Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gutters or Shutters?

Today was that rite of winter-wishing-to-be-spring ... the Home and Garden Show. You know The day when everyone who has a product or service even vaguely related to home, hearth, and garden brings it all together to that folks who are yearning for better weather [that would be me!] come to spend money they don't have on projects... that they might need.

We have had both good and bad experiences in the past. The first year in our new house we found a great blind cleaner, i.e, he comes to your house and cleans your mini-blinds, as well as a guy who molded concrete borders for our garden. Both are now out of business [for which we are sorry!] but we got good service from each.

Other years we have wandered around and found nothing that we needed, and nothing that was interesting. The main trends today were gutters or shutters, garden rooms and food.

1) Gutters - It seems that there are lots of things one can do to avoid cleaning one's gutters. There were three different systems to cover the gutters and prevent leaves collecting in them, as well as my personal favorite - a gutter that flips down and dumps out the leaves. You gotta love flip down gutters! In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that our house came with gutter guards, so we passed.

2) Shutters - well, actually siding, but shutters rhymes so well. You can get siding in all sorts of colors, patterns, and materials - all apparently preferable to vinyl. Paintable or with the color baked in, colonial or textured - they come in many different styles and prices. Fortunately, our house came with siding, so we are set there.

3) Food - I think the tie-in is that you make food in your home - assuming that you have a kitchen. Today you could choose dips to mix with cream cheese or mayonnaise in 20 different flavors. Three for $10 or six for $15. Clearly a deal. I couldn't decide what flavors, so passed on this opportunity.

4) Gardens as rooms - Apparently people are not moving to larger homes this year (had you already guessed that?) so they are enlarging their existing homes by incorporating garden rooms. We saw huge patios, huge patios with pergolas, and huge patio kitchens. Big stone, big walls, just plain big. Acres of large pavers were lovely, but who has a yard that big? Passed on this, too.

4) Food - cheese from a cooperative, Virginia raised beef, cheese straws, peanuts (this is Virginia) or jellies and preserves. Lots of opportunities to taste, but we passed again - at least on purchasing.

5) Solar - Saw some interesting things here. The state-wide solar green initiative had lots of information on building with solar panels and going greener. We are far enough south that one day all homes built in Virginia will have solar panels. We're going to look into a solar powered attic exhaust fan. It's reasonably priced and we can get a 30% tax rebate since it's solar. I think it might save enough to pay for itself in a couple of year. Definitely on the follow-up list. There was also an interesting solar oven. I've had a bit of curiosity about getting one.

6) Food - well, wine. Three local wineries were giving tastings of their wares. Couldn't insult them by not at least sampling... right? Didn't actually add any bottles to our "cellar", but did try a couple of things that we liked enough to write down for future reference.

Two others vendors with whom I plan to follow-up are a company that refinishes kitchen counters and one that installs pull-out shelves in existing kitchen cabinets. I'd like both for my kitchen. Like others, we plan to stay here for the long term so we are upgrading a bit over time.

If the Home and Garden Show is here, can spring be far behind?


Didn't post last weekend because somehow my obsession with losing weight seemed very frivolous with all that was happening in Tucson. Down 10 pounds and 2.5 inches. Had a couple of hard days this week and regained a couple of pounds, but am back on track. Clothes are fitting noticeably better now.


  1. Got the spring bug too, do you? Here all it takes is 65 degrees, lacking an H&G show. May I recommend full-extension slides for kitchen cabinets and drawers? A solar oven does work well for casseroles, but is not reliable enough for baking bread.

    Great going on the wardrobe :-).

  2. 10lbs? You are an inspiration to us all!

    xo jane

  3. TEN POUNDS - that is fantastic!!!!

    Someone asked if I was expecting at the weekend - (am not!!), so most definitely need to do the same!xx

  4. Anneke, full extension slides are definitely on my list. Mitchell is not enthusiastic, but when was the last time he got down on the floor to get something out of the back of a bottom cabinet?

    Jane - xoxo. Was in your neck of the woods last week and longed to find you.

    Belinda - aargh!! That's a real kick in the something! So sorry. I highly recommend It combines all the things that work - exercise, cutting calories, keeping track, with an element (could be very small) of peer support. Can I help?