Dear Sun Spots: I know how helpful you have been. My question is about a commercial I saw for Applebee’s. It said that if you bought $50 worth of gift cards for Applebee’s, you would get a $10 gift card for Applebee’s. I called Applebee’s in Auburn to find out if this included the Applebee’s gift cards you can buy at Wal-Mart. They said it only applied to ones bought in the restaurant. I don’t understand why it is like that because you are using them at the restaurant. – Elaine, Buckfield.

Answer: Miles McMillin, a media relations representative for Applebee’s, explained that the restaurant has three different “channels” or methods, that consumers can use to purchase gift cards. They can be purchased directly at the restaurant, at retail (third party) locations and on the Applebee’s Web site, Each channel is treated differently and they may offer separate promotional programs exclusive to each channel.

For example, if you purchase a gift card online, you have the option of personalizing and customizing the card with photos and text. This option is only available on the Web site, not in the restaurant or at a retail site. The $10 bonus gift card is exclusive to the restaurant channel; it is Applebee’s way of rewarding guests who have rewarded them with visits.

Other retail stores offer similar promotions. For example, Wal-Mart has discounted items exclusive to their Web site that are not available in store. Sun Spots located a book that was 50 percent off the list price. To get the price, it would have to be purchased directly from the site, not in the store.

Dear Sun Spots: Is there anyone who can tell me where I can find shrunken wool mittens lined with fleece? They are great for cold weather and I need a man’s size. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, the Nezinscot Farm Store, 284 Turner Center Road, Route 117, Turner, has mittens made from recycled wool sweaters and lined with polar fleece. They are also available on different Web sites, such as

Sun Spots also found easy instructions to make your own sweater mittens courtesy of “Martha Stewart Living.” You can use any old sweater, but if you’re using a wool sweater, felt it by machine-washing in hot water and drying at a high temperature.

Tools and materials you’ll need: paper, pencil, scissors, sweater, pins and a sewing machine. Step 1: To make a pattern, trace one hand on a piece of paper with the thumb at a 30-degree angle from the fingers. Draw a mitten shape around the outline of the hand, adding ½ inch (allow more than ½ inch if the sweater you are using is especially bulky). Step 2: Cut out the pattern and pin it onto the sweater, piercing both layers. Cut out the pattern to create two mitten shapes. Step 3: With right sides facing, pin the mitten cutouts together, then with a sewing machine, sew them together, leaving a ¼-inch seam allowance. Begin sewing at the cuff along the outside edge of the mitten, making sure not to stretch the fabric. For smooth curves, pick up the foot, and rotate the mitten as you sew. Step 4: To prevent fraying, sew around the mitten again, leaving a 1/8-inch seam allowance. Turn the mitten rightside out, and press. Repeat these steps for the second mitten.

Dear Sun Spots: As a few seniors that live at Maison Marcotte, we would like to know if there is a Weight Watchers leader that would come to us and have classes? Most of us do not have cars but sure would like a program like that. Thank you. – No Name, No Town.

Sun Spots spoke with Kathy Hansen, the Weight Watcher representative for our area. Kathy said that they can absolutely send a leader to Maison Marcotte for a Weight Watchers session. You, or another spokesperson for your group, should contact Kathy at 892-3004 to set up an informational meeting. Kathy will mail posters for you to hang, which will let other interested residents know when she will be there.

At the informational meeting, she will answer questions about the program and go over different payment options. At that point, if the group is made up of at least 15 people, they will set up a regular meeting time for your group. Your group’s session can start as soon as the following week.

If you don’t have enough people to join the group and can possibly carpool to the meetings, they hold meetings Monday through Saturday at the Weight Watchers Center, 120 Center St., Auburn (the same shopping plaza as Gipper’s, Tin Tin Buffet and Reed Party Store). Call 800-651-6000 for more information on days and times.

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 Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.