The colder weather has finally pushed us indoors again. I know it is hard to think about summer ending, but we can now start planning for the fun of the holiday season. Being indoors also has us thinking about getting our homes ready, both inside and out, for the long winter months. This week we have a bunch of stories to help you get your home ready for what’s to come.

Ken’s Fabulous Snowballs

There is nothing like the taste of homemade candy. Now you can get that taste and not have to do all the work. We caught up with an old friend, Ken Hoyt, who now owns Willamette Valley Confectionery (503-913-2786) to learn about his company and have him share one of his private recipes with us. WVC started when Ken was making Christmas treats with a friend as gifts. From that first batch, it became a hit with everyone who tried it. People were also impressed with the quality local ingredients he used. He decided to give candy making a try as a business. That small start has expanded to include a large line of handmade candies that you can find at some great stores like Market of Choice, Whole Foods, Made in Oregon and Sheridan Fruit Market. Ken also produces gluten free and vegan candies that taste great!

For our visit he shared his personal ‘Fabulous Snowballs’ recipe. The recipe used all-purpose flour, ground hazelnuts, confectioners’ sugar, white chocolate, butter and baking powder. The recipe may sound familiar because it is similar to Russian teacakes and Mexican wedding cake. We started by combining the baking powder and the flour together. At the same time we mixed the room temperature butter together with the hazelnuts. In a food processor or blender chop up the white chocolate into small pieces and add that and the confectionary sugar to the butter mixture. Finally, we added the flour to the mixer and we were done. Simply make small balls and place them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Once they come out of the oven you let them cool down a little bit and then roll them in powered sugar a couple of times. If you would like to add this recipe to your collection you can get a copy by clicking here and the next time you want to have the great taste of homemade candy without all the homemade work, look for Willamette Valley Confectionery products at you local 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 (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.

Cascade Flooring Wood and Granite

A lot of homeowners are thinking about remodeling instead of moving these days and most don’t know that some of the materials have become cheaper over the past few years. To get the details we stopped by Cascade Flooring America to talk to the owner, Sunny, about which items can save you money. The first item we looked at was granite. Since people are looking at staying in their homes longer they are also looking for materials that will stand the test of time and look great for years. Granite is the answer for them. It has also become cheaper over the last couple of years because of the economy and because manufacturing processes are more efficient. It is also one of the lowest maintenance products on the market. Once it is sealed it can handle just about anything.

The next item we looked at was wood flooring. Once again, the economy and improvements in manufacturing have led to a significant price drop in the past few years. You will also notice that the product has improved in other ways as well. We saw a bamboo flooring that had been treated under pressure so it is now a harder product that can handle the wear and tear better. In both cases, when you install a quality product it will also help increase the resale value of your home in the long run.

If you would like to see the latest in flooring and window coverings you can stop by during their private sale this weekend on Sunday the 16th from 9-4. RSVP on their website and get an LED flashlight or a Gift Certificate to Billygan's Roadhouse restaurant.

Closet Organizing

Are you getting the most use out of your closet space?  Natalie Lamar of The Container Store (503-620-5700) in Bridgeport Village showed us how to get the most out of your closets, no matter what size they are.  The first step is to separate your items into two piles: "donate" and "keep."  By getting rid of clothes you seldom use, it will create more space for the items you use regularly.  Use the 'two-year' rule when cleaning out your closet.  If you haven't used it in 2 years, dump it (or donate it).  Natalie told us that closet space falls into six different categories: Long-hang, short-hang, shelf space, shoe space, drawer space, and accessories.

Long Hang: Dresses, long coats, pants hanging from the waist or cuffs.

Short Hang: Blouses, shirts, pants folded over a hanger.  This is what most people will have, and you can do one or two levels of short-hang space.

Shelf Space: Often up above the other areas, this is a great place to store seasonal clothes, tax records or things you don't need access to on a regular basis.

Shoe Storage: Natalie demonstrated a rack that holds nine pairs of shoes and glides out for easy access.  If you don't want your shoes out, you can store them on shelves or in clear boxes, which make it easy to find the shoes you want.

Drawer Space: Sweaters, t-shirts, socks, undergarments.  Anything that has a tendency to fall over on a shelf or take up room in a dresser can be neatly contained in a drawer in your closet.

Accessory Space: Purses, hats and jewelry.  Boxes on a shelf work great for this.  Also, there is a "jewelry box" that holds your small accessories and organizes them and makes them easy to access.

The system demonstrated by Natalie is interchangeable, and allows you to tailor your closet to fit your needs.  And, while there is no formula for how much of each type of space you should have (it all depends on the makeup of your wardrobe), one thing that will increase your closet space is to use the same type of hanger for all your clothes.  Stop by the Container Store and get these tips and many more to help you with your closet organizing.
hers you can stop by Cornell Farm and talk to their staff.


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This page last modified
October 21, 2011.