Organizing Shoes, Disposable Brushes, and Other Country Lore

This installment of an ongoing country lore series features contributions from a New York woman who found a way of organizing shoes and an Indiana man who makes disposable brushes.

| September/October 1984

  • country lore - organizing shoes
    Organizing shoes is no longer a problem at the Porter home in Margaretville, New York.
    Illustration by Jack Vaughn
  • country lore - picking berries
    Here's the method of holding a drink cup with fold-out handles for berry picking.
  • country lore - furniture scratch remover
    You can use walnuts at furniture scratch removers.
  • country lore - pecking order
    You don't necessarily need a suit of armor to protect the chicken at the bottom of the pecking order.
    Jack Vaughn
  • country lore - disposable brushes
    Method of making a disposable brush.

  • country lore - organizing shoes
  • country lore - picking berries
  • country lore - furniture scratch remover
  • country lore - pecking order
  • country lore - disposable brushes

The following housekeeping tips and other bits of country lore were submitted by readers.

Organizing Shoes

Becky Porter of Margaretville, New York, has a helpful hint for families with lots of little feet pitter-pattering around the house. "If your children are like mine were," Becky writes, "they scatter their shoes all over the house and never seem to leave a matching pair anywhere. Here's the solution: With your kids helping you, cut 'footprints,' for every piece of footwear in the house, from colorful adhesive-backed paper. Arrange the cutouts neatly on the closet floor, and your children will actually en joy putting each shoe in its place."

Disposable Brushes for Touch-Up

"Who likes to clean a paintbrush? Especially after one of those small and frequent touch-up jobs where you spend two minutes painting and ten minutes cleaning your brush afterward." writes, sculptor Hermann Gurfinkel of Valparaiso, Indiana. Hermann goes on to say that it's hard these days to find a small brush that's inexpensive enough to toss out, rather than clean, after a minor job. Here's how he solved the problem:

"I use pieces of old rope for 'one-shot' paintbrushes by unraveling the ends and wrapping string around the point where I want the 'brush fibers' to stop. Different diameters of rope, unraveled to different lengths, can provide the correct size brush for just about any small job. No expense, no cleanup!"

Cabinetmaking Tip

"Blunting the points of nails is an old trick used by cabinetmakers to keep from splitting fine woods. But it's slow. After building for 15 years, I've found a faster way to achieve the same results." That intriguing opener was sent in by Doug Murphy of Pleasant View, Colorado. Doug informs us that "nail points are sharpened at the factory by pressure cutting. This leaves the points with four angled edges—two are smooth, while the other two are sharp and jagged.

"To keep from splitting any fine woods you're working with, simply rotate the nail between your thumb and forefinger during the normal motion of placement so that the two jagged, sharp edges are facing across the grain. This way, the nail will cut through the wood, rather than prying the grain apart. Since there are no unnecessary motions or lost time, it's become a totally subconscious operation for me."

Natural Furniture Scratch-Remover

Lester Westlund of St. James, Minnesota, wants to share his discovery for covering scratches on dark furniture. Lester advises, "Using a partially green walnut husk, simply rub the scratch until you're satisfied with the darkening effect. Now apply furniture polish to the entire piece, and the scratch will be gone." (Lester also suggests wearing rubber gloves to avoid staining your fingers with the walnut dye.)

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