I'm So Clever

I'm So Clever

Cheap plate stand makes great iPad holder

The winner: Instead of printing recipes I find online, I use my iPad. The problem is that I don’t want my tablet on the counter while I cook. My inexpensive fix is to use an inverted adjustable plate stand from a hardware store. Make sure to buy one that can be adjusted to many positions. I hang it on my cupboard knobs, suspending the tablet above the counter. This protects it from spills. The holders also work well in the normal position to stand a tablet on a tabletop.

I'm So Clever

Extending wheelbarrow handles works wonders

The winner: Being a little taller that the average man, I needed to improve my wheelbarrow to keep from having back problems when hauling objects around the yard or to the road. Adding a couple of pieces of plastic pipe to the handles of the wheelbarrow and bolting them securely provided a wheelbarrow that was more user-friendly. The extra length also gave more leverage for moving heavier loads. Hope this helps those who may need to move heavier objects without overly straining their backs. Ken Remley, Charlotte

I'm So Clever

Recycled candle jars make festive party lights

The winner: I recycle Yankee Candle class containers to light up our driveway for nighttime parties. After the original candle burns out, I place the cooled container in the freezer for a few hours, then pop out the spent wax. Once the container reaches room temperature I soak the container in warm water with Dawn. This makes it easy to remove all stickers and residual wax. I then place votives or recycle used pillar candles in the shiny glass container and line the path to our house.

I'm So Clever

Easy-chair basket comes in handy

The winner: I keep a basket near my recliner to hold items I may need while reading or watching TV, including pen, highlighter, pencil and sharpener, notepad, sticky notes, scissors, magnifier, and bookmarks. Patricia Covington, Charlotte

I'm So Clever

Heat restores brittle shoe polish

The winner: When I recently opened a can of shoe polish to take care of some shoes, the polish was cracked and brittle. I whipped out my heat gun (hair dryer could be used) and melted the polish right in the container. After cooling the container of polish looked brand new again and I was able to give my shoes a good shine. Ken Remley, Charlotte

I'm So Clever

Folding fitted sheets isn’t that hard

The winner: After years of annoyingly wrinkled fitted sheets, I found my solution by carefully unfolding a newly purchased sheet for an example. Begin with two corners (narrow ends, perhaps) tucking one into the other, following with the other end. Now tuck one end of corners into the other, making sure that you keep smoothing edges together to end up with a nice, four-cornered pouch. Don’t try to put all four corners together at once. Fold down one side where elastic pulls together. Continue folding.

I'm So Clever

Clever tips for surviving the holidays

When it comes to surviving the holidays, most of us need all the help we can get. So the “You’re so clever” column asked readers to send in their best ideas. And, we made a contest out of it. Here we present the winners, along with other great ideas, and a few favorites from previous years. The prizes – first place: Oneida cookware gift set valued at more than $100; second place: $50 gift card; third place: Three Clever books, which make great stocking stuffers.

I'm So Clever

Essential oil makes vacuum smell better

The winner: If you are tired of the odors coming from your vacuum cleaner bag (especially if you have pets), in between changing bags, simply put a few drops of essential oil of your choice on a cotton ball and toss the cotton ball in the vacuum cleaner bag. Now when you turn on your vacuum cleaner you’ll smell the essential oil not unwanted odors.

I'm So Clever

Toothbrush holder comes in handy for pens, too

The winner: I have found the perfect holder for pens that often get lost inside a purse. And crochet needles, too! I also keep small paint brushes and when I travel, even jewelry, which I can take with me everywhere. If the case does not close tight, wrap a piece of tape around the narrower edge.

I'm So Clever

Crib converts to a small sofa with help from a saw

The winner: When I had no more use for my baby crib, I took off one of the sides and sawed off the legs so it would be sofa height. I padded the mattress with a soft quilt and added plump pillows. I used eyelet material for the skirt. It serves many purposes: a day bed for my grandchildren and small sofa for my friends who come to my craft room to sew and knit. WASTE NOT, WANT NOT! Suzanne Gazzaway, Huntersville

I'm So Clever

Dab of hot glue will help ring fit better

The winner: If you have a ring that is too large for your finger, you can put a small dab of glue from a hot glue gun on the band and let it dry. It is easy to remove when not wanted or needed any more. It can save you a pricy trip to the jewelry story for an adjustment.

I'm So Clever

Smartphone photo app makes a great mirror

The winner: I was telling my 9-year-old granddaughter, Mary Owen, that I needed a “mirror app” for my phone so I could put on lipstick. She said, “Grandma, open your camera app and turn the lens so you can see yourself. Then you can put on your lipstick.” I learn all my technical tricks from the grandkids!

I'm So Clever

A thrifty alternative to soap refills

The winner: Don’t keep buying automatic soap dispenser refills. After you empty one out, drill a hole big enough to allow your favorite soap container spout to fit into. This makes it easy to turn the bottle upside down and squeeze the new soap into the dispenser container. Fashion a stopper with an old cork to close the hole. Never buy expensive replacements again.

I'm So Clever

Foil ball solves taco shell cracking

The winner: When heating up my hard taco shells they would close up then crack in half when I filled them. Solution: tin foil. Make a small ball of foil and place inside the shell and that will preserve a nice gap for easy filling.

I'm So Clever

PVC pipe helps with wardrobe organization

The winner: I had trouble keeping my pocket squares organized and visible. I solved the problem by cutting a piece of 1 1/2-inch diameter PVC pipe into 4-inch lengths. I sanded the edges and stacked them in my armoire. I roll the individual squares and tuck them into a pipe section.

I'm So Clever

Smart thinking leads to clever grill tray

The winner: I needed to have a tray on my grill but wanted to be able to fold away to accommodate the cover. I had a couple of old music stands that I used the bottoms as bow holders for my archery equipment, so I used the sheet music holders (top) as hinges for the tray and attached to some wood. Ken Remley, Charlotte

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Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman on Christian McCaffrey

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mpersinger@charlotteobserver.com
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