Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Three Cool Things, November 6, 2013

I am really excited about this week's 3 cool things. 

1- First up is something that everybody knows about but not everybody uses. Basic white vinegar. 

Whenever you go to the internet for the solution to a problem, the answer is vinegar.

Soap scum? Vinegar!
Athlete's Foot? Vinegar!
Cat pee smell? Vinegar!
Clothes not coming clean enough? Vinegar!
Hard water? Vinegar!
Organic Carpet Cleaner? Vinegar!

It really is the wonder potion. I don't use it for everything I've ever seen it listed for. It wasn't terribly effective on my son's Athlete's Foot. It did not work well as a carpet cleaner. Though it's inexpensive enough that I figured it was worth a try. It was also not a good weed killer, though we do have particularly persistent desert weeds out here in Utah.

However, vinegar is keeping my dishwasher working and not tossed out into the street. We add a generous amount (probably about 1/2-3/4 cup-- we don't measure) to the bottom of the machine with every load. It keeps our glasses shiny and is good for the washer in our hard water area. 

I also add it to some laundry loads. We have an old, moody cat. Once in a while, she pees on a shirt left on the floor next to a hamper. Tossed in the washer with some soap and vinegar, it comes out with no residual nasty smell. Same goes for other stinky clothes. Vinegar is very good at removing odors. Also, my washer is old and sometimes leaves what look like oil spots on my shirts. My nice work shirts. I started washing them in cold water with a generous serving of vinegar in the load and most of the time they come out spot free!

There are many sources of vinegar uses (besides cooking). Click here for a good, long list from Reader's Digest for your perusal. You might be surprised at what vinegar can do! Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite vinegar trick!

2- Novelist Plus
The librarian's best kept secret is now available for free to anyone in Utah (and likely anyone else, too!) Through the Utah State Library, anyone can access this great resource. If you've never hard of it, let me introduce you. 

Novelist is an enormous database of book titles, that many libraries pay a subscription fee to use and provide for their users. It includes both fiction and non fiction, and it's very extensive. While I do love Goodreads, Novelist has features not available on Goodreads. For example, you can look up a favorite book, click on its title, and the database will generate a short list of read-alikes for you to peruse. It pops up on the right side of the screen and is printable, and each title is clickable. 

On a book's page, you will find a synopsis, links for various other things including the genre it belongs to, the author's name, etc. There are tabs for even more cool stuff about the book, such as the list of all the titles in a series, in order.

I realize not everyone is as big a book geek as I am, but I hope you will check Novelist out. I especially enjoy the read-alikes when shopping for books for my children.  I use it all the time at work as a librarian, but even in my normal life it's a great resource, and now it's FREE! Check it out.

Here's how to get to Novelist:
  1. Go to
  2. Click on Novelist Plus & Novelist K-8 Plus from the list
  3. Click on which database you want to explore
  4. Enjoy!

3- Pinterest
I know, most of you already know about Pinterest. I just wanted to give a shout out to my favorite online bulletin board, in large part because lately I've been getting a lot of blog traffic from Pinterest pinners. So, ladies and gents, thank you. Thanks for looking, reading, following, commenting and for checking things out here and on my other blog, Film Critic's Daughter.

If you happen to not know what Pinterest is, it's a site that you really have to just jump in and start using. I have a board for recipes, which I go back to weekly when making dinner. I love having so many useful websites "pinned" that I can go back to anytime. I also have a lot of useless nonsense pinned, as does every user, but I really enjoy browsing there and finding things to smile at, to set aside for later, to dream about and to actually do. If you're not there yet, go see what you think. 


Chris said...

You may not remember but your two oldest brothers gave Joyce a book as a gag gift for her birthday some years ago: "Vinegar: 1001 Practical Uses." She still has the book and has used many of its suggestions. The gag gift that turned out to be one of the most useful she's ever received. Go figure.

Steph said...

I remember, and I'm not at all surprised. :)