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Favorite item of the week

We love the skirted table for its versatility, style and affordability. All you need to create one is some smashing fabric and a round base, both of which are available at stores specializing in fabrics and accessories for the home or through decorators. As for making the skirt, you can either sew it yourself or have it custom-made.

"Skirted tables give you an opportunity to use another fabric in your room, so instead of the hard surface of a case-good type of table, you can use something soft. They also give you the opportunity to apply trim. Trim is easily applied to the bottom of the skirt; even an amateur can apply trim using fabric glue," said Suzanne Gawronski, manager of Calico Corners in Williamsville.

You also can make two skirts in one, she said. "If you are sewing one, you can make it reversible for about the same amount of work."

That way, you can flip it for different seasons or different looks.

Or add a small square of fabric or lace over a floor-length skirt for extra panache. Top off with a round piece of glass and you won't have to worry about spills and stains.

Another idea: Slip family photographs under the glass to create a table-top collage.

Tip of the week

Do you collect paperweights or crystal figurines? You'll enjoy your prize possessions even more if you keep them somewhere they'll stay clean and still be able to be seen, writes Barbara H. Durham in her book "Clean Your House the Lazy Way" (Alpha, $12.95).

"Cabinets and etageres with glass doors are the perfect vehicles for displaying your treasures. Many even come wired for inside lighting. Store your collectibles in style," she said.

Speaking of collectibles ...

The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society is offering two workshops on turning heirloom treasures into everyday pleasures. The first, "Decorating With Collectibles," takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the society's Julia Boyer Reinstein Center. The workshop will be presented by Gail Streng, from Antiques Americana in Williamsville.

The second, "China and Glass Care and Repair," is scheduled from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at the same location. Ernest Kionke, of the Dropped Shop in East Aurora, will show examples of restored crystal and china and offer guidance on which antiques are suitable for everyday use and which are best safely stashed away.

The cost for each session is $6 ($4 for society members). Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-registration is preferred. For information or registration, call 873-9644.

Picture perfect

Metropolitan Home magazine has compiled a new book filled with the sort of heavenly photographs one would expect, but also some down-to-earth tips readers can easily adapt for their own homes.

What readers will find throughout "Metropolitan Home American Style," by Dylan Landis (Clarkson Potter, $50), is a series of easy-to-read boxes called "What the Pros Know." The same feature is regularly featured in the pages of Metropolitan Home.

For example, there's What the Pros Know . . . about painted floors: "Hire a professional to lightly sand the floor first, so no old varnish remains," the experts say.

Here's what they know about bringing flowers indoors: "For a foolproof arrangement, mix hydrangeas, roses and Queen Anne's lace; it looks beautiful and extravagant."

And about arranging artwork: "Anchor the corners first."

From the home front

"When I pictured the homes of the year 2000, I thought we would all be living in geodesic domes and the whole country would look like a lot of onions. But our houses look more like shoe boxes and are getting worse."
Mario Buatta, New York designer
By News Style Reporter Susan Martin, compiled from wire services and other sources.

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