Dear Heloise: When setting up the Christmas tree, I put down a big PLASTIC TREE BAG, then set up the tree in the stand. Next comes the tree skirt.
When it’s time to take down the tree, I remove the tree skirt and stand, and pull the plastic bag over the tree. This keeps most needles from scattering all over the floor. -- Eddie T. in Colorado
Good preventive thinking! My mother taught me to use a king-size flat sheet, and lay the tree (decorations are off, of course!) in the middle. Just grab the side and drag the tree outside, or have someone help you carry it out. Very little mess to clean up. -- Heloise
Dear Readers: Avalon I. in Grapeland, Tex., sent a picture of her cat, Misty, sitting atop a propane tank, watching the world go by — or perhaps the birds and the bees, as her owner put it. To see Misty’s photo, go to my Web site, www.Heloise.com, and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise
EASY ICE CREAM
Dear Heloise: I was looking for a quick-and-easy dessert to make for my daughter. I had some pre-sliced bananas in the freezer. I took them out and put them in my small blender, then added a small amount of milk and blended. An easy homemade ice cream! Well, a good-enough one for my daughter. I now make it all the time, and feel much better giving it to her. -- Tiffany in Texas
DONATE TO VETERINARIAN
Dear Heloise: This is just a reminder for all your readers to take their old newspapers to veterinary clinics. They often use them in cages and are always in need of more. They usually can use blankets and towels as well. Call the veterinarian in your area to see what is needed. It is a great way to help out. -- A Reader in Tennessee
COLD DAY, WARM HANDS
Dear Heloise: On those very cold but sunny days, leave an extra pair of gloves on the dashboard of your car when you leave it for shopping, etc. Thanks to the sun having heated them, you will feel warm immediately, even though your car is still cold. -- Jan S., Rockville, Md.
Dear Heloise: We just moved and had to get a new stackable washer/dryer. I struggled to get the detergent, bleach and fabric softener into the drawer in the washer. I have transferred each ingredient into an emptied dish-detergent bottle. I now can fill the detergent space with ease, and there is no spillage. -- Norma D., Madison, N.H.
Dear Heloise: I stick a cotton ball into my makeup compact so it won’t break into tiny pieces. When it is really low, I use a full cotton ball, and if it is a new compact, I pull the cotton ball apart to make it thinner so the compact will close. -- Jennifer R. in Kansas