With the recent nice weather I have been wandering around the outside of the house and checking out the exterior.  I’ve wondered how we have faired with this past winter behind us.  I can see some ants that I have to take care of and the siding looks like it has a few cracks that I can fix.  Up top, I can see that the chimney needs some work done to the mortar.  Looks like we have a few stories to do for the show so I can get these projects done!  Be watching for those projects!

Arranging Store-Bought Flowers

Have you ever bought some flowers from the store and wondered how you can make them just a little bit nicer?   Kim Foren from Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) actually went to a store and bought some so she could give us some pointers on dressing the flowers up so they look like they came from a high-end florist.   The key is to take them out of the wrapping and re-arranging them so they don’t look so ‘prepared’.   Look for a vase with a tighter neck so they don’t flop around.  Kim used a narrow but wider vase where she put a large leaf on the inside.  Then she added a little bleach to keep the water clean and clear.  She then added a little floral food to keep the flowers fresher, longer.  She also told us that she has used vodka to keep them fresh too.  Then she started to arrange the flowers from the store.  She started with the greens first.  She cut off all the foliage so there was not any extra stuff in the water besides the stems to keep the water clear.  Then she put in the flowers.   She said she was from the 1-3-5 school which means you use groupings of 1, 3 or 5 stems together. 

The other way she showed us for arranging was to use 3 different kinds of flowers and ‘color blocked’ them together.  Then she bound the bottom of them together with a ribbon and chopped off the uneven stems and used a ‘flower frog’ (a heavy pin-cushion type of thing) instead of floral foam to keep them upright in a large container of water.  They looked fantastic!

Of course, if you don’t have the skills to do something like this at home you can always stop by Geranium Lake Flowers and have the experts do it for you!

Nursery Basics

Setting up a nursery for a new baby can be a daunting task.  How do you pick out the right stuff and not spend your entire budget on decorations and furnishings?  To learn about the ‘must-haves’ for the nursery we stopped by Goodnight Room (503-684-9510) and talked to owner Ann Adrian.  She told us about people that are doing a lot of their research on the internet.  That will only work if you mix that with a hands-on demonstration of actual products.  Also products that you get from on-line sales may not meet current safety regulations.  The crib is the starting point for most new parents.  Most cribs are standard in size, but the designs are very different.  Ann showed us a ‘lifestyle’ crib.  This one starts as a crib with a normal railing but as your child grows it can be converted into a toddler bed an even a regular bed as time goes by.  It even has a drawer in the bottom for storage.  Storage is key for the baby.  Where do you put all that stuff you need?  You will find that as your child grows you will need different sizes of just about everything.   Plus you will need everything right where you need it.  Changing tables are now mounted on the top of dressers so you can keep one hand on your baby while you use the other hand to get the things you need.  You should never leave your baby unattended.  Once your child is past the diaper phase you can remove the changing table portion and it becomes a dresser again.  No need for an extra piece of furniture.  Next Ann recommended a chair that has motion.  We need to be able to rock our children and be comfortable while we do that.  She carries the ‘gliding’ type of chair; this is a more natural type of motion rather than the old rocking motion.  You don’t have to pump your legs to keep them moving.  They now come with high quality fabrics that cleanup easily.  Finally we moved to shelves and other types of storage.  You will be getting lots of toys, and other gifts that need to be displayed and made available when needed.  A good shelf is important for these items.    Always make sure they are solid and secure when you place them so they can be safe from tipping.  If you have any other questions about designing a nursery or you are looking for a great baby gift stop by their store at the Bridgeport Shopping Center.

Rinds and Cheese Storage

A few weeks ago we visited with Bill Stephenson at DPI Specialty Foods to learn about cheese and separate the facts from the fiction.  He is the ‘Cheese Guru’ and this week we return to ask him about a couple of topics that people always wonder about.  One, can you eat the rind on your cheese and, two, how do you store your cheese.   Paper and wax that cover your cheese are not meant for consumption, but all other materials may or may not be eaten.  For the really hard rinds like you would find on parmesan cheese may be a little too hard to eat but some people will save them to flavor a soup or to use in cooking.  For some cheeses that have mold on the outside of the rind, that is the same mold that you would find in the cheese itself and is edible, and it may even add to the enjoyment of the cheese.  This is true with cheeses like brie.  If you find a cheese that is wrapped in leaves you will want to throw them away, they are just a ‘wrap’ for the cheese and not meant to be eaten.

For keeping your cheese fresh, storing it correctly can make all the difference in the taste.  Your cheese can be a living and breathing thing and it you wrap it in a plastic wrap or bag it can change the flavor of the cheese and may ruin it.   Cheese paper or cheese cloth is the best thing for storing your cheese.  It keeps that cheese tasty and delicious.  You may notice in stores that they have all their cheese in plastic.  That is mainly for marketing purposes.  People like to see the cheese that they are buying and so it is put in plastic.  To learn more about cheese you can check out the DPI Cheese University.  

Made in America House

Everyone is talking about supporting the country by buying and building ‘Made in America’ only products. Gerald Rowlett from Westlake Development Group (503-698-5912) took it a step further.  He built a home that is entirely made out of materials from here in the U.S.  Gerald got his inspiration from watching a news story about something similar in Montana.  He started by contacting his sub-contractors and suppliers.  That began a journey that became an investigation.  There are a lot of companies that carry products from the U.S. but they also mix in products from other countries.  Gerald wanted to make sure that EVERYTHING came from the states.  Everything from the ground up, glue, screws, nails, wood, sheetrock, fittings, etc. all came from the U.S.   Gerald also did a little math.  The cost of the home is only about 2 percent higher than if he used average materials.  He also figured out that if only 5 percent of the homes being built were to use American Made products it would create over 220,000 jobs to the economy! 

The Made in America theme wasn’t limited to the building of this home.  The interior design was also involved.  Garrison Hullinger from Garrison Hullinger Interior Design (971-255-0326) had to go out and find all the furnishing for the home as well.  Some of the furnishings were hard to find. Some U.S. companies have gone out of business and others make their products with a mixture of foreign materials.  But they also had luck with a number of local companies like Lonesomeville Pottery, Pendleton Mills, Paul Schatz, Mitchell Gold, Rejuvenation and the Greater Art Gallery were all involved. 

If you would like to see the home and learn more about the process of building it you can stop by and visit during the Ultimate Open House Tour this weekend.  Check out the website to see the location of all the featured homes.

Chown Kitchen Faucets

If you are looking to remodel your kitchen and you don’t have a lot of money, the quickest way to change the look is to change your faucet!  We stopped by Chown Hardware (800-547-1930) to visit with Tim Sweeney and learn more about the wide selection of faucets that they have.  What we found interesting was the different styles and countries that they are from.  It seems each country has their own different design style.  The German design looked almost industrial in its approach, while the American design had a smooth classic look and feel.  The next one we saw was sleek and contemporary; it even had a joystick for turning the water on and off.  We ended our tour with an incredible oil-rubbed bronze sink and fixture.  This had a wonderful wine country motif too.   It is even made locally!  The final touch was the sink protector in the bottom of the sink.  It can be taken out and washed in the dishwasher!  There were so many choices but as Tim said, ‘they all bring you water, but elegantly’.  Stop by and check out all the different designs.

Quick Tip: Picking a Pillow

Picking the right pillow is just as important for a good night’s sleep as a mattress.   A fifth of your spine is located in your neck and supporting that is important to your overall quality of sleep.  Make sure you get a pillow that fits your head for the position that you normally sleep in.   We found all this out from Elana at America’s Mattress (503-914-0795) where they have a ‘pillow bar’ that has a pillow to fit any need.


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This page last modified
May 11, 2012.