Dear Readers: Looking for a project on a cold winter's day? Thinking of stripping or oiling your antique furniture? Think again.
Back in the day, lots of wood furniture was painted. Over time, the paint fades and cracks. Don't strip the piece to "freshen it up" — the faded and cracked paint is desirable and valuable in the antiques market.
And oil and wood do not mix. Don't apply oil to wood. Oil can leach into the grain, oxidize and blacken the wood.
The one exercise experts don't outright nix completely is waxing. Wax can protect the wood; solid paste waxes are best.
Always check with a conservator before treating any of your antique furniture. — Heloise
Dear Readers: Did you know that the prune used to be called the "dried plum" because the word "prune" had a bad connotation? But prunes are power-packed with nutrition and antioxidants, and are beneficial for your digestive tract. So whatever you choose to call it, give the prune a try, for the health of it! — Heloise
A Whole Lotta Holes
Dear Readers: The following letters are in response to a reader's problem with small tears/holes in her cotton/ cotton blend T-shirts in front where the zipper/buttons are. — Heloise
"We found a solution: We bought lavender and hung it in our closets; no more holes!" — Mardi in Murrieta, Calif.
"Please assure your reader that she is NOT alone in discovering small holes in the front of her pajama tops, T-shirts, etc.
"I keep these holey items in a separate part of my closet to wear on days when I'm going to be occupied at home. I wash them in a lingerie bag to prevent the washer's action from making the holes any larger than they already are!" — N.N.C.L.S. in North Carolina
"My shoulder bag, when worn across my body, might be the culprit. I've stopped using that purse and haven't seen any holes." — A Reader in Long Beach, Calif.
Dear Heloise: I keep a small dish of clip clothespins on my dresser to mark spills on my clothes before I put them in the hamper. This reminds me to pre-treat them before loading in the washer. — Fran S. in San Antonio
Dear Heloise: I had a hard time cutting up winter squash. I found that if I poke a few holes in the squash and microwave it for about four minutes, it's much easier to cut, and I save money in not buying the already-cut ones.
Also, when making pancakes with a pancake mix, add hot water instead of cold for lighter pancakes. — Portia S., Oakland, Maine
Dear Heloise: Frozen vinegar ice cubes are good to clean the garbage disposal, but they don't address the real issue. The rubber guard has to be scrubbed, as it gets a really yucky coating of decomposing food. I use rubber gloves and a grease-dissolving soap until it no longer is slick or has black coming off. — Jean H., via email
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to HeloiseHeloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.
King Features Syndicate