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This article was published January 9, 2014 at 2:20 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: What is the difference between curtains and drapes?

  • Andrea W., via email

DEAR READER: Although many people think curtains and drapes are the same thing, since they both cover windows, there is a difference by definition and use, even though most of us (me included) use the words interchangeably.

Curtains usually are a lighter fabric, thin or sheer.They are not lined and won’t block out light. They should not be used for privacy, since you can see through them. They can be very colorful, and add a decorative touch.

Drapes are made of heavy fabric and typically are lined. They are used for blocking out the light, cold and heat, as well as for privacy. They can hang from the top of windows to the floor for a more formal look.

DEAR HELOISE: I love using painter’s tape for all sorts of things. I tear off a small piece and attach it to food containers with prepped foods and leftovers. I write the date with a permanent marker to keep track of when I prepared the food. It’s easy to peel off.

I also use painter’s tape to close boxes of pasta, crackers, etc., as it seals the box and is easy to reopen and close. I use it to attach pretty postcards to my office hutch so I can easily replace them without damaging the surface.

  • Linda H. in San Antonio

DEAR READER: I love this hint, and I, too, use painter’s tape for lots of things. It even comes in colors.

DEAR HELOISE: When I dye my hair, I cut the box where it says the color number, and on the back I write the date that I dyed it. I keep it to have a reference when I need to dye again.

  • A Reader, via email

DEAR HELOISE: After one too many parties without enough cold drinks for all of our guests, my husband and I were at a loss. We didn’t like buying ice and filling coolers, only to hunt for a place to drain them (we don’t have a yard, and dragging them through the apartment building was not an option!). We now use the washing machine. We fill the top loader with ice and the canned drinks. As the ice melts, it drains from the machine, and you’re left with no mess! For a couple who entertain often, this has been a party-saver.

  • Gemma in Chicago

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

Weekend, Pages 34 on 01/09/2014

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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