Do you have any suggestions for a solution to remove rust stains from my porcelain bathroom sink? -- Patty, Tennessee
I would use cleaning products such as Bar Keepers Friend, Zud, Whink Rust Stain Remover or The Works. If you prefer a less potent option, make a paste of one cup vinegar (or lemon juice) and 1/2 cup of Borax or baking soda. Leave it for 10 minutes and then scrub and rinse. Test a small area first. Be sure to read all cleaning product instructions thoroughly, too.
One of the ring segments on my stainless steel pot rack is separated and needs to be re-welded. It's such a small job, but I don't know anyone who welds. Any ideas where I could go to get it welded inexpensively? -- Lynn, Pacific Northwest
You can check a vocational training school or community college, post an ad on Craigslist or simply search for independent welders in your area. Ask family or friends, too.
I have purchased sheets from Walmart that come in cloth envelope-shaped sacks. I don't want to throw the sacks out, because I know there has to be something I can use them for. Do you have any suggestions? -- Patty K., email
You can use them to hold stationery, greeting cards, small toys, office supplies, as a drawer sachet, gift wrap, journal case, to hold photos, recipe cards, receipts, hobby/craft supplies or hair accessories. Or tuck them into a bathroom vanity drawer to hold brushes, combs, trial-sized soaps and shampoos, free samples, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors or manicure supplies such as polishes, remover, clippers and nail files. Add adhesive bandages, gauze, antibacterial ointment and tape, and you have a handy first-aid kit. They would work to hold cookie cutters, too.
I have thousands of buttons that I inherited from my grandmother. Please help me come up with some simple craft ideas to use these. -- Kate, Florida
You can stack and glue two or three onto metal hair clips or magnets for the fridge. String them and make a bracelet, necklace or ornament. Glue them onto a picture frame or lampshade, or sew a design with buttons onto a shirt or quilt. A mason jar filled with buttons makes a pretty decorative display, too.
What did you buy on Christmas clearance this year? -- Linda H., New York
I bought my daughters their Valentine's Day gifts (gift sets), some candy, cookie sprinkles, a Disney princess paper doll set, Christmas crackers (English party favors) which we used for New Year's Eve, clothing, plush animals and winter gear, like extra hats and gloves. I waited until the clearance sales hit 75 percent off and I was happy with the low prices. Some years I buy much more after Christmas, planning ahead for the upcoming year of special occasions. Because my husband and I don't exchange, we often buy a family gift during Christmas clearance sales for all of us to enjoy. But there have also been many years when I didn't buy anything at all.
photo by andre chinn