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A metal clothing hanger can be used for a lot more than just hanging a shirt or jacket. You can unwind the top part of the hanger and slide a roll of paper towels onto it. Rewind it and hang it up to keep cleanups quick and easy. The hangers made for hanging slacks are even easier to use: You can pull out the wire from one side of the cardboard tube, slide on the paper towel roll, then put the wire back into the cardboard. You also can use this method for hanging rolls of string, tape and other shop accessories.

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Q: I need some guidance. I plan to install a small, prefab pond in my backyard. Do I need to install water and electrical lines to the site first? – H.K.

A: If the pond is just a bowl of water, then you do not need to install water or power lines; you can just fill it with a garden hose. If, however, you plan to have a fountain and pump, then you will need some sort of electrical outlet. Electrical lines need to be installed according to your local codes. Check with your county or city code-enforcement office for its requirements.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: I made a nifty tool for cleaning out my household gutters. I used PVC pipe and cut and fit the pieces together to make a long-handled tool with a U-shaped end. The bottom of the “handle” is threaded, so I can attach my garden hose to it. I just turn on the hose, place the end into the gutter and blast out the leaves and other debris. I hardly ever have to climb up the ladder anymore. – H.P.

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Dear Carrells: The recessed lights on my front porch have been nice for several years. But one had burned out, and I decided to replace both of them at the same time, since it was so hard to get to. I had trouble getting my hand into the area to turn the bulb, so I made a tab from duct tape to use like a handle to unscrew the old bulb, and then put it on the new bulb to turn it back into place. It worked perfectly on both bulbs, and now I’m back in business! – S.E.

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Dear Al: My wife and I decided to jazz up our kitchen cabinets. I wanted to do it quickly and without a lot of mess, and we found some nice stamped-metal sheets at the home center. I trimmed them to fit perfectly inside the cabinet frames. I glued them in place. Man, they look fantastic, and are totally unique. – C.G.

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Dear Kelly: We bought an apartment in the city as a second home. Until we could get into it and really decorate it, we bought inexpensive tablecloths and hung these up over the windows. They were very large, and it would have cost a fortune to install drapes, especially since we would have had to change them once we decided on a permanent color scheme. The dollar-store tablecloths were only about $10 apiece, and they’re long enough to cover the extra-tall windows and give us the privacy we needed. – T.R.

A Super hint

If you suspect a gas leak, call a plumber and shut off your gas supply. One way to locate a gas leak at a joint is to spray a little dishwashing liquid and water on the area. Bubbles will appear if a leak is present. This is a great way to ensure that you have a good connection on your gas grill.

Shoptalk

We get a lot of questions about how to repair cracks in a driveway. There are great caulks for this, but some are much better than others. Slab from Sashco is a super choice. It is simple to apply, sticks well and even stretches for expansion and contraction issues. It can be used, with filler strips, to span joints up to 3 inches wide, and it’s water-based, so it’s easy to clean up, too. But the best feature is that is has a heavy texture that really looks like concrete. Check it out at www.sashco.com or at your home center or hardware store.