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Current / By Susan Martin

Festive touch

Here’s an idea shown in photo from Lowe’s, left, for your backyard Fourth of July barbecue: Stuff individual Ball canning jars with a red or navy bandana-print napkin and silverware for each guest and place around the picnic table or anywhere they’ll be sitting. The jars can double as drinking glasses.

Something else to keep in mind for the Fourth: Better Homes and Gardens magazine reminds readers in its July issue that rolls of Duck Tape are available in timely prints, shown right: “Stripes,” a red, white and blue curvy line pattern, and “Fireworks,” also in the patriotic palette.

Long story

Maxi dresses have been a summer staple in recent years, but maxi skirts are coming on strong this season. In solids or prints, these skirts are easily dressed up or down. Find one you love, and you may find yourself reaching for it time and time again.

One tip: Some of these skirts are available in petite and women’s sizes.

Nail it!

Negative Space. Triple Eclipse. Electric Fade. These are just three artistic designs for your fingernails from the new book “Nails, Nails, Nails!: 25 Creative DIY Nail Art Projects” by Madeline Poole (Chronicle Books, $14.95).

“For me, nail art is a form of self-expression that channels all my hobbies and interests: miniature painting, color theory, pattern, and of course fashion and beauty,” writes Poole, a Los Angeles nail stylist.

Step-by-step instructions, photos and plenty of tips on tools and techniques all can be found here.

One tip: “A plastic soda cap is handy for holding small amounts of nail polish remover, providing convenient, instant access to this crucial cleanup tool.”

Star Trek style

Gallery Books has released two titles that just might represent creative nerdvana: “The Star Trek Craft Book” and “Star Trek Cross-Stitch.”

What Trekkie hasn’t longed to whip up a faux-fur Tribble, a baby’s onesie embroidered with “The Next Generation” or a beaded portrait of Capt. Kirk?

The craft book contains instructions for 25 quirky projects including home decor items, toys, clothing and party decorations. The cross-stitch book helps you render “Star Wars” quotations, images and even likenesses of characters in needlework.

“The Star Trek Craft Book” is written by Angie Pedersen and the “Star Trek Cross Stitch,” by John Lohman. Each is priced at $19.99 in softcover.

– McClatchy Newspapers

And finally …

“I believe handcrafted tchotchkes are life-enhancing.”

Jonathan Adler, celebrity decorator/designer/author, from his “Happy Chic” series of decorating books.