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RE: Swanky Appetizers? (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: foodonastump on 04.08.2013 at 10:30 pm in Cooking Forum

This is one of the best threads ever! There are so many things here that I want to make and get practice making before my next party.

Agreed, Lars! Exciting food talk - how timely! I'll be saving this thread.

How about carpaccio?

NOTES:

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clipped on: 03.18.2014 at 07:54 am    last updated on: 03.18.2014 at 07:55 am

RE: Kefir Question--for Grainlady or Anyone (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: grainlady on 03.04.2013 at 10:36 am in Cooking Forum

1. What is your ratio of grains to milk? It is normally suggested to use 1 T. grains to 1-cup of milk (give or take). It sounds like you may be adding too much milk for the amount of grains.

2. The curd is very delicate and smaller than yogurt curd. Once it's stirred or shaken it will break up and turn to liquid, and will stay that way. It won't develop a curd again.

3. The grains always rise to the top during fermentation, and that's where they will be located when fermentation is complete. If you are careful you should be able to pluck them out without stirring or straining the kefir (try using a plastic fork - or one in each hand --- the kefir will slide through the tines of the fork so all you get is the grain). If you are going to immediately start a new batch, kefir on the grains will help speed things along a bit, so you don't have to worry about adding some kefir to your milk along with the grains. If I'm in a hurry I'll go ahead and add a couple T. of kefir and make sure the milk is warm. That will give it a head start.

If you need to use your fingers while removing the kefir grains, make sure your hands are washed with soap and water and well-rinsed. Soap residue can cause problems just like bacteria. The lady I got my grains from had a large dairy and she always used her fingers to remove her grains (different strokes for different folks ;-). I use a plastic slotted spoon to lift the grains off the top of the kefir, and the curd will fall through the slots. If I want to maintain the curd I'll use a couple plastic forks and try not to disturb the curd any more than necessary. It seems like everyone does this a little differently.

I drain the curd in a yogurt cheese strainer or a fine-mesh permanent coffee filter over my 2-cup glass measuring cup to use it for plain yogurt, cream cheese or sour cream. How long I drain it will depend on how thick I want the kefir curd. I shake it and use it in the liquid form in our morning smoothie, cooking and baking - a good substitute for buttermilk. I use the drained whey for soaking grains, lacto-fermentation, whey lemonade...

4. Yes, you will get a thicker curd with higher fat milk products, much like you will when making yogurt from half-and-half or whipping cream instead of reconstituted non-fat dry milk or low-fat milk, but you still need to try not to stir or shake it because that's what destroys the curd. Try adding some non-fat dry milk powder to your 2% milk. This adds some milk solids without adding more fat and will change the curd. Give it a try and see if you like it that way.

I also use reconstituted Wilderness Family Naturals powdered coconut milk (you can also use canned coconut milk) which makes a lovely, thick, delicious kefir. Great with granola for breakfast or mixed with fresh orange/pineapple juice in a smoothie. I also use coconut milk kefir in desserts.

5. The ambient temperature will also contribute to the curd consistency. It's generally thicker, smoother, and not as tangy the cooler the room temperature; and more tangy, not as thick, and can even get grainy when the temperature is warmer.

When it's cold in the house I'll start fermentation late afternoon and it may take 12-18-hours to ferment 2-1/2 cups of milk. When it's warm I'll start fermentation early in the morning (I get up around 3 a.m.) and it may only take 8-10-hours to ferment.

6. If your grains don't divide by themselves you can pull them apart. I usually do this when they get about the size of a quarter. They will divide into 2 or 3 sections at the weakest point. You can use 2 plastic forks to pull them apart, or with your fingers. Make sure your hands are clean and rinsed before dividing grains.

You'll soon get the hang of it ;-). I remember when I first got my grains I would count them to make sure they were all accounted for every time I made kefir. That didn't last long (LOL)!

I've included a link below with some frequently asked questions (FAQ) for milk kefir that might help you out.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: Milk Kefir FAQ

NOTES:

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clipped on: 03.18.2014 at 10:48 am    last updated on: 03.18.2014 at 10:49 am

Head to Head Marble Test With Photos. Surprise Ending!

posted by: sfmomof2 on 03.23.2010 at 07:36 am in Kitchens Forum

Hi all,

After weeks of obsessing we finally went out and got four marble samples from two local stone yards. In doing so we had two questions: 1. How bad is the marble etching issue, and 2. Is the premium for Danby marble worth it?

Two days later we have our answer, and it was a surprise!

First the test: Samples of Danby, carrara 1, a calacatta, carrara 2, and white granite with dots of olive oil, food coloring, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, grapefruit juice. All were sealed with Miracle 511 sealer (couldn't find Porous Plus). We got two carraras because they were the cheapest and we really hoped to use one:

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Five minutes later: Except for granite all etched from the vinegar and the grapefruit juice, some small stains from food coloring:

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Following the protocol on the Danby Web site, next morning I scrubbed the samples with some Comet. I didn't go crazy - scrubbed them maybe 15-20 seconds or so. No benefit from the carraras - both remained as etched as ever, though the staining faded. As expected, the etching vanished from the Danby. Though a small spot of stain remained it looked as new:

Photobucket

Here's the surprise - the Comet also removed all etching - plus all staining - from the random calacatta I picked. I picked it because it was the cheapest calacatta in the yard we were at. I looked at it for at least 10 minutes in every kind of light and couldn't find a trace. The little spots you see are cracks from when the sample was broken off of the slab:
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So now the tough test: Same substances for two and a half hours.

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Result, as expected, more prominent staining and etching. Couple of examples:

The Danby
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The Calacatta
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A Carrara
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I again scrubbed the samples with Comet to see if I could get the etching/staining off. Once again the carraras disappointed - while the staining wasn't an issue I couldn't get the etching to budge.

The other disappointment: While staining improved, etching didn't improve that much on the Danby. Also in addition to etching prominent "dark spots" remained on the stone.

Photobucket

Finally we turned to our calacatta. At this point I was really rooting for it but not expecting much. The final result:

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Stains gone, etching still there (you can see the circles if you look carefully) but considerably improved. Note that sample was taken in same place under same light as pre-Comet treatment. The small dings are the cracks noted above. Also note that when I pick it up and really scrutinize it the etching *is* visible - its just harder to see.

The winner: Random calacatta took the prize!

To be honest, after weeks of being pro-marble the test made us pause. We really thought we were fine with etching until we saw it up close and personal. After the test the carraras are out of the running. We were fairly happy with the calacatta's performance; that is the only marble we're considering now. We are fairly neat people - only time we could imagine leaving liquids sitting on a counter is during a dinner party.

My conclusion: Marble is gorgeous. There is no substitute. The stuff also etches like crazy - it is *really* something to think about. Good news is every marble is different so if you're considering it test, test and test some more! Don't rely on someone else's results - I've noticed that all my "honed" marbles felt different and the etching looked MUCH worse on some than others. That might explain why some "marble" people say the etching is no big deal while others freak out. Try different kinds - you never know what might happen.

Good luck!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 03.23.2010 at 10:08 am    last updated on: 03.23.2010 at 10:08 am

GW Must Haves and Other Interesting Gadgets

posted by: plllog on 01.19.2010 at 07:12 pm in Kitchens Forum

When I first came here there were some toys that the GW denizens had moved from workplace use to kitchen musts, but they don't seem to be getting a lot of discussion nowadays. They were ubiquitous here, and I think it's worth trotting them out for the newbies who haven't heard. Also, there may be some new gadget that enhances the kitchen greatly that we should add to the list.

I'll start with the obvious ones:

Tapmaster. A friendly little Canadian company makes these. It's a device in your toekick area that turns your faucet on and off. The first of us to put one in was looking for the ones they have in dental offices.

The basic unit has a plate that you can touch to start the flow and let go to stop it, or push down to keep it on. The Tapmaster uses air pressure to open and close its valves--there's no electricity or anything particularly complex involved. You set your favorite flow rate and temperature at the mixer and leave that open. If you want to change to using the mixer instead of the Tapmaster you can just lock the Tapmaster open.

Since that time, and as more and more of these started showing up in kitchens, they've come up with their "euro" model, which has a single bar controller that you nudge sideways with your foot, or nudge farther to lock open. Some shoeless cooks prefer this.

You can also get multiple controllers on a single faucet so that you can operate the faucet from two sides of an island, or whatever suits your project.

Plugmold. This one comes from the laboratory. Tired of outlets interrupting your planned beautiful backsplash? You can put plugmold either near the base of the backsplash, or at the top, under the upper cabinets. You can install a GFI in a plugmold unit, but you can also make the whole circuit GFI.

Wiremold Corp. bought up most of their competitors, and discontinued most of the interesting colors, but I've heard that some more decorative ones are coming back. Home Depot carries basic white plastic plugmold. It can be mounted flat on the wall, flat under the cabinet, or on an angled wood strip. There's also "angle plugmold", which isn't really "plugmold" since that's a term like "Kleenex" that's a brand name. Tasklighting makes it. It's reputedly very expensive, but some people think it's worth it.

If you have some countertop appliances that are always plugged in, like a coffee pot, toaster, or microwave, you might also want a regular outlet so that the cords don't always wave in the breeze, and are more hidden.

NeverMT. Do you have a soap dispenser in your sink? Keep a gallon jug of soap or lotion under the sink and pump it directly from the pump that came with your faucet kit. That is, it replaces the receptacle that goes under the counter with a hose and jug. If you use your pump a lot it saves constant refilling.

I'll also give shout outs to some other things:

Demeyere cookware for induction. Great, no rivets cookware for anything, but they have some technically special features for induction. Some other manufacturers do too, though any cast iron, or stainless steel pot that sticks to a magnet, will work.

De Buyer Pro V mandoline. If you ever feed mobs, this can't be beat for making short work of all your knife tasks. This one has continuous adjustment so you can make any width in between minimum and maximum. The V keeps soft things like tomatoes from getting squished.

I hope the rest of you will chime in with the other received wisdom that so many of us are so familiar with here that we sometimes forget to say...

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.19.2010 at 11:17 pm    last updated on: 01.19.2010 at 11:18 pm

RE: Rendering Software (Follow-Up #24)

posted by: hgluckman on 12.04.2009 at 07:31 pm in Kitchens Forum

I'm about to leave to go on vacation for a long weekend, and may not be able to answer in detail, so here's a quick overview of adding textures:

You want to find pictures that don't have light variation in them - otherwise you'll see edges when it tiles up material. Drawings are actually the best, or color sample photos that you can sometimes find on the web. The hardwood floors are from a texture that I found somewhere on line.

In the materials (paint bucket) dialog box, the second button down from the top on the left side (there's a plus sign on the icon) opens the create material dialog. At the bottom, you can see where to add a file (most image files will work). Once you add the material, you can change it's size in the dialog box. For example, when I loaded the hardwood floor sample, the boards appeared to be too small. I increased the sizes until it looked right. On the tile sample, I think the picture is of a 2x2 file, but by adjusting the size, you can have anything you want.

You can also work with the color - there's four different ways of specifying it until you get just what you want.

A screen capture utility, or a photo editor that lets you crop an image to the pixel helps too.

Hope that helps!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.05.2009 at 08:37 am    last updated on: 12.05.2009 at 08:37 am

Inches And Components - What About Textures? (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: johnliu on 12.04.2009 at 05:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

oxfordmom, note you don't have to place your cursor in any particular text box before typing 104" [ENTER], you just pull the cursor in the desired direction then type it and ENTER.

Two other things I've learned.

First, I prefer to use the Sketchup template for woodworking, which has all measurements in inches rather than feet and inches. It is just simpler to read 191" off the tape measure, subtract 30" for the range, and get 161", than to read 15' 11", subtract 30", get, uh, 13' and umm 5", then type 13' 12" [ENTER]. Base 12 is a a ridiculous thing.

The other thing I've learned is that, if you're going for a semi-detailed model, your major appliances should be components. Otherwise you draw the range in a certain spot, then decide you want to move it to the other wall, and have to painstakingly erase every line and re-draw it in the new location.

Open a new Sketchup window, draw the range, save as file 30inchrange.skp. Or, download a range from 3D Warehouse, and open the file. Then select the range by using the Select All command, or by using the selection cursor (arrow) and drawing a box around the entire range. The range should be outlined in blue. Copy it and Paste it into your kitchen model. The pasted-in range will be outlined in blue, click Make Component in the menu (under "Edit" maybe? I forget), name it "30inchrange" with "glue to" "none" and "replace selection with component". Now the range stays a separate object, you can turn it around, move it to different walls, even delete it and try the appliances you have in files 30inchcooktop.skp and 30inchdoublewalloven.skp instead.

Obviously if your range is just represented by a plain cube, there's less need to bother with components.

hgluckman, you're good at applying textures. Do you have any tips? Suppose I see a good image of a soapstone counter here on GW. What are the steps for saving that texture and using it on my model? I'm confused about if I have to re-size the image, where to store it, where it shows up in the paintbucket menu, etc.

I also learned, painfully, to use Autosave. Nothing like re-doing two hours' work.

NOTES:

re sketchup
clipped on: 12.05.2009 at 08:36 am    last updated on: 12.05.2009 at 08:36 am

1/64'' Is The Same As 1 Mile (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: johnliu on 12.04.2009 at 12:15 pm in Kitchens Forum

I didn't view the tutorials when I started using Sketchup. So I wasted time making mistakes. The most important thing I've learned in my brief and mistake-filled Sketchup experience is that the floorplan and walls have to be precisely aligned, or you get problems later.

Some Sketchup operations require things to be co-planar or parallel. E.g. if you draw a rectangle to define a wall surface, the four corners have to be exactly in the same plane, or Sketchup will not draw a surface there. E.g. if you push a window outline on a wall and "push" it through the wall to make the window opening, Sketchup requires the two faces of the wall to be parallel. If you manually draw lines and manually push/pull surfaces, using your eye to "line them up", little errors will creep in, little 1/64" mistakes that you can't see. To Sketchup, a miss by 1/64" is as good as a miss by a mile. So even though everything looks fine to the eye, you end up wondering why the model isn't behaving as you expect, and zooming in/tearing things apart to find that 1/64" misalignment.

So, now if I want to draw a line that is 72 1/4" long, I don't pull the cursor until 72 1/4" appears in the measurement box, I pull the cursor some random distance and then type 72.25" [ENTER]. If I am pulling a wall surface to make it 5" think, I don't pull until it looks like 5", I pull and then type 5" [ENTER]. If I'm drawing a diagonal wall 5" thick, I don't manually draw two lines that "look" parallel, I draw one line and then use the measurement cursor to pull and mark a guideline 5" from and precisely parallel to the first line. I don't build walls by drawing each wall segment as a 3D box, I draw the floorplan so that the walls footprints are surfaces, making sure that wall sides are parallel, then I pull all the wall surfaces up to a uniform height e.g. 104" [ENTER].

I had to tear down and rebuild my kitchen model this way. Too many errors and odd behaviours were creeping in.

NOTES:

re Sketchup
clipped on: 12.05.2009 at 08:27 am    last updated on: 12.05.2009 at 08:28 am

RE: chose the wrong granite for kitchen (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: hobokenkitchen on 11.22.2009 at 08:44 pm in Kitchens Forum

Jenny, so sorry that you aren't loving your granite so far. Hopefully the creative people here can help!

I can help with the picture posting - the easiest way I have found is to do the following:

1: go to www.tinypic.com

2: browse for your picture

3: select the size you want - I ususally choose the 'message board' option

4: Click 'UPLOAD NOW'

5: Select the top line of html code

6: paste the code straight into your gardenweb post.

Good luck!

NOTES:

posting pics
clipped on: 11.22.2009 at 11:09 pm    last updated on: 11.22.2009 at 11:09 pm

Holiday Cooking - Hors d'oeurves

posted by: cookingrvc on 11.15.2009 at 10:42 pm in Cooking Forum

With all the holiday entertaining coming up, thought it might be helpful if everyone posted their favorite hors d'oeuvre recipes. I am always looking for something new and interesting and will gladly share my favorites with you.
Sue

Ceasar Dip for Crudite
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon minced parsley
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
Fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.
Transfer dip to serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate until flavors blend (at least 1 hour).
Serve cold with crudite.

Can make 2 days ahead.

===========================================================

I normally don't go for something like this, but could barely stop eating it at a friends house.

Baked Clam Dip
2 (6 1/2 ounce) cans minced clams, don't drain juice
5 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, Italian style
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon paprika, for color (optional)

If serving the same day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium size skillet, saute the butter, onion and garlic over low heat a minute or two, being careful not to let the garlic brown.
Add the clams with their juice, parsley flakes and oregano to the pan and mix.
Saute for a few minutes and then add the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
The texture should be like a paste.
If not, adjust by adding bread crumbs.
Put mixture in an oven proof pie dish and add paprika sprinkled on top.
Bake in 350 degree oven, for 25 to 30 minutes, until slightly golden and bubbly.
Serve warm with crackers.

=======================================================
These are great on a buffet table in a lovely warming dish but you might want to double the sauce so they say nice and hot.
The recipe is from Eating Well. To lighten up the meatballs, add some finely diced Chinese cabbage.

Make meatballs smaller to serve as hors d'oeurves.

Lionshead Meatballs
1 cup "lite" coconut milk
2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 pound lean ground pork or beef
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup minced leek, white and pale green part only
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger, optional
2 teaspoons seeded and minced fresh chile pepper, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or Thai basil, optional
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest, optional

1. Combine coconut milk, soy sauce and curry powder in a large saucepan. Set aside.
2. Place pork (or beef), scallions, leek,cornstarch, flour, sesame oil, ginger, chile, saltand pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Knead by hand until thoroughly combined and the mixture
becomes sticky. Divide into 10 equal portions,about 1/4 cup each. Roll each portion into a ball.
3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat the sides. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

4. Bring the coconut-milk mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs; cover,reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes.

Garnish with basil and lemon zest. Serve hot with the coconut-milk sauce drizzled over the top or on the side for
dipping.
==========================================================

Ive had folks tell me that they don't like the individual ingredients on their own, but love them combined in this hot spread.

Artichoke-Prosciutto Gratin

2 cans artichoke hearts (14 ounce) drained, chopped
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
2 ounces Mild Blue Cheese
7 ounces Goat Cheese
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup Chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Toss together chopped artichoke hearts and prosciutto.
Mix in Blue and Goat cheeses.
Pour cream over.
Sprinkle pecans, Parmesan, and sage.
Bake at 350 until gratin is bubbling and sauce thickens, about 25 minutes.
Serve warm with toasted bread that has been rubbed lightly with a fresh garlic clove.
==========================================================

Baked Goat Cheese with Salsa
1/4 cup pine nuts or coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 4 ounce log goat cheese (there are flavored goat cheeses availablesome of which can be good with the salsa, but think about the flavor combination before making your purchase)
1 package cream cheese (3 ounce) softened
1 cup Roasted Jalapeo-Tomato Salsa
A tablespoon or so chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread out the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until lightly browned and very fragrant, 7 or 8 minutes (the pine nuts will brown quicker than either of the others). Remove and slide them off into a medium-size bowl.

2. Add the cheeses to the bowl and combine thoroughly with the nuts. Scoop it in the center of a baking dish (I like to use a decorative 9-inch pie pan) and form it into a 5-inch-diameter disk. Spoon the salsa over and around the cheese. Place the dish in the oven and bake until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle on the cilantro and set it out for your guests to enjoy as a dip or a spread.

=========================================================

Carmelized Onion Tart (Cheryl Smith)
4 large Bermuda onions, sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, picked
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Pate Brisee (google for a recipe)

Saute onions in oil and butter until caramelized and golden brown, then add thyme and a pinch of salt.

Remove from pan and allow to cool.

In a bowl, add heavy cream, eggs, nutmeg, and onions, season with salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into tart shell and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until center does not jiggle.

For mini tarts, line mini-muffin tin with white bread that has been pressed with a rolling pin.

Ladle in the mixture, and bake for 20 minutes or until set.
================================================

Easy Chopped Chicken Liver
1 1/2 pounds store-bought chopped chicken liver
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 eggs hard boiled, mashed
Mayonnaise, optional

Saute onions in olive oil until golden brown.
Add onions and mashed eggs to chopped liver.
Add a bit of mayo if needed.
Serve with crackers.

===============================================

Greek Meatballs (Ann T)

I serve these with toothpicks and the lemon dipping sauce.
Meatballs
1 1/4 pounds Lean Ground Beef
1/2 lb lean ground pork
4 slices bread, made into crumbs and soaked with milk
3 garlic cloves
1 small grated onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 T. chopped fresh mint
3 T grated lemon zest
1 1/2 T. chopped fresh oregano
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon Sauce
2 T. Butter
2 T. Flour
1 C. Chicken broth, heated
1/4 Cup Fresh lemon juice
1 Egg, Optional

For meatballs:

Mix the two meats together well and add the rest of the ingredients and mix well using hands.
Saute a small amount to taste for seasoning and adjust seasoning as needed.
Form into meatballs the size of walnuts then lightly press to form disks.
Saute until brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels

For Lemon Sauce:

Make roux, cook for 3-4 minutes, add chicken broth and lemon juice.
Whisk until thickened.

Optional: Add some of hot lemon sauce to egg, whisking well
Add egg mixture back into saucepot and whisk until thickened.
============================================================

Hot Crab Spread

8 ounces Cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
4 scallions, chopped
1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 ounces crab (Costco's canned Blue Fin is good)
1/4 Cup Sunflower seeds, toasted, optional

Combine cream cheese, swiss, scallions, mayonnaise, and fresh ground pepper.

Gently fold in crab meat.

Transfer to ovenproof crock and top with sunflower seeds.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Place under broiler for a few minutes to brown top.
======================================================

Mini Calzones
Ricotta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Grated Romano cheese, Locatelli is best
Pepper
Parsley
Pillsbury biscuits

1. Mix filling ingredients

2. Flatten each biscuit with palm of hand

3. Fill with mixture (don't overfill)

4. Use fork to seal

5. Deep fry or bake until golden

6. If baking, brush with egg wash before baking.
=========================================================

Roasted (or Grilled) Vegetable Gratin

1 Red pepper
1 Yellow pepper
1 Green pepper
1 Large Zucchini, Peeled and trimed
12 Ounces Mushrooms, chopped
1 Tablespoon Butter, optional
3 Slices Prosciutto, optional
4 ounces Fontina cheese, or Goat or mozzarella
olive oil

1. Cut peppers into sections, remove seens and white membrane

2. Slice zucchini lengthwise into 1/4" slices - set aside

3. Saute mushrooms in butter until juices are rendered and evaporated - set aside.

4. Coat peppers and zucchini lightly with olive oil and broil or grill until tender(approx 15 minutes) and skin on peppers blisters

5. When cool enough to handle, remove skin from peppers - set aside to cool

6. Grate or thinly slice the Fontina or mozzarella

7. Line a small loaf pan (6x3) with plastic wrap that extends 6" beyond the end of the loaf pan

8. Layer cooled zucchini and peppers, mushrooms, and cheese in alternating layers

9. Cover with plastic and gently compress

10. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours with a heavy can or brick weighing the layers

11. Place in freezer 25 minutes before serving, so slicing is easier

12. Unmold, slice, and serve with mashed roasted garlic, pesto, or flavored oils, accompanied by toasted Italian bread slices

==================================================
Sues Crab Cakes

2 lbs. Backfin crab meat
2 C. Fresh breadcrumbs
4 large eggs
1 C. Heavy cream
1 T. Dijon mustard
4 t. lemon juice
4 t. Tarragon - dried
4 t. onion - grated
salt/pepper
1 C. Panko plus 3 cups for coating (Janpanese 'breadcrumbs')
6 T. Unsalted butter

Mustard Mayonnaise Sauce (see below)

1. In bowl, combine crab meat, breadcrumbs, and 1 C. panko.

2. In small bowl, whish eggs well and add cream, whisking.

3. Add cream mixture, mustard, lemon juice, tarragon, onion, and salt/pepper to crab mixture and combine well.

4. In a large skillet, heat 1 T. of butter over moderate heat until foam subsides.

5. Take mounded tablespoon full of crab mixture in hand, and pat panko onto the crab cake to coat (don't try to dip it in the panko as the cake will fall apart).

6. Drop cake into pan and saut for 2 - 3 minutes - until deep golden.

7. Carefully turn over and cook 2 - 3 minutes more.

8. The cakes may be cooked a few hours ahead. Place on a cookie sheet and cover.

When ready to serve, reheat in 350 oven for 10 - 15 minutes.

For Mustard-Mayonnaise Sauce:
1/4 C. Mayonnaise
2 1/2 t. Stone ground mustard
1/4 t. fresh lemon juice

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days ahead.

========================================================
So simple and so delicious.

Grilled Scallops Wrapped in Bacon

Sea scallops
Bacon

If sea scallops are very large, cut them in half.
Wrap bacon around scallops and thread onto skewer.
Dont cram them; leave at least a half inch in between.
Grill over medium-high heat until scallops are cooked through.
Serve immediately.

====================================================

Spicy Grilled Shrimp (Adapted from How to Cook Everything)

1 Large garlic clove
1 t. salt
1/2 t. Cayenne pepper
1 t. Paprika
2 T. Olive oil
2 t. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds shrimp (20-30 count per pound), peeled, rinsed, and dried. (1.5 to 2)

Preheat grill or broiler to very hot.

Mince the garlic with the salt; mix it with the cayenne and paprika, then make a paste with the olive oil and lemon juice.
Smear the paste all over the shrimp.
Grill or broil 2-3 minutes per side, turning once.
Serve immediately or at room temperature with lemon wedges.
======================================================

An old favorite.

Hot Artichoke Dip
1 1/2 Cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 Cups Grated parmesan cheese
1/4 Cup Finely chopped onion
1 Can artichoke hearts, in water, drained, chopped
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, for topping

Preheat oven to 350

Mix first 4 ingredients and put into oven-proof crock or baking dish

Sprinkle with 2 T. Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until top is rich golden color.

Let sit for a few minutes before serving.
=====================================================
Ham and Cheese Scrolls (Palmiers)

1 Package Puff pastry
Dijon mustard
Jarlsberg cheese
Sliced ham

Thaw puff pastry sheets for an hour or so.

Gently unroll

Spread with a thin layer or Dijon mustard.

Layer with a slice of cheese and a slice of ham.

From widest edge, roll tightly to center of pastry sheet.

From opposite wide end, roll to center (will meet the other roll and look like a ram's horns from the side).

Pinch gently so it doesn't unroll.

At this point, can wrap in plastic and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before using.

Make sure rolls are refrigerated for a couple of hours before slicing.

Pre-heat oven to 425

Slice scrolls into 1/4 - 1/3" slices

Place on non-stick cookie sheet (if not non-stick, spray with coat of oil)

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden.

Serve immediately or else they get chewy.

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clipped on: 12.08.2009 at 04:33 pm    last updated on: 12.08.2009 at 04:33 pm

RE: Newbie Here with a Question... (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: bonecarver on 07.23.2009 at 09:05 pm in Hypertufa Forum

One of the things I am doing to my leaves is to shape the edges. Sometimes I just thin them and smooth them, sometimes I try to make them look natural and other times I just give them some character rather then plain flat sides.
There is always a little mortar that gets out past the edge of the leaf.
I normally wait about 24 hours to do this, the mortar is still green and delicate so you have be gentle. I use a tool called a surform or sometimes just an old knife.

I carefully start scraping the mortar back until I touch the edge of the leaf with the tool.

I clean up the leaf and then I do what ever I am going to do with the edges. On the this one I simply cut the leaf back a little where there was a fold and ruffed up the edges, rounded off the sharp angles.


I then put them back in the plastic and keep them damp to prolong the drying time.
Just something a little different then normal flat edges.

Good Luck and Have fun.

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clipped on: 07.24.2009 at 09:43 pm    last updated on: 07.24.2009 at 09:43 pm

RE: Newbie Here with a Question... (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: plantman56 on 07.22.2009 at 10:41 pm in Hypertufa Forum

LEAF CASTING INSTUCTIONS

Ingredients

□ Portland Cement- 90lb bag (do not buy broken bags)
□ Play Sand or any very fine sand
□ Concrete bonding agent
□ Leaf with firm veins i.e. Hosta
□ Heavy duty plastic spoon, and knife
□ Container to mix ingredients
□ Clear wrap
□ Yogurt container
□ Water

Mix the portland cement and sand .

Use the yogurt cup to measure 1 - part portland cement , 2 - parts sand. Place the dry ingredients in the mixing container. You may need more or less ingredients depending on the size of the leaf.

Add a small amount bonding agent to about 1 cup of water. Pour the water into the dry mix and slowly mix until get a gooey paste. Do not over agitate.

Let the mix rest about 5 min.

Place a scoop or two of damp sand on your flat surface. Then pick out a nice leaf (no holes) and place it on top of the damp sand mound, veins up. Then shape the sand mound to support the leaf. Remove leaf and cover sand with plastic wrap. Return the leaf back on top of the damp sand (covered with plastic wrap).

Using the plastic spoon, scoop the gooey mix, placing it on the center of the vein side of the leaf. Pat the mix, moving towards the edge. Add more mix to the center (on top of the first flattened scoop) Pat the mix out to the edge of the leaf. Use the plastic knife to keep the mix close to the edge. Try to make your leaves about " " thick.

Cover with plastic wrap and keep moist for about 24 hrs.

Carefully lift the cement leaf, turn over and remove the leaf. Do not work too hard, the leaf may break.

Keep leaf damp for about 1 week.

Paint with craft paints, or any type of stain. Seal with concrete water sealer if you want to keep outside.

Much of this came from instructions I received from Billie or the internet.

I will let someone else respond to the mold question
----Mike

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clipped on: 07.24.2009 at 09:39 pm    last updated on: 07.24.2009 at 09:39 pm

RE: Garden sculpture info (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: slowmedown on 06.29.2009 at 08:43 am in Stained Glass & Mosaics Forum

Good morning, PHANTOM, and welcome to the forum. You're in for lots of fun. Some of us have taken the mesh/concrete workshop from Wouterina deRaad. She taught us to use the diamond lathe mesh - found at Lowes/Home Depot. The important thing about her method is the double layers. You make your sculpture, then you put a second layer over it all. This is "stitched" together w/19-guage wire - no need for welding. Just make sure your "stitches" are hidden as well as possible. Lineman pliers pull the stitches through your structure. Make a stitch about six inches long w/a hook at one end for pushing through, then back through and twisting a couple times and clip off as close to your structure as possible. I use 17-guage wire from the fencing section at Lowes - comes on a huge roll and is easy to use. Then she taught us to make the concrete mixture from three parts sand to one part Portland cement. Cement is what holds concrete together. She also taught us we can use the ready-to-use mortar mix. That's what I prefer. It's so much easier to work with, cuz the Portland comes in bags of 93 lbs. When your sculpture is complete, mix the mortar, and w/gloved hand push the mortar between the two layers and smooth it as best you can. This is what makes her sculptures so lightweight and portable. It's just a thin layer of concrete. If you look at my thread "Fountain Surround" - first part, you w/see my mesh structure. I used rebar to help the structure stand. Any more questions, please ask, and show us your WIPs. We love new members.

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clipped on: 07.24.2009 at 05:03 pm    last updated on: 07.24.2009 at 05:03 pm

RE: If you could do it again...what WOULDN'T you do (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: buehl on 05.30.2009 at 10:52 pm in Kitchens Forum

To add more information to this thread, here are similar past threads:

Things I would NOT recommend or things I dislike!: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0413285931465.html

RE: Things I would NOT recommend or things I dislike! #2: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg061407013201.html

Now that I have [X], I think I could have lived without it.: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0719430319398.html

What do you wish you had done differently?: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0722355328974.html

What do you wish you had done differently? [Part 2]: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0220533912060.html

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clipped on: 05.31.2009 at 06:45 am    last updated on: 05.31.2009 at 06:46 am

Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention VII

posted by: tapla on 03.22.2009 at 08:29 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I first posted this thread back in March of 05. Six times, it has reached the maximum number of posts to a single thread (150), which is much more attention than I ever imagined it would garner. I have reposted it, in no small part, because it has been a wonderful catalyst in the forging of new friendships and in increasing my list of acquaintances with similar growing interests. The forum and email exchanges that stem so often from the subject are in themselves, enough to make me hope the subject continues to pique interest and hopefully, the exchanges provide helpful information. Most of the motivation for posting this thread again comes from the participants reinforcement of the idea that some of the information provided in good-spirited collective exchange will make some degree of difference in the level of satisfaction of many readers growing experience.

I'll provide links to the previous five threads at the end of what I have written - in case you have interest in reviewing them. Thank you for taking the time to look into this subject - I hope that any/all who read it take at least something interesting and helpful from it. I know it's long, but I hope you find it worth the read.


Container Soils - Water Movement and Retention - A Discussion About Soils

As container gardeners, our first priority should be to insure the soils we use are adequately aerated for the life of the planting, or in the case of perennial material (trees, shrubs, garden perennials), from repot to repot. Soil aeration/drainage is the most important consideration in any container planting. Soils are the foundation that all container plantings are built on, and aeration is the very cornerstone of that foundation. Since aeration and drainage are inversely linked to soil particle size, it makes good sense to try to find and use soils or primary components with particles larger than peat. Durability and stability of soil components so they contribute to the retention of soil structure for extended periods is also extremely important. Pine and some other types of conifer bark fit the bill nicely, but Ill talk more about various components later.

What I will write also hits pretty hard against the futility in using a drainage layer of coarse materials as an attempt to improve drainage. It just doesn't work. All it does is reduce the total volume of soil available for root colonization. A wick can be employed to remove water from the saturated layer of soil at the container bottom, but a drainage layer is not effective. A wick can be made to work in reverse of the self-watering pots widely being discussed on this forum now.

Since there are many questions about soils appropriate for use in containers, I'll post basic mix recipes later, in case any would like to try the soil. It will follow the Water Movement information.
Consider this if you will:
Soil fills only a few needs in container culture. Among them are: Anchorage - A place for roots to extend, securing the plant and preventing it from toppling. Nutrient Retention - It must retain enough nutrients in available form to sustain plant systems. Gas Exchange - It must be sufficiently porous to allow air to move through the root system and by-product gasses to escape. Water - It must retain water enough in liquid and/or vapor form to sustain plants between waterings. Most plants can be grown without soil as long as we can provide air, nutrients, and water, (witness hydroponics). Here, I will concentrate primarily on the movement of water in soil(s).

There are two forces that cause water to move through soil - one is gravity, the other capillary action. Gravity needs little explanation, but for this writing I would like to note: Gravitational flow potential (GFP) is greater for water at the top of the container than it is for water at the bottom. I'll return to that later. Capillarity is a function of the natural forces of adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion is water's tendency to stick to solid objects like soil particles and the sides of the pot. Cohesion is the tendency for water to stick to itself. Cohesion is why we often find water in droplet form - because cohesion is at times stronger than adhesion; in other words, waters bond to itself can be stronger than the bond to the object it might be in contact with; in this condition it forms a drop. Capillary action is in evidence when we dip a paper towel in water. The water will soak into the towel and rise several inches above the surface of the water. It will not drain back into the source, and it will stop rising when the GFP equals the capillary attraction of the fibers in the paper.

There will be a naturally occurring "perched water table" (PWT) in containers when soil particulate size is under about .125 (1/8) inch.. This is water that occupies a layer of soil that is always saturated & will not drain from the portion of the pot it occupies. It can evaporate or be used by the plant, but physical forces will not allow it to drain. It is there because the capillary pull of the soil at some point will surpass the GFP; therefore, the water does not drain, it is perched. The smaller the size of the particles in a soil, the greater the height of the PWT. This water can be tightly held in heavy (comprised of small particles) soils and perch (think of a bird on a perch) just above the container bottom where it will not drain; or, it can perch in a layer of heavy soil on top of a coarse drainage layer, where it will not drain.

Imagine that we have five cylinders of varying heights, shapes, and diameters, each with drain holes, and we fill them all with the same soil mix, then saturate the soil. The PWT will be exactly the same height in each container. This saturated area of the container is where roots initially seldom penetrate & where root problems frequently begin due to a lack of aeration. Water and nutrient uptake are also compromised by lack of air in the root zone. Keeping in mind the fact that the PWT height is dependent on soil particle size and has nothing to do with height or shape of the container, we can draw the conclusion that: Tall growing containers will always have a higher percentage of unsaturated soil than squat containers when using the same soil mix. The reason: The level of the PWT will be the same in each container, with the taller container providing more usable, air holding soil above the PWT. From this, we could make a good case that taller containers are easier to grow in.

A given volume of large soil particles has less overall surface area when compared to the same volume of small particles and therefore less overall adhesive attraction to water. So, in soils with large particles, GFP more readily overcomes capillary attraction. They drain better. We all know this, but the reason, often unclear, is that the height of the PWT is lower in coarse soils than in fine soils. The key to good drainage is size and uniformity of soil particles. Mixing large particles with small is often very ineffective because the smaller particles fit between the large, increasing surface area which increases the capillary attraction and thus the water holding potential. An illustrative question: How much perlite do we need to add to pudding to make it drain well?

We have seen that adding a coarse drainage layer at the container bottom does not improve drainage. It does though, reduce the volume of soil required to fill a container, making the container lighter. When we employ a drainage layer in an attempt to improve drainage, what we are actually doing is moving the level of the PWT higher in the pot. This simply reduces the volume of soil available for roots to colonize. Containers with uniform soil particle size from top of container to bottom will yield better and more uniform drainage and have a lower PWT than containers using the same soil with drainage layers.

The coarser the drainage layer, the more detrimental to drainage it is because water is more (for lack of a better scientific word) reluctant to make the downward transition because the capillary pull of the soil above the drainage layer is stronger than the GFP. The reason for this is there is far more surface area on soil particles for water to be attracted to in the soil above the drainage layer than there is in the drainage layer, so the water perches. I know this goes against what most have thought to be true, but the principle is scientifically sound, and experiments have shown it as so. Many nurserymen employ the pot-in-pot or the pot-in-trench method of growing to capitalize on the science.

If you discover you need to increase drainage, you can simply insert an absorbent wick into a drainage hole & allow it to extend from the saturated soil in the container to a few inches below the bottom of the pot, or allow it to contact soil below the container where the earth acts as a giant wick and will absorb all or most of the perched water in the container, in most cases. Eliminating the PWT has much the same effect as providing your plants much more soil to grow in, as well as allowing more, much needed air in the root zone.

In simple terms: Plants that expire because of drainage problems either die of thirst because the roots have rotted and can no longer take up water, or they starve/"suffocate" because there is insufficient air at the root zone to insure normal water/nutrient uptake and root function.

Bark fines of fir, hemlock or pine, are excellent as the primary component of your soils. The lignin contained in bark keeps it rigid and the rigidity provides air-holding pockets in the root zone far longer than peat or compost mixes that too quickly break down to a soup-like consistency. Conifer bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as natures preservative. Suberin, more scarce as a presence in sapwood products and hardwood bark, dramatically slows the decomposition of conifer bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains.

To confirm the existence of the PWT and how effective a wick is at removing it, try this experiment: Fill a soft drink cup nearly full of garden soil. Add enough water to fill to the top, being sure all soil is saturated. Punch a drain hole in the bottom of the cup and allow the water to drain. When drainage has stopped, insert a wick into the drain hole . Take note of how much additional water drains. Even touching the soil with a toothpick through the drain hole will cause substantial additional water to drain. The water that drains is water that occupied the PWT. A greatly simplified explanation of what occurs is: The wick or toothpick "fools" the water into thinking the pot is deeper than it is, so water begins to move downward seeking the "new" bottom of the pot, pulling the rest of the water in the PWT along with it. If there is interest, there are other simple and interesting experiments you can perform to confirm the existence of a PWT in container soils. I can expand later in the thread.

I always remain cognizant of these physical principles whenever I build a soil. I havent used a commercially prepared soil in many years, preferring to build a soil or amend one of my 2 basic mixes to suit individual plantings. I keep many ingredients at the ready for building soils, but the basic building process usually starts with conifer bark and perlite. Sphagnum peat plays a secondary role in my container soils because it breaks down too quickly to suit me, and when it does, it impedes drainage and reduces aeration. Size matters. Partially composted conifer bark fines (pine is easiest to find and least expensive) works best in the following recipes, followed by uncomposted bark in the <3/8" range.

Note that there is no sand or compost in the soils I use. Sand, as most of you think of it, can improve drainage in some cases, but it reduces aeration by filling valuable macro-pores in soils. Unless sand particle size is fairly uniform and/or larger than about BB size I leave it out of soils. Compost is too unstable for me to consider using in soils. The small amount of micro-nutrients it supplies can easily be delivered by one or more of a number of chemical or organic sources.

My Basic Soils
5 parts pine bark fines
1 part sphagnum peat (not reed or sedge peat please)
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime (or gypsum in some cases)
controlled release fertilizer (if preferred)
micro-nutrient powder, other continued source of micro-nutrients, or fertilizer with all nutrients - including minors

Big batch:
2-3 cu ft pine bark fines
5 gallons peat
5 gallons perlite
2 cups dolomitic (garden) lime (or gypsum in some cases)
2 cups CRF (if preferred)
1/2 cup micro-nutrient powder (or other source of the minors)

Small batch:
3 gallons pine bark
1/2 gallon peat
1/2 gallon perlite
4 tbsp lime (or gypsum in some cases)
1/4 cup CRF (if preferred)
micro-nutrient powder (or other source of the minors)

I have seen advice that some highly organic (practically speaking - almost all container soils are highly organic) container soils are productive for up to 5 years or more. I disagree and will explain why if there is interest. Even if you were to substitute fir bark for pine bark in this recipe (and this recipe will long outlast any peat based soil) you should only expect a maximum of two to three years life before a repot is in order. Usually perennials, including trees (they're perennials too) should be repotted more frequently to insure vigor closer to their genetic potential. If a soil is desired that will retain structure for long periods, we need to look more to inorganic components. Some examples are crushed granite, pea stone, coarse sand (see above - usually no smaller than BB size in containers, please), Haydite, lava rock (pumice), Turface or Schultz soil conditioner, and others.

For long term (especially woody) plantings and houseplants, I use a soil that is extremely durable and structurally sound. The basic mix is equal parts of pine bark, Turface, and crushed granite.

1 part uncomposted pine or fir bark
1 part Turface
1 part crushed granite
1 Tbsp gypsum per gallon of soil
CRF (if desired)
Source of micro-nutrients or use a fertilizer that contains all essentials
I use 1/8 -1/4 tsp Epsom salts per gallon of fertilizer solution when I fertilize (check your fertilizer - if it is soluble, it is probable it does not contain Ca or Mg.

Thank you for your interest.

If there is additional interest, please review previous contributions to this thread here:

Post VI
Post V
Post IV
Post III
Post II
Post I

Al

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clipped on: 04.22.2009 at 09:31 pm    last updated on: 04.22.2009 at 09:31 pm

Fertilizer Program for Containerized Plants II

posted by: tapla on 03.11.2009 at 11:13 pm in Container Gardening Forum

This subject has been discussed frequently, but usually in piecemeal fashion on the Container Gardening forum and other forums related. Prompted originally by a question about fertilizers in another's post, I decided to collect a few thoughts & present a personal overview.

Fertilizer Program - Containerized Plants II

Let me begin with a brief and hopefully not too technical explanation of how plants absorb water from the soil and how they obtain the nutrients/solutes that are dissolved in that water. Most of us remember from our biology classes that cells have membranes that are semi-permeable. That is, they allow some things to pass through the walls, like water and select elements in ionic form dissolved in the water, while excluding other materials like large organic molecules. Osmosis is a natural phenomenon that is natures attempt at creating a balance (isotonicity) in the concentration of solutes in water inside and outside of cells. Water and ionic solutes will pass in and out of cell walls until an equilibrium is reached and the level of solutes in the water surrounding the cell is the same as the level of solutes in the cell.

This process begins when the finest roots absorb water molecule by molecule at the cellular level from the surface of soil particles and transport it, along with its nutrient load, throughout the plant. I want to keep this simple, so Ill just say that the best water absorption occurs when the level of solutes in soil water is lowest, and in the presence of good amounts of oxygen (this is where I get to plug a well-aerated and free-draining soil), ;o). Deionized (distilled) water contains no solutes, and is easiest for plants to absorb. Of course, since distilled water contains no nutrients, using it alone practically guarantees deficiencies of multiple nutrients as the plant is shorted the building materials (nutrients) it needs to manufacture food, keep its systems orderly, and keep its metabolism running smoothly.

We already learned that if the dissolved solutes in soil water are low, the plant may be well-hydrated, but starving; however, if they are too high, the plant may have a large store of nutrients in the soil, but because of osmotic pressure, the plant may be unable to absorb the water and could die of thirst in a sea of plenty. When this condition occurs, and is severe enough (high concentrations of solutes in soil water), it causes fertilizer burn (plasmolysis), a condition seen when plasma is torn from cell walls as the water inside the cell exits to maintain solute equilibrium with the water surrounding the cell.

Our job, because you cannot depend on an adequate supply of nutrients from the organic component of a container soil, is to provide a solution of dissolved nutrients in a concentration high enough to supply nutrients in the adequate to luxury range, yet still low enough that it remains easy for the plant to take up enough water to be well-hydrated and free of drought stress. Electrical conductivity (EC) of, and the level of TDS (total dissolved solids) in the soil solution is a reliable way to judge the adequacy of solutes and the plants ability to take up water. There are meters that measure these concentrations, and for most plants the ideal range of conductivity is from 1.5 - 3.5 mS, with some, like tomatoes, being as high as 4.5 mS. This is more technical than I wanted to be, but I added it in case someone wanted to search "mS" or "EC". Most of us, including me, will have to be satisfied with simply guessing at concentrations, but understanding how plants take up water and fertilizer, as well as the effects of solute concentrations in soil water is an important piece of the fertilizing puzzle.

Now, some disconcerting news - you have listened to all this talk about nutrient concentrations, but what do we supply, when, and how do we supply them? We have to decide what nutrients are appropriate to add to our supplementation program, but how? Most of us are just hobby growers and cannot do tissue analysis to determine what is lacking. We can be observant and learn the symptoms of various nutrient deficiencies though - and we CAN make some surprising generalizations.

What if I said that the nutritional needs of all plants is basically the same and that one fertilizer could suit almost all the plants we grow in containers - that by increasing/decreasing the dosage as we water, we could even manipulate plants to bloom and fruit more abundantly? Its really quite logical, so please let me explain.

Tissue analysis of plants will nearly always show NPK to be in the ratio of approximately 10:1.5:7. If we assign N the constant of 100, P and K will range from 13-19 and 45-70 respectively. (Ill try to remember to make a chart showing the relative ratios of all the other 13 essential nutrients that dont come from the air at the end of what I write.) All we need to do is supply nutrients in approximately the same ratio as plants use them, and in adequate amounts to keep them in the adequate to luxury range at all times.

Remember that we can maximize water uptake by keeping the concentrations of solutes low, so a continual supply of a weak solution is best. Nutrients dont often just suddenly appear in large quantities in nature, so the low and continual dose method most closely mimics the nutritional supply Mother Nature offers. If you decide to adopt a "fertilize every time you water" approach, most liquid fertilizers can be applied at to 1 tsp per gallon for best results. If you decide thats too much work, try halving the dose recommended & cutting the interval in half. You can work out the math for granular soluble fertilizers and apply at a similar rate.

The system is rather self regulating if fertilizer is applied in low concentrations each time you water, even with houseplants in winter. As the plants growth slows, so does its need for both water and nutrients. Larger plants and plants that are growing robustly will need more water and nutrients, so linking nutrient supply to the water supply is a win/win situation all around.

Another advantage to supplying a continual low concentration of fertilizer is it eliminates the tendency of plants to show symptoms of nutrient deficiencies after they have received high doses of fertilizer and then been allowed to return to a more favorable level of soil solute concentrations. Even at perfectly acceptable concentrations of nutrients in the soil, plants previously exposed to high concentrations of fertilizer readily display these symptoms.

You will still need to guard against watering in sips, and that habits accompanying tendency to allow solute (salt) accumulation in soils. Remember that as salts accumulate, both water and nutrient uptake is made more difficult and finally impaired or made impossible in severe cases. Your soils should always allow you to water so that at least 10-15% of the total volume of water applied passes through the soil and out the drain hole to be discarded. This flushes the soil and carries accumulating solutes out the drain hole.

I have recently switched to a liquid fertilizer with micronutrients in a 12:4:8 NPK ratio. Note how closely this fits the average ratio of NPK content in plant tissues, noted above (10:1.5:7). If the P looks a little high at 4, consider that in container soils, P begins to be more tightly held as pH goes from 6.5 to below 6.0, which is on the high side of most container soils pH, so the manufacturer probably gave this some careful consideration. Also, P and K percentages shown on fertilizer packages are not the actual amount of P or K in the blend. The percentage of P on the package is the percentage of P2O5 (phosphorous pentoxide) and you need to multiply the percentage shown by .43 to get the actual amount of P in the fertilizer. Similarly, the K level percentage shown is actually the level of K2O ( potassium oxide) and must be multiplied by .83 to arrive at the actual amount of K supplied.

To answer the inevitable questions about specialty fertilizers and "special" plant nutritional requirements, let me repeat that plants need nutrients in roughly the same ratio. Ratio is an entirely a separate consideration from dosage. Youll need to adjust the dosage to fit the plant and perhaps strike a happy medium in containers that have a diversity of material.

If nutrient availability is unbalanced - if plants are getting more than they need of certain nutrients, but less than they need of others, the nutrient they need the most will be the one that limits growth. There are 6 factors that affect plant growth and yield; they are: air water light temperature soil or media nutrients. Liebig's Law of Limiting Factors states the most deficient factor limits plant growth and increasing the supply of non-limiting factors will not increase plant growth. Only by increasing most deficient nutrient will the plant growth increase. There is also an optimum combination?ratio of the nutrients and increasing them, individually or in various combinations, can lead to toxicities.

When individual nutrients are available in excess, it not only unnecessarily contributes to the total volume of solutes in the soil solution, which makes it more difficult for the plant to absorb water and nutrients, it also often creates an antagonistic deficiency of other nutrients as toxicity levels block a plant's ability to take up other nutrients. E.g., too much Fe (iron) can cause a Mn (manganese) deficiency, with the converse also true, Too much Ca (calcium) can cause a Mg (magnesium) deficiency. Too much P (phosphorous) can cause an insoluble precipitate with Fe and make Fe unavailable. It also interferes with the uptake of several other micro-nutrients. You can see why its advantageous to supply nutrients in as close to the same ratio in which plants use them and at levels not so high that they interfere with water uptake. I know Im repeating myself here, but this is an important point.

What about the high-P "Bloom Booster" fertilizers you might ask? To induce more prolific flowering, a reduced N supply will have more and better effect than the high P bloom formulas. When N is reduced, it slows vegetative growth without reducing photosynthesis. Since vegetative growth is limited by a lack of N, and the photosynthetic machinery continues to turn out food, it leaves an expendable surplus for the plant to spend on flowers and fruit. Plants use about 6 times more N than P, so fertilizers that supply more P than N are wasteful and more likely to inhibit blooms (remember that too much P inhibits uptake of Fe and many micro-nutrients - it raises pH unnecessarily as well, which could also be problematic). Popular "bloom-booster" fertilizers like 10-52-10 actually supply about 32x more P than your plant could ever use (in relationship to how much N it uses) and has the potential to wreak all kinds of havoc with your plants.

The fact that different species of plants grow in different types of soil where they are naturally found, does not mean that one needs more of a certain nutrient than the other. It just means that the plants have developed strategies to adapt to certain conditions, like excesses and deficiencies of particular nutrients.

Plants that "love" acid soils, e.g., have simply developed strategies to cope with those soils. Their calcium needs are still the same as any other plant and no different from the nutrient requirements of plants that thrive in alkaline soils. The problem for acid-loving plants is that they are unable to adequately limit their calcium uptake, and will absorb too much of it when available, resulting in cellular pH-values that are too high. Some acid-loving plants also have difficulties absorbing Fe, Mn, Cu, or Zn, which is more tightly held in alkaline soils, another reason why they thrive in low pH (acid) soils.

So, If you select a fertilizer that is close in ratio to the concentration of major elements in plant tissues, youre going to be in good shape. Whether the fertilizer is furnished in chemical or organic form matters not a whit to the plant. Ions are ions, but there is one major consideration. Chemical fertilizers are available for immediate uptake while organic fertilizers must be acted on by passing through the gut of micro-organisms to break them down into usable elemental form. Since microorganism populations are affected by cultural conditions like moisture/air levels in the soil, soil pH, fertility levels, temperature, etc., they tend to follow a boom/bust cycle in container culture, which has an impact on the reliability and timing of delivery of nutrients supplied in organic form. Nutrients locked in hydrocarbon chains cannot be relied upon to be available when the plant needs them. This is particularly an issue with the immobile nutrients that must be present in the nutrient stream at all times for the plant to grow normally.

What is my approach? I have been very happy with Miracle-Gro 12-4-8 all purpose liquid fertilizer, or 24-8-16 Miracle-Gro granular all-purpose fertilizer - both are completely soluble. I incorporate a granular micro-nutrient supplement in my soils when I make them (Micromax) or use a soluble micro-nutrient blend (STEM). I would encourage you to make sure your plants are getting all the micro-nutrients. More readily available than the supplements I use is Earth Juices Microblast. Last year, I discovered a fertilizer by Dyna-Gro called Foliage-Pro 9-3-6. It is a 3:1:2 ratio like I like and has ALL the primary macro-nutrients, secondary macro-nutrients (Ca, Mg, S) and all the micro-nutrients. It performed very well for me.

When plants are growing robustly, I try to fertilize my plants weakly (pun intended) with a half recommended dose of the concentrate at half the suggested intervals. When plants are growing slowly, I fertilize more often with very weak doses. Its important to realize your soil must drain freely and you must water so a fair amount of water drains from your container each time you water to fertilize this way. This year my display containers performed better than they ever have in years past & they were still all looking amazingly attractive at the beginning of Oct when I finally decided to dismantle them because of imminent cold weather. I attribute results primarily to a good soil and a healthy nutrient supplementation program.

What would I recommend to someone who asked what to use as an all-purpose fertilizer for nearly all their container plantings? If you can find it, a 3:1:2 ratio soluble liquid fertilizer (24-8-16, 12-4-8, 9-3-6 are all 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers) that contains all the minor elements would great.

How plants use nutrients - the chart I promised:

I gave Nitrogen, because it's the largest nutrient component, the value of 100. Other nutrients are listed as a weight percentage of N.
N 100
P 13-19 (16) 1/6
K 45-80 (62) 3/5
S 6-9 (8) 1/12
Mg 5-15 (10) 1/10
Ca 5-15 (10) 1/10
Fe 0.7
Mn 0.4
B(oron) 0.2
Zn 0.06
Cu 0.03
Cl 0.03
M(olybden) 0.003
To read the chart: P - plants use 13-19 parts of P or an average of about 16 parts for every 100 parts of N, or 6 times more N than P. Plants use about 45-80 parts of K or an average of about 62 parts for every 100 parts of N, or about 3/5 as much K as N, and so on.

If you're still awake - thanks for reading. It makes me feel like the effort was worth it. ;o) Let me know what you think - please.
Al

Here is a link to the first posting of A Fertilizer Program for Containers

Another link to information about Container Soils- Water Movement and Retention

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clipped on: 04.22.2009 at 09:28 pm    last updated on: 05.23.2009 at 01:47 pm

More photos (Follow-Up #95)

posted by: jbrodie on 03.03.2009 at 08:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

Here are the photos as promised:

For Todd, here's the cab above the stove:
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Family Room (This room is still not finished. We have a media cabinet coming for the big wall and that long table will go behind the sofa. The coffee table and chair belong in another room, so eventually I need to get at least a coffee table. Suggestions? Round? Square? Dark wood? I'm at a loss. All I know is I want it to be a good place for playing games and doing puzzles with the kids.)
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Dining Room (I still need to find sconces. Any ideas? I've been looking and looking and just can't figure out what style to go with. I don't want to spend a lot of money either. I also am in search of a piece of art for that wall between the sconces).

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desk area
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Stove area
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sink
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clipped on: 03.03.2009 at 10:03 pm    last updated on: 03.03.2009 at 10:03 pm

RE: 99% Finished Kitchen--creamy white w/soapstone (Follow-Up #29)

posted by: jbrodie on 03.01.2009 at 11:12 pm in Kitchens Forum

Try out the RH latches and see what you think. Maybe the ones I got were an off batch. The ones I got did not open and close smoothly like the Rejuv ones do. I think it would have driven me nuts. The Rejuvenation ones are pricey, but if you're doing ORB (and maybe with other finishes) you can mix and match with RH hardware for the rest. It matches perfectly. And of course you save money by not going with all Rejuvenation.

We like the pendants. They don't put out a huge amount of light, but with the other lighting in the kitchen it's enough for us. In fact sometimes I dim them. We put everything on dimmers which I love. So, I guess it depends what other lighting you have.

This is the hood: http://www.ventahood.com/images/hoods/prh9.jpg
For power, we got what the appliance guy suggested with our rangetop and I can't remember what that was.

I got the window treatment from Smith and Noble. The gal came out to the house, measured, brought samples and I ordered from her. My receipt says, Natural Woven color code 4482. I have to say, it's different that what I would have picked online. It was very handy having her come out with all the samples. I don't think it cost any more to have a person come (though the shipping seemed awfully high). We installed it ourselves and it was very simple. If you do order from them, search online for coupons because I've seen some lately. I thought the shade was very reasonable ($233 plus shipping, which was only a little more than one of those honeycomb shades we got at Home Depot a few years ago).

The beadboard...hmmm. I don't know. I had asked for a wider plank and so it wasn't exactly what I envisioned. I don't dislike it, but I barely notice it and it would have been a good place to save a few bucks.

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clipped on: 03.02.2009 at 09:25 am    last updated on: 03.02.2009 at 09:25 am

RE: 99% Finished Kitchen--creamy white w/soapstone (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: jbrodie on 03.01.2009 at 08:36 pm in Kitchens Forum

Oh my, I'm blushing! Thank you all so much for the positive feedback!

Okay, let me see if I can answer all the questions:

This was part of a big remodel, which was helpful because we could pick all colors and whatnot at once. Our house used to end where the ceiling height changes and our kitchen was enclosed, no island (and 1950's disfunctional appliances) and the area where the desk is now is where we had our dining table. So, we extended the kitchen the long way mostly, and added the island where the counter and wall used to be. I hope that makes sense. We LOVE having that desk area. It's so nice for the kids to do homework there and we use the cabinets on either side of it for pantry area.

Paint colors:
Benjamin Moore Natura
1000 Northwood Brown walls in the kitchen
998 Cabot Trail in the family room (somewhere I read...probably on this forum...that it works well to use two colors that are two or three PMS colors apart).

Cabinets: Bejamin Moore Aura in Acadia White. I find it looks pretty bright white in the middle of the day with bright sunlight shining in, and then quite creamy at night when the lights are on. The first two coats were sprayed and the final coat was brushed so we would be able to touch up when needed. Another thing I learned on the forum!

Pendants and fixture near the desk: Restoration Hardware. I think the pendants are called Benson and it's the smallest size.

I forgot to mention the cab hardware too. All of it is from Restoration Hardware with the exception of the latches. I originally got their latches and they were horrible (not smooth to operate). I found a woman on this forum who had tested lots of latches and recommended ones from Rejuvenation. I got those...small size in oil rubbed bronze. They match perfectly with the Restoration Hardware pulls and knobs in ORB and they work great! Thanks Mary! (I think that's who it was).

On the soapstone I've been using Bee's Oil from Holland Mills (another thing I found on the forum!). They gave us mineral oil with the counter, but it didn't last as long and got more splotchy looking than the Bee's Oil.

Let me know if I forgot anything!

Julie

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clipped on: 03.02.2009 at 09:23 am    last updated on: 03.02.2009 at 09:23 am

99% Finished Kitchen--creamy white w/soapstone

posted by: jbrodie on 03.01.2009 at 06:59 pm in Kitchens Forum

Finally! Our kitchen is finished! I never thought the day would come, and boy am I enjoying it. I owe so much to this forum. I can't tell you how much you all helped me. Thank you!!! I hope I can help others in return.

Hope I'm not putting too many pictures!

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Island
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soap stone

Quick description (feel free to contact me if you have questions)
-Soapstone: Julia
-Cabinets: Custom, inset/flush shaker style with single bead (waiting to see if we get some issues resolved before I recommend the cabinet maker)
-Bookcase and desk tops: walnut
-Sharp microwave oven drawer (love it!)
-GE fridge
-Shaw 30 inch apron sink
-Wolf range top
-Thermador double ovens
-Vent-a-hood hood
-Dal tile
-potfiller: Newport Brass
-hot/cold faucet Newport Brass
-Main faucet: Mico
-Door to garage: one panel painted with chalkboard paint...fun! The kids love this and it's fun to put messages to guests, each other, holiday wishes, etc.
-Pull out baskets (love these...I keep bread in one and potatoes, onions, etc. in the other)
-Wine shelf--love it!
-Bar stools from Sturbridge Yankee Workshop (love these and they were so reasonable!)
-What would I do differently? More than 12 inch overhang on seating area of island (maybe 14-16 inch). And I might skip the bead board in the backs of the bookshelfs and glass cabs.

Happy kitchen designing to all! Thank you again!

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clipped on: 03.02.2009 at 09:22 am    last updated on: 03.02.2009 at 09:24 am

Long overdue Clutter room pictures.

posted by: ponydoc on 03.01.2009 at 02:44 pm in Building a Home Forum

We have been in our home for about a year. I said I would post finished clutter room pics at some point. Our clutter room is mud/laundry/dog/tack room. My sister requested pics to show her contractor on Monday - planning on cleaning the place up... but ran out of time. SO what they heck, I might as well show it being utlized as intended!!

Took these this am- before coming to my office. We had a sick child over night so bedding on the washer, otherwise this is pretty standard for how it looks..... and why we love it! It keeps all this stuff out of the rest of the house!

Our clutter room:

From the kitchen

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To the left - toward the front of the house.

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We still have to finish the lockers in the mudroom area. We are also thinking of adding more cabinetry in the area in which the kid's little coat rack sits.

The doors from the mud room exit to the side porch ( toward our main barn), the garage and the back porch. There is also a door to the front porch from the front of the room. COmes in hand to acsess the fridge when you are chillin' on the front porch!

We love this room and cannot imagine how we lived without it!!

PD

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clipped on: 11.22.2009 at 10:51 pm    last updated on: 11.22.2009 at 10:51 pm

RE: Okay, so I think I'm done...Thank you ! (PICS) (Follow-Up #49)

posted by: margieb2 on 07.30.2008 at 11:18 am in Kitchens Forum

Yeesh, thanks you guys! I'm going to try to answer all of your questions before I go back to work. I apologize in advance if I miss any of them.

First of all, yes, hats off to my cabinet maker. In addition to being a superior craftsman and a perfectionist, he's also a remarkable nice person and we thorougly enjoyed working with him. The idea for the curved peninsula came from a wonderful kitchen designere who works for a cabinet shop who I did not end up using (very long story).

Okay, the granite is Colonial Gold and Absoluste Black.

Wall paint color is a Pratt and Lambert color called carbonite. Trim is a Sherwin Williams color called Divine White.

Ceilings are 8' high and my contractor completed the archway in about 1 day.

My tile I found at our local tile store but another garden webber tracked down this website:
http://www.fastfloors.com/catalog/productline.asp?productlineid=19615&productid=138276&REF=ZLS1336889

A link to the faucet is below.

The table is the Veranda Table by Fremarc.

Floors are 4" wide quarter sawn white oak.

Knife drawer was constructed by my cabinter maker.

Cindyinsocal, we too were concerned that the backsplash would look too contemporary but it's now one of my favorite things about the kitchen. It sparkles!

Lmalm53, thank you for your comments about my photos...it's a hobby but I'm still working on lighting. I have a hard timne with the flash. I may need to resort to the manual.

Kitchen is about 15' wide and 26' from the colums to the cooktop wall.

I'll include a scan of the layout but it's been tweaked since this version.

Marthavila, we entertain a ton, I love to cook, and I'm completely disorganized, and I'm a packrat (much to DH's chagrin), so I needed everyhting to have a place. AS much as I love the aeshtetics of the kitchen, I'm completely blown away by how well it functions. Everything is exactly where it should be:

Trash and recycling

a href="http://s205.photobucket.com/albums/bb66/margieberg/Kitchen%20Details/?action=viewt=silverwaredrawer-1.jpg" target="_blank">silverware

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Roll outs

Under the cooktop

layout

Here is a link that might be useful: MGS faucet

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clipped on: 03.23.2009 at 08:56 pm    last updated on: 03.23.2009 at 08:56 pm

Okay, so I think I'm done...Thank you ! (PICS)

posted by: margieb2 on 07.29.2008 at 10:38 pm in Kitchens Forum

So I think we're pretty much done except for the bar stools and a couple of other small items. The process went much more quickly than we anticipated. Demo began First week in March and the kitchen was complete by the end of May. The contractor was a dream and there were no major problems or surprises (other than the electrical safety hazards that were uncovered during demolition!)

I owe the resourceful, knowlegeable, creative, and talented members of this forum my heartfelt thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge and inspirational kitchens.

In particular, thank you to Zolablue, rococogurl, sharb, jamesk, allison0704, bella_4, charlie 123, momto4kids deanna1949, and artteacher, AMONG MANY OTHERS...for sage advice and kitchens that helped shape my kitchen vision. We had a number of setbacks, one big one due to DH's job loss. But I have to say, everything's worked out for the best.

We kept the original footprint of the room but swapped a peninsula for the island. We were a bit apprehensive aobut this as the trend is to do the revers but this setup works really well for us, creates better zones and a better flow.

SO here's a before:Before: From great room

And After:
After

Before

After

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Pantry cabinet

Spice storage

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Knife drawer

Super susan

Julien Classic 30 x 18x 10

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clipped on: 03.23.2009 at 08:51 pm    last updated on: 03.23.2009 at 08:51 pm

Stone Information and Advice (& Checklists)

posted by: buehl on 04.14.2008 at 02:56 am in Kitchens Forum

First off, I want to give a big thank-you to StoneGirl, Kevin, Joshua, Mimi, and others (past and current) on this forum who have given us many words of wisdom concerning stone countertops.

I've tried to compile everything I saved over the past 8 months that I've been on this Forum. Most of it was taken from a write-up by StoneGirl (Natural stone primer/granite 101); other threads and sources were used as well.

So...if the experts could review the information I've compiled below and send me comments (here or via email), I will talk to StarPooh about getting this on the FAQ.


Stone Information, Advice, and Checklists:

In an industry that has no set standards, there are many unscrupulous people trying to palm themselves off as fabricators. There are also a number of people with odd agendas trying to spread ill rumors about natural stone and propagate some very confusing and contradictory information. This is my small attempt at shedding a little light on the subject.

Slab Selection:

On the selection of the actual stone slabs - When you go to the slab yard to choose slabs for your kitchen, there are a few things you need to take note of:

  • Surface finish: The finish - be it polished, honed, flamed antiqued, or brushed, should be even. There should be no spots that have obvious machine marks, scratches, or other man made marks. You can judge by the crystal and vein pattern of the stone if the marks you see are man-made or naturally occurring. It is true that not all minerals will finish evenly and if you look at an angle on a polished slab with a larger crystal pattern, you can clearly see this. Tropic Brown would be a good example here. The black spots will not polish near as shiny as the brown ones and this will be very obvious on an unresined slab when looking at an acute angle against the light. The black specks will show as duller marks. The slab will feel smooth and appear shiny if seen from above, though. This effect will not be as pronounced on a resined slab.

    Bottom line when judging the quality of a surface finish: Look for unnatural appearing marks. If there are any on the face of the slab, it is not desirable. They might well be on the extreme edges, but this is normal and a result of the slab manufacturing process.

  • Mesh backing: Some slabs have a mesh backing. This was done at the plant where the slabs were finished. This backing adds support to brittle materials or materials with excessive veining or fissures. A number of exotic stones will have this. This does not necessarily make the material one of inferior quality, though. Quite often, these slabs will require special care in fabrication and transport, so be prepared for the fabricator to charge accordingly. If you are unsure about the slabs, ask your fabricator what his opinion of the material is.
  • Cracks and fissures: Yes - some slabs might have them. One could have quite the discussion on whether that line on the slab could be one or the other, so I'll try to explain it a little.

    • Fissures are naturally occurring features in stone. They will appear as little lines in the surface of the slabs (very visible in a material like Verde Peacock) and could even be of a different color than the majority of the stone (think of those crazed white lines sometimes appearing in Antique Brown). Sometimes they could be fused like in Antique Brown and other times they could be open, as is the case in the Verde Peacock example. They could often also go right through the body of the slab like in Crema Marfil, for instance. If you look at the light reflection across a fissure, you will never see a break - i.e., there will be no change in the plane on either side of a fissure.
    • A crack on the other hand is a problem... If you look at the slab at an oblique angle in the light, you will note the reflection of the shine on the surface of the stone. A crack will appear as a definite line through the reflection and the reflection will have a different appearance on either side of the line - there will be a break in the plane. Reject slabs like this. One could still work around fissures. Cracks are a whole other can of worms.
    • Resined slabs: The resin gets applied prior to the slabs being polished. Most of the resin then gets ground off in the polishing process. You should not be able to see just by looking at the surface of a slab whether it was resined or not. If you look at the rough sides of the slab, though, you will see some drippy shiny marks, almost like varnish drips. This should be the only indication that the slab is resined. There should never be a film or layer on the face of the stone. With extremely porous stones, the resining will alleviate, but not totally eliminate absorption issues and sealer could still be required. Lady's dream is an example. This material is always resined, but still absorbs liquids and requires sealer.
    • Test the material you have selected for absorption issues regardless - it is always best to know what your stone is capable of and to be prepared for any issues that might arise. Some stones indeed do not require sealer - be they resined or not. Baltic Brown would be an example here. It will not absorb one iota of anything, but it is still resined to eliminate a flaking issue.

Tests (especially for Absolute Black) (using a sample of YOUR slab):

  • To verify you have true AB and not dyed: Clean with denatured alcohol and rub marble polishing powder on the face. (Get denatured alcohol at Home Depot in the paint department)
  • Lemon Juice or better yet some Muratic Acid: will quickly show if the stone has alot of calcium content and will end up getting etched. This is usually chinese stone, not indian.
  • Acetone: The Dying usually is done on the same chinese stone. like the others said, acetone on a rag will reveal any dye that has been applied
  • Chips: Using something very hard & metalhit the granite sharply & hard on edges to see if it chips, breaks, or cracks


Measuring:

  • Before the templaters get there...
    • Make sure you have a pretty good idea of your faucet layout--where you want the holes drilled for all the fixtures and do a test mock up to make sure you have accounted for sufficient clearances between each fixture.
    • Be sure you test your faucet for clearances not just between each fixture, but also between the faucet and the wall behind the faucet (if there is one). You need to be sure the handle will function properly.
    • Make sure that the cabinets are totally level (not out by more than 1/8") before the counter installers come in.
    • Check how close they should come to a stove and make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter.
    • Make sure they have the sink/faucet templates to work from.
    • Make sure have your garbage disposal air switch on hand or know the diameter

  • If you are not putting in a backsplash, tell them
  • Double check the template. Make sure that the measurements are reasonable. Measure the opening for the range.
  • Seam Placement: Yet another kettle of fish (or can of worms, depending on how you look at it, I guess!) Seam placement is ultimately at the discretion of the fabricator. I know it is not a really popular point of view, but that is just the way it is. There really is more to deciding where the seam would go than just the size of the slab or where the seam would look best in the kitchen.

    Most stone installations will have seams. They are unavoidable in medium or large sized kitchens. One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum. It seems that a good book could be written about seams, their quality, and their placementand still you will have some information that will be omitted! For something as seemingly simple as joining two pieces of stone, seams have evolved into their own universe of complexity far beyond what anybody should have fair cause to expect!

  • Factors determining seam placement:
    • The slab: size, color, veining, structure (fissures, strength of the material an other characteristics of the stone)
    • Transport to the job site: Will the fabricated pieces fit on whatever vehicle and A-frames he has available
    • Access to the job site: Is the house on stilts? (common in coastal areas) How will the installers get the pieces to where they need to go? Will the tops fit in the service elevator if the apartment is on the 10th floor? Do the installers need to turn tight corners to get to the kitchen? There could be 101 factors that will influence seam placement here alone.
    • Placement and size of undermount (or other) cut-outs. Some fabricators like to put seams in undermount sinks, some do not. We, for instance will do it if absolutely necessary, and have done so with great success, but will not do so as general practice. We do like to put seams in the middle of drop-in appliances and cut-outs and this is a great choice for appearances and ease of installation.
    • Location of the cabinets: Do the pieces need to go in between tall cabinets with finished sides? Do the pieces need to slide in under appliance garages or other cabinetry? How far do the upper cabinets hang over? Is there enough clearance between the vent hood and other cabinets? Again the possibilities are endless and would depend on each individual kitchen lay-out and - ultimately -
    • Install-ability of the fabricated pieces: Will that odd angle hold up to being moved and turned around to get on the peninsula if there is no seam in it? Will the extra large sink cut-out stay intact if we hold the piece flat and at a 45 degree angle to slide it in between those two tall towers? Again, 1,001 combinations of cabinetry and material choices will come into play on this question.

    You can ask your fabricator to put a seam at a certain location and most likely he will oblige, but if he disagrees with you, it is not (always) out of spite or laziness. Check on your fabricator's seams by going to actual kitchens he has installed. Do not trust what you see in a showroom as sole testament to your fabricator's ability to do seams.

    With modern glues and seaming methods, a seam could successfully be put anywhere in an installation without compromising the strength or integrity of the stone. If a seam is done well, there is - in theory - no "wrong" location for it. A reputable fabricator will also try to keep the number of seams in any installation to a minimum. It is not acceptable, for instance to have a seam in each corner, or at each point where the counter changes direction, like on an angled peninsula.

    Long or unusually large pieces are often done if they can fit in the constraints of a slab. Slabs as a rule of thumb will average at about 110"x65". There are bigger slabs and quite often smaller ones too. Check with the fabricator or the slab yard. They will be more than happy to tell you the different sizes of slabs they have available. Note, though, that the larger the slabs, the smaller the selection of possible colors. Slab sizes would depend in part on the capabilities of the quarry, integrity of the material or the capabilities of the machinery at the finishing plant. We have had slabs as wide as 75" and as long as 130" before, but those are monsters and not always readily available.

  • Generally, it is not a good idea to seam over a DW because there's no support for the granite, and anything heavy placed at or near the seam would stress the stone, possibly breaking it.
  • Rodding is another issue where a tremendous amount of mis-information and scary stories exist: The main purpose for rodding stone would be to add integrity to the material around cut-outs. This is primarily for transport and installation and serves no real purpose once the stone is secured and fully supported on the cabinets. It would also depend on the material. A fabricator would be more likely to rod Ubatuba than he would Black Galaxy, for instance. The flaky and delicate materials prone to fissures would be prime candidates for rodding. Rodding is basically when a fabricator cuts slots in the back of the stone and embeds steel or fiberglass rods with epoxy in the slots in the stone. You will not see this from the top or front of the installation. This is an "insurance policy" created by the fabricator to make sure that the stone tops make it to your cabinets all in one piece
  • Edges: The more rounded an edge is, the more stable it would be. Sharp, flat edges are prone to chipping under the right (or rather wrong) circumstances. Demi or full bullnose edges would almost entirely eliminate this issue. A properly milled and polished edge will be stable and durable regardless of the profile, though. My guess at why ogee and stacked edges are not more prevalent would be purely because of cost considerations. Edge pricing is determined by the amount of work needed to create it. The more intricate edge profiles also require an exponentially larger skill set and more time to perfect. The ogee edge is a very elegant edge and can be used to great effect, but could easily look overdone if it is used everywhere. We often advise our clients to combine edges for greater impact - i.e., eased edge on all work surfaces, and ogee on the island to emphasize the cabinetry or unusual shape.
    Edge profiles are largely dependent on what you like and can afford. There is no real pro or con for regular or laminated edges. They all have their place in the design world. Check with your fabricator what their capabilities and pricing are. Look at actual kitchens and ask for references.


Installation:

  • Seams:
    One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum [StoneGirl]

    • A generic good quality seam should have the following characteristics:
      • It should be flat. According to the Marble Institute of America (MIA) a minimal amount of lippage is acceptable (1/32"), but conscientious fabricators all strive for a perfectly flat and smooth joint.
      • It should be narrow - as in smaller than 1/16". (I think the MIA stipulates no larger than 1/8", but that is pushing it - and only if the fabricator bevels the edges of the seam, almost similar to the edge of a stone tile. This is, thank goodness, not a standard practice any more!)
      • The color on either side of the seam should match as closely as possible. On regularly patterned stones like Ubatuba for example - there should be no variation. On stones with variation in colors or veins, the match should be made as close as was humanly possible.
      • Vein direction should flow. The MIA suggests a single direction of vein flow, but it is acceptable IF DISCUSSED WITH THE CLIENT to change vein direction on a seam if no other option is available. This would happen in book matched slabs - you will have a "butterfly" seam in this case. In other cases, the fabricator could put a miter seam in a corner and change vein direction 90 degrees. This is usually done with extremely linear veining like Bamboo Green, for example, but this is something that should be discussed with the fabricator and agreed upon by the client.
      • The seam on the finished edge of the stone should NOT dip in and create a divot in the edge. When you run your fingers over the edge, you should not be able to feel the location of the seam at all.
      • The thickness of the slabs on either side of the seam should be equal (or feathered out so that there is no discernible difference)
      • The glue in the seam should be of a color that matches the stone as closely as possible. Glue joints that are too light or too dark will show up something terrible. The idea behind tinting the glue is to try to make the seam "disappear" or something relatively close to it

  • Checklist:
    • Check the seams for evenness and smoothness.
      • Make sure that the seams are neat and clean.
      • Make sure that the seams are not obvious.
      • Make sure the seams are butted tight
      • Make sure that there are no scratches, pits, or cracks

    • If sealing is necessary (not all granites need to be sealed):
      • Make sure that the granite has been sealed
      • If more than one application of sealer was applied, ask how long they waited between applications
      • Ask which sealer has been used on the granite.

    • Make sure the sink reveal is consistent all the away around
    • Check the gap of the granite at the wall junctions.
    • Check for inconsistent overhangs from the counter edges
    • Check for chips. These can be filled.
    • Make sure the top drawers open & close
    • Make sure that you can open & close your dishwasher
    • Make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter
    • Make sure that you have the appropriate clearances for your appliances
    • Check the edge all around, a good edge should have the following characteristics:
      • Shine: The edge polish should match the top polish in depth and clarity. The edge should not be milky, dull, or waxy.
      • The edge should not have "waves". Eyeball along the edge. A good edge should have a mirror like reflection and be fairly flat. Waves that you can see or feel are not a good thing.
      • The aris (very top of the edge) should be crisp and straight, even on a bullnose edge. Once again you can see this by eyeballing along the very top end of the edge profile. A wavy, dippy aris is poor craftsmanship.
      • A good edge will have a consistent profile. It will not be larger in some spots or smaller in others.
      • A good edge should also have NO tooling lines. These will be fine lighter/white lines running along the edge. This is a mark of a poor edge polish, of a CNC machine that is not set correctly, and a lack of hand finishing. This is common when a company has only mechanical fabrication (i.e., CNC machines or line polishers) and no skilled hand fabricators to finish the work properly.

    • Run your hands around the entire laminated edge of yor counters to make sure they are smooth
    • Check surrounding walls & cabinets for damage

Miscellaneous Information:

  • More than all the above and below, though, is to be present for both the templating as well as having the templates placed on your slabs at the fabricator's
    If you canot be there, then have a lengthy conversation about seam placement, ways to match the movement, and ways to color-match the counters that will be joined at the seam
  • Find a fabricator who is a member of the SFA
  • When they polish your stone for you don't let them wax it. It will look terrible in 2 months when the wax wears off.
  • Don't use the Magic Eraser on granite--especially AB
  • Any slab with more fill (resin) than stone is certainly a no-no!!
  • When you do check for scratches, have overhead lighting shining down so scratches are easier to see
  • Don't let them do cutouts in place (granite dust becomes a major issue)
  • Granite dust can be a problem...some have heard of SS appliances & hoods damaged by the dust, others have heard of drawer glides being ruined by the dust
  • If you have wood floors--especially if you're in the process of staining or finishing them--make sure that they don't spill or drip granite sealer on the wood floors. Apparently the sealer interferes with the stain or finish process.
  • Suggested Prep for Installation:
    • Remove any drawers and pullouts beneath any sections that will be cut or drilled onsite, e.g., sink cutouts and/or faucet, soap dispenser, air gap, instant hot etc. holes, cooktop cutouts.
    • Then just cover the glides themselves with a few layers of blue painter's tape (or some combo of plastic wrap and tape)
    • If you make sure to cover the top of the glides and attach some of the tape to the cab wall as well (to form sort of a seal)and cover the rest of the glides completely with tape, you should be fine.
    • Usually the fabricators will have someone holding a vacuum hose right at the spot where they are drilling or cutting, so very little granite dust should be landing on the glides. What little dust escapes the vacuum will be blocked by the layer(s) of tape.
    • When done w/installation, remove the tape and use a DustBuster (or similar) on all the cabinets and glides

  • Countertop Support:
    • If your granite is 2 cm thick, then there can be no more then 6" of of unsupported span with a 5/8" subtop
    • If your granite is 3 cm thick, then there can be no more then 10" of unsupported span - no subtop required
    • If you need support, the to determine your corbel dimensions:
    • Thickness of Stone - Dimension of Unsupported Span = Corbel Dimensino
    • i.e., an 18" total overhang in 2 cm would require a 12" corbe; the same overhang in 3 cm would require an 8" corbel

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clipped on: 03.02.2009 at 09:15 pm    last updated on: 03.02.2009 at 09:16 pm

Natural stone primer/ granite 101 by stonegirl

posted by: mary_in_nc on 11.04.2007 at 09:22 pm in Kitchens Forum

Found this through google search- apparently this was a previous thread in KF by Stonegirl. Felt it worth repeating.
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Hi folks -

This is a little article I wrote on another forum and in reply to a few questions regarding the selection of natural stone and stone fabricators.

In an industry that has no set standards, there are a lot of unscrupulous people trying to palm themselves off as fabricators. There are also a number of people with odd agendas trying to spread ill rumors about natural stone and propagate some very confusing and contradictory information. This is my small attempt at shedding a little light on the subject

On the selection of the actual stone slabs - When you go to the slab yard to choose slabs for your kitchen, there are a few things you need to take note of:

Surface finish: The finish - be it polished, honed, flamed antiqued or brushed should be even. There should be no spots that have obvious machine marks, scratches or other man made marks. You can judge by the crystal and vein pattern of the stone if the marks you see are man made or naturally occurring. It is true that not all minerals will finish evenly and if you look at an angle on a polished slab with a larger crystal pattern, you can clearly see this. Tropic Brown would be a good example here. The black spots will not polish near as shiny as the brown ones and this will be very obvious on an unresined slab, looking at an acute angle against the light. The black specks will show as duller marks. The slab will feel smooth and appear shiny if seen from above, though. This effect will not be as pronounced on a resined slab. Bottom line when judging the quality of a surface finish: Look for unnatural appearing marks. If there are any on the face of the slab, it is not desirable. They might well be on the extreme edges, but this is normal and a result of the slab manufacturing process.

Mesh backing: Some slabs have a mesh backing. This got done at the plant where the slabs were finished and is to add support to brittle materials or materials with excessive veining or fissures. A number of exotic stones will have this. This does not necessarily make the material one of inferior quality, though. Quite often these slabs will require special care in fabrication and transport, so be prepared for the fabricator to charge accordingly. If you are unsure about the slabs, ask your fabricator what his opinion of the material is.

On cracks and fissures: Yes - some slabs might have them. One could have quite the discussion on whether that line on the slab could be one or the other, so I'll try to explain it a little Fissures are naturally occurring features in stone. They will appear as little lines in the surface of the slabs (very visible in a material like Verde Peacock) and could even be of a different color than the majority of the stone (think of those crazed white lines sometimes appearing in Antique Brown). Sometimes they could be fused like in Antique Brown and other times they could be open, as is the case in the Verde Peacock example. They could often also go right through the body of the slab like in Crema Marfil, for instance. If you look at the light reflection across a fissure, you will never see a break - i.e. there will be no change in the plane on either side of a fissure. A crack on the other hand is a problem... If you look at the slab at an oblique angle in the light, you will note the reflection of the shine on the surface of the stone. A crack will appear as a definite line through the reflection and the reflection will have a different appearance on either side of the line - there will be a break in the plane. Reject slabs like this. One could still work around fissures. Cracks are a whole nother can of worms.

On resined slabs: The resin gets applied prior to the slabs being polished. Most of the resin then gets ground off in the polishing process. You should not be able to see just by looking at the surface of a slab whether it was resined or not. If you look at the rough sides of the slab, though, you will see some drippy shiny marks, almost like varnish drips. This should be the only indication that the slab is resined. There should never be a film or layer on the face of the stone. With extremely porous stones, the resining will alleviate, but not totally eliminate absorption issues and sealer could still be required. Lady's dream is an example. This material is always resined, but still absorbs liquids and requires sealer. Test the material you have selected for absorption issues regardless - it is always best to know what your stone is capable of and to be prepared for any issues that might arise. Some stones indeed does not require sealer - be they resined or not. Baltic Brown would be an example here. It will not absorb one iota of anything, but gets resined to eliminate a flaking issue.

Now for some pointers on recognizing good craftsmanship and quality fabricators:

Most stone installations will have seams. They are unavoidable in medium or large sized kitchens. One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum. It seems that a good book could be written about seams, their quality and their placement and still you will have some information that will be omitted! For something as seemingly simple as joining two pieces of stone, seams have evolved into their own universe of complexity far beyond what anybody should have fair cause to expect!

A generic good quality seam should have the following characteristics:

- It should be flat. According to the MIA a minimal amount of lippage is acceptable (1/32"), but conscientious fabricators all strive for a perfectly flat and smooth joint.

- It should be narrow - as in smaller than 1/16". (I think the MIA stipulates no larger than 1/8", but that is pushing it - and only if the fabricator bevels the edges of the seam, almost similar to the edge of a stone tile. This is, thank goodness, not a standard practice any more!)

- The color on either side of the seam should match as close as possible. On regularly patterned stones like Ubatuba for example - there should be no variation. On stones with variation in colors or veins, the match should be made as close as was humanly possible.

- Vein direction should flow. The MIA suggests a single direction of vein flow, but it is acceptable IF DISCUSSED WITH THE CLIENT to change vein direction on a seam if no other option is available. This would happen in book matched slabs - you will have a "butterfly" seam in this case. In other cases the fabricator could put a miter seam in a corner and change vein direction 90 degrees. This is usually done with extremely linear veining like Bamboo Green, for example, but this is something that should be discussed with the fabricator and agreed upon by the client.

- The seam on the finished edge of the stone should NOT dip in and create a divot in the edge. When you run your fingers over the edge you should not be able to feel the location of the seam at all.

- The thickness of the slabs on either side of the seam should be equal (or feathered out so that there is no discernible difference)

- The glue in the seam should be of a color that matches the stone as close as possible. Glue joints that are too light or too dark will show up something terrible. The idea behind tinting the glue is to try an make the seam "disappear" or something relatively close to it

Seam placement: Yet another kettle of fish (or can of worms, depending on how you look at it, I guess!) Seam placement is ultimately at the discretion of the fabricator. I know it is not a really popular point of view, but that is just the way it is. There really is more to deciding where the seam would go than just the size of the slab or where the seam would look best in the kitchen.

Among the things the fabricator needs to look at when deciding on the seam placement are:

- The slab: size, color, veining, structure (fissures, strength of the material an other characteristics of the stone)

- Transport to the job site: Will the fabricated pieces fit on whatever vehicle and A-frames he has available

- Access to the job site: Is the house on stilts? (common in coastal areas) How will the installers get the pieces to where they need to go? Will the tops fit in the service elevator if the apartment is on the 10th floor? Do the installers need to turn tight corners to get to the kitchen? There could be 101 factors that will impact seam placement here alone.

- Placement and size of undermount (or other) cut-outs. Some fabricators like to put seams in undermount sinks, some don't. We, for instance will do it if absolutely necessary, and have done so with great success, but will not do so as general practice. We do like to put seams in the middle of drop-in appliances and cut-outs and this is a great choice for appearances and ease of installation.

- Location of the cabinets: Do the pieces need to go in between tall cabinets with finished sides? Do the pieces need to slide in under appliance garages or other cabinetry? How far do the upper cabinets hang over? Is there enough clearance between the vent hood and other cabinets? Again the possibilities are endless and would depend on each individual kitchen lay-out and - ultimately -

- Installability of the fabricated pieces: Will that odd angle hold up to being moved and turned around to get on the peninsula if there is no seam in it? Will the extra large sink cut-out stay intact if we hold the piece flat and at a 45 degree angle to slide it in between those two tall towers? Again a 1001 combinations of cabinetry and material choices will come into play on this question.

You can ask your fabricator to put a seam at a certain location and most likely he will oblige, but if he disagrees with you, it is not (always) out of spite or laziness. Check on your fabricator's seams by going to actual kitchens he has installed. Do not trust what you see in a showroom as sole testament to your fabricator's ability to do seams.

With modern glues and seaming methods a seam could successfully be put anywhere in an installation without compromising the strength or integrity of the stone. If a seam was done well, there would be - in theory - no "wrong" location for it. A reputable fabricator will also try to keep the number of seams in any installation to a minimum. It is not acceptable, for instance to have a seam in each corner, or at each point where the counter changes direction, like on an angled peninsula.

Long or unusually large pieces are often done if they can fit in the constraints of a slab. Slabs as a rule of thumb will average at about 110"x65". There are bigger slabs, and quite often smaller ones too. Check with the fabricator or the slab yard. They will be more than happy to tell you the different sizes of slabs they have available. Note, though, that the larger the slabs, the smaller the selection of possible colors. Slab sizes would depend in part on the capabilities of the quarry, integrity of the material or the capabilities of the machinery at the finishing plant. We have had slabs as wide as 75" and as long as 130" before, but those are monsters and not always readily available.

Rodding is another issue where a tremendous amount of mis-information and scary stories exist: The main purpose for rodding stone would be to add integrity to the material around cut-outs. This is primarily for transport and installation and serves no real purpose once the stone is secured and fully supported on the cabinets. It would also depend on the material. A fabricator would be more likely to rod Ubatuba than he would Black Galaxy, for instance. The flaky and delicate materials prone to fissures would be prime candidates for rodding. Rodding is basically when a fabricator cuts slots in the back of the stone and embeds steel or fiberglass rods with epoxy in the slots in the stone. You will not see this from the top or front of the installation. This is an "insurance policy" created by the fabricator to make sure that the stone tops make it to your cabinets all in one piece.

Edges: The more rounded an edge is, the more stable it would be. Sharp, flat edges are prone to chipping under the right (or rather wrong) circumstances. Demi or full bullnose edges would almost entirely eliminate this issue. A properly milled and polished edge will be stable and durable regardless of the profile, though. My guess at why ogee and stacked edges are not more prevalent, would be purely because of cost considerations. Edge pricing is determined by the amount of work needed to create it. The more intricate edge profiles also require an exponentially larger skill set and more time to perfect. The ogee edge is a very elegant edge and can be used to great effect, but could easily look overdone if it is used everywhere. We often advise our clients to combine edges for greater impact - i.e. eased edge on all work surfaces, and ogee on the island to emphasize the cabinetry or unusual shape.

Like I said earlier - edge profiles are largely dependent on what you like and can afford. There is no real pro or con for regular or laminated edges. They all have their place in the design world Check with your fabricator what their capabilities and pricing are. Look at actual kitchens and ask for references.

A good edge should have the following characteristics:

- Shine: The edge polish should match the top polish in depth and clarity. The edge should not be milky, dull or waxy.

- The edge should not have "waves". Eyeball along the edge. A good edge should have a mirror like reflection and be fairly flat. Waves that you can see or feel are not a good thing.

- The aris (very top of the edge) should be crisp and straight, even on a bullnose edge. Once again you can see this by eyeballing along the very top end of the edge profile. A wavy, dippy aris is poor craftsmanship.

- A good edge will have a consistent profile. It will not be larger in some spots or smaller in others.

- A good edge should also have NO tooling lines. These will be fine lighter/white lines running along the edge. This is a mark of a poor edge polish, of a CNC machine that is not set correctly and a lack of hand finishing. This is common when a company has only mechanised fabrication (i.e. CNC macines or line polishers) and no skilled hand fabricators to finish the work properly.

We have seen some terrible edges in jobs done by our competitors.

Do your research and look at actual kitchens. Talk to clients and ask them about the fabricator. Most good fabricators will not hesitate to supply the names and numbers of clients willing to provide referrals. Do your homework.

Regards,
Adriana

NOTES:

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clipped on: 03.02.2009 at 09:18 pm    last updated on: 03.02.2009 at 09:18 pm

Propagation Chamber

posted by: jbest123 on 08.14.2007 at 03:50 pm in Plant Propagation Forum

Let me start by saying that, I used the propagation box from Freeplants.com with great success. The box filled with wet coarse sand and an aquarium weighed 60 to 70 lb, which was a little to heavy for me to be moving around (I'm almost 70 yrs old). I made 6 boxed and they are still in good use by my Daughter and Son in law. I liked the idea of little_dani's Easy Propagation Chamber but thought it would be a little to small for my use.
I found 2 food storage containers at Walmart one a 20 quart and one a 12 quart with the same dimensions around the perimeter. I drilled six 5/8 in holes for drainage in the 12 quart container, and lade a piece of hardware cloth on the bottom to keep the potting soil from washing out. (photo 1) There is a little gap at both ends of the containers, allowing for ventilation, no need for further holes. ( photo 2) . For the potting soil I use 50/50 peat moss and vermiculite. What I like about the near transparent container for the bottom is you can see root development and water needs. Photo 3 shows root development and beads of condensation which indicates adequate air space and water. Each container will hold 120 to130 cuttings and all seem to be doing well and pass the tug test. (photo 4) When I stick the cuttings, I will leave them outside in the shade for 1 week and then move them to the greenhouse. Six chambers fit on an 8 ft shelf very nicely. (photo 5). I also use a 24 in bungie cord to keep the two containers aligned.

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clipped on: 05.06.2009 at 09:22 pm    last updated on: 05.06.2009 at 09:23 pm

Best advice from this forum

posted by: justadncr on 07.14.2007 at 08:29 pm in Kitchens Forum

I was just thinking about what all I have learned from this forum and was trying to think of what was the most valuable advice.

I really think it was the advice to actually lay the kitchen out on the ground outside with all the measurements and walk around it to see if it felt right.
For me it was much better than plans on paper. I took my measurements and scraps of wood and laid them out in the various plans I had come up with.

My husband thought I was crazy standing out there pretending I was cooking and getting stuff out of the frig and such.

Of course I learned many, many more things but this helped the most.
What about you all?

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clipped on: 03.02.2009 at 09:19 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2009 at 08:15 am

RE: pathway finally done (Follow-Up #48)

posted by: DAVISSUE_zone9 on 09.20.2005 at 02:12 pm in Garden Accoutrements Forum

Here's some new pics, taken after the plants I'd cut back out of the way regrew. Sorry they're so washed out, the sun was brighter than I realized at the time.

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clipped on: 05.07.2009 at 08:48 am    last updated on: 05.07.2009 at 08:48 am

pathway finally done

posted by: DAVISSUE_zone9 on 03.23.2005 at 12:56 am in Garden Accoutrements Forum

Last year I posted pictures of the leaves I'd made in anticipation of making a pathway. I promised then I'd post a picture of the finished path. Finally last month I got those leaves in the ground. Here's how it turned out. The leaves were made using the formula provided in the faq section- white portland cement, white sand, buff liquid coloring. I used several species of leaves to make the steppingstones.

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clipped on: 05.07.2009 at 08:47 am    last updated on: 05.07.2009 at 08:47 am