Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - HELOISE Send a money- or time-sav­ing hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San An­to­nio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

DEAR HELOISE: I have ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers that have got­ten a bit dusty over time, and I want to clean them rather than re­place them. They were ex­pen­sive, and the colors per­fectly match my home, so how do I clean them?

— Meg H., Gas­to­nia, N.C. DEAR READER: Meg, pour 2 cups of reg­u­lar ta­ble salt into a clear plas­tic bag. Take the flow­ers, one at a time, and place the flower head in the bag of salt and shake it vig­or­ously. This will re­move the dust. Re­peat this process for each flower. The leaves can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

DEAR HELOISE: Years ago, my grand­mother would go out into the gar­den with a pin after we’d gone to bed, and on a small watermelon or squash or young cu­cum­ber, she would scratch our names. As the veg­etable grew, our names be­came more vis­i­ble. She told us the gar­den elves had se­lected that par­tic­u­lar veg­etable just for us, so nat­u­rally we ate it. Great way to get kids to eat their veg­gies.

— Agnes D., Canada

DEAR HELOISE: I love our new home ex­cept for one thing: We have a sep­a­rate shower and tub. The bath­tub sits next to a huge plate-glass win­dow that lets in a lot of light, which I like, but doesn’t of­fer any pri­vacy. I don’t want drapes or shut­ters on the win­dow, so what can I do to keep the light but ob­scure the view into my home?

— Patsy D., Yuma, Ariz. DEAR READER: There are prod­ucts on­line you might want to take a look at. Just type in “win­dow film cov­er­ings,” and you’ll find a whole range of man­u­fac­tur­ers and styles to give you the pri­vacy you want and yet let in the light.

DEAR HELOISE: My brother-in-law made us a wed­ding gift of a wine rack that he crafted, and while it’s lovely, it’s too big to use in our kitchen or din­ing room. I fi­nally put it in the den, but in­stead of us­ing it for wine stor­age, I roll up mag­a­zines and place them in the round holes where the bot­tles would nor­mally have gone. Now my hus­band is think­ing of tak­ing it to work with him to store blue­prints.

— Judy L., Casper, Wyo. DEAR READER: I love to see peo­ple think up clever ways to use ev­ery­day ob­jects or re­pur­pose some­thing and give it new life. Read­ers, do you have new uses for dif­fer­ent items, or clever ideas for things that might oth­er­wise wind up in a land­fill?

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