help! is there any fixing this couch leather?


The cat above is our girl Griffin, who is going on 18 years old and has an inoperable tumor. We’re more than willing to sacrifice a little beauty for her comfort, which is why we’ve not tried to bar her from her favorite spot on the couch. But she uses her toenails to help herself up — which is evident in the condition of the leather. We tried to get her to use steps to the couch, but she wasn’t having it. We’ve tried a blanket, but it’s difficult to tuck in because of the way the couch is sewn, and Griffin manages to get her claws under it anyway. I’ve recently started to wonder what the best way will be to minimize all those tiny claw marks. (They’re in a small area, just in the middle of the couch.) Should I trim off the little edges that stick up? Use saddle soap? Give up and pretend it’s a Ralph Lauren-esque “weathered” look? What do you think? –Mary T.

From our partners

how to prevent oil spills in your pantry

We use Whole Foods‘ 365 olive oil for everyday cooking. It’s tasty, affordable and healthy. My only issue? The oil spills down the side of the bottle with each pour. We try to clean it after every use, but with our busy schedules and an infant, we sometimes forget. This results in a ring of oil on our pantry shelf, which I’ve heard can attract certain types of ants—gross!

I’ve seplaceed for a bottle-pourer to replace the one it comes with, but I haven’t been able to find one that fits. (I know, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this.) I was looking at a back issue of Cooks Illustrated recently and came across a simple solution for this exact issue: you fold a paper towel or cloth around the top half of the bottle and secure it with a rubberband. Now we don’t have to worry about getting oil everywhere—and I know I’m not the only one who obsesses about things like this. — Michelle V.K.

From our partners

how to get a sparkling-clean white board

One of my pet peeves is a dirty white board — you know, with marker “crumbs” and shadows of past notes to oneself. I’ve heard about all kinds of ways to get white boards squeaky clean, including scrubbing them with toothpaste. Toothpaste works OK, but it leaves streaks, and I just don’t like having that minty-fresh smell in my office.

Guess which cleaning product works best? You got it: Bar Keepers Friend. Shelterrific has sung the graces of this magical powder in the past, and it has come through yet again. Now, at the beginning of every month, I erase last month’s appointments and reminders from my white board and wipe it down with BKF. I then have a clean slate on which to plan the next month of my family’s life. How do you clean your white board? — Michelle V.K.

From our partners

have you met the ‘brilliant’ lady jane?

I discovered the Lady Jane at Restoration Hardware several years ago, when they still sold all of those great cleaning products. The packaging says it’s The Ultimate Scourer, and it’s true. It’s non-abrasive, rust-proof, washable, long-lasting–and it works. It’s helped us remove baked-on everything from all types of cooking surfaces without leaving a mark. So I panicked when I walked into RH one day to buy more and didn’t see them — they’re made in England and hard to find in the States. The saleswoman told me her store had ten left in the back, so I bought them all (my husband thinks I’m a freak).

Luckily, I still have a few, but what happens when I run out? A Google seplace reveals they’re available only from UK-based online stores, like cookability.com. The overseas shipping rates at most of them are steep, but I think I’m willing to pay — this girl really knows how to clean. Have you ever spotted the Lady Jane at a domestic store? — Michelle V.K.

From our partners

have you met the 'brilliant' lady jane?

I discovered the Lady Jane at Restoration Hardware several years ago, when they still sold all of those great cleaning products. The packaging says it’s The Ultimate Scourer, and it’s true. It’s non-abrasive, rust-proof, washable, long-lasting–and it works. It’s helped us remove baked-on everything from all types of cooking surfaces without leaving a mark. So I panicked when I walked into RH one day to buy more and didn’t see them — they’re made in England and hard to find in the States. The saleswoman told me her store had ten left in the back, so I bought them all (my husband thinks I’m a freak).

Luckily, I still have a few, but what happens when I run out? A Google seplace reveals they’re available only from UK-based online stores, like cookability.com. The overseas shipping rates at most of them are steep, but I think I’m willing to pay — this girl really knows how to clean. Have you ever spotted the Lady Jane at a domestic store? — Michelle V.K.

From our partners