Refrigerator with a voice


March 17, 2002|By Jill Kubatko | Jill Kubatko,Sun Staff

Tired of those fruit-shaped magnets and sticky notes plastered all over the refrigerator? Well, clear the door! Amana comes to the rescue with a "talking" refrigerator. At the touch of a button (above the water dispenser), the Amana Messenger allows you to leave voice messages for yourself or other household members.

The side-by-side freezer / refrigerator also keeps an eye on a variety of refrigerator functions, alerting you if the door is ajar, if the water filter needs to be replaced or if there has been a power outage.

The 26-cubic foot refrigerator retails at $1,899 in white, black or bisque and $2,199 in stainless steel. Amana Messenger can be found at most Lowe's and Sears stores in the Baltimore area. Check it out online at; type in your zip code for the nearest location.

A glow in your garden

Looking for a way to light up your life? Lark Books' new Garden Lighting for Outdoor Entertaining ($17.95) by craft maven Chris Rankin, offers 40 festive projects to brighten the night and lift your spirits.

Easy projects range from flower vase candle shades to flourless cake pan sconces to rubber-stamped luminarias and tiki torches. This beautifully photographed paperback shows you how to creatively illuminate your patio, garden, courtyard, deck, walkway, driveway or porch. Here are a couple of crafty ways to add sparkle to your deck: fill strawberry pots with river pebbles and tuck tea lights into each pocket, or string one or two mini strands of lights to the underside of an open market umbrella.

The book is available this month at major book dealers, online at and, or by calling 800-805-5489. --J.K


Move over, Mr. Clean -- Ms. Clean is on the scene. Jenny Botero, the director of housekeeping operations for Marriott International, oversees 20,000 housekeepers in 426,000 hotel rooms worldwide. Here are her tips for an easier spring cleaning:

* Stretch. Stretching can prevent pulled muscles and fatigue. Cleaning is a great source of exercise.

* Direct route. Save time by carrying cleaning items in a bucket and tidying the room in a clockwise direction.

* Squeegee. It's faster than using a towel and leaves mirrors and windows streak-free.

* Share the load. Take turns cleaning and maintaining with your family or housemates. If one scrubs the kitchen on Saturday, the other can empty the dishwasher all week. --J.K

Seat of government

Sitting never felt so presidential. John F. Kennedy and eight other presidents have sat in the Gunlocke Oval Office Chair. Now you too can ensconce yourself in a piece of history. The original custom-made chair was designed to ease Kennedy's chronic back pain, thus beginning the science of ergonomics.

The handcrafted leather chair features a solid maple frame and a firm back of foam-fill over a spring foundation. The Gunlocke Oval Office Chair is available through New York First Company for $2,490. What price for Camelot? See or call 800-581-7599 for more information. --J.K


* Union Memorial Hospital Foundation's Rites of Spring Garden Show -- featuring gardens by local designers, demonstrations, accessories, books, fashion shows and a silent auction -- will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Sunday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Proceeds benefit the hospital's nursing initiative. For information, 410-554-2662.

* The Gallery at the Potters Guild of Baltimore will be featuring the work of members Victoria Heisler, Elaine Ozol and Donna Toohey until March 30. The gallery, in Meadow Mill, 3700 Clipper Mill Road, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call 410-235-4884.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, 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.

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