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Tips for home furnishings
Duraflame fire bigger, better  Duraflame now has stackable logs that produce a bigger, more realistic fire.Duraflame says its Stax logs are also the first manufactured fire logs that can be burned safely in wood stoves. They can be used in outdoor fire pits, too.Stax come in three- and six- log bundles, with suggested retail prices of $9.99 and $19.99, respectively. Three logs will burn 31⁄2 hours, and additional fire logs can be added as needed.They’re being introduced at Kmart and are expected to be available at Target starting in January. Clean dryer vent every year or so  Q: I’ve always cleaned my dryer’s lint screen regularly, but I recently learned I should clean the vent, too. How often should I do that?A: Clean the dryer vent every year or two to keep the dryer operating efficiently and prevent the buildup of flammable lint inside the dryer.To do it, unplug the dryer and turn off the gas supply, if it’s a gas dryer. Then dismantle and vacuum out the vent or clean it with a flexible vent brush. One type attaches to a cordless drill, which makes it rotate.Remove the vent cover outside the house and clean that end of the vent, too.If you don’t want to do the job yourself, you can hire a company that specializes in dryer vent cleaning. Decorate table with elegance  Kimberly Schlegel Whitman knows a few things about entertaining in high style.Whitman is a Dallas socialite and event planner whose own wedding was featured in Town & Country and Vanity Fair. Her new book, “Tablescapes: Setting the Table with Style,” is a guide to table decor at its most elegant.Granted, we common folk may have difficulty relating to the challenges of seating 36 at a single table for a dinner with the governor. But Whitman offers both highbrow inspiration and ideas that can be translated to a more modest scale – ideas such as arranging candles on the steps to graciously block access to the upstairs, using thrift-store neckties to decorate a table for Father’s Day and giving gourds and corn a coat of silver spray paint for a more luxurious version of a traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece.“Tablescapes” is published by Gibbs Smith, Publisher, and sells for $40 in hardcover. QVC shoe sale supports breast cancer research Shoe shopping isn’t usually an altruistic pastime.But in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, QVC, the popular television shopping network, is selling shoes at half price, with the proceeds benefiting breast cancer research and education.The program is set to air Wednesday, Oct. 15 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (EST) and is a partnership between QVC and the Fashion Footwear Association of New York.More than 100,000 pairs of shoes from nearly 100 brands will be sold for half price on the show. Anne Klein, Via Spiga, Coach Footwear, Nine West and many others have donated shoes to the program.QVC says “FFANY Shoes on Sale” has sold more than 100,000 pairs of shoes and donated more than $28 million to breast cancer research over the past 14 years.The National Cancer Institute estimates nearly 185,000 Americans will develop breast cancer this year. Funds raised from the event will benefit institutions such as The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in New York and The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.Philanthropic shoppers can also buy the “Shoe of the Day” offered every day through October on QVC from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. or online at Zap your toothbrush Before you dismiss the idea behind this product, think about all the dust, hair – both human and pet – plus who-knows-what-else floating around in the air in your house and, more specifically, the bathroom.Then think about where you store your toothbrush. It’s probably sitting right out on the counter or sink, free for it to collect all kinds of ick. And what are you going to do with that ick? Stick it in your mouth. Blech!So, even if the Zapi Toothbrush Sanitizer, made by VIOlight, didn’t kill 99.9 percent of germs thanks to its germicidal UV light, it’d be worth it to keep the “ick” away.To use the egg-shaped pod, you simply invert and insert your toothbrush once you finish brushing (head down) and the battery-operated light turns on. Six minutes later, it automatically shuts off and your brush is ready for its next use.Find the Zapi Toothbrush Sanitizer ($30), which comes in four color options, online at or at Target and other retailers.--McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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