Summer is half over as of this weekend. Have you had a chance to enjoy it yet? This past week the weather was so cool that I had a chance to clean, brighten and stain the deck. It was amazing, it looks so nice now! I now have a chance to rest and relax, and I need the rest. My knees are still sore almost a week later. No pain, no gain, right? Still there is nothing like the feeling of a job well done.

Shady Looks

Your indoor lamps are one of the most over looked décor items in your house. As you paint and decorate you just move them from one room to another and miss the decorating possibilities that they offer. To help give you some ideas we traveled to Naomi’s Lampshades (503-636-1884) in Lake Grove. Bea Searles is the owner and she brought out a couple of lamps to demonstrate. She made a quick change to one lamp that gave it a fresh new look. But the problem was the height of the new shade; it was sitting too low on the lamp so all she did was change the ‘harp’. The harp is the metal loop that goes around the light bulb to protect it and creates the structure to attach the shade to. The fitting of the harp is very important when changing the shade. Bea recommends that you bring your lamp into the store when you are looking for a new shade so you can see how the shade fits. You can even change the look by changing the finial which is the part at the top of the lamp. For more tips you can check out their website, or visit them on Boones Ferry Road in the Lake Grove/Lake Oswego area.

Painted Hills Beef

When you are in your grocery store, do you know where you food comes from? If you buy Painted Hills Natural Beef (1-877-306-8247) you know exactly where it comes from. We met up with Merhten Homer, President of Painted Hills to learn what makes this beef so different. Merhten told us it is the way it is grown. These cattle are grown with no added hormones, no antibiotics and a 100% vegetarian diet. The meat is ‘choice grade’ the best that you can buy. Merhten also gave us some grilling tips too. He recommended that you don’t over-cook the beef. If you are grilling, you are looking for a medium rare piece of meat. To get this, all you have to do is get your grill to a medium heat. Cook your steak until it gets shiny on one side. This means that the moisture and natural oils in the meat have cooked to the surface. Flip it over and repeat on the other side, and you are done. We found a great selection of Painted Hills Beef at Barber World Foods, (503-244-0670) a great market near Capitol Highway, but it is also available at select markets around the state.

Gas Grills

The summer season is here and that means it is bar-b-que season as well. To enjoy cooking outdoors you need to have a good grill. To learn more about the newest grills we stopped by the Northwest Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) and talked to John Frankel. The number one trend in cooking is sustainability; not only in the foods you eat, but also the grill itself. As far as the grill, it should be made of quality products, as locally as possible and include a nice long warranty. The better the grill the longer it stays out of the landfill. As for sustainable cooking, John told us that people are looking to cook a wide variety of foods on the grill. Vegetables are one item people want to grill. The newer grills are designed to cook veggies without any additional tools or pans.

The Northwest Natural Appliance Center also carries propane, charcoal and other styles of grills, not just natural gas styles; though if you want to add a natural gas grill to your deck they could give you the names of contractors that can install it for you. The coolest grill was the ceramic charcoal grill that retains the heat in the ceramic sides of the grill. We finished with the most versatile grill of them all; the EVO grill. Because of the solid flat top you can grill all 3 meals in a day on the top. The best part? It is made right here in Beaverton, Oregon. If you have any questions about grills the experts at the Northwest Natural Appliance Center can answer them!

Space Saving Kitchen Tools

It is time to take control of your kitchen. Kitchen utensils can be big and bulky. To learn more about saving some space we stopped by Sur La Table (503-968-8015). Laura Bogert found some gadgets and tools that will save you lots of space in your kitchen. The items she found are all collapsible utensils and are extremely durable. First was a colander that was 14 inches wide and 7 inches tall. This one had a silicone center and it was easily compressed into a 2 inch tall disc. She also had a smaller one too. The next piece was really cool! It was a funnel made of the same material. It squeezed down to a flat disc about 1 inch high. Measuring cups can take up a lot of space in a drawer. Laura had some that were also made of silicone that were extremely flat. The best was saved for last. Sur La Table had a collapsible salad spinner. All of these silicone products are great and they are all dishwasher safe!

Basic Plumbing Tools

Dealing with plumbing can be nerve wracking, but the real frustration comes with a plumbing emergency and not having the right tools to make a repair (or limit the damage). We found all the right tools in the parts department at George Morlan Plumbing (503-224-7000) and the always friendly Dave Charvet to teach us about them. The first tools in our bag of tricks were shut-off tools. If you have an emergency you will want to know where the water shut-off is. It could be near the street, in your garage or even under your house. Once you know where it is then you can get a meter key to help you shut off the valve. You should also have a meter key for your gas line in your kit as well. Next we talked about X-treme Tape. This is a tape that sticks to itself, creates a water-tight seal and can stop most leaks for quite awhile. To perform simple repairs to most pipes we talked about SharkBite fittings. These fittings are pressure sealed once you use them and are a permanent repair for most jobs. You can use the SharkBite fittings with flexible PEX pipe for jobs that need a bigger repair. Next we looked at tools for drain clogs. The first one was a pressure valve that uses water pressure to force the clog away instead of using chemicals. The other tool was a Closet Auger. This is a mini-snake that is easier to use and easier to store.


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This page last modified
August 03, 2012.