Welcome to Summer! The heat has returned and with it that feeling of ‘slowing down’. I find that when the heat returns I just don’t feel like doing much of anything. I have found that I am spending more time outside during the morning hours and a lot of time in the evening. The middle of the day is just wearing me out. That has become the part of the day where I just try to relax in the shade and drink more water. It is a good idea for everyone who is outside, stay hydrated! Before you head outside to do your chores, enjoy this week’s show.

Choosing Art

If you are decorating your home or apartment you may be having some trouble picking the right art for the walls. We were joined at the 937 Condominiums in the Pearl District by Amy Troute of Amy Troute Interior Design (503-805-0811) to see how she chose the art for the condos there and get her tips for picking the right art for any room. Amy showed us how she designed around the painting ‘Cowgirl’ by Sidonie Caron. Amy had to take into account the wide windows along one wall and the starkness of the walls on the other side. It was a very complimentary piece to the overall retro design. If you have a piece of art that doesn’t fit in as well as the piece by Sidonie you may want to incorporate some of the same colors as the art into your other designs around the room. This will help tie it all together. If you are looking for art, find something that you love. Don’t just buy a piece based on its value (or what others would call an investment). You will be living with this art for a long time and you should enjoy it every time you walk into a room. A quality designer or gallery will work with you and your space to find a piece that will fit your tastes and your décor. And remember, the things in your room, the carpet, the furniture, the paint, are much more flexible and easily changed than some of the larger art you may find. If you are looking for some of the art that we featured in the story you will find these artists at Heidi McBride Gallery & Art Consultancy. The artists are Sidonie Caron, Nick Van Grainger, Gabe Fernandez, Therese Murdza, Ani Licia Thompkins, Michael Hensley, Molly Cliff Hilts and Eugenia Pardue.

Knife Tips

Chef Woody Bailey from Oregon Culinary Institute (1-888-OCI-CHEF) joined us to fill us in on knives. Chef Woody is also the owner of Zen Blades so he knows his knives! His first and most important tip for finding the right knife, get the one that FEELS right. The second question, what WORKS best for you? If you take these two factors into consideration you will have almost won the battle! The first knife you should look at buying is a chef’s knife. Don’t worry about the cost, as Woody said, this knife should last you a lifetime and it will make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Some other knives to consider; a bread knife, a boning knife, a cleaver and a paring knife. Remember, don’t buy knives in a set, buy them individually, you will get a better set of knives that way. If you have any more questions, give Zen Blades a call.

Microwave Safe Containers

One of the most used appliances in the home is the microwave. Still, some of us misuse the microwave and could be putting our health in danger. All too often we use dishes in the microwave that are not safe. Dishes that are not approved for the microwave could produce fumes and release other chemicals into our foods. Worse case, they could explode and cause us bodily harm. Now, we don’t want to frighten you, but we feel you need to be aware of the dangers so you can choose to avoid them. David did some research on safety and here is what he came up with. First of all if it doesn’t say it is OK for the microwave, it isn’t! That applies to the foam container that holds your chicken breasts and ground beef to the old butter containers that you store food in and basic plastic wrap. Things that are safe for the microwave include wax paper and parchment paper. There are even microwave safe plastic wraps (make sure you read the label). Other safe items include most glass dishes and bowls and most paper products. To make sure that your dishes are safe you can check with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Lavender Lemon Soda

Lavender is a popular flavor these days. We can find it in lots of new recipes in the kitchen. The most recent taste treat is lavender in drinks. We even found a new product on the market; a lavender infused drink from Dry Soda based in Seattle. If you can’t find this wonderful drink at your local store you can still enjoy the taste of a lavender drink by creating your own. Local author Kathy Gehrt has written a book called ‘Discover Cooking with Lavender’ and she joined us to share a recipe for a lavender lemon soda. Kathy starts with culinary lavender which is an English variety of lavender. The Spanish style of lavender is too bitter for this recipe. One teaspoon of these culinary lavender buds is added to a simple syrup recipe of one cup of water and one cup of sugar over a simmering heat. You can use fresh lavender from your garden but you will have to use more buds to get the same flavor. The lavender buds are strained out once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is cooled. You add a half cup of the syrup to a half cup of lemon juice in a glass full of ice. You top the mixture off with sparkling mineral water for a light and refreshing drink. For more information on lavender you can check out www.DiscoverLavender.comGet the recipe here.

This weekend is also has a highlight for local lavender lovers, it is the Oregon Lavender Festival. This event is happening at over 20 lavender farms around Oregon and SW Washington.

Organizing the Home Office

The home office is one of the messiest parts of the home. Everything just seems to get thrown into the office and piles can become huge. We decided to tackle the clutter of Robin’s home office! Linda Gemal of Rejuvenate Your Home (503-803-8000) came over to Robin’s house to help her organize. The added element to Robin’s office mess… she shares it with her 8 year old daughter. What was the first tip from Linda? Purge! Figure out what you actually need, what you actually use, what you actually like and then get rid of the rest. Donate it to an ‘office in need’. Next you want to group things together. Get the items you use and need together. Look for staging areas in your home (attics, crawl spaces, closets) where you can keep the things you like but that you don’t use everyday. Get some decorative boxes for items that are on display and clear plastic box and totes for stuff in storage. The clear containers allow you to see everything in the box without opening it up. Also, Linda recommended that you keep the daily important papers close to your desk and that you go through the pile every day and don’t let it get out of hand. By just doing a little bit you can make a big dent in the mess and make your office, and life, more productive!

Yeast in your Toilet

This little quick tip is one that been around for many years and is supposed to help extend the life of your septic system. The tip is to add a tablespoon of brewers yeast to your toilet once a month. The yeast will help the bacteria in your tank and drain field break down the waste. Of course, the best way to promote a healthy septic system is to not add any non-biodegradable materials or caustic chemicals to your system.


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This page last modified
July 20, 2012.