Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Care for your Bumbershoot

By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning Crystal Chandelier

Dear Reena,

I lost the recipe and method you recommend for cleaning a crystal chandelier. Thank you for your anticipated response. Loretta

Dear Loretta,

Here is a solution to clean a chandelier without scrubbing or polishing each piece. Begin by covering the floor with newspaper or hang an open umbrella under the chandelier. Into an empty spray bottle combine: 1 tsp. (5 mL) rubbing alcohol, 4 cups (1 L) hot water and 2 tbsp. (30 mL) dishwasher anti-spot agent i.e. Jet Dry. While the chandelier is off; spray the unit, and let the liquid drip dry onto the umbrella or newspaper. Recycle the newspaper, or rinse the umbrella in the bathtub.

Water Temperature for Perking Coffee

Dear Reena,

Can you tell me why you use cold water when perking coffee? Is it alright to use warm/hot water? I was always taught that cold water should be used; is that correct? Lisa

Dear Lisa,

Water has the greatest impact on coffee flavor. Always start with cool water. Avoid distilled water; as it lacks minerals that give coffee flavor.

Feedback from Wise Contributors

Re: Soggy Pie Crust

Dear Reena,

When I bake a pie, I always start at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, on the lower shelf of oven. Then, I reduce the temperature to 350 degrees until the pie is golden and bubbly. It works every time, no soggy crust. Have a great week, Pauline

Re: Mascarpone Cheese

Dear Reena,

I was reading the tip about cream cheese in your column, and I have a tip about Mascarpone Cheese. It is quite expensive, and for some of my recipes, I only need one quarter cup or half cup etc. Therefore, I freeze it and when I need it, I take the container out earlier and put it in the refrigerator to thaw. I stir it well, use what I need and return it to the freezer. When it comes on sale, I buy a few containers and freeze them so that I always have some on hand. Pauline

Re: Sharpie Markers Dry Out

Dear Reena,

I was a trainer for many years and used markers daily. My tip is- when you buy a marker, always store it with the tip down and you won’t have the problem of the marker running dry. Ruth

Re: Keeping Brown Sugar Soft

I read your article about hardened brown sugar. I have used all the suggestions you gave, but found one that works best of all. I put two large marshmallows in with the sugar, and it is always soft. Maureen

Tips for Your Bumbershoot

Does anybody remember Dick Van Dyke in the film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ using the word bumbershoot to describe an umbrella? Here are a few tips to prepare you for the rainy season.

  • Position a deep vase or basket at a corner of the entrance for umbrellas. Place a sponge at the bottom to soak up excess water.

  • Instead of throwing out a broken umbrella, remove the fabric and hang the umbrella upside down on a rope or tree branch to hold wet clothes.

  • Faded canvas patio umbrellas can be rejuvenated with 2 coats of latex exterior paint. Latex paint has a certain amount of elasticity and can expand with the fabric.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

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