Greetings and welcome to Fusion. Fusion is a new show that focuses on everything about the Northwest home. Each week we will talk about home improvement, home design and cooking. The show will try to ‘keep it simple’, that means we won’t be doing 62-step recipes that include goats milk and saffron. What it does mean is that we will show you how to save money and make your house a home.

Our hosts Ken Ackerman and Robin Burke look forward to introducing you to great ideas for your kitchen and home.

Pull it All Together

If you are looking at redoing a room you may be overwhelmed with the project and you may not know where to start. Amy Troute from ‘design for home’ (503-805-0811) put up a display to help us get over the hump of design inertia. She told us about some of the things she recommends to get her client started. The first tip is to take stock of the room you are working in and evaluate the area. How are you going to use the space? What is the main purpose or use of the room, what kind of furniture do you want to use? Next, figure out the style you want the room to be. Find what you like in magazines and cut out pictures. This ‘borrowing’ of ideas will help you and your designer make style decisions down the road. You may also look for your own inspiration. If there is a piece that you ‘must have’ in the room, design around that or use it to your benefit. Then use the colors or motif of that piece to help you design the rest of the room. Finally, pay attention to the lighting in the room. Look to light areas according to their use. Use stronger light in areas where you work or play and more subdued lighting in areas where you are going to relax. Dimmers are always good for creating a mood. Remember that when you decorate you want to make the space your own. Look to create a style, maybe take a chance and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Picture Perfect Frames
If you are looking to make a statement on your wall the best way to do that is to add artwork. Some of the best artwork, the kind with the most character, could be found at a local garage sale, antique store or even in your own attic. Gary Germer from Gary Germer and Associates (503-235-0946) showed us some pieces that were great pictures in bad frames or good frames around terrible pictures. If you find picture take a close look at the frame. It could be a hidden gem tied to a bad picture. That is also true for pictures. If you find a picture you like you can check to see if it is valuable by using a small magnifying glass. Look for brush strokes and artist signatures. If it is a print and not a painting you will see small dots from the printing process. Also, by looking for a signature or numbers in a series you may have a piece that can be worth more than just aesthetic value. Of course the number one rule is to look for pieces that you like. After all you are looking for something enjoyable to put on your wall.

Enjoying Your Winter Flowers
In the cold, dark days of winter it is hard to enjoy the colors of your outdoor plants. To help you enjoy them, bring them indoors. Winter blooming plants like hellebores are even more difficult to enjoy because the flowers sometime face down to the ground. One way to enjoy them is to cut the blooms and float them in a bowl of water. This way the blooms are facing upwards and, because they are in water, you can enjoy their beauty for a week or two.




A Dash and a Pinch
If you have an older recipe or cook book, you may notice that it calls for a dash, a tad, a pinch or a smidgen. These older style measurements are hard to describe. But we will try… For most people the smallest measuring spoon in your drawer may be a 1/8 of a teaspoon. If you cut that in half (1/16), it is a dash.  Half of that (1/32) is a pinch or a smidgen. As you can see it is a very small amount of seasoning. But don’t worry; they just want you to use a small amount in the recipe and most likely it will refer to a very flavorful or spicy ingredient. In fact, most new recipes will tell you to ‘season to taste’. So if you are concerned that it will ruin your recipe proceed with caution and use your best judgment.

Mississippi Garden Burgers
In the quest for healthy eating you may have tried a garden burger. This is a burger substitute that is made from vegetable products and contains no meat. Unfortunately, most of the store-bought ones are tasteless and dry, but we found one locally that you can make yourself, at home. Chef Tommy Wheeler from Mississippi Station Restaurant (503-517-5751) came up with this ‘winner’ that he is willing to share. Chef Tommy told us that most of the mass produced ones use too much oatmeal and mushrooms as a filler and binder and that is their downfall. His contains these as well but in smaller amounts and adds other ingredients that add flavor and texture. He also uses onions, garlic, hazelnuts, black beans and even a ‘facon’ which is fake bacon made from soy protein. If you would like to try this recipe, check out this link to get a copy of your own. If you don’t want to tackle the recipe you can get one from the expert, Chef Tommy, at the Mississippi Station. Check out their website and pick a night when they have ‘live’ music.

Pantry Organizing
If your pantry and cupboards are a mess it may hard to find what you want and waste a lot time too. Robin gave us some tips for organizing that will help you find food and may save you money too. Tip number 1: Keep similar foods grouped together with their labels facing forward. Now you can find food at a glance and not wonder if you are missing an ingredient. Tip number 2: Inventory your foods and rotate them. By inventorying your foods you can be more efficient when you shop and that means you can save money by not buying food you don’t need. Also, by rotating your food you can make sure that you are serving the freshest food to your family. Try these tips so you can bring a little order to your kitchen.

Correct Insulation
The winter has been tough, and it may not be over with yet! To keep your family nice and cozy (and to save you a few bucks too) we stopped by Parr Lumber (503-531-7277) in Hillsboro to visit with Chris Erskine and learn about adding insulation to your home. Most homes have insulation in their attic or crawl space, but what they have may not be enough. The normal home has only 6 inches of protection in their attic for an R-value of 19. Chris recommended adding an additional layer to your existing insulation and bringing it up to 12 inches for an R-value or 36. R-value is a rating of your insulations ability to resist heat traveling through it; the higher the number the better the insulation. Parr offers the EZ attic insulation system for homeowners. All you need is to open the bag and rake it out. Remember when you are using insulation to use the correct safety equipment; breathing masks, gloves and eye protection. In addition to saving money, you may also qualify for tax credits. Check with your local Parr store for details and potential savings.


Faucet Filter Fix
Losing pressure in your faucets can be very frustrating. Regaining that lost pressure maybe an easy fix. Fabio Testa from the Parr Cabinet Outlet (503-614-2655) showed us how checking the faucet aerator could solve your problem. Simply unscrew the aerator from the faucet. It is located at the end of the faucet where the water comes out. You can then check for bits of gravel and rust that may be causing your problem. You can also see if the washer needs to be replaced. It is a simple fix and it will help you get back that lost pressure!

Energy Efficient Appliances
Fix it or replace it? If you have an appliance that is on the fritz, that may be your most important question. In these tough economic times it is a tougher decision. Tony Gayaldo from Standard TV and Appliance (503-619-0500) tried to help us make the decision. If the repair is easy and cheap it may be a no-brainer. If it a more expensive repair it may make sense to buy a new energy efficient appliance. If your appliance is over 10 years old it may be cheaper to get a newer model. For example, a newer dishwasher may use one third the amount of water than your older dishwasher. It may do a better job of cleaning with just 5 gallons of water; hand washing could use up to 27 gallons of water. The most important factor in deciding what type of appliance to choose comes down to your families needs. Pick the appliance that works well for your situation. Don’t just get one because it looks cool. To find out if a newer appliance will save you money you can check with the experts at Standard TV and Appliance or you can check out the Energy Star website at www.EnergyStar.gov.


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This page last modified
December 06, 2012.