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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published July 5, 2014 at 2:37 a.m.

DEAR READER: With droughts becoming more common across the United States, wildfires are always a possibility. Here are some hints from the American Red Cross to keep you and your family safe:

• Be prepared. Have an escape plan, with two possible ways to get out of your neighborhood if fire is approaching.

• Back your car into the driveway or garage for a fast getaway.

• Keep some items to tackle smaller fires near your home, such as an ax, a rake, buckets and shovels. This could save your home until help arrives.

• Keep a water source outside to be used just for putting fires out, such as large drums of water, a small pool, a pond or a hose.

• Have supplies ready to leave with you: flashlight, medications, first-aid kit, cash, water, nonperishable food and important documents.

• Have a plan for your pets so they are not left behind.

More information can be found at

DEAR HELOISE: As I struggled to insert 10 small American flags into very hard ground this morning for the Memorial Day holiday, I thought of the old pencil sharpener sitting idle in the cabinet. I then proceeded to "sharpen" the sticks. Insertion into the ground was a snap. I believe I came up with the perfect solution. It's a real back-saver.

-- Eveleen S. in Florida

DEAR READER: That certainly makes the task easier! This can be used for any type of lawn decoration.

DEAR HELOISE: I've enjoyed the spectacular blossoms from my cymbidium (orchid), but now they have faded and I have cut them back. I didn't know what to do. I inserted a small pot of moth orchids in the center and enjoyed blossoms again until the cymbidium blooms again. It also helps if you have some dry green moss to cover the top of the moth orchid plant.

-- Gene in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: Best way to never run out of toilet paper? Here's what I do: When you have about one-fourth left on the roll, replace it with a full roll. Store that small amount under the bathroom-sink cabinet. Do this in all of your bathrooms. This way, even if you forget or didn't find the time to go shopping, you will never be without.

-- Brenda B.,

Jupiter, Fla.

DEAR HELOISE: After a recent surgery, I needed something to prevent myself from slipping or falling when leaving the tub after a shower or bath. I have some leftover shelf liner, the plastic mesh type, and it works perfectly. It dries quickly on the edge of the tub when not in use.

-- Lynn in

Colorado Springs, Colo.

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 07/05/2014

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