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Boomerang is back

Talk about retro. Formica, the laminate company, is the latest to reintroduce original patterns -- two, to be exact, reports the Washington Post.

"Boomerang," with iconic curved patterns floating against a blue, aqua, coral or charcoal background, first came out in 1950. "VirrVarr," with its spiderweb-like design in light blue or white, was created in 1958.

Renee Hytry, the senior vice president of global design at Formica, tells the Post that today's public got a look at the company's earliest designs in promotions celebrating Formica's 75th anniversary in 1988. Architects, designers and mid-century enthusiasts started asking for them, and focus groups and market testing confirmed consumer interest.

The patterns will be available wherever Formica is sold.

Banish germs

Family Circle has some tips on detecting where germs may be lurking at home -- and attacking them:

Kitchen sponge: The kitchen is the dirtiest place in most households. Clean your sponges frequently by either soaking them in a 10 percent bleach solution, rinsing with water and letting air dry; or microwave a dampened sponge on full power for three to four minutes before air drying. Replace your sponges every two to three weeks.

Bathroom toilet: Depending on the age of the commode, flushing can spray droplets of contaminated water up to 20 feet, touching practically everything in sight, including your toothbrushes, hairbrushes and faucets. Make sure you close the toilet lid before flushing and sanitize at least once a week.

Switch to liquid soap: Some bacteria can flourish on bar soap.

Protect your laundry: Your clothes might smell fresh, but if they've been washed with underwear, they might not be as clean as you think. Studies have found evidence of E. coli and other bacteria in washing machines. Wash underwear separately with some bleach. Periodically disinfect the washing machine by running an empty cycle with bleach and hot water.

On the fence

Thinking of adding a fence to your yard? You may want to check out a new book by Jeff Beneke.

"The Fence Bible" (Storey Publishing, $24.95) is a guide to planning, designing and building fences that are both functional and attractive.

Especially helpful is Beneke's tips on topics you might not have thought of, such as how the fence will affect snow removal and drifts.

Donate books

If spring-cleaning finds you wondering what to do with books you no longer want or need, here is an idea: Donate them.

Donated books are being accepted to support the Buffalo branch of the American Association of University Women's 51st book sale. Proceeds benefit scholarships and local civic projects.

Drop off books from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through May 29 at the Sheridan Plaza, 3248 Sheridan Drive, Amherst. For information, call 655-3649 or visit:

The AAUW book sale will take place June 1-5 at the Sheridan Plaza. More than 100,000 books will be available in 30 categories.
And finally . . .

"We get attached to things. They get attached to us."
Dominique Browning, editor, House & Garden magazine