Floral designYou've never seen a flower shop...

Floral design

You've never seen a flower shop quite like Poise & Ivy in the Village of Cross Keys. That's because owners Suzanne Rafferty and Andie Scarlett are floral designers, not primarily florists, and work as much with dried and silk plants and flowers as fresh. "Imagination -- that's what we're really selling," is how Ms. Scarlett puts it.


Their tiny shop, open about a month now, is wildly creative, full of grapevines, gilded artichokes, petal balls, presents wrapped in moss and tied with ribbon and unusual, whimsical topiaries -- as well as the poinsettias, holly, wreaths and Christmas cactuses you expect this time of year. The big hit of the season is a free-form moss-covered Russian snow goose with ribbons for a scarf, selling for $20.

People can buy the items on display or get ideas for special orders (although the shop is so popular the stock is getting a little low, says Andie Scarlett).


Poise & Ivy is located in the kiosk in the main square. Holiday hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

With the March-April issue, you'll see a Metropolitan Home that has a new owner and a new editor-in-chief. The trend-conscious shelter magazine, whose target audience is young, upscale city dwellers, has been bought by Hachette Magazines.

Donna Warner, the new editor-in-chief, hastens to point out that changes will be minimal. Nine of the 10 staffers who helped develop the magazine from the beginning have moved to the new editorial offices. All the popular columns will be kept, like "Dr. Swatch," "High/Low" and "Ask David." The biggest difference is that Met Home will now be published six times a year instead of 12, with, Ms. Warner hopes, much bigger issues.

Donna Warner joined the staff of the magazine in 1976 and was most recently editorial design director. When asked what changes she's personally interested in making as the new editor-in-chief, she laughs. "Nothing radical. I love renovation, food, design, gardening. If I have my way, I'll have a garden in every issue!"

If you're really stuck for a holiday present, you can almost always make someone happy with a framed photograph of a beloved grandchild, a favorite spot, a significant other. And even if you don't have the photograph, you can give them a beautiful frame and let them fill it.

For one of the best selections of art frames in Baltimore, head straight for Valley Framing in Belvedere Square. You'll find ceramic frames, some whimsical, some simply decorative, filigreed frames from Taiwan, exotic wood, majolica, handmade frames from a New Mexican artist and much more. Prices range from $5 for miniatures to $150 for sterling. Some of the frames are filled -- with antique prints, perhaps -- and Valley Framing also does custom framing. (Not in time for Christmas, though, at this point.)

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (410) 433-0730. Ah, the frustrations of the holiday season. A national survey conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation found that people rank untangling Christmas tree lights as the most annoying decorating chore (48 percent of those surveyed), followed by cleaning up pine needles (23 percent) and sorting through last year's decorations (10 percent).

Enter Philips Lighting Company with its Tangle Free lights to make things a little easier. Their patented flat-wire design prevents the cords from twisting and tangling. The sets include a patented socket-locking feature that keeps bulbs from working loose and a bulb system that keeps working when one bulb burns out.


Philips Tangle Free Christmas tree lights are only at Revco stores. They have a suggested retail price of $4.99 for a 35-bulb set (end-to-end miniature) and $7.99 for a 70-bulb set.