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December 06, 1997|CYNDI Y. NIGHTENGALE

The Italian countryside, awash with bright color, is the inspiration for the latest collections by Los Angeles tabletop designer Laurie Gates.

Tuscan Christmas, with topiary-like pine trees and wreaths adorned with pink ribbons and planted in terra-cotta pots, make for an unconventional interpretation of traditional holiday themes.

The Judaica collection is embellished with traditional Jewish symbols floating against a background the color of the Mediterranean Sea. A kaddish cup, menorah with glowing candles and the six-pointed Star of David are presented in festive shades of red and gold.

Gates' earthenware is available in many shapes, including a large rectangular platter, dessert plates, pillow candy dish, a set of three ceramic trivets and a large serving bowl with ladle.

Prices range from $28 to $35 at specialty stores. Call (800) 680-4973 for locations.

Pillow Talk

When you want to add accents to your decor, you don't have to throw caution to the wind. Consider tossing around a few pillows instead.

Whether your room calls for embroidery or other elegant embellishments, a touch of gold or deep rich color, throw pillows are an easy way to dress up for the holidays without blowing your budget.

The pillows (from $10 to $20), in a variety of colors and fabrics, are available at most Sears stores.

In the Clear

Rubbermaid's newest storage system makes it easy for anyone to keep things clear. The Visions Drawer system combines the convenience of sliding, see-through drawers with simple lines that will work in a variety of settings.

The white- or black-framed drawers can be used individually or stacked. The line includes drawer towers with casters for easy mobility. A CD tower holds 50 CDs in two rows for easy access.

They'll be available in the spring throughout the county. Prices will range from about $8 for a single drawer to about $35 for a large four-drawer tower.

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