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A wooden shim is just a small piece of wood, thicker at one end than the other, that is used to tighten a joint in two pieces. You’ll see them used most often around doors and windows, under floors or stair treads and other areas like this. You can buy a package of wooden shims at the hardware store. If you don’t have time to get to the home center or hardware store, grab a wooden clothespin. These can be used and will work quite well.

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The most efficient way to water your garden is with a drip irrigation system. The easiest way to set one up is with a water hose that is designed just for this purpose. Most of these are made from recycled tires, so they are eco-friendly. You can customize yours by using connectors, splitters and other couplers that can easily be installed on these types of hoses. Check your garden center or hardware store for these parts. You’ll find a good variety of them that will allow you to cut your hose to the exact length you need, or split it to provide water to several areas all at once. Use water wisely, and your landscape will look super!

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Q: My wife thinks that our oven needs some work. It heats unevenly and seems to cut off too early when she’s baking. What can I do to try to fix it? – J.H.

A: It might be the thermostat. If it’s inexpensive – and most are – it can just be replaced. Also, check the door gasket to make sure it’s sealing properly. If the oven is gas, inspect the gas ports to make sure they are clean and working evenly.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: Our patio door was getting harder and harder to open and close. I decided to take a closer look at it and found that the track was dented in one area. I got a piece of two-by-four and held it next to the track and hit it with a mallet to straighten the track. It took a little finessing, but I finally got it to work, and it is so much easier to operate now. I added some extra grease to the track just for insurance, too. – D.M.

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Dear Kelly: Here’s a tip for all of the Super HandyMoms out there, or anyone else who finds themselves in trouble. You can use your car’s “panic” alarm on your key chain to alert others to your situation. Most of us have this button on our keychain, and you can push it and, if you are near your car, it will go off and alert others. You never know when this might come in handy! I’ve never had to use it, but I feel safer knowing I can if I need to. – N.S.

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Dear Al: Here’s a neat trick you probably didn’t know about. I found out the hard way that once you stick your fingers together with Super Glue, you are in trouble. My wife came to the rescue with nail polish remover. We tried several things, then searched Google for a solution and found out about nail polish remover. The polish remover needs to contain acetone, but it worked quite well, thank goodness! I just thought I would let you and other readers know in case you find yourself in this situation. I would hate to think I’m the only one who would be so careless! – R.T.

A Super hint

If you or anyone else in your family have a sensitivity to bleach, try using lemon juice as a bleach alternative. It won’t work on everything, but it’s worth a try in certain circumstances.

Shoptalk

Certain surfaces of your car and truck take more abuse than others, and this can really do some damage to the paint finish. 3M has a neat spray-on protector called Paint Defender. It’s easy to apply to these surfaces, and it will protect your paint finish from chipping and eroding due to chemicals, rocks, tar, bugs and other damaging things.

It will last up to one year and is completely clear. You can find out more about it at www.3m.com and find it at automotive-supply stores.