avoid using water, but if you feel that it is very necessary, protect the surrounding area and clean with 50/50 bleach and water. If you decide to enlist professional assistance, please contact a quarry or limestone specialist in your area.


Question: I baked a chocolate cake from scratch and put a baking sheet underneath just in case the batter leaked out of the pan. I baked it for about a half-hour and tested it with a knife to see if the knife came out clean; it did. When I sliced the cake after it had cooled, the middle section was still sticky and doughy. What a mess! Is there anyway to save this cake or is it garbage?

— Lorne

Answer: Throwing out a plate of chocolate is like throwing out a plate of happiness; it’s just so sad. Here are two ideas that will save your dessert. Make a trifle. Chop up the entire chocolate cake into bite-size nuggets of goodness. Place the pieces into a large glass bowl. Add chocolate pudding, cut up strawberries and whipped cream. Garnish with shaved chocolate. Second idea: cut out the centre of the cake to make a ring cake. Melt chocolate chips or chocolate squares in a double boiler. Pour onto the top of the cake ring, allowing the chocolate to run down both sides of the cake. After the chocolate has hardened, serve. I think I just heard my stomach growl.


Get the wooden spoon

I always found it challenging when making a bed to tuck the sheets under the mattress. I discovered that if I use a wooden spoon to push the sheets under the mattress, the job becomes a cinch.

— Laurie

I read this tip in a book years ago, tried it and it worked. Place a wooden spoon in a pot of boiling water while cooking pasta, the pasta won’t stick together.

— Brian

I always use a wooden spoon when planting the garden. Mark the handle with a permanent marker and then push the handle into the soil as a guide, so that all seeds are planted at the same depth.

— Leroy

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.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at


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