Luxuries from Scotland
Take the high road or the low road and find an array of Scottish luxury goods for the home at www.thistleandbroom.com. Thistle & Broom, a new company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, offers a collection of one-of-a-kind fine art, crafts, decorative home items, furniture, clothing and jewelry, all made exclusively in Scotland by Scottish artisans.
Visit the Web site and you'll find the Orkney Chair ($1,509-$1,545), a hardy high-back chair handmade from rope, straw and driftwood cast ashore on the Orkney Islands. The chairs are made by Scapa Craft.
Also find the Jacobite Twist Glasses by Michael Hunter. Each glass is mouth-blown, finished by hand, and signed and dated by the artist.
Other unique items include the Traprain Dishes ($503-$809) and the Quaich Collection of cups and bowls, all made of hallmarked silver by Hamilton & Inches. You'll also find several mohair and wool throws by Calzeat, decorative Sweetheart Cushions by Greyfriars Antiques and porcelain Clansman and MacDude Dolls ($1,067), both 24 inches tall and dressed in full costume (you choose the tartan), made by Mary Buchanan of Cadadh.
In an effort to promote and restore Scotland's cultural heritage, the company donates 8 percent of all pre-tax profits to Scottish charities.
Touch-ups made simple
Paint touch-ups are supposed to be a hassle. A time-consuming ordeal. Right? No, says Rubbermaid, maker of the new Paint Buddy Touch-Up Tool, which allows homeowners to store paint and then perform quick and easy touch-ups of scuffs, nicks and marks on their walls. Users pour their leftover paint into the tool, where it stays fresh. Then, when ready for use, they simply shake it a few times, open the air lock valve to let paint flow onto the all-surface roller, then paint. No brush marks. No rusty can. No mess. When finished, users close the air lock valve, wash the roller and rinse the Paint Buddy. It's then ready for the next touch-up.
Paint Buddy sells for $10.99 at home, paint and hardware stores. Call 877-748-7546 or visit www.paintbuddy.com.
Greener on this side of the fence
Grow a greener, fuller and healthier lawn with these tips from garden expert Walter Reeves:
Know your grass and meet its needs. Some grasses need sunshine and can't tolerate shade, while others may need frequent watering, so tailor your gardening. Also, know your soil. If there is hard clay or rain erosion, grass won't grow.
Water deeply, but let the soil dry between waterings. Grass roots need water as well as fresh air.
Fertilize according to the nutritional needs of your grass. Some grasses demand more, some less. Some should be fertilized at different times of the year.
Combat weeds continually. Weeds will quickly fill bare spots, so pull weeds immediately and use weed-control chemicals sparingly.
Mow the correct amount. Never cut too much. Bermuda grass is ideal at 1 1/2 inches; fescue at 2 1/2 inches. And leave clippings on the lawn, as they provide nutrition.
See the exhibit In the Conservatory, new garden paintings by Michele Martin Taylor, through July 3 at Andrei Kushnir / Michele Taylor American Painting, 8289 Main St., Ellicott City. Pictured below is Taylor's "Conservatory 2," an oil on linen. Call 410-465-4467 for hours.
Contemporary, figurative paintings by Daniel Lawrence Brown will be on display at the Craig Flinner Gallery, 505 N. Charles St., through Thursday. Call 410-727-1863 for hours.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Lori Sears, 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.