Spring is here and we are in the middle of a huge storm!  Talk about being disappointed!  The weather is putting a cramp on our celebration of spring and all our spring cleaning chores.  Still there is plenty to do inside the home.  This week we talk about remodeling the kitchen.  It is a good time to tackle a remodeling project, so by the time the summer is here you will be done and you can enjoy the summer.  It is also a good time to organize and we have a great story on pulling together your accessories to give you a little more room in your closet!  Those are just a couple of the great stories we have for you in this week’s show.

Antique Silver

In a down economy the price of commodities like gold and silver generally rise.  That means people will run to the china cabinets to pull out the family silver to melt down for money!  We are seeing all kinds of ads where places are guaranteeing cash for silver and gold.  To see if melting down the family silver was a good idea or not we stopped by and chatted with Gary Germer a local antique and collectable expert.  Gary Germer and Associates (503-235-0946) is known around the Northwest for handling the appraisal and handling of antiques, fine art and collectables.  Gary gave us some tips for deciding when to keep and when to sell.

With silver you know you have a certain amount of money involved because you can weigh it and, knowing the weight, you can know how much per pound you can get.  A lot of items are worth more melted down than they are as collectables.  An example is candelabras.  A lot of them were mass produced 50 or 60 years ago and are not very collectable.  They are better to be sold for the cash, unless they have a special meaning to you or your family.  If you are thinking of keeping some thing collectable, you may look for some of the hot items that collectors want.  Small bar and cocktail items like stirrers and spoons, little egg cups and anything that is hand made.   You should also look for designer names like George Jensen and Sanborn.  Designers always are a good investment.  The type of silver makes a difference too.  Sterling silver has the number .925 on the back.  It is nearly pure silver. Anything listed as .800 is not as pure but still is worth money.  Gary had one more tip.  If you are looking to sell your silver, look for an established local business and not one that has a ‘one-day only’ event at the local hotel.  The established business will treat you better and you will probably get a better price since they want you back as a customer.  If you have questions you can contact Gary.  Check out Gary’s new retail space on 17th, just off Lovejoy in the west pearl district.  He is selling selected pieces from his clients and even will do appraisals.

Portland Bourbon

The distilling community is growing in the Northwest.  It is on par to rival the microbrew industry if it keeps on growing.  We heard about one of the newest distillers and stopped by to pay a visit.  We met with Lenny Gotter at Eastside Distilling (503-926-7060) where they specialize in making rum.  All you need to make rum is water, molasses and yeast.  You boil water to kill all the bacteria and then you add the molasses and the yeast.  Once the yeast does its stuff (in 4 or 5 days) and eats the sugar in the molasses to make alcohol, then is distilled and bottled.  Even though it seems easy it is against the law unless you are licensed by the federal government, so don’t try this at home!  Eastside uses this method to make 4 different kinds of rum.  This includes coffee, ginger, silver and gold rum.  Plus they now have a new product, Burnside Bourbon, which is a 4 year barrel aged whiskey.  To celebrate the Fusion story we were joined by master mixologist, Andre, to see what he came up with for a mixed cocktail.   His creation was called the Andre Fusion!  It was 2 ounces of Burnside Bourbon, an ounce of cinnamon syrup from local producer B. G. Reynolds and some lemon juice.  You'll find the recipe here.  If you would like to taste some of their wares you can stop by their tasting room from Friday through Sunday.  Check out their website for their hours. 

If you are interested in distilled spirits in the Portland area you can attend the Toast event happening in downtown Portland on April 28-29 on the sky bridge level of the World Trade Center.  Over 50 local, national and international artisan producers will be pouring over 100 different spirits.  You can get your tickets now at www.showclix.com/event/TOAST.  

Portland Roasting

Did you know we have an award winning coffee roaster right here in Portland?  Recently Portland Roasting (800-949-3898) was named the Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine.  To learn more about this honored business we stopped by and talked to Mark Stell, the owner of Portland Roasting.   This is the top award that you can receive as a roaster, and they had been close before.  They came in second place for the last 5 years, they are that good!  Locally roasted coffee is very important if you are a coffee lover.  Just like a bakery, you want to have fresh roasted coffee near the consumer.  It will get stale if you wait too long or ship too far.  They roast and deliver within 48 hours which is pretty fast!

A lot of times roasting is about consistency.  Roasters are looking for the same characteristics in their coffee blends.  If they find something special they will offer that as a special blend, but most of the time they want to have the same blend for their customers.  To ensure that consistency they have to constantly test, or do a ‘cupping’, to check the flavor.

Robin learned more about cupping from Andy Davis, one of the coffee experts at Portland Roasting.  They start with a sample of the different raw, or green, beans.  They are usually roasted to various different levels so they can determine the best roast for that bean.  For our demonstration Andy roasted a light blend to bring out more of the characteristics of the coffee.  After roasting the beans you smell the fresh ground coffee to check the aroma.  Then they add hot water to the ground coffee for about 3 minutes to release the coffee.  They will scrape off the top layer of foam to get to the real coffee below.  Then you slurp a tiny bit of coffee into your mouth, loudly!  This was very surprising to us.  This allows the coffee to spray around the inside of your mouth to give you the full coffee flavor.  Then you spit it out.  If you are dong a lot of tasting you could get a big caffeine buzz if you drank it every time.   Andy also recommended that you brew you coffee in a French press and that you use about 2 tablespoons of coffee to 6 ounces of water.  You also are to use water boiled to about 205 degrees.

If you would like to try Portland Roasting coffee you can stop by their business at 7th and Oak, their stores at the Oregon Convention Center or you can order from their website.

Neil Kelly Kitchens

The kitchen is one of the most popular places in the home for a remodel.  Since we spend so much time in the kitchen (cooking, visiting, etc.) we want it to be comfortable and functional at the same time.  It is also one of the places in a home where a remodel can increase the value of your home as well.  But where do you start when you are planning a remodel?  To get the answer to that question we stopped by the Neil Kelly Design Center (866-691-2719) in North Portland to talk to Karen.  Karen is a designer and she has helped hundreds of people design and remodel kitchens without all the pain and mistakes of doing it themselves.  The first thing she recommends is to make a list of priorities and goals you want to accomplish. What do you want the kitchen to be?  If you are an entertainer you will need a different space than if you are a foodie and spend a lot of time cooking.  You should also have a time frame, knowing when you want the project to be completed, and an idea of a budget, what you would like to spend on the remodel.  The budget may be the most difficult.  You have to look at the sum of the parts from the large appliances down to the knobs on the cabinets.  A designer can be a big help here!  The designer will help you figure out your goals and they can give you an idea of price because they know the different materials and costs for installation.  Karen told us about some of the major remodeling styles that they consult on.  Your project can be a ‘cosmetic’ remodel where you are just re-facing cabinets and countertops.  Or you could be doing a ‘pull and replace’ type of remodel where you are pulling out the appliances and cabinets and putting in new.  The most intensive remodel is the ‘custom’ remodel where you are moving walls or changing the structure of the room itself.  You can help your designer by bringing in some pictures of what you want from magazines and pictures of your current kitchen taken from different angles so they can get an idea of your tastes and the scope of the work.  If you are interested in learning more, without committing to a designer, Neil Kelly has seminars happening all the time.  Check out their website for a complete schedule.  You can attend and get all your questions answered before you get started and avoid some of the pitfalls that others had.      

Organizing Accessories

Nearly every house has small items lying around.  To get those accessories organized is sometimes a chore.  To get some organizing tips we stopped by The Container Store (503-620-5700) at Bridgeport near Lake Oswego and talked to Natalie Lamar.  She showed us how you can use some everyday items to help organize your stuff. The first items she showed us were a couple of simple plastic see-through boxes.  These are normally used to store office supplies like paper clips, but she used it to store socks or tights.  You can keep them organized and the box lets you see what you have stored.  Next we saw how she used a normal paper towel holder to store bracelets.  Since they are all upright you can see all the ones you have in your collection.  Natalie then moved to a small filing cabinet.  This cabinet was designed to hold papers and files, but she had added a couple of dividers in one of the drawers and it became an earring holder.  Very cool!  The next stop was a message board.  But this time it wasn’t just a message board, it was a necklace holder.  This one was designed to hold messages with little magnets and you could write on it, but Natalie showed us how you can use it to store those necklaces and even leave notes on what to wear the necklace with.   The final stop was another office organizer that had found a dual purpose.  This cabinet is meant to hold larger files and office supplies, but it had been transformed into a shoe and purse organizer.  So you can see how many of these office ‘tools’ could find another purpose as organizers for all your personal and household items.  For more ideas, you can stop by the Container Store and talk to their staff.


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April 13, 2012.