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Design Notes

Keep your distance

If you are one of those people who get squeamish when eight-legged guests show up in your house uninvited, the Bug Vacuum from Sharper Image may be for you.

The Bug Vacuum is designed "to vacuum up spiders and other creepy-crawlies with arm's-length ease and return them to nature -- unharmed," reads the product description.

Feeling brave? The vacuum's interior Bug Habitat has a built-in magnifier that provides a close-up look -- "great for budding naturalists!" The vacuum adapts for different sizes of bugs and offers three levels of suction power.

The cost: $25. Available at Sharper Image stores and online at www.sharperimage.com.

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To read

New in the publications world is a magazine called Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival. Its mission, according to the Web site www.artsandcraftshomes.com, is "to offer expert advice and perspective for those building, renovating or furnishing a home in the Arts and Crafts spirit" and to "celebrate the revival of quality and craftsmanship."

Arts & Crafts -- both the furniture and the philosophy -- has been making a comeback since the early 1990s.

"The turn-of-the-century Arts & Crafts movement is gaining popularity again as more people realize they can enjoy smaller homes with upscale comforts. In fact, you see these bungalows on many of today's TV sitcoms," reports Knight Ridder Newspapers.

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Design tip

Furniture shopping? Here is a practical reminder from Home and Garden Television: Always check the dimensions of hallways, stairs and door widths leading to the space you plan to put your new furniture.

"This is the eternal challenge for the homeowner, being sure the entrance and egress of the room is large enough for potential purchases. Choosing a piece of furniture that can't fit through the doors is disheartening, to say the least," write the creators of hgtv.com

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Burn, baby, burn

Cleaning your fireplace is a messy job, but here is the good news: It's a calorie-burner. The chore burns 77 calories in a half-hour (based on a 150-pound person), reports Knight Ridder Newspapers.

And here is a tip on cleaning it, from The Maids home cleaning services: "Wash fireplaces with a 5 0/5 0 ratio of water and vinegar to remove the blackened soot on glass front doors. If the doors have a spring-loaded clip, remove it, then take out the doors. Lay them flat on newspapers, spray with the vinegar/water solution and soak. Wipe it off with newspaper."

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And finally . . .

"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides."

Author W.E. Johns

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