Approaching the supermarket checkout line, we were transfixed by these confident headlines: "Decorate with junk," and "Pickles: Yes you can!" Mesmerized, we picked up the publication, bought it -- and couldn't put it down.
It's Natural Home, a relative newcomer to the world of shelter magazines, and one with a twist: It showcases eco-friendly content -- a wealth of practical information about home, garden and leisure activities (including where to find delicious organic meals in Paris) -- through beautifully designed layouts that feel at once contemporary and tranquil.
The current issue gives advice about choosing a healthy mattress, explains how to get a chair upholstered with organic fibers and dyes, and profiles beautiful dwellings that prove one needn't sacrifice beauty to live an environmentally conscious life.
For articles from the current issue, and links for information about anything from building materials to feng shui to travel (who knew that a "Green" Hotels Association exists?), check out the magazine's Web site, www.naturalhomemagazine.com.
Natural Home, published six times yearly, is available for $4.99 at some whole-foods stores, newsstands and bookstores, among them Fresh Fields, Borders Books & Music and Barnes & Noble.
Calphalon tries stainless steel
Calphalon, one of the grande dames of professional-quality cookware, is introducing Tri-ply, a line of 18 / 10 stainless steel cookware. As one would expect, the sleek pieces offer even, efficient heat conductivity, triple-riveted handles that stay cool to the touch, and -- an added bonus -- the pieces are dishwasher- , oven- and broiler-safe.
Experienced cooks know that the highly reflective surface of stainless steel cookware helps one monitor color changes while, say, caramelizing onions or coaxing a sauce. But Calphalon shrewdly branched into stainless steel for one more reason: The line blends with the stainless steel accents popular in so many contemporary kitchens.
Prices for the Tri-ply line range from $40 to $150 for open stock; the 8-piece set sells for $300, and the 10-piece for $400. Tri-ply is available at area Bed Bath & Beyond stores and will be sold at Hecht's, Linens 'n Things and Macy's. -- J.K.
Portable greenhouse effect
Although much of Maryland typically stays warm well into October, it's not too early for the avid gardener to think about ways to extend the growing season.
Gronhaus offers a line of portable residential greenhouses that cover from 12 to 60 square feet and can be set up in 30 minutes or less. They are tested to withstand winds up to 50 mph, have a three-year warranty and feature rust-resistant frames.
Gronhaus' portable greenhouses are priced from $130 to $400. For more information or to order, log on to www.gronhaus.com or call 800-317-7225.
* How does one know whether the items in the attic are junk or antiques? The Carroll County Historical Society is sponsoring a discussion by appraiser C. Robert Harrison about why, and how, to have an object appraised. The event, at Church of the Ascension, 23 N. Court St., Westminster, will begin at noon. Participants should bring lunch; beverages and desserts will be provided. Admission is free for members of the society and $2 for nonmembers. To reserve a space or for more information, call 410-848-6494.
* The Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden gives visitors a Maryland in miniature: the 5-acre site includes a representation of a Western Maryland forest, a streamside environment and an Eastern Shore peninsula. Visit Sept. 10 to celebrate the gift shop's 15th anniversary; a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony will launch a weeklong sale of garden-related items. The Tawes Garden is at the triangle formed by Rowe Boulevard, Taylor Avenue and Sachs Drive in Annapolis. For more information, call 410-260-8189 or log on to www.dnr.state.md.us / publiclands / tawesgarden.html. -- J.K.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Mary Corey, 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.