We are hitting our stride. The fall chores are piling up and we are just plugging along getting them done and ready for winter. This week is no different as we cover some basic tools, tasty recipes and even a cool gadget!

Hardwood Floor Choices


A lot of home improvement projects start from the ground up and we are talking about floor coverings, and for some people they are looking at choices in hardwood floors as a replacement for their current flooring. We caught up with Tyler Paulson from Paulson’s Floor Coverings (503-620-7080) to learn about the new and different choices available on the market. The first choice had us fooled. We thought it was a wood product but it turned out to be a laminate. Tyler called it an updated version of the Pergo flooring of a few years ago. It can handle the wear and tear of kids, pets and other abuses better than the old laminates and even better than some wood products. Next we moved to a true hardwood floor. It was hand-scraped to give it that weathered look. There are various ways for manufacturers to get this look. One way is by using machines and the other way is to send it to prisons and let the inmates beat up on the wood to get the desired effect!

Next we moved to the newest in ‘green’ products. We started with bamboo. This is one of the most popular materials because it is very durable, is sustainable and is easy to care for. They can now caramelize it (slightly toast it to darken the grain) and stain it so you can use it in many different applications. Finally we moved to cork, another sustainable product and one that can be used in many different applications. Cork is good because of its ability to absorb sound. It is a softer material that is also durable. Because of its porous nature it shouldn’t be used in bathrooms or anywhere there could be excess moisture. If you have any more questions about these or any other floor coverings, check with the experts at Paulson’s.

Easy Healthy Pasta

Creating a delicious healthy dinner for your family is not that hard. Chef Eric Nelson from Vitality at Wellspring (971-983-5280) made a whole wheat spinach pasta in just a few minutes for us. This pasta is easy to make with just five ingredients. We also found out how to make a quick spinach powder for your pasta. You can just get some fresh spinach leaves and let them dry under low heat in your oven and then run them through your coffee grinder or a food processor. To see the whole recipe click here, ‘Whole Wheat Spinach Pasta’. Then once you are done you can try your new pasta in a quick and easy dinner recipe (see second video).

Chef Eric works at Vitality at Wellspring in Woodburn. The name “Vitality” itself means the power to survive and the capacity to live, grow or develop, which perfectly reflects their menu philosophy and attitude towards food as it contributes to living a healthy lifestyle. Their menu is designed for diners with wellness in mind. Over half the menu is prepared with no added fat, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste fantastic. In fact, most diners at Vitality don’t know what they’re missing.


Basic Knives

The key to success in the kitchen is a good set of knives. We stopped by the Sur la Table (503-968-8015) store at Bridgeport Village to get the basics on cutting tools from Laura. Having the right knife will make your work in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable. Picking a good knife can take a little time. You are looking for a good quality knife, which is sharp and will feel good in your hand. The 3 basic knives that you are looking for are a Chef’s knife, a good bread knife and a paring knife. One of the most important things to remember is to keep your knife sharp. More injuries occur with a dull knife than with a sharp one. A dull knife will make you struggle with cutting and that can cause accidents. You should also have a honing steel with your knives. Every time you pull out your knives you should use the honing steel to keep the edge sharp!  There is also a special way to hold a knife. Pinch it with your thumb and forefinger at the base of the blade, and then wrap your fingers around the handle. You want the knife to feel like an extension of your arm and hand and not something bulky and hard to control. If you have any questions about knives and which ones may be right for you, you can stop by any of the Sur la Table stores around the Northwest.

Corn Zipper


We returned to Sur la Table (503-968-8015) to check out a cool gadget for the corn lover in the family. The corn zipper is a tool that lets you remove the corn kernels off the cob quick and easy. This a great tool for those that can’t handle eating off the cob like small children and people with dentures. You can also turn the zipper around and scrap the cob to get the ‘milk’ of the corn. This is great for creamed corn, soups, chowders and sauces.


Basic Tools

Chris Erskine joined us at the Parr (503-531-7277) store in Hillsboro to cover some ‘must have’ tools. First we covered screwdrivers. Chris brought out a power screwdriver which, if used right will help speed up the jobs you are tackling, but if that seems a little overkill then you will want the 15-in-one screwdriver. A multiple head tool like this is good for dealing with any style of screw that you may encounter in your home and everything is right in your hand! Next we looked at gloves. A good set of gloves will protect your hands from getting hurt and it will also help keep them clean. Safety glasses go along with the gloves and should be in everyone’s tools chest. What good is a project if you injure yourself and can’t enjoy it? We moved to the hammers next. Chris recommended a medium weight hammer (so you don’t get tired) with a smooth head. The ones with a scored face are for framing and they will leave marks on your wall or trim if you are doing finishing work. The next tool was a channel lock pliers. This is an adjustable pliers and it is good for nuts, bolts and even plumbing fixtures. Another great tool is a needle nose plier. This is a small narrow nose pliers that is good for tight places and fine work like fixing jewelry.

Next we found a tape measure. You will need one that can extend without folding. The one we saw also has fractional measurements on the tape so there is no guesswork when you are measuring. A good length for a tape measure is 25 feet or slightly longer. The next tool was a utility knife. This will help you cut anything from fine wires to sheetrock. Make sure you get one with a retracting, replaceable blade for safety reasons. A level is next and is a must if you want things straight. Have you ever hung a picture and wished you had one of these? Finally, you will want a good tool box or carrier to put all these tools in. A good carrier will protect your tool investment and it also makes sure they are in one place when you need them.

Water Efficient Toilets

One of the appliances that uses the most water in your home is the toilet. But you can help put a dent in your water usage with a new high efficiency toilet from George Morlan Plumbing (503-224-7000). Dave Charvet joined us to show us the evolution of the water efficient toilet. If you have an older toilet you could be using up to 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush. The newer toilet can bring that amount down to 1.28 gallons per flush; a big difference in water and money savings. These toilets are designed to use the smaller amount of water and still get the job done. But that isn’t the most efficient model available. Toto Toilets has designed a dual-flush system that uses a smaller amount of water for liquid waste and a larger amount of water for solid waste. This type of toilet is so efficient that it is rated as a ‘Water Sense’ appliance and that can qualify you for a lot of rebates. These new toilets can save your THOUSANDS of gallons over the life of the toilet! Check with your tax advisor and your local water provider to see what types of programs may apply. For answers to all your toilet and plumbing questions, stop by your local George Morlan location.

Parr Awning

With the cold winter weather right around the corner you may be thinking of extending your outdoor activities on your deck or patio. All that outside fun may come to a halt when the weather is too over-powering. We stopped at Parr Lumber (503-531-7277) to visit with Chris to see what suggestions he had for beating the cold and wet. He recommended having a patio cover to extend your outdoor enjoyment. The experts at Parr can help you if you are looking to build a wood and fabric cover, but today we focused on the more popular and more permanent aluminum structure by SkyVue. These newer awnings can even be color matched to your deck or house color. They will even install them for you. Maintenance is a lot easier and you can keep it clean with just soap and water. These awnings can also help block harmful UV rays. If you are thinking of a patio cover or awning, check with the experts at Parr Lumber.



Website design and content ©2009 Gustin Creative Group.  Please send website inquiries to gustingroup@comcast.net
This page last modified
March 06, 2010.