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November 16, 1996|CYNDI Y. NIGHTENGALE

Hot Potato

If you're an armchair quarterback or a couch potato, this spud's for you.

The Original American Couch Potato, a pillow sculpture shaped like a potato, comes complete with dotted skin and dimpled eyes. The pillow (about $20), along with an owner's manual, is encased in a poly bag with a '30s-style label.

Coffee mugs (about $8), sweatshirts (about $30) and T-shirts (about $16) featuring the spud's mug are also available.

Max Bloom came up with the idea for the pillow when he was helping friends move a sofa. Bloom jokingly said that the sofa was lacking a couch potato, namely, himself, but the idea stuck with him. After several attempts to come up with a design, he scanned into his computer an image of a real potato, and the idea baked.

The polyester-cotton blend pillow, with 100% polyester filling, is 17 1/2 by 12 by 6 inches. And it's machine washable.

The Original American Couch Potato can be found at Target, in the Wireless and Taylor Gifts catalogs or by calling (310) 390-3299.

Instrumentals

Strike a whimsical note at your holiday table with Classical Suite serving ware from the Bombay Co.

The silver-plated collection, an ensemble of holiday instruments, has a lightly antiqued finish. To begin, sound off with a trivet ($15), featuring the cello and harp. Chime in with salad servers ($15) and napkin rings ($15, set of four) on violin. Conclude with coasters ($15, set of four) and a cake knife and server ($15 each) that harmonize like a string quartet.

To turn your dining experience into a symphony, add cheese servers ($15, set of three) and pate spreaders ($15, set of four).

In Orange County, the Bombay Co. can be found at the Brea Mall, (714) 529-2798; MainPlace/Santa Ana, (714) 835-5133; the Mission Viejo Mall, (714) 365-0956; South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, (714) 549-8984; and the Westminster Mall, (714) 895-1455.

Staples

When you need to nail it, hammer it in with the PowerShot staple gun by Black & Decker.

Ideal for furniture upholstering, picture framing, carpet repair or attaching light molding, the PowerShot (about $22) has a forward action that ensures the nail or staple drives in smoothly and completely.

The ergonomic handle has a rubber grip for comfort and secure one-handed operation. The staple gun also has a window to let you know when it's time to reload and an exit indicator that shows exactly where the staples or nails will be driven.

The PowerShot staple gun is available at home centers throughout the county. For the nearest dealer, call (800) 544-6986.

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