Miniatures make a big difference
Baltimore's Ronald McDonald House, which provides homes away from home for families who have children being treated for cancer, will benefit from some of the sales of Department 56 collectibles and giftware this season. The company produces miniature houses and other decorative items, including the Dickens Village series.
There are two new pieces being introduced: a lighted piece honoring the dropping of the New Year's ball in Times Square ($185); and an ornament featuring the first Ronald McDonald House, in Philadelphia ($16.95). Some of the proceeds from the Times Tower piece and the House That Love Built ornament will benefit the nearest Ronald McDonald House.
There are also three new gift sets, which include a lighted village piece with accessories, including snow. This year there are three-dimensional scenes inside the structures, illustrating holiday memories. The new sets go with the Dickens Village, Santa's Visiting Center and the Original Snow Village; suggested retail price is $65.
A number of retailers in the Baltimore-Annapolis area will be offering the new Department 56 items, including the Hecht Co., Watson's Garden Center and Melissa's Hallmark. To find the retailer closest to you, call 800-LIT-TOWN, or visit www. department56.com.
Keeping track of things
Registering a gift list is always fun for a bride and groom. Now Pier 1 has added a high-tech twist: a hand-held scanner that keeps track of items chosen and the number of them desired. Besides linens, glassware and tableware, couples can choose a hammock, candles, a wicker chest or any of the store's other home-furnishing accessories. The system immediately registers items purchased, and the list can be updated or altered at any time. While most lists are made by couples getting married, the registry can be used for any gift-giving occasion, including anniversaries, housewarmings and other occasions.
The registry is available in more than 750 stores nationwide. For the one nearest you, call 800-447-4371, or visit www.pier1.com.
* ZYZYX!, the art and giftware store in the Festival at Woodholme, 1809 Reisters-town Road, will be exhibiting the work of internationally known Israeli artists who work in painting, jewelry, stone and glass and ceramics. The show opens with a free reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and runs through Sunday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, painter Ilan Hasson will be visiting the store to meet customers and discuss his work. Hasson's subjects include images from Israel's landscape, and themes from the Old Testament and other Jewish texts in a colorful "naive" style (right). Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday (Thursdays until 7 p.m.) and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 410-486-9785.
* The holiday open house at Historic Savage Mill continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, with a parade of holiday trees, decorations and shops filled with gift ideas. To find the antiques and specialty shop complex, take Exit 38A off Interstate 95 to state Route 1 and follow the signs. For more information, call 410-792-2820.
* More than 80 craftspeople will offer their wares at Friends School's Holly Fest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the school's gymnasium. Jewelry, pottery and wooden toys will be among the items available. Admission is $5. The school is at 5114 N. Charles St. For more information, call 410-435-2800.
Steel and nature
Meyda Tiffany, a decorative lamp company based in Yorkville, N.Y., is celebrating its 25th anniversary by introducing the Old Forge Collection, an array of hand-forged steel products from table lamps and towel racks to fireplace screens and bookends. Prices range from about $20 to about $350.
Meyda Tiffany began with, and still specializes in, designs by Louis Comfort Tiffany, a painter and glass artist who was the son of the founder of Tiffany & Co., the New York jewelry store. Tiffany developed the opalescent glass that forever gave his name to a distinctive style of lighting. Prices of other items from Meyda Tiffany (no connection with the jewelry store) are about $30 to $2,000, with most in the $300-$800 range.
Three area retail dealers of Meyda Tiffany products are Jones Lighting in Towson (410-828-1010), The Lamp Shoppe in Bel Air (410-569-0776) and Westwood Lamp & Shade in Sykesville (410-781-4848). For other dealers or more information, call 800-222-4009, or visit the Web site at www.meydatiffany.com.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Karol V. Menzie, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.