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Pomander for the holidays

November 11, 2018 GMT

Dear Readers: One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the wonderful fun of rich fragrances that fill my home. I make my own pomander balls for ornaments for the tree, or to hang in a closet or a guest bathroom.

Here’s how to make them:

Stick rows of whole cloves in an orange or apple. After each piece of fruit is completely covered with cloves, allow it to dry in a cool place for as long as possible.

After the fruit has dried completely, make a mixture of 1 part orris root (available in drugstores) and 1 part mixed spices, such as cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.


Coat the fruit with the spices and leave for two weeks. Shake off excess spice, and tie each fruit with ribbon, making a loop at the top for a hanger. The fragrance is phenomenal! I hope they will enrich your home as well. -- Heloise

Smart safety idea

Dear Heloise: The GPS for my car asked for my home address. Instead, I put the address of a doughnut shop down the street into my GPS system. This way, I’m protected if a thief steals my car and garage opener, because he won’t be able to access my home or know where I live. -- Lisa T., Lubbock, Texas

Lose for a cruise?

Dear Heloise: A while ago, Maggie J. in Orlando offered tips on what to pack for a cruise. She mentioned taking an extension cord and a power strip. Please let your readers know that some cruise lines do not allow these two items. This is for everyone’s safety. Contact the cruise line to find out what’s allowed and what is not. -- Carol S., Dayton, Ohio

Watery potato salad

Dear Heloise: Help! Every time I make potato salad, the next day it is watery. -- Barbara F., via email

Barbara, cut up your potatoes before cooking them, and let them completely cool off afterward before adding dressing. Hot potatoes give off steam and contribute to the watery problems. You also might consider using russet potatoes, as they tend to be drier. Don’t use a “light” mayonnaise, because it usually is thinner. -- Heloise

Cast iron restoration

Dear Heloise: My mother gave me a cast iron skillet that has rust spots on it. How can I clean it? -- Gwendolyn in Arkansas

Gwendolyn, the best method for cleaning a rusty cast iron skillet is to use a nonmetallic scrubber to remove the rust, then wash afterward with a mild soap, making sure to rinse well and dry with a clean towel. Re-season the skillet by coating it (inside and out) with an unsalted vegetable shortening. Place the greased skillet upside down on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool, then remove excess grease with a paper towel. -- Heloise