July 27, 2009

Baking Soda, Not Just For Baking

Most of us know about putting a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to deodorize it and sprinkling it in the carpet eliminates pet smells.

Did you know you can also clean your silver with it? Moisture in the air causes silver to tarnish, the more humidity the faster this process. Silver loves to be handled, the oils in our skin keeps it from turning that yucky dark color that over time will deteriorate your pieces like rust.

Silver does not like rubber so do not wear rubber gloves to polish your silver. Either do it barehanded or while wearing cotton. Other enemies of this metal are salt, vinegar, fruit juices and eggs.

If you put flowers in a silver vase make sure to put a glass or plastic liner in first because as the flowers start to decay they will damage your silver.

Now that you know what to keep away from your silver, here’s how to clean it. You will need aluminum foil, baking soda, boiling water and salt. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a sink (I don’t advice doing this in a stainless steel sink), add enough boiling water to cover pieces, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt. Add silver pieces, making sure the water covers the pieces. Remove silver, rinse, dry, and buff with a soft cloth. This method cleans the design and crevices. Great for etched ware you have a hard time cleaning.

You can use this method for jewelry too. You won’t need a full sink full unless you have let your entire collection go bad. A glass bowl or baking dish works great for this.

If you have a small piece that needs cleaning, you can make a paste of baking soda and water, rub the piece down, rinse and dry. It should be clean and shiny.

For sinks and counter tops that shouldn’t be cleaned with scouring powder you can use baking soda the same way. I don’t even buy Comet anymore. I took an empty clean Parmesan cheese container and keep baking soda in it for cleaning. You can use it on your dishes too.

If you have a grease fire on the stove sprinkle baking soda on the fire to put it out. Pouring water on it is a bad idea. It kind of explodes.

Ran out of toothpaste? Sprinkle some baking soda on your toothbrush bristles and brush as usual. It’s a bit salty tasting but not bad.

It also works as a deodorant. Just rub a little under your arms, like you would powder and you will be good to go. The active ingredient in most deodorants is bicarbonate.

You know that bubbly stuff you drink for heartburn and indigestion? Alka Seltzer I believe it is called. The active ingredient is, you guessed it, baking soda. Add half a teaspoon to half a glass of water and drink.

So what do you use baking soda for?

Can't Find A Proper Name

Is it just me or do you have trouble finding good resources online for us regular folks? I mean if I walked around with a puzzled confused look on my face and thought it was a great idea to name my daughter Apple or my son Tarragon I might look for names online. Of course maybe they just got their baby name list and grocery needs mixed up and that is how that happened, I’m not quite sure. But if I am looking for names for a particular character in a story I’m writing and he is a middle age guy who doesn’t sound like a Rabi or Priest even though he might have a penchant for giving advise. Again I am thinking these pregnant ladies have gotten their lists confused.

Where does one look?

Luckily, I have some very old name books from the old days when people named their kids regular ol’ names instead of sitting under a tree waiting for a piece of fruit to give them inspiration. Yes, I know how old fashioned it is to actually turn pages in a book for knowledge but what is a person to do when most everything on line seems geared to the younger generation some of which have obviously taken leave of their senses?

If I were writing a fantasy novel it would be no problem because there are tons of fantastical sounding names that are in my opinion out of this world. Some people go to cemeteries for inspiration but that seems so depressing to me. You could recall names of some of your relatives but my family were kind of creative at times and I am pretty sure some of those names were made up. Perhaps that is a trend that goes in cycles every few decades or so. They tire of the plain ol’ Tom, Dick and Harry and decide on Justice, Peace and Tranquility. While those are fine attributes to strive for I don’t think they are a good choice for junior.

The reason for my dilemma is that I had a dream for a good novel and have decided to do NaNo again this year. Maybe this time I can actually finish. I realize I can’t start now but need to write up a synopsis while it is still fresh in my mind. I wanted to go ahead and give my characters names just so I can tell them apart even though it may change later. I’m kind of fickle that way. The first year I was successful but last year I became stuck and after starting two different story ideas, neither time did I come close to the required word count.

Monday morning I woke at four a.m. with this idea and could not go back to sleep. If it keeps me awake maybe it will do the same for a reader. One can only hope.