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Friday, September 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 59.0° F  Partly Cloudy with Haze
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Emphasis: Fall 2010
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Find a treasure just off the Beltline

Westside Antiques Mall Rimrock
2300 Badger Lane, 608-836-8881, 10 am-5 pm Monday-Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday

I love a good antique mall. As many of them as there are - and it's hard to find a small town in Wisconsin that doesn't have one - they all manage to have unique character. Some run to gloom and junk, some to dishes and household decorations of previous eras. Others specialize in large items like furniture; some focus on higher-end, specialized collectibles. The Westside Antiques Mall, right here in Madison, finds a balance among these types of items. Formerly located on Odana Road, the business has moved to the south side.

The mall has set up shop in a roomy warehouse, with various vendors offering beautiful Craftsman-style wood tables, a passel of 1940s-1960s-style radios, a pinball machine, creaky Underwood typewriters, classic 1950s-style kitchen tables and molded plastic chairs. There are also several walls of framed art, including a section specializing in Wisconsin artists.

On a recent trip, the clerk was patient and helpful getting the impulse purchase of a rather awkward three-leaf table into a subcompact hatchback, disassembling it, trying numerous arrangements to fit it in the back and fetching cardboard.

And there's more: the Moderne Cafe and Espresso Bar (with free Wi-Fi) operates out of the front of the building, so if you need sustenance while you're on the hunt, espresso, teas, pastries and smoothies will tide you over.

Slice, baby, slice

Kyocera mandoline slicer
$20.

You probably have a nice knife set, and a favorite knife, maybe a food processor, maybe even a mini-chopper. But every now and then, for salads where presentation is a big deal, or when fennel is involved, you need a super thin slice. And for that you need a mandoline. And often it's been a choice between an inexpensive but flimsy type and a pricey professional-grade model. Now, for about $20, you can have a very effective, very sharp, easy-to-use mandoline slicer. It's from Kyocera. Hey, doesn't Kyocera make copy machines? Yes, and mobile phones. And industrial ceramics - which leads to its line of home kitchen cutting tools. Kyocera makes long-lasting ceramic knives, peelers, slicers, graters, shredders and more. But the mandoline is a particular godsend: compact, dependable, long-lasting, easy-to-use and at a good price point. And fennel is just hitting the markets about now.

How green is that house?

Sustainable Showcase Home Tour
A benefit Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, Saturday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Maybe you've toured the annual Parade of Homes to see the latest in home design and yearned for more green and sustainable features to be highlighted. That's exactly the

purpose behind the new Sustainable Showcase, a one-day event that will put the spotlight on green-built certified homes and remodels in the Madison area. (The homes are open for touring, but for the most part are owner-occupied, unlike those in the Parade.) In the tour so far: the Resource House near Verona, a "net-zero," all-electric home with solar panels that uses no fossil fuels; a sustainable "expanded bungalow" in Fitchburg with geothermal heating and cooling (among other features); and an energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity house on Madison's east side. Homes are still being considered for the roster. The tour, which costs $10 to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, will take place Oct. 23, with an after-tour party at Habitat ReStore, 208 Cottage Grove Rd.

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