Haven't quite done all your Christmas shopping? Check out the Baltimore Public Works Museum Store. You'll find recycled and reasonably priced gifts, including a set of four glasses made from the lower half of wine bottles (pictured at bottom right). The word "blessings" is sandblasted on each glass in several languages. Set of four is $25.
For an earth-friendly stocking stuffer for the kids, get recycled Crazy Crayons (at right, $2.50 each), made from broken and stubby old crayons which have been melted down and molded into new shapes. All are usable crayons and come with a tree-free scribble pad.
Other cool items include recycled glass Colorstix ($6.99), which can be used as a letter opener, hair ornament or drink swirler. Or you'll find a Bicycle Mobile ($13.99), made from a copper car engine and telephone wire. There's also a Beer Bottle and Bedspring Desk Lamp (at right, $39.99), Art Glass Heart Paperweights ($9.99 each) and more.
The Baltimore Public Works Museum, 751 Eastern Ave., is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today and Tuesday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Christmas Eve. Call 410-396-5565.
Easy holiday decorations
The guests haven't arrived yet. So how about a few unusual decorating tips? The new book Ruby & Begonia's Christmas Style (Sterling Publishing, 2003, $27.95) by Sara Toliver and Jo Packham, available on the Web at Amazon.com, offers an array of suggestions. Here are a few:
* Make your own decorative Christmas domes by placing beads, small photographs, flowers or ornaments under a bottle-green glass dome.
* Reproduce vintage holiday cards and reduce them for hanging on the tree. Or pin them above doorways.
* Place floating pinecone candles in metal containers and set throughout the house (pictured above right).
* For unique place cards, paint those big, individual Christmas lights, then with a small brush, print the guest's name in white letters.
* In addition to holiday garland, hang other decorations from your chandelier, including cranberry garland, ornaments and candy canes.
Stumped by how to wrap that grill for your hubby? Or those perishable homemade goodies for your neighbor? And that puppy simply won't allow a bow on her head?
OK, so you need a little help with the gift-wrapping. Well, this year there's the Scotch Brand Gift Wrapping Tips Hotline. Gift-wrapping experts will answer calls, offering tips on wrapping odd-shaped presents. The hot line is open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Christmas Eve. Call 866-HOW-2-WRAP.
* You know you need another ornament. So stop by ARTFX, 45 West St., Annapolis, through Christmas Eve to find handmade holiday ornaments from more than 20 local artists. Pictured are painted fabric fish by Marcia Scheeter. Open 1 p.m.-6 p.m. today, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Christmas Eve. Call 410-990-4540.
* In celebration of its grand exhibit Eternal Egypt, the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., has a gift shop devoted entirely to items relating to the exhibit. Find mummy-theme gifts for everyone on your list. Or browse the main gift shop for other toys, books, frames and more. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Tuesday. Call 410-547-9000.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Lori Sears, 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.