It is hot out... it is hard to focus on home projects when it is this hot. The Fusion crew feels your pain. We are focusing on picnics, BBQ's and tasty treats for the next few shows. You will find ways to enjoy the outdoors and plenty of reasons to put off those projects, at least until the weather changes.

Al's Indoor Plants

One of the most overlooked design elements in the home is the indoor plant. Plants can add a lot to your décor and they are also good for your health. They clean the air, removing toxins and adding oxygen. We stopped by Al's Garden Center (503-726-1162) in Sherwood to learn a little more from Josh about some of the different choices you can get for your living space. Plants need a few things to thrive. Light is one and water is another. With all the choices out there you can find the right plant for any light condition. We saw some that really need a lot of light, like the 'Snake plant' to some that don't need much light at all like the Zee Zee plant, which can grow even in a low light area like a closet! A loose rule of thumb is that the smaller the leaf the more light the plant will need. Also the thicker the leaf the better it can handle low water conditions. Speaking of water, we tend to kill our indoor plants with kindness. Josh follows a 'rule of thumb' or actually a 'rule of forefinger' for figuring out the water needs of his plants. Just put your finger in the soil of the plant up to the first knuckle. If it is dry give it some water, but don't let it sit in water. Let the excess drain out. This will avoid root rot problems and your plant will stay healthier. If you are worried that your plant will die of thirst you can pick up a water meter that will tell you when you plant needs a drink. As far as fertilizer, you can do that between April and August. In the winter they don't need as much plant food since most varieties slow down in their growth. To learn more about indoor plants, stop by the Al's Garden Centers in Woodburn and Sherwood and they can answer all your questions.

Hot Accents - Balls and Tiles

One of the hottest accents for the home are globes. Just the unique shape alone is enough to really create a visual 'bookmark' in your home décor. To learn more about this design trend we stopped by Terra Casa (503-577-8242) in Damascus, just east of Clackamas Town Center. Kathii pulled together some of the great items from their store. Globes have always been popular, either as gazing balls in the garden or as floats from the ocean, people just like the shape. Kathii showed us a couple of the different styles that have become popular recently, including multicolored globes bursting with different colors and crackled globes which reflected the light in interesting patterns. You can even get painted globes with different patterns and themes.

Next we moved to another hot accent; painted tiles. These tiles are high fired glazed tiles, so they can handle some pretty rough handling. The high firing also brings out the bright colors. These tiles are also versatile. You can hang them as art work in your home (we have one over our stove), or use them as a trivet for hot pans, or even incorporate them into a tile mosaic on your wall. Check out the selection of both of these cool accents at Terra Casa.

Strawberry Lavender Parfait

Hot days deserve cool treats! This week David wraps up the final one of the 'lavender' series of recipes with Kathy Gehrt, author of 'Discover Cooking with Lavender'. Today she is doing a dessert, Strawberries with Lavender Yogurt Cream, one of the many tasty recipes in her book. She started with organic local strawberries, but you can use any type of fresh local fruit. She added 1 tablespoon of lavender sugar, which is regular granulated sugar that has been infused with lavender buds to get some of their light flavor. She also added balsamic vinegar to the strawberries as well. Then, for the topping she mixed Greek yogurt, lavender honey and Crème Fraiche. These 2 mixtures are layered in a dessert dish and you are done. It is quick, easy and delicious. You can also learn more about lavender at the Oregon Lavender Festival happening at over 30 lavender farms around the state this weekend!  Find the recipe here.

Grills for Girls

The kitchen is officially closed. It is grilling season and we found one of the most interesting classes at the NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) in SE Portland. David led this session which had 5 lovely ladies there to learn more about grilling. First he covered safety tips. As David said in the story, it is all about location. Don't set up your grill near flammable objects and always keep a fire extinguisher close at hand. Plus you want to make sure that your grill is in good condition, no worn gas lines or rust. Our friends at NW Natural also recommend that you light the grill with the lid open so the concentration of gas doesn't get too heavy. Once everything is warmed up you can coat your grill with a light coating of vegetable oil or olive oil, do this right before you put your meat on the grill.

When you add your meat, go with the pieces that are going to take the longest to grill. Chicken and steaks are the thickest and should be started 10 minutes before your burgers and hot dogs. The temperature is very important too. The problem with home grillers is that they turn the grill on high and that just burns the outside and leaves the inside undercooked. A nice medium heat will take a few minutes longer, but your meat will turn out better. Vegetables should be the last thing on the grill since they don't take as long to cook. If you want to use a Bar-B-Q sauce you will want to add that to the meat just before you pull it from the grill. Most sauces contain sugar and that will burn very easily if left on the grill too long. Marinades generally don't have the same problems as a sauce and can be used without a problem.

Remember to monitor your meat temperatures with a thermometer so you are sure the meat is done and it is safe to eat. Check out the USDA Meat Safety page for more information. Once everything is done turn off your gas and let the burners' burn off the remaining gas from the lines, then shut off the individual burners. For more information about the Grilling for Girls classes or the Linx grill that we were using, you can check with the NW Natural Appliance Center.

Summer Wine Gadgets

Summer picnics mean relaxing and for a lot of people it also means a nice glass of wine. We were at The Container Store (503-620-5700) and we found few items for the summer wine lover. The first thing was an insulated wine caddy. This bag is made out of an insulating foam material and it will keep your wine chilled for quite awhile while you get to your destination. The second item we found was a chilling pack. You can keep this pack in your icebox and when you are headed out to an event and you need to chill your wine you can just slide it over the bottle and it will quickly chill your wine as you drive to the party. Finally we found the coolest gadget of all... wine glass clips. These clips fit on your plate when you are at a dinner or picnic and they hold your wine glass at the side of the plate. Now you can eat and enjoy your dinner without looking for a place to put your glass. Truly an engineering genius came up with this! You can find these and other picnic helpers at The Container Store.

Champion Awnings

During these hot days of summer you can be more comfortable by keeping the sun off your deck or patio with an awning. To check out some of the latest ones we stopped at Champion Windows (503-624-2678). The newer types of awnings are automated with retractable frames. These are built for durability with aluminum coated frames and treated fabrics. With proper care they can last 15-20 years. They are easy to install and can extend your outdoor living space and you can even pick the fabric to match your other patio furniture. For more information, contact our friends at Champion Windows.



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This page last modified
October 24, 2018.