Favorite item of the week
It's always a handsome touch when homeowners find room near their front doors for a piece of animal statuary - a stone lion, perhaps, or a goose or dog. Depending on the space, it can be a single sculpted animal - or a pair flanking the door to greet guests.
The fun part, of course, comes with the irresistible urge to dress up the family "mascot" in seasonal dress. But don't go overboard. A red scarf come holiday time will do quite nicely.
Even though the plantings may be looking rather sad, don't give up on your window boxes yet.
"Simple wild weeds or roadside grasses can be the unexpected fill that brings a tired grouping back to life for a few more weeks," write James Cramer and Dean Johnson in their book, "Window Boxes," (Artisan, $27.50).
And let pumpkins, glossy eggplants, Indian corn, wheat stalks and other seasonal favorites replace expired plants.
Speaking of pumpkins . . .
There's no telling what people will dream up next regarding the matter of faux pumpkins. For years now, we have been seeing precarved synthetic pumpkins - some with a bulb and electrical cord built right in.
And now comes . . . purple plastic pumpkins at Walmart - purple! - but that's not all. Michaels sells perfectly shaped, real-looking fake pumpkins that are actually carveable. No mud to mess up the trunk. No broken stems. No gloppy innards to drop all over the kitchen floor. No seeds to pull out, wash, bake, salt and munch on merrily.
The stone age
Funny how design book subjects run in spurts. The topic du jour appears to be stone. Within days, two new books arrived. In the first, "Stone Style: Decorative Ideas and Projects for the Home" (Storey Books, $26.95), Linda Lee Purvis shows readers how they can incorporate stones into their gardens and living spaces with everything from stone fountains to stone bookends.
"I'm drawn to stone. I love its simplicity, I'm moved by its energy and I'm astounded by its variety," writes Purvis in her introduction.
And the second book, "In the Company of Stone: the Art of the Stone Wall" (Artisan, $35), features the work of Dan Snow - an artisan who builds walls, terraces, caverns and more from you-know-what.
From the home front
"We believe that children belong in the living room, that architecture need not fight nature, that glamour doesn't have to be gaudy, and that you can never have too many fresh flowers." The editors of Home Style magazine
By News Style Reporter Susan Martin, compiled from wire services and other sources.