Dear Héloïse: I often clean my jewelry while watching a movie at home. I bought a jeweler’s chamois for polishing, but a few times I couldn’t find it (my daughter used it). So, I just took some toothpaste, and with my finger, gently rubbed the paste on the gold or silver coins, then rinsed them with hot tap water. After that, I took a soft cloth and dried my pieces. Everything shone and looked clean and bright. —Rhonda E., Fort Collins, Colorado
Rhonda, yes, toothpaste will do the job in no time, but don’t do it often because toothpaste is usually a bit abrasive and can dull your jewelry over time. Also avoid this method on softer gems such as pearls, opals or jades. When rinsing your jewelry with hot water after using the toothpaste, plug the drain in the sink with the drain plug or place your jewelry in a mesh colander so nothing accidentally falls down the drain. — Heloise
Dear Héloïse: I have a very large family scattered across the United States. A few years ago, I decided to create a “Family Diary” and let the rest of the clan know how things are going with the different members. Some family members would call, email or letter with family news. Everyone loves receiving the family newsletter, which is printed double-sided on legal-size paper. This way we can stay informed about who has had a baby, who has joined the armed forces, who is graduating or starting college, and much more. I print and send it about twice a year. It’s a great way to keep in touch with our family. — Joan M., Easley, SC
Dear Héloïse: One day, I had lost the key to my house and it cost me $70 to get inside. It was early evening, and the locksmith came quickly. But, I realized that I had to do something to prevent this from happening again. I had two new keys made, one I keep hidden in my garage, and the second is attached to my dog’s collar, under his license plate. My dog only allows a handful of other people to pet him, so if any of my friends needed to come in for some reason, they could either pull him out of the garage or unhook him from my dog’s collar. dog. — Connie L., Gilbert, Arizona
Connie, I also have hidden keys. Only two other people know where they are hidden, and they are people I trust because I know where their keys are hidden! — Heloise
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Héloïse’s advice is sometimes published in Lifestyles. Readers can send a hint to Heloise, PO Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: [email protected] Letters will not receive a personal response.