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Need a thimble in a pinch?

Comment: I misplaced my thimble the other day, and when I had an emergency mending job, I didn't have time to look for it.

I remembered seeing an extra toothpaste cap in the cabinet, so I washed it, tried it and it worked.

My daughter liked it too, because the big lip on the cap held the needle. _ Jill Thomas, San Antonio, Texas.

Wading in the sand

Comment: Recently a neighbor was discarding a small wading pool. It was cracked and wouldn't hold water.

I took it and used waterproof tape inside and out to seal the crack, then added two bags of sand. My children, Samantha and Adam, got a very inexpensive sandbox. They are entertained for hours and there's one less piece of plastic in the landfill.

Also, an old shower curtain held with four clip clothespins are the cover to keep out the rain. _ Mrs. Sherri L. Stanton, Old Forge, Pa.

Steam oven stains

Comment: Every once in a while I find that the family has used the microwave, leaving spatterings which have become dried and hard.

To clean the microwave, I boil some water in a microwave-safe cup for a couple minutes on low to produce some steam. This softens the spatterings, which I then wipe right off. _ Karen Mendenhall, Falcon, Colo.

Reply: Caution! The water is very hot, so use care when removing the cup from the oven. Also, don't place your face close to the oven; the escaping steam will be very hot as well. _ Heloise

From vinegar to vase

Comment: I grow lots of flowers, and I like to share them when I visit shut-ins.

I save my empty salad-dressing bottles to use as vases, and they serve quite acceptably. They do not have to be returned, and particularly when I visit a patient in a nursing home, the attendant does not have to hunt up a container. _ Carolyn Andrews, Statesville, N.C.

Scarf pin

Comment: I wear scarfs frequently and am always on the lookout for a pin or scarf slide to wear with them. Recently I discovered a whole new source: hair barrettes. Not all barrettes are usable, but a lot of the newer ones that are large and designed to clip all of one's hair together at the back of the neck are perfect. _ Judith Ellis, Fairfield, Ohio

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279 or fax it to 512-HELOISE.

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