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DESIGN NOTES

Favorite item of the week

People with a hankering for handicrafts will want to make room on a windowsill, fireplace mantel or bookshelf for a wooden critter or two that, with its legs dangling downward, couldn't look more comfortable.

Or at home.

The leopard shown here is from Ten Thousand Villages, 5475 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville. It was handcrafted in Kenya, along with giraffes and zebras. They sell for $14.95 each.

Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit program that provides income to Third World artisans by marketing their handicrafts in its retail stores across North America.

Gift tip

Just in time for Valentine's Day: the Junior League of Buffalo is offering gift certificates to Decorators' Show House 2001.

The gift certificate, $14, includes admission to both the "Sneak Peek" of the undressed manor on Feb. 24 or 25, and the decorated show house, April 28 to May 20. This year's show house is the Schoellkopf-Vom Berge Manor, 121 Chapin Parkway.

Gift certificates can be purchased at Junior League headquarters, 45 Elmwood Ave., or online at www.jlbuffalo.org.

Or call the show house information line at 635-8795.

Now that's cool

First came "cocktail charms" - those miniature ornaments you clip on glasses at parties to avoid drink mix-ups. Now, there's something else to jazz up your beverage.

Litecubes.

Dubbed "the ultimate party light" by its creators, the litecube looks like a lit-up ice cube but is actually a small LED light encased in nontoxic coolant gel and waterproof plastic. Initially available in yellow-amber but eventually in orange, red and green as well, litecubes created quite the buzz at the International Housewares Show in Chicago in January.

The manufacturer recommends using them along with regular ice cubes for "maximum drink-cooling power."

You can use them in hot tubs, centerpieces, punch bowls and flower vases, too. Battery lasts about 12 hours. The price: $3.99 for one, $14.99 for four-pack. Check them out at www.litecube.com

Litecubes are expected to begin showing up in stores across the country in mid-April.

Regal rugs

When it came time for President Bush to choose a rug for the Oval Office during its post-inaugural makeover, he chose one with previous experience.

No, it wasn't the $28,500 "Bush blue" carpet used by his father, according to the Washington Post. Rather, our new leader opted instead for the $49,625 terra-cotta and greenish-gray oval wool rug originally commissioned in 1988 for President Ronald Reagan.

The Reagan rug, with its 4-foot center medallion of the presidential seal and 18-inch border, measures 23 by 31 feet.

No word on whether Bush plans to eventually commission his own rug, reports the Post.

From the home front

"I tell people, if you can put your makeup on properly, you're over-qualified to faux finish."

Christopher Lowell, TV decorating maven, in the Baltimore Sun By News Style Reporter Susan Martin, compiled from wire services and other sources.

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