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Reader Exchange: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

By Linda D. Cole and Ingrid L. Kohler, Times Staff Writers
Published December 1, 2007


We all read about this news last month: Days before Thanksgiving, during church services, somebody set fire to the food pantry at St. Giles Episcopal Church in Pinellas Park.

Lynn Burns' e-mail to REX related the sadness caused by an act that destroyed 50 percent of the food stuffs gathered by this ministry, which has accrued 25 years of service.

Many people and organizations have helped the church restock its pantry, but Father John Hartnett of St. Giles adds a request not related to food. The church needs a projector that is capable of working off a laptop, as well as a laptop with at least one or two gigs of hard drive. If you can help, please call Father John at the church, 727 544-6856.

Several weeks ago, Mildred Corlett requested a recipe for snowflakes. No, sillies, she wasn't trapped in a fantasy: Mildred wanted to try to make the "snow" her dad created from whipped Ivory Flakes and spread on the branches of the family Christmas tree. The demise of Ivory Flakes we feared was, unfortunately, confirmed. But clever REXers were determined that Mildred have her indoor snow despite that.

TK sent Mildred an alternative snow recipe that intrigued us, so we thought we would share it with everyone. TK says that any complexion bar soap, such as Camay, Ivory or Dove, will work. (Ivory and scented Dove are especially great.) Into a large bowl, grate or peel the bar soap with a potato peeler. Add two cups of boiling water for each half cup of peelings. Add about a quarter cup of liquid laundry starch and whip on high with an electric mixer. Add more soap peelings if the mixture seems too thin. You're done.

Spoon or just rub the concoction onto tree branches. TK adds that it dries hard and looks like freshly fallen snow on the tree. Plus the entire house is beautifully scented by the soap.

Maybe you're the kind of person who hates to peel potatoes, let alone soap. In that case, you'll prefer the snow alternative offered by Sabrina Harshbarger. She purchases soap flakes (it isn't Ivory brand, but it will do) from the Vermont Country Store. The item's catalog number is 49211, and it costs $9.95. The company's Web site is www.vermontcountrystore.com, and its phone number is (802) 362-8460.

Just a word about the merchandise sold in the Vermont Country Store catalog. From soap flakes to Fizzies (instant soda, just add water) to Spoolies (hair curlers), hundreds of items that we might call old-fashioned if we didn't vividly remember them ourselves are for sale. And the store's proprietors contend that if the bit of nostalgia you crave isn't stocked, they will endeavor to locate it.

Barbara Reynard of Beverly Hills wants to knit some helmet liners for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, but her yarn stash consists of acrylic yarns, not the woolen yarn specified by the liner instructions. She hopes that other knitters in this project may have some leftover woolen yarn in the black, brown, khaki or gray shades that meet military dress codes. If you call Barbara at (352) 527-1042, perhaps you can work out some sort of a yarn swap.

Bill Harter of Pinellas Park has a list of items too good to throw away that he hopes REXers can use. They are a Sony stereo dual cassette deck with owner's manual; a Bose car radio, AM-FM, and tape player; a 6-foot artificial Douglas fir Christmas tree, and three six-receptacle power strips. Please call (727) 577-5438 after 9:30 a.m.

Betty Westra is working on a floral Christmas project that requires green oasis. Green oasis is the water-holding floral foam used in bouquets. Even if your pieces of green oasis have been used, Betty can press them into service. Please call (727) 803-0765.

Andrew Rahochik of Spring Hill is seeking the video of Victory At Sea in either video or DVD format. Please call (352) 683-8594.

Pat Dull of Seminole wants to knit a layette for a preemie, a project her church is involved in. Unfortunately, a pattern she got from the Internet was very confusing, so Pat hopes you have a more straightforward pattern that includes instructions for a hat, jacket, booties and blanket. Pat may be contacted at (727) 397-6925.

When Mary Stelling of Crystal River was a little girl, her mother made her two ragdolls, Danny and Dolly Dingle. When Mary became a grandmother, she wanted to make the pair for her granddaughter, so she hunted down the circa 1940s McCall's pattern for them. If a grandmother or other sewer would now like this pattern, Mary will pass it along.

She also needs a new home for a Panasonic VCR that has been packed away, and for a videotape of a '30s movie starring El Brendel titled Just Imagine. Please call Mary at (352) 795-2707.

Send requests to Reader Exchange, Floridian, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731 or e-mail cole@sptimes.com. Requests will be accepted only by mail or e-mail. This is an exchange column, so we will not run items that are for sale. Readers must agree to publication of phone numbers, including area code.