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Thompson: Microwave-safe colander helps cut the grease
A leather jacket has been treated Doc Bailey's on the left side, but not on the right.

The microwave is the easiest way to brown ground beef. A lot of you already know this, but here's a tip you probably don't know. Before microwaving, place the beef in a microwave-safe colander and then place the colander in a bowl. When microwaving, the fat from the beef will drain through the colander and collect at the bottom of the bowl. Genius. Contributed by Jo Holt.

Rarely do I test out a product that blows me away. This one did it: Doc Bailey's Leather Black. It's a black leather cleaner and waterproofer. It also contains a black dye to help restore the color of the leather. At left is a picture of an older leather motorcycle jacket I used to test it. The right side is pre-Doc Bailey's, and the left side is post. Pretty amazing considering it only took me five minutes to clean it. I tested it on another black leather jacket and it did just as well. You can also use it on boots, chaps and leather briefcases. You can find it at They also have a clear cleaning solution for other colors. It costs $20 per bottle.

I'd like to thank Christine for this great tip: "My three kids collect bugs, moths, caterpillars, worms, etc. They like to bring them in the house and "love" them overnight. We were always taking spare margarine tubs or cool whip containers to hold their bugs but escape and air flow were constant problems. Yesterday I picked up three wide-mouth mason jars from my collection, three rings without the center tops and a piece of old screen. I cut the screen into squares, put it over the jar mouth and screwed on the ring. Three perfect bug jars!"

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.