HOM BRIEFS Paint drips

Got a little sloppy and dripped paint on an antique brass light fixture.? Try oil.

Oil will soften anything, given time. Paint the spills with any kind of oil, even vegetable oil. Let the oil sit there for 15 minutes, then wipe off with a rough cloth. Repeat as necessary.

Do not use steel wool; rubbing with steel wool may take off the antique brass finish, which is simply tarnished brass, revealing shiny, bright brass.

Outdoor living trends

If new patio furniture is in your future, the American Furniture Manufacturers Association offers these trends in outdoor living.


Big is in. Dining groups are designed for seating a crowd. Tables can comfortably accommodate a dozen or so people. Many dining chairs are wider with higher back for more comfort.

Conversation groups. These seating groups -- higher than a cocktail table but lower than a dining table -- are called chat groups. Ideal for casual lifestyle, these groups are perfect for serving beverage and hors d'oeuvres, playing cards or just talking.

Elevated dining groups. In contrast, high seats and tables designed so that you can look over deck railings are also in. Elevated bars with bar stools are also popular.

Alternative tabletops. Traditional glass is being replaced with tumbled marble, mosaics, tile, stone, granite, slate and punched metal.

Earth tones. Colors of nature are popular this year. Look for shades of brown, bronze and rust on both frames and covers. Black and silver are also making a fashion statement, especially black with teak.

Lawn mower recall

Some 270,000 riding lawn tractors are recalled because the fuel tank can crack and leak fuel, posing a burn and fire hazard.

Murray Inc., of Brentwood, Tenn., has received 101 reports of fuel tanks leaking, but no injuries have been reported, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said recently. The recalled lawn tractors were sold under the Murray and Stanley brand names and have 38-, 40-, 42-, 46- and 52-inch cutting decks. Retail and hardware stores, including Wal-Mart and Home Depot, sold the lawn tractors nationwide from November 2000 to January 2003 for between $800 and $1,500.


The government urged consumers to stop using the lawn tractors immediately and contact the nearest Murray service dealer for a free replacement fuel tank. For more information, consumers can contact the company at 1-800-876-1634. On the Net: Consumer Product Safety Commission: or Murray Inc:

Plastic bag recycling

If you have been hauling around plastic bags looking for a place to recycle them, try Paws and Claws or Wal-Mart. It used to be that finding a plastic bag recycling bin was easy, not so anymore. Wal-Mart reportedly has drop off container and you can bring your bags to Paws and Claws at 602 7th St. NW. Oh, Paws and Claws would also like donations of dog treats, paper towels, laundry soap, used bath towels and blankets.

If you have a spot to dispose of plastic bags, send them along and we'll share with other readers. E-mail or Home, Box 6118, Rochester MN 55903

Removing labels

Today many fabric products come with sticky labels that describe what they are and how much they cost. They are supposed to peel off easily, but, instead, often tear, separate, rip and shred, leaving a gooey mess that is irksome to remove.

First heat the label with a hair dryer; feel inside until a little warmth comes through, then peel the label back slowly. It should come off cleanly. If there's any residue left on the fabric, heat it again and dab it with the sticky side of the removed label. It will pick up the residual goo.

Wish this worked as well with labels on metal objects like kitchen utensils and shelf hangars.

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