Give 'em the slipSlipcovers have become fashionable...


Give 'em the slip

Slipcovers have become fashionable as a casual, comfortable look and a less expensive alternative to reupholstering. But now there's a less expensive alternative to custom-made slipcovers, the Sure Fit Casual Slipcover.

No sewing is involved. You just drape and tuck the fabric over your chair or sofa and secure it with a separate, matching elastic skirt. It's easy to put on and inexpensive.

You can choose from 50 different patterns with coordinating accessories such as pillows and valances. The looks range from traditional florals to contemporary. The slipcovers are machine-washable and made from a blend of cotton and polyester.

Chair covers cost $40; sofa covers, $70. They are available through Caldor, J. C. Penney, Spiegel, Domestications and Bradlees.

Five beautiful homes, from a Victorian Italianate farmhouse to a grand French provincial mansion, are only part of the attraction of today's Potomac Country House Tour. There will also be an art gallery, the Cottage Shop gift shop, the Hunt Cafe for lunch, a dessert bar, a quilt raffle, the Country Kitchen, where homemade preserves and baked goods will be sold, and an antique car display.

This is the 38th year the tour has been sponsored by St. Francis Episcopal Church, 10033 River Road in Potomac. Tickets are $12, available at the church. Hours are noon to 5 p.m.

The houses are each quite different, all beautifully decorated. Besides the farmhouse and mansion, you can visit a distinctive home that reflects the owners' love of the American Southwest, a dramatic Georgian colonial, and a house whose magnificently landscaped lot is as much an attraction as the elegant interior.

For more information, call (301) 365-7500.

Vanessa White specializes in vintage linens, and she reconditions them with a secret formula she developed herself to lift out stains. It's so effective, she says, her lawyer has advised her not to reveal it. "Vanessa, it would be suicide," he tells her.

Vanessa White is the owner of Vanessa's Vintage Treasures, at 1132 S. Charles St. Besides linens she sells dishes and glasses from the '40s and '50s -- her favorite period. "Actually, I like anything but modern," she says. "If you want modern, go to Macy's."

She has a set of brown plates with big red chickens on them from the '40s. "I haven't put them out yet," she says, laughing, "but people will go wild when I do!" You'll find funky-colored planters, flour sifters, Fire King glassware (the forerunner of Pyrex) and other vintage kitchenware. Ms. White loves decorative animals and florals, and they're amply represented on her stock. She also occasionally has small pieces of furniture, but they always go quickly.

Vanessa's Vintage Treasures is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The phone number is (410) 752-3224.

Did you know that a household cleaner like Fantastik or Mr. Clean can help remove felt tip pen marks on your clothes? Or that chewing gum should be rubbed with ice before you pry it off with a dull knife? Or that you can treat grass stains with alcohol?

Maytag's Stain Removal Guide offers these and many more tips for removing spots from washable fabrics. It's been redesigned as an easy-to-read reference chart that can be hung up in your laundry room.

Besides details on the "Three P's" of stain removal (promptness, patience and perseverance), the guide lists the basic steps for treating more than 30 common stains, including soaking, pretreating, bleaching and selecting the correct detergent.

The Stain Removal Guide is free from Maytag Company, Dept. 19YG, Newton, Iowa 50208. You don't even need to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to get it.

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