Bi-Monthly Almanac: Household Tips and Projects

Whether you need a lamp to light your home or an improvised flowerpot to decorate it, these household tips are for you.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
November/December 1979
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Setting your paint can in a pan of warm water to keep the paint viscous.

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Want to remove excess fat from your soup? Need to keep paint warm when you're painting on a cold day? MOTHER EARTH NEWS has a few household tips for these and other projects. After you're done, take a look at the November/December 1979 Almanac we've compiled of significant historical events that occurred during those two months.

An Oilcan Alcohol Lamp

When you need a little light or a small "work" flame, why not make this easy oilcan lamp? Simply cut off the spout an inch or so above the can, drill a tiny vent hole close to the screw top, and insert a wick. Finally, make a cap—to extinguish the fire—out of a piece of tubing that's closed at one end. The "snuffer" may then be soldered to a piece of chain that is in turn fastened to the lamp

Fat Skimmer

You can remove excess fat from hot soup with an ice cube that's wrapped in a clean cloth. As the grease congeals, it will cling to the cloth and can then be rinsed off in a bowl of hot water.

Candle Cleaner

Soiled candles will look like new if you rub 'em up and down with a soft cloth that's been dampened with kerosene. Next, reharden the wax with another cloth dipped in cold water. And, to finish off, polish the candles to a lustrous sheen by rubbing them briskly with a crumpled sheet of tissue paper.

Paint Heater

If you have to do some outdoor paintin' in cold weather, try placing your paint can in a pan of warm water. Of course, you'll have to add more heated H20 from time to time, but the warm liquid will keep your paint from getting too thick to spread.

Rubber Glove Ice Bag

When you need an icebag but find that there's none around, just grab a rubber glove, fill it with all pieces of ice, and wind a rub ber band tightly around Its wrist area. Such a makeshift "soother' works fine for emergencies!

Safe Cow Tether

Should your cow or goat have a tendency to injure its legs on the stake to which you've tethered it (this often happens when repeated pounding has caused the peg to become " mushroomed "-and thus jagged-edged-on the top), merely invert a bucket over the offending "spike", and your animal will be safe.

Tin Can Flowerpot

Don't discard those empty tin cans. Paint 'em with some enamel, let 'em dry, then add a layer of putty to their outsides. Work rough designs into the soft material with your hands. After the "sculpture" has dried, paint it. You'll end up with an attractive, unique flowerpot.

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