The recent 2006 Housewares Show, in Chicago, gives homeowners plenty of options for giving kitchens and bathrooms a lift, without going through the aggravation of a major — or even minor — remodeling project.

For example, if you want to give your kitchen that retro look, check out Typhoon’s “Retro Revolution” line of kitchen gadgets and tools in an array of colors, including shocking pink (honest, that’s the name of the color), diner blue, vanilla cream, marine blue, Buick red. This year’s newest additions to the line include the colors limousine white and limousine black.

The kitchen accessories include such items as a spring scale, colanders, a bread bin and a kettle. This year’s new addition to the group are a group of stovetop espresso makers priced from $15 to 22.

For more information and pricing, go to

If you want to shed a little more light, either in your living spaces or master bath, think about The Candle. The Candle is a clear container of wax beads. You can pour the beads into any sort of container, including those made of glass, wood, metal, or even a scooped-out gourd. The beads even float in water.

Once the beads are poured in, you stick in one of the wicks that the company includes and simply light it. The candle will burn for hours. When you’re done, simply pick up the wick and the small mound of melted wax and save the rest of the wax beads for another use.

The Candle will be sold in package that include 120 hours worth of wax beads, 10 wicks, and 2 essential oils for a suggested retail price of $29.95.

A couple of new gadgets might make life a whole lot more fun this summer.

The Dustbunny is a red, yellow, green or orange motorized ball that rolls around in a room by itself. Slip a disposable electro-static sleeve over the ball, and it will collect pet hair, dust, and grit from hardwood floors, ceramic tile, linoleum and other hard-floor surfaces.

Small enough to roll around under your living room couch, inventor Raquel Barela says the Dustbunny starter kit will retail for $15. She estimates the battery will last for about 5 to 6 hours of cleaning power. For more details, go to

While your Dustbunny is working overtime, you could be outside enjoying a Lounge Hug. Sun-lovers Pam Arnold and Cynthia Smith, who hail from southern California, have invented a terrycloth bathing suit cover-up that doubles as a lounge chair cover.

The big benefit to the Lounge Hug is that it connects to the chair around the feet, so it stays put. A regular towel will blow off in the wind, said Arnold, as she modeled how her cover-up turned into the Lounge Hug. The product will be available in the next three months, retailing for around $25. For product details, email Arnold and Smith at

If you’re slicing up some snacks by the pool, you’ll want to have your set of ceramic knives, and the new ceramic Perfect Peeler, with its rotating head.

According to the Kyocera spokesperson, ceramic knives hold their edge at least ten times longer than traditional steel knives. “Ceramic knives are impervious to acid and they do not rust. The ceramic is 50 percent harder than steel and is second only to a diamond in hardness.”

While it takes a few minutes to get used to the white or black ceramic blade, the knives feel light and easy on the hand. They are exceptionally sharp. While they’re dishwasher safe, the manufacturer does not recommend putting any good knife in a dishwasher.

As for sharpening the knives? Simply send them back to Irvine, Ca-based Kyocera, and the company will re-sharpen them for you, for free. You pay just shipping and handling.

But don’t expect a deal. Ceramic knives range from $29.95 for a paring knife to $799 for a sashimi knife. The Perfect Peeler ($19.95 at Sur la Table stores) retails for $19.95. For more details, check out

Chop and serve your veggies on the Chop Keeper. Robert Goldman, who has been inventing products since he was 9 years old, created this reusable chopping board with rolled sides to keep the food he was chopping from spilling off the side of his chopping board. The board is flexible, allowing the chopper to neatly dump out the contents into a bowl or on a serving tray.

The Chop Keeper comes in a set of three boards for around $10. For more details, visit

Finally, if you’re frying, roasting, or barbequing a turkey this summer, here’s a new gadget that can help with the heavy lifting — literally. The E-Z Lift Turkey Transport ( lifts a turkey up to 35 pounds. It’s like a large hook with a handle that allows you to lift the turkey from above. Made in China, it retails for $19.95.

Of course, saving your floor from a big greasy mess if you drop the turkey — priceless.

March 28, 2006.