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Design Notes

> For fall

If you have a two- three- or four-tiered pedestal stand, create an instant fall centerpiece by piling gourds on it. Choose different shapes and sizes, and add berries, leaves or whatever else suits you.

A photograph in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine even shows tiny vases of flowers interspersed among the gourds on a four-tier stand.

> What a pair!

Designers have their names on all sorts of things these days, but here is one of the more unusual pairings to date: Betsey Johnson, known for her quirky clothes and whacky runway shows, has dreamed up three patterns for - of all things - O-Cel-O scrub sponges.

One of them - dots, leopard print or rosebuds - will be available next spring at $1.99 for a two-pack at supermarkets and elsewhere, the Washington Post reports.

> Flush of triumph

Tired of cleaning your cat's litter box? Here is an idea: Toilet-train your tabby - or other feline. CitiKitty is a toilet training kit that is getting attention on Good Morning America, the all-things-cool Web site and elsewhere.

Here is how it works: You fill the shallow plastic pan with litter and place it on your toilet (supposedly, your cat will like this idea.) Week by week, you then remove one of the inner rings which gradually reduces the overall coverage and amount of litter.

The idea is that as you gradually take the rings out, your cat will get used to the increasingly bigger hole. Once all rings are removed your cat is ready to keeps its paws on the seat, take aim and do everything but flush.

The cost: $29 at

Note: We did not try this product at home. No, we did not.

> And finally . . .

"I've got a thing for cheap bling."

-- MaryJane Butters

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