Dear Readers: With the holidays right around the corner, here is a great gift idea that you can make at home, is low-cost and the recipient will just love. It is Heloise’s BATH SALTS! It’s easy to make, and here is what you need:

* 3 cups Epsom salts

* 1 tablespoon glycerin

* Food coloring

* Perfume/cologne or an essential oil

To make, pour the Epsom salts into a glass or metal bowl (DO NOT use plastic — this recipe could stain it). Add the glycerin, a couple of drops of food coloring and a little perfume, cologne or essential oil. Mix well until the food coloring and glycerin are thoroughly blended.

NOTE: If the bath salts are not fragrant enough, you can add a bit more perfume, cologne or essential oil.

Be sure to put the bath salts into a decorative jar with a tight-sealing lid so the fragrance does not evaporate. To use, add 1/2 cup to your bath, sit back and enjoy! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Ruth Ann Densel of Convoy, Ohio, sent a photo of her two cats, Licorice (black) and Mittens (gray), posing for Christmas. To see Licorice and Mittens, visit and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: After years of collecting recipes, I had them everywhere. I decided it was time to get organized, so I rounded up all of my recipes (hundreds of them) and sorted them into categories: appetizers, salads, casseroles, meats, desserts, etc. I have a printer/copier, so, working with one category at a time, I placed the recipes on it one page at a time and copied them.

I bought plastic sleeves that come 50 to a package and placed my copied pages in them in a three-ring binder. I had so many that I had to use one binder for foods and a second binder for sweets (desserts and candies). I now have all of my recipes at my fingertips. It’s so easy to just take out the one particular plastic sleeve to use, and as an added bonus, it wipes right off if anything is spilled, thus saving the recipe.

It was well worth my time, and while doing this, I found recipes I hadn’t used in years! -- Carol in Massillon, Ohio


Dear Heloise: My mother was raised during the Depression. What you had, you took good care of. That has held true for me through the years in the kitchen — pots, pans, utensils, dishes, etc. You cleaned them well enough to be displayed. It’s just good common sense to care for things and not be a part of the “throw-away” society.

I’ve lived by this adage for years, and still have many lovely older items in my home. -- Laura in San Antonio

Good cookware can last several generations! I have my grandmother’s cast-iron skillet, and it makes the best cornbread. -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate