If you've ever experienced the heartbreak of shrinking your favorite pair of jeans to a length that would make them perfect to wear in a flood, you're going to be particularly fond of today's first great reader tip.
No more high-waters. While doing the laundry one day, I started thinking that if cotton shrinks, it probably stretches, too. I decided to experiment on my kids' jeans, figuring that if I could make the legs longer, we could squeak out more wear. After washing, I folded a pair of wet jeans in half lengthwise and laid them on a beach towel on the floor. I stood on the jeans and grabbed the hem of one leg. I carefully but forcefully began to pull up. I could feel the fabric stretching compared to the other leg. I flipped the pants over and did the same thing to the other leg. When I was done stretching the legs, I hung them up to dry. After they were dry, I tossed them in the dryer for a couple of minutes to take away the stiffness. Using this method, jeans come out a couple of inches longer than if I simply toss them in the dryer.
-- Sandy, Minnesota
Shaped eggs. When I'm cooking eggs for my grandkids, I pour the egg into a metal cookie cutter that I've spritzed with Pam and put on the hot frying pan. The egg cooks in the shape of the cookie cutter, and the grandkids love it.
-- Margie, New York
Baby powder for spots. Baby powder is a great clothing saver. I use it to remove oily spots from silk and cotton sweaters. I
-- Darcy, email
Cap the bowls. When I stack bowls or kitchen equipment that I rarely use, they end up getting dusty before I use them again. Now, I take a shower cap and stretch it over the top of the items. The cap keeps the dust out.
-- Christy, Oregon
Frying the beans. Like Mary, I roast my own coffee beans. But I'm not ready to invest in a coffee roaster, and I don't have an air popcorn popper. So, I roast my beans on the stove in a cast-iron frying pan (with the windows open and lots of ventilation). The coffee is delicious, and the frying pan loves it. The oils in the beans give my pan a beautiful, smooth, seasoned finish that it had never had before.
-- Rosie, Arizona
Email Mary at mary@everyday cheapskate.com or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, Calif. 90630. Include your first and last name and state.