Dear Heloise: I’ve noticed that when I go to the store, I see lots of CANNING SUPPLIES. I guess people are starting to do it again. I have done it for years. It can be some work, but in the end, it is worth it. My family loves to come over and sample my canned items, especially the jellies and fruits.

I just wanted to say that if someone is interested in canning, he or she should buy a reliable guide first.

Some of the supplies you will need are good-quality jars, rings and seals, and a water-bath canner or a pressure canner. There also are items such as funnels, a magnet to use to remove seals from water when sterilizing, and specialized jar-holding tongs. Here are my hints:

* Never tap a metal spoon or utensil on the rim of a jar.

* When unsealing a jar for the first time, use a bottle opener to pop off the lid.

* Wash empty jars, screw a ring loosely on to protect the rim, and store upside down.

* Don’t use jars that have not been made for canning for pressure or boiling-water processing.

-- A Reader, via e-mail

You may want to be careful if you buy jars secondhand, since you can’t be sure how they were cared for. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Stephanie R. in New Braunfels, Tex., sent a photo of her cat, Big Mike, lying ever the gentleman on his favorite pillow. Stephanie says that Big Mike is the most chill cat she has ever had. To see cool Big Mike, visit my Web site,, and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: The handled toothbrushes, manual and electric, can become grimy with residue from toothpaste, etc. I use vinegar, my favorite cleaner, to wipe the surface. A toothpick can be used to clean the unreachable areas of an electric-toothbrush grip. Make certain all electric appliances are unplugged while cleaning them. -- Margarette in Texas


Dear Heloise: I enjoyed reading your laundry hints for college students. If I can add one more thing (I learned this in your column a few years ago), shake out items when moving them from washing machine to dryer, especially sheets and towels. They dry so much quicker when they are not all balled up. Love all your hints. Thank you! -- Terry in Villa Park, Calif.

A shake or two also will cut down on wrinkles. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We have a small dog who had to have surgery with stitches. I came up with an idea to avoid using a “collar” to stop her from biting the wound: I bought a child’s sweatshirt and cut off the hood and sleeves, so she could wear it and we could take it off using the zipper. Worked very well for our doggie! -- Joan Millon, Naples, Fla.

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.

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