Dear Sun Spots: I’m hoping you can help me locate someone who cleans oil paintings.

I have a rather large painting that has hung on my wall for 50 years and should be cleaned. I would also like to have it appraised. Any help would be appreciated. I can be reached at (207) 225-2492. – No Name, Turner.

You may want to check out, which is the site of the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Once you reach it, you can search your region for a listing of types of conservators.You may also want to contact the following appraisers:

Victor Grace of Harpswell, (207) 729-1329; Nancy Lee Snow of Falmouth at (207) 781-2309; Nina Roth Wells of Georgetown at (207) 371-2427; Barbara Beardsly of Raymond, N.H., at (603) 895-2639 and Mary Lou White, also of Raymond, at (603)895-9351. These people may also be able to recommend some in your area. In addition, try contacting appraiser Jim Talbot of Charles Talbot Associates in Turner (207) 225-3797 and Tom Veilleux in Farmington at (207) 778-0784. You may also reach Veilleux via e-mail at There is also a Bruce Buxton of Portland (207) 772-6979 who may also be able to appraise your painting.

Another is Shirley Dutton of Atlantic Star Art Consultants in Portland, 1-800-443-5691, who appraises oil paintings and specializes in American art. She may also be able to assist you in finding a conservator to clean your painting and has some phone numbers she could provide you with if you are interested. Dutton says it’s very important not to touch the painting or attempt to clean it yourself because you or someone not experienced in this type of painting might do irreversible damage. Sun Spots would urge you to contact these sources prior to having your painting cleaned.

Dear Sun Spots: I wonder if you could find a representative selling Luster Craft Cookware. My set is 34 years old and has a lifetime warranty. My cookware is just like new, stainless steel, but I am missing a few lid knobs. I would appreciate it if you could please help me. – No Name, No Address.

Contact Ley Vedder at Luster Craft International’s customer service department at (352) 735-2850, ext. 237, to discuss your needs.

Dear Sun Spots: Many times you have come to the rescue of many people. I have two questions:

Is there any place that would like to receive soap, shampoo, etc., in small sizes?

Can one use plastic water bottles over and over again? – No Name, No Town.

Regarding your first question contact Abused Women’s Advocacy Project to see if they can use these products. You can reach them at their help line, call 1-800-559-AWAP (2927) or their local offices in Farmington 778-6107, Livermore Falls (Wednesday only) 897-9907, Lewiston 782-1785, Norway 743-5806 or Rumford 369-0750.

Also, Sun Spots uses her water bottle over and over until it seems like the bottle needs a good cleaning or has become a little on the worn-out side. Then she replaces it with a new bottle and starts over. Perhaps other readers have similar hints that they would be willing to share with you.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Inform Us section under Press Release.

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