Sand remover: If you are lucky enough to make a trip to a beach this summer and don’t want sand all over the inside of your shoes or your car, try sprinkling some plain talcum powder on your feet and then rub with an old towel just before putting on your shoes. No more sand in shoes and on the seats.

Cheap sewing machine cleaner: Anyone who sews knows about the area around the bobbin that gets full of fuzz from the thread as well as the fabric, and it makes the machine work that much harder. Most machines come with some kind of a brush that is supposed to get in all the cracks and crannies, but somehow, the don’t always work like they should. I found that a “chenille stem” (what we used to call a pipe cleaner) will get in all those tight spots and dig out all the fuzzies.

I also used this on my computer keyboard and it worked well there too. I had tried canned air, but then found out that all it does is push the crud deeper into the machine and can cause more damage.

Window corner cleaner: A few of those wooden “orange sticks” for nail care work really well to dig out the corners of window sills when cleaning them.

Cheap hem marker: One of the most frustrating jobs with sewing dresses and skirts is marking the hem so it’s even all the way around the garment.

My grandmother had a regular “hem-marker” machine years ago as she sewed for the public, but I haven’t been able to find one like it and hers is long gone.

My children are very good at “making do” and the other day, my daughter brought me the kitchen sink plunger and asked, “Mom, why can’t we turn up the hem in one spot where we want it, make a pencil mark on the wooden handle and then move it around until the hem is marked?”

It worked wonderfully well; the plunger base is wide enough so the handle doesn’t tip as she turns and it makes it so easy for me to fix the hem just where it belongs.

Ants away: If you have problems with ants coming in your house, try sprinkling dried (used) coffee grounds around the doors and the foundation of your house. The ants don’t like the coffee smell and will leave.

Easy appliance mover: If you have to move the refrigerator out to clean behind it, rub bar soap on the floor just ahead of the feet. When they get on the soap, the appliance glides easily out so you can do your thing. Be sure to wash the soap off of the floor after moving it back into its spot. Using this method, I have found that I can do it myself instead of waiting for someone to come along and help me.

If you have hints or ideas to share, send them to PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543; or email them to If you send me your name and address, I’ll send you a FREE copy of the PennyWise Newsletter. Please mention High Plains Journal when you write.

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