Turn silk scarves into bed clothing
We just love Craft, a quarterly publication out of California devoted to the burgeoning DIY trend. It's full of crafty ideas you wouldn't have learned from your mother, unless she was exceptionally cool. If you've got a great collection of vintage silk scarves filling up a drawer, get them out and turn them into this funky bedspread. Of course, your creation could be downright elegant, depending on the scarves you choose. If you can sew a straight line, you can do this, and probably in time to make a cheap yet really special Christmas gift. Get the details in the magazine or at craftzine.com.
New look accompanies new ideas from 'CR'
Consumer Reports this month landed on our desk trumpeting a new logo and a cleaner, more contemporary design. Now, we'd happily take our CR info scrawled on the back of a cocktail napkin, that's how much we depend on it. But kudos are due; it does look sharper, and the ratings are easier to parse. Some of our favorite features in the September issue: How to buy a suitcase fit to dodge those nasty checked-bag fees at the airport; an investigation into whether those Energy Star labels mean anything at all; and why it's so smart to buy a used car. The single issue is $5.99 at newstands, but a subscription is the real deal: $29 for the year for the print edition, $26 for the year online at www.ConsumerReports.org. (Hint: There's a lot of good info to be had for free on the site, too.)
Snap up Christmas bargains at museum
If you find yourself in downtown Tampa on Tuesday, swing by the Henry B. Plant Museum for a little taste of Christmas — at a deep discount. From 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., all merchandise is half off at the museum's annual Christmas and More sale, including holiday ornaments, wreaths, greenery and home accessories, plus purses, linens and children's items. It will all be set out on the veranda in front of the museum, in historic Plant Hall at the University of Tampa.
Home builder will match tax credit
If you're a first-time homebuyer tempted by the $7,500 federal tax credit, Lennar Homes may have another incentive for you. Mark Metheny, president of Lennar in the Tampa Bay region, said the builder will match the first-time homebuyer credit with a $7,500 price discount on any new home that closes before Sept. 30. The $7,500 match applies to new homes priced from the $100,000s in Hernando, Pasco, Polk and Hillsborough Counties, Metheny said in a news release. Go to lennar.com for more information. Eyeing a property by another builder? See if the seller will match the Lennar deal. After all, you don't ask, you don't get.
Charlotte Sutton, Arts and Homes editor