How are you holding up?  The heat is putting us all to the test.  If you followed our tips for dealing with the heat that we gave you last week you hopefully did ok.  Remember, the summer is not over.  Keep your home open in the morning, closed in the mid day and open again in the evening for the best chance of keeping your cool!

Kid Painting

Here is an idea for a piece of art that can also be a family heirloom.  We met with Linda Gemal of Rejuvenate Your Home (503-803-8000) to see how she had her kids make a wonderful painting for their family room.  She first had her kids make a drawing of a scene they wanted to paint.  Then she went to the art store and picked up a canvas that would fit the space on the wall that she wanted to fill.  She also picked up some nice bright acrylic paints.  These are better for kids because they are easier and cleaner to use.  You can also pick up some cheap brushes of different sizes to use.  Put some coverings down and let them go at it!  Of course Linda had them add a couple of features for her.  She asked them to use their hand prints and foot prints on the painting so they had a memento of the kids in the painting as well.  You can easily copy this for your own home and you will have a custom piece of art that your family will treasure.

Lemon Lavender Martini

Once again we are joined by Kathy Gehrt, author of ‘Discover Cooking with Lavender’.   She has shared some great recipes with us in the past few weeks and now we are making one of the more interesting recipes she has; a lavender cocktail, more specifically a lavender martini.  Lavender is a great herb.  It is beautiful, fragrant and it tastes good too.  First we made a simple syrup that was infused with lavender.  It was one cup of sugar, one cup of water and a tablespoon of culinary lavender.  The syrup has a pinkish color and a wonderful delicate lavender flavor.  To make the drink, Kathy started with 4 ounces of vodka, added 2 ounces of lemon juice and 2 ounces of the simple syrup.  This was shaken with ice and strained into martini glasses.  It makes two drinks and is very refreshing on those warm summer days.  For more recipes for using lavender in your cooking, check out Kathy’s book. 


Chef David whipped us up a simple recipe for hummus today to help you make a splash at your next holiday get-together.  This hummus is one with a twist, it has red peppers!  This one also uses garbanzo beans as its base.  It also has garlic and lemon juice.  To get all the ingredients and instructions click here.  Then whip up a batch and impress your friends!


Checking Your Gas Appliances

Gas is one of the cleanest and most efficient fuels you can use for heating and cooking in your home.  It can also be one of the safest.  Still it is a good idea for the homeowner to make sure that their gas appliances stay clean and efficient.  We caught up with Allen from NW Natural to learn how we can check our appliances to make sure they are running correctly.  First we visited the kitchen to see how the gas range was doing.  When you turn it on it should start fairly quickly.  If it takes more than a few seconds you might have problems with the igniter. You should look for a nice blue flame that doesn’t get any higher than the top of the grate.  If you see small flickers of orange, don’t worry, it’s only small pieces of dust and dirt that is burning in the flame.  If you get large orange flickers (like a candle) then you will want to call the gas company for servicing. 

We then moved to the furnace.  This is the most common gas appliance in the home.  Here too, you will want to check out the flame and the igniter.  Find the grate or window where you can observe the flame and make sure you see a nice blue flame.  Of course, the number one thing you can do to check you appliance and make sure it runs perfectly is to change your furnace filter once a month.  Here is a tip, if you use paper filters, mark the date you install them with a sharpee or other marker on the side of the filter.  Then you will know when to change them.  For more energy saving tips check out the NW Natural website.  

Tip of the week – Waste Baskets

Our tip of the week will help you keep your hands clean when taking out the trash.  Just place a piece of paper towel in the bottom of the trash can when it is empty.  Then when it is time to dump the trash it will all come out at once and you won’t have to scrape the bottom to get all the ‘sticky’s’ that are stuck there.


Replacing your Faucet Part 2

Last week Robin picked out a new faucet and David picked up the tools.  This week David gets a little help with the installation!  Dave from George Morlan (503-224-7000) came out to give David some tips.  First shut off the water under the sink and disconnect the water supply tubes.  Use a bucket to catch the water that leaks out of the tubes.  Next disconnect the pop-up assembly which operates the drain.  Remove the clips and screws that hold the old faucet on to the sink and lift it out.  You should have the faucet removed now, but we still need to remove the drain.  The new drain will have the same finish as the new faucet so you need to do this so they both match.  Remove the trap from under the sink.  There will be a lot of water in this so make sure you have a bucket handy.  Take the rest of the pop-up assembly off and then loosen the nut and remove the old drain assembly from the sink. 

The sink should be bare of all hardware now.  Use some cleaner to remove the hard water stains before you begin to install the new faucet.  To start, insert the new faucet in the hole and line it up so it is straight.  Then make sure your fittings are ready for the water supply lines at the bottom of the faucet.  Next, install the new drain.  Be aware of the opening for the overflow.  It has to line up with the overflow discharge holes in the sink.  Adjust the drain so it fits snug and use some plumber’s putty to create a watertight seal.  Install the new pop-up assembly and we are ready for the next step; reconnecting the water supply.  Use your Teflon tape on the new connectors and then attach them to the water supply tubes.  Install the new drain at this time as well.  Once everything is assembled and tightened you can turn on the water.  Run the water for 1-2 minutes and check for leaks.  Tighten nuts and use more putty if you see leaks. 

This is a job that can be done by one person in a weekend.  If you want to try doing this we recommend that you stop by George Morlan to get the faucet, tools and tips you need for the job.  They really made it easy!


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This page last modified
August 17, 2012.