Posted: April 22, 2013 at 1:51 a.m.

DEAR READERS: Here is this week’s sound off, about speaking right away when you call someone.

“My request is that when a person makes a telephone call, he or she be prepared to speak when someone answers.

“When I answer the phone, I say ‘Hello,’ then I pause and listen. There is nothing on the other end. I end up saying ‘Hello’ maybe three or four times before the person speaks. This is especially true of telemarketing calls. During the time I am waiting, all sorts of things run through my mind, like ‘Has something happened to a family member?’ This is not only annoying, but also stressful.”

  • A Reader in San Antonio

I’m with you on this topic. You would go crazy in my office, with six incoming phone lines. If I had a penny for every wrong number or no voice, I could buy a new car.

DEAR READERS: Other uses for small, dome-shaped, plastic tomato containers:

As a small trash can on a craft table.

Use to start a seedling.

Hold pens and pencils in one.

Make into a terrarium.

Store cotton balls in one by the sink.

DEAR HELOISE: I would like the directions for scrubbies made out of nylon netting.

  • Barbara P. in Statesville, N.C.

DEAR READER: To make the quick version, you will need a half yard of nylon net - the 72-inch-wide kind - dental floss or strong nylon thread and a large needle. Cut three 6-inch-by-72-inch strips of the nylon net and lay them on top of each other. Using a long basting stitch, sew them together down the middle.Once at the end, hold the thread and pull the netting so that it bunches up. Wrap the thread around the center of the bunch and tie a tight knot. Trim the thread ends. Separate the layers of netting so they make the shape of a ball.

DEAR HELOISE: When there’s a frayed seam or a rip in delicate fabric that won’t accept the heat of iron-on tape, I paint the area with clear nail polish to strengthen the cloth. Then I carefully mend the area by hand with needle and thread. For extra strength, I paint more nail polish on the area after mending.

  • Ann A., Waco, Texas

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

ActiveStyle, Pages 26 on 04/22/2013