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Dream or money pit?

Remember your first house? Was it a dream come true or a money pit? For our upcoming Home Buyer's Guide, we'd like to hear from you. Tell us the lessons you learned from that first house, what made it special, for good or ill. Send your essays _ please keep them to about 350 words _ to First House, c/o At Home, the Times, PO Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731. Deadline is Oct. 19.

Fall home show

The Tampa-St. Petersburg Fall Home Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds, U.S. 301 off I-4, Tampa, will open Thursday through Sunday. More than 500 exhibitors will offer products and services to build new homes and remodel existing ones, including roof, baths, kitchens, landscaping and patio offerings. The show has attractions for children and a pet center. Hours are noon-10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon-7:30 p.m. Oct. 18. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children under 12.

Potpourri possibilities

If you think potpourri is just something that sits in a bowl smelling and looking pretty, think again. You can use the delicately dried leaves, petals and herbs to make sachets, pomanders, wreathes and decorations for hats.

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.PotPourri Crafts: More than 100 Fragrant Recipes & Projects for Every Room in Your Home by Dawn Cusick (Sterling Publishing Co., $21.95 hardback) offers instructions for these projects as well as recipes and mail-order sources. The book is available in stores or from the publisher at 387 Park Ave. S, New York, NY 10016-8810, (800) 367-9692. A shipping and handling charge will be added.

Affordable housing fair

The Clearwater Affordable Housing Fair for buyers of homes in the low to moderate price range in Pinellas County will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Martin Luther King Center, 1201 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Clearwater. Representatives from banks, credit reporting agencies, real-estate offices and community groups will discuss finding an affordable home, financing, credit problems and down payments. The Greater Clearwater Association of Realtors will have open houses of homes under $75,000 from 1 to 5 p.m. Credit bureaus will provide free credit reports. The fair is free; child care and refreshments are by reservation. Call 461-0618 in Clearwater. Deadline is Monday.

Get organized!

Messies listen up! The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has declared this week National Get Organized Week. Those who are already organized _ you were born that way, it's in your genes _ need read no further. But for the rest of us, NAPO offers the following tips:

Make appointments with yourself to get things done.

Keep only useful or beautiful things, or things you love.

Return borrowed items, have a yard sale or give unwanted items to local charities.

Put all like things in boxes or containers and label them clearly.

Tackle one area of your life at a time.

Up next:OBITUARIES

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