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DEAR READERS: Have you and/or your kids and grandkids written thank-you notes for holiday gifts? A handwritten thank-you note tells the gift-givers that you appreciate them.

Rules for thank-yous, from Good Housekeeping magazine: Mention the gift specifically and how you will use it. Write as you would speak. And definitely use the person's name in your note.

Finally, consider the closing: "Love" is great for family members; "Fondly" for friends; and "Sincerely" for people you may not know as well.

P.S. You don't have to use fancy stationery, but no emails.

DEAR HELOISE: Years ago, I jumped on the baking soda/vinegar bandwagon when reading Heloise I [the original Heloise, 1919-1977].

Instead of using cellulose or foam sponges, I found one that is many times better. It is the melamine scrubbing sponge. These, used with or without a baking soda paste, are great. They are similar to a commercial-brand eraser but without the cleaning additive. That's where the baking soda comes in.

-- Teresa C., Omaha, Neb.

DEAR READER: Baking soda is an effective scrubber; it gently removes stains and is a workhorse in the home. Nontoxic, safe, cheap and readily available,

DEAR READERS: When putting your infant, toddler or young child into a car seat, do it without a bulky, puffy jacket on the child. The problem? The straps of the car seat are not directly in contact with the child, leaving too much space. During a collision, the child is not secure and could be thrown out of the car seat.

Put the child in the car seat wearing what he or she would wear indoors, then use the coat as a blanket.

DEAR HELOISE: What does "cut on the bias" mean?

-- A Reader in Florida

DEAR READER: Think about what a bias is: a strong feeling, coming from one side or another; a slanted opinion.

When a pattern calls for material to be cut on the bias, it is to be cut on a 45-degree angle (slanted). This will make the fabric flexible, and easier to flow over the body.

DEAR HELOISE: I tape together empty and full tissue boxes to make disposal of used tissues easy. I keep one set in the car and one in the house when I have a cold.

-- Elisea F. in San Antonio

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

[email protected]

Weekend on 01/09/2020

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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