Dear Heloise:

I took out my wedding dress, which had been dry-cleaned and preserved (so I thought) in a box, and found a huge stain (probably wine) right down the front. I took it to a couple of dry cleaners, and none was very encouraging. Any ideas?

Laura L. Sadler, via e-mail

Laura, we took your question to our friend Jane Rising of the International Fabricare Institute. She said that it would be difficult to determine any cleaning method since there is no mention of what type of fabric the dress is.

She did, however, suggest contacting a dry cleaner that specializes in wedding gowns. You can check the backs of wedding books or bridal magazines for locations of cleaners that do this particular service.

If the cleaner you choose is a member of the IFI, it can call the institute for help in removing the stain from your wedding gown. We wish you lots of luck with this. -- Heloise

P.S. I hope your letter helps others avoid this dilemma. Always check a wedding dress before storing it away, and you should check it at least once a year.

Dear Heloise:

What to do with all those leftover hard-cooked eggs? I usually make egg salad for sandwiches, and the first thing I grab is a pastry blender. Once I've peeled the eggs, the pastry blender quickly chops the eggs to just the right size. No more cutting with a knife or bending a fork trying to mash up the eggs. Add salt, pepper, mayonnaise and a little squirt of mustard; stir, and you have the perfect egg salad.

Sarah M., Woodbridge

Dear Heloise:

While attempting a new craft using yarn and a needle, I found it impossible to thread the eye of the needle. I even bought those flimsy aluminum needle threaders with the loop, and they didn't hold up.

I went down to my husband's workshop, found his fishing pole and reel and pulled off a small length of fishing line. I made a loop and inserted it through the eye of the needle. I then put my yarn through the loop and pulled the loop with the yarn through the needle eye. It worked like a champ and didn't break.

Denise Mitchell

Hagerstown, Md.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

(c)2004, King Features Syndicate