Helpful Hints

Posted: August 16, 2014 at 1:47 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: I remember seeing a recipe for homemade cold packs. Could you please reprint it?

-- A Reader, via email

DEAR READER: Use 3 parts water to 1 part alcohol. For example, 3/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol. There are different strengths of isopropyl alcohol, and you can use any of them for the cold pack. The higher the alcohol content (60, 70 or 90 percent), the lower the freezing point. So, if you use 90 percent alcohol, the pack won't freeze solid and will be sort of slushy, but will still work.

Pour into a sturdy zippered-top bag, press out the air, then put that into another bag for double protection. If you want to add food coloring so they will be easily identifiable, do so. You must label them as such, so that no one mistakes them for a frozen treat. They can be used over and over.

DEAR HELOISE: The other day, I put my two dogs on their leashes on a post in the yard. I was watching out the window as my Lab, Lucy, got on her back and was writhing back and forth, scratching her back for quite a while. I was laughing, until I noticed she was going down the hill and choking because of her collar and couldn't get up. Thankfully, she got up, but she was heaving a bit when I got to her. It never happened before, but it scared me. You have to be careful when putting dogs on a post.

-- Alma T., via email

DEAR READER: Glad she is OK, and thankfully you were there and watching. Dogs (and cats) can inadvertently get into some very dangerous trouble. Please be careful when hooking them to a post or another stable item. Also, take note of anything their collars can get caught on, like fencing or decks.

DEAR HELOISE: Every time I opened those little cups of fruit, I would get juice splashed on me. I learned to hold the cup over the sink and open it away from me. If you lean the cup back from the opening, it doesn't spill at all.

-- Penny, via email

DEAR HELOISE: I love doing the crossword puzzles in the paper, but they are often small and hard for me to see. I use my copier to enlarge the puzzle. Not only is it easier to read, I can just make another copy if I make a mistake.

-- H.D. in Texas

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 08/16/2014