Believe in your house and self
Its annoyingly chirpy endorsement ("as seen on Oprah") notwithstanding, House of Belief: Creating your Personal Style is one of the most exhilarating interior books published recently.
Author Kelee Katillac, an interior designer who ultimately shook hands with disillusionment, writes, "The creative and artistic impulses within my clients were finding their way to the surface but had no means of expression." Clients who were excited during the planning phase grew dissatisfied with their stylish, but barren, homes. "Intuitively we know that all things in physical form have meaning and that to surround ourselves in the personal space of our homes with things that hold no meaning is like opening our house to strangers," Katillac writes.
House of Belief presents pages of warm, idiosyncratic, beautiful rooms that emphatically express the residents' personalities and passions. They lack the fussy stiffness that characterizes so many professionally decorated rooms, and give rise to unruly thoughts about cutting one's own home loose.
To help readers unleash their creativity, Katillac offers ideas for offbeat, inspirational field trips; materials to experiment with; and, for lack of a better term, quizlets to help readers identify what they value. This liberating book suggests that each of us not only can live in beautiful surroundings, but can bring more meaning to our lives by using decor to remind ourselves daily of our beliefs and values.
House of Belief, published by Gibbs-Smith, is available for $24.95 (soft cover) at area bookstores.
Like model ships in bottles, Primal Elements soaps - big translucent bars loaded with abstract or identifiable shapes (flames, baseballs) in tantalizing colors - elicit a quizzical pleasure, and give rise to the question: How do manufacturers get those things in there?
These wonderful slabs are handmade from vegetable glycerin, so they're gentle on the skin, lather easily but rinse cleanly, and don't harm the earth. Many are made with pure essential oils and fragrances range from citrus to fruity to Oriental.
Some retailers sell the soaps prepackaged (6.8 ounces for about $7), others buy hefty loaves and cut them by the inch. Look for Primal Elements soaps at the Shoe Place, 711 W. 40th St. in Baltimore, 410-235-1852, or visit www.primalelements.com for a list of other area retailers.
Dust off your binoculars, and participate in a refreshingly low-tech - but crucial - activity: counting birds. The fifth annual Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, ends tomorrow.
During the four-day event, North American birders are asked to spend 15 minutes or more on any or all days noting the number and types of birds they see. Results are submitted via the Internet and used to create pertinent maps, graphs and charts.
For information, visit www.birdsource.org/gbbc, or call the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at 800-843-2473.
More than 850 of the country's top artisans will be featured in the the American Craft Council's annual show at the Baltimore Convention Center. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 or $18 for a two-day pass. For information, call 410-583-5401.
The Hunt Valley Antiques show will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn, I-83 and Shawan Road. Admission is $12. For more information, visit www.armacostantiques.com or call 410-366-1980 ext. 253 or 410-435-2292.
The Potters Guild of Baltimore will hold its annual half-price sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The guild is at 3600 Clipper Mill Road in Baltimore. For information, call 410-235-4884.