Dear Heloise: I wanted to share this really cute idea that my daughter did when she was planning my granddaughter’s birthday party.

She decided to have a PAINTING PARTY for several little girls she had invited. She went to a crafts store and bought small, individual canvases for each child. Then she covered the outside patio table with some newspaper and set up each little girl at the table with a canvas in front of her.

When the little girls were done, my daughter had them sign the back of the canvas. Then my daughter kept all the canvases. When they were dry, she framed them, and on the back of each masterpiece she wrote when it was painted and that it was for my granddaughter’s party. -- Judy Malik, Seguin, Tex.

Darling! This is a fun idea for folks of any age. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Cathy Schmidt of San Antonio sent a photo of her “large,” brown, 7-year-old tabby cat, Chooch, casually sitting (legs wide apart and tummy roll showing) and waiting for some attention. To see Chooch, go to and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I received this hint from a friend of mine several years ago, and it really works well. To keep strawberries fresh for a few days longer, place in an airtight container with pieces of paper towel between each layer, being sure not to squeeze them close together. Place in the refrigerator. It does give them extra life. -- E.G. in Connecticut

Strawberries are a favorite of mine, especially when in season. I have a delicious recipe for strawberry gelatin cake, with fresh strawberries as an ingredient. To try this yummy recipe, as well as Heloise’s Red Velvet Cake and War Cake, just send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cake, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. To easily hull strawberries, use a straw. Just poke it all the way through the strawberry, from the bottom up. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My husband is on oxygen. Clear tubing is difficult to see on our floor, so I cut about a half-inch of red duct tape and wrapped it around the tubing about every 8 to 10 inches. Easier to see it, and less danger of getting feet tangled up and possibly falling. -- Wanda in Texarkana, Ark.


Dear Heloise: To make lid removal easier, I use a leather glove on my hand so the lid can’t slip. -- James in Oregon

Sometimes the lids on jars or other containers can be a pain (literally) to remove, especially when they’re opened for the first time. Don’t forget the old hint of tapping the side of the lid with a wooden spoon to help to break the air seal. When in desperation, my favorite thing to do is to let someone else open it. -- 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.

, King Features Syndicate