chal-lenge: noun a calling to account or into question

Follow along as I challenge the tricks, tips, clever craft and decorating ideas and "simple" recipes that we clip, bookmark, and "pin" for trial at a later date.

Are they really worth the effort? Time (and I) will tell!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Real Simple Solutions

I was flipping through the February issue of Real Simple magazine and came across a feature called Ideas, Insight, Inspiration: 8 New Uses for a Tennis Ball. Are you kidding me? This had Challenge written all over it! Now I happen to have a tennis-playing daughter so I have a bucket full of tennis balls in my garage. But are tennis balls something that the majority of people have just hanging around their house? Hmm, I wonder.

#1 – Bulb Remover: Use half of a ball to remove a warm light-bulb from its socket. I cut my tennis ball in half (according to package directions!) and attempted this trick. The ball did not fit over the light-bulb. It did, however, provide enough of a grip to loosen the bulb but I had to use my fingers to actually remove the bulb. Maybe I was supposed to loosen the bulb and let it fall to the ground. Score: C

#2 - Comforter Fluffer: Speed up the drying time of bedding by tossing a couple tennis balls in the load. I’ve tried this over the years with a comforter or down coat without success. The tennis balls get tangled up in whatever is drying or just bang around in the dryer. Maybe it works for someone else. Score: D

#3 – Arm Weights: Cut small slits into two balls and fill with pennies. The filled tennis balls weighed about 1 lb. each. I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill with them. I get the point (pump your arms for an extra cardio workout) but my hands cramped a bit trying to hold onto the balls. I’m thinking that if you can buy tennis balls and fill them with pennies, you can afford to buy some inexpensive hand weights. The bonus to this tip may be that if you are out walking and get thirsty, you can stop at the store and use your pennies to buy a drink. Score: B

#4 – Spa Tool: Roll sore feet over tennis balls. I have been on my feet a lot this week and this one actually felt pretty good. The tennis ball worked the sore muscles in the bottom of my feet and relaxed them a bit. This doesn’t replace a good foot massage but then tennis balls are pretty cheap. Score: B

#5 – Jar Opener: Use the rubber lining of a cut ball to aid your grip. I suppose this one would work well if you found a jar top that was the size of your tennis ball. I tried this on tops that were smaller and larger and it didn’t work at all. Score: C

#6 – Makeshift Safe: Slice a tennis ball and place valuables inside. You’ve got to be kidding me! If I have anything valuable enough to hide, I wouldn’t hide it inside a tennis ball. This is just plain silly. Score: C

#7 – Floor Guards: Cut an X into four balls and slip the feet of an ironing board inside. The ironing board pictured above was a wedding shower gift from my grandmother. It is still is good shape except that it has lost a plastic protector on one of the legs. This may be a humiliating look for the ironing board, but it actually works for me. I’m going to keep them on and see how it works out. So far, so good. Score: A

#8 – Painkiller: Lie down. Place a tied sock containing two balls under the spot where your head and neck meet. Tuck your chin and gently nod your head up and down. I have trouble with my neck so I harbored some hope for this one: PAINFULL! Score: F

How many times do you read these kinds of tips in magazines and then just put them out of your mind? Admittedly, some of the suggested uses for a tennis ball were a little lame, but then some of them actually worked. Check out Real Simple magazine at for these and other clever ideas. Let me know if you have any valuables to hide and I'll send you a tennis ball.

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