Start with an apron, a leather craftsman's apron with six pockets and loops for holding hammers or trowels. It is $12.95, and can get you moving onto that repair work or ground-breaking you have been contemplating. The apron is from Brookstone's Catalog of Hard-to-Find-Tools and Other Fine Things . It branches out from there to seventeen kinds of jeweler's precision pliers ($8.25 to $9.95), fiberglass tape ($7.95 for 180 feet), and a miniature hand vise ($6.95). And goes on to barber's thinning scissors ($9.95), horsehair shoe brushes ($7.50), a spray paint kit ($6.25), and heavy-duty "100-year screwdrivers" ($3.25 to $4.95). In other words, there is a tool for jobs from the garden to attic, things like epoxy putty ($4.75) and eyeglass magnifiers ($12.95) tht you may not have suspected exist. If you just want a tool to help you avoid those grubby chores, curl up with the catalog itself and look busy, maybe ordering a bottle of Bermuda sherry peppers ($2.75) to season the bloody mary you drink while you pore over the book.

Brookstone's Catalog of Hard-to-Find Tools and Other Fine Things. 124 Vose Farm Rd., Peterborough, N. H. 03458.603/924-7181.