Dear Heloise: I need your pre-wash treatment recipe. I made a batch a couple of months ago, and it has been a lifesaver, but the bottle's getting low, and I can't find where I put the recipe for safekeeping. Help! With three active boys, I can't go one day without a pre-wash spray. — Barbara H., Corpus Christi, Texas
I'm glad this pre-wash mixture works well for you — it is very economical to make. All you need to do is mix equal amounts (depending on how much you want to make) of:
Dishwashing liquid that does not contain bleach (check labels carefully)
A non-sudsy household ammonia
Mix the three ingredients well, then pour into a clean spray bottle. Be sure to label the bottle and include a caution that the contents should not be used with household bleach or products that contain bleach. Just spray on stained areas of clothing and wash immediately (DO NOT spray and toss in the hamper). — Heloise
FYI: Ammonia and bleach DO NOT mix and will cause a very toxic and harmful gas if they are combined.
Dear Heloise: I found I really needed a larger coaster to accommodate a glass of ice and a can of diet soda. So, I bought three mouse pads at a store that sells stuff for a dollar, and voila. They are a solid cranberry to match other colors in the room. I have a very large coffee table, and no one even notices them — but everyone uses them. — A Reader, via e-mail
Dear Heloise: To save a lot of time getting an unconscious, uncooperative young teenager out of bed on a school morning, use a plant sprayer to gently spritz his or her face with a cold-water mist.
This has proven highly effective (and fun, too!) in our household. The mere threat of such action is now sufficient for motivating our little sleeping beauty to get up and get with it. — J.R., Houston
Well, as long as it's just a mist. Be aware that it just might work both ways! — Heloise
Dear Heloise: To easily thread a needle with yarn, cut a length from the bottom fold of an envelope, about an inch and a half long and wide enough to cover the yarn, and snip off the closed end. About a quarter of an inch from one end, make a diagonal cut from the bottom to the top. Lay the yarn in the fold and pass the point made by the diagonal cut through the needle.
Here are two other hints that help me:
1. I never leave a needle unthreaded — it is easier to find if dropped.
2. I invest in a needle for each color of yarn. This saves a lot of time trying to thread a needle during a project. — R.C., via e-mail
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column. © King Features Syndicate Inc.