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Favorite item of the week

Admit it. Even if you're sad to see summer slip away, there's something wonderful about sliding under a warm bed covering these first chilly nights of fall. It may be a down- or poly-fill comforter, a wool or acrylic blanket or even a densely woven throw of some sort.

Either way, the cocooning season has returned. And it doesn't feel so bad.

Looking for a bed covering on the sportier side this season? Be sure to check out the flannel-covered comforters or, if you want something lightweight yet mighty warm, a blanket or throw designed from polyester fleece.

Design tip

To encourage your child to put in some book time each day, set up a comfortable reading corner in the living room, den or even your own home office.

An upholstered window seat, overstuffed chair or even a stack of floor pillows will give her a place among the family to complete school reading assignments and explore her own literary interests.

Mighty mouse

It was bound to happen: the Status Mouse has arrived.

Wallace Silversmiths has come out with a silver-plated mouse for your computer, reports the Washington Post.

The mouse, which sells for $24.99 and is compatible with most PCs, can be monogrammed with three to six letters for an additional $10.

You can check out the silver-plated mouse on Bloomingdale's Web site,

Clutter busters

If your jewelry box is a web of tangled necklaces and your closet floor a jumble of shoes, consider these tips from Twist, a magazine for teens with some good organizing ideas for adults, too:

Hang a tie rack and use it to store necklaces neatly.

Load up a big beach tote with all your other purses. You'll save space by keeping them all together.

To keep track of friends' phone numbers and birthdays, take a Polaroid of each one and write their vitals under their pictures. Tack the photos to a bulletin board for easy access.

Lose the pesky shoe pile by storing footwear in a see-through plastic chest in your closet.

From the home front

"Duct tape brings everybody together. It doesn't matter if you're a multimillionaire or advertising person or newspaper reporter or stay-at-home mom. Everybody has a story about duct tape and how it saved their life."

Gary Medalis, spokesman for Manco, a company that distributes the product under the brand name Duck Tape. From Knight Ridder News Service.

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