Question of the Day

What is the best way to store paintbrushes after using them?

If you take just a short break during painting, you do not need to clean the brushes. Simply wrap them in plastic wrap until you are ready to begin painting again. To store brushes overnight, wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in the freezer. Remove them about an hour before you want to begin painting. To store brushes for a long period of time, clean them, wrap them in brown paper cut from a grocery bag, and secure the paper around the handle with tape or an elastic band. Store the brushes flat or hang them by their handles. Standing them up in a can or jar will permanently bend the bristles.

Last 7 Days

    Can you shed any light on the phrase "hell-bent for leather," meaning "in a hurry"?

    The British counterpart of this phrase is "hell for leather," meaning in a hell of a hurry. Evidently, the phrase was coined while the British army was in India, and most likely the leather refers to a horse's or team's leather gear, from saddle to bridle and reins, and the whipping given to these items when a rider or driver was pressed to attain full galloping speed. "Hell-bent" is an American term, meaning headed in a certain direction at all costs and with heedless speed, even if it means ending up in hell. Most likely, "hell-bent for leather" is a combination of these two phrases.

    Do you know who invented the Snugli, which many women use to carry babies?

    Well, some would say that the Togo people of West Africa are responsible for this "newfangled" idea. Ann Moore, an American pediatric nurse working with the Peace Corps in Togo in the early 1960s, saw the women there using slings to carry their babies while they worked. The babies were comfortable, and the women's hands were free to do their work. Moore and her mother, Lucy Aukerman, used this idea to design their own adjustable, pouchlike infant carrier. They patented the design and ultimately sold it to a commercial producer.

    Is it true that leaves curl when it's going to rain?

    Yes, some flowers and the leaves of some trees will close up in very humid conditions before a rainstorm. This is a protective response so that the plants' pollen won't be washed away.

    What's the best way to clean wicker furniture?

    For everyday care, be sure to wipe up any spills quickly before they have a chance to seep into the crevices. Dust regularly with a soft cloth or, better yet, use the small brush on your vacuum cleaner to pull away dirt and grime. If you need to do a major cleaning, the trick is to keep the wicker wet for the shortest possible time. Choose a hot, dry day with a good breeze, or set up a fan. Take the piece outdoors for a quick hose-down with a pressure nozzle. For more stubborn dirt, you may want to use a solution of mild soap and water with a large pinch of salt. A small brush will help reach into crevices. Rinse well and dry completely. For a finish shine, wipe with an oiled flannel cloth.

    What is the origin of the saying "until the last dog is hung"?

    This usually refers to someone sticking it out until the end. It was first used in print in 1863, although undesirable human beings have been called "dogs" since the 14th century. The phrase may well have originated in the Wild West, where rustlers, thieves, and other ne'er-do-wells were regularly strung up for crimes against men, women, and cattle.

    What is a dinger in baseball?

    A dinger is a home run.

    Where did the tradition of having bridesmaids at a wedding come from?

    History is not clear on this, but there are several theories. One is that bridesmaids were "stand-ins" for the bride, in case evil spirits, which hated to see anybody happy, tried to do her harm. The bridesmaids would look and dress much like the bride to fool the spirits. Another theory says that bridesmaids, or some crowd of people, were needed to witness the wedding. In ancient Rome, one needed at least ten witnesses to get married. Bridesmaids also may have evolved from a medieval custom of having as many people as possible at a wedding, just in case a former boyfriend showed up to kidnap the bride.

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