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This article was published February 21, 2013 at 12:26 a.m.

— DEAR HELOISE: When taking ashes out of a wood-burning stove, open an umbrella and hold it as close to the opening as possible. It will keep most of the ashes from flying everywhere. Of course, make sure the ashes are cool before cleaning them out of the stove.

  • Bonnie M. in Arkansas

DEAR READERS: Halogen lamps can be a nice addition to your home. I have one in our living room. However, they can pose a fire risk due to their high temperatures, especially if the lamp is old. They should be placed in the right location to be safe. Here are some helpful hints from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Underwriters Laboratories:

Do not place the lamp near curtains or bedding.

Never put any material (clothing, scarves or towels) on the lamp.

Do not leave the lamp on when you leave the room or the home.

Keep the lamp away from children and pets.

Use only a halogen bulb of 300 watts or less to reduce fire risk.

DEAR HELOISE: My wife and I take turns cooking each night. She gets three nights, I get three nights, and we eat out one night. When I cook, she sets the table, and when she cooks, I set the table.

Hopefully, you can settle this dispute for us. I say the napkin goes under the fork on the left side. She says the napkin goes under the knife and spoon on the right side. It’s driving me nuts. She will do what you say. Which one of us is correct?

  • A Reader, Carlisle, Pa.

DEAR READER: Well, this is certainly an interesting question! According to the Emily Post Institute, in an informal (like at home) place setting, the napkin should go to the left of the utensils (which would be left of the forks). Sometimes the napkin is placed under the forks. Hopefully, this makes setting the table a little easier.But, my thought is that whoever sets the table gets to set it the way they want!

DEAR HELOISE: A friend’s spouse was recently hospitalized in serious condition. As we organized meals for the family, I recommended that we buy paper towels, toilet paper, disposable plates and utensils. Meals are eaten quickly, but the family needs basics to help make life a little easier.

  • Pam D., via e-mail Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or e-mail

Weekend, Pages 34 on 02/21/2013

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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