Mystique of glass is clear
If you stop and consider it, glass is still pretty much a miracle. Versatile, practical, beautiful, mysterious and fragile, it has captured the imagination since the ancients learned the secret of persuading silica -- basically sand -- to hold a shape.
Because it is so fragile, glass is especially precious when it's old. Surviving examples tell much about the life and times of the people who made it, and the people who used it. For, even into the early 19th century, glass was considered something of a luxury item.
A new exhibit at Homewood House, on the Johns Hopkins University campus, offers a wide and rare look at glass items made or used in Maryland between 1785 and 1835. Tableware, mirrors, lighting fixtures, even eyeglasses, are among the things on display through April 30.
The display is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults. For more information, call 410-516-5589.
Gifts that say a lot
There's a language of love and a language of flowers ("There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray, love, remember," poor, mad Ophelia trilled) -- but did you know there's a language of gifts? So says a new book by Deanna Washington, "The Language of Gifts" (Conari Press, 2000, $16.95).
The book includes sections on how to shop for a gift or enhance one you've already bought, and what certain gifts mean. (Read this section carefully, as it seems questionable that a mother or someone older than 50 would immediately appreciate receiving a goat, even if it is supposed to represent vitality and sacrifice.) The section on gems might appeal more: Mother of pearl is appropriate for a baby shower or someone in love. Diamonds, surprisingly, are said to be excellent holiday gifts for lawyers and mediators to "ensure victory in conflicts." -- K. M.
* Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was noted for designing every aspect of a residence, down to the lighting fixtures, furniture and stained glass windows. You can see windows from the Darwin D. Martin House, built between 1903 and 1907 in Buffalo, N.Y., at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street N.W. in Washington. Exhibits include windows, doors and skylights, including the noted Tree of Life window. The exhibit runs thorough Aug. 20. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, call 202-272-2448.
* If plants in your garden often seem not to thrive, maybe it's because they're not in the right place. You can find out what does best where in the garden from the staff of Valley View Farms in a lecture at 11 a.m. Saturday. Valley View is at 11035 York Road in Cockeysville. For more information, call 410-527-0700.
Maryland design winner
A stone cottage in Kensington has won a Southern Home Award from Southern Living magazine, based in Birmingham, Ala. The house is one of five winners -- out of 200 entries -- featured in this month's issue of the magazine. The annual contest is designed to foster excellence in residential designs, and architects, homeowners, builders and other design professionals can submit projects.
The Kensington stone cottage features a new two-story addition that blends seamlessly with the older home. The architect, Greg Wiedemann of Bethesda, found the quarry from which the original stone came, so the addition, which extends from the front of the house, matches the stone of the original cottage.
The deadline for entry in the 2000 Southern Home Awards program is May 31, 2000. For more information, send a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope to Southern Home Awards, Southern Living, P.O. Box 523, Birmingham, Ala. 35201. Or call Erin Broussard at 800-366-4712, Extension 6358. You can also check the Web site at www.southernliving.com. -- K. M.
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.