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I’m so clever


Chalkboard paint converts wall into calendar

I'm So Clever
What a smart stocking stuffer! More than 450 thrifty tips from readers are compiled in our 'I'm So Clever' book that is on sale now.

I'm So Clever
I'm So Clever is compiled by Observer assistant features editor Roland Wilkerson. Send your tip, name, address and phone by email or mail to Home Section, Charlotte Observer, P.O Box 30308, Charlotte, N.C. 28230.

The winner: My daily planner wasn’t big enough to hold all of my daily info. So I created an oversized wall calendar made of chalkboard paint! I used a yardstick to create a calendar outlay on the section to be used, creating the squares for each day. I thought it would be easier to distinguish between each day by using white paint to lighten the black paint for alternating squares. I used four different, lighter shades on my calendar. It is beautiful and functional and the kids love to draw on it after I wipe it clean. I used the leftover black chalkboard paint on a few kitchen cabinet doors, which were already black, to write grocery lists, etc. Melissa Wilson, Lincolnton

Easy way to re-thread that drawstring

If you’ve ever had a drawstring come out of a hooded sweatshirt, you know what a pain it can be trying to put it back into place. Take a plastic drinking straw and slit it end-to-end with scissors. Place a section of drawstring into the straw. You can leave the knot(s) sticking out of the ends of the straw if need be. Poke one end of the straw into one hole of the drawstring casing, and you should be able to guide the straw through until it pops out through the other hole. Rebecca Stevens, Hickory

Clarification on nuking that stamp

Editor’s note: Last week we passed along a tip that said microwaving a stamped letter would allow you to easily remove the stamp. Reader Bruce Andersen of Huntersville advised us – and cooking engineers at Electrolux in Charlotte confirm – that running a microwave without a food item inside can cause damage to the oven. So place a glass of water in the machine with that stamped envelope if you decide to give this a try.

New Prize: “I’m So Clever” book.

Send your clever tip, address and phone to or Home Section, Charlotte Observer, P.O Box 30308, Charlotte, NC 28230-0308. Each week the best idea wins an “I’m So Clever” book. You can order a copy at for just $5.99, plus shipping. Also available at Park Road Books and Blackhawk Hardware.

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