Spring break means spring cleaning for some. There is nothing like the nice weather to get you motivated for the summer months ahead. Maybe it’s the warmth of the sun, or maybe it is the sun shining through those dirty windows! Either way we will be sharing tips with you during the next few weeks to help you get organized for the warm weather to come.

Organizing your Bathroom

Counter space is at a premium in the home and that is especially true in the bathroom. We asked Linda Gemal from Rejuvenate your Home (503-803-8000) to give us some tips on how to organize your bathroom cabinets. Most people have quite a mess under their cabinets. In the bathroom the clutter is really bad. Organizing this space is tough; there are water pipes and drains to consider. First, clean out the area you are trying to organize and then measure the space under the sink and find out what type of room you have to work with. Take these measurements to the local home improvement or container store. Look for someone that can point you in the right direction and help you make an efficient space. Linda went to the Container Store and found a lot of fun and functional drawers and bins. Linda picked out some trays that had rollers and were stackable. She also picked out ones that were clear so she can see what are in the drawers without opening them. Once she had them installed you can really see how much better the space is organized. There is much more room for storage and it is much cleaner too. What a great way to take control of your bathroom again.

Geranium Lake Easter Eggs

Easter is a week away and it is time to dye those Easter eggs, but this year we decided we needed to add a little twist so we stopped by Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) to get some ideas from one of the most creative people we know, Kim Foren. She brought out her recipe for ‘botanical inspired’ Easter eggs. These eggs are made by using onion skins or beets to create a dye. First you need to get some raw, unboiled eggs. Then you take some small, pressed flowers and foliage from your garden and then hold them in place with a small piece of nylon. You pull the nylon tight over the egg (don’t break the egg) and tie it tight with zip-tie or string. Then you boil the water with vinegar and the onion skins in the water bath. After it boils about 10 minutes you pull the egg out and let it cool down. After it cools, cut off the nylon and rub a little vegetable oil on it to give it a sheen and you are done. People will be amazed how great they look and they add a great touch to your holiday table!  You can find the step-by-step directions here: word document - pdf file

Window Coverings

Picking the right window covering can be a very tough job with all the choices out there. We were joined by our friend Amy Troute (503-805-0811) from ‘design for home’ to try to take some of the confusion out of the process. She introduced us to the people at Premiere Window Coverings (503-533-0922). They have a ton of different examples to choose from. First of all you have to decide what function you want from your coverings. Do you want shades or drapes for light control, energy conservation, or privacy? Then you have to look at the style of covering and how it works with the type of window you have. Will a crank window interfere with the shade? Do you have high ceilings… the list goes on. The type of covering can also help you save some money too. There are many styles that are designed to minimize heat transfer. Now, if you are narrowing down your choice, don’t forget to take color into consideration. A warm color can cast a warm glow into your home and a cooler color can set a different mood. The prices can be very cheap or very expensive (especially with the remote control ones that David loved.)  So check out all the choices at Premiere Window Coverings or contact Amy to help walk you through it.

Tofu Mousse Dessert

Tofu has a bad rap. Some people feel it is a tasteless, textureless food. Well, maybe it wasn’t prepared right! We were joined in the demo kitchens at the NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) to learn how to make a great Chocolate Mousse recipe from David and Wendy Gabbe Day. David and Wendy both teach classes in vegan and vegetarian cooking to help people learn how to better prepare these dishes. David and Wendy will both be at the Energy Trust Better Living show at the Expo Center this weekend to help people cook and eat better foods. For the recipe David told us that you have to boil your tofu for 4 minutes to help freshen it up. Tofu is made out of soybeans and should be treated like any food product when you are cooking. After the 4 minutes in the boiling water it is cooled down under running water. While you are cooling it down you can get your other ingredients together. You will need dairy-free chocolate chips, cocoa powder, salt, peanut butter, raw sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla soymilk. For the complete recipe, click here. We have to say it’s a great recipe and it was good for you too. For more tips you can check David and Wendy out at the Better Living show or get a complete listing of their classes at www.DavidsVegetarianKitchen.com.

Air Conditioning Tips

Even though the real heat of summer may be a ways away, it is not too early to think about doing a little maintenance to your AC and getting it ready for the summer. We met with Mike Hansen of Roth Heating and Cooling (503-266-1249) to see what they recommend. Mike said that the first thing we should look at is the air filter. Just by changing the air filter you will be reducing the strain on your whole system and make your AC work better. If you have a specialized air cleaner, it should be checked by a service technician. Next you will want to head outdoors and check your unit. Make sure that there is no winter damage and that all the leaves and debris is cleaned out of the area around the unit. Then head inside and turn on your unit. Listen to make sure that it sounds good and not making any weird or abnormal noises. It may take a while to get up to speed and start cooling down the house. If you do notice any problems feel free to contact the experts at Roth Heating and Cooling.

Vacuum Maintenance

Spring cleaning time is here; do you know if your vacuum is up to the challenge of all that cleaning? We stopped by Stark's Vacuums (800-230-4101) to learn some tips for maintaining your vacuum so it will last longer and clean better. Ken Raasch joined Robin to give us the ‘dirt’ on cleaning machines. First of all he talked about upright vacuums. You should always check your filters and never let them get too dirty. It cuts the airflow down and that affects the cleaning. Most of these filters can be cleaned a couple of times by hand, but after that you should replace them because there is too much dirt for anyone to get at. If you have a canister vacuum you will usually find a vacuum bag inside the unit. The problem here is that people let the bag get too full and that will decrease the airflow too. Do not try to empty the bag and reuse it. There is still dirt in the ‘pores’ of the bag and that will make the bag less efficient. Another problem is your beater bars and belts. The beater bar is the part that ‘sweeps’ up debris from carpet and allows the vacuum to suck it up. The bars can become clogged with hair, string and other stuff and it may even quit rotating. This will create a strain on your belts that drive the bar and cause them to break. Even if the belts don’t break they can become stretched out and work less effectively. If you smell something burning that could be a sign that you have belt problems. You should look at changing belts 2-3 times a year to keep it running smoothly!



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This page last modified
August 13, 2010.