Luxury on laundry day
Smith & Hawken linen-care products are so luxurious they'd be branded decadent if they weren't ultimately so practical. The scented, demineralized water for ironing makes one feel in league with Marie Antoinette or Emma Bovary. The water is accompanied by mild detergent and fabric softener, and the three are packaged in elegantly simple one-liter bottles and presented in a quintessentially French string market bag. Safely washing one's unmentionables was never so pleasant.
Available in lavender and sweet orange, the sets sell for $39 at Smith & ooooHawken, 1340 Smith Avenue, oooooooo410-433-0119.
Sultry summer clay
With warm weather upon us, thoughts turn to outdoor entertaining: sultry evening parties against a pulsing soundtrack of Brazilian music, peaceful Sunday brunches on the deck, even a pitcher of iced tea shared with a friend under a shade tree.
The Potters Guild of Baltimore's exhibition, "Clay Steps Out For Summer Entertaining," allows ample time to prepare for outdoor living. The exhibition and sale showcases fountains, garden sculpture, planters, tea sets and garden lanterns crafted by guild members.
The oldest organization of its kind in this area, the Potters Guild is housed in historic Meadow Mill, 3600 Clipper Mill Road. The exhibition will be on display through June 30, and gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 410-235-4884 or visit www.potters guild.org. -- J.K.
Stained-glass lamp: Just screw in a light bulb
Certain inventions make you want to track down the inventors and find out exactly what in their circuitry led them to the drawing board. The stained-glass light bulb from General Electric is one.
Think of it as the restrained, grown-up version of the gaudy bulbs that college students once used to cast lurid red or green palls over parties (why did we think that was festive?). GE's 25-watt bulb consists of 25 or more hand-painted "panes" of color, and fits in a standard light socket.
Results are best when you use it in a lamp with a relatively translucent white or ivory shade. And although our test didn't quite produce the effect of a Tiffany-style lamp, as the GE literature optimistically suggests, the bulb cast a pleasantly mellow, bejeweled glow.
GE's stained-glass bulbs are available for between $4 and $5 a pop at area mass merchandizers. -- J.K.
* The Baltimore Watercolor Society's 116th annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Watercolor Exhibition will be on display through May 26 at Strathmore Hall Arts Center, 10701 Rockville Pike in North Bethesda. Nearly 100 works, selected from more than 500 submissions, will be on display and for sale. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 301-530-0540.
* It wouldn't be spring without the Flower Mart at Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore (right). Grab a lemon stick and check out the flowers, gardening demonstration and crafts on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rain date is Thursday. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-323-0022.
* Gardeners who are tired of seeing their handiwork wind up as carry-out for wildlife can speak with a representative from the Department of Natural Resources about repellants to keep animals away from shrubs and flowers. The seminar will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at Valley View Farms, 11035 York Road, Cockeysville. For more information, call 410-527-0700. -- J.K.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Mary Corey, 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.