The first days of fall have teased us. It feels like summer again. That is not a bad thing, but it could make the time you have for your fall chores shorter. Not to worry, it is all about priorities. Spend this time enjoying time with your family and friends, get out and visit a harvest festival… those chores will wait. Still, if you have the urge to get things done we have plenty of tips for you.

Placemat Pillows

Our friend Linda Gemal from Rejuvenate Your Home (503-803-8000) showed us a cute little project she has done with placemats she found at her local store. She discovered a placement that had tassels and she thought it would make great pillow for the holidays. It was a double sided placemat and she used a seam ripper (or a scissors) to open the seam at one end. Then she used poly-fill to fill the space in between and then just stitch the small seam shut. Not only do you get a cheap pillow, but you can match it to your table-setting!


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.

Making Pesto

The season is winding down but you can still create some tasty treats from your garden. Chef David tackled a quick and easy basil pesto. There are lots of different types of pesto, so check with your local garden center or grocery to see what style or flavor works best for you. First you need to start with 2 cups of leaves. Add them to your blender with a little bit of olive oil and start to puree them. After a couple of minutes add some parmesan cheese, more oil, garlic and pine nuts (or walnuts). Once you are done you can use it on bread as a spread, or even as a sauce for pasta or chicken. If you would like to try making your own, you can get the recipe here.

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.


Back to School Organizing

Now that the kids are back in school you have a lot more to worry about when it comes to organizing. Dan Lerma from The Container Store (503-620-5700) showed us how you can keep everyone on task and prepared with all the activities that are going on. The first thing that Dan recommended was a calendar. Having one calendar that everyone can see is very important. It becomes easier if you color-code activities and/or people as well. Next, make lists! Create a to-do list, a shopping list or even a chore list to help everyone save time. Then what do you do with all the paperwork?? Dan recommends a bin or storage area for all the paper work that makes its way home. This will make sure that Mom gets the permission slip or class schedule and they won’t get lost at the bottom of a backpack. Then we move into the ‘meat’ of organizing, lunches and breakfasts. Dan showed us how you can create and store lunches and even had a container that you can use for breakfasts on the go! Speaking of ‘on the go’, we also saw a ‘on the go’ bin. This is a bin that you can use to place items that you need to take with you on your next trip. This could be movies that have to be returned, gloves, library books, scarves and even those signed permission slips. You can also have a smaller bin near the front door that can hold you keys, sunglasses, cell phone and even your wallet, all those things that you can easily forget when you are in a hurry. Finally we check out a system for organizing for all those after school activities. This larger unit had individual bags that you can use to store soccer, ballet, football stuff and even after schools snacks if you need them. For more organizing ideas, check out the products at the Container Store.

Fixing Siding

The winter winds are coming and if you have not been checking your home in anticipation of the seasonal change you may be losing energy and money. We noticed some cracked siding on the house and thought we should check with Chris at Parr Lumber (503-531-7277). Good thing we did, cracks in your siding can lead to long term damage and that will cost you a lot of money if you don’t take care of the problem. We took lots of pictures and measurements and stopped by Parr to visit with Chris to see what we should do. We found out that the size of the crack could make a big difference in how your treat it. If the damage to the siding is small (a crack of a quarter inch or less) you can just fix it with a silicone caulk. If the crack is slightly larger you can use a product by Bondo. This is like the product that you use on your car, but it is designed for home use. Be careful to use all the safety gear recommended on the label, this stuff is serious fix-it stuff! Work fast because it sets up fast. Once it is applied and it has set up you can sand it and paint. If you have a problem bigger than this, you need to talk to the experts at Parr, because it may require some replacement siding. Take care of the problem now to avoid long term damage.



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This page last modified
October 07, 2010.