How are you doing on your spring projects?  Kinda slow?  I thought so… the weather during the weekends makes it hard to focus on getting those projects done around the house.  The weather has been too nice, it just makes you want to go out and enjoy the sun!  That actually was a good thing last weekend as we welcomed everyone to the 10th annual GardenPalooza at Fir Point Farms.  We had a great turnout with close to 7,000 fans coming out to join us.  We rewarded some of those fans with some free violas!  We hope you got yours.  We also gave away some other prizes too.  We would like to congratulate Nancy Turner and Patt Davis who won our other prizes.  Patt won a class at Geranium Lake Flowers and Nancy won a set of the Natural Home EaziStore cookware.  This cookware is produced to be environmentally friendly!  Plus, because of its design, it saves you up to 67% of the space needed for storage.  We will actually be giving away another set in the near future, so keep checking back for how you can win.

Unusual Slip Covers

You can re-decorate easily or just change the look of something by using slipcovers.  Now, I’m not talking about the big ones that you see on old furniture (just like at Grandma’s house). These are slip covers with a twist!  We found out about these from Sara Tetreault who writes the website GoGingham.com.  She finds these cool ideas and then shares them with her readers.  Her twist on slip covers is to use them for the ‘unusual’ pieces of furniture and décor.  She started by showing how well they can change the look of something.  She had an older table in her bedroom and she simply made a slip cover to go over the top and it made the piece look totally different and she didn’t have to refinish the piece!  But the real interesting part was coming up.  Sara took us to her dining room where we saw how she made slip covers for Kleenex boxes.  You only need 3 pieces to make the cover and you can get a copy of her pattern on her website.   These are great décor items.  You can use these patterns to match your décor for any time of year, including the holidays!  Check out her website for more ‘Stylishly Frugal Living’ ideas.

Sedum Terrariums

We are always looking for ways to bring the outside ‘indoors’ to freshen up our interior decorating.  One way of dong that is with terrariums.  We stopped by Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) to visit with Kim Foren as she was getting some sedums ready for a class on terrariums.  Using sedums in a terrarium is a good idea because they are such a low maintenance plant.  Kim showed us how you could use almost any pot to create these wonderful indoor gardens.  She had pulled out a huge apothecary jar for us to plant.  Kim had some sand from the fish store which contains some live bacteria in it.  The sand was a good choice for the sedums because they don’t need soil to grow and they like a good, fast draining medium to grow in.  If you have plants that need more of a root system you may want to layer small rocks, sand and then soil to help them grow.  Once you have the sand in the container you can add your sedums by gently pressing them into the sand.  Once your plants are placed you can add other decorative pieces like shells and rocks to dress it up a bit.  Then you are done.  Just lightly water it once a month and it should be fine.  If you would like to see when Kim is having her next class and to see what other projects she is doing you can check out her website. 

We would also like to thank Kim and her staff for donating a pass for one of her classes to our drawings at GardenPalooza.

OVO Kitchen

If you have been anywhere in the Portland area in the last few weeks you have probably heard about the new Cirque du Soleil show, OVO, which is appearing at the Expo Center for the next month.  This show is one of the most kid-friendly shows they have ever had and takes you into the world of insects as they try to figure out what is in the egg that appears in their world.  Of course there is much more than the ‘egg’ to see as well.  Cirque shows are known for their great stories, and for their incredible athletes that are part of the cast.  That got us wondering, how do these performers get fed?    With a little bit of help we found ourselves in the kitchen of the OVO show with Chef Paola Muller.  She is one of the 4 Chefs that travel with the show and serve up to 300 meals a day.  When the show first arrives in town they start by grilling outside until the kitchen is set up.  Depending on the show and the site their kitchen could be a tent or in the case of the Portland show they have 3 large shipping containers that have been modified and connected into one large kitchen.  One container has a cooler and food storage, the middle one is a food prep area and the third is set up for cooking, with ovens and stove tops.  The cast and crew eat in a tent area that is attached to the containers!

With all the different dietary needs of the cast the kitchen tries to make a little something for everyone.  There are different salads offered along with cold cuts and cheeses.  They also have an offering of different hot dishes and soups as well.  They even bake their own breads!  The best part is that they look to shop ‘local’ when they arrive.  The staff will work with local suppliers to make sure that they get the freshest local meats and produce to use in their meals. They have to offer a wide range of foods not only for the performers, but also their families, since many of them travel together during the show season.  It truly is a village on wheels!  The question we had was, ‘who eats the most desserts?”.  Chef Paola, said it was a toss-up between the staff and the performers, but the performers burn theirs off quicker! 

Another question had to do with all the different nationalities that are represented. How do they prepare special foods so the performers don’t get home sick?  Chef Paola told us that they have theme nights most of the week and then they will throw in a special night featuring foods from specific countries including her own, Brazil.

As you can see, they try to offer everyone involved with the show a treat when they sit down to eat.  If you want to see a treat, stop by and catch the OVO show while it is in Portland!

Quick Tip – Resistance Bands for Travel

Our quick tip this week has to do with keeping in shape when you are on the road.  Kim joined us from Exercise Equipment Northwest (800-659-0421) to tell us about resistance bands.  These stretchy exercise bands are good for getting in a quick work out without leaving your room.  They are also good if you don’t have a large space in your home to workout.  To learn how to use them, stop by any Exercise Equipment Northwest store.

Al’s Fairy Gardens

You can add a bit of magic to your garden either inside or out by making a portion of it a fairy garden.  A fairy garden is supposed to attract and make a home for good fairies so they stay and bring luck and good fortune to your garden and your home.  They are made up of small homes, furniture and chairs.  You can build one in a pot or in a secluded part of your garden (to give them a little privacy).  We stopped by Al’s Garden Center (503-726-1162) in Sherwood to chat with Amy and her daughter Rachel to learn more about this phenomenon.  Since fairies need a space of their own you will want to include pathways, fences and arbors.  This will encourage them to stay in your garden.  Letting your kids build the garden will allow them to use their own creativity and imagination.  Rachel built one in a large container, but they also had one on display in the nursery.  It looked like some of the pieces had been moved since they set it up.  That is a good sign since it shows that the fairies had been there and using it.  Getting one started is easy.  You can even get a kit that has everything you need to get started.  In a time when some people think that bigger is better, you can take the opposite route and make a home with your kids for the ‘wee people’ and have a great time doing it!

DIY – Ping Pong

Having family fun doesn’t have to break the bank.  Sara Tetreault shared an easy and quick way to set up a ping pong table in your home without having to buy a big piece of equipment.  She built hers out of a 4 foot dowel and a couple of juice containers.  First she took 2 clean and empty juice containers and filled them with some pennies.  This gave them the weight they needed to become posts.  Next she punched holes in the side of the containers and threaded the dowel through the holes.  This became the ‘net’.  Then she just set it up on the dining room table.  A couple of paddles and a ball from Goodwill (or you can get new ones from the local sports store) and you are ready to go!  Check out Sara’s website, www.GoGingham.com, for more tips and ideas.  

Organizing Mail

I like to think that our house is like everyone else’s.  We have piles scattered everywhere; things to read in one pile, unopened mail in another, scraps of paper in a third.  To help get some tips on organizing these piles we stopped at the Container Store (503-620-5700).  Natalie joined us with a few products to help us put our mess in order.  The first tip she had was to designate a space.  This area is where you will set up your organizing area.  This is where you will deal with the mail when it comes in.  Next, set up a system.  A simple drawer with files will work.  Mark the draws so you can keep things in order.  Hers were labeled ‘To Pay, To Preview, To File’.  Then every day when the mail comes in your can put it in one of the three drawers to organize it.  It is also good to have a calendar near this area so you can write down those appointments and important dates that come in the mail.  She also had some shredding scissors so you can cut up the mail that has personal information on it before recycling it. 

Natalie also had some files that will help you beyond your mail problems.  The larger cabinets and organizers will help you with more categories like separate school and work files.   You can even look at smaller organizing systems like ones for your coupons for shopping.  A portable system allows you to keep your coupons and gift cards all together so nothing gets lost.  They even had organizers for on the wall in case you are limited in space.  They really do have a place for everything so everything stays in its place!


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This page last modified
April 27, 2012.