We are nearing the end of summer and that means the cold weather will soon be here. Fusion is just the place to be as the seasons change. We will help you keep your house and your belly warm with this weeks topics!


Kid Painting

Here is an idea for a piece of art that can also be a family heirloom. We met with Linda Gemal of Rejuvenate Your Home (503-803-8000) to see how she had her kids make a wonderful painting for their family room. She first had her kids make a drawing of a scene they wanted to paint. Then she went to the art store and picked up a canvas that would fit the space on the wall that she wanted to fill. She also picked up some nice bright acrylic paints. These are better for kids because they are easier and cleaner to use. You can also pick up some cheap brushes of different sizes to use. Put some coverings down and let them go at it! Of course Linda had them add a couple of features for her. She asked them to use their hand prints and foot prints on the painting so they had a memento of the kids in the painting as well. You can easily copy this for your own home and you will have a custom piece of art that your family will treasure.


Apple Pie

What is more ĎAll-Americaní than a good apple pie? And at this time of year you are going to see a lot more apples in the stores as they come into season. David and Robin walked us through the process of doing an apple pie step-by-step. First David had his ingredients for his crust set out. There was flour, sugar and salt that were added a food processor and quickly mixed. You can also us a pastry cutter to mix your ingredients as well, but donít use your hands. The reason for that is because it doesnít work as well and it will warm up your ingredients. You will be adding chilled butter and shortening next. These need to stay chilled because you donít want them to melt and the chilled pieces make for a better consistency in your crust. You will add these pieces to the processor and lightly mix them until you get a cornmeal like consistency. Add a little chilled water and mix that in until you can make a ball out of it. You donít want too much water and have it too mushy. Make 2 balls of dough that are equal sized and put them in the fridge for about an hour or so.

Now is a good time to peel and slice your apples. David likes to use an apple that has a little tartness and firmness to it. He used a Granny Smith apple for this pie, but you can use just about any type of apple. Mix about 5-6 cups of sliced apples in a bowl with sugar, flour, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.

Next we rolled out the dough. David rolled it out by using 2 sheets of waxed paper. You can use just about anything, but this was the best for transferring it to the pie plate. He started rolling from the center out, and kept it to a minimum so he wouldnít heat up his butter and shortening. He placed the dough in the pie plate, added his apple mixture and put a few chunks of butter on top. Then he covered the top with his other rolled out dough, crimped the edges, made vent holes in the top and placed foil on the edges to prevent burning. Finally he placed the pie on a cookie sheet to prevent any possible boil-over from making a mess in the oven. It turned out great! If you would like to try this recipe on your own, check out the video and get the step-by-step instructions by clicking here.

Kitchen Herbs

There is nothing like the flavor of fresh garden herbs in your best dishes. A twig of this, a sprig of that, and your meal has more zest and zing. We stopped by Drakes 7 Dees (503-256-2223) to learn about growing herbs in your kitchen from Lynn. First, the choice of herb is important. Some herbs do better outside and others are perfect for indoor use. Lynn recommended using Italian parsley, peppermint and thyme. She also told us that basil was a good indoor herb that you will find many uses for. The important thing is to remember the growing conditions that are required by each plant, mainly enough sunlight and enough water. Check with your local garden center to find these plants and more, so you can bring zest to your kitchen creations.


Weather Stripping

The cold days are soon to be upon us and if you are looking for a quick fix for cold drafts and other Ďheatí leaks in your house, weather stripping may be your answer. David and Robin tackled 2 of the areas where you can make a difference really quick; your doors and windows. If you have an older door you will want to close the door and run the stripping along the sides and top of the door, making sure that there are no gaps between the door and the foam. Make sure that you measure well so you donít cut your pieces too short. You can also install a door sweep at the base of the door to complete the job and cut the heat loss under the door. If you have a newer door you may just need to replace the old, worn out tubing in the frame around the door. If you have questions, take a piece to your local hardware store to get some help.

Your windows can also use a little help. Newer windows are pretty well built, but you can still look for cracks in the weather stripping or the seal around the window. Older windows can also use a quick fix with the foam stripping. It can be a simple as running a piece under the window. Pick up a pack at your local hardware store and simply follow the instructions on the package.

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 of your older dishwasher. Many newer models do a great job 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. Donít 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.

Cleaning Your Gutters

As the fall approaches you will want to get your gutters ready for the falling leaves and other issues that come along with that. If you donít clean your gutters you can have them plug up and overflow, and that can create some structural problems in your roof. The problem is that it can take quite a while to clean if you have to move the ladder a lot just to get the job done. We found that using a leaf blower is the best way to do the job quickly and efficiently. Start at the downspout and blow away from it. This will prevent stuff from falling down the spout and plugging it up. You will also do want to do your gutters first before you clean below. You donít want to clean below twice! Donít forget your ear and eye protection and finally be aware that the City of Portland has new rules for leaf blower use within the city limits. You can find the quietest approved models listed here, but the best rule of thumb is to be a good neighbor when you use a blower.

Kitchen Ants

The weather is warming and that means that the flowers are blooming, it also means the appearance of a common pest in the kitchen, the ant. Robin told us about some of the ways you can use to get rid of them or at least deter them. First we talked about the commercial products that are available. ĎGrantís Kills Antsí is a product that has been around for many years and it is VERY effective. Another commercial product is Terro. This one is a borax based product that is also very effective. There are other more organic solutions to repel them. You can use a white vinegar, pepper, cinnamon, and a bay leaf to mask their trails, and that can also send them away.



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This page last modified
October 03, 2009.