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Do your homework before buying to avoid barking up the wrong tree

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

SUNDAY In 1099, the armies of the First Crusade defeated the Saracens at the Battle of Ascalon, a historic Palestinian city on the Mediterranean coast, one month after they had captured Jerusalem.

Shed (LED) light on exterior home design

There's much discussion around lighting these days, with good reason. Going green is a multi-faceted process.

Design a home for your comfort, lifestyle

Interior designer Alan Garren believes good design makes a house more functional and enjoyable, not just more beautiful. He believes details matter, like where the television is positioned and whether guests at the door are sheltered from the rain.

New book promotes free-form sewing

Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut believe sewing shouldn't be scary. Immergut, an artist and sewing entrepreneur, and Blum, a senior editor at Family Fun magazine, have collaborated on a book that promises to make sewing fast, fun and fearless.

Golden hops can grow a little too vigorously

Every summer, I monitor its meanderings and watch for any feckless forays into inappropriate places. Still, every year the thing escapes my attentions enough to flaunt its vigour.

Age-old rock craft lures the curious

Ed Cote loves watching people's reactions to the stone sculptures in his yard. Some stop to take pictures. Some touch them gently, trying to figure out how they're constructed.

Nurse warns against ibuprofen in hair rinse

Dear Reena: I have used many of your solutions to natural and nontoxic cleaning. One that appeared recently got my interest, but when I tried it, it didn't quite work. It was the laundry stainremover with vinegar, dish soap, water and baking soda.

Book opens door to Marrakesh design

Marrakesh transplant and blogger Maryam Montague shares her love of Moroccan architecture and decorating in her first book, Marrakesh By Design (Artisan Books, $29.95).

Fires can happen before there's smoke

They say where there's smoke there's fire. But when it comes to electrical fires, you don't always see the smoke. By the time you do, it's too late and the flames are already climbing up behind your walls. I was up north a couple of weeks ago.