Happy Mothers Day weekend!  We are taking some time this weekend to hang out with mom and helping her celebrate her special day.   This is a great weekend to think about things that will make her life easier.  Little things, like doing a household project, bringing her a decorative item or even cooking her a nice dinner.  What a coincidence!  Those are the same topics as the Fusion show.  Every week we give you some great ideas for things you can do around the Northwest home.  This week is no exception, so sit back and enjoy another great episode.

Goodwill Store Rack

Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette (503-238-6100) is a gem in the rough.  Dale Emanuel joined us to explain what that means.  The local Goodwill organization gets more donations than any other store in the world, last year that was over 163 million pounds of donations.  And once they get those donations they have 43 local stores to sell the best of the lot back to the public.  Dale showed Robin just some of the clothing items that you can find at the store including high-end items from Nordstrom, Jones of New York and Nike, all at a fraction of the actual cost.   The moneys that are generated (93 cents of every dollar) go back into providing jobs and services to those who have a barrier to employment.  They also provide job search services and a job referral service.  They serve thousands of your friends and neighbors in Oregon and SW Washington.  Plus they deal in all types of merchandise like house wares, books, décor items and electronics.  Stop by any one of their locations for some great deals and help others at the same time!

Lighting 101

Lighting a room is so much more than throwing a switch!  To get a few tips on lighting we met up with our friend Amy Troute from Amy Troute Interior Design.  She took us to one of her favorite places for lighting, lighting supplies and advice, Lamps Plus.  Lighting can really change your room and how it looks.  It can take the normal and make it spectacular.  Amy looks at lighting in layers.  First you have your general lighting, which could be the fixture in the center of the room.  Then you have your accent lighting which is used to showcase a painting or plant.  Finally you have your task lighting, which is lighting for specific purposes like reading or food prep.  By balancing these 3 ‘layers’ of light you can really make your home more welcoming and warm! 

Next we talked about light bulbs.  As many of you know, the old incandescent bulb is on the way out.  Energy efficiency is the buzzword for today and that means people are anxious about the change and losing the nice warm tones that an incandescent can bring to a room.   A lot of people think that they are stuck with the compact florescent bulb when it comes to saving energy.   Not true.  There are new types of halogen bulbs and LED bulbs that are starting to come on the market.  The benefit to these bulbs is not only the color of the light, but also the length of service that you will get from a bulb.   The old bulb will give you 800 hours of light, but the newer bulbs will provide up to 80,000 hours.  Well worth the $40 cost per bulb!

Finally we looked and design tips for placing lights.  There is just so much information that it is hard to keep up.  If you would like to learn more about lighting you can attend a free seminar once a month at your local Lamps Plus location.   

Budget Kitchen Makeover – Style

On an earlier show we visited with Linda Gemal from Rejuvenate Your Home (503-803-8000) to learn the first steps on how you can remodel your kitchen on a budget.  This week she walked us through some of the areas where you can add your own special touch to the decorating to make it stand out.  Linda started with the counter tops.  She was able to keep her old tile countertops and add new tiles, that didn’t exactly match, by using a border of a lighter tile to tie them all together.  She also brought the same colors in to the kitchen as a backsplash with some simple tile sheets from Home Depot.  Another place where you can change things up is with drawer pulls and hinges.  Just something as simple as changing the hardware can really make a difference.  Linda also showed us how she was able to shop the discount cabinet stores for some surplus cabinets.  She was able to tie them together by connecting countertops and a coat of paint.  And that was the final tip from Linda.  If you only had one thing you could do in your kitchen, it would be to paint.  Painting is easy and cheap and it can make a splash in a hurry!

Now You're Cooking – Thai Eggs Benedict

This week in our Now Your Cooking segment we were joined again by Chef Loren Skogland from Milo’s City Café (503-288-MILO) in Portland.  His restaurant is known for many things, but one of the focuses is the breakfast menu.  Today he stopped by the NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) to share one of his favorite breakfast treats – Eggs Benedict.  This recipe does have a twist, it is has a coconut milk and lime scented shrimp cake instead of bacon.  As Loren calls it, his ‘Thai Eggs Benedict’.  It also includes a red curry hollandaise, which was very easy to make.  The hollandaise was made with melted butter, egg whites and red curry all blended together.   

Next he placed the shrimp cakes on the Aga Cooker.  The Aga is a unique stove/oven.  It is always on!  One little pilot light keeps everything hot and because it is just one little flame it is pretty cost effective to operate.  They say that even the Queen has one of these in her palace in England. 

Chef Loren also poached his eggs at the same time his shrimp cakes were cooking by just cracking them in a bath of simmering water and a little vinegar.  Once the shrimp cakes and eggs were done he simply assembled them on a plate with fresh fruit and he had an easy and tasty breakfast dish.  If you would like to learn more about the Aga grill or to get a copy of the recipe, stop by the Appliance Center or check out the NW Natural website  

Bathroom Fans

This is one of the most used electrical appliances in the house and yet no one focuses on it.  The bathroom fan is a necessity for every home.  It gets rid of the stagnant air and excess moisture.  And these fans can do so much these days.  They come with heaters, lights and various levels of performance.  To help ‘clear the air’ we stopped by A-Boy Plumbing and Electrical Supply (503-287-0776) and Lisa told us about features and things you should be looking for in a new fan.  If you are looking for a new fan you need to bring the dimensions of your room to the store.  This will help them determine the volume of air you need to move.  This is determined by the CFM, Cubic Feet per Minute.  This will make sure you have the right sized fan for the area you have.  They are also easy to install, most of the time you will just need a screwdriver.  The one thing you will need to check is the ducting.  Older fans used a 3 inch ducting, but the newer fans require a 4 inch ducting to help more the air quicker, and make sure the ducting is vented to the outside.  Just venting into an attic or crawl space will create problems with dry rot and mold issues.   Also some areas require timers on any new installation of fan so be sure to check your local building codes to see what is required. To get answers to all your fan questions, stop by your local A-boy location!

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May 13, 2011.