Saturday, June 01, 2002

In the know

A guide to what's going on around the home

Wise buys

        Braille appliance kit: GE Appliances has designed a Braille overlay kit for GE washers and dryers to assist the visually impaired. The kit has both Braille symbols and buttons labeled in large black print on a yellow background as well as an audio tape version of the use. The kit fits GE's WNCD2050AWW washer and DNCD450EAWW electric dryer and DNCD450GAWW gas dryer. Call a GE dealer or (800) 626-2000.

        Non-stick shovel: You wouldn't think there would be much room for improvement for the basic shovel, unless you've tried to dig in sticky mud or clay. While running a construction business, Tom Sokaski of Andover, Ohio, and his workers often found themselves digging gooey, clay and mud. “I figured there had to be something that would release the sticky material more quickly and easily” than scraping. Toolite was his answer, with pea-sized holes in the blade allowing the material to relase easily and make the shovel lighter. $40-$45 at or (800) 833-2495.

Earth smart

        Termite check-up: To make your home less attractive to termites, home improvement expert Bob Vila and Bayer Corp. suggest these tips. (More at

        • Make sure there are no foundation cracks.

        • Keep firewood away from the foundation and embed wood posts in concrete when possible.

        • Keep gutters clear and make sure ground around house slopes away from the home so water can't collect at the foundation.

        • Check storage spaces for rotted wood or damage to cardboard boxes, places that may indicate termites.

In Print

        Move it: More than 43 million Americans will be packing it in and hitting the road to a new home this year, and more than 21 million will move between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Allied Van Lines has created the “Guide to a Good Move” brochure to add a helping hand with tips on having a garage sale, packing, determining the right insurance coverage for your move and preparing your children. Free. Write to Allied Van Lines, P.O. Box 9569, Downers Grove, IL 60515 and check out

On the Web

        Paint spot: The paint wizards at Benjamin Moore have put some muscle in their Web site to help do-it-yourselfers. The new Color Selector helps visitors identify the color family they want for any exterior or interior job. My Project Notebook helps plan projects room by room and includes a paint calculator and paint chooser to determine how much paint is required.

        Cedar outdoor furniture: Paul Marcus of Hopkinton, Mass., wanted finely crafted outdoor wood furniture without spending $500 or more on one piece of teak. He hired a former vice president of design at Ethan Allen and went to work with western red cedar, known for its resistance to warping and rotting when exposed to weather. But these aren't rough-hewn chunky pieces. He describes the designs as “progressive contemporary” and finishes them with a teak stain to highlight the grain. Best of all, they are priced $179-$299. For a catalog, call (877) 204-6986.



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- In the know
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