Dear readers: One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the wonderful pleasure of the rich scents that invade my home. I make my own balls of ointment for tree ornaments, or hang them in a closet or in a shared bathroom.
Here's how to do them:
Glue rows of whole cloves in an orange or an apple. Once each fruit is completely covered with cloves, let it dry in a cool place for as long as possible.
Once the fruit has completely dried, make a mixture of 1 part of root of oris (available in pharmacies) and 1 part of mixed spices, such as cinnamon, spruce pepper and nutmeg.
Coat the fruit with the spices and let stand for two weeks. Remove the excess spice and tie each fruit with a ribbon, thus forming a loop for the hanger. The perfume is phenomenal! I hope that they will enrich your home too.
Dear Heloise, The GPS of my car has asked for the address of my home. Instead, I put the address of a donut shop on the street in my GPS system. In this way, I am protected if a thief steals my car and my garage opener, because he will not be able to access my home or know where I live.
Lisa T., Lubbock, Tex.
Dear Heloise, Some time ago, Maggie J. in Orlando gave advice on what to pack for a cruise. She mentioned taking an extension cord and a power strip. Please inform your readers that some cruise lines do not allow these two items. This is for the safety of all. Contact the cruise company to find out what is allowed and what is not.
Carol S., Dayton, Ohio
Dear Heloise, Help me! Every time I make a potato salad, the next day, it is liquid.
Barbara F., by email
Barbara F .: Cut your potatoes before cooking and let them cool completely before adding the vinaigrette. Hot potatoes give off steam and contribute to water problems. You can also consider using red potatoes because they tend to be drier. Do not use a "light" mayonnaise because it is usually thinner.
Dear Heloise, My mother gave me a cast iron pan with rust stains. How can I clean it?
Gwendolyn in Arkansas
Gwendolyn in Arkansas: The best method to clean a rusty cast iron pan is to use a non-metallic scrubber to remove rust, then wash it with mild soap, making sure to rinse it off and dry with a clean towel. Re-season the pan by coating it (inside and out) with unsalted vegetable shortening. Place the greased pan back on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool, then remove excess fat with a paper towel.
Héloïse's column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to HeloisePO Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000 or by email at Heloise@Heloise.com.