Start with 20 rare books from the 15th through the 20th centuries, add 20 contemporary artists who work in various media, and invite each to create a work inspired by one of the books. The result? "Kings, Hummingbirds and Monsters: Artists' Books at Evergreen."
To complement the exhibition at Evergreen House (an Italianate 19th-century mansion in North Baltimore, now a museum with some exceptional -- and sometimes overlooked -- treasures), rare-book librarians from the Johns Hopkins University are presenting several "Evenings in the Library," during which they'll display four of the rare books and the four corresponding recent works and lead a tour of the exhibition.
The remaining lectures will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and on Jan. 8 and 29. The series offers another rare pleasure: viewing the lovely, atmospheric Evergreen House in the evening. The cost of each lecture is $8 for members and $10 for nonmembers; reservations are required, and each lecture is limited to 50 visitors.
The exhibition will be on display through Feb. 28. Evergreen House is at 4545 N. Charles St.; for information, call 410-516-0341.
Kids can take a seat
Although Bombay Kids loses points for its nauseating insistence on 1950s gender roles -- in its catalog, the stuff for girls is primarily pink; and coy suggestions that boys are "tough as nails" and made of "frogs and snails and puppy dogs' tails" abound -- the company's new line for children showcases some knockout designs.
Among the best pieces are a scaled-down, plump club chair and loveseat; a flower-shaped throw rug with a zebra border; Indian-inspired bedding in rich hues with embroidered metallic trim; and a vanity stool with a rickety elegance worthy of a budding Tennessee Williams heroine.
The pieces aren't as reasonably priced as, say, Ikea's, but -- with no disrespect intended to the stylish, moderately priced Swedish giant -- they're more sophisticated.
For more information, visit www.bombaykids.com. -- J.K.
They have you covered
The greater number of tasks delegated, the happier the host. To that end, keep Gala Cloths' number in your Rolodex: The company offers a spectacular array of table linens to rent for any occasion.
Organzas, chiffons, sheers, damasks, brocades, tapestries, velvets and more -- if you can pronounce it, they can provide it. Gala also offers trim, buffet skirting, chair covers and napkins; custom designs; and delivery and set-up services. The company is accustomed to coordinating its services with those of caterers, florists and event planners; and -- mark this with an asterisk -- Gala offers 24 / 7 emergency service.
Rental prices for tablecloths range from $8 to $40, depending on size and fabric. For more information, visit the Gala Cloths showroom (12360 Owings Mills Blvd. in Owings Mills) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, and by appointment; visit www.galacloths.com; or call 410-526-4252 or 888-747-1144. -- J.K.
* Centennial High School presents its annual juried Holiday Mart. Nearly 140 artisans will sell crafts, home decorations and gifts from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 2. The school is at 4300 Centennial Lane in Ellicott City; for information, call 410-313-7275. And, if time permits, investigate the appealing shops in historic Ellicott City or Savage Mill while you're in the area.
* Step back in time during the Dickens Christmas Weekend on Main Street in North East: Shopkeepers will don Victorian attire (right), and carolers, other entertainment and food will be plentiful from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 2. For information, call 410-287-2658.
* Taste the combined pleasures of collecting and nostalgia as you wander down aisles filled with dolls, toys, games, books, teddy bears, miniatures and trains at the Eastern National Antique Dolls, Toys and Games Show and Sale. The event, to be held at the Montgomery County fairgrounds in Gaithersburg (take I-270 to Exit 11), will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2. -- J.K.
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.