Reena Nerbas

Times Colonist - - Homes - REENA NERBAS Solutions & Sub­sti­tu­tions Did You Know? Reena Nerbas is a mo­ti­va­tional pre­sen­ter for large and small groups; check out her web­site: Ask a ques­tion or share a tip at

Dear Reena: I live in a small apart­ment with lim­ited space. Do you have any ideas for stor­ing sheets so that they take up less room?

Yur Here are a few stor­age op­tions to con­sider: Fold the fit­ted sheet and then fold the flat sheet and one pil­low case into a small square. Put all three pieces in­side the last pil­low case and fold it in half. Now you have a neat bun­dle that stays to­gether. When you want that par­tic­u­lar set of sheets just pull down one pil­low case and they are all in­side, wait­ing for use. Or lay sheets be­tween the box spring and the mat­tress. An­other op­tion is to fold sheets and hang them in the closet. Or put ex­tra sheets in an empty suit­case.

Dear Reena: I own a large cof­fee ta­ble made of wood. The ta­ble is full of scratches and I can’t af­ford to pur­chase a new ta­ble. Is there any way to hold onto my ta­ble with­out dish­ing out a wad of cash?


Op­tion No. 1: Fill in the scratches with a colour-match wood filler pen­cil/crayon specif­i­cally de­signed to hide scratches. Op­tion No. 2: Wipe a rag with match­ing stain over wood to hide scratches. Have a piece of smoked glass cut and smoothed to fit the wood. Glass cut­ters can of­ten in­clude rub­ber feet for each cor­ner so that the glass can’t slide out of po­si­tion. The glass will hide the scratches. Op­tion No. 3: Have a piece of wood cut to fit the size of the ta­ble, cover the wood with fab­ric by se­cur­ing it with a sta­ple gun and place it over the ta­ble. Op­tion No. 4: Sand and re-stain the ta­ble.

Dear Reena: We have a two­s­torey slab on grade home. The main liv­ing area is on the first floor where we have an open fire­place. On the ground floor we have a wood-burn­ing stove. Both fires are served by a sin­gle ex­te­rior ma­sonry chim­ney with a sep­a­rate flue for each unit. The prob­lem is that in cool, damp weather the flue for the wood burner back­drafts and we end up with an acrid smell in the house. We have tried putting in a new stove, stuff­ing pa­per in the door and latch­ing it and we have tried bowls of kitty lit­ter in the stove with­out suc­cess. Do you have any sug­ges­tions?

Barry Cosy up in front of a wood­stove on a frigid day and you won’t want to leave your home, but some­times, the un­wel­come smell of a wood­stove can send you run­ning. You were smart to re­place the older wood stoves with an air­tight model that will re­duce harm­ful emis­sions be­cause even if you wisely and thor­oughly clean the stove box of­ten, any traces of ashes will fill the room with odour. Here are a few ad­di­tional solutions to try: Close the damper when­ever not in use. Add a top seal­ing damper and a tight-fit­ting glass fire­place screen. Pour­ing vine­gar into the box of the screen will not be strong enough to com­bat the odour that is com­ing from the pipe and sides and top of the box. Proper seal­ing is your best so­lu­tion. In­stead of mak­ing one large meat­loaf, make meat­loaf in muf­fin tins. This looks bet­ter and freezes won­der­fully so that you can keep meat­loaf on hand in your freezer. Judy 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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