It is GardenPalooza day!  Today, Saturday, April 2nd from 8:00am-4:00pm you can come out and get your garden taken care of for the coming year.  The garden is the extension of the home and we are proud to be co-sponsors of the GardenPalooza event along with Meta and our sister show, Garden Time.  You can come out to this free event and visit with Robin and David and while you are there you can pick up one of David’s fresh sourdough starter.  He only made 50, so come out while supplies last!  Come visit one of the 45 different vendors and leave with something for your home or garden.

Hard Surfaces

In the past we looked at all the choices in countertops that you can have in your kitchen or bath.  This week we met up with Barry at Cascade Flooring America (800-942-0376) to chat about some of the newer designs that are available this year.  First we talked to him about the ever popular granite.  Of course one of the benefits of this type of material is that there is a minimal amount of breaks in the slab and that means less grout lines to get stained or dirty.  But it is one of the most expensive of the surface materials.  Then we looked at a quartz and resin, man-made product.  It looks like granite but it is anti-microbial and you don’t have to seal it like you would a natural stone surface.  With these two materials you can place hot pans on them and they are very resistant to scratches.  The next material was a very earth friendly surface.  It was made with recycled glass and concrete.  This one was VERY colorful and bright.  The next material was ‘old-school’ Formica.  This surface has been around for years, but with all the new technology in the production of this material it has the largest selection of color and pattern choices.  You still have to treat it gently when compared with some of the other materials, but you can pretty much find a pattern you will love.  And since this is a pressed paper type of product you will not be able to place a hot container on it.  Finally we checked out the Corian material.  This is a plastic based countertop and it is designed to handle just about everything.  You can cut on it and even place hot pans on it.  It can even handle the toughest of cleaning products.  You can even get some of your appliances like sinks mounted in the material and that will make your countertop look seamless!  The Corian product also comes in over 100 different color choices.   If you are a little confused by all these choices you can stop by Cascade Flooring America and get some help from Barry and the rest of the staff.

Donut Machine

This is a robot we won’t mind having in our home.  Erica from Fir Point Farms showed us the Donut Robot.  This machine is responsible for churning out hundreds of delicious apple cider and marionberry donuts during the GardenPalooza event.  This machine does it all!  Once you add the batter, the machine makes the donut shape, drops it in the hot oil, flips it and tosses it on a cooling rack.  All you need to do is add sugar!  To see the machine at work and have one of these tempting donuts, just stop by GardenPalooza or Fir Point Farms anytime during the spring and summer season!

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough starter is one of the most prized possessions of the home and professional baker.  This ‘starter’ is what makes your bread tasty and delicious.  A starter is actually just leavening for making bread.  You use it to help your bread rise and make it fluffy and soft.  In old days it was the difference between soft bread and hard flat-bread.  All most starters are is flour and water and the wild yeast and bacteria in the air.  The flour and water feed this wild bacteria and that makes the starter.   There are 3 ways of getting a sourdough starter.  The first way is by getting some from someone who has one already.  This will allow you to start baking right away.  David uses one that his mother made over 30 years ago.  (You can get some of his starter at GardenPalooza on Saturday, but hurry, he only has 50 made for the event)  Next you can get a commercial product that will start the process.  Finally, you can make your own.  Just mix 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water in a glass bowl (never metal) and cover it with a towel.  In a week or so you will start to notice that the bacteria are working as the mixture starts to bubble.  If the starter has a pink coloring or if it smells bad you may need to start again.  Once you have it how do you keep it going?  You can store it in your refrigerator but every couple of weeks you want to add either sugar or a little flour and water.  Then place it back in the fridge.  This additional material will keep the bacteria fed and the starter going.   If it seems too tough or hard to understand, here are some tips for helping you get started.   

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 Starks 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!     

Deck Materials

On an earlier show we told you how to get your deck ready for the season.  But what if your deck is in pretty sad shape and you are thinking about replacing it?  We went to Parr Lumber (360-887-7277) and picked Chris Erskine’s brain again to learn about the different kinds of products on the market.  It used to be that you only had the choice of different kinds of natural wood, but now there are choices of wood, composites of wood fiber and plastic, and a PVC coated composite material.  I know it sounds confusing, but Chris made it easy to understand.   The wood material hasn’t changed and as far as price goes, it is still your cheapest option.  Then there are the basic composites in products like Trex.  This type of material is a combination of wood fiber and plastic compounds that are blended together and shaped into boards.  This product will last much longer than ordinary wood and is easier to maintain. The other product that we looked at was from Timber Tech and it was a complete PVC (plastic) product and it was the most expensive, but the most durable, lasting for the life of your home.  The newest product on the market is a composite core covered by the durable PVC coating.  This one uses the composite core to keep the price lower and has the PVC coating to make it very durable!  Another benefit of the composite materials is the fade resistance of the product.  This material will look great for many years to come.  Finally, the major consideration, price.  The composite materials will cost about twice as much as the wood when you first buy them, but after a few years the cost of the wood product surpasses the composite because of maintenance, kind of a ‘you can pay now or pay later’ scenario.   If you are thinking about building a deck or replacing an old one, stop by and see the experts at Parr and they can help you make the right choice.    

Home Office Organizing

People working from their homes are a growing segment of the workforce.  However, once you established your home office you may find that things are piling up and your workspace has been taken over by clutter.  We stopped by Environments (503-236-3600) to chat with Chris Corrado about how you can keep your workspace efficient and clean.  Your home office is precious space and so you need to plan accordingly.  Chris showed us how you can use a wall to create more space by going ‘up’ with your storage.  What if you don’t have a wall to mount shelves on to help you organize?   Then you need to look at shelving that takes stuff off your desk top and gives you more room.  Cubbies for papers, desk accessories and even computer monitors can be elevated to free up workspace.  One of the most useful items we saw was a small cabinet.  You can use this item to keep the clutter behind a door and out of site.  One of the neat items that Chris had in the store was a roll-around file cabinet that doubles as a seat, in case a client shows up and needs to sit down.    The final thing that you need to be aware of during your organizing is lighting.  Good lighting will help you stay organized once you have your space put together.  If you need help organizing your area, stop by Environments for some friendly and helpful tips.


Website design and content ©2009-2011 Gustin Creative Group.  Please send website inquiries to gustingroup@comcast.net
This page last modified
April 08, 2011.