Special sewing at the Mill CentreShelia McCormick's...

ON THE HOME FRONT

November 22, 1992|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer

Special sewing at the Mill Centre

Shelia McCormick's background is in accounting, but it's her lifelong hobby that she's turned into a flourishing business. Her first love has always been working with fabric -- sewing, quilting, making decorative accessories. Last July she opened her studio, Sew Fine Custom Interiors Inc. in the Mill Centre in Hampden. Sew Fine is a custom sewing source for interior designers; Ms. McCormick also works directly with clients.

Her specialty is decorating with an African look. She makes everything from slipcovers to shower curtains using authentic African materials like Mali mud cloth and batik. (She's also in the process of designing her own African-look fabrics, but they aren't available yet.)

This weekend Ms. McCormick is demonstrating how to make fabric rosettes and covered buttons at the Mill Centre Holiday Arts Weekend, noon to 5 p.m. The Mill Centre is located at 3000 Chestnut Avenue. Call (410) 467-7605 for more information. Here's a suggestion for value-conscious shoppers looking for home-oriented holiday gifts. The Bombay Company has a selection of unusual and reasonably priced cloisonne accessories, new this season, that would make charming presents.

Shown in the picture, the three frogs are small, $9; medium, $15; and large, $19. The corn box is $19; the card box, $25; and the set of two leopards, $35. Made of enameled metal, none of the items is larger than 4 inches. Animal figures include wooden stands.

The Bombay Company is a Fort Worth, Texas, retailer that has done very well, even in this economy, because it keeps its line of antiques-inspired furniture, prints and accessories under $500. (Most items are priced under $200.) Bombay Company stores are located in four malls in the Baltimore area: Marley Station, Owings Mills, Towson Town Center and White Marsh. If you like having your money go to a worthy cause as well as buying you something wonderful, the place to shop is Arts Unlimited for Literacy, a new arts and crafts gallery in the Mercantile-Towson Building.

Here's how it works: The artists pay a fee to show their wares, which covers administrative costs. (A panel of jurors decides who gets in.) Then 25 percent of all sales is donated to the Baltimore County Literacy Works, which helps people with basic skills like reading and filling out job applications. Mercantile has donated the space rent-free.

You'll find nine rooms of arts and crafts such as ceramics, handcrafted furniture, textiles and jewelry. There's a Christmas shop with ornaments, gifts, wooden toys and children's handcrafted clothes. Hours of the gallery, located at 409 Washington Ave., Towson, are Fridays through Wednesdays, 10 through 5 p.m., Thursdays, 10 a.m. through 8 p.m. (410) 825-0144.

The Skinflint News sure doesn't look like much. But then that's the whole point, isn't it? Back to basics. No frills. It's a monthly newsletter covering all sorts of way to save money. Tips range from how to make your own windshield-washer fluid to how to save money on credit card fees. Thrifty readers contribute stories and tips as well.

Ron Moore, who edits the Skinflint News with his wife, Melodie, says it started five generations ago in the Depression, when his large family circulated an informal skinflint newsletter. Five years ago the Moores started publishing the Skinflint News in Florida and distributing it locally. The number of subscribers has grown to around 50,000; the newsletter has gotten good press from Ralph Nader, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune; and the Moores have a money-saving ideas book coming out in February.

A year's subscription to the Skinflint News costs $9.95 (for 1issues). Send check or money order to Skinflint News, 1460 Noell Blvd., Palm Harbor, Fla. 34683-5639. For more information, call (813) 785-7759.

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