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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published August 9, 2014 at 1:49 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: When I moved into a smaller place, it was hard to arrange my large furniture without covering up electrical outlets. I purchased heavy-duty extension cords with the multiplug end, plugged them in and snaked them around the furniture so I have a convenient plug.

-- Deborah F.,

via email

DEAR READER: Remember to not run an extension cord under a rug or the carpet -- it can be a fire hazard.

Be sure it's a heavy-duty extension cord, and you may want to check it occasionally to be sure it's in good condition. Please note this advice is for a home office, too.

DEAR HELOISE: My kitty uses her cat tower and assorted claw mats, but she also likes to claw my rugs. I'm ready to replace a large area rug, and wonder what type of fabric and type of loop would best stand up. I try to keep her claws trimmed, but I refuse to have her declawed. Any words of advice?

-- A Reader, via email

DEAR READER: I don't know if there is a fabric or loop that can survive a cat's claws. Loop type most probably is worse -- the cat has something to pull on. You can try the nail caps they have for cats. They are glued on, like a fake nail. Your cat can keep her nails, and it would save your rugs. Call your veterinarian to see if he or she provides this service. Hope this helps.

DEAR HELOISE: Here's an idea for your readers with chimineas. (Heloise here: A chiminea is a free-standing, front-loading ceramic fireplace.) Place a flowerpot saucer on top of your chiminea (when not in use) and fill it with water. Voila! A high-rise birdbath.

-- Denise R.

in San Antonio

DEAR HELOISE: I love making pancakes for my kids, and to jazz things up, I make different shapes of pancakes. Sometimes I use a cookie cutter to cut out a shape after the pancake is done. I make flowers and even the state of Texas!

-- Janice in Texas

DEAR READERS: Sandra in Oklahoma asked how to dry clean baseball or "gimme" caps, as some in Texas call them (meaning hats with company names on them given to customers). After cleaning, put it over a 3-pound coffee can to dry.

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

HomeStyle on 08/09/2014

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