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Painted shadesKathy Ward is painting stars and...


Painted shades

Kathy Ward is painting stars and squiggles on a soft pink and lavender voile shade as she talks about InteriArt, her new studio-store in Fells Point. Here she creates unusual window treatments, original floor cloths, whimsical designs for children's rooms and painted furniture. Her 2-year-old daughter, Breezy, is playing quietly at her feet. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Ms. Ward is equally at home creating painted vintage jackets or designing unique walls and cupboards.

"Usually people don't know exactly what they want," Ms. Ward says. "Often they've seen my shades and come to me with bare windows. I go to their house and then make up samples of what I'm going to do."

Because she works so much in other people's homes, her shop at 1735 Lancaster St. is open regularly only Mondays and Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m. "Otherwise it's by chance and appointment," she says. For more information call (410) 276-4964 or (410) 675-9478. A summer peach is one of life's sweet pleasures -- but so is a decorative peach made of peach-colored velvet. Or gold lame apples and pears to use as Christmas tree decorations.

Baltimorean Connie Matricardi has designed a pattern for a variety of ornamental fruits, her first for Simplicity. It's being featured in the August issue of Good Housekeeping as a giveaway. (To get it, you use a coupon from the magazine.) You can also buy #7934 at any fabric store that sells Simplicity patterns. For $7.50 you'll get instructions on how to create fabric peaches, apples, lemons, pears and more.

Ms. Matricardi had a small wholesale business making puppets and pillows that she sold to craft shops. "But I decided I wanted to design, not mass produce, even on a small scale," she says. So she approached Simplicity with several of her craft patterns. (She had sold other designs to women's magazines, but this is her first for a pattern book.) Even if your idea of an exotic plant is an African violet, you'll find something to love at the Cylburn Arboretum's Exotic Plant Sale on September 12.

"We call it the Exotic -- and Other -- Plant Sale," says Adelaide Rackemann, chairwoman of the sale, which is sponsored by the Cylburn Arboretum Association. Although you'll find rare breeds there, "It's mainly a good chance to buy good plants from a lot of different nurseries, dealers who are considered the best people around."

About 20 dealers from Maryland and adjoining states will offer perennials, house plants, shrubs, ornamental grasses, trees and cactuses.

The sale will held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. The arboretum is located at 4915 Greenspring Ave. Parking and admission for the sale are free. Call (410) 367-2217 for more information. You may be tempted to break a machine that says, "You have gained five pounds. Have a nice day." But the Technasonic Weight Talker-III is actually a wonderful scale for people with low vision or the elderly -- or just someone who loves gadgets. It's good-looking and extremely easy to program and use. Its pleasant voice will announce your weight in pounds or kilograms and will end by saying "goodbye" or "Have a nice day." Your choice.

You can buy Weight Talker for $100 at Brookstone in Owings Mills Mall and Towson Town Center. The store has carried other talking scales before, but this is the first with a memory function. Choose a personal number between one and five, push that button, and the machine will remember your weight from weigh-in to weigh-in. (You can turn the Weight Talker's memory function off, if you find it less depressing just to know your current weight.)

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