A gift that's a shoo-in
When friends or family members celebrate special occasions, the perfect gift is some sort of keepsake that will remind them of you and of the event, be it a wedding, a winning soccer game, a birthday or a bowling trophy.
Here's a novel idea: a Blooming Shoe from the Dollar $hort Co. in Sparks. Owner Jaye Dansicker takes a shoe from your memorable event and turns it into a floral tribute appropriate to the occasion. Flowers with tiny pins and ball spill out of a bowling shoe; pompoms and a flag grace a "Ravens" football shoe. Each shoe is custom crafted; prices range from $50 to $100. For more information, call 410-329-3644, or look for specialty shops under Marketplace at www.gotomytown.com
Sinking into a cozy spot
If you agree that the most glorious bathrooms pictured in home-design magazines are the warm and cozy ones, with claw-foot tubs, cushioned chairs and antique accessories, you'll love the new Novella corner basin from Porcher ($1,100). It combines a white bowl sink with glass shelves, a wicker storage compartment and chrome fixtures. It saves space, too, taking up just 23 inches of wall space -- in case you need to bring in two easy chairs, or that old settee from the back porch. For more information, call 800-524-9797, Ext. 199, or visit www.americanstandard-us.com.
Fine French sheets
When a company has been producing fine linens since 1845, you would expect them to get something right. That's certainly the case with the family-owned French company Tissues Fremaux, which produces the Yves Delorme line of bed, bath, baby and decorative linens. (The company recently changed its American name, Palais Royal, to conform to the European Yves Delorme.)
Its new 2001 line, a nature-inspired collection designed by Evelyne Julienne, offers tres Francais geometric-floral combinations (Camaret, with single hydrangeas and a subtle plaid), delicate florals (Morgat, in sunny yellow or fresh green, is dotted with hydrangeas), and subtle overall patterns (Aqua has an abstract vision of rippling water). Sheets start at $100 for a queen flat or $88 for a queen fitted; queen duvet covers at $196; and a pair of standard shams at $96. There's a shop at Greenspring Station, 10751 Falls Road, 410-828-4777. Or for more information or other locations, visit www.yvesdelorme.com.
For those who like their light flickering
It's hard to resist the romance of candles. Since the popularity of votives exploded about five years ago, there has been a huge increase in the types and quality of candles and candle holders for the home. In fact, the variety can be confusing. How is a pillar different from a taper? A tea light from a votive?
Wally Arnold, founder of the candle and candle decor shops called Illuminations, offers assistance with his new book, "Illuminations: Living by Candlelight" (Chronicle Books, 2000, $19.95). Besides offering advice for using candlelight in specific locations, such as bedroom, dining table and bath, he covers holidays, picnics and general home display. Some of the most beautiful photos (by Sean Sullivan) depict outdoor settings. There's plenty of practical advice, too, such as this for votives: "Go for the biggest effect you can imagine with as many votive candles as you think you'll need, and then double the number. You can never use too many."
Available at booksellers nationwide, or visit www.chroniclebooks.com. There's a shop in Towson Town Center, Suite 3350, 825 Dulaney Valley Road, 410-828-9602.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, 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.