Dear Heloise: When my nephew graduated from high school and I knew he was going to college, I showed up at the party with a FISHING TACKLE BOX. (He did not like to fish.)

In the tackle box, I had a hammer, several sizes of nails, a pair of pliers, a multihead screwdriver, a measuring tape and lots of screws and stick-up hangers. I also had paper clips and various paper fasteners. I threw in a few sewing supplies from my sewing room, too. When I know there is a graduation coming up, I look for items to put in the next fishing tackle box. It’s a hit every time. -- Diane S., Toronto, Ohio


Dear Readers: Dave and Denise Harner of Swea City, Iowa, sent a photo of their female yellow Labrador retriever, Nuggie. In the photo, Nuggie looks like she is winking at the camera. To see Nuggie, visit and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Regarding your tips on starting seedlings: You don’t plant seeds in dirt; you plant them in SOIL. Dirt is the stuff you get on your hands or clothes, and that you use soap and water to get rid of! -- Julian H., via e-mail

This is a great point, Julian! Most of us refer to them as one and the same, but technically there is a difference.

Soil is the earth and what we walk on. Dirt is what’s scooped up, or all that stuff on our shoes and hands. When planting seedlings, it is best to first place the small sprouts in planters or peat pots filled with nutrient-rich “dirt” before transplanting them into the ground or soil. Happy gardening! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I use a foundation that is dispensed with a pump. When it won’t pump anymore, there’s still a LOT of product in the bottle. I remove the pump tube and instead reach in with a cotton swab and apply with my fingertips from that. I get at least another week of makeup from the “empty” container. -- Cheryl B., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: You have saved me many, many miles with the suggestion that we put our new trash bags in the bottom of our kitchen trash container. I usually put at least 10 new bags in the bottom of the container. Just think of the many steps I have saved. I have been doing this for many years. Thank you for this simple idea. -- Peggy R., Sudan, Tex.

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