August 22, 2013 10:50 AM

DEAR MARY: I read your advice to use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to clean up dirty leather handbags. Apparently, those rather pricey erasers are made of something called mela-mine foam, a product that is readily available, which makes “erasers” pretty cheap if you order what they’re made of instead of buying them at the store. I hope this can help someone looking for an easy clean. — Megan S., email

DEAR MEGAN: I know I speak for thousands of readers when I say, “Thank you very much.” We love knowing the inside scoop on how to find cheaper alternatives for expensive products we enjoy using. I am grateful for the information. I’ve looked around and find that melamine foam is used for insulating and soundproofing and readily available — available at stores like Home Depot in great big sheets. Interested readers can simply Google “melamine foam.” What fun.

DEAR MARY: We are very appreciative of the mention of Jamestown Settlement (Virginia) in your recent “Six ways to ensure a fabulous family vacation” column! This is to note that our Web address — www.historyisfun.org — is similar but not the same as for the Washington County (Wisconsin) Historical Society, www.histo ryisfun.com. — Debby Padget, Media Relations Manager, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

DEAR DEBBY: My apologies for getting your excellent organization mixed up with another in Wisconsin. I hope that my readers who find themselves in the Virginia area this summer will make it a point to visit Jamestown and, in the meantime, tour your excellent website.

DEAR MARY: I am in the process of converting my old slides to a CD and wonder if you have any suggestions as to what I should do with the old “carousels” the slides were stored in. I think I can recycle them, but I wonder if they could possibly be useful for something, as is. Thanks. — Cathy U., email

DEAR CATHY: Your question piqued my interest, as somewhere in my vast collection of things inherited from the in-laws, I have a pile of those carousels, too. I did a little research, and sure enough, at least one very clever artisan has found a beautiful use for slide carousels.

I found a clock made from an “upcycled” Kodak Slide Carousel at Allan Young’s Etsy store, PixelThis (www.etsy.com/list ing/107986637/recycled-kodak-slide-carousel?refshop_home_active). I love this store, featuring “stuff from stuff.”

This leads me to believe that there is a market for your carousels. There is a link on Allan’s storefront to contact him directly via email.

Or you could list your carousels for sale on eBay or Craigslist. I have a feeling that your query here is going to prompt a lot of attention from artisans like Allan, who would love to take these items off your hands.

Mary invites questions at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of “7 Money Rules for Life,” released in 2012.

To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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