Pets and holiday decor

Dear Readers: The Christmas season is in full swing. If you have furry family members and your house is DECORATED FOR THE HOLIDAYS, please heed the following suggestions from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (www. ASPCA.org):

* Artificial flowers, holly and mistletoe may be a safer bet than the real deal. Pets can chew on live plants, and the plants can cause tummy trouble, and worse.

* Decorations on the tree are another temptation. Be sure the tree is secured in its holder, and place decorations higher up on the tree. Also, tinsel can appeal to cats especially, but ingesting it could result in abdominal distress.

* Rich, spicy, sweet and fattening foods are terrible for pets. A tiny bite could be OK, but it’s best to stick to the animal’s regular diet.

Enjoy this special time with your family — your entire family, including the furry ones!

— Heloise

PET PAL

Dear Readers: Ginger H. in Lone Oak, Texas, sent pictures of her 4-year-old English bulldog, Georgia. Georgia has somewhat of a self-portrait above her, and she loves to watch other dogs on TV — she will chase and bark at them! Ginger says Georgia has brought so much joy into the family; she is adored.

To see Georgia and our other Pet Pals, visit www.Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.”

To share your furry, funny, friendly and even feathery family member, email Heloise(at)Heloise.com.

— Heloise

THE BRUSH

Dear Readers: Good-quality makeup brushes are important to the application of a pretty look; they can really make a difference. Have you cleaned your brushes lately? You should wash them every other week to keep bacteria at bay, and it’s a good weekend project. Here’s how:

Hold the brush under cold running water, but don’t get the handle wet — you don’t want to loosen the glue.

Lather baby shampoo between your fingers, and then between the bristles for a few minutes. Rinse well.

Squeeze the brush with a paper towel to reshape it, and lay it flat to dry; don’t stand them, leaning on the handle end. They should be dry overnight.

— Heloise

JEANS ON HOLD

Dear Heloise: When I have jeans that I want to keep but they are a little too tight and I anticipate losing weight, I turn them inside out, so I won’t keep grabbing them until I get my weight back down.

— A Reader,

White River Junction, Vt.

Should work nicely for dropping a few pounds, but be careful about hoarding clothes — maybe donate clothes that don’t fit, and when you’ve lost the weight you want to, treat yourself to a new pair of jeans!

— Heloise

FOOT FACTOR

Dear Heloise: I sprinkle foot powder into the lid of a shoebox and keep the lid on the floor of my closet. I step one foot at a time into the lid before slipping into my shoes.

— Sharon P.,

Columbia City, Ind.