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Wrap large-sized gifts for less

By on January 4, 2012

 

Dear Sara:

Any tips for wrapping large gift items? — Kelly, Illinois

Dear Kelly:

The dollar stores sell cheap tablecloths. I’d use that to wrap a large gift item. You could make reusable, draw-string fabric gift bags, too. If the recipient is an immediate family member, you could reuse the fabric bags year-to-year; if it’s not for immediate family, the bags can become part of the gift and the recipient can reuse them, too.

Dear Sara:

What kinds of handmade/homemade gifts do you like to receive? — Polly, Pennsylvania

Dear Polly:

I’ve always enjoyed ornaments, homemade soaps and candles, knitted or crocheted scarves, hats and mittens.

Dear Sara:

Can I use Borax in the cat litter to help deodorize? — Hannah D., Ohio

Dear Hannah:

The 20 Mule Team Borax website states that it works well on pet odors, but to keep it out of reach of pets and children. I’ve had readers mention that they put a couple of tablespoons of Borax in the litter box, but I wouldn’t want my cats to inhale it. I am diligent about cleaning the box, so I don’t feel the need to add anything extra to deodorize the litter. I suggest that you ask your veterinarian.

Dear Sara:

Do you have any uses for canned Manwich sauce? — Jill K., email

Dear Jill:

It can be used on meatball or shredded beef sandwiches, in casseroles, meatloaf, chili, dips, tacos, on chicken wings and more. Visit conagrafoods.com for some tasty recipes.

Dear Sara:

I made lemon bars yesterday and made more lemon zest than I needed. Throwing it out seemed like waste. Can lemon zest be frozen? — Valerie, Pennsylvania

Dear Valerie:

Yes, you can freeze lemon zest a few ways. Freeze it like you freeze herbs, by placing it in an ice cube tray and topping it off with water. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer storage bag. To use, thaw and pat with a paper towel. You can freeze lemon “half-shells,” too. Once frozen, remove the zest from the freezer and grate it. Use a micro plane, if you have one. Wrap small individual portions (about 1 tablespoon) in plastic wrap, place inside a freezer bag and use as needed (no need to thaw).

Dear Sara:

I want to surprise my boyfriend with a stocking for Christmas. Do you have any stocking-stuffer ideas? He’s not really into sweets. — Leslie, Illinois

Dear Leslie:

Some general suggestions would be T-shirts, gum, books, magazines, lottery tickets, book light, nail clippers, knife sharpener, razors, gift cards, fruit, gloves, hats, hand warmers, DVDs, wallet, ice scraper, water bottle, key chain or cellphone cover. For more ideas visit: budgetchristmas.com/stocking-stuffer-ideas.html. You might be able to find great last-minute deals if you wait until closer to Christmas Eve.

photo by storebukkebruse

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