Sherwin-Williams has introduced a new collection of paint with designer finishes. The Faux Impressions Specialty Finishes collection includes paints that mimic the look of metallic, stone, artisan and Old World finishes. It also offers a website (sherwin-williams.com/faux), where you can download "detailed how-to brochures and videos" to help you get the look you want.


If your lawn is looking thin, now's a great time to put down some new grass seed. After you spread seed, apply a fertilizer designed to be used with new grass seed and water regularly. Don't use any weed killers until spring.


The Eco Experience at the State Fair has been drawing green-leaning visitors since 2006. This year, the interactive exhibit will feature a model neighborhood for green living. Green Street will include commercial and residential buildings that house educational displays about: green building certification; green materials, including roofing, siding and flooring; products to make your existing house more energy-efficient; eco options for interiors, including countertops and cabinets; and mechanical workings. The street will be landscaped with native plantings, porous pavers and a community garden. Experience the Eco Experience from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the fair (Thursday through Sept. 6) in the Progress Center at the corner of Randall and Cosgrove Streets.


If you live in a "truly different" house or know someone who does, the website www.TopTenRealEstateDeals.com wants to know about it. The site is looking for the 10 most unusual homes in the country to use in an upcoming online feature.

Send a brief description of the home along with pictures or a link to a website to homes@toptenrealestatedeals.com. (That would be the same outfit that brought us the Top 10 Ten Coolest Beach Homes and the Top Ten Most Luxurious Golf Homes.)


In a contest that surely wins the prize for worst name, "My Messy, Smelly, Dirty, Hairy Best Friend" Contest gives you a chance to win a Eureka vacuum cleaner. All you have to do is out your pet. Submit photos of your pets along with your best tips for cleaning up after them to www.eureka.com/bestfriends. Four finalists will receive a $100 Target gift card and the Eureka Pet Expert vacuum. The Best in Show will receive a vacuum and a $250 Target gift card. Entries are due by Aug. 27.


We check in on the green thumb and greenhorn gardeners we've been following throughout the growing season.