Posted: November 3, 2012 at 3:27 a.m.

— DEAR HELOISE: When my nephew graduated from high school and I knew he was going to college, I showed up at the party with a fishing tackle box. (He did not like to fish.)

In the tackle box, I had a hammer, several sizes of nails, a pair of pliers, a multi-head screwdriver, a measuring tape and lots of screws and stickup hangers. I also had paper clips and various paper fasteners. I threw in a few sewing supplies from my sewing room, too. When I know there is a graduation coming up, I look for items to put in the next fishing tackle box. It’s a hit every time.

  • Diane S., Toronto, Ohio

DEAR HELOISE: Regarding your tips on starting seedlings: You don’t plant seeds in dirt, you plant them in soil. Dirt is the stuff you get on your hands or clothes, and that you use soap and water to get rid of!

  • Julian H., via e-mail

DEAR READER: This is a great point. Most of us refer to them as one and the same, but technically there is a difference.

Soil is the earth and what we walk on. Dirt is what’s scooped up, or all that stuff on our shoes and hands. When planting seedlings, it is best to first place the small sprouts in planters or peat pots filled with nutrient-rich “dirt” before transplanting them into the ground or soil.

DEAR HELOISE: I use a foundation that is dispensed with a pump. When it won’t pump anymore, there’s still a lot of product in the bottle. I remove the pump tube and instead reach in with a cotton swab and apply with my fingertips from that. I get at least another week of makeup from the “empty” container.

  • Cheryl B., via e-mail

DEAR HELOISE: You have saved me many, many miles with the suggestion that we put our new trash bags in the bottom of our kitchen trash container. I usually put at least 10 bags in the bottom of the container. Just think of the many steps I have saved.

  • Peggy R., Sudan, Texas

DEAR HELOISE: For years, I have kept an old film canister in my car that contains a pair of thin medical gloves. If I come across an accident where someone is bleeding and needs medical attention, I can grab the gloves and start helping the person.

  • Sara W. in Indiana

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or e-mail

HomeStyle, Pages 38 on 11/03/2012