Readers’ Questions

Go Gingham QuestionI’m calling this round of questions, “Kirsten’s Questions”, because all of these questions come from my friend, Kirsten Hope.  Kirsten and I met when our daughters were in the same kindergarten class, several years ago.  Kirsten and I both launched WordPress websites this year and have collaborated on our WordPress babies sites for the last 6 months.  We have a group called “WordPress Buddies” (WPB) and have spent a morning once a week, together.  There are other members of this WPB group, but Kirsten has asked me the most questions.  She’s really good at asking questions and asking my opinion, which I love.  Here are a few that were appropriate to share with you, dear reader.

My kids were doing the laundry and spilled bleach on a load of black clothes.  What should we do?

Answer:  First off, good job having your kids do the laundry!  Now, try dying your clothes black.  Don’t just get rid of the clothes.  You may be able to salvage them.  Fabric Depot has lots of different dye products.  Also, instead of using bleach, try using Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing to whiten your whites.  Liquid bluing comes in a blue plastic bottle, and is located on the laundry aisle.  Follow the instructions.  It’s easy.  Another product to substitute for bleach is 20 Mule Team Borax. This is in the detergent aisle as well.  Borax is a laundry booster and can be used to pre-soak soiled items, like berry stained towels.

You’ve inspired me to soak and cook black beans in my crock pot.  I cooked them but my beans don’t taste like the ones that come in a can.  What can I do to make them taste better?

Answer:  First of all, good job on the soaking and cooking your beans!  Canned beans have lots of salt and other ingredients that you don’t need, including BPA in the lining of the can – I’ll pass on that!.  If you’re adding the beans to burritos, try adding garlic, onion, cilantro, and/or chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Also, Mexican oregano is a spice I love to add to black beans.  It can be found on the Hispanic foods aisle, in the spice section.  Cumin is another spice to try in your beans.  Also, any salsa that is opened in my refrigerator goes into my black beans.  This is a good way to use up the last bits of salsa, too.

My daughter is thinking about buying used leather sandals that have water stains on them.  How can we get the stains out?

Answer:  Don’t try to get the stains out.  Use a leather conditioner and rub it into the sandals.  All of the leather will darken a bit and blend in and voila – no more stains!  Leather and other “skins” need to be conditioned and moisturized, just like our skin.  Conditioning leather is easy.  Rub conditioner into leather and then buff.  Make sure you do a test area if you’re concerned about the leather darkening too much.

By the way, Kirsten’s daughter did do this and her sandals turned out quite nicely.  Now we just need some warmer weather for the sandals to make their debut!

Do you have a question you’d like me to answer? Do you have something you’d like to share? Check the ask + share page here. Thanks!

You’ll find all of the readers’ questions by clicking HERE and the answers are there, too.

7 thoughts on “Readers’ Questions

  1. Thanks for answering my questions all in one place Sara! We’ve been using the black beans I made. Although my first batch was a little bland I just threw some salt in with the cooked beans when I froze them. This helped quite a bit.

    Now, how to I get the gross smell out of my car from the spilled milk from two years ago?


    1. Kirsten, I’m not a miracle worker with car smells but, I would suggest a little paste of baking soda and white vinegar. Both of those working together on the smelly spot may do the trick. Use an old tooth brush to really rub your mixture in so that it gets to the root of the smell. Wipe down with a wet rag after. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out.


  2. Sara – these are great! I’m hoping to encourage reader added questions, too. You’ve done a great job here! I especially love the tips about beans. I need to eat more of them and only buy them in bulk to save money, use less waste and because cans are lined with BPA.

    @Kristen: Baking powder and vinegar work wonders so Sara is right on how to help get rid of the scent. If you’re looking for a good way to help keep your car smelling good, without buying those “vintage Christmas trees” (which are also toxic), try putting an old wash rag or old t-shirt with a few drops of essential oil under your car seat. Tea tree oil, lavender, lemon or peppermint all work well (or a combination of all). They have antibacterial properties, too.


    1. Lane’
      I tire the washcloth trick a while back but apparently my car stench was too much for any sort of hiding games. I ended up soaking cotton balls with essential oils and putting them in the main car vents. It’s still smells like dirty socks when I get in the car but as soon as the heat is on it smells like a bouqet of flowers.


    2. Thanks for your suggestions, Lane. These are excellent. I’m not allowed to use essential oils here. I over did one time and my family hasn’t forgotten yet!


      1. Oh no! I use them all the time since I don’t use any store bought perfumes (they’re not natural and full of toxins). I’ve had a similar problem in the bedroom with a small container of lavender essential oil. I have to make sure it’s only on my side of the bed because my FH doesn’t particularly care for the (constant) smell.


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