Menagerie's animals won't need to be fedThe...


Menagerie's animals won't need to be fed

The name says it all. Wyndhurst Station's newest shop, Menagerie, is an eclectic collection of gifts, home and garden accessories and country antiques, many of which have animal motifs. Here you'll find wooden folk art animals, bird houses shaped like teapots, fish candlesticks, and whimsical stuffed animals, as well as imported porcelains, hand-painted furniture, painted canvas floor cloths, decorative wood trays and much more.

"What sets us apart," says owner Margo Randolph, "is an unusual mix of the old and primitive with the bright and colorful and whimsical." Many of Menagerie's items are one of a kind, but prices are kept deliberatively affordable. Most are in the $15 to $100 range.

Menagerie, which has a bridal registry, is located at 31Wyndhurst Ave. Shop hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is (410) 435-4107.

If you're thinking of buying a water bed, you're not alone. Eighteen percent of beds sold in the United States are water beds, according to the Waterbed Council, a trade organization. But buying one may be a more complicated decision than you realize.

First you'll have to decide between a wood frame and the industry's most recent innovation, the soft-sided water bed. The latter looks like a standard innerspring mattress and fits most frames. Its water mattress is encased in foam and covered with )) quilted ticking. It uses ordinary bed linens and is easy to get in and out of.

If you opt for the classic water bed, you can buy it with wave inhibitors that reduce water movement. Or you can get the vinyl water mattress in two parts, so couples can adjust the firmness separately: the choices range from waveless to "full flotation."

Wood-frame water beds come in a variety of styles. These days you can choose from contemporary, country lodge and shaker frames.

Claudia Chappel refused to believe it when she was told she couldn't use ceramic paints like watercolors because they can't be blended. Designs on hand-painted tiles are usually outlined or stenciled on, then filled in with solid colors. But watercoloring is what Ms. Chappel does best, so she came up with a technique that creates a look of blended colors by using several different shades. One grape will contain three or four shades of purple, for instance. When she first fired her tiles, she found she sometimes lost some of the colors. Now she fires her pieces two or three times to get the result she wants.

You can buy Ms. Chappel's designs through local interior designers or kitchen design shops, or you can call her directly at (410) 653-6239. Her favorite motifs are fruits, vegetables and flowers, but she can paint birds, fish, seashells and designs to delight children. Prices range from $20 to $30 a tile. She also decorates canisters, light switches, serving dishes and clock faces made from china plates, all of which can be made to match your kitchen tiles.

Not to be missed if you love craft shows is the Sugarloaf Mountain Works Fall Crafts Festival at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Over 400 professional crafts people and artists are exhibiting, chosen from over 10,000 applications.

This is the 16th year for the show, which features juried exhibits, sales, demonstrations and live music. The craft demonstrations include glass blowing, stone carving, silk marbling, wood turning, paper making, quilt making, iron forging, wheel-thrown pottery and basket making.

To keep the kids entertained, there'll be a storytelling dress-up theater. Children under 12 are admitted free to the fairgrounds. (Parking, too, is free.) Adult admission is $6.

For more information, call Sugarloaf at (301) 990-1400.

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