Rain chains have been around for years and are an alternative to standard downspouts. Traditionally, they are a series of copper cups hung on a chain from your gutter. Water drains down into the cups and is dispersed, making a neat noise during the process. Well, you can make your own from tin cans. Just drill a hole through the bottom of each can and place them along a length of chain. You can paint them or drill decorative holes into them. Attach the chain to the gutter in place of a plain downspout.


Q: The GFCI outlet in our kitchen seems to get tripped a couple of times a week, even when there’s nobody in the room. What should we look for or do to fix it? – J.K.

A: It could just be a bad outlet or breaker. But don’t assume so. Have an electrician take a closer look at it and make the repairs. You wouldn’t want it to stop working in an emergency, especially in a kitchen.

Circuits with GFCIs should be tested once a month and replaced if they don’t function properly. They offer a great safety feature for homeowners.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: I love my humidifier, especially during the long winters. The only problem that I’ve ever really had with it is the buildup of mineral deposits inside the water bowl. I’ve tried cleaning it and this worked but was very time-consuming. Last week I found a plastic bag that fits perfectly inside the unit as a liner. So far, so good. I plan to change this out once a week, but I can see that I won’t have to be cleaning it anymore. Hooray! – N.T.


Dear Al: We love your idea for using chalkboard paint on walls and doors, and did it in our son’s room years ago. Well, now I’ve done it to our refrigerator. The whole appliance was black, so we just painted the chalkboard paint on the front doors. It’s so neat. We leave notes on it all the time, and the kid’s love to draw designs on it. It can be different every day if we want. It worked well, even on the fingerprint-resistant surface. – E.A.


Dear Kelly: Last weekend I made waffles for the family. My waffle iron is great, but was getting a little wobbly and I was sort of afraid it might fall or spill. Luckily it didn’t, but afterward when I was cleaning it, I noticed that one of the rubber pads under the legs was missing. I have no idea what happened to it, but I found some at my hardware store so I replaced it. That sure was a simple fix! – S.B.


Dear Carrells: We had a large, empty space over our kitchen cabinets like a lot of people do. We talked about starting a collection of something to put up there or put some fake plants and/or baskets in the space. We finally decided to store all of our serving dishes and platters up there. Some are put on easels to show them off better.

We did put some small fake plants up there, just to accent the plates. We think it looks pretty neat and have gotten some great “likes” from our friends and family. – J. & T.K.


Is your bathroom in need of some custom decor? Stopper Toppers by Bathroom Bling are an innovative product that we found recently. These are simple, peel and stick covers for the stopper in your sink. They come in tons of colors and designs. They are super easy to install and are fairly inexpensive. Take a look at what they have, and imagine how you might use it in your home. Go to

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