Helpful Hints

Posted: June 30, 2014 at 2:22 a.m.

DEAR READERS: Here is this week's Sound Off, about the big size of towels:

"I have a complaint about the large size of bath towels. I still use a very old bath towel that is a manageable size. It is perfect for wrapping my long hair on top of my head when I get out of the shower. I can't do this with a heavy, oversized bath towel, and a hand towel is too small. My husband loves the bigger bath towels, but he's tall and I'm not. I can't find a smaller bath towel like they used to make."

-- Louise K.,

Ventura, Calif.

Try asking a store employee, or look online for smaller towels. Some companies even make specific towels just for wrapping up wet hair.

DEAR READERS: Here are places to try to donate old books:

• Nursing or assisted-living homes.

• Schools -- either the library, or ask teachers.

• Give to friends.

• Donate to town libraries.

• Start a lending library in your neighborhood.

DEAR HELOISE: Is there a way I can clean my pewter pieces?

-- Alice, via email

DEAR READER: Pewter is wonderful, but it needs to be handled carefully when cleaning. According to The Pewter Society, the first step should always be to wash in hot, soapy water. This should remove a lot of dirt and tarnish. If your pewter needs a little extra cleaning, or if it looks dark, you can try using an all-purpose, nonabrasive metal polish (not silver polish). If these don't work or if you are nervous about damaging the piece, you can take it to an experienced pewter collector or seller for further advice.

DEAR HELOISE: I always carry an old sheet in my car in case I see an animal that has been hit by a car and needs to be moved. I've had to use it once. I gave it to a dog's owner and let him transfer the dog to the sheet.

I also carry an old tennis racket. It comes in handy to put between you and a dog as a shield (not a club) in case it looks like it might bite. I've never had to use it, but I think real estate agents and delivery people might want to carry one.

-- Sherry G.,

Cecil, Ala.

DEAR READER: What great hints. The old sheet also can also be used to protect your seats if you see a stray and want to pick it up.

DEAR HELOISE: We received an abundance of sheets for wedding gifts. So, I made bedroom curtains from a top sheet. They converted nicely at our next apartment by adding trim at the bottom and making a valance to match. They lasted more than 10 years and four moves.

-- A Reader, via email

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

ActiveStyle on 06/30/2014