INSIDE & OUT : Exotic Shimmer


Drawing from the patterned skins of exotic African creatures, crystal design artist Kjell Engman answers the call of the wild with his interpretation of the skins on candlesticks, vases, bowls, mugs and bottles.

The new Safari series from Kosta Boda is meant to bring a little of life on the wild side into the often restrained world of crystal design. Pieces in the series, which are handblown, have pigment powders added to the glass to create the pattern and cost from $125 to $475.

Engman, who has been associated with Kosta Boda since 1978, is known for finding new perspectives for everyday items. "The color scale is in emotional harmony with the motifs I am working on in the 1990s, particularly in portraying the supernatural," Engman said.

The Safari series can be bought at the company's Orange County store, Orrefors & Kosta Boda Crystal Galleri at Crystal Court in Costa Mesa. Call (714) 549-1959.

In Toon

Forget the usual dots, stripes and solids of kitchen and bath accessories: Toons are taking the rooms by storm.

Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Barney and Betty Rubble, Betty Boop and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are the latest cartoon characters to appear on aprons; bath, beach and kitchen towels, and, yes, even oven mitts.

Fred Flintstone aprons (about $20), oven mitts featuring Betty Boop (about $4) and Wilma Flintstone (about $3), and Fred and Wilma kitchen towels (about $3 each) by Los Angeles-based Barth and Dreyfuss of California, will be available this month.

A trendsetter in the towel business for more than 55 years, New York-based Jay Franco and Sons Inc. is at the forefront again, with merchandise featuring the Power Rangers, Flintstones and Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

The next trend, according to vice president Joe N. Franco, will be spinoffs from the motion picture "The Mask," which is due out later this month.

All of the items can be purchased throughout Orange County at K mart, J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart, Sears, Mervyn's and Target.

Western Wear

When you're rounding up vittles for an old-fashioned barbecue or cookout, bring the Wild West to your table with Buffalo Creek's skewers and matching napkin rings.

Inspired by the lore of the American frontier, the six designs in pewter and stainless steel--cowboy hat, cactus, bucking bronco, longhorn, sheriff's badge and cowboy boot--harken back to the days of covered wagons and cowboys roaming the range.

Boston Warehouse of Norwood, Mass., which imports the accessories from India, offers the 17-inch-long skewers and napkin rings in individual sets of six for about $25 each, plus shipping and handling, through the Kaiser Crow Gatherings catalogue.

For more information or to order, call (800) 468-2769.

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