Welcome Mat: new Music in Homes season starts Dec. 30

Maureen Feighan

Nordin-designed menorahs

On Tuesday, Detroit’s menorah, a 26-foot steel creation by artists Israel and Erik Nordin, will light up for the city’s annual Menorah in the D celebration. Now the Nordin brothers are selling a smaller steel menorah for your Hanukkah celebration at their new showroom at the Michigan Design Center in Troy. Designed with a cool geometric-looking base, it sells for $300. Call (586) 601-6595. The showroom is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. Hanukkah starts Saturday.

Chalk Paint creator offers step-by-step guidance for variety of projects

Chalk Paint founder Annie Sloan’s newest book, “Annie Sloan Paints Everything” (CICO books, $24.95) lives up to its name. It’s a step-by-step guide to painting everything from furniture to walls, pillows, even curtains. There are 40 projects detailed in the book. Her projects involve a variety of materials, including wood, metal, glass and fabric. Sloan says she wanted to show readers how her Chalk Paint, which she created in 1990, “is part of a greater story about interior decorating, involving fabrics, walls, and floor treatments,” she writes in the introduction.

Made Studio & Market sells local, handcrafted wares

Made Studio & Market is tucked inside a nondescript strip mall off Commerce Road in West Bloomfield, but don’t let the simple exterior fool you. Inside, you’ll find a range of handcrafted items, many from artists right here in Metro Detroit. There are pillows, jewelry, home decor, sustainably made clothing and more. Owners Christy Brennan, a metalsmith, and Katheryn Hansen, a graphic designer, offer a wide range of regionally made items, fair trade goods and items that support non-profits. “As artists ourselves, we wanted to create a space that dissolves the line between art and design for everyday life,” says Brennan. Made Studio & Market is at 6545 Commerce Road. Call (248) 242-4119 for hours.

Howie Mandel visits Waterford, delivers self-cleaning toilet

Imagine it: A toilet that cleans itself. Plumbing manufacturer American Standard this fall introduced ActiClean, a first of its kind self-cleaning toilet. With a click of a button, a powerful cleaning solution is released from a special built-in cartridge, down the toilet’s pipes and into the bowl for either a quick clean or a deep clean. Well-known celebrity germophobe Howie Mandel, an ActiClean spokesman, visited Waterford resident Sarah Cunningham earlier this month to give her a new ActiClean toilet after she won a contest. The ActiClean toilet is available at Lowe’s, Home Depot and other retailers.

Warren antiques shop offers handcrafted glass ornaments

If you’re a last-minute shopper and need a unique gift, check out glass artist James Byrnes’ ornaments available at Silver Quill Antiques & Gifts, 22813 Van Dyke in Warren. Available in a range of styles, these intricate but delicate ornaments are “reminiscent of a fancy Victorian bauble,” says Silver Quill owner Linda Sirko in an email. Byrnes draws on his experience as a glass blower making laboratory apparatuses. “In my 45-year search of unusual art glass, I have not found another artist with this degree of talent dedicated to an ornament, especially at a cost of only $32,” says Sirko. Each ornament bears Byrnes’ makers mark and comes in an autographed box. Silver Quill is open from 12-6 today and 12-3 on Saturday. Call (586) 756-8180.

Palmer Woods’ Music in Homes returns Dec. 30

Palmer Woods’ newest season of Music in Homes, a unique concert series staged in a different lovely home for each show, kicks off Dec. 30 and will continue throughout the winter and spring with a little bit of everything for every music lover. The first concert is a special New Year’s Celebration that begins at 8 p.m., featuring Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Carla Cook with A. Spencer Barefield on guitar, Dave Young on bass and Sean Dobbins on drums. The 2016-2017 season will include seven more concerts, including a Mardi Gras celebration on Jan. 28 and a Black History concert on Feb. 25. The season ends June 16-17 with the return of Detroit native David Alan Grier and his David Alan Grier Quintet. A limited number of tickets are available for Dec. 30 so move fast. For more information, go to eventbrite.com and search for “Palmer Woods Music in Homes.” Ticket prices vary for each concert.