Vintage Life Hack #3: How to Cut New Bread into Thin Slices

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Eat to Live Tip: Relieve Tension

If you’re feeling tense, grab a carrot, a stick of celery, a bell pepper, popcorn, an apple, pear or peach, and bite in!  Let the tension go as you munch on crunchy healthy snacks, and improve your health two ways at once.

Crunchy Snacks & Tension

Life Hack: Onion & Garlic Odours

When chopping onions and garlic, your skin can easily pick up their aroma; sometimes it’s not a bad thing, but it can be overwhelming, or even unwanted when you’ve moved on to preparing dessert!

To get rid of the odour without paying money for those little steel “soaps” marketed for the purpose, try the following trick:  Wash or rinse your hands, then rub them along your kitchen sink’s stainless steel faucet (water tap); rinse again, and smell your hands (before and after).  You’ll notice a huge difference!  If a residual odour remains, rub them once more and rinse.  It works every time, and requires no special soap or gadget.

No Soap.jpg

DIY Sugru – Mouldable Rubber

I stumbled across the term Sugru (aka Oogoo, or Formerol) less than a fortnight ago, and will never look back!  It’s being called the “21st century Duct Tape”, and can be used for just about every conceivable fix-it job around the house.

I ordered some online, but the packages are far too small to be economical for larger needs; so I found a recipe to make my own.  This recipe has variations all over cyberspace, but I’ll give you the result-recipe I tried.  I used it to make a drain cover for one of our showers that was custom-built and thus has an odd size of everything and standard drain covers don’t fit; I took a piece of non-metal screen material and sugru’d the edging.  With the extra bits I made new rubber feet for a heavy glass cheese tray (this is Switzerland, after all), and a few caps for sharp tools in the crafts room (as well as a cap for the opened silicon cartridge).  I think I’ve found my new favourite household elf!

This recipe will give you white Sugru; for coloured, just add a couple drops of food colouring or acrylic paint.  Below is a colour chart for food colouring mixtures to give you an idea of ratios.

DIY Sugrusilicone-sealant-in-a-caulk-gun

What you’ll need:

pure Silicon caulk (found in most DIY stores) (see image)

caulking gun (see image)

corn starch / corn flour (here in CH, I used Maizena)

a plastic cup and plastic spoon or stirring stick

a bit of water

Mix the silicon and corn starch 50/50 in the plastic cup, stirring thoroughly with the plastic spoon (word to the wise:  DON’T use your hands until it’s formed a pliable ball, or you’ll be picking silicon off your fingers for days – trust me on this!).  Once it’s formed a ball, dust your hands generously with corn starch and knead the ball a minute or two to cure it.  Then use it for whatever you need.   Add a drop or two of water if needed, to smooth the mixture.

It will take 24 hours to harden before using the repaired or created object, so set aside your project once it’s done to your satisfaction.

For ideas on how it can be used, just do a Google image or YouTube search for terms like “Sugru hacks”, “Sugru repairs”, or “Sugru craft ideas”.

Food Colour Chart

DIY Dry Shampoo

Let’s face it:  All of us face those days when we simply don’t have time to wash our hair and get it dried in time to head out the door.  A shower is one thing, but long, thick hair?  That takes a bit longer.  Or maybe your hair just needs a bit of a freshener-upper; washing the hair too often strips it of its natural oils, and can lead to dry, dull hair.  The water where we live is fairly mineral-rich; my skin and hair are both much drier since moving here, so I try to wash my hair as infrequently as possible.  On more than one occasion, I’ve been glad for the help of a dry shampoo.  It removes excess oils from the hair while avoiding the harsh stripping that hot, soapy water can cause.  Instead of buying an expensive aerosol product that damages the environment in more ways than one, make a dry shampoo yourself with two simple ingredients!

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

DRY SHAMPOO

empty baby powder or spice container, or simply a glass jar

1 C. ground oatmeal flour (you can use cornstarch, or cocoa powder for dark hair, etc.) *
1 C. baking soda
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl thoroughly and then transfer to a clean, empty container.

When you need to skip a wash, just sprinkle the dry shampoo at your roots (either through the spice container’s lid, or apply with a large makeup brush if you have it in an open-top container); rub it out, as if you would rub your scalp to get beach sand out of your hair.  Brush your hair to get the remaining “dust” out, and then style your hair as you normally would.

You can mix any amount together, even parts, to suit your needs.   You could also add a dash of cinnamon or a drop of essential oil for a pleasant aroma, but neither are necessary.

*I would NOT recommend wheat flour as a substitute, as it tends to cake; you’d probably have a lot of hassle getting it all out!

Quick & Easy Homemade Cough & Throat Medicine

Apple Cider Vinegar 1 Honey Benefits

It’s that time of year again in the northern hemisphere – winter.  And with it comes colds, flus, and sore throats.  Besides being an author / editor / translator, I’m a vocal coach, and so I deal with more than a fair share of throat issues.  I have a number of tips and tricks for healing throats quickly, but one of the best medicines I know of is what I share with you here; we’ve used this for a few years now, and I’ll never go back to chemically-produced, expensive products!

Homemade Cough & Throat Medicine

1 part apple cider vinegar (make sure to use the unfiltered kind, with the ‘mother’ – it should be cloudy, not clear)

1 part honey (I use acacia honey for a neutral taste)

A bottle (I use an old Vick’s Nyquil bottle, relabelled!)

That’s it!  If you want to add a bit of filtered water, you can, but it’s better straight-up.  Adjust the amount of honey for your own use, but try to keep the proportions fairly even.  Store in a bottle, shake well before using, and drink as much as needed; I keep a small plastic cup with the bottle for each person in the household.  I good swig of it every few hours alleviates the soreness, dryness and scratchy throat feeling; the great thing about this all-natural product is that you can take it as often as needed, with no limits to dosages per day.  Start off with a tablespoon three times a day, and adjust as warranted by your situation.