Frugal living: Clean a cloudy vase

Dear Sara: I have a small vase that has become cloudy after having water in it. Do you have a remedy for this? I know that you can purchase CLR, but I do not need that much. Thank you. — Carol, Florida

Dear Carol: You can add dry rice and vinegar and water or a squirt of dishwashing liquid and water and swish the rice around the vase. You can use a baby bottle brush, too. Sometimes, a quick wipe with nail polish remover works. Afterward, wash the vase thoroughly with dish soap and water. You can use a toothbrush and scrub the vase with white toothpaste and rinse. Try a denture tablet such as Efferdent with water, and let the vase soak or rub petroleum jelly inside it and leave it for a few days. Then wash it as usual. Hopefully, one of the above methods will work. But it’s possible the vase is permanently etched.

Dear Sara: I need gift ideas for 20 ladies. At the end of the year (usually early December), before we break for the holiday, my dance class has a little party where we eat a lot of food at a potluck, listen to music, dance a little and exchange small gifts. The gifts are in no way obligatory, but I like to give them and have to buy in quantity. In the past I have given homemade bath salts, small silver pendants, bracelets, and last year I gave earrings. I got them wholesale for about $1 a pair and they were pretty nice. Some of the other girls gave candles, incense and jewelry. I’m looking for new ideas for nice, small gifts that I can buy 20 or 30 at a time without shelling out too much. My budget is about $1.50 per person, a total of about $30. I’ve looked at eBay and have not come up with much. Prices have gone up, of course! I appreciate any suggestions. — C.H., Missouri

Dear C.H.: Dollar stores, Target and Michaels all have dollar items. Check Oriental Trading Company, too; it has candy sticks that would be nice bundled as a gift. You can make custom wrappers for candy bars. Create your own by using the retail wrapper as a template or visit for felt wrappers or visit for free printable wrappers.

• Noel is the owner of Frugal Village ( Send tips to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or e-mail


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