Victorian in spiritMy favorite item at Thomas & Daughters...


April 18, 1993|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer `

Victorian in spirit

My favorite item at Thomas & Daughters, the new shop at Cross Keys, is a tiny porcelain tooth-fairy case, just big enough to hold one baby tooth. "My life is consumed with little girls right now," says owner Claudia Thomas, who has a 5-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old.

This is not, however, a children's shop. Victorian in spirit, Thomas & Daughters is filled with feminine gifts and home accessories. Here you'll find heirloom baby gifts, porcelains and linens, small home furnishings and "books and papers for women." Soon you'll be able to order larger pieces like the elegant bed near the front window. And Thomas & Daughters will be carrying several lines like Palecek, which makes beautifully crafted wicker and twig furniture.

Mrs. Thomas formerly owned the Nook and Bower, a home angarden shop in Wyndhurst Station. Her new store is located on the Village Square and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, until 8 p.m. on Thursday. The phone number is (410) 323-1919.

Vince Dowd, president of Cygnus Farms, invented a miniature greenhouse for his kitchen -- even though his family always had fresh produce available from the greenhouses out back. But they love the convenience of having salad greens, baby vegetables and herbs immediately at hand. That may seem like an extravagance; but for apartment dwellers and others who don't have outdoor gardening space, Cygnus' indoor greenhouse is a handsome and practical addition to the kitchen.

The units feature solid maple construction, a butcher block worsurface, brass hardware, a balanced lighting system and clear panels. Even the smallest greenhouse, 20 by 24 by 34 inches, offers 4 or 5 feet of growing space. (It's a three-tier system.) Because each unit is customized anyway, Cygnus is accommodating about your specific requirements as to size or materials. The greenhouse is shipped fully assembled, and the company includes a free subscription to their monthly newsletter, a 24-hour 800 number for assistance and help selecting plants. "If you want, we'll even send plants at our risk to stock it," says Mr. Dowd. Prices start at $375. For more information, call (800) 435-9053.

Everyone seems to be buying beads and making jewelry these days. Bead shops have opened up all over the Baltimore area, and now the Baltimore Bead Society is holding its first Bead and Jewelry Bazaar on April 25.

Throughout the day there will be demonstrations of such subjects as glass bead making, native American beadwork and bead identification. Over 60 artists and exhibitors will be selling handcrafted jewelry and all sorts of beads: glass and clay, antique and contemporary, and unique varieties from all over the world. A third of the exhibitors are from out of state.

The Bead and Jewelry Bazaar will be held at the Pikesville Hilton Inn from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $2.50. For more information, call (410) 752-5932. Many gorgeous design books cross a home writer's desk, wonderful to look at but not of much practical use. On the other hand, the how-to books are often references or manuals and not much else. But in gathering examples for Kitchens, author Chris Casson Madden looked for rooms that were "informational as well as inspirational." The result is a book that would be equally comfortable on a coffee table and a workbench.

The inspiration comes from superb photographs of dream kitchens that will delight everyone who feels the kitchen is the heart of the house. The information will help anyone planning to remodel or renovate.

Each kitchen is accompanied by a "spec box" that identifies everything from the architect to the materials used. Some floor plans are included. In the back is a photo guide to appliances, fixtures, lighting and the like; practical advice on planning and working with a contractor; and a directory of manufacturers and suppliers.

Kitchens, published by Crown, retails for $45.

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