Eclectic discoveries at Collections Etc.
Barbara Shapiro and Ann Jacobson are professional shoppers. For six months they attend gift and craft shows, comb the area for antiques and collectibles and put together a collection that reflects their eclectic tastes. The result is Collections Etc., and twice a year they rent a space in the Cross Keys Inn, set it up as a shop and put on a three-day sale.
It started when the two realized there are few stores around that sell both antiques and new gift items. "Friends and neighbors were always asking me, 'Where did you get that?' because they liked my things," says Ms. Shapiro. Her things this year include unusual cocktail napkins, glasses with twisted stems, candlesticks and trays, handmade perfume bottles and antique chairs. The women keep an eye out for things that are inexpensive as well as wonderful; their prices run from $4 to $1000.
Hours for the sale, which will be held in the Village Square Room, are 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, and 10:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Your house is blooming with Easter lilies, hyacinths, tulips and daffodils for the holiday. They look wonderful, but do you know how to keep them that way? Alison Webb, designer and consultant for Rutland Beard Florist, has some tips.
Placing plants in a cool, bright spot will prolong flowering. Keep them lightly moist but not soggy, she says. Dehydration will drastically shorten their life span.
Once they finish blooming, you can try to plant them outdoors in late April or early May, but Ms. Webb warns this isn't always successful. Forcing blooms for a holiday can take a lot out of a plant, she says. Only Easter lilies can be counted on to bloom year after year when you put them outdoors. Gift azaleas are pretty but usually not hardy enough for this climate. Plant them in a sheltered location and don't be surprised if they don't survive.
"Think of flowering plants as exceptionally long-lasting cut arrangements," Ms. Webb suggests. "That way you won't get distressed if you decide to keep them for four to six weeks and then throw them away."
This is the yard sale to end all yard sales. The American Society of Interior Designers, Maryland Chapter, holds it once a year with items from local designers and their suppliers. You can find fabrics -- samples or discontinued lines -- for $2 or $3 a yard that originally cost $75 or $100. Furniture from remodeled showrooms or model homes is on sale at bargain prices, along with furnishings like bedcoverings and draperies donated from decorator show houses. Designers' "bloopers" -- sometimes wonderful merchandise that wasn't what the client wanted -- ends up here. But the backbone of the event is donations from local designers and businesses.
The sale will be held Saturday and April 18 at the David Edward Company manufacturing plant. It's located one mile off Interstate 95 south at 1407 Parker Road. (Take the Caton Avenue exit, then left on Benson Avenue behind St. Agnes Hospital.) A $2.50 donation to benefit HERO will be collected at the door. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (410) 685-8415.
Since the energy crisis of the '70s, builders have gotten better at creating tightly sealed houses, and owners have become more conscientious about making their homes energy-efficient.
Ironically, that's caused a new problem: air contaminants trapped indoors.
It's easy to deal with indoor air pollution if you know what's wrong, but until recently testing for the major contaminants has been time-consuming and expensive. Now a local company, Enviroskope, has come out with a kit that analyzes indoor air for five of the most common pollutants. It's not difficult to use, and at $49.95, it's relatively inexpensive.
You can test for carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide and biological contaminants (mold, yeast and fungus). With the kit come current government indoor air-quality guidelines and information on how to reduce levels of the pollutants. For more information, call (301) 953-1948 or write Enviroskope at 10537 Saddlebrook Court, Laurel, Md. 20723.