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This is an area where I am sure there is a wealth of untapped knowledge, tips and ideas.  It is amazing how many things learnt during harder times stand people in good stead over the years.

My mum used to lengthen our dresses each year by adding a 3"-4" strip of a contrasting fabric into the skirt.  Unfortunately, however, the number of additional strips indicated how old the dress was (a bit like a tree really).

Anyone else out there who can share such gems with us contact us on, we would love to hear from you.

  • To keep the "fizz" in an unfinished canned drink put the end of a teaspoon in the can and the next day it will still be fizzy.

    Thankyou Claire Anderson for this one

  • Due to the heat from an electric light bulb, over a period of time, it can become extremely difficult to unscrew the plastic components when it becomes necessary to change the shade etc.  Running an ordinary pencil point over the threads before assembly will make future dismantling effortless.  Graphite from the pencil point is a good heat resisting lubricator.

    Sent in by K. Hall, thanks

  • To stop sofa cushions from slipping, cut a piece of material roughly two inches smaller than the offending cushion.  Thin smooth material works best.  Lightly spray first one side and then the other of this material with 3M repositionable spray adhesive (can be obtained from office suppliers or art/graphics material suppliers).  Follow the instructions carefully and be sure to protect from overspray.  Carry out this procedure in a well ventilated area (outside if possible).   Allow about twenty minutes drying time then carefully place the tacky material on the sofa base and neatly place the cushion on top. 

    It will only move now when you want it to.  The cushion can be moved three or four times before the adhesive needs renewing. 

    We have Mae Loat from Australia to thank for this useful tip, however, she does include some timely warning:-

    CAUTION: I have never noticed that any of the adhesive was transferred to the cushions but you may need to verify this yourself with a trial on the old armchair first.

    Do NOT spray the adhesive onto the cushions or base of sofa.  If you do this either with or without the tacky material you may have made a very strong joint when you place the cushions back.  If you do end up with the wrong bits stuck together it may be worth knowing that most spray adhesives are susceptible to silicone oil and rapidly come un-glued.  Most spray treatments designed to waterproof clothes etc. are based on silicone oil and may help dramatically.   Prevention is better than cure.

    I would like to add my own warning to this - we have very strict fire regulations regarding furniture foam and upholstery in the U.K. and I am not sure whether this treatment would add to the fire risk.  Although they must still use adhesives when manufacturing furniture.  Best to bear this in mind though.

  • To prevent those impulse buys, freeze your credit cards in ice, this way you have to wait for them to thaw allowing you time to reconsider your decision to buy. 

C. Jackson

  • To remove all traces of cigarette smoke, leave a saucer of vinegar in the room overnight.
  • A clean, dry, green kitchen scourer is ideal for removing pets hairs from furniture, carpets and clothes.

  • To clean the inside a flower vase, particularly one of a difficult shape, fill with hot soapy water, add a teaspoon of dry rice and shake vigorously.
  • To clean glass decanters, put broken egg shells and water into decanter, shake vigorously.  Leave overnight, rinse out well - should be sparkling.
  • To remove candle wax from material.  Heat bowl of spoon over candle, wet some newspaper and squeeze out excess water. Place damp paper over candle wax to be removed.  Rub hot spoon gently over paper where the wax is, remove paper and the wax should come away cleanly.
  • Remove heat  marks from dark furniture by gently rubbing with a walnut and then a little polish.
  • A small amount of salt added to washing up water will make glass really clean and shiny.
  • Stubborn stains on polished surfaces can sometimes be removed with a little toothpaste.

  • Turning the thermostat on your central heating down by one or two degrees can reduce fuel bills quite substantially.
  • Ensuring lights are turned off when leaving a room will also save money - every little helps

  • If you have a little beverage left over, don't throw it away.  Pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it.  When you prepare the same beverage use these ice cubes instead of the "water" type.  When the ice melts your drink will not lose its flavour and become too watery.

Thank you Siren - USA

  • To cool a bottle of drink quickly get an ice bucket (or similar container) put in 1/3 water, 1/3 ice cubes and then the bottle.  If you put more ice cubes the bottle rests on the top, if your put more water the ice cubes float and are not so effective.
  • White wine chills better if cork is taken out first.
  • To keep champagne fizzy once opened place a teaspoon in neck - will keep for 2/3 hours.
  • To prevent drinks from overflowing when pouring into glass, use warm glass, the put in ice to cool down.
  • If ice cubes stick together in a container, pour some soda water or sparkling water over ice and this will release cubes.
  • To perk up instant coffee - after placing instant coffee in cup add some crushed cardamom seeds and stir.  Remove seeds.
  • For hot towels at home - dampen some flannels, roll up and spray each lightly with your favourite toilet water.  Place on microwaveable plate and cover with clingfilm.  Place in microwave for a few seconds - hey presto!   Hot towels in seconds.

  • If you have an insert clock movement inside a small ornamental item (e.g. a teapot) and sometimes the movement falls out or it is too loose, it is quite easy to fix this.

    This is quite common, and either the thin o-ring has come off the outside of the insert movement case, or the ornamental part has been made a bit too large. Either way, this can be overcome simply by using a few small beads of BLU-TACK around the outside of the movement case (avoiding the winder), then pushing the movement back into its ornamental housing.

    Any excess can be scraped off using a cocktail stick or finger nail.

    This is far better than glue, as it will NOT get into the working parts of the movement, and can easily be removed if needed.

    This is an extract from Letsfixit, the most popular online DIY community.





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