Epsom salt can be used to remove splinters. Soak the affected area in warm water and Epsom salt. The salt will help draw out the splinter so it's easier to remove. This is especially helpful for kids who get small splinters at the playground from mulch or equipment.
The first two reader tips share more ways to use Epsom salt:
Help itchy skin: I've kept dry, itchy skin at bay all winter by using Epsom salt in my bath at least twice a week. I buy it at Costco, and it has made a huge difference in my skin! Usually I am flaking and itching all winter, especially on my legs. It's also wonderful if you are tired and have sore muscles. -- S.B., email
Combine 1 cup of Suave shampoo (whichever variety smells best to you), 1/2 cup water and 3 tablespoons Epsom salt. Whisk until it's kind of frothy. Pour into a recycled liquid soap container and you have body wash at a fraction of the cost! -- Tracy, New York
Add fruit to gelatin: I put fruit in my flavored gelatin -- bananas, fruit cocktail or peaches in red, canned mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple in orange. -- F.R., Alabama
Microwave Fruit Crisp:
6 to 8 medium-sized apples, peaches or pears
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water
Peel and thinly slice fruit. Combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and water in large bowl, then add sliced fruit. Spoon into 8-inch square glass (microwavable) dish.
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup oats
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Melt margarine in small bowl. Combine with oats, brown sugar and margarine. Top fruit mixture.
Microwave topped mixture uncovered 6 minutes. Turn and cook 4 minutes more. Serves 4.
NOTES: I usually double the topping, since it's so delicious and seems a bit scant for my liking. -- Min, email
Make grapevine wreaths:
Grapevine wreaths are available in varying sizes at most craft stores, but you can make your own if you have access to a grapevine. Cut the vines from the plant as soon as the grapes have been picked and/or before first frost. Cut long lengths so you can wrap long, continuous coils. Snip off remaining leaves. You can leave the little curlicues on for a nice effect on finished wreaths. If vines dry out and crack or break while wrapping, soak in water overnight. If you won't be able to wrap them right after cutting, coil them into a laundry basket, bucket or large tub. Then if soaking is needed, you can pour water right into the tub, and the vines will already have a coiled shape.
Begin your coil with the thickest end of one vine. Coil it into a circle a little smaller than you want your finished wreath to be. Use a short piece of wire to tie the first coil securely while you continue wrapping. Wrap one entire length, twining the vine in and out around itself. Begin wrapping the next vine in a different spot and wrap in and out in the opposite direction. Keep adding vines until the wreath is as thick as you want it.
If needed, tie a short length of wire around the wreath at intervals to secure vines together. I like to wrap my vines fairly loosely. This leaves me room to weave ribbons in and out of the vines easily, which adds a nice dimensional effect. I use wild grape vines to make my wreaths. -- Peterson, Pennsylvania
(Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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