Dear Heloise: Information about RETIRING FLAGS via cremation by funeral homes recently was published in one of your columns. I am writing to tell you about Stars for Our Troops.

Flags are sent to Stars for Our Troops from all over the country. The canton (blue) area is removed and washed, and then the stars are cut out and placed in a small pouch with a note to let our military know that they are not forgotten.

These stars are placed in care packages going to our military who are currently serving. Stars also are given with thank-you cards to our veterans in veterans hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

There are Star Parties going on throughout this great country. It is a great project for any age. Families find it a great “family time,” and they learn about our country, flag and military. -- Susan Wells, organizer, Stars for Our Troops

Dear Readers: I called Susan to find out more about this wonderful organization. What a heartwarming effort she and volunteers all across the country do, repurposing a flag that otherwise would have no further use. To learn more and find out how you can help, visit To donate a flag, send it to: Susan/Stars for Our Troops, Gettysburg Flag Works, 715 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush, NY 12061. -- Heloise

P.S.: I told her she probably will be swamped!



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: When I travel, I look for Christmas ornaments to put on my tree. They were impossible to find in some places. While at Niagara Falls, I noticed a key chain decorated with a boatload of passengers dressed in rain gear -- so cute!

I bought a small, artificial Christmas tree. The key chains slip easily on the branches. My little tree is now covered with key chains from Italy, London, India, etc., and it gets more attention than my large, 7 1 / 2-foot tree! -- Phyllis W. in California


Dear Heloise: Thanks for printing the advice from blind dog owners. Our dog is a large 13-year-old in good health for her age, but she was rapidly becoming deaf.

We learned to still talk but also use hand signals at the same time. Facial expressions and eye contact are important to dogs, especially those who really know and trust us. She caught on to the hand signals right away. -- A Reader, Bellaire, Tex.

Good for you and her! Yes, dogs can “read” facial and body expressions! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I try to find ways to cut down on dirt but not my time. After my third child, I started keeping pacifiers in small, plastic condiment cups. It keeps them free from lint and snack dust in the bottom of my purse and the diaper bag, along with making them easy to find in a pinch. -- Leslie in Indiana


Dear Heloise: To dust my keyboard and the back of the computer, I use my old but cleaned makeup brush. The bristles can get into the tiny, hard-to-reach crevices. -- A Reader, via e-mail

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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