When should we start shifting from fall to holiday stories!?!?  I face that dilemma every year.  I want to keep from moving past the fall too fast, but it seems like the holidays start sooner each year.  I will try to ease into it gently.  We will start with a story on Goodwill and how they are helping people while helping collectors find a treasure!

Goodwill Decorating

We were thinking about doing a ‘décor on the cheap’ story when we got a call from Dale at Goodwill.  What a perfect tie in!  Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette (503-238-6100) helps employ people with disabilities or with other barriers to employment in our area.  She contacted us to let us know about their new on-line bidding service at http://www.ShopGoodwill.com.  This is an on-line virtual store.  You can go on your computer and check out new items to bid on every week.  If you win the bid you can then have the item shipped to you.  98% of all items begin with a bid of $5.  We were able to check out some of the holiday décor/collectables that they were going to put on-line this week.  These items are hand-picked and are chosen because they are of high quality, are very unique or are very collectable. 

Dale had some pretty cool things to show use. The first thing that Robin noticed was a decorative plate from Limoges in France.  A fine collectable for a very low price.  The next thing was a valuable vase that was priced at $150.  This one was made in Holland and had gold leaf and turquoise in the pattern.  We then looked at some of the holiday collectables that they had in their inventory.  These included a couple of nutcrackers, including one that was a mechanical bank.  We also saw some rare ornaments and an old ‘Santa’ bank from 1950.  There was also hand painted piece of artwork on display too.  At Goodwill it isn’t just about mass produced items, you can find some really great hand made items as well.

Next we moved into the other half of the building where they have the Westside Outlet.  The outlet is where you can buy Goodwill products by the pound!  Once the items have been in the regular stores for a certain time (or too long of a time) they are sent to the outlet stores to be sold out of large bins.  You can get some really great deals here too.  We found a huge assortment of holiday décor items and an entire shopping cart full of decorating items for less than $28!  If you are looking for an inexpensive way to decorate your home for any holiday, stop by your local Goodwill store!    

Durable Furniture

If you have kids and/or pets you may think you have to wait until they are gone before you can enjoy expensive, fancy furniture.  Carrie Gamache from Ashley Furniture (503-726-7490) joined us to tell us that is not always true.  She started by showing us the ‘durablend’ furniture which is made out of leather combined with other materials.  This is then attached to a denim backing so it looks like leather but it is more durable.  This will take a beating and do well in the home. Next you want to look at the stitching.  Look for reinforced or baseball stitching.  That type of stitching will handle the wear and tear better.  You will also want to look for zippered cushions.  This will allow you to re-stuff the cushions when they get old and flat.  But what if you don’t want the ‘leather’ look?  We saw the latest in polyester.  This is a wonderful woven fabric that can be easily cleaned with soap and water.  One more reminder… If you have pets you want to keep their nails and claws trimmed.  This will help preserve and extend the life of your furniture. 

We also found out why everything matched so well in the store.  Ashley designs entire groups of furniture including lamps, rugs, pottery and tables to match so you can get everything for one low price.  Right now you can get a 14 piece set of furniture for less than $1,000.  You can see more wonderful Ashley products during their grand opening of the new locally owned and operated location in Tigard right across highway 217 from Washington Square.

Terra Casa Dressing a Soffit

Most newer homes, and some older homes have soffits.  A soffit is the space between the top of your cupboards or cabinetry and the ceiling.   These can be huge blank spaces unless you find something to fill the space with.  Some use this area as storage, but there is sooo much more potential if you are looking to make a statement in your decorating.  We stopped by Terra Casa (503-577-8242) to learn more about dressing up this area with Kathii.   The first thing that Kathii told us was to concentrate on an area that measures about 36 inches wide.  If it gets wider than that you can’t create the visual impact that you want to have. You will also want to fit everything with in the space you have and not seem too crowded.  Stay at least 2 inches below the ceiling and make sure that nothing is touching the ceiling.  That just makes it look too crowded.   If you have more than one area to dress make sure there is separation between the different decorated areas.  You can still tie them together by keeping the same color scheme going, but make sure they are not identical.  You can use artificial greenery to help soften the edges of the display and bring in more earth tones too.  When building your vignette remember scale.  A smaller space needs smaller items to fill it.  When creating the space remember to use a taller piece to add structure and then create a triangle of interest by using at least 2 other items below that structure piece.  Always use an odd number of items in your display (either 3,5 or 7 items).  If you are looking for more ideas or some really stunning pieces to use in your display, then check out Terra Casa!

Brews and Views

We have done stories about pairing food and wine but we have never done any stories about pairing food and beer.  To learn how to do that we stopped by Salty’s on the Columbia (503-288-4444) and talked with Beverage Manager, Megann Williams.  Megann thinks it is easy to pair wine with food.  The winemaker has it easy in dealing only with grapes. Pairing with beer is tougher.  Beer has more variables.  There are hops for bitterness, barley for sweetness and then you have all the other ingredients that can be added to beer like fruits and other flavorings like nuts and spices.  As you can see it is harder to take all those into consideration.  She recommends one of two ways to approach your beer and food choices.  The first way is to look for similar taste profiles.  You may want to pair a rich stout beer with a rich chocolate mousse.  These will help bring the same tastes to your mouth at the same time so you can enjoy the similarities.  The other end of the spectrum is to contrast flavors.  So you have an oyster paired with a dry bitter IPA. So the flavors cut through each other and compete for room on your tongue.   

Overall she recommends that you pair the body of a beer with the food you are eating.  Light beers with light foods and heavier beers with similar, heavier foods.  If you are a beer fanatic Salty’s is a great place to visit and let them help you with these ‘tough’ beer decisions.  A good way to learn more is at their 1st Brews and Views event on the 27th of October.  For $29 per person you can taste over 10 local brews and see how they pair with beer cheese fondue, pork sliders, pretzel crusted pork loin and even beer marshmallows!  For more information feel free to contact Salty’s to reserve your place.

Olive Oil Tips

Olive Oil is known for all its uses in cooking and preparing food, but we found some other uses that may surprise you.  Robin and David found out that you can use the olive oil to help moisturize your cuticles and dry skin.  Just apply a little dab with a cotton swab or cotton ball and rub it in.  Plus because of its lubricating properties you can use it when you are shaving to get a really close shave!  Just don’t use the flavored kind!  For the ladies you can use it to remove makeup and smudges from your mascara.  There are many uses around the house too.  You can wipe a small amount around the top of a candlestick holder and when the wax drips down it can easily be removed.  It is also great for polishing those same candlestick holders or any other stainless steel item.  In small amounts it can also be used for dusting.  Finally, it can be applied to food, cat food!  Adding a tiny amount to your cat’s food  will help eliminate hairballs.  We found about an 1/8 of a teaspoon to a cup of food is the recommended amount.   Just a few ways you can use this very versatile product around your home.


Website design and content ©2009-2011 Gustin Creative Group.  Please send website inquiries to gustingroup@comcast.net
This page last modified
October 28, 2011.