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?