Dear Heloise: Why are ZIPPERED PLASTIC BAGS closed before you use them? More often than not, your hands are full of something that needs to go into the bag, and it’s tricky to have to open the bag first! I say package them open in the box! -- Linda in San Antonio

Linda, I have received other letters with this same complaint. I contacted a couple of major manufacturers, and they did not have a particular reason why they come closed. It is just how they are manufactured.

I agree that it can be a nuisance to have to open the bag when your hands are full, but I like that they come closed. I think it ensures that nothing else has been in that bag before I put my snacks or leftover food in it! Think of the hassle involved with having to wash the bag before you could put anything in it! Opening the bag is a small hassle for peace of mind. -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: As I try to take better care of our environment, I remember that my mother had no plastic bags, aluminum foil, paper towels or plastic wrap.

She shopped with a canvas bag or wicker basket, covered bowls of food with saucers and small plates, wiped up spills with old towels and even lined trash cans with newspaper. I can do all those things and save money at the same time! -- Bea in Oregon


Dear Readers: Other uses for spice jars:

* As a single-bud vase.

* Fill with fish food and use to sprinkle it in a tank.

* Store a cinnamon-and-sugar mixture for toast.

* Use as salt and pepper shakers for picnics.

* Store tea lights.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have some very white cotton fabric. I would like to make it look off-white. How would you suggest I do this? -- Kathleen, via e-mail

Try soaking the fabric in tea. Take a large plastic bucket and many tea bags. After “making” the tea, put the fabric in to soak. How “strong” the tea is will determine how dark the fabric comes out.

If that doesn’t work, see if manufacturers make a dye specifically for this. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My granddaughter is a type 1 diabetic. I keep the package nutrition panels on hand for the times she is visiting and wants a brownie or frozen waffle or similar food, so that the carb content of all of her favorite foods is easily accessible. -- Carol in Washington


Dear Heloise: Fold a vintage tea towel over a colorful scarf or a man’s tie, and you have a unique apron without sewing. These often have lovely embroidery, and easily can be laundered. -- Bonnie in Indiana

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate