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BRUSH STROKES: Ever since the art of faux finishes was introduced to the masses, we've been buying books, kits and videotapes with step-by-step instructions. But not all looks - such as marble, stone and adobe - go with all decorating themes and that's where Canadian interior design expert Debbie Travis has a corner on the market. In her new paperback book, ``Debbie Travis' Painted House'' (Clarkson Potter; $19.95), Travis explains which paint colors and techniques go best with your decor. For instance, if you love that Shabby Chic look of old white furniture, she suggests a color wash or fresco finish using shades of white, cream and pastels. Rooms with a Zen or Eastern theme are more exotic, calling for ragging, bagging and gilding finishes using jewel tones of red, blue, ochre and gold, while country kitchens with pine furniture and cast-iron cookware will be enhanced by what she calls ``rustic naturals'' (red, green, yellow, blue) painted with an antique finish, stenciling and/or color washing to enhance pine furniture and cast-iron cookware. Of course, the book also goes into great detail on each painting technique.

- Barbara De Witt

WHAT COLOR WAS THAT? Anybody who has ever painted her house or kids' furniture knows how frustrating it is when it's time for a touch up. You have all these cans with paint drips over the labels and you can't remember which one was for which room. To make it easier, Rubbermaid has created the Paint Journal, a decorating organizer and reference book with all the paint details at your fingertips. It's even divided by rooms so you can write down all the specifics on paint, materials, tools and fabrics, with a special place for wallpaper samples, fabric swatches and before/after photos. A great gift for the do-it-yourselfer and/or new home owner, Rubbermaid's Paint Journal is $12.99 at Wal-Mart in Valencia, Lancaster and Oxnard. For more information, call (800) 253-7856.

- B.D.

GIVE IT AN EDGE: Dull scissors, knives and clippers can make your work a real chore, and those old-fashioned sharpening stones are a pain to use. A handy alternative is the new compact portable Super Sharpener No. 1. The little lightweight sharpener has an ergonomically designed handle and a blade safety guard to protect fingers and knuckles, with diamond-ground tungsten carbide inserts to sharpen both sides of the blade at the same time. It's even good for serrated and electric knives. Super Sharpener No. 1 is $6.95 at Home Depot and other home improvement stores.

- B.D.

GETTING STARTED: It may be midsummer, but it's not too late to learn about saving water with a California native plant garden. To get you started, the Theodore Payne Foundation is offering a two-session workshop Aug. 17 and 24. It's a hands-on workshop so bring garden gloves and plenty of ideas for planting your own garden. Classes are from 9 to 11 a.m. at 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley. Fee is $40. For more information, call (818) 768-1802.

- B.D.

NATURE WALK: Take time to smell the flowers - and learn what they are - at 10 a.m. Tuesday when Canoga Park horticulturist Tom Hayduk leads a botanical tour of the Soka University of America Botanical Research Center and Nursery and the John and Juliana Gensley Native Plant Demonstration Garden. The walking tour is free, but you'll need reservations, which can be made by calling (818) 878-3763. Rain cancels. The school is located at 26800 W. Mulholland Highway, Calabasas.

- B.D.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 10, 2002
Words:608
Previous Article:IN THE GARDEN IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, PLANT, PLANT AGAIN.
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