Author Archives: priscilla

  1. Wine Advice: So, You’re Having a Party

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    So, you’re having a party From weddings to baby showers, long weekend celebrations, anniversaries, impromptu gatherings and elegant affairs, there is a wine cocktail for every occasion.

    Wine cocktails may be made with a variety of wines: red, white, rosé, sparkling, sweet or dry. When selecting which wine to use consider the aromas and flavors in the wine, because if, for example, you choose a white wine with notes of tropical fruit you can complement the wine-infused blend with the addition of mango, melon and pineapple. Sauvignon Blanc’s profile is intensified by the addition of citrus and tropical fruit, where Riesling is enhanced bygreen apple, peach, pear and nectarine. Red wine-infused drinks made with Pinot Noir improve with the addition of raspberries, strawberries and cherries, flavors that mimic those in the wine.

    Undoubtedly the most popular wine-infused cocktail is Sangria which may be made with white, rosé or red wine, although traditional Sangria recipes call for a dry red table wine from Spain or Portugal. If you prefer ripe and fruity red Sangria select one of the many off-dry “New World” red blends such as Apothic Red, Diabolica, Gnarly Head Authentic Red or Fetzer Crimson.

    Although it is not necessary, if you prepare Sangria or wine-infused punch a day ahead it is well worth the effort, as this allows the flavors to meld together. Also, it is best to keep all ingredients refrigerated as cool temperatures enhance and enliven the drink. Serve drinks in cooled frosty stemware and add a special touch with garnish. A slice of orange, lime or lemon, mint leaf, flower or sprig of rosemary make the drink more appealing.

    There are many ways to alter a recipe to suit your taste and budget by adjusting or substituting ingredients. Sweetness may be adjusted by the addition or omission of sugar but also by substituting a beverage such as club soda (dry) for ginger ale (sweet) or dry wine with off-dry (slightly sweet) wine. For cocktails calling for Champagne, you may substitute less expensive dry sparkling wines made using the same wine-making method. Try Cava from Spain, wines labeled “Crémant” from France or any sparkling wine labeled as having been “made by the traditional or ancestral method”.

    The following recipes were selected not only because they are refreshing and beautiful, but also quick and easy to prepare.

    The classic recipe, invented in Harry’s bar in Venice, calls for white peaches but either yellow or white may be used.

    • 2 ripe peaches, peeled, halved and pit removed (or canned peaches in natural juice)
    • chilled Champagne

    Puree peaches until smooth. Fill Champagne flutes 1/3 full with peach puree, top with Champagne. Garnish with a peach slice.

    White Sangria
    1 26 ounce(750 ml) bottle of white wine – Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer unoaked Chardonnay, Vinho Verde

    • 2/3 cups white sugar
    • 3 oranges – thinly sliced
    •  1 lemon – thinly sliced
    • 1 lime – thinly sliced
    • 2 ounces brandy (optional)
    • 1/2 litre ginger-ale

    Combine all ingredients other than the ginger-ale. Chill. Add the cooled pop just prior to serving.

    Pink Sangria

    • 2 – 10 ounce packages of frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
    • 1 – 12 ounce frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
    • 2 bottles of rosé – White Zinfandel for a sweeter blend or Provincial Rosé for a drier blend
    • 2 cups pineapple juice
    • 1 litre ginger-ale

    Mix the first 4 ingredients together. Cool. Add ginger-ale just prior to service.

    There have been adaptations to this recipe over the years but here is the tried and true (and easy) original.

    • Orange juice
    • Champagne

    Fill one-half of a Champagne flute with sparkling wine and top off with orange juice.

    Traditional Sangria

    • 1/2 cup brandy
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/3 cup frozen lemonade
    • 1/3 cup orange juice
    • 1 bottle dry red table wine from Spain or Portugal
    • 1/2 cup orange-flavored liqueur – triple sec or Grand Marnier (optional)
    • 1 lemon – thinly sliced
    • 1 lime – thinly sliced
    • 1 orange – thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
    • 2 cups of carbonated water (optional – use only if “fizz” is desired)

    Combine all ingredients other than carbonated water and refrigerate overnight. If you want a fizzy beverage add cooled carbonated water just prior to serving.

  2. Back to School Safety

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    Many children will be walking and biking to school. Young children may not be aware how to handle traffic in a safe manner. You can help them by stressing they walk on sidewalks, where available, and cross at intersections. When riding a bike they must, by law, wear a helmet. The law, passed by the Manitoba legislature last year, requires people under 18 to wear helmets while riding a bicycle or risk a $50 fine.

    All children should walk their bike across streets. When crossing at an intersection without signals they should stop before stepping into the road and look both ways before proceeding. Cross when the road is clear and walk, don’t run. If it is a controlled intersection push the “walk” button and wait for the “walk” sign to light up or the traffic light to turn green. If there is a crossing guard, then only cross when they indicate it is safe. Watch for turning vehicles and remember to Stop, Look and Listen.

    Back to school means more children walking and biking on our streets so drivers must take special care and be alert especially in winter when it may be dark and there could be slippery conditions for both driver and pedestrians. Be aware of school zones and reduce speed to 30 km/hour even in jurisdictions where it is not yet the law. Be ready to stop at all times and be patient. Obey the crossing guard’s directions.

    If your child is one of the many Manitoba children who must ride a school bus there are different safety challenges. Arrive five minutes early for the bus. Stand back from the road side away from traffic and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before boarding. Use the handrail when getting on the bus. When on the bus never run, push, shout or throw things. Sit facing the front of the bus with your backpack by your feet. Eating and drinking are not allowed on school buses at any time. This protects students or drivers that have food allergies and helps maintain bus cleanliness.

    When the bus stops remain in the seat until the bus comes to a complete stop. When you leave the bus, hold the handrail and take two large steps away from the bus. To cross the street in front of the bus, walk ahead at least ten giant steps (three metres). Cross only when the driver gives a signal. Proceed across the street, looking both ways for on-coming traffic. Cross the street in single file.

    If everyone is getting off the bus, the people at the front leave first. Do not push.

    If you drop something near the bus, do not pick it up. Tell an adult.

    The 10 giant steps (or 3 metres) rule is a good measurement for children to identify the danger zone around the school bus, particularly when crossing in front of the bus. Children should never enter the danger zone unless the bus driver has given them permission. If a child can touch the bus, he or she is too close.

    Remember – if you cannot see the bus driver, the bus driver cannot see you.

    Have a safe school year.

    Bill White has been associated with work place safety committees for 25 years in the government and the private sectors

  3. My Idiah: A Garden with Personality!

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    Every year, many of us pull out our pots and get ready for planting season. Have you ever thought about using items from around your home to display your beautiful blossoming buds? Here are some ideas to help get your creativity flowing in your garden!

    A tipsy garden pot display (top right) is an interesting way to display different varieties of your blooms or even herbs. To make this, you will need several different sizes of clay pots with the hole in the bottom, and a piece of rebar. Place your largest pot on the ground where you want to display it and drive the rebar in the ground about a foot, through the hole in the center of the pot. Fill with soil and then place your next pot through the hole, but tilt the pot to the side, so the rebar is against the side of the pot at the top; continuing doing this all the way up your rebar. After placing a few pots, you can keep with the same size, and don’t necessarily need to go smaller. Feel free to search online for instructions and videos.

    Using an old bird cage to grow herbs or plants that vine out, will definitely be a show stopper hanging from a tree or post in your garden. Cover the bottom with landscape fabric before arranging your soil and plants. Make sure you water frequently as the soil with dry up faster in this container.

    I love re-using objects around the home or garage that I no longer use. For this planter I used a kettle I no longer needed. You may also like to use an old tool box, picnic basket, crate, pot or vase.

    Add some whimsy to your garden with little bird baths made out of tea cups! For this project, you will need a diamond drill bit to make a hole in the cup and saucer, and then fasten to a rod or dowel with a screw.

    Fairy gardens are also a fun little addition to your garden. You can either create one right in your garden or use a container so you can enjoy it inside as well. We created ours out of a chip and dip serving platter. We used the smaller dip bowl as our pond, filled it with rocks and placed a bridge over it. Fill your container with plants and soil and then start playing! We included some figurines, rocks and shells. Don’t forget sand, pine cones, and any other small objects you desire. Figurines and accessories can be picked up at your local gardening centre.

    How about re-using a pair of shoes in the garden! I’m not necessarily referring to your old pair of running shoes, but how about an old pair of skates, work boots or rubber boots. We used a wooden pair of decorative shoes as a feature in this garden.

    I hope this has given you some inspiration to give your garden a little personality this year! Happy Gardening!

  4. Featured Home: 1000 block of 13th Street

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    If you had driven by the 1000 block of 13th Street prior to 2009, you might have noticed a grouping of small, single family homes nestled in amongst tall, mature trees lining the east side. An older area, populated by a large mix of houses built prior to 1960, it has seen its fair share of change and development over the last several decades. A handful of businesses currently populate the north end of 13th Street, but over the course of the last 4 years, a new type of neighborhood Renaissance has started taking place.

    The high demand for affordable housing in the city, combined with a prime real estate area in need of somewhat of a makeover, created the perfect opportunity for Geoff Gregoire  – part owner of Contractor’s Corner here in Brandon. With condo living on the rise right across Canada, Geoff recognized a void in the market place, and knew he and his company could begin to help fill it. “When we purchased the properties in 2009, there were older single family houses located on the properties. We knocked them over and built the condo units from scratch, which allowed us to sell off the 3 units separately and create some much needed affordable housing”, Gregoire says. With many of the condos being built around the city currently listed at starting prices of over $200,000, many of the demographic looking to buy into the condominium lifestyle is being bumped right out of the market. And often times one might find something in a more affordable price range, but discover the interior fittings and finishes aren’t up to snuff. “Our goal was to provide higher end affordable housing without cheaping out on the finishings and design”.

    When you first spot the developments, you notice immediately that, although the buildings are newer in comparison to their old appearing neighbors, they seem to blend into the area quite effortlessly. Gregoire wanted the building to have a great curb appeal by adding great stone work from Quality Stone, installer friendly panels. Not too tall or ominous, their quaint and simple charm helps soften their introduction into an area occupied by many older structures. Gregoire points out that although these were their first foray into condo development, it seems they’ve been able to truly satisfy all of the individuals that bought into their units. “It was a bit of a learning curve, but the owners were very good to work with and are very happy with their homes.”

    Wendy, a vibrant and self-professed “very happy” homeowner, was gracious enough to invite me over one afternoon for an in-depth tour of her place (along with some fantastic iced tea), and a very candid discussion of her experience transitioning from once owning a single family home, to now owning a condo. Recently widowed, Wendy explains her decision to sell and seek a lower maintenance lifestyle: “after my husband passed away, I stayed in our house, thinking I wouldn’t have too much trouble on my own. I had help from my son and other family members, and for a while it was manageable. But as time went on, it began to just be too much to keep up with alone. I didn’t want the hassle”.  After researching and visiting a few other condos on the market, Wendy settled on Contractors Corner’s units mostly in part due to their price and location: central but relatively quiet with private parking in behind. “I went through some of the other condos available in the city at the time, and I can’t say I was all that impressed with what I saw, for the prices they were asking. Although this place wasn’t totally finished when I purchased, it already had that feeling of “home” – I had no trouble envisioning myself being quite happy here”.

    With almost all of the interior finishes and materials pre-selected by Contractor’s Corner months before they were put on the market (except for the dazzling tile backsplash in the kitchen – that was something Wendy was able to have a say on), most of the headache that can come from building new had been eliminated, making the move an easy decision for Wendy. Gregoire was able to get most of the finishings from Rona in Brandon. Geared towards a slightly more modern and earthy crowd, the condo is fitted with a variety of darker cabinetry, and rich looking flooring. “A lot of the colours and finishes they used, oddly enough, are my colours”, Wendy explains, referring to the design palette she had cultivated in her previous home. “I’m drawn to earthy browns, taupes, and golds… most everything you see here is what I brought with me from the house, and it works”.

    What also ‘works’ is Wendy’s eye for pulling together décor and accessories. Clearly someone with a penchant for decorating, the condo has a cozy and inviting atmosphere, right from the very moment you enter the front door. It takes a bit of a keen eye to be able to mix and match accessories and furnishings with a successful end result, something Wendy says some of her friends call upon now and then in their own homes. “They’ll stop in and ask ‘where did you get this, or where did you find that’, and I usually have all of my luck shopping locally, in locations like Kullberg’s.”

    The open-concept layout of the living room, kitchen, and dining room is a common design element amongst newer condos, and something Wendy says has been such a great feature, especially when her family comes to visit. “When we get together, there are a lot of us! We are able to pull stools and chairs out into the living and dining area, and everyone still feels connected. In the old house, I couldn’t make use of the space like this.” And with the multitude of family photos and collages lining the walls in the hallway, it’s obvious just how important family really is to Wendy. Her grandmother’s old treadle sewing machine sits quietly in the spare bedroom – used cleverly as a make-shift bedside table – as do several other family pieces.

    One might think that buying a new home means buying all new furniture to go with it – but that wasn’t the case with Wendy. “Some of my most cherished possessions are pieces my husband bought for me”, she says, pointing out a few unexpected wedding and anniversary gifts she’s found proper homes for, even as she’s downsized. A curio cabinet at the front entry, an eclectic travel trunk at the foot of the spare bed… even a glamorous upholstered bench in the Master bedroom are all pieces from her past she was able to incorporate. “I consider my style to be a mixture of styles”, she muses, “global, very eclectic, and maybe even a little Old World… I like traditional looking things with some history to them”.

    So the shift from single family living to condo life, although a little tough at times due to the circumstances, has been relatively effortless for Wendy. And she is more than appreciative of and satisfied with everyone from Contractor’s Corner that worked on the condo. “I can’t say enough good things about them”, she comments. “They paid attention to detail, and if anything came to light after the fact, they were right here to solve it”.

    What was once a natural progression for retirees and the elderly has swiftly turned into an enjoyable option for many different people in all stages of life – young and old. “Condo living, for the most part, is maintenance free – that could be one reason people are buying into the condo market.  Our condos are built on slab, so the “no stairs” benefit is also a nice perk for some” Gregoire speculates.

    And with plans to build 6 other developments, Contractor’s Corner won’t be slowing down any time soon. “We are just starting to build 3 more condo units on Princess Avenue East, with the same floor plans and footprint as the condos on 13th Street”. And he also hints at one of the quality finishes he plans on incorporating in the new units: “In-floor heat will be an added benefit not typically found in your average condo, while still maintaining an affordable asking price”.

  5. Water Safety

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    Being at the beach or at a pool can be the best of times in the summer.

    Unfortunately drowning and injuries are a common occurrence with young and old alike. Most can be prevented by following simple safety rules. Whether you are at a beach or a pool there are usually rules posted. Following these rules can help ensure a safe, fun time. They are there to protect you and help keep the pool clean and sanitary.

    Never run when in a pool area. The area is nearly always slippery do to splashing and water dripping when people exit the pool. Take special care when entering or exiting a pool. If there is a handrail, be sure to use it.

    Whether a pool, lake or swimming hole check the area before diving or jumping in. First time in, check the area by walking in and checking for rocks, submerged logs, toys or shallow areas. Diving in can cause severe injuries if you hit an obstruction you were not aware of.

    Stay within your limits and abilities. Do not swim out until you start to tire. Remember you have to be able to cover the same distance coming back. At beaches always stay within roped off areas and marker buoys and swim parallel to shore if possible. Use the buddy system even if there is a lifeguard present. Watch out for each other.

    Beware of hazards in pools and hot tubs such as suction lines and drains. Water is filtered thus it is suctioned out of the pools and tubs. Never put your head under water in whirlpools or hot tubs as hair can be caught in the lines cap or tie your hair up or braid it to prevent accidents. Small children’s arms and legs can also be caught in a drain that has a poor cover over it. If a cover is missing do not use the tub or pool until a proper cover is in place.

    Play safely when in pools or at the beach. Wrestling or tumbling around could lead to your head hitting cement sides, bottoms, pool decks or rocks in a lake. Drowning can occur very quickly.

    Alcohol and water don’t mix. Alcohol slows your reflexes and affects your stability easily leading to slips or falls. It can make you drowsy, especially in a hot tub, and that can be dangerous.

    Protect your children. Never leave them alone near any water for even a moment. Small children and infants should always be within arms reach. Smaller children should wear government approved life jackets and older kids should be taught the “buddy” system. Teach them to check for hidden dangers at a beach such as sudden drop offs and hidden logs or rocks.

    Take a first aid course to prepare you should an emergency arise. Make sure your children are wearing waterproof sunscreen even on days when it is not too hot or is partially cloudy. Take breaks in the shade.

    Look after your pool and keep it safe for people of all ages.

    Fence off the pool area according to local bylaws for fence height. Ensure there is a lockable gate that small children cannot open and ensure it is locked when the pool is not in use or being supervised by a responsible adult.

    Keep the pool clean to help prevent bacteria and germs. Use recommended sanitizing chemicals and follow the directions on the chemical containers.

    Follow the operation and maintenance instructions for your pool or hot tub especially about the circulation systems.

    Do not allow food or drink in the pool or hot tub. Spills will mean extra cleaning.

    Do not allow glass dishes or drink containers in the pool area. A broken container can lead to a serious injury and if broken glass enters the water the pool or hot tub will have to be drained to allow a thorough cleaning.

    Enjoy the summer and play safe.

  6. Wine Pick

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    heartland-wineHeartland Shiraz,  Langhorne Creek, Australia, 2010

    A beautifully balanced finely structured Shiraz with notes of spice and black pepper accompanied by eucalyptus, mint, ripe red and black fruit. Good fruit concentration, fine soft tannins and a smooth lingering finish. Serve at 16-18 degrees C.

    Kate Wagner Zeke
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  7. Security and Your Garage Door Opener Remote

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    You’d be right to be concerned about security with your wireless garage door opener and remote. An intruder can gain access to your garage contents, or even your home if you don’t follow some simple security steps.

    Different radio frequencies are used for communication between the remote and the opener. Tiny switches known as dip switches are used to adjust the frequency used between the two. It is a wise idea to reconfigure the dip switch settings to make sure your garage is more secure.

    A dip switch is a small block of plastic about the size of a dice cut in half. They are usually coloured blue, red, or black with 8 to 10 tiny white switch levers positioned up or down. Only when the up / down switch patterns match on both devices will your garage door opener remote control be able to communicate with the opener unit. By adjusting the switch pattern, you are changing the radio frequency used to communicate between the two.

    You should be able to easily locate the dip switch on the opener and on the remote control clicker. But to get access to the dip switch on the remote you might need to open it up if the dip switch isn’t found in the battery compartment. Remove the screws holding the remote together, or carefully pry it apart if there are no screws. Once you have access to the dip switch on the remote, scramble the switch positions, and then match the positions on the openers dip switch block. It does not matter what the pattern looks like, so long as it’s a random pattern that would be difficult for someone to guess.

    If you have trouble getting the remote to work after doing this, verify that the dip switch patterns are the same on both units. Then check the remote battery is in good condition, and as usual, make sure the opener has power, and operates normally using the control panel inside your garage. You might have to read the manual if all else fails.

    If you are thinking of getting a new garage door opener or have already gotten one, then you will want to change settings, just to make sure everyone is honest. Don’t forget, your installer or anyone working with him knows your frequency switch settings unless you change them. So go ahead and mix up the switch pattern settings and test that it works.

    If you have a newer garage door that does not use a dip switch, you should still reset your remote. This can be done by The “Learn” button (see right) on your garage door opener, which is located above the antenna wire that hangs from the motor head, it may also be under a light cover. The “Learn” button will be green, red/orange, purple or yellow.

    The “Learn” button has two functions. One is to program accessories to the opener, the other is the clear the memory of the opener. Clearing the memory on a unit will erase all of the accessories that are programmed to the opener.

    Even if you are a do-it-yourself type, you’ll want to make the same changes. Don’t just stay with the factory default settings. If you did, then anyone could just drive down your street with a compatible remote until he finds a door that opens and gives access to a home. Make sure that’s not you.

    This advice also applies to anyone buying or renting a new home too. Just like you might change the lock to guarantee there are no spare keys floating around that could compromise your home security. You have no way of knowing how many previous residence there might have been. And you wouldn’t want someone to just walk right into your garage or home. -DYH

  8. My Idiah: Repurposing Toilet Paper Rolls!

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    Toilet paper rolls have a great use, but why not use them to make something useful after you are done with them!

    The #1 way in which people re-use their empty TP rolls is using them in a Craft but we have come up with a handful of other ways you may find them useful.

    Tp rolls with an old box or basket can help organize your work station.  Line the bottom of your box or basket with your tp rolls and use each section for organizing your desk or craft area.  We filled ours with markers, crayons, pencil crayons, scissors, glue sticks and ink blotters!

    Long cords getting in your way?  Fold up the cord and tuck neatly into a roll!  You can do this for either small indoor extension cords or cords hanging from small appliances or electronics around the house.
    Here is a fun little decoration you can make for Christmas to hang on the tree or off a present.  Push your roll flat and cut it into 6 equal pieces.  Next, glue all the pieces together one at a time at one end and finish with some fake berries in the middle.  Tie a piece of ribbon or twine to the end to put it in place.

    Have you ever used a TP roll to wrap a small gift?  Here are 3 nifty little ways to decorate up a roll into a pretty little present.  Use the roll to make a party popper.  Simply wrap the roll in wrapping paper and finish with cellophane and ribbons on the ends.  Another way is to fold the top and bottom part of the end into itself to create a closure.  Do the same thing to the other side.  Then decorate up your gift with paper and tie with a ribbon.  The last one, you will need a sewing machine.  Lay the tp roll flat and sew one end.  Make sure you put your gift in the roll at this point, as you are now about to sew close the opposite end!  Either keep it flat and sew the other end the same way, or do what we did and sew it the opposite way to create a different effect!  We put a hold punch through the roll on one end to attach the ribbon or a name card.

    After you are done using your wrapping paper on other gifts, cut a TP roll and place around your roll to hold your paper in place!  We found this worked best on larger rolls of wrapping paper.

    Our last use of toilet paper rolls is an advent calendar for the kids in your home.  We cut each roll in half and then glued tissue paper to the top of each roll.  After that, number them 1-25 and arranged them in no particular order in rows of 5.  Get out your glue gun and now attach them all together.  Stand up your rolls, as they are all attached together now, and fill with treats, candies, little toys, erasers or small crafting supplies, anything your child would love.  Now place a piece of cardboard behind the open end of the rolls so nothing falls out and glue it to the cardboard using a hot glue gun.  Make sure it is secure and now you have your advent calendar.  Your child will love breaking through the tissue to find their prize each day leading up to Christmas!

    If you have any fun ways to use your tp rolls, please share them with us on our facebook page!

  9. Featured Business: Contractors Corner

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    Here’s a great Westman success story. They started out as a twoman small renovation outfit. They grew and grew. They are now a network of five companies offering a full range of building services. They still do renovation work. But as well, they now do new construction, restoration, retail sales, and more. The success story is Contractor’s Corner. The business has just opened a new showroom, office, and production facility at 408 Park Avenue East. (It’s just off Richmond Avenue.) Head down there: you can see their products, learn about their services, and get ideas from their friendly staff.

    The company owners are brothers Geoff and Tim Gregoire. In 2008, they established themselves as Contractor’s Corner. They set up at 4th Street and Van Horne Avenue. Back then, they billed themselves as “Westman’s Countertop Shop.”

    The Gregoires have been steadily expanding ever since. Geoff would like to remind everyone of what they are now. “People might think we are just renovations,” he says, “but we have expanded well beyond that.” Now, they are proud to call themselves a full-service “Design Centre.” The company’s goal is to be a one-stop location for the Westman area for building, renovation, and restoration needs; offering project management, material supply, and construction services.

    They have carefully developed and added to their capacity by establishing new enterprises that specialize in different aspects of the construction trade. In addition to Contractor’s Corner, their stable of companies now consists of:

    • Hard Scabble Stucco & Stone
    • RiverCrest Restoration
    • Con-Cor Homes
    • All Around Plumbing & Electrical

    They can meet all of your construction needs. Whether it is the renovation of a kitchen and bathroom, developing a new basement space, flooring, plumbing and electrical projects, or constructing a new home or condo development. As well, they can supply any of the materials: whether you are a do-it-yourself homeowner or if you are yourself the contractor. Any of their services can be obtained individually or as part of a larger package. The different companies all work out of the Park Avenue East location bring the whole team together.

    The complement of Contractor’s Corner companies gives them the ability to take on an ever-expanding range of work. A pressing need in Westman is for more affordable housing, either as new single-family homes or multi-family developments. That need is addressed by Con-Cor Homes. As another example, RiverCrest Restoration is able to tackle a variety of restoration tasks, such as dealing with the damage caused by fire, water, or mould. RiverCrest is also certified in removing asbestos.

    Another part of their business is commercial millwork. Contractor’s Corner can custom design and build the service counters, cabinets, and desks required by particular commercial, office, or retail settings. As an actual working example, you can see how they have designed and constructed their own showroom. That includes the reception desk, counters, and cabinets that store and display products and samples.

    The new Park Avenue East showroom and office space well illustrate the high quality of work and attention to detail of Contractor’s Corner. A result that shows class, attractiveness, and flair. The showroom has not only many samples, but also complete kitchens and bathrooms. And the offices themselves are more than just work spaces. They also show different options for interior design, like feature walls of different materials – even stucco.

    More than half of their new building is devoted to a production facility. There are separate places for the cutting of countertops, the manufacturing of commercial cabinetry, as well as the shipping and receiving of building materials.

    To do all the work required, the Gregoires employ about 50 people. When needed, they also work with some 20 sub-contractors. Because they do a broad range of work – including many renovation jobs that are indoors – they have never needed to lay off staff. Employees have the advantage of full-time work through the different seasons and being involved in a variety of projects. As well, some students are hired for the summer months. Geoff talks about his staff with the satisfaction of employing those who will fulfill the company’s goal of great workmanship: done safely, carefully, and efficiently.

    To get a sense of the products and services available from Contractor’s Corner, browse their website at There is a complete checklist of what could be required for any project, from design and drawings, to estimating and scheduling.

    With any job – even renovating one room – there is a vast array of options. These can include fixtures, flooring, kinds of finishes, and accessories like hardware and mouldings. There are colours and textures to consider. Homeowners know that they want to renovate. But Geoff says that often the homeowner can be stuck trying to visualize the final result. What will look the best? Make the best use of space? Be the most functional? And, because homeowners are often getting ready to sell: what will add the most value to the property? At this point, for many people, Geoff says, “It can be overwhelming.” The answer is to use the Contractor’s Corner design service. Two designers, Jenna McNabb, Design in Mind, and Lauren Hotel, B.A.I.D, can unite the wishes of the homeowner with all the options available. Their designers, Geoff says, “bring the whole job together.”

    Contractor’s Corner is also a Castle Building Centre, which means they have a complete range of building supplies available. Products – such as bathroom or kitchen fixtures, counters, cabinets, flooring, windows, doors, lumber, or any other building material – can be ordered through them. Their helpful and knowledgeable staff will assist you in finding whatever you need through the Castle online service. Products that are ordered are ready within three to five days for pickup or delivery to you. Geoff points out that because they don’t have the overhead expense of an inventory of stock on hand, they can offer better prices for products.

    One interesting product is a brand of panels that can be used inside or out. These realistic-looking panels are made from high-density polyurethane, so they are easily handled and installed. They can bring to life an exterior wall, an inside feature wall, or as part of a patio or other outdoor living area. Here is a way to have the beauty of stone, but without the expense and hard labour of real stone, cement, and mortar. Contractors Corner has panels that look like actual concrete, brick, or barn board, that can give you the look you want.

    So you can order everything home building related at Contractor’s Corner and yes, even the kitchen sink. Geoff emphasizes that their retail service is available to contractors as well as to the general public. Contractors can source any supplies they need for their jobs. As well, contractors find it very handy and a time saver all around to send their clients down to Contractor’s Corner. In the showroom, clients can sift through the wide range of options available, ask all the questions they might have, and then pick out what they want for their contractor to install. “We were once a small contractor,” Geoff says, “so we have built this business to accommodate other small contractors.”

    But even as they have expanded, the Gregoires have never lost sight of their beginnings as that small contractor. Even though their time is now mainly involved in managing and supervising, Geoff says that he and his brother Tim “are not suit and tie guys.” They still like to steal away to the shop every so often to do some cutting of countertops – even it means going in the evenings or on weekends.

    When Geoff talks about the company’s success, he identifies customer service and satisfaction as still being their core objective. Whether it was back then: like renovating a kitchen or bathroom. Or today: like building a new condo development. When he recalls where they were and where they are now, he has a large perspective. “We are small enough to give good customer service,” he says, “big enough that we can do everything.”

    The Gregoires have an obvious sense of fulfillment in building a successful business. Their original “countertop shop” on 4th Street was 4,500 sq. ft. Now, they have a showroom and a production and distribution facility totaling 18,000 sq. ft. They were first considering constructing a new building, then saw the potential in the vacant one on Park Avenue East. They largely gutted the structure and transformed it to become a multi-purpose facility. They see even more growth ahead. “We own the empty lot next door,” says Geoff. “Eventually, we’ll have to use it, that’s for sure.”

    The secret to their growth and success is a deep commitment to customer service, great workmanship, and a sense of integrity that they infuse into everything they do. It’s simple, really, Geoff says. “We build every job like it’s our own home.”

  10. Featured Business: Source for Sports, Dauphin, MB

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    “If you build it, they will come.” That’s what Kevin Costner’s corn field whispered to him in the movie “Field of Dreams,” but the same rang true for Parkland Source for Sports owner Dave Campbell.  With his retail business bursting at the seams in its old location, Campbell said he was on the hunt for an existing building in Dauphin that would meet his current and future needs.

    “My lease was up in my current space at the end of December and I was looking at the future of my store and wanted to own my own building.  It was getting pretty tight and cramped in our current space and it made it hard to display some things or have more products on the floor.  We really, really have outgrown the old space,” Campbell said, who has owned Parkland Source for Sports for the last eight years. “When my realtor, Ken Dyck, showed this building to me, my initial thought was that it was a real piece of junk.  I couldn’t see anything when he showed me”

    That piece of junk, a really big, three floor building, located at 6 First Ave. S.W. In Dauphin, was originally built in the 1930s and was a Western Grocer until the mid 1990s when an antique store moved in and was the last recent tenants.

    The building was in need of some serious TLC and sat empty for months.  Building a new Parkland Source for Sports wasn’t a realistic possibility for Campbell as the cost of just renovating an existing space just didn’t compare.

    Campbell said that nothing he saw after though caught his attention and he started to think the building could be the one for him.

    “I did a lot of sitting back and thinking and I slowly, slowly changed my mind,” Campbell said. “It was the next logical step in owning my business – to have my own building and pay a mortgage instead of paying a lease. Even totally renovating this building didn’t compare to the cost of building new. It was definitely more economical. There’s the fact too, that it’s a heritage building in Dauphin, one of the last few really good old buildings in town,” Campbell said.

    When Campbell did decide to go ahead with the building, it was a number of the heritage features the building possessed that sealed the deal.  What appealed to Campbell about the old run down building in Dauphin was the sheer size, it’s a total of 30,000 sq. feet.  as well, certain touches that made the building truly unique, like the flooring, which features solid wood, 2×6 planks going end to end in the building.  Campbell said it was the help of Ken Dyck who really made him see the potential, and Ken took over the details of the renovation as building manager for Campbell, as Campbell was still running Parkland Source for Sports at its old location. Campbell said Ken did most of the organizing for the renovations, lining up building inspectors, contractors, plumbers and others.  Campbell said while many things had to be cleaned or replaced and certain changes needed to be made to accommodate a large retail space, the developers did their best to keep the heritage feel of the building.

    Ken assembled a team of trade’s people to make this project come to life.  He contacted Darren from D.M. Eddie Engineering to design the blue prints and plans to make sure the building would meet all current codes.   Once all the designs and plans were in place the project could move forward with the plumbing and electrical.  The building had to have all the old wiring and plumbing removed and this would not be a small task.  Ken hired two local companies Steiner Plumbing and Heating and Korotash Electrical to complete this job.

    To bring this building to the modern technology, Baker Computers was the company to do this.  They wired in all the telephone, computer, fax, and cashier tills with the newest and most efficient programs.
    It was just as important to make the outside reflect the inside and Birss Landscaping was up for the challenge.  Just one of the great touches Birss Landscaping added was new stone work for the front entrance to make everyone feel welcome. Another great eye catching element is the 10 foot, luminated, NHL hockey players alongside the building a special touch Campbell wanted to give the building.

    Campbell wanted to keep the building’s charm, so instead of replacing the floor they stripped and refurbished the floor, which was dingy and worn from 70 years of wear and tear, to reveal beautiful, shining hardwood.  Another feature of the original building Campbell decided to keep was the stunning brick walls inside the building that are now a feature of the retail space.  Keeping some of the original components was key in the new design of Parkland Source for Sports and the floor and the brick walls stand out even more with the bright lighting in the store. “We even painted the ceiling a tin colour to give it that old world feeling.  It looks really good with the lighting,” Campbell said.

    Parkland Source for Sports moved in and opened to the public in it’s new building on August 22, 2013 using 12,500 sq. Feet of it for retail space spread over two floors.  The main floor features footwear and clothing, while the second floor showcases the wide variety of sports equipment available.

    “I see a lot of potential in the future with this building.  Right now it really allows us to spread out and showcase our products.  We’ve essentially tripled our retail space,” Campbell said. “I love it.  It looks way better than I could have anticipated, better than I could have dreamed.”

    Campbell said he’s received quite a warm reception from residents in Dauphin for renovating the old building.

    “It’s a good feeling. I have people who come up to me and say I’m doing a good thing renovating this old building, that they thought it would just stand vacant.  I’m proud of the fact that we could turn it into something new,” Campbell said.

    For more information, visit the brand-new location at 6 First St. S.W., call them at 204-638-7057 or visit Parkland Source for Sports at

  11. Outdoor Living is Here to Stay

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    Imagine sitting on your outdoor patio and enjoying the ambience of the moment… the soft blowing breeze caressing your arms, the beautiful scenery in front of you, the bright sun and the perfect companion, and with your favourite beverage or drink! Yes, you can enjoy your outdoor patio! In spring and summer and also to some extent in winter, you can enjoy the outdoor patio.

    All you need is a patio space and the right atmosphere. Sprucing up and maintaining your outdoor living space will help the resale value of your home in the long run.

    Before you begin, clear everything off of your deck or patio and give it a good pressure wash. If it needs staining, all the new furniture in the world won’t help – bite the bullet and give it a new coat of stain or paint. This is actually a great place to get started with colourful accents. Try painting your fence posts a bright, coordinating colour such as teal. Or paint a pattern or border around the edge of your deck.

    Create different rooms; we are use to having our homes divided into rooms, but rarely take this approach to our outdoor spaces. But dividing up your yard can actually help to maximize your enjoyment of it. Look at the available space and designate one area for play, one for dining and socializing, and another for relaxing. Then decorate accordingly!

    Decks are for socializing, so show that you are ready for company. The addition of metal furniture is inexpensive and comes in lots of great colours. Place a colourful bar cart in the corner and load it up with bright acrylic glassware.

    New furniture can make a wonderful difference in the presentation of your patio. Alternatively, you can simply buy new cushions or covers for your existing patio furniture. The right seating can also be very important. There are many kinds of seating: wooden chairs and benches, wicker chairs, glider chairs and vintage metal chairs, just to name a few.

    Yard ornaments: These can be as simple as a small bird house, a pole mounted outdoor lantern light, or even a wheelbarrow with flowers. Putting a little something extra in your yard defines you and your tastes, plus it gives your home a more unique personality that stands out from your neighbours.

    Set the mood with colour: Just as you would with an indoor room, you can use colour to decorate outdoors. In fact, applying colour theory when selecting plants and flower arrangements can influence the mood and personality of a space. For example, while earth tones are appropriate for a relaxation corner, bright colours like pink and red are ideal in areas used for play. If you’re building a patio or deck, select a base colour that matches your home, but allows for flexibility in design.

    Flowers, Plants, Vines & Bushes: A popular way to spruce up a yard quickly is to simply put out some pretty plants, bushes, vines and flowers. Annuals are great for adding dashes of colour quickly, because you can usually buy them this time of year in bloom. To get continuous colour and greenery, plant some perennials too. Then once the annuals are starting to die out, you’ll have something to replace them. You’ll also have the added joy of seeing the perennials sprout again for several years to come.

    Ask a professional. Your local lumberyard, retailer and contractor should each be familiar with the multitude of new deck and railing products. Seek their opinions on what materials and styles would work best for your outdoor haven. -DYH

  12. Painting 101

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    Brushing up on the best way to paint a room, it might give you less stress, less mess, and a smarter way to paint a room.

    Colour. The first step is paint colour selection. It’s a good idea to try a small sample on the wall or hang up a paint colour swatch to see how light affects the colour at different points in the day. Some paint manufacturers make it even easier for you. For example, Behr’s Preview Samples let you create your own custom-tint 8-oz. paint sample, enough to paint a 4′ x 6′ area of your home. You can order the inexpensive samples through the company’s Web site and they will be shipped directly to your home.

    Sheen. After deciding on colour, you may want to select a sheen. For example, a flat/matte sheen helps hide surface imperfections. Low-lustre flat enamel sheen is very washable and perfect for high-traffic areas, while eggshell enamel offers superior scrubbability. Satin enamel has a silky warm, pearl-like finish, while semigloss is sleek, radiant and scrubbable.

    Calculate. Determine the amount of paint you’ll need by measuring the height, depth and breadth of the room. Be sure to subtract the measurements of the doors and windows.

    Prepare the room. Remove or cover the furniture. Make sure it’s away from the walls so you have room to work. Remove switch plates and outlet covers, and tape hinges, doorknobs and other small items you don’t want painted. Cover your floors with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting. Items that should not be painted (such as securely attached window valances and ceiling fans) should be completely covered with plastic sheeting or masking paper. Repair any holes or dents in the walls. Remove any loose debris from the damaged area using 100-grit sandpaper or a lightly water-dampened rag. Using a putty knife, apply a thin layer of patching material to any cracked or dented area, feathering the patching material one to two inches away from the repaired area to blend the surface evenly. Allow to dry. Sand finished area with 220-grit sandpaper, blending the patched area evenly with the surface.

    Application. Once you get the paint home, stir it thoroughly. Use a high-quality, nylon/polyester brush.  Apply paint to the perimeter edges of the project area with a brush prior to rolling. Once the perimeter of the wall is done, pour the paint into a paint tray or a five-gallon bucket. Dip the roller cover completely into the paint, covering the entire roller cover area. Remove excess paint by rolling onto the ribbed section of the paint tray or bucket grid. Starting in an upper corner of the wall, place the loaded roller cover approximately three to four inches away from the painted perimeter. Working in a three-by-three-foot area, roll a “W” onto the wall. Roll back into the previously applied paint to maintain a uniform finish. Continue the “W” technique three to four inches away from the last section applied. Work from the top down, until the wall is completely covered.

    Cleanup. Remove all tape and coverings. Take drop cloths out of the finished room and shake off dust and debris. When paint has dried, reattach switch plates and outlet covers and any hardware that was removed. Vacuum the floor, re-hang pictures and mirrors and put furniture and decorative accessories back where they belong. Wash brushes, rollers and pans in warm, soapy water. Work the cleaning solution throughout the brush bristles or roller cover, rinse twice in clean water. Allow to dry.

    Sit back and enjoy your beautifully painted room. – DYH

  13. Featured Business: Alternative Landscaping Ltd.

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    “Wow!” “I had no idea!” If you are like most people that will be your reaction the first time you visit and see the new location of Alternative Landscaping. Opened just this spring, it has a greenhouse, retail garden centre, and landscaping office. Plus lots of space for plants, trees, equipment, and landscaping materials. You will find Alternative Landscaping on the edge of the city, at the southeast corner of 34th Street and Patricia Avenue.

    Alternative Landscaping owners Chris and Karin Griffin look to the present and to the future. But they also look to the heritage of the past. In the middle of the landscaping office is an ornamental fountain made from two very substantial limestone blocks. Those blocks are from Brandon’s historic Prince Edward Hotel, which stood at the corner of 9th Street and Princess Avenue from 1912 until 1980.

    The Griffins started the company in 1998. It was then just “a guy and a truck” operation, Karin says. Chris – and a little later with one employee – did the outside work. Karin did the paper work from a home office in their basement.

    What’s in a name? They chose “Alternative” to announce that they were the new, fresh, different option. And “A” has the added advantage of being first in alphabetical listings.

    By 2001, with the business growing and juggling a new baby as well as a toddler, it was time to expand. A spot in the 2200 block of Maryland Avenue became available, and they took it. (In the early days, the baby often accompanied
    Karin to the office.) Around the same time, they purchased the site at 34th and Patricia, and they waited until they were ready to develop the property.

    The business continues to be mainly landscape design, installation, and maintenance. You can see their work gracing many residential properties and commercial locations all over Westman and even into Saskatchewan. Like outside: at the Manitoba Public Insurance building and the Corral Centre. Or inside: at the Shoppers Mall, where topiaries decorate the food court.

    You can immerse yourself in the sumptuous photography showcasing their handiwork when you visit their website at The pictures will leave you dreaming. How your outdoor living space could be enhanced. How your property could become more valuable. How your place could be more inviting, more beautiful, more fun.

    The Griffins are all about expansion and diversification. During the 2008 recession, they thought that more homeowners might want to save money by providing their own labour. So Alternative Landscaping began offering more materials for do-it-yourself folks.

    But Karin says that if they do it themselves, she wants her customers to do it right. Often people have misconceptions about which materials would be appropriate, or which materials would be the best buy for a particular situation. So, she will make sure to ask them about their plans and objectives for their project.

    “What I really enjoy is teaching people,” Karin says. “I have clients who come back with pictures and they are proud that they have done it themselves. It makes me feel good that I have taught them something and they can do it, and do it right.”

    The biggest change with growth has been hiring more staff. “In the beginning, I did everything: answering the phone, bookkeeping, supervising,” Karin says. “Now we need to hire the right person for the job.”

    Alternative Landscaping currently employs about 35 people year round. The number swells to 75 during the summer, including a Clear Lake division. Karin speaks with obvious enjoyment and pride in their staff. The Griffins take great effort to hire the right people, employees who will, as Karin says, “fit the culture of the company.” Their mission statement: “Superior workmanship by people who care.”

    Their staff appreciates what is involved in outdoor work. While it can be great to have a job that is out of doors, the work must be done on time, to the highest standard, and in all weather conditions. Not only when it is nice and sunny, but also when it is dreary and pouring rain. Not to mention in the bitter cold; landscape maintenance like snow clearing goes on all year.

    Retail staff at the garden centre are friendly, confident, open to learning, and ready to engage customers in finding the right solutions. In this line of work, Karin says, “We have to be able to talk with people. This industry is not a shy industry.

    Alternative Landscaping is a full service company. You can get them to do everything for you from planning to installation and then on-going maintenance. Or, you can buy the materials and supplies and do it yourself. You can also get them just to design your project for you.

    And if you are looking for plants, they have hundreds of varieties of flowers, herbs, vegetables, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. Plus all the landscaping materials and accessories – like topsoil, fertilizer, sand, gravel, peat, rock, wood mulch, and more – to go along with any planting or project. Perhaps most important, you will get knowledge there.

    Alternative Landscaping has done the research to find and get great high-quality products. Karin notes that the commercial-grade materials they use in their installations are available for anyone to purchase. “If you see us using it,” Karin says, “we can sell it to you.”

    Among those high-quality products are the paving stones and blocks that can be used for places like walkways, driveways, flower beds, and patios. And for water features: from fountains and ponds to streams and waterfalls. Alternative Landscaping is a direct dealer for Barkman products. As well, it is the only dealer in Westman for the Belgard line of concrete retaining wall and paving stone products.

    The Alternative Choice Garden Centre carries a variety of items that can enhance anything from the smallest of balconies to the largest of lawns. The garden centre has the Lechuza brand of self-watering planters exclusively in Westman. These planters provide water to the roots of plants, saving water. You have the convenience of not having to water every day – an indicator shows the level in the water reservoir. The planters come in many different sizes and can be used indoors and out. The liners can be lifted out, making them very portable, and are interchangeable so you can easily switch around colours. Drain the water from the reservoir and you can leave the planters out all winter.

    The garden centre has a number of other intriguing products that are only found there, in Westman. Outdoor cedar furniture where each piece of wood is hand selected, so there are no knots and no warping. As well, there are huge mosquito coils and durable nylon solar lanterns that you can hang in a tree or around a patio and that will last all season.

    Just like the blocks from the Prince Edward Hotel in their office, the Griffins continue to look to the past with fondness. Back to the time they worked from their home and had just one truck. “We still have our first truck – we can’t get rid of it,” Karin says. There is a sense of coming around full circle. The toddler and baby of their first days in the business are now teenagers working part time in the family enterprise.

    The Griffins are fully engaged in work that they find very fulfilling. They are people who have found the ideal: enjoying their jobs so much it doesn’t seem like effort. “It’s not really work,” Karin says. On her office wall is a sign. “Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success,” it says. “If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

    As for the future, the Griffins see even more, with their new location becoming a destination spot. The setting with the greenhouse and the other buildings is really inviting: not only practical and functional, but also very attractive. The buildings are the work of Crane Steel Structures and electrical completed by G.T. Smith and Sons, both businesses are located here in Brandon.

    There has already been one wedding in the greenhouse, complete with a reception catered. As well, other couples have found the greenhouse to be the perfect background for wedding photos.

    Perhaps there can be a skating rink in the winter? What else? They have 40 acres – lots of space. They have lots of ambition. They have lots of imagination.

    The Griffins are ones not to rest and put their feet up. They see Alternative Landscaping as always a work-inprogress, as always a creation that is unfolding. “We are doers.” Karin says. “That’s just who we are.”

  14. Home Renovation is Great If You Know How to Finance

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    There are many good reasons to improve or remodel your home.  The key is to find the right way to finance the improvements.

    With housing prices at an all time high, homeowners who have outgrown their existing home or feel that it no longer meets their needs have a dilemma.  It would be great to move to a larger house, but the prices of larger houses are higher than ever.  What to do?  The savvy homeowner might consider remodeling.  You can add an extra room, convert a garage or update a kitchen.  It’s less expensive than buying another house, and there are many options for funding it.

    Here are a few ways to obtain funds for home improvement purposes:
    Credit cards – If you have received a recent offer for a low-interest or 0% interest “teaser” rate for applying for a new credit card, this may be your ticket.  These offers are usually good for balance transfers from other accounts, and the rates are sometimes good for the life of the loan.  This could be the best choice if you are doing the improvements yourself.  Be sure to read the fine print, or that 0% interest could turn out to be 20% or more.

    Home improvement stores – Sometimes, lumberyards and home improvement stores offer their own financing and the deals are often pretty enticing.  Sometimes they even include no payments for a year or so.  Again, this option works best if you are doing your own work.  And make sure you pay on time; sometimes the interest accrues retroactively if you pay late.

    Home equity loan – This is a great way to go if the project is expensive and is being done all at once. You will have a fixed interest rate and a fixed repayment schedule. Be aware that you are putting your house at risk if you fail to pay.  This is the best option for major renovations performed by a contractor.  Most loan institutions let you refinance your mortgage up to 80% of the value of the house.  For example, if your house is worth $200,000, you can borrow up to $160,000 minus what you owe on your mortgage.

    Refinance plus improvements – If you have no equity in your home but still want to do improvements, you can get up to 80% of the improved value of your home.  Having quotes for the renovations and the project completed you can add most of your expenses to your mortgage.

    Home equity line of credit – Great for long-term projects that just require a little bit of money here and there.  The interest rate is variable and you only have to pay back what you actually use. You would be able to borrow up to 65% of the value your home and you are, as with a home equity loan, pledging your house as collateral.

    With the price of houses still near all time highs, this is perhaps the best time ever to consider staying in your home and fixing it up.  You can make it more suit your needs and you don’t have to move.  And with numerous financing options available, funding should be available for just about anyone who wants to make their home just a little bit more livable. – DYH

  15. Add Colour to Your Room With Blinds

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    Blinds are a way to colourize your home and work spaces. As life’s colour pallet becomes larger and larger, consumers can say good-bye to bland rooms.

    The availability of thousands of colours and new acceptable colour combinations can enhance any room in the home without the need to spend thousands of dollars in new furnishings and accessories. Now we can use those items that once were thought outdated by the integration of new ideas and colours widely available to all thus creating a unique ambience. As décor goes, while white will continue to be the most popular paint colour, the more diverse selections are moving at greater speeds, and this applies to all categories, including window treatments, such as blinds.

    We are today able to take a plain white colour room furnished with plain furniture and turn it into an eye catching space through the use of colourful window treatments, such as vertical blinds, horizontal blinds, roller shades and roman shades, which are readily available for visualization by visiting on-line retailers who display a full array of product lines and colours on the Internet. This modern capability gives the consumer the tools to design a specific scheme to fit the specific use of any room in the home or office. It is recommended that the window treatment is selected first then followed by the selection of accessories which will turn the bland space into the desired setting.

    A plain, white room can also be enlivened through the use of stained wood blinds such as mahogany or other so called medium colours. The use of dark stained colours should be limited to specific situations that call for their specific use. Should a light blue room use a dark coloured blind, the contrast can be quite striking and powerful. On the other hand, often these rooms will go the basic route of white blinds, which will diminish the distinction of the otherwise beautiful room.

    Oftentimes we find ourselves dealing with a darkly painted room with a wall colour which, for whatever reason, we do not wish to replace, yet we wish to change its appearance and effect. This change in appearance and/or effect can be achieved by the use of vivid colours that allow exterior light into the room. Vertical blinds, horizontal blinds, roller shades and roman shades can all aid the consumer in creating the desired atmosphere by the availability of thousands of colours and also their operational features which allow the full control of light. Another important factor to be considered is the use of window blinds or shades that incorporate translucent materials and fabrics with varied openness factors.

    When effecting change in these difficult spaces, consideration should be given to objects which will further achieve the desired result, i.e. the use of art work or pictures with colours similar to the chosen window treatment which will bring the room together as a pleasing expression of the individual taste.

    Window treatments have come a long way in the choices of colour and patterns. Your blind may not only be functional, but can become the feature of your room! -DYH

  16. Creating Flair

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    Add some creative flair to your home this Christmas season with something unique from Rosanne’s Silk Designs.  Rosanne’s Silk Designs is a unique business which operates a seasonal Christmas show out of Brandon, called Christmas At Home, a retail store in Wasagaming, Manitoba, called On or Under the Tree and does wedding and event decorating. Rosanne’s Silk Designs has been owned and operated by Marita and Eric Dowsett for the last seven years and has been in Brandon for the last 17 years.

    Christmas At Home is taking place from Saturday, October 19th to Saturday, December 21st, and is done entirely in the Dowsett’s home, located one and a half miles south of Patricia Avenue on 1st Street. Every room from bathroom to living room will be bursting at the seams with Christmas.

    “When the Christmas At Home starts up the house is full. We’ve got three floors of Christmas,” said Eric Dowsett. At Christmas At Home you’ll find everything from the perfect tree ornament – there will be more than 15,000 on display, to snowmen decor to welcome your guests, to unique kitchen gifts for that hard-to-buy-for someone on your holiday list.

    “We’ve really got the whole spectrum of Christmas from Christmas stockings to four-foot nutcrackers,” said Dowsett.

    Christmas At Home will be open Saturdays and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., but group evening appointments can be booked.

    At On or Under the Tree, which will be open in Wasagaming Saturdays and Sundays until October 13th this year, you’ll find Christmas decor and gifts for every member of the family, young and old.

    Dowsett said selling Christmas items most of the year between the Wasagaming store and the Christmas At Home event continues to keep the spirit alive for the business owners.

    “As people come in, they are so excited when they think about Christmas, whether it be in June, July or August and they have a little bit of that spirit for the moment. It’s interacting with people and helping people make their holiday season a little bit more special,” Dowsett said.

    Rosanne’s Silk Designs also does floral rentals and custom decorating for weddings and events big and small, including this year’s Brandon Regional Health Centre Foundation’s Gala Dinner, taking place this September 28th.

    For more information, call Rosanne’s Silk Designs at 204-725-3602 or visit them On-line at

  17. Child Safety at Home

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    When you have a child your concern for safety intensifies and safety awareness and precautions become very important.

    You can childproof your home with baby gates at both the top and bottom of stairs, outlet covers on unused electrical outlets and put safety knobs on any doors that lead out of the house. Keep cribs, change tables or other high furniture away from windows that may, at times, only have a screen as a barricade to the opening. It is recommended that bumper pads not be used in cribs as they can become a climbing device. The same reasoning goes for larger stuffed animals.

    Do not allow playing or toys on or near stairs. Toys become a danger to the child and adults.

    Medications and Detergents
    You must be aware of any medications that may be in the home, including over the counter meds such as head ache medications. Be sure all medications have child proof caps and if possible store meds in a locked cabinet. When the child is old enough explain the dangers of consuming unsubscribed medications. Make sure he/she is aware that nothing found on the floor is to be put in their mouth, even if it looks like one of their candies.

    The same precautions should be explained concerning detergents and cleaning products. Most products are scented and smell good thus attractive to young minds. Keep them out of reach of young children.

    Young children unsupervised in the tub can be a concern. It only takes an inch of water for a child to drown. It is not just babies that are endangered in the tub, older children can slip and fall and become unconscious. Invest in a slip mat for
    your tub; this will give you the extra traction you may need.

    Many of today’s homes have fish ponds, hot tubs and pools. These all pose a threat to youngsters, so ensure supervision at all times. The pool area should be fenced and gates locked when adults are not present.

    When operating the stove try to use the back burners for boiling water or cooking if children are present. Never leave boiling water or cooking items unattended on the stove. Keep kids away from ovens especially when opening to check or remove food items. It may seem like a good idea to have your children nearby when in the kitchen but there are many hazards to be aware of. If your child wants to help in the kitchen, set up a work area away from the stove and other major appliances. (Kitchen table)

    Children should know their address and parent’s phone numbers at the earliest age possible. Teach your child the importance of 911 and when to use the emergency number.

    Enjoy your kids, they grow up way too fast.

  18. Buying a Home

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    As we see the snow melting away, patches of green grass popping up and the warmer weather of spring arriving, many people start to think about purchasing a new home. Whether it is a first home, moving up to a home more suited to the family needs or building a shiny new home, many people get the itch this time of year to make a change.

    Buying a new home involves a lot of pre-planning and fore thought. This is one of the biggest purchases most people will make in their lifetime so one does not want to jump into anything without putting some careful thought into what they are going to buy. You want to ensure you get the best value for your dollar.

    One of the first steps in considering a move is to figure out what type of home best suits your needs (how many bedrooms, do you want a garage, what is the best location for your needs, etc.) You want to make sure you assess your current and future needs and what characteristics are important to you.

    Once you have the type of home figured out, you will need to determine if you are financially ready for a mortgage. Getting your mortgage pre-approved before you start looking for a home to purchase will help you determine what kind of price range you can afford.

    A number of factors come into play when determining an affordable price range; your current annual household income, other debt that you currently owe, and the amount of the down payment available for the purchase. Typically buyers will need a minimum of 5% of the purchase price as the down payment. Any down payment less than 20% is considered a high ratio mortgage. These mortgages were introduced through the National Housing Act in an effort to help Canadians in owning their own home. The privilege of a lower down payment comes with an insurance premium cost that is added to the amount of the mortgage being financed.

    When going through the pre-approval process, the lender should look at how much you can afford and explain what that means to you financially. Sometimes, how much you can afford is not always the maximum amount you should be looking at as a purchase price. For example you may need a newer vehicle in a few years which will add to your monthly debt load, interest rates may have gone up by the time you need to renew your mortgage which will increase your payment.

    Similar to the house you buy, the price isn’t the only consideration.

    Since there is more involved than just punching in a couple of numbers to determine your price point, it is important to find a lender that you trust and can build a relationship with.

    Contrary to popular belief, there is more to the borrowing process than getting the best interest rate. Interest rate is important but there are so many other factors to take into consideration during the process (pre-payment options, accelerated payments, etc.). This is a long term relationship, so you want someone who will be looking out for your best interests.

    Part of the whole mortgage process is finding a mortgage specialist that you feel comfortable with. You want to find someone who is knowledgeable on all aspects of mortgages, is trust worthy, offers great service and is focused on doing what is best for you. The lender you choose now will be the one you go to for future financing needs so it is important to find someone who looks at the full picture and takes into consideration what best benefits you.

    Now the fun begins! Get out there and find the home of your dreams. Work with your realtor, tell them your long wish list and let them do their thing. Enjoy the process of house hunting, finding the home that is just right for you. While looking at homes, keep in mind any renovations that you might want to do. This is the time to be applying for the financing for any renovations, especially if you are doing a high ratio mortgage with less than 20% down. Your mortgage specialist can explain the benefits of this during your pre-approval process. CMHC 2013 Mortgage Consumer Survey showed that over 50% of home buyers anticipate doing renovations within the first five years so applying for the financing at time of purchase is the best time to do it.

    Now you are armed with a bit of knowledge to get you started on the journey of purchasing your dream home. Good luck and have fun! Spring has sprung, the grass has riz. I wonder where your new home is! Happy house hunting.

  19. Feature Home: The Cozy Area of Kemnay

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    Several months have passed since we first introduced you to the new build just west of Brandon in the cozy area of Kemnay, Manitoba.

    At the onset of winter last year, the home – developed and built by Evan Keller of Keller Properties – was featured in Design Your Home, showcasing the architectural bones and unique layout of the rurally situated residence; allowing readers the opportunity to see the home in its developmental stages, and to learn what was in store for an overall finished product.

    The concept of ‘country living with convenience’ is really beginning to take off with Brandon folks looking to develop property outside of city limits. And as developers like Keller continue to convert near-by rural landscape, the opportunity to escape to a fully amenable home is enticing more and more city dwellers out into the prairies.

    Darren Giilck, a realtor with Royal Le Page, and also an integral partner with Keller Properties, says that seeking out a prime location that still met the needs of city living in a rural setting was one of the biggest pieces of the development puzzle from the onset. “From the very start, Evan and I looked over the Kemnay development and chose a building lot that would fit the quality of the home we wanted to pursue, and allow for some valuable features such as a circle driveway, and the fantastic southern exposure”.

    When asked about some of the understated benefits of a rural spot such as this, Giilck points to the short, paved commute on the 1A Highway, the ability to still qualify for the Brandon School Division in regards to proximity, and the ability to tap into the municipal water supply. That last point has been the deciding factor for many seeking residence outside the city limits. “Demand will continue to grow as more and more areas around Brandon connect with municipal water. Places that would have had to haul water or even had poor quality water in the past, now have to just turn the tap on”.

    Throughout the initial planning stages this property had many unique and customized features in the works, and now we are finally able to visualize what had been percolating in the minds of its visionaries from day one. As the construction and interior finishing is coming to an end, we’re able to go back and see the home in the near final stages of completion, primed and ready for its new owners to move in, unpack, and settle into their brand new surroundings.

    Situated just south of the Trans Canada Highway, this house is no wall flower: stately, and large in scale, the home is a definite head turner. The overall soaring height of the garage doors and transom windows, coupled with the tall windows of the rest of the house help to create a sense of grandeur and presence as you approach the property. The combination of richly coloured stucco, crisp white trim, and charcoal stone give the house a striking exterior facade. And from the interior, the same sense of spaciousness and quality flows through the entire house. A palette of warm and soft charcoals, grays, and earthy neutrals was chosen to give the home a relaxed modern edge, while maintaining a certain level of comfort and ease.

    One of the first of many features to catch your eye are the sheer amount of windows throughout the entire house. Gorgeous sunlight pools into the open concept kitchen and living area, and continues to filter on into the lower level, giving the basement its own spacious and airy atmosphere.

    With the vast amount of sunlight and UV rays filtering through, the need for functional – yet statement making – window coverings was recognized early on in the build.

    Enter Gord and Sue Swarbrick, from Budget Blinds – the husband and wife team who came up with the unique window covering solutions for the house. Accustomed to working with Keller on several other properties, the Swarbricks have a bit of a history with Keller themselves. “We met Evan two years ago when we rented property from him, and we have been supplying window coverings for his rentals and referrals ever since then”, explains Sue. “We approached Evan about the idea of showcasing motorization”, Swarbrick continues, referring to the hardwired Illusions Transitional Shades found throughout the home. With the touch of a button, the shades can be operated from any position in the room. “The benefits include ease of use, child safety, energy efficiency, security and they’re definitely a trend towards the future of the window covering industry”.

    One might assume selecting a motorized option would put them right up out of their price range, however, Swarbrick outlines the positives when committing to a motorized product like the Illusions shade. “They are more expensive, as you are adding options to the base product. It’s like adding bells and whistles to a car. However, motorization is a great option for many types of clients. We tend to focus on the situation and functionality of the shade, and this is a smart option for the hard to reach or high windows, large windows that are difficult to raise, multiple windows that are operated daily as well as for those clients that are simply looking for a WOW factor”.

    As someone who has remained loyal to his trades and companies on each new build, Keller also called upon another familiar husband and wife team to design all of the cabinetry and millwork throughout the home. Graham and Jacquie Watson, of Kitchen Gallery on 9th, were first approached by Keller in early 2012 for one of his former projects. “Evan was very interested in the line of custom cabinetry that we supply and that we also provided personal consultations to assist his clients with colour selections, designs for cabinetry, countertops and handles”, Jacquie explains.

    She is swift to note that the process of building a new home can be somewhat intimidating and can easily become overwhelming for some where decision-making is concerned. “For anyone who has undertaken a new build or renovation, our top priority is to establish a functional, yet appealing design for the kitchen, bathrooms, and entertainment or bar areas. Once our client is comfortable with the design, the next step is to begin the process of identifying what colors and materials appeal to our client”.

    Finished in a sleek ebony stain, the maple Decor cabinetry in the kitchen is highlighted with a quartz countertop from Cambria in a mix of soft cream, silver gray, and hints of charcoal. The glass and stone mosaic backsplash was chosen to bring out the tones in the quartz, while still acting as a standalone feature throughout the space. Selecting the finishes and materials is part of the fun Jacquie insists, “some consultations may take as little as three get-togethers, or they can extend into a few weeks of meetings”. But rest assured, all of the fine little details and elements that go into creating a beautiful and functional custom design is facilitated by the Watsons and their team of kitchen designers at the showroom. “Most people have a general idea of what they like or don’t like, and we do a little investigative digging by showing a few colour ideas to get the juices flowing. We want to ensure everyone that walks through our door knows this process will take a few visits to make certain they aren’t rushed, and that they know we don’t practice high pressure sales. This is an investment and we want everyone that invests in new kitchen or bathroom cabinetry to always have that “Aha” moment every time they walk into that room”.

    And with just a few finishing touches remaining, Keller is incredibly pleased with the how the project has turned out. “I’m very happy with the overall build… The high end finishes and extra attention to detail really top off the spacious design, and I think there are elements for all members of the family in this house”. From the deep set soaker tub and walk-in shower in the ensuite, to the whole house sound system, to the truly spacious garage – the features included in the house really cater to a wide variety of interests and check lists.

    Already working on future projects and developments, Keller is quick to give credit once again to his supportive team of trades and professionals. “The way all of the contributions come collectively from Kitchen Gallery, and Budget Blinds really ties everything together. Each element from these various companies helps to compliment the overall end result; it’s completely a team effort, and we are very fortunate to have great trades and the best group of staff a company could ask for”.

  20. Designing Your Home Office

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    Once you have taken the plunge and decided to work from home you are going to need to consider your working environment.

    Too many people think that working from home means that they can effectively handle phone calls from the kitchen table, or work well into the night cuddled up in front of the television. And while you may be able to get away with this type of working style once in awhile, you will need to design a home office space that is effective and efficient.

    A well designed home office will allow you to be more organized, more productive and definitely more professional. There are a few things that you will need to consider when you are designing your space. Do you entertain clients in your office? If so, you will want a separate entrance to your home office. It is not very professional to have clients walk through your kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink in order to get to your office.

    Even if you do not host clients in your office, you should strongly consider the benefits of having a separate space for your office. You will feel more professional if you have a designated room or space for your office rather than a corner of the living room. This will also allow you to tune out distractions such as the children, or the television. When you are working, close the door and focus on work.

    Some things that you will need to consider are furniture, organization, lighting and ventilation. You will need to equip your office to suit your needs and for most people this means that you will need the standard desk. Your desk does not need to be fancy; in fact as long as it suits your needs, you can get away with a very simple table. Storage is also very important for a home office. Do not underestimate the power of a quality file cabinet and a good organizing system. If you have a lot of books a shelving system will go along way. Making sure you have a comfortable, adjustable chair is essential as well.

    High quality lighting is also essential in your home office. You may need to install a better overhead light as most residential lights will not put out quality light that is needed for an office. Adequate lighting is essential for a comfortable and ergonomically sound working environment. Ventilation is also important, as you will need to work in a comfortable environment. If your space gets hot in the summer months, invest in air conditioning or a fan. Functional window coverings will also be important in your home office, from cooling the room in the summer, to taking the glare off your computer screen.

    Last but not least, do not forget to make your home office inviting for you to come to work. Put up a few pieces of artwork or some prints, bring in some house plants or fresh flowers and create an environment that is not only functional, but enjoyable to be in as well. After all you’re going to be spending 8 – 10 hours per day in there. -DYH

  21. Feature Business: “Our 48th Year!”

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    The Brandon Home and Leisure Show is the Largest and Longest Running show of its kind in Manitoba

    It’s been forty eight years after a local car dealer decided to turn the local arena into an offsite showroom for some new vehicles, the Brandon Home and Leisure Show has undergone a complete evolution. It’s come a long way, baby!

    This year’s 48th annual event, slated for April 11-13 at the Keystone Centre, will feature at least 165 exhibitors, with the emphasis on both the Home and the Leisure products that our guests are looking for.

    General manager Dave Melcosky, in his fifth year as the show’s maestro, said visitors to the Home and Leisure Show in recent years have made it clear they wanted to see more exhibits in the home improvement area.

    “Well”, says Melcosky,” you won’t be disappointed! Our guests will enjoy a wider selection in the Leisure side, as well.” “ We have tried to meet our guests expectations with an ever growing diversity in all aspects of the show”, he said.

    “We have a wider variety of displays for vendors offering products for the home,” he said. “We have expanded our kitchen cabinet displays, a lot more choices in the renovation lines, sunroom additions, bathrooms, landscaping,widows and doors and interior up grades .”

    Doors open Friday, April 11, at 1 p.m. and visitors will have access to a whopping 96,000 square feet of display space covering four rooms of the Keystone. In use for this year’s show., once again, we will be in the Manitoba Room, the UCT Pavilion, the Brandon Curling Club and the Kinsmen Arena —” the latter being a new addition last year certainly gave a fresh feel and much better flow to the show ,” Melcosky said.

    We are very proud to have the Brandon Real Estate Board serving as the presenting sponsor, once again in 2014.

    Last year, about 10,300 people attended the show, a new record in recent years, when previously crowds were in the 9,500 and 9,700 range. “A lot of it depends on the weather,” said Melcosky. “I want to see us go over the 10,000 mark again for 2014, and feel confident that will happen, weather permitting.”

    People entering the 48th Annual Brandon Home and Leisure Show , will have access at the East side of the complex through the Brandon Curling Club entrance. We are very happy to offer a wide array of the best that vendors from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario and the northern States. “For between two and three hours, people at the show can shop at 165 different businesses under one roof — from windows and doors, kitchens and baths, to landscaping to home decorations — and then all the leisure products, of course,” said Melcosky.

    “Another growth area are the financial exhibitors that are participating. From mortgages to help finance your renos, to investments that help to secure your future, will be present” says Melcosky.

    The standard lineup of boats, bikes, RVs and cars will be on display, of course, but there’s much more in the way of excitement. For instance, everyone attending enters a draw for a couple of fabulous prizes — Kitchen Gallery on Ninth Street and Krevco Lifestyles, are our major prize sponsors, and we will give away over $5000 in the 2 prize draws.

    While browsing the aisles and checking over everything that’s new and interesting for 2014,don’t forget to enter the draw, by filling out the ballot on the back of your admission ticket! The draw drum will be to the left of the overhead door, separating the Curling Club and the Kinsmen Arena.

    Melcosky says as in 2013 modular homes builders will have a heavy presence at the show, with three actual modular homes being on-site. “The oil activity in southwest Manitoba is spurring this,” he said. “There are so many workers needed in the oil patch and there’s a real housing shortage , so these modular homes are springing up all over.”

    The true value of the Home and Leisure Show is proven by the number of vendors who return year after year. If they weren’t enjoying big sales and excellent product exposure the show offers, they wouldn’t be banging on Melcosky’s door to sign up for the following year. “People might not always buy right away,” he said. “But they often do, it is the whole point of the show, exposure of your products and let the visitors take advantage of Home Show Pricing.”

    Everything you might want to know about this year’s Brandon Home and Leisure Show can be found on its website,

    This year’s hours are 1-9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is still only $6.50 for adults and free for those 12 and under who are accompanied by an adult.

  22. Feng Shui Colours for the Bedroom

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    Feng Shui is about balance and harmony in our environments. The bedroom is a very important room (we spend one third of our lives sleeping), so many people naturally ask how to improve their bedroom using colour selection according to Feng Shui. A

    s we discuss bedroom colours, it is also imperative to recognize the impor tance of the other rooms in your house. Enhancing your bedroom without enhancing the other beneficial areas of your home does not provide you with the full benefits of Feng Shui. Feng Shui is about balancing the energy in your complete and total environment.

    With that said, here are some Feng Shui tips to consider for your bedroom…

    Don’t overdo the bright colours in your bedroom. Bright colours are alive and moving, so the more bright colours that are used, the harder it will be to stay asleep. This also applies to plants and especially water. Plants and water manifest yang energy, and cause the same issues in the bedroom as bright colours. The colours associated with plants and water are green, black, and blue. Bright colours to avoid are reds, strong oranges or bright yellows. Florescent colors are definitely out of the question!

    Pictures of moving water can also cause problems. If you’ve got a picture of a waterfall, river, or ocean in your bedroom, it’s a wise idea to move it. Unfortunately, aquariums in the bedroom can also cause sleeping issues and should be moved. Although you should avoid red in the bedroom, a little touch of red can spice it up! (Red is fire, so lit candles count as red.)

    Dark colours (shades of brown) should be used in the décor of the bedroom, but not on the walls. Painting the bedroom walls a dark colour might help you sleep, but won’t help you feel rejuvenated in the morning. Darker coloured décor should be used to the point of tilting the room’s ambiance yin. You don’t have to just use browns, pick darker colours and designs that are relaxing for you.

    If you’re room is already very dark (wood paneled, for example) and you can’t make changes to it, you might want to consider changing any “yellow light” producing light bulbs to brighter, whiter bulbs. Opening the blinds during the day will also dramatically improve the rooms feeling. If it’s dark at night, balance it with brightness during the day. (Clearing any room occasionally by opening all the blinds is extremely beneficial.)

    In painting the bedroom, using muted colours is your best bet. The best colours to use depend on the compass direction of the room’s location. Here are the color combinations:

    • NE, Center, or SW: Rooms located here should be painted pastel earthy colours, including light shade of yellow.
    • NW or W: Rooms located here benefit from metal, so use a shade of white.
    • SE or E:. Use pastel earthy colours including shades of yellow. White is not helpful here, as it destroys the productive properties of the SE and East. These directions are associated with wealth.
    • S: The South benefits from red. If you want to use red here, use it sparingly as too much will cause restlessness in bed. Use shades of white for the walls.
    • N: The north benefits from blue and black (water). Since you can’t use water, try white instead, as white (metal) will help with the benefits of water without using water.

    Feng Shui is about balance and harmony, so using light, softer colours is your best bet when painting the walls. -DYH

  23. Wine Advice: Cooking With Wine

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    When selecting wine to cook with it is essential to consider its main components – alcohol, acidity, sweetness and tannins.

    Acid levels are generally higher in white wine than they are in red wine. High acid wines compliment, balance and mimic the acidic components in a dish – ingredients like lemon, tomatoes or vinegar.

    Note a wines sugar and alcohol content. Alcohol may evaporate during cooking but sugar remains, sweetening a dish. If a recipe calls for parsnips, tomatoes or onions, a slightly sweet full-bodied red wine is an excellent choice. Here, the sweetness in the wine compliments the rich, sweet roast vegetables.

    Tannins are the component in red wine responsible for its astringent, drying texture. Use tannic wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, for recipes with bitter ingredients, high protein and fat. These wines are also an important ingredient in marinades and may be used to deglaze.

    Use light-bodied wine for light dishes, and a rich, flavorful and full-bodied dry white, such as Chardonnay, for a creamy sauce. Muscadet, Pinot Grigio or other crisp dry whites compliment seafood with their mineral and citrus aromas and flavors. For a dish containing artichokes, green beans, peppers or asparagus select a dry crisp, high-acid white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc.

    A reliable and fool-proof method is regional pairing. Consider where the dish is made and select a wine from that area. For example, use a red Burgundy for beef Bourguignon.

    In general, dry wines, whether red or white, are most often used for cooking. It is best to select wine with similar flavors and aromas as other ingredients and if possible use the type of wine, or the same wine, you intend to serve with the dish.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  24. My Idiah: Spice up your Kitchen with a Backsplash!

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    Want to add a bit of excitement or glamour to your kitchen? How about installing a backsplash! This project is great for the do it yourselfer, who also has a little bit of patience too. This overall project would be a great weekend project and would take a moderate skill level to achieve. I have included a list below of tools and materials needed for the job, which can vary depending on the tile you, purchase and your kitchen layout.


    • Bucket
    • Caulking gun
    • Grinder, wet saw
    • Tile nipping tool
    • Grout float
    • Level
    • Measuring tape
    • Notched trowel 3/16”
    • Pencil
    • Safety glasses
    • Screw driver
    • Sponge
    • Utility knife


    • Tiles
    • Grout
    • Grout sealer
    • Plastic tile spaces
    • Sand paper
    • Silicone sealer
    • Tile adhesive (mortar)
    • Tile edge
    • Finishing nails

    All my materials were purchased from Rona. The tile used in this project was 12×12 Bamboo Glass Stripes in Camel.

    First you will need to measure your work area, in order to know how much tile is needed for the project. The kitchen that was used was from a fairly new build, which required 23 square feet of tile. This is pretty standard size backsplash, but make sure you measure and pick up a few extra sheets of tile to use as fillers. Most hardware stores allow you to return full sheets.

    Next step is to make sure the wall you are tiling is in good condition. Repair any issues and sand the wall if it is a painted surface, to get rid of any sheen. Make sure you turn off the electrical power to the area you are working in and then proceed to remove the wall plates to any electrical outlets.

    Find the center of the wall for your backsplash and with a level, draw a vertical line. This will be your starting point. You want to make sure the tile is installed level, so continue to check your tile with the level as it gets installed. This is also a good time to install the tile edge if you need one. The tile edge would be installed where the tile ends, if there is no cupboard in that spot in order to give your backsplash a finished look.
    1Laying your tile out along your counter is a good way to visualize this project (Fig.1). You will be able to see what tiles will need to be cut and how many tile sheets you will need along the backsplash.

    Apply the mortar with your 3/16” notched trowel with the lines always running in the same direction (Fig.2). This will give you an even coat of mortar on your wall. Work in 2-3 foot sections at a time. Cut the sheet of tile if needed and adhere to the wall. Push firmly or tap with a rubber mallet, making sure no mortar seeps between the tiles. If mortar does seep through, remove the tile, trowel the mortar again and reapply tile. Use tile spacers between each sheet of tile for even spacing if you wish. Continue down the wall, applying mortar and adhering tile sheets. Use a wet saw, grinder or tile nips to work around outlets and cupboards. If you need to adhere individual tile pieces, apply a small amount of mortar to the back of the tile and press firmly in place.

    Once 2all the tile is in place, wait 24-48 hours before grouting. When mixing your grout, make sure your colour is consistent and the texture of toothpaste. At Rona, they had colour stick samples of the grout and I was able to hold them right up against my tile to pick the perfect match I wanted. Apply the grout in sections with a tile float, working at a 45 degree angle as you work the grout into the joints (Fig.3). Do not put grout in areas between your tile and other surfaces such as the counter or cabinets. Clean off excess grout with a damp sponge and rinsing out the sponge often.

    Wait3 24 hours and seal grout if it is required. After 10 days, caulk the joints between the backsplash and your counters and cabinets. Now sit back and admire the new addition to your kitchen!


  25. How to Increase the Value of Your Home Today

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    Selling your home can often be a stressful occasion. Everyone wants to make sure that they can sell their house for at least as much as they paid for it.

    Sometimes, people go to great trouble to fix up their homes to make sure they sell for a good price. People replace windows, roofs, furnaces, even plumbing. These are all costly renovations, and are often unnecessary. There are many small and inexpensive changes you can make to your home that will raise its resale value. Consider these ideas: Paint every space in your house that you think could use freshening up. If you want a space to look bigger, such as a living room or closet, use a light colour, or white. Although painting is time-consuming, it is quite inexpensive, and helps to make a house look new again.

    Check out the exterior of your house, including the yard; are there changes you could make here to improve its curb appeal? Paint trim and any steps or railings that look worn out, replace or repaint house numbers and light fixtures, and trim any hedges or bushes in your yard. Keep your grass cut and, even if you don’t have a flower garden, consider buying a pot or hanging basket of flowers to add colour to your home’s entrance. You might even want to buy a welcome mat!

    The kitchen and bathroom are two rooms you will want to pay special attention to. Make sure they are spotless. Are all of your lights and electrical outlets working? Do you need to add more to make the rooms brighter and more accessible? If you are unable to do these jobs on your own, ask an electrician to do it for you. Although it will cost more, you will know that everything works; also, extra lighting and outlets really do increase the value of a room in the eyes of potential home buyers.

    Take a look at the flooring in your home. Are there rips or stains in linoleum or carpet? Are hardwood floors looking dull? Have all of your carpets cleaned. You can rent a carpet cleaner for a good price from a local hardware or grocery store. If your carpet is damaged, you may be able to patch it if the spot is small. Linoleum is quite inexpensive, and easy to install. Clean and polish all hardwood floors.

    Finally, before potential home buyers arrive to look through your house, add the finishing touches. Put fresh towels in the bathrooms and kitchen. Tidy closets, and make sure no newspapers or bills are lying out. Wipe down counters. Light a candle or two and put on some quiet music. Make sure all pets are out of the way. By following these tips, your home will be sold before you know it, and the selling price will put a smile on your face! -DYH

  26. Tips For a Safe Holiday Season

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    Before crawling up on the roof to string the Christmas lights, you need to know that every year hospital emergency rooms treat hundreds of people for injuries such as falls, cuts and shocks related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees. In addition candles start hundreds of fires over the holiday season. Always keep burning candles within sight and always put out lit candles before leaving a room or going to bed.

    Picking the tree:
    When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it indicates the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly. When purchasing a live tree check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers.

    The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground the tree should not lose many needles.

    When setting up a tree at home place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Be sure to place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

    Indoors and outdoor lights should be CSA tested and have fused plugs. If your lights have any of the following, they should not be used; loose connections, broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord and make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could receive a shock.

    Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples or run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores) to hold strings in place. Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house, they could short out and start a fire. Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters. When removing outdoor holiday lights, never pull or tug on lights.

    Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to decorate a tree, never use lighted candles. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or non-leaded metals. In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Also avoid using decorations that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them. Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

    Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children and pets. Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

    Have a safe and happy holiday season.
    Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

  27. Wine Advice: Affordable Wines for the Holidays

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    Fall has arrived, the time of year jam-packed with entertaining, parties and social events all leading up to the grand celebrations of Christmas and New Years. A busy and costly time of year.

    One, often stress-inducing, question that comes up during the holidays is “What wine should I serve?” To help you select the best wine for each and every occasion, I have browsed thru the liquor stores, selecting good quality, wallet-friendly wines. Gems that cost very little but offer a lot, all priced at less than $15.00 per bottle. These worthy wines – white, red, rose and sparkling – are terrific for sipping or pairing.

    Perhaps the most popular of events is the wine and cheese reception. Pairing wine with one particular cheese is easy, pairing with a wide variety of cheese is not. The best pairing wines are off-dry (slightly-sweet) and high in acid. Try the ever-popular slightly sweet, and spritzy Jacobs Creek Moscato ($12.99) or the soft and fragrant Trivento Amado Sur, a blend of Torrontes, Viognier and Chardonnay, priced at $14.95. If you prefer dry, tar t wine, the Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc at $12.99 is good value. Pairing with red wine? Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella ($14.99) from Italy or Beso de Vino Old Vine Garnacha ($11.95) from Spain are both excellent choices.

    Tapas have become trendy and popular. The Spanish red wines, El Petit Bonhomme ($13.99), or the more robust El Bonhomme ($14.57), pair beautifully with Spanish food.

    If pairing with raw seafood, zesty, citrus-laden white wines like Santa Julia’s Pinot Grigio ($11.00), and Aveleda Fonte’s Vinho Verde, priced at $10.99, are fun, bright and crisp.

    When selecting wine for a Traditional Christmas dinner pick up some Fetzer Gewurztraminer at $13.99, or the charming Chateau Ste. Michelle Harvest Select Sweet Riesling ($14.99.) These are also wonderful wines to accompany Chinese, Korean, sushi or Thai food.

    Sparkling wine is unbelievably versatile and, in addition, imparts a sense of celebration to every occasion. A terrific way to begin an evening and an wonderful wine to top off the evening. Segura Viudas produces white and rose brut Cava, priced at $14.49. Easy and likeable rose’s such as Jacobs Creek Cool Harvest Shiraz Rose ($13.59), Chateau Mas Neuf Rhone Paradox Rose ($13.99) or Sutter Home White Zinfandel ($8.99) are amazingly versatile as well.

    And finally, what about dessert? Sweet desserts, fruit and some, often very distinct, cheese, for example aged blue cheese, should be paired with the sweet, decadent and rich, Samos Vin Doux Muscat. A worthy wine and an absolute steal at $13.55.


    Kate Wagner Zeke
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine

  28. Feature Business: Facelift

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    If you’ve been to the Keystone Centre lately, chances are it’s looking shiny and new. That’s thanks to $3.3 million from the city, provincial and federal governments for some muchneeded upkeep and, in some cases, a complete facelift for many areas of the aging complex.

    Keystone Centre general manager Neil Thomson said the funding has gone a long way in sprucing up a facility that is the region’s major destination for entertainment, sports, agricultural and other events. There have been renovations to the main concourse, the main concourse bathrooms, the Westman Communications Group Place arena, the Convention Hall, the UCT Pavilion, the Exhibit Hall, City Square and the Amphitheatre. The renovations were extensive in some areas and cosmetic in others, Thomson said, making many areas of the Keystone Centre again available to produce revenue. Construction took place from the fall of 2012 and wrapped up in the summer.

    The improvement most noticeable to those attending an event at the Keystone Centre might be the new, bright tiling in the main foyer. Don Cullen Masonry was able to deliver this new look. “We’ve had a lot of people ask us if we made the hallway bigger,” said Thomson. “It’s the first thing people see and it really jumps out at you. The hallway was so dark before and now the tiles are a beige/grey colour and they really pops out. We also put new lighting in the hallway, so that combined with the tiles really makes the space look bigger.”

    A number of areas look bigger and are brighter, thanks to Jamieson Judd Electrical, which not only completed these current changes but previously put in the lighting in the Westman Communications Group Place arena, as well as many upgrades throughout the Keystone Centre.

    “The renovations were fairly extensive. There was a substantial amount of structural upgrades required to complete some of the upgrades. A new sprinkler system had to be installed. BDR Service, over the years, was able to bring the facility more protection and prevention with annual maintenance and new sprinkler systems.

    A stark change in the facility is in the washrooms in the main concourse area. Thomson said the men’s and women’s washrooms were flipped and the women got 15 new stalls, which will likely shorten the line-up at the washroom during events. The men’s washroom got a few new urinals, but Thomson said the changes were mainly cosmetic, with new flooring and a fresh coat of paint.

    “The women’s washroom was way under capacity. That was an area that really needed to be addressed,” Thomson said.

    Westman Communications Group Place is now better suited for an intimate concert setting, thanks to changes in lighting and the addition of cur tains, as well as a new stage.

    “All the investments we have made in this facility will allow us to have more concerts, more events,” Thomson said. “More of an investment is more success for us.”

    The Amphitheatre, before the investment, was virtually an unusable space. Once used for livestock sales, the leaky roof and dated interior left the room empty. Thomson said the Amphitheatre is once again an asset for the Keystone Centre, with a new roof, new carpeting, new seating and paint.

    “The Amphitheatre now can host a smaller concert venue, a lecture, large meetings, and for plays,” Thomson said.

    Another room that benefitted from some major changes was the Convention Hall, where new flooring was installed, as well as a dividing wall, to separate the Convention Hall into multiple rooms for different events. Another frequently used room to get a facelift was the UCT pavilion with new flooring and paint.

    “A lot of the renovations were building maintenance. The building is 40 years old and is just like your house, it does require regular maintenance,” Thomson said. “We know we are making a good investment. All the event’s the Keystone Centre has, really adds to our economy and also improves the cultural component – we have a top-end junior hockey team play out of here, events, and concerts. It really adds to the lifestyle we live here.”

    So next time you visit the Keystone Centre, expect to be pleasantly surprised by the new look and feel of the facility. – Kyla Henderson

  29. My Idiah: Chalk Paint

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    Chalk paint has always been something I wanted to try. But did you know you can make your own chalk paint in any colour too! It is simple, and works just as good as the store bought product.

    Chalk Paint RecipeScreen Shot 2014-06-24 at 5.33.18 PM
    (medium sized project)

    • 1 cup of latex paint
    • 2 tbsp. non sanded grout

    Stir together until they are mixed completely and paint! I preferred to apply 2 coats of paint, making sure each coat dries completely. Slate your new chalk board by running chalk over it (on its side) and covering the whole board. Clean off and now it’s ready to use!

    Some fun things to paint with chalk paint:

    • traysScreen Shot 2014-06-24 at 5.33.22 PM
    • table tops
    • wall
    • doors
    • piece of plywood to make your own chalk board
    • cupboard doors (inside or outside)
    • cupboard panels in the kitchen or work station
    • sealer lids
    • play structure

    Chalk boards are not only great for kids, but perfect for making lists, writing notes or messages and labelling jars.

    Note: I tested both store bought (black) and home made (blue) chalk paint and was happy with both!
    Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 5.33.26 PM

  30. Feature Home: Early Stage of Home Building

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    Venturing from the family farm into a career of banking and sales might seem like a somewhat unlikely and possibly difficult transition to most. But for Evan Keller, the decision to get out of farming and into the financial world helped pave the way for what has become an entirely new development altogether: the business of custom home building.

    For Keller, who now owns and operates Keller Developments, the switch into general contracting and home construction began in early 2010. What started off as a few flip properties and smaller multi-residential complexes has turned into a full-fledge custom home building corporation; a corporation Keller is quick to point out has been built upon the solid partnerships between numerous key players in the development of his organization. Keller credits Darren Giilck, of Royal Le Page Realty here in Brandon, as one of his earliest attributes.

    “I’ve known Darren for over 10 years”, Keller explains one afternoon on site at one of his current custom builds. “He invested a lot of time with me, looking at flip houses and different property possibilities in the early years. In 2010 we invested in a duplex together, and from there we bought a 4-plex”, says Keller. Fast forward to 2013, and the days of smaller revenue and flip homes are gone, making way for large-scale custom home developments and property management. Still a part of Keller’s impressive organization, Giilck has partnered with him on 3 recently finished homes in the exclusive Brookwood area, including several other rural properties, and continues to be an ongoing presence as Keller seeks out and is contracted for new builds.

    Recognizing the importance of networking within the industry from his banking days, Keller notes most of the group of trades people he originally partnered with have worked with him consecutively on each new build, and have stayed on with him throughout. With a team of 9 presently comprised of 2 journeymen, and several 3rd and 4th level finishers, “we really have an excellent pool of contractors and subs to pull from”, says Keller. From Kitchen Gallery on 9th, Budget Blinds, and Able Eavestroughing here in Brandon, “all of the companies we’ve paired with are instrumental in making the selection process with our home owners less stressful and more enjoyable”.

    Onsite at a semi- completed new home, Keller walks through the impressive build and describes the process of how this particular project came to fruition. “We broke ground in early June, and initially we didn’t already have a buyer for the home”. Something he notes has been a 50/50 split thus far between beginning a new build with or without owners signed on to complete the project, he did however have a potential buyer in mind. “The plans had already been drawn up obviously, but once the new owners came into the picture, they were still able to make some personal changes and add a few details as well”.

    At 1,640 square feet, the home stands tall and proud along Highway 1A in Kemnay – just a stone’s throw away from Brandon, making the location of the property perfect for those with a penchant for country living with city amenities.

    What catches one’s eye immediately from the highway are the high roof lines, and equally high and linear windows along the front facade of the house. “Because we designed the roof line of the garage to match the rest of the house, you really get a sense of just how much extra space there is”, Keller explains as he tours the spacious garage. Perfect not only for several vehicles, but for a few recreational vehicles, boat, or even a small utility tractor to help manage the surrounding land, the garage has also been designed with the ability of adding an upper loft or mezzanine in the future, should the owners decide to put one in.

    As the tour continues through the rest of the house, it’s apparent the design of the home is open-concept in nature, but affords the homeowners’ privacy and separation of the bedrooms and master suite, as well as a cozy family room downstairs, by way of a unique angled and centralized staircase. “What we wanted to do with the design was create something different, something you don’t typically see in most homes. So we angled the position of the stairs at the front entry, so as you come into the house you don’t see down directly into the family room as you do with most bi-levels, and you don’t see directly up into the living room as well”. This detail alone allows for a few interesting pockets of space within the wall studs, which will be creatively put to good use as built-in feature niches.

    A built-in bookshelf within a wall of the home office is another example of the little details Keller likes to implement in his builds.”It’s a creative way to maximize floor space – most offices require shelving and display space, so we’ve been able to design that right into the wall, rather than have the owner add furniture or shelving after the fact”.

    Within the 5 bedroom home, the main floor consists of 2 bedrooms plus the master suite, each boasting adequate and roomy square footage. “Our bedrooms aren’t usually less than 120 square feet”, says Keller, adding the size allows for maximum comfort and use. “There’s nothing worse than touring a custom home and getting a sense that they gave all the floor space to the main areas of the home, and skimped on the bedroom sizes”.

    At the back of the house, and off of the main living area is the master suite; not overly large in size, but roomy enough to accommodate full sized bedroom furniture if needed, and perfect enough to still feel cozy and comfortable. The tall windows allow streams of beautiful south-facing sunlight to pour in, making the location for the master suite an obvious shoe-in. As Keller points out some of the other features of the room: a spacious walk-in closet, cleverly positioned light switches wired for beside where the bed is to go, and pre-wired connection points for the savvy automated blinds (planned for throughout the house by Budget Blinds), one can’t help but notice that some of the suite’s overall square footage has gone to the enviable master ensuite. Boasting a soaker tub, custom designed shower, double vanity, and room to spare, Keller has hit a home run with this ensuite. “Clients want a space they can retreat to at the end of the day. We found that a lot of our buyers wanted an ensuite that felt more like a spa than just another bathroom, so we’ve given this ensuite some additional square footage to help encompass that”.

    Another unique feature of the detail put into the design of the home can be found in a smaller, sometimes often forgotten area off of the kitchen. The pantry to the kitchen has been connected to the mudroom off of the garage in a ‘pass-through’ concept, making bringing groceries and various items into the home easier and more efficient. “This is something our draftsperson has added”, Keller explains, “I really think it’s a feature we will use in the future, space permitting, that will easily become one of our custom standards”.

    With the completion of the home slated for early in the new year, one can see that even in the framing and wiring stages, the build has the bones and detail of a future dream home. And at this level of quality and attention to detail invested, Keller explains it’s not only the finishes and materials that make his homes a cut above the rest. “It’s our commitment to a certain level of customer service and follow through that ultimately allows us to offer a fullscale service to our clients”. Referring back to his banking days, Keller touches on what he believes to be the key to Keller Developments’ success in only a few short years. “I feel money is attached to emotions, and building a custom home can be a very emotional process for some people. We really focus on the customer service end of the whole project, walking buyers through and assisting them right from the very start. Being a somewhat smaller and more personalized company, we are able to deal with issues and clients hands on and as they happen”.

    Knowing all too well the importance of fostering a great client-builder relationship, Keller also explains one final parting piece of success: “What I am trying to do is build an experience, a personal and very hands on involvement with the owners. If you take care of not only the big details, but the smaller ones as well, you can foster the kind of trust and relationship people will come back to when they build their next home”. – Crispin Butterfield

  31. Create a Green Baby Nursery

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    In our attempt to revert back to a Green lifestyle, it’s only fitting to use Green principles when designing a baby’s room. After all, a newborn will spend an average of 17 hours a day in their nursery, and it should be an environment filtered from toxins.

    Here are some of the key points to consider when setting up a Green baby nursery.

    Use one of the new water-based, low-volatile organic compound paints and take your friends or family up on their request to help. If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t be doing the painting. Try and complete the paint job at least a month before baby arrives to give it time to cure.

    Most toys are made of plastic, which is a major contributor to indoor air pollution. Try to purchase natural cloth or wood toys wherever possible.

    Carpets are nice and soft for babies to crawl on, but they can harbor toxic material and bacteria. VOC’s can be found in the fibers, backing and glue as well as any stain resistant treatments that may have been applied. If you must go that route, choose an all-natural, biodegradable carpet made from wool fibers and no toxic adhesives. A better choice is a solid floor such as linoleum, cork or wood. Use natural fiber throw rugs with a non slip backing.

    Choose real wood with natural finishes since the press wood versions can emit formaldehyde. The bedding should be an organic untreated material made from cotton or wool.

    Use 100 percent biodegradable nontoxic cleaning products.

    Window Coverings:
    Aluminum mini-blinds or wooden shutters are easy to keep clean and do a great job of adjusting the light levels. Make sure any loose cords are tired up or severed.

    Make certain there is adequate ventilation in the nursery that allows for fresh air, but no drafts. An Air filter is also very effective, but use one that has both a HEPA filter and activated military carbon cloth. Change your furnace filters every three months to reduce dust and pollen. Here are just a few tips that can help make your nursery a little greener! -DYH

  32. 7 Must Haves in a New Home

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    A wish list for a new home can be quite lengthy and detailed. After you have found the right neighbourhood for you and your family, here are some “must haves” we have found to be quite popular with home owners today.

    1. Mudroom/Large Entrance
    Mudrooms don’t have to be a “room”, but can be a wider hallway (minimum of 5’) or a large entrance. Things to look for in a functional mudroom/entrance

    • Plenty of lighting
    • Place to sit
    • Ample storage
    • Easy to clean floors and walls

    Having enough space to suit your family in the entrance is essential. Determine your needs; do you have a large family, need storage for the kids/sports equipment, entertain a lot, or have visiting family.

    2. Lighting
    Lighting for your home is both functional and aesthetic. There are several types of lighting to consider in and around your home.

    General lighting, like your pot lights, sconces and bedroom/bathroom fixtures.

    Task lighting focuses on a work area; good for kitchens, home offices, workshops, and living/family rooms.

    Accent lighting highlights areas or objects of interest in your home.

    Don’t forget to install dimmer switches in places like family/living rooms and bedrooms. Any room you may want softer, dimmer lighting.

    Statement fixtures in the front entrance, dining room or master bedroom are also a must!

    3. Walk in Closet
    Walk in closets can eliminate the need for large dressers in the master bedroom, giving you more space. Closet organizers can be installed so you utilize all the space to suit your needs. They aren’t just to hang your clothes; you can have shelving units, drawers, tie/belt hangers and shoe storage to name a few. Create your own closet organizer from your local hardware store or hire a professional to design and install to save yourself a few headaches.

    4. En-Suite Bathroom
    No more sharing a bathroom with kids and company… need I say more!

    Keep in mind if you would prefer a 3 or 4 piece bathroom when building or looking for a new home. Some homeowners must have a bathtub in their ensuite, while others are fine with just a shower. If you want a spa feel, look for a soaker tub with jets and separate shower. Not all showers are equal either! A basic corner shower may be a little tight for your liking, look at larger rectangular showers or even custom install showers with steam.

    You can always change out the fixtures and shower heads in your bathroom to change the look without breaking the bank.

    5. Double Attached Garage
    Living in the extreme climates, we would prefer to park our vehicles in a garage to make mornings a little easier. A standard double car garage is 20’ x20’ for 2 cars. If you own something larger like a truck or SUV, you will definitely want your garage to be a minimum 24’ x 24’. Garages are also a great place for a workbench, storage for tools, holiday decorations, sporting equipment and bicycles. Don’t forget about installing shelves, hooks and organizers to help make your belongings less cluttered.

    Other items to look into too is lighting, windows (natural lighting), entrances to house or yard, floor drains and having it heated. Make sure your garage suits your needs and lifestyle!

    6. Main Floor Laundry
    This is becoming more common in new home builds. Having laundry on the same floor you spend most of your time (family room, bedroom), can be a great convenience. Certain measures will need to be made to the floor to make sure your washer and dryer function properly and quietly on your main floor. If possible make this room as large as you can. Most laundry rooms only hold the washer, dryer and a small cupboard but you need space to iron, sort and fold laundry. This is where the extra room will come in handy or you’ll have piles of dir ty clothes in the hallway on laundry day.

    7. Storage
    I could be wrong, but I don’t think you could ever have too much storage! Linen closets are a must to hold all your extra linens, pillows and even extra cleaners on the top shelf. Everyone needs a pantry…possibly two! A corner panty in your kitchen offers a lot of space for dry foods, large counter top appliances and more. If you don’t have enough room in your kitchen pantry, housing one in the basement is a great place for extra bulk items, multiples and canning. Creating proper storage in your home can make rooms feel less cluttered and your life a little easier. If you live in a smaller home, look for storage built into furniture pieces as well, to serve double duty or just to hide away stuff when company comes over! -DYH

  33. Christmas Parties

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    Christmas parties are something that most people look forward to all year long because they are a joyful gathering of friends, family, great food, and shared memories.

    There are lots of things that probably go into your Christmas parties such as preparing food, having a good music selection, sending out beautiful invitations, creating or buying Christmas table arrangements, or preparing your home for overnight guests. The great thing is that you can make your home look very festive without spending a lot of time or money on it, so that you can spend more time visiting with your guests and catching up with many people that you may not have spent much time with since your party last year.

    Christmas crackers, cookies, and some simple foods will make feeding your guests quite simple. If you want to have more filling foods, you might want to consider having the party catered or purchasing pre-cooked foods so that you do not have to worry about cooking great food for you and all of your guests to eat at your party. If you really want to have homemade food at your Christmas party, you may want to have some friends or family members come over and help you prepare the food and make a tradition out of that as well. Or, you can always make your Christmas party potlucks so that you have a different selection of foods to offer your guests every year and simply say that you’ll provide the Christmas crackers, cookies, and one prepared dish every year but you want help feeding the masses! Most people love potlucks, so you’ll find that most of your guests will be quite receptive to this idea.

    If you are busy preparing food, the table arrangements, decorations and you just can’t seem to get your home cleaned, think about employing your kids or a neighbor to help you get things tidied up quickly. Just one extra pair of hands can help you get the job done in a lot less time. Or, create a checklist for yourself that will help you get a few things done each day before your Christmas party so that you do not have stress about cleaning the day of your party.

    If you want Christmas table decorations as well as other decorations to make for your party, the Internet and craft stores offer many great ideas for Christmas crafts that will make your home look even more festive. Just hanging strands of garland on your door frames is a simple and inexpensive way to make your home look great for your Christmas parties, so don’t think you have to spend a ton of money to make your home look great. A great Christmas party table decoration is to simply buy a pre-decorated wreath to place on the table and then find a great scented candle to put in the middle of it. If you have a large table you might think about placing more than one on the table.

    Christmas parties should be a lot of fun, so don’t let yourself get stressed out as you plan for the party in your home. Some of the best Christmas par ties are that way because of great planning and because the hostess isn’t afraid to be thrifty and even ask for help. Christmas is about bringing family and friends together to have fun, not to stress you out! So focus on enjoying friends, family, and fun at your next Christmas party! -DYH

  34. What to Look For in Selecting Kitchen Flooring

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    Many homeowners tend to make the mistake of not giving enough thought to flooring options. The right flooring can make a big difference in a kitchen. For instance flooring with light or neutral tones creates an impression of light and space. Stronger colors might work in a small kitchen, but not in a larger one.

    The kitchen flooring is the foundation which your kitchen literally rests. By failing to give more consideration to your flooring options and selecting the wrong flooring will insure that an otherwise outstanding kitchen will look only average, and become dated sooner.

    When selecting kitchen flooring, it is a good idea to select something that has elements of beauty and durability. Kitchen flooring can accent the counters, cabinets, and appliances. It must also be able to stand up to everyday wear, such as spills and heavy foot traffic.

    When it comes to choosing materials for your kitchen flooring be sure to take into consideration both your budget and lifestyle. The choice of kitchen flooring material can be quite broad. Among the choices are vinyl in sheet or tiles, ceramic tile, wood floors and laminate materials.

    How do you decide the best one for your kitchen flooring?

    You need to do your own research and get the best advice you can from professional contractors and kitchen designers.

    Popular Flooring Options:
    For durable and more cost effective flooring materials then look into vinyl or ceramic tiles.

    • Vinyl is durable, inexpensive and available in sheets or tiles, in smooth or knobby. It is the most popular choice when it comes to kitchen flooring, and is available in a large selection of styles, colors and patterns. Vinyl kitchen flooring is generally popular all over the country.
    • Laminate kitchen flooring is also popular across the country as well. This is a newer product that has grown out of the countertop business. It is created by laminating a photograph of wood grain, stone, or other surfaces, directly to the flooring material. It has the advantage of a quick installation time and is very durable.
    • Ceramic tile is beautiful and sturdy, and is the ideal material to clean up spills. Ceramic floor is about as maintenance free as it gets.
    • Hardwood kitchen flooring lasts much longer than many options; however it does need to undergo refi nishing from time to time. It is available in a wide variety of colors and grains and it can be installed in strips, planks, or parquet squares.

    When selecting materials for kitchen flooring, you must consider materials that are both beautiful and durable. Kitchen flooring can be used to accent the counters, cabinets, and appliances. However kitchen flooring must be able to take everyday wear and tear such as spills and heavy traffic. It’s important to select the right material when it comes to Kitchen Flooring. Are you looking for the beauty and durability of travertine or the warmth of hardwoods? By making the correct decision now you can guarantee that a quality kitchen floor will keep its beauty and last a lifetime.

    When designing your ideal kitchen remember that light or neutral tones emphasize the impression of light and space, just as darker shades can create feelings of warmth and intimacy. A floor’s finish can even effect perceptions of size and space. A high gloss finish can contribute to the perception of spaciousness. A more subdued or a matte finish can make a space look smaller.

    Ultimately the best way to make the decision on kitchen flooring material to look though samples from warehouse wholesale industries and showrooms in your area. Feel the materials they have and see the quality they offer. -DYH

  35. Home Renovation and Maintenance in the Fall

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    Doing a few chores around the house this month can save you major expense in the spring.

    By doing a little preventative maintenance now, you can prevent minor problems from escalating into a major headache in the spring.  Minor repairs done now can prevent air and moisture penetration from attacking the structural integrity of your home down the road.

    Cleaning the eaves troughs in the fall, for example, can prevent ice damming in the winter, where moisture is forced up under the roof’s shingles during winter’s freeze-thaw cycles.

    Here are some home maintenance jobs that should be on a homeowner’s winterizing checklist:

    Clean eaves troughs after the last leaves have fallen. Run a garden hose and check that they are draining properly and that downspouts are operating and directed away from the home’s foundation walls. Check for leaking or damaged gutters, downspouts and hangers. Remove rust and patch the gutters with roofing cement. Caulk leaking seams and make sure pop rivets are secure.

    Check the roof for trouble signs such as broken or missing shingles, cracked, buckling or curling shingles, or bare spots where the granular coating has worn off. Check flashing around vents, skylights and chimneys. Look for pieces that have peeled back and for cracked caulking that could allow moisture penetration.

    Have the chimney cleaned and check the exterior structure for worn flashing, loose bricks or crumbling mortar.

    Have your furnace cleaned, inspected and safety checked. Depending on the system, you will need to have the furnace vacuumed, the filter changed and the pilot checked.

    Check for blockage of attic louvers by wasp’s nests and put sheet metal, wire screen or wood over any openings, including under the eaves, to prevent animals from nesting.

    Remove and store your window air conditioner. Make sure to clean the coils and filters and cover loosely for the winter. If you are leaving the air conditioner in the window, put a weatherproof cover over it to protect it during the winter.

    Clean your lawn mower and other garden tools before storing. Give all the metal parts of your tools a wipe with an oiled rag to prevent rusting. Drain the fuel from gas-powered machines and run the engine until the lines are clear. Drain the oil and replace it. Clean caked-on grass and debris.

    Check doors and windows for proper caulking and weather-stripping. Do the draft test: hold a lit candle and run it along the seams of doors and windows. A flickering flame means your heating dollars are going out the window.  Check the bottoms of doors for a snug threshold seal or door sweep.

    Make sure your fireplace is in safe working order. Check that the damper opens and closes smoothly and fits properly to prevent heat loss. Check inside the fireplace to make sure no bricks are loose or broken. If your fireplace is smoking excessively, check the chimney for fallen bricks. Installing a chimney cap can cure a smoking fireplace by improving the draft.

    Drain exterior water lines, hose bibs, sprinklers, and pool equipment before the first major freeze. Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.

    Clean your barbecue and store it in a protected place for the winter. Never store propane tanks indoors.

    Clean patio furniture and store, loosely covered, in a dry place.

    Wash windows to let in the maximum heat and light during cold winter days.

    Doing your fall chores can make your life easier come spring, when you would rather be fishing than fixing winter damage. – DYH

  36. Letter from the Editor

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    2Wow, summer is finally here! Now we have to take advantage of the long, warm, sunny days. July and August is a great time to catch up with neighbours, start or finish landscaping projects, and visit with family/friend around a crackling fire.

    I have a few tricks to keep me active during the summer months, especially when it is almost too hot to go outside. I restrict myself to one hour of television a day (except for sporting events). I join local sport teams like the Ultimate Frisbee league and the Men’s Barbarians Rugby club. We enroll our daughter in sports teams as well. I get out to the Brandon Chamber events and mingle with other business people in my area.

    When I do have free time I try to remember what I used to do as a child and instill that attitude into my daughter. If you were like me you would bike to the park, play at the local pool, play sports, and hang out with friends. So I make every attempt to go outside with my daughter to kick the ball, throw the frisbee, play in the sprinkler and go for long bike rides.

    One final trick I will share with you, when you are tired, hot, mosquito bitten, and don’t have any motivation to go outside just look at the picture below and remember it is only a few months away.

    Stewart Dyck
    Publishing Editor,
    Design Your Home

  37. Letter from the Editor

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    Fun Youth Activities

    Our FamilyThe start of 2014 had brought us record breaking cold weather. With all the cold weather we appreciate the spring and summer months that much more. So start planning for the warmer weather. Sports can provide your children with physical (i.e. weight maintenance, coordination, fitness) and emotional (i.e. confidence, self-discipline, self-esteem) benefits.

    We have enrolled our daughter in many different spring and summer activities. Brandon offers activities for all skill levels, age groups and to fit into any schedules you may be looking for. Here are just a few Youth Activities in Brandon Manitoba:

    Westman Youth Rugby Association for ages 6-13. They develop the ABCs of Athleticism; Activity, Balance, Coordination, Speed. Check out their website at: for details.

    Galaxy Sports Ages 4 to 6 are eligible to play. Contact info at

    Objective is to introduce kids into the world of sport and the benefits of team work, social interaction, and physical activity.

    Brandon Youth Soccer Association Kids and teens ages 4 to 18. Indoor or outdoor soccer for either recreationally or competitively in Brandon, MB.

    Thunder Bowl ages 4 to 17. Classes are located at 2140 Currie Blvd, Brandon, MB.

    Sportsplex for Tot with parent and 3 years and up. Classes are at 30 Knowlton Dr Brandon, MB (204) 729-2470. Check out this websites for more details and more activities:

    Talk to people in your local community for what programs are available to you.

    If you need support, KidSport is national charity administered by Sport Manitoba that helps to remove barriers and assist less fortunate children participate in sport – so all kids can play.

    See For More Information Contact KidSport Manitoba at 1-866-774-2220 or email your regional office.

    Stewart Dyck
    Publishing Editor,
    Design Your Home

  38. Letter from the Editor

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    What a great year we had, bringing Design Your Home to Western Manitoba. We star ted with a simple concept; bring informational articles and great local businesses to help make your house a home. Our goal is to use local talent to bring you our FREE publication, in order to help with your house, cottage, apar tment or condo needs. We had expanded that concept with introducing a “Featured Business” article that would put focus on a business that had invested time or money to improve their image. We also introduced a Lifestyle section that gave us the ability to share great wine tips, pet care, local activity, and safety advice.

    About the Magazine
    Design Your Home magazine was created and designed by Jaime-Lynn Dyck and myself. Each issue we showcase articles about the home, from the interior to the exterior. We hoped to help you find local ideas, products and companies that will help you make your living space your home! We have brought together a team of local individuals and businesses to bring you this magazine. Jaime-Lynn Dyck, Marketing and Sales Manager, Scott Kasprick of Reaxion Graphics, Leech Printing and many other local freelance writers and photographers.

    Where Are We a Year Later?
    Since we launch in September 2012, Design Your Home has produced over 63,000 copies, been delivered to over 50,000 homes and displayed over 13,000 magazines across Western Manitoba. Design Your Home has also been active on the social networks like Twitter (design_yourhome), Facebook and Pinterest.

    What Next?
    Design Your Home is excited about the upcoming collaborations with Leech Printing. They will be able to take us to the next chapter, producing a high quality magazine.

    Thank You
    Thank you to everyone that supports Design Your Home magazine and for your continued support. We could not have made it this far without all of you!!!

    A special thanks to Colleen White, for helping me produce correct, consistent, and accurate articles. You made my job so much easier.

    Stewart Dyck
    Publishing Editor,
    Design Your Home

  39. Letter From the Editor

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    Looking back on the summer of 2013, it was surely one to remember. Being involved in the Westman Ultimate Frisbee League, Brandon Barbarians, and the Manitoba Mud Run was an experience I will never forget.

    Our team the “Disc Monsters” of the Westman Ultimate Frisbee league had a great year.  With most of our players having two years or more experience really showed on the field.  We were 12-2 for the regular season and won first place by shutting down the Finger Flickin three year winning streak.

    The Brandon Barbarians are continuing to play the regular season until the end of the September.  The season is coming to an end and it looks good for both the Division 1 and 2 teams to make the playoffs.  The Manitoba Rugby finals are being hosted by Brandon, so if you are interested or curious about rugby, come on down to the pitch (Reilly’s Field) on Saturday, October 3 and experience the excitement.

    Dauphin’s first Manitoba Mud Run was a huge success. They were thrilled to report that the grand total of pledges raised for the MS Society of Manitoba was a whopping $42,521.34!
    It was a 10k run with 20 obstacles which sounds grueling but wasn’t.  The support you received from other teams or individuals at each obstacle made it possible for anyone to complete.  I’m going to be there next year and I’m encouraging everyone to come out and get dirty.

    We at Design Your Home would love to hear or see (pictures, videos) what you did this summer.  We will share it on our facebook, twitter and may post it in next summer’s issue of Design Your Home magazine.  We like to share events and activities available for the public.  Please send your emails to or post it on our facebook page.

  40. Wine Advice: Tips For Assessing Wine When Dining

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    A wine assessment takes considerable time and thought. When dining, although there is no time limitation to accept or decline a wine, the fact is, many patrons feel rushed.

    Wine assessments focus on appearance, aroma(smell) and taste, and the following tips will help you make a relatively quick, yet accurate, assessment.  It helps if you are familiar with the grape variety used to make the wine and if you are familiar with the wine – even better. You already know what to expect.

    When wine is presented to you, check to make certain that it is indeed what you ordered. Verify the name of the wine, producer and vintage. Once accepted the waiter pours a small sample, usually one ounce, for your assessment and approval.

    First, note the appearance of the wine. Tilt the glass to view it against a white background – a napkin or placemat. Evaluate the color, clarity and hue. Is the wine clean and shiny or dull and murky? Most wine is bright and reflective although some of the best wines are unfiltered and may appear slightly hazy.  Wine made from different varieties or by different methods has dramatic differences in color. For example, Sauvignon Blanc is pale straw yellow in color where an oak-influenced Chardonnay is a medium gold hue. The  “legs” or ‘tears” , the droplets that stream down the inside of a glass, are not an assessment of a wines quality, they are simply a reflection of the amount of glycerin, alcohol or sweetness.

    Smell is by far the most critical assessment. Put your nose in the glass and smell the wine, then swirl (swirling exposes wine to air releasing aromas) then smell again. Take your time. Does the wine have the aromatic profile you expected? Do you detect any faults? Wine should never smell like sherry (unless it is),  as this is proof of an oxidized wine, where musty or wet basement odors indicate a “corked” wine.  Other scents such as geraniums, onions, cabbage and nail-polish remover also indicate faults. If you identify an aromatic fault there is absolutely no need to taste the wine. If you are uncertain about the fault then you must taste the wine.

    The main goal of tasting is to confirm aromatic faults and assess the balance between sweetness, acidity, alcohol and tannin, the major components of wine. Faults detected only thru taste are excessive bitterness or tannins (the drying, astringent texture in wine).

    If the wine is faulty it should be refused but if you simply do not like it,  that is a different scenario all-together.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  41. My Idiah: A Gallery of Your Own

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    One way to achieve a designer look in your home is properly hung artwork. If you are like me, you like to take plenty of pictures of your family and travels, but arranging them on the wall can be a bit of a struggle. Here are some tips to get you that designer look at home!

    Groupings are more effective when hung in symmetry, like a square or rectangle. Find a commonality to tie the grouping together, such as all-black frames, wood frames, or white mattes. If you already have a collection of frames, consider painting them all the same colour. Find the wall space you wish to hang your gallery and let’s get started!

    Lay your frames on the floor in different patterns, until you find a layout you like. Spacing should be 2-3 inches apart between frames on all sides. Trace the frames on a large piece of paper and hang the traced paper on the wall, for even a day or so, to get a good feel for it. You can also cut each frame size out of paper and stick them individually to the wall and move them around as you see fit. Pictures should be hung at eye level which is approximately 57 inches (to centre of the picture). When hanging your gallery, be sure that the centre of the grouping is 57 inches.

    Tip: for higher ceilings, you can hang slightly higher. Mark the nail/hook location of each frame on the paper hanging on the wall and nail/screw it right over the paper. Then just tear the paper away. This will ensure your photo gallery is hung according to your layout.

    Now fill your frames with your favourite pictures and enjoy your new photo gallery!

  42. Kitchen Safety

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    Cooking can be a very enjoyable pastime but remember that safety in the kitchen is imperative. You are dealing with knives, fire, hot appliances and the often-forgotten danger: bacteria.

    Observe basic safety rules and always be alert as one slip can cause a serious incident.

    • do not cook in loose clothing or with long hair not tied back. You don’t want anything accidentally catching fire.
    • remove all dangling jewelry that could get caught on pot or pan handles.
    • have pot holders ready and be sure to use them.
    • have handles pointed away from the stove front where they could be accidentally hit by the cook or grabbed by a child.
    • set up a safe zone so children do not get close to the stove or hot pots or pans.
    • raw meat, fish and some dairy products are temperature sensitive so keep them in the fridge. Do not let them sit out on the countertops.
    • keep raw meat and poultry away from other food items and each other while storing. Avoid cross contamination.
    • wipe up spills as soon as they happen to keep the floor dry and avoid slips and falls.
    • wash your hands to help prevent the spread of bacteria after handling all foods but especially meat products.
    • always have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it before the need arises.

    Knife Safety

    • always store knives in a wooden block or in a drawer away from children.
    • keep the knives sharp to help prevent slips.
    • slice away from your hand and keep fingers clear of the blade.
    • do not use your hand as a cutting board: for example, cutting an apple in half.
    • to mince: keep the blade tip on the board and pump the handle up and down.
    • hold the food with the tips of your fingers.
    • beware of steak knives. They cut meat so will cut a finger or hand.
    • do not lick cream cheese, butter, etc. off of a butter knife.
    • never slice freehand over the sink.
    • secure the cutting board by setting it on a damp towel.

    If you do cut your hand, rinse the cut with cold water and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Wrap in a clean cloth or paper towel and raise above your head and keep pressure on it until the bleeding stops. Apply an antibiotic cream and bandage.

    If the cut is deep, stitches may be needed so visit the nearest emergency room for medical attention.

    The kitchen is a gathering place for many occasions. By following these practices you can keep it a safe and happy experience for all.

  43. Feature Home: 9 Southview

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    Modern and contemporary or traditional and classic – these are fairly common terms often used to describe the style of a house.

    Meredyth Leech, Design Manager with J&G Homes, recently put the finishing touches on a new show home for Brandon’s Fall 2014 Parade of Homes and she with Jared Jacobson, Owner J & G Homes, worked hard to find a balance between the two.
    “The one thing to keep in mind is that not everyone likes modern, not everyone likes traditional, so I tried to blend the two as much as possible to appeal to everyone,” Meredyth said.

    Jared worked closely with Meredyth on the style of the home “this is one of our signature homes, which when we build that lineup of the home, I will tend to put a bit of my finishing touches into it.” Jared said.

    Number Nine Southview Drive in Brookwood, one of Brandon’s newest developments, is where you’ll find J&G’s new show home. Along with the style of the home, Meredyth also considered the customer who would eventually purchase it.

    “I designed this house for a family that loves to entertain and spend time inside and outside. It’s definitely a fun house with a large patio, a fully landscaped backyard, a bar and home theatre room,” Meredyth said.

    This, of course, is just one of a number of projects that J&G Homes currently has in the works. Since 1956, they have been in the business of building and generations later this family-owned business is still going strong.

    Jared Jacobson, the third generation of Jacobsons at the helm, has been Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since 2004. He believes J&G’s solid reputation in Brandon is based, in part, because of their history.

    “We’re well known for being around for three generations and for our quality construction,” Jared said. “We’re a local business that has always given back to the community.”

    J & G Homes staff 270 employees, approximately 55 subcontractors, 550 trades people and with the nine other Jacobson-owned companies, running a corporation of this magnitude takes a lot of forward thinking and planning. Jared looks to his family and staff for support.

    “It’s important to be involved in the business and to not be an absent owner. I try to be involved as much as I can and to continue the legacy of my dad and grandpa,” Jared said. “I have a great team and surround myself with good people. I rely on them a lot and if you use your team wisely, the organization will always be successful.”

    It’s quite obvious after walking through the new home on Southview Drive that it did indeed take a team of great people to make it the stunning showcase that it is. There are many features of this fabulous abode that gives it not only finesse on the inside, but fantastic curb appeal as well.

    “Because it’s a show home we like to showcase as much as possible, so we did use mixed materials on the outside instead of just stucco and brick. The metal wood siding and wood grain doors really brought it together. I feel like we’ve created a home with a modern, more West Coast vibe,” Meredyth said.

    The home features a fully landscaped yard with a Barkman patio and fireplace. The driveway has a new style of pavers, as does the patio. These thick, weathered, wood-looking pavers are also a new Barkman product that was used to complement all the materials used on the outside of the house.

    The home, itself, is 2012 square feet on the main level. It has an open-concept design, plus five bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a large covered deck off the kitchen, a modern fireplace, a basement bar and a home theatre room. The creative and unique features inside and outside the house will definitely appeal to a wide range of buyers.

    “My favourite part of the house is probably the pine hardwood flooring. We rarely use hardwood these days, so it was nice to be able to,” Meredyth said.

    Along with the hardwood floors, there are quartz countertops throughout with a lovely waterfall effect in the kitchen and a comfy fireplace that beautifully sets off the living room area.

    “The quartz throughout the house is really nice as well. Quartz countertops are really popular as they are along the same lines as granite and marble, except there are more colours to choose from; it’s a bit more durable and there’s less maintenance,” Meredyth said. “The fireplace is a more modern style than our standard fireplace – it is more linear, more contemporary. We used a faux, concrete panel which is a new product that is light, easy to cut and good to work with.”

    Other features of the show home include a gorgeous ensuite bathroom with a freestanding bathtub and a beautifully tiled shower, a spacious entrance, main-floor laundry, a Jack and Jill bathroom and an attached two-car garage.  As you walk through this beautiful home, you will notice great furnishings and decor from Kullberg’s.

    According to J&G’s tracking system, it takes a minimum of 52,000 components to build an average home. With all the various components and the added pressure of building a show home, Meredyth admits it’s definitely a bit trickier than working on a project for a homeowner.

    “We don’t normally do a finished basement or a bar as a standard it is optional to the homeowners to do at time of construction or in the future.  It’s a much bigger plan and of course there’s the timelines and the pressure to get everything completed on time. At the same time, however, it’s also one of the best jobs to take on because we’re able to try new and innovative products and there’s a bit more room to play. So, I think it all balances out.”

    When building with J&G Homes you’ll find a large variety of plans to choose from within the Lifestyles, Legacy and Signature series and all their homes can be customized to the homeowner. Jared says they try to provide customers with attractive plans that match the lifestyle and price range of each customer.  They strive to find innovative plans people can afford to build new homes and they strive to provide great customer service.

    “We’re basically a full-service, one-stop shop for people who want to build a new home. We have a whole new process in place for working with customers that includes all the people that you need – we have designers, realtors, an engineer, drafts people, a planner, two customer service representatives and people to work with in the finance department. By having the whole supply chain, we can offer the best pricing and best value for the cost (of building a home),” Jared said.

  44. Making A House Plan

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    How To Build The Home You Have Been Dreaming About:
    Planning to build a house is surely an exciting endeavor in anyone’s life. It is a major step throughout the course of a lifetime, one of the milestones that most hardworking people look forward to.

    Being a major decision, making a house plan can be a very difficult feat. Without the proper knowledge, one can turn a dream into a nightmare. Fortunately, with some basic know-how, one can be guided into making a good house plan that can make one’s dream home come into reality.

    The Basics of a House Plan
    When making a house plan, the first step is to picture the general components one would want to have in their dream home. Going directly to the details might leave one frustrated as there are hundreds of things to think about, thus, it is important to first have an overview of the house plan.  How many bedrooms would you want? This depends on how many people will live in the house, or if you plan to accommodate more in the future. You should also think of the size of the house, whether you want it to be a bungalow or a two-story structure. You have to imagine the general feel of the house, before going to the nitty-gritty details.

    The Financial Factor
    Of course it is quite impossible to build a house without thinking of your budget. In most cases, the budget would determine so much about what you can do to the house you are building. It would be helpful to consult contractors or builders to see what kind of house would match your finances. Check if the house you imagined in your overview would be affordable according to your budget. If your budget does not meet your dreams, then you might just need to remove some elements, but if you have more than enough money, you may want to add some more things.

    The Components of the House Plan
    After contemplating the type of house you want and viewing it according to your budget, you can then begin to plan the essential components of the house. Here are some of them:

    1. Foundation – a house must be built on a sturdy foundation. You might want a basement as a foundation, this could give you extra space, perhaps for storage or another room. To maximize the square footage of your house, a Walkout or Daylight Basement in the home can provide many benefits that are lacking in a traditional basement setting. A walkout basement is most frequently found in houses situated on a slope, since part of the basement level is above ground – however a walkabout basement is most simply defined as a basement with full windows and a door to the outside. A walkabout basement has many benefits, including the fact that it can create more living space and increase the appraisal value of your house.
    You might also want a slab foundation or a crawlspace if you do not want a basement. You need to check with your local building authority as to what type of foundation can be used when building a house.

    2. Materials – of course, you would need to choose the types of materials to be used for the house. You might want simple wood or hardboards, you might want concrete or stone. Again it all depends on your preference, budget, and the environment where your house will be built.

    3. Exterior and Interior Finishes – finishing is also important even if some people might think it is just for aesthetic purposes. While a structure built on a strong foundation with sturdy materials could already provide shelter, it could barely become a dream home. Some types of finishes you might want for the exterior of your home could be stucco, vinyl, brick, aluminum, or wood. For the interior you might want drywall, stone, concrete, wood, among many others.

    Building a house is a major endeavor that requires careful planning and consideration. With a good plan and the proper execution, one can be sure to build a dream home. – DYH

  45. Feature Business: Sutton

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    The bond between a property buyer or seller and their agent can be a life-changing one. The insights, knowledge, and dedication the REALTORS® bring to their clients can make dreams come true. This is what the Sutton-Harrison Realty team see as their starring role. And, brokers Kit and Sue Harrison have made it their mission to ensure they and their team put all their skills and energy into helping their clients reach their end goals.

    “Real people, real service, real estate.” That’s the motto of Sutton-Harrison Realty, which provides a full-service business. That means meeting the needs of clients – whether interested in a house, a condo, a business, a farm, a recreational property, a retirement residence, or a property for development. And, just as their clients are on the move looking for the right property – so are they. Sutton-Harrison Realty is moving their family of 28 REATORS® into their new, modern, specially chosen location – the Cornerstone Mall at 18th and Rosser.

    Today, Kit and Sue are the broker / owners of a successful enterprise. They are sharing with their clients the excitement of moving into a new location as they tailor-design their new office space to fit their clients’, their new partners’, and their team’s needs. Their 28 REALTORS® – serving clients in Brandon, Westman, and beyond – are very excited about the move.
    How did they get to where they are now?

    Spreading Their Wings
    The story starts 30 years ago, in 1984. At the time, Kit was one of the youngest real estate professionals to join the industry. In 2003, Sue entered the business: they were now partners at work as well as husband and wife. At that same time, they sought affiliation with a national firm. They chose Sutton, which has a reputation for being tech savvy and is one of the largest real estate companies in Canada. Sutton-Harrison Realty was born. They decided to expand to a larger office and secured a storefront in the 300 block of 10th Street. Then came the opportunity to purchase the northeast corner of 10th Street and Victoria Avenue.

    Sutton-Harrison Realty operated from 10th and Victoria until a couple of years ago when it was developed for a national tenant. At that point, they moved into a temporary spot in the 1600 block of 13th Street. They explored several options before deciding on their new location: the Cornerstone Mall on the northeast corner of 18th and Rosser.

    The new office has a fresh, high-tech, modern look. The 18th Street location provides a welcoming atmosphere, with easy access and parking for clients, staff, and visitors. The product they sell is external to their workplace, but having a convenient, professional office is still important. The high-profile, handsome, and handy Cornerstone development at 18th and Rosser is ideal. In real estate – both commercial and residential – it is “location, location, location.”

    The new setting, Sue says, “is the office of our dreams.”

    The new office is part of a complete re-branding and redevelopment of the whole company. One important aspect is the move to a partnership model. The new partnership now encompasses a half-dozen individuals who bring a diversity of strengths, knowledge, and experience. The result: a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and energetic team that can better meet the needs of their clients.

    Building on Client Commitment
    Of course, the Sutton-Harrison Realty’s overall success speaks to their dedication to their clients – serving them over the years with integrity and competence. Kit and Sue, in the words of their mission statement, are “committed to be your first choice in personalized real estate services, and to help you achieve your goals.”

    And today, they also must be on top of the abundance of information and new technology. Much communication is now on the go: with texting, cell phones, and other mobile devices. And the Internet: with social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Many of the team have their own Facebook pages, YouTube sites, and Twitter profiles. (You can find Sutton-Harrison Realty on Facebook at And, you can contact Sutton-Harrison Realty by e-mail at; by phone at 204-571-5900; or toll free at 1-877-463-5900.) As part of the overall redevelopment, their website ( is also being completely redone.

    Celebrating the Satisfaction
    Kit and Sue are delighted with the real estate field. It is a great way to enhance the lives of their clients, to participate in the business life of the community, and to make a living. The work is satisfying, even though it entails long hours at tasks that are often not obvious or even noticed. Selling a property is much harder than it might appear to the casual observer. And even though much work is done electronically with new mobile applications and social media, the sheer amount of old-fashioned paperwork has actually increased. There are now more regulations and other requirements that must be met. And their work is not over just because the buyer and seller have agreed to a deal. In many ways, Kit says, “we are often just starting our work when an offer is accepted.”

    Real estate, Kit says, “is an equal opportunity business.” Both women and men have the opportunity to reap the same rewards. A special benefit is that real estate work often can provide some flexibility. It allows, for example, for a parent with a young family at home to get started in the career.

    Kit and Sue speak with obvious pride and enjoyment with the 28 REALTORS® who work with them at Sutton-Harrison Realty. “It is not all about being the top sales person,” Kit says. “We get our biggest kick out of seeing someone grow and be a successful, confident, happy person.”

    Developing and supporting an effective team means implementing programs such as on-going training, best practice sessions, and performance recognition. Kit and Sue believe that the stronger the team, the greater the benefits to their clients individually. The real foundation of the team is solidly based on the Harrisons’ attracting and nurturing really good people. Their REALTORS®, Sue says, “all have good souls.”

    Every Sutton-Harrison Realty client is treated as a special individual. But Kit and Sue have a larger vision as well. They know that a city, town, or rural area can be much more than just a collection of people who happen to live in the same place. When people are engaged as neighbours and citizens, that place can be nurtured as a vibrant community. That is why Kit and Sue are involved in charities and other organizations. That is why they encourage all their REALTORS® to contribute, participate, and give back to their community. And that is why they set aside a little bit from the proceeds of every transaction. They then quietly channel those funds to people they have encountered through their work who are in need.

    Looking to the future
    What’s in the future? Kit and Sue see even more growth and even more opportunities. They have the exclusive rights to the Sutton name for the territory in the province of Manitoba excluding Winnipeg. So the whole rural and northern Manitoba beckons. There are increasing opportunities in the commercial sphere – a special interest of Kit’s. Another area of growth is in property management – there are now more people who are investing in real estate, but would like to have someone else professionally manage it for them.

    Today’s environment, Kit and Sue point out, more than ever creates a need for real estate professionals. There is more information out there and everything is more complicated. There is a greater need for a qualified experienced professional to help buyers and sellers sort through it all. A need to consult with someone who knows the market, who has accurate information, and who knows the steps required. Someone who can be a guide to the intricacies involved, like financing, legalities, regulations, home inspections, and more. To get an idea of the scope of the real estate scene, check out the Sutton-Harrison Realty website at There, you can see their team of REALTORS®, their services offered, and their current listings and more. And you can browse through useful articles like “Tips on Buying Your First Home,” “Windows: Replace or Repair?” and “Zen and the Art of Packing.”

    Kit and Sue have arrived at a point where they can reflect on lives and careers of real accomplishment and fulfillment. “We really enjoy what we are doing; we don’t even think of it as work,” Kit says. “It’s what keeps us energized and sharp.”
    Their new office will be a strong statement about the Sutton-Harrison Realty team and where they are going. About their pride of where they have come from. About their commitment to serve the community today. And about their confidence in the future. (The team of Sutton-Harrison Realty are celebrating the opening of their new office with a Brandon Chamber of Commerce “After Five” event plus a “Client Appreciation” on Thursday, September 18. If you would like to attend, please pre-register by phoning 204-571-5900.)

    What drives Kit and Sue Harrison and Sutton-Harrison Realty? At their core, the Harrisons combine down-home integrity and friendliness with a firm focus on their client’s needs and wants. And they continue to revel in the spirit that is the life of the real estate business.

    “There is nothing more fun than handing the keys over,” Sue says. “Seeing a client get what they have been looking for and dreaming of.”

  46. Trends in Custom Window Fashions

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    Just like runway fashions, window fashions change, and there have been many new developments recently. Let’s take a look at the top 10 trends to give you inspiration!

    1) Clean Lines
    One of the biggest design trends we are seeing today is the use of clean lines to create a contemporary, streamlined look. When it comes to draperies, inverted box pleat draperies on smaller-scale rods are all the rage. Flat Roman shades and box pleat valances are another popular style and are a great way to achieve a lighter, brighter, and less fussy look.

    2) Greys
    Grey has replaced taupe as the new neutral. We are seeing grey everywhere including fabrics, fashion, and home decor.
    Sophistication can be achieved in interiors by combining grey with neutral draperies in various tones and textures.

    3) Bright Colours
    On the opposite side of the spectrum, bright colours are also hot right now; clean crisp tones of orange, fuchsia, orchid, turquoise and cobalt blues act as the centre of attention in rooms. Have a little fun by combining bright colours with greys and neutrals.

    4) Natural Fibres
    You can achieve a sophisticated and contemporary look by using natural fibre fabrics. Linen is a perfect example that is very hot right now. There are many textured solids available in natural fibres as well such as cottons and silks.

    5) Large-scale Prints
    Large-scale prints that are big and bold are being seen more and more in interior design. Because they are so dramatic, they need to be used sparingly for the best effect.

    6) Geometric Patterns
    Large geometric prints are a great way to add impact to any room. Greek keys are an especially popular and versatile geometric motif. Everyone is in love with geometric patterns and trims so make sure you incorporate them into drapery panels to valances.  Bold patterns like these don’t always have to be in bold colours; they are just as attractive in neutral shades.

    7) Tape Trim
    Flat tape trims have replaced tassels and fringes as the preferred drapery accent. Today, tape trims come in a wide variety of options including solids, Greek key embroideries and animal prints. Tape trims can be used in many ways to embellish window treatments, bedding and pillows.

    8) Colour Blocking
    Colour blocking is a trend in fashion that almost everyone is familiar with and is a big trend in soft treatments as well. The idea is to use contrasting blocks of colours at the top and bottom of a drapery. Colour blocking is also a great look on Roman shades and valances. Colour blocking is a great way to add subtle colour into a natural space without overpowering it.

    9) Thin Rods
    Thin metal rods are trending and we are seeing more sleek designs such as French poles that return back to the wall with no finials.  This keeps with the modern look of today’s fashions.

    10) Nailheads
    Nailhead embellishments are being seen everywhere today; they can be found on upholstered headboards, cornices, chairs and even drapery panels.

    An important thing to remember when it comes to interior design trends is that they typically stick around for a decade.  Investing in these trends will give your home a fresh and updated look that you can enjoy for many years to come!

  47. Prepare the Garden for Winter

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    This article outlines the practical steps to putting the outdoor garden to rest for the winter.

    Are you like me?  Sad to see the summer end but at the same time relieved that there is one less task to tend to.  Weeding, watering, pruning, and more weeding is over for this year and with a few more chores the outdoor gardening year draws to a close.  Most of what needs to be completed is a matter of cleaning up and covering up.  Practical steps to preparing your outdoor garden for winter involve:

    1. Protecting plants. There are different opinions concerning whether to cut down or leave plants standing through the winter.  Here on the Prairies most people leave their perennials standing for a variety of reasons.  In particular, trapping the snow cover is important for protection of plants and retaining moisture.  Snow cover acts the same as good mulch by insulating the soil.  Many perennial stems and seed heads are also very attractive for winter interest and provide food for the birds.  After the ground freezes, mulch perennials and shrub beds with pine needles, compost, peat moss, or chopped leaves.  This protects the soil and plant roots and moderates the effects of extreme temperature changes during winter periods of freezes and thaws.

    2. Cleaning up the garden. Harvest warm-season crops such as tomatoes even though they are still green.  Lay out on windowsills; or layer them in boxes with newspapers between the layers of tomatoes.  They will slowly ripen or you can use green tomatoes for fried green tomatoes or various green tomato recipes.  Pull out any remaining crops or spent annuals; clean up remaining debris and weeds to decrease the possibility of disease problems in the spring.

    3. Evaluating your garden design. Before you start winterizing your garden, take a few minutes to review what worked and what didn’t and make note of any areas that you would like to change in the spring.

    4.  Preparing the soil for early spring seeding.  Turn over the garden soil late in the season while amending with organic matter such as leaves, compost, or well-rotted manure.  In the spring, a light raking is all that is needed.

    5.  Caring for trees and lawns. Protect the tender bark of young trees from rabbits and gnawing critters by wrapping stems or trunks with chicken wire or commercial tree-guard products.  To prevent rodents from nesting near buildings and trees, trim tall grass and remove weeds.  Deeply water trees and shrubs so that they go into winter well hydrated.  Don’t prune shrubs and trees as it may stimulate new growth just before the harsh weather.  Cut lawns and fertilize if you wish with a low-nitrogen “winter” blend.  Use grass clippings for mulch or compost.  Never send them to the landfill, as they are excellent fertilizer left on the lawn (if they are not too long) and/or make terrific compost/mulch dug straight into the garden or used for garden pathways.  Once rotted on pathways, dig into the garden and replace with new grass clippings.

    6.  Planting before winter.  Now is the time to plant bulbs.  Garden centres carry many varieties suitable for the Prairies.  Remember: buy good quality as cheap is not better. The larger the bulb – the larger the bloom.  Look for plumpness, firmness, clean skin, and surface.  Directions for planting are included with the package.

    7.  Composting. Compost dead plant debris including leaves.  Leaves are a valuable natural resource.  Rather than a nuisance, they are the best soil amendment as well as terrific mulch.  Leaves take very little effort to recycle into a wonderful soil conditioner – leaf mould – for the yard and garden.  You can make leaf mould by the same process nature does.  Pile up moist leaves and wait for them to decompose or shred the leaves into smaller pieces before piling them up.  If you wish, you can enclose the pile with chicken wire, snow fencing, or something similar.  In the spring, I rake up dry leaves and dig them straight into the vegetable garden.

    8. Cleaning your tools. Clean the soil from all your gardening tools, oil any wooden handles and moving parts, sharpen any blades, and then store them in a dry place for the winter.

    9.  Water Gardening. Bring in pumps, drain, and clean; take care of tender water plants prior to freezing.

    10. Bringing in your indoor plants. Before bringing in any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors, examine them for critters, wash them, and spray with soapy water or insecticidal soap.  Use sterilized potting soil purchased from garden centres or shopping malls if re-potting your plants.  Don’t use garden soil as it may harbour insects, weed seeds, disease, and fungi. – DYH

  48. Letter from the Editor

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    Fall is coming soon and I would like to reflect on our family summer holiday. We decided to take a “Griswold family cross-country drive” – Canadian style. We planned a two-week drive from Brandon to Vancouver Island. It was not my first time on Vancouver Island, but it was my first time driving through the Rocky Mountains.

    We made our first stop in Moose Jaw, Sask., at the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa, where we spent two days in Canada’s largest therapeutic geothermal mineral water pool. The natural warming pool was a great way to relax and start our holiday. We continued our drive to Calgary, where we spent two days visiting family and Canada’s largest living history museum, Heritage Park.  The Park theme is “How the West was Once.”  With more than 200 exhibits and attractions it offers fun for the whole family.

    After the great time in Alberta we packed up and headed to British Columbia. Our first stop was in Revelstoke, B.C., IMG_0511where they have an amazing attraction called the Enchanted Forest. “It provides summer travelers of all ages with a refreshing stop in the enchanting world of fantasy, set in untouched nature.” – The Enchanted Forrest resort.  Driving through the Rocky Mountains for the first time was spectacular.  If someone was counting, I must have said WOW every five minutes. With so many scenic views and pull-over locations, we tried to take it all in.

    Being on the road for a week, we made it to Vancouver Island.  We spent time on the harbour front and took in the local seafood dishes.  On the docks we met a guide who was part of a whale watching experience. We decided to spend four hours on the water around Victoria. They guarantee a whale sighting and they followed through with their promise.

    The next day we spent the day with family, at my cousin’s wedding. The wedding took place at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt. The base provided a great landscape for a wedding, with a 180-degree, unobstructed view of the harbour.

    On our way home, we stopped in at Lake Louise where we spent time at Moraine Lake as well. The view of the mountains and the clarity of the lake could not be completely captured by a photograph.  The clear blue water and the endless mountain peaks was a view I could take in for hours. We spent the rest of our trip heading back home to Brandon, with only a few bathroom and food stops.

    It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend a western drive through the mountains for a summer fun, family vacation.

    Stewart Dyck
    Publishing Editor,
    Design Your Home

  49. Wine Advice: Frozen Wonders – Ice Wine

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    It’s cold outside. almost cold enough for grape harvest – harvest time for grapes used in the production of Ice Wine. That time of year when frozen grapes are hand-harvested by pickers, dressed in heavy winter clothing, picking quickly through the night.

    Canada is the world’s largest producer of Ice Wine. Our reliably cool temperatures guarantee the conditions required for grapes to freeze.

    Ice Wine production may date to Roman times. The Germans have produced Ice Wine (Eiswein in Germany) since 1794. Quite possibly by mistake. Since then, Ice Wine was not produced annually in Germany, rather, its production was dependent on the vintage, often as a result of inclement weather. annual production began in 1961 when better equipment became available. The Germans continue to produce Ice Wine but due to global warming production is increasingly rare in some areas.

    Canadian production began in 1972 when the first Ice Wine was made in the Okanagan Valley. The Inniskillin Winery of Ontario has made Ice Wine since 1983 and in 1991 the winery entered the 1987 vintage Ice Wine in the famous Vinexpo wine competition in Bordeaux, winning the award, earning Ice Wine, and Canada, a place on the world wine stage.

    Wine Advice Frozen Wonders: Ice Wine There are regulations that must be fulfilled in order for wine to carry the label “Ice Wine”. after ripening, grapes must be frozen, naturally, on the grape vine, to a temperature of minus 8 degrees Celsius or colder. The sugar content is measured and must be a minimum of 35 degrees Brix (a measurement of the sugar content). By contrast, grapes for the production of table wine are harvested between 21-25 Brix.

    Production costs are extremely high. Grapes are hand- picked and crop size is small. Grapes may be affected by rot, be eaten by birds or animals, or may simply fall off the vine. all of these factors contribute to the price and the reason Ice Wine is referred to as Canada’s “liquid gold”. at least in part due to cost, and the fact that serving portions are minimal, bottle sizes vary.

    Surprisingly, despite the sugar level, Ice Wine wine is not cloyingly sweet. The high sugar content in the wine is balanced by high acidity and it is this balance that is responsible for the bright refreshing qualities of these wines.

    Flavors and aromas vary depending on the grape variety(red or white) used for production. These wines are medium-full-bodied, lush and flavourful. They have the ability to age but many believe that they are best enjoyed while youthful, fresh and vibrant.

    Ice Wine pairs beautifully with foie gras, fruit-based desserts and aged cheese.

    Enjoy “Canada’s liquid gold”.

  50. My Idiah: Kitchen Hacks Put to the Test

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    1Every day I seem to find myself reading different Kitchen hacks. Easier ways to cut this, faster ways to prepare that! So I thought it was time that I put some of these “so called” Kitchen hacks to the test. hopefully I can help save you some time and effort in the kitchen by showing you which ones actually worked for me.

    I have seen over and over again that putting a wooden spoon on top of your pot will prevent it from boiling over on the stove. I have to give this one a FAIL! I tried it several times, with different scenarios and found that in all, it would slow down the liquid from pouring over the pot, but it always happened! My advice is to cook on lower temperatures and watch, as cleaning up your stove top after isn’t fun!

    A great way to cool your room temperature beverage or wine is by placing frozen grapes in the glass. I give this one a PASS! It took roughly 5 minutes but the beverage did get cooler. The grapes were a nice treat at the bottom of the glass as well, and they don’t water down your beverage.

    Here is another one I just had to try. Place grapes or cherry tomatoes between 2 plastic lids or flat plates and slice between to cut several at once. I found you had to watch where you were cutting, but it was successful. This is a great time saver if you need to cut a lot of grapes or cherry tomatoes at one time. I also give this one a PASS!

    I read that by boiling water before freezing your ice cubes, will achieve clear ice cubes. I put this one to the test and have to give it a FAIL! I tried it several times, with the same results. You could barely tell the difference between the ice cubes that came straight from the tap and the ones I had boiled first. Save yourself the time and don’t boil your water before making your ice cubes.

    Have you ever used your cutting board on your counter and had it slip on you when cutting or working on it? Try wetting a paper towel and ringing it out. Spread it out flat on your counter and place your cutting board on top. This will prevent it from moving while working on it. I give this one a PASS!

    Do you need to use shredded chicken in some of your recipes? I found an easy way to shred chicken in no time at all! Once your chicken is cooked and still warm, put it in your Kitchen aid mixer with the beater attachment and beat at medium speed. Within 30 seconds your chicken will be shredded perfectly! I give this easy and fast hack a PASS!

    Bacon is a breakfast favourite in our house. I found 2 different kitchen hacks with different claims and had to try them both out. The first one says to put your bacon in a frying pan and cover with water. Cook on medium; while the boiling water cooks off most of the fat, you are suppose to be left with nice, crisp bacon. I cooked the bacon on medium until the water finally cooked away; at that point, I reducedthe temperature to medium-low as instructed. I flipped the bacon a few times and was left with very nicely cooked bacon. at the same time, I tried the second kitchen hack and cooked bacon in the oven. Some strips I placed on a baking sheet and other strips I rinsed under cold water first; which was suppose to reduce shrinkage by up to 50%. It also said to cook bacon in the oven for 10 minutes at 365 F for maximum flavour. I found it took a bit longer than 10 minutes to cook the bacon, but found no difference in the size of the bacon in the end, even when compared to the bacon cooked on the stove. We tested all 3 different ways to prepare the bacon and all preferred the bacon cooked in the oven that hadn’t been under water the best. Though all were very good and eaten up! The bacon on the stove, I give a Pass, as it was very good and crispy. I would have to give the second one a Fail, as the claim to less shrinkage didn’t happen and I had to cook it longer then suggested. But the end result was very great tasting bacon as well.

    I hope some of these kitchen hacks will help you out in the kitchen. Feel free to share your kitchen hacks with us on our Face Book Page at design Your home magazine.

    *These kitchen hacks were performed by me in my kitchen. If one did not pass for me, I tried it several times before I gave it a fail, though it could possibly work for you in your kitchen. Enjoy!

  51. Featured Home: Springs of Life Constuction

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    “While earning your daily bread, be sure you share a slice with those less fortunate.”
    ~ Author Unknown

    Ian and Petty White have without a doubt taken this quote to heart. Springs of Life Construction exists so the White family can not only earn their daily bread, but so they can also share loaf upon loaf with others.

    Building Quality Homes for a Great Cause

    Ian builds homes for a living and is the owner of Springs of Life Construction. He is a journeyman carpenter and has been in the industry for more than 35 years. Over the years, Ian has built many residential homes of varying styles and sizes and he has worked on a number of commercial projects. However, one of the most important building projects he’s completed has literally saved dozens of lives.

    In 2004, Ian went on a short-term mission’s trip to Zambia. It was on this trip that he came to the realization that he wanted to do something to help the children of Africa. It was on this trip, that the idea to build homes in Canada, sell them and use the profit to develop a children’s home in Bukura, Kenya was born.

    Two years later, Ian founded the Springs of Life Children’s Home and in 2007 they were able to start accepting children. Sadly enough, children that come to the home have mostly been abandoned. They’ve been left in sugar cane fields, on the side of the road or in someone else’s hands because the family is not able to care for them. Almost 160 children have been saved, nursed to good health and eventually adopted since the inception of the children’s home.

    “When I went over the first time, there were a 12 to 15 babies in the hospital. They weren’t finding homes for them so they were dying and just being replaced by more dying babies. If we don’t take the kids, a lot of them will die. They just won’t make it,” Ian said. Ian and his wife Petty are in the residential construction business, in order to support the children’s home. In the summer months, they live and build houses in Brandon and in the winter they live in Kenya and work at the children’s home.

    Ian and Petty worked hard this summer building two houses. The first is a 1300 square foot bi-level at 20 Frobisher Crescent. With quality work from local companies such as Brandon Drywall, this carefully crafted home has four bedrooms, including a beautiful on suite off the master bedroom. The kitchen features a walkin pantry and beautifully crafted cabinets and island by Rosehill Woodcrafters. The open concept floor plan with vaulted ceilings in the main living space allows for great family interaction or entertaining.

    “I take pride in my work and I do it to raise money, but I do whatever it takes to do a quality job. I do my best and strive for excellence,” Ian said. With many years of experience, Ian does as much of the construction work as he can, and hires other skilled trades people such as Hard Scabble for his exterior work.

    As well, he shops local by purchasing his building materials and fixtures from Rona in Brandon. He is onsite on a daily basis and closely supervises every project to ensure it meets the highest professional standards.

    The second fundraiser home that Ian and Petty built this year is at 19 Ericson Crescent, also in the Woodlands area. This spacious home is a similar size and floor plan to the dwelling on Frobisher Crescent. Both properties feature a large foyer, a two-car garage, a large driveway, garden doors to a beautiful backyard deck and basic landscaping. These ready-to-move-into houses are perfect for any family to turn into a wonderful home. Contact HomeLife Home Professional Realty in Brandon for more information on these homes today.

    Buying a home built by Springs of Life Construction gives the homeowner the satisfaction of purchasing a quality built home complete with a new home warranty, as well as the pleasure of knowing that they played a role in significantly helping others.

    At the same time, many children and their families thousands of miles away in Africa can be rest assured that the Springs of Life Children’s Home is there for them. Proceeds from Ian and Petty’s fundraiser homes are used in various ways to support the children’s home. There are many operating costs including wages for the 23 caregivers, food and formula, laundry expenses and rent. Ian and Petty also hope to build a new facility in the next few years so that they will no longer have to pay rent and so that they can build a space that is designed specifically for a children’s home.

    Just knowing that someone is there to feed these children, care for them and love them goes a long way. So, whether it’s in Africa or in Canada, the White family is dedicated and devoted to working hard to build a foundation of hope for children that might not otherwise have any.

  52. Avoid Common DIY Home Improvement Mistakes

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    Ask people who have completed do-it-yourself projects and they’ll tell you that the projects took at least twice as much time and three times the money they thought it would. The basic reason is that DIYers usually make a lot of mistakes that end up making home improvement projects more expensive and time-consuming.

    Here are 10 sure-fire ways to avoid the top DIY home improvement mistakes in the future and ensure success.

    1. Take out the required permits — it’s amazing how many DIYers skip this step. It takes time, and it means you have to deal with the government, but it’s actually in your best interest to make sure you get the required home improvement permits. The folks in the permitting office will make sure the project is done correctly and that you stay safe in the process. Also, for some projects, you’ll need proof that you have a permit or your insurance company won’t cover the improvement. You’ll probably need a permit for any project larger than wallpapering and painting. If you’re unsure, call your local building department and ask.

    2. Have all the tools and materials you need available before you start your project — starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies will slow down the job and delay your progress. And make sure you buy quality tools. They’re a wise investment. If it is a ‘one-time’ project, you may want to rent the necessary tools from your local hardware store.

    3. Prepare the job site for material deliveries — when your suppliers deliver materials, you’ll want to make sure the job site is ready to accept them. You don’t want your materials exposed to the weather while you are working and you want to have a storage area to prevent theft.

    4. Don’t skimp on materials — for example, don’t use 1/4- inch drywall for building walls. Use at least 5/8-inch; and 3/4-inch works well for a good sound barrier. Use 3/4-inch plywood for sub-floors. It creates a much stronger floor.

    5. Prepare the walls for painting — clean the walls, sand them and patch any holes before you paint. Use a coat of primer or stain blocker if you’re trying to cover over oil-based paint, stains or peeling paint, or if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker color.

    6. Use the correct paint — use flat paint on ceilings. Interior paints should have at least an eggshell or satin finish so you can scrub it. For outdoor decks, use a linseed-oil-based stain to drive the pigment into the wood and preserve it.

    7. Keep safe while working — you don’t want to end up in the emergency room. Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood. Wear a hard hat when you’re working under other people on scaffolding, and open some windows when you’re painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls. Don’t wear loose, hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Wear gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors, feet, and pets.

    8. Measure twice and cut once — probably the most important rule of any project. If you’re going to make a mistake, make it too long. You can always make something shorter. You can’t make it longer.

    9. Know the limits of your abilities — you’re not going to be good at everything. If you don’t have a lot of experience at plumbing or electrical work, for instance, don’t attempt those projects.

    10. Don’t start to learn how to do a project on your own. If you want to learn how to do a project, offer your assistance to a friend who is an experienced DIYer or a contractor. And if you have any question about what you’re doing, make sure you stop and ask. – DYH

  53. Protect Yourself from the Cold

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    Winter is fast approaching and so is the cold weather so it is time for a reminder of the dangers of cold weather. Today I will touch on Frostbite and Hypothermia recognition and treatment.

    Frostbite is an injury to the body caused by freezing. It causes loss of feeling in exposed parts of the body including fingers and toes. If there is a chance you have frostbite seek medical attention as frostbite can damage the body and in severe cases amputation may be required. Be sure to always dress properly for cold temperatures.

    As soon as redness or pain becomes evident get out of the cold and protect the exposed skin. Be aware of signs that may indicate problems such as white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels firm or waxy and numbness. Because of numbness, people are often unaware of these symptoms until they are pointed out to them.

    If there is frostbite and no medical attention available follow these procedures:

    • proceed to a warm area as quickly as possible.
    • do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes unless absolutely necessary.
    • immerse the frostbitten area in warm to the touch, not hot, water. You can also use body heat such as putting frostbitten fingers in your armpit.
    • do not use heating appliances such as heating pads, heat lamps, stoves, etc for warming. Frostbitten areas are often numb and could be easily burned.

    Take preventative measures. Wear proper clothing and do not leave skin exposed in severe temperatures. Prepare your home and vehicle for winter emergencies in advance of the cold weather and observe safety precautions during cold weather.

    Hypothermia is the result of your body reaching an abnormally low body temperature due to exposure to very cold temperatures for a short period of time or even cool temperatures for a longer period of time. Some of the warning signs are shivering, exhaustion, low energy, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech and bright red, cold skin. If you notice any of these signs take the person’s temperature and if it is below 35 degrees Celsius get medical attention immediately.

  54. Feature Business: Budget Blinds

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    Meet a couple who took a chance. A chance to move to a new province. A chance to start a small business. A chance to make their enthusiasm for their product and service a success.

    Meet Gord and Sue Swarbrick of Budget Blinds. The Swarbricks’ story starts in Regina a few years ago. Both Gord and Sue had successful careers in retail management. Then their son got a job as an installer with Budget Blinds. Later, Sue joined the company as a style consultant. Soon, she says, “We all fell in love with the business.”

    They researched the opportunities and found an opening in western Manitoba. They purchased a Budget Blinds franchise and moved to Brandon in 2011.

    They are delighted with their decision. They like the people, the size, and the potential of Brandon. A place with all the amenities, but where you can get anywhere in 10 minutes. “We absolutely love it here,” Sue says, “It’s home.”

    They first set up shop in the 600 block of 10th St. As with any small business, the owners do a little bit of everything. Sue focuses on style consulting; Gord on installing. Sue draws on her experience from her previous work in Regina. Gord enjoys the hands-on work: he grew up immersed in the construction business in a small Saskatchewan town, where his dad owned the local lumberyard.

    Establishing their own business has involved lots of adjustment, hard work, and long days. For one thing, Gord and Sue were used to working separately; working together was new. When they describe it now, they can look back and laugh. But, with relief, Sue says, “we survived.”

    Gord and Sue knew they had made it when they started getting returning customers. And when their customers were telling other people. Gord and Sue’s number 1 source of work now is repeat business and referrals.

    They have grown to employ seven staff members, including style consultants and a certified designer. “We have a boatload of fun around here,” Sue says, “We hire people who really enjoy what they do.”

    With their business thriving, they needed more space. They have just settled into a new larger location. The increased size also offers more opportunity to display their products.

    You can drop by their showroom at 381 Park Ave. E. (near Richmond). Hours are Monday to Friday, 9 – 5:30.

    You can also get a great idea of what is available by going online and visiting, or their facebook page “Budget Blinds of Southwest Manitoba.” Gord and Sue are proud to include a couple of dozen customer testimonials.

    But by far the best way to see their products and learn about their services is to schedule a free in-home consultation. That way you can see what would work best with your windows, your light, your colours, and your home.

    You can contact them at 204-727-4766. Or:

    What about the “budget” in Budget Blinds? Gord and Sue work hard to fit into a customer’s budget: whether it is modest or allows for much more. They have total window solutions – with a range of options and prices – but will work within the budget that the customer has.

    “We don’t go in and tell customers what to do,” Sue says. “We help them tell their story in their home.” And Gord and Sue appreciate a customer who will candidly tell them what they need and what their budget is.

    “Some people think a blind is a blind, but it is like buying a car,” Sue says, “you can keep it simple, or get more for your money that will do more.”

    What are the “blinds” in Budget Blinds? Their business is actually about a lot more. It encompasses a variety of products that cover, treat, and enhance windows. That includes blinds, of course, but also shutters, shades, curtains, drapes, and more. Products that increase the comfort, beauty, and value of any home. Window coverings that look great and also improve a room’s lighting, privacy, warmth, and coolness. In working with everything that covers a window, Gord says, they strive for a “blend between function and fashion.”

    What’s the “franchise” in the Budget Blinds franchise? Gord and Sue chose that approach as it combines the support of an international network with owning and operating their own small business. They can access the training, expertise, and best practices of a substantial company. At the same time, they have the flexibility of locally running their own show. As members of a large group, they have clout with many suppliers. And, they have the freedom to order from any source they choose.

    The result is a win-win-win. A win for customers. A win for Gord and Sue as independent business owners. And a win for the local community.

    Their territory extends west to Saskatchewan border; south to the U.S. border; north as far as they can go; and east to Elie, which is close to Winnipeg. Nearly one-half of their business is outside Brandon. A bonus for customers everywhere: there are no mileage charges for in-home consultations or installations.

    Gord and Sue’s Budget Blinds franchise benefits from the exposure and recognition provided by 100 other locations in Canada. As well as from 1,000 throughout North America. Customers here can expect the same high quality of service and product as everywhere else. Like the comfort with having on most items a “no questions asked” five-year warranty.

    “We’ve literally had the dog chew the blinds,” Sue says, “and we’ve replaced them free of charge.”

    What would Gord and Sue like you to know about windows and coverings, but you likely don’t? One is that they offer products that you might not think of. They carry a wide range of accessories – pillows, bedding, and more – that can complement your existing or new window coverings as well as your other furnishings.

    Nothing should be overlooked when imagining how a window could be transformed. One option: clear window films that reflect more than one-third of the sun’s heat and almost all of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Window films can help keep your home cool and your interior belongings protected.

    One product that Budget Blinds carries exclusively is a line of faux iron decorative pieces. This lightweight product made of wood and resin can be made to fit any space. You can add the artistic look of wrought iron without the difficulties of dealing with the real thing.

    And don’t forget drapes. “Draperies are not out-dated,” Sue says. “They can complete a look in any room.”

    There are also intriguing possibilities with motorization. Any window covering – whether blinds, shades, shutters or drapes – can be motorized. Think of pressing a remote to turn on a TV or open a garage door. Now think of that same kind of automation for your windows.

    The advantages of motorization are many. Energy efficiency: sun sensors can move window coverings to prevent heat loss in winter and reduce heat gain in summer. Convenience: window coverings can be controlled from anywhere with your smart phone. Options: now you can enhance those hard-to-reach windows. Safety: no dangling cords for children or pets to get caught in. Security: programmable timers can make your home look occupied when you are away. Outdoor lifestyle: motorized units can lift and lower large shades around decks, patios, and hot tubs. Living better: automated systems can help seniors live longer in their own homes.

    Automation. Energy efficiency. Sensors. Timers. Welcome to the “smart home.” These motorized systems are getting better all the time as technologies improve, choices increase, and prices drop. Stay tuned for future developments.

    Here’s an important reminder from Gord and Sue: plan ahead. If renovating or doing new construction, don’t wait until the last minute to decide on window coverings. Include them in your early planning. This especially applies to motorized options – the wiring could even be installed now for application later. Gord and Sue know that renovating or building new can be very stressful. They work with homeowners and contractors to make any project go as easily as possible.

    Gord and Sue also have the capacity to handle any commercial work, whether large or small. You can go online for specialized information at

    In the end, it is the customers who drive the rewards for Gord and Sue Swarbrick of Budget Blinds. Gord and Sue speak with enthusiasm and enjoyment about the people who are their customers. “We come home at the end of the day,” Sue says, “and we are so grateful for the great people we have met.”

    Gord sums up their real sense of satisfaction they get from their business. With pride, he describes the fulfillment from finishing an installation.

    “It’s a great feeling,” Gord says, “when you turn around and see the customer looking at the job.”

    And the customer is saying, “I love it!”

  55. Kitchen Islands

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    Kitchen islands are helping to bring the social atmosphere back into the kitchen. They encourage your family and friends to hang out while you cook without getting in your way, or give them a space to help out. A well placed and designed kitchen island directs the flow of traffic in the kitchen, both physically and socially.

    The kitchen has traditionally had three main design elements, the cabinets, work space and the appliances. The cabinets are used for storage; counters are used as preparation areas and the appliances for food preparation or various other handling like refrigeration, cooking, cutting, etc.

    Modern kitchens have reverted to the older model of a more social, open and customized kitchen. Everyone ends up in the kitchen. It again seems to be the place to congregate – more often there is more than one cook and families use the space for hanging out.

    One new design element that has crept into the kitchen as it (re)evolved is the kitchen island. The island seems to be bringing back the idea of the reliable work table, only now it is oh so adaptable.
    If you’re building a new kitchen or remodeling an older kitchen and considering building a kitchen island, take a moment to figure out if that is indeed what your kitchen needs. Vastly useful and attractive, in can nonetheless be inappropriate for certain kitchens.

    Your kitchen needs to be big enough for an island, usually at least 13 feet wide. The size of the actual island will also depend on the overall available space. You need to make sure that there is enough room to walk between the island and cabinetry as well as open all doors (cabinets, dishwasher, compost bin, etc.). Also, if you are planning to have barstools or chairs at the island, make sure there is enough room with them there.

    Islands work best with L, U and G shaped kitchens. These shapes make for relatively enclosed kitchens and the island can help to encourage more interaction in the space without making the flow awkward.

    Next, think about what you will use the island for. The island is accessible from all sides and depending on size can have many applications. For example, kids can use it as a table to do homework on while dinner is being cooked. Or, the stove top can be on the island and helpers can use it to chop and stir. If there are multiple cooks, a free standing structure like the island is convenient and will give you more space to move around and cook without getting into each others’ way. Perhaps you will use it to set up buffets that people can access while you continue to cook using the other counter space. A properly set up island can also function as an informal dining or breakfast area that is more akin to an actual table and more social than an alienating, single line countertop seating arrangement.

    Depending on your needs, you can choose to put a sink or a stovetop on the island. Or you can leave it as pure counter space. It can be multi-level and custom shaped or rectangular and level. Further, you can use the block as extra storage by adding drawers and doors.

    The island adds a lot of functional advantages to the kitchen, but it can also help to structure the use of the space. It works as an area where people congregate, but it also works as a border, keeping them separate from the cooks or those cleaning. By bringing people into the kitchen but keeping them separated, the kitchen island encourages a social atmosphere without letting extra people get in the way of the activity. Or if they’re helping, it gives them a separate space to work.

    Finally, the island becomes a focal point in the kitchen not only functionally but also aesthetically. It is, in many ways, a large piece of immovable furniture. By placing it in the middle of the room, you are putting it in the spotlight. You can make it stand out more by using different countertop materials from the rest of the kitchen or try to blend it in by making everything match perfectly. There are many decorative elements that can be applied to the kitchen island, ranging from colors and intricate, decorative mouldings to island shapes and arrangements. The kitchen island is a great addition if your kitchen can accommodate it. – DYH

  56. Letter from the Editor

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    thefamBuying a new home can be one of the most stressful things you can do. In fact, in terms of stress, it’s right up there with getting married and having a new baby. So I wonder how stressful will it be building a new home?

    That is exactly what my wife and I are planning to do. Over the next few months we will be building our first home and I‘m going to document the whole venture and share it with our readers. In the upcoming summer and fall issues, I will share our personal experience, the good and the bad, of building a new home for us. There will be a few things I will keep in mind through the process:

    1) I don’t want to break the bank
    A new home may seem worthy of breaking out the credit for, but struggling to pay the bills is no fun at all. I’m going to try to set a strict budget and stick to it, no matter how tempted I feel!

    2) Don’t be in a hurry
    This is a home that we want to live in for many years; we want to make sure we have our wish lists made and executed correctly.

    3) I want to have a contingency plan
    I don’t want to find myself caught in a “chain” (I can’t star t building until our home is sold) The last thing I want is to be stuck with a bridge loan (a loan to tide you through the gap between building a home and selling another), so make sure we have somewhere to go, even if it is the spare room in your parents’ house, in case your chain breaks down.

    4) I want to plan out as much as I can
    I want to do as much research and planning before I even break ground. Ask the expects, go online and talk to people who have built their own homes to get as much information as I can.

    The next 9 months will be a great learning experience for our family. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience, good and bad, with you.

    Stewart Dyck
    Publishing Editor,
    Design Your Home

  57. Wine Advice: Wine Terms

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    Whether reading what others have written about wine or listening to comments made by professional tasters, you have, no doubt, noticed that certain terms are commonly used as wine descriptors.

    An understanding of the following basic terms will help you to fully appreciate, understand and interpret “wine talk”. Developing a wine vocabulary will make you more confident and knowledgeable about wine and able to express what you detect in certain wines, like or dislike,
    and make comprehensive notes. Additionally, wine terms allow you to communicate well with others immersed in the wine world, and they with you.

    Acidity: Acidity, detected on the front and sides of the tongue, adds crispness and vitality and is a critical component in aging. All wines contain acid.

    Aerate: exposing wine to air to allow it to ‘open up”. This is accomplished by pouring wine into a glass or decanter or simply by swirling it.

    Aroma: The smell of a wine.

    Balance: the level of harmony between sweetness, acidity, tannins and alcohol.

    Blend: wine made using two or more grape varieties.

    Body: the weight and texture of wine. It may be light-medium or full-bodied. Weight is best understood by comparing the weight of a wine to that of milk. Light-bodied wines are similar in weight to skim milk, medium-bodied to 2% and full-bodied to half and half.

    Bouquet: aromas derived from aging and wine-making techniques.

    Corked: wine affected by “cork taint”, a wine fault. These wines have aromas of damp basement, wet dog, or moldy newspaper.

    Decant: to separate wine from sediment.

    Delicate: light-bodied with delicate fragrances.

    Dry: wine with less than 0.2% residual sugar.

    Finish: the final impression of a wine after it is swallowed.

    Flavour: taste.

    Legs: the “tears” or rivulets that run down the inside of a wine glass after wine is swirled. An indicator of alcohol, glycerin and sweetness levels. Not a quality indicator.

    Mature: wine that has reached its full potential and is ready to be consumed.

    Mouth-feel: the combination of texture and weight

    Oaky: the influence of oak on wine. Such wines may have vanilla, butterscotch, toffee and caramel-like aromas and flavours and are often smoother and softer that their non oak- influenced counterparts.

    Off-dry: wine that is slightly sweet.

    Oxidized: the influence of air on wine that eventually results in a flat wine lacking fruit. This is normal and desirable in Sherry.

    Palate: the taste-buds, tongue and inside of the mouth. Sparkling: wine with bubbles of carbon dioxide gas.

    Sweetness: most often related to the presence of unfermented sugar but may be used to describe ripe, fresh or candied fruit.

    Tannin: a natural substance found in grape skins, seeds and stems, and wood barrels. Tannins are most prominent in red wines and are largely responsible for structure and age-ability. Tannins are detected as drying and astringent sensations.

    Typicity: wine tastes as it should. It represents the grape variety used in production, the area where the grapes are grown and the local wine-making traditions.

    Varietal: a grape variety: for example, Chardonnay

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  58. My Idiah: Planning a Party At Home

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    Planning a party in your home can be very eventful! You need to make the guest list, pick a date, organize food and beverages and even pick a theme if you like. I am going to discuss some ways to help you plan a party in your own home.

    I hosted a party at my home and the first thing I decided on was a theme. I planned an evening of wine and food pairings, sounds a little overwhelming, especially since I’m not an expert in that area, but it wasn’t. I used local resources to help me plan my evening smoothly! I hired local wine sommelier Kate Wagner Zeke to come to the party and talk to the guests about the wine and food pairings we had chosen. I worked with Kate over email for a few weeks to decide on the type of wine and food I wanted to have and she gave me a list of items to purchase for the party. I did some research on my own and came up with some other food options, but it wasn’t necessary, as she gave me a great list to shop from. Kate works with each host/hostess to come up with a list of wines and pairings they want. She can come to any size of event from corporate to a small intimate home party. Working with a professional to plan your party makes it a lot easier on you!

    Since I was offering a selection of 6 different wines, I went to Party Professionals and picked up extra items I did not have at home already. To make our night perfect, I picked up extra white and red wine glasses, a cocktail table for guests to stand at and linens for the cocktail table and my dining room table. This was much easier than buying new stemware and linens, and i didn’t have to wash any of them, bonus! You box everything up and return it the next day. Katrina Sigurdson from Party Professionals says, “We offer different rentals from linens and dishware to a karaoke machine and yard signs for birthdays or special greetings”. If you are having a party, celebration or family gathering, I highly recommend calling or emailing them for rentals to make your party easier on you.

    I put together all the food for the wine and food pairing, but I would also suggest contacting a local restaurant if you prefer something catered. many restaurants will let you order off their menu for take-out or even let you work with the manager or chef to help create your menu, which you can pick up before the party. There are many restaurants I spoke with that are really willing to help give you what you want for a special occasion or party. And it beats all the shopping and preparing before the party. Don’t forget your local grocery store may also make custom party trays as well. Talk to your local deli, bakery and meat department for specialty items you can buy already prepared.

    I am happy to say that my guests and i enjoyed a fabulous evening of food, wine and even learned more about them. using local resources can really help lighten the load on you when planning your event and the day of. Hiring someone can really help bring the theme together and give you a party your guests will be talking about for months.

    Party Theme Ideas

    • sports (super Bowl/stanley Cup)
    • murder mystery
    • Luau
    • movie theme
    • Halloween
    • Alcohol (wine/beer/martini)
    • Favourite Decade
    • Hat Party
    • Taste of the World

    Locals to Hire for Your Party

    • sommelier (contact your local liquor store for names)
    • musician/Band (contact your local pub or university for names)
    • Belly Dancer (contact your local dance studio for names)
    • Card reader/Psychic
    • magician/entertainer
    • Actors (contact your local community theatre for added “characters” for your party)
  59. Featured Home: Designing Your Home

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    How would you go about designing and building a new home? What steps would you take? What pitfalls would you try to avoid? Stewart and Jamie- Lynn Dyck are going through that very process right now. And they are delighted to share their experience with you.

    After several moves over the years, the Dyck family – Stewart, Jamie-Lynn and their six-year-old daughter – were at a point in their lives where they were ready for a new house. Here was a chance to have exactly what they wanted. Here was a chance to achieve a long-standing ambition of building their dream home. “We had a passion to build our own home,” Stewart says, “the way we wanted it built.” Stewart and Jamie-Lynn are the owners of Promotional Publications, a local print and digital media company. Among their products and services is the magazine you are reading right now: “Design Your Home.” What’s the first piece of advice that Stewart and Jamie- Lynn have? “Take your time,” Jamie-Lynn says, “and make sure you have the time.” Even if this is not your “forever home,” you still want to have the best fit for your family today, for the needs of your family into the future, and for eventual re-sale.

    “We hope to be in there for a long time,” Jamie-Lynn says about their new house, “but because we have moved so many times, we are always aware of re-sale.”

    Taking your time is also a way to avoid becoming overwhelmed by all the information, all the options, all the choices.

    The first step was to check out finances. They visited Scott McMullan, a mortgage broker in Brandon with Centum mortgage Choice Corp. From McMullan, they found out just what they could afford and what was the best alternative for their mortgage. Financial limits determine the building possibilities. Stewart notes that at this stage, you can obtain – and this is recommended – a pre-approved mortgage.

    The next step was to buy a lot on which to build. in their case, they wanted to live close to Brandon, on a property of at least one acre. They spent two years looking until they located their ideal spot: a two-acre parcel just outside of the city.

    Knowing where they would build and how much money they had, they could start designing the house they wanted. Based on their previous experience and seeing the homes of family and friends, they decided on a bungalow. Their sloping property meant that they could have a walk-out basement on one side. Their rural setting was an invitation to have a home with a cottage-like feel.

    Stewart and Jamie-Lynn recommend gathering as much information as you can. There are plenty of ideas out there for all types of houses, including floor plans and tips for living, dining, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom areas. A good place to start is the website

    Look around. Measure the individual rooms of your current house. Ask around. Talk to friends, neighbours, and people in the industry. As Stewart says, “Don’t be afraid to ask as many people as possible.”

    Stewart and Jamie-Lynn assembled all of their ideas and went to see Dan Forsythe of Forsythe Technical Design & Consulting in Brandon. Forsythe brought Stewart and Jamie-Lynn’s ideas, questions, and budget into a great house design. And, despite all the research they had done, Forsythe was able to add “many things that we didn’t think of,” Stewart says. “And we saved a lot by his suggestions.” Forsythe also was able to show them with 3D drawings what the inside and outside of the house would look like.

    They especially appreciated the working relationship with Dan Forsythe. “He educates you,” Stewart says. “He suggests, but doesn’t tell you, which is great.”

    Stewart and Jamie-Lynn are acting as the General contractor for their house, using the plan developed by Forsythe Technical Design & Consulting, Stewart sums up Dan Forsythe’s approach as designing for the needs and wants of homeowner first, while also considering the builder in the equation. He is concerned with the longevity of his custom home designs. He can answer any questions posed by the builder and will consider the builder’s ideas if they make sound sense and are in the best interests of the homeowner. if any questions regarding the F.T.D.C. plans arise during the entire costing and construction phase, Dan is there to help answer them.”

    They were now ready to take their plans around to builders for quotes. As they were doing that, stewart and Jamie-Lynn were also proceeding with another piece of the puzzle: selling their existing house.

    “Putting your house up for sale is a process,” Jamie-Lynn says. “It is not just a matter of one day deciding and calling someone.”

    They did a thorough evaluation of their house. They completed any outstanding projects. They repaired any scratches, nicks, and dings. They also upgraded and improved features such as some of the lighting. Then they completed a major decluttering, which required the renting of a storage unit to contain all the extra stuff.

    They have transformed their house. Their lives in their house are now revolving around a different purpose. As Jamie-Lynn points out, when you are living in your house, you organize for functionality. But when you are selling your house, you organize for presentation.

    Stewart and Jamie-Lynn are selling their house themselves, using their media company, Promotional Publications. They can apply their previous experience with videography and with social media – as well as with traditional media – to market their home.

    What is most important when you design and build your own home? With a laugh, Jamie-Lynn replies, “go in with a good relationship with your spouse!”

    Clearly, Stewart and Jamie-Lynn have that required good relationship. They now have their property. They have their house plans. They have their current house up for sale. They hope to have their new house built, their old house sold, and their family moved in by the end of this summer.

    How will it all work out? stay tuned for the rest of the story.

  60. Are You Liable During the Construction of Your Home?

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    When you decide to build a new home there are a couple of options available to you. You can hire a knowledgeable person or company to oversee the construction or you can make the decision to do it yourself. if you decide to head up the project yourself you then become the ‘general contractor’ or ‘prime contractor’.

    There are many responsibilities that go along with being the ‘prime‘. ultimately you are responsible for the safety of the workers on your site. in this article i will concentrate on the safety aspects of the job. most of the information in this article comes from the Workplace safety and Health (WsH) Act and regulations.

    Requirement for prime contractor
    7(1) there shall be a prime contractor for a construction project if more than one employer or self-employed person is involved in work at the construction project site at the same time.

    Prime contractor for construction project
    7(2) The prime contractor for a construction project is
    (a) the person who enters into a contract to serve as a prime contractor with the owner of the construction project or
    (b) if there is no contract referred to in clause (a), or if that contract is not in effect, the owner of the construction project site.
    7(3) Duties of prime contractor:
    The prime contractor for a construction project shall
    (a) ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that every person involved in work on the project complies with this
    Act and the regulations;
    (b) coordinate, organize and oversee the performance of all work at the construction project site and conduct his or her own activities in such a way to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that no person is exposed to risks to his or her safety or health arising out of, or in connection with activities at the construction project site.
    (c) cooperate with any other per son exercising a duty imposed by this Act or the regulations ( WsH or building inspector s) :and (d) comply with the Act and regulations

    The first step should be to pick up a copy of the Manitoba Workplace safety and Health Legislation, Act and regulations. This is be available from the local WsH office or from the Construction safety Association of manitoba(CsAm). The act can also be found online, Google WsH Act and regulations.

    This should contain all the information you will need and the regulations outline specific rules and procedures to help ensure the safety of workers performing on the project. All construction procedures must be followed as outlined in the regulations.

    There are far too many regulations to mention in this article but they cover everything from individual and Are you liable during the construction of your Home? Company responsibilities to how to perform tasks in a safe manner and the safety equipment and procedures needed to do so.

    Before a project or task begins the prime should meet with the workers or the company rep responsible for safety and out line the company’s or person’s responsibility for safety on the site. A form should be drawn up that out lines the responsibilities and there should be a sign off by the worker or contractor to show that they were told of their responsibilities and they understand them. They should be told of any hazards or dangers they may encounter. That is part of the due diligence of being a prime contractor. You must ensure that the workers on the site know their responsibilities when it come to health and safety.

    Post emergency numbers and contacts on the site in case an incident should occur.

    Be sure the contractor or self employed worker is covered by workers compensation. record their registration number.

    It is best to hire sub contractors who can prove they have a health and safety program in place. if a company can show that it is Cor (certificate of recognition) rated then you can be fairly certain they have safety policies and procedures in place. These companies are safety audited on a yearly basis and keep their Cor rating based on a passing grade.

    All workers and visitors on a site must be wearing protective equipment such as protective footwear and hard hats. There may also be a need for hearing, eye, respiratory and fall protection. Florescent vests should be worn and are mandatory if there is motorized equipment such as scat tracks or zoom booms on the site.

    Ensure that all equipment is properly guarded and in proper working condition. This could be one of the most exciting periods in your life so be safe.

  61. Featured Business: Brandon Home Show

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    Imagine growing your business 10 times the original size in just 49 years! it seems like an impossible feat, but that’s exactly what the Brandon Home & Leisure show has done.

    What started in 1966 as a modest trade-show, named the Brandon sportsman show, in less than 10,000 square feet, it has now grown to utilize almost 100,000 square feet of Brandon’s Keystone Centre.

    “The growth of the show has been progressive. Like anything else, it takes some new ideas and some innovative thinking,” said Dave Melcosky, General Manager of the Brandon Home & Leisure Show. “I’m the type of person, regardless of what of I’m doing, that doesn’t like to reinvent the wheel. I let the wheel run and then I try to improve it. The biggest mistake that you can make on an event is going in and changing everything overnight.”

    Along with innovation, putting together an event of this magnitude takes careful planning and attention to detail. Dave, who’s been in the lead role for the last five years, said the increased use of technology has helped to improve and grow the event.

    “The biggest change I made, right off the bat, was creating an email address and developing a website. everything before that was done by fax and phone. now, 95 per cent of the work I do now is by email. As well, we’ve worked hard to create a more of a professional atmosphere and develop a hostess program,” Dave said.

    At this year’s Show, you’ll find a diverse range of close to 170 exhibitors. This includes pretty much everything you can think of for home renovation, building and accessorizing to all the things you need to enjoy your leisure or free time like recreational vehicles, ideas to create fabulous outdoor spaces and good a selection of products for entertainment.

    Plus, there will be some never-seen-before exhibitors over the three-day weekend. Most years, close to 20 per cent of the exhibitors are brand new or haven’t attended for many, many years.

    “We always try to urge the exhibitors to bring in new products. Some of them diversify and kick off their products at the Home Show, which is fantastic. Our guests are truly getting to see first-hand what the latest trends are,” Dave says.

    With over 11,000 guests walking through the doors for the Brandon Home & Leisure Show last year, it’s a win-win situation for exhibitors, for those looking to shop or for those just coming to kick tires.

    It’s an inspirational weekend where people come to gather ideas and put together plans for improvements to their home or cottage. And, let’s face it, where else can you see so many businesses all under one roof?

    “Most people come to the Show because they are sincerely looking for something. The majority of people are actively looking to connect with a supplier or a trades person or a company that can provide them with something that they are interested in,” Dave said. “If you’ve been looking for something, like a fireplace or windows for your house, and you go to the Home Show there’s a good chance you are going to get special Home Show pricing. The price of admission gets you in and you can literally save 100’s of dollars on major purchases.”

    This year, the Brandon Home & Leisure Show is pleased to introduce some new partners. In addition to Brandon and Area Realtors as the presenting sponsor of the show, MTS and Alternative Landscaping have come on board as platinum sponsors. As well, the Canadian Cancer Society has been chosen as the official charity of the Brandon Home & Leisure Show.

    The event will give the local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society an opportunity to educate the public on the services they offer like low-cost radon testing kits and to help promote their current fundraising efforts, which coincide with April being Cancer Month. As well, the Brandon Home & Leisure Show has committed to match a portion of the funds that are raised during the show for the Canadian Cancer Society.

    “With a chance to win $5000 worth of prizes, provided by Kitchen Gallery on 9th and Krevco Lifestyles, and everything that there is to see and do, I just know the general public will be very pleased with this year’s show! It’s going to be a great opportunity and experience for our exhibitors as well.”

    The Brandon Home & Leisure Show takes place April 10- 12. For more information, visit:

  62. How Radon Enters the Home

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    Brandon Home and Leisure Show Joins Cancer Fight

    Names Canadian Cancer Society charity of choice; raises radon gas awareness

    Brandon, MB. – it’s known for having everything anyone would ever want to know about your current or future home and now the Brandon Home and Leisure show partnering with the Canadian Cancer society to take on cancer.

    Home show general manager Dave Melcosky said in addition to increasing awareness about the dangers of radon gas, the show’s timing creates a wonderful opportunity to community-build and increase Brandon’s engagement in the cancer fight. He said the show has designated the Canadian Cancer society its official charity of choice.

    “Due to the fact that April is Daffodil month across Canada and the show is in April or late march, it was a natural partnership,” Melcosky said.

    Karrie Smyth, manager of the provincial Daffodil Campaign praised Melcosky and the Home show for showing leadership and commitment to helping Manitoba cancer patients and their families.

    “We’re very excited with this partnership because it offers a wonderful opportunity to take on this terrible disease,’’ she said. “Through this partnership we’re going to help show-goers reduce their family’s risk of cancer and we’re going to challenge everyone to take up the cancer fight on behalf of patients and their families.”

    Cancer society representatives will man a booth at the show to respond to questions, distribute information and provide visitors with bright yellow daffodil pins that let cancer patients know that they are not alone in their fight against cancer. The Home show has also committed to matching pin donations.

    “Throughout the province we’re finding companies and organizations like the Home Show that are stepping up with matching campaigns and it’s really terrific,” Smyth said. “It really shows community leadership and it also demonstrates to employees and patrons just how engaged they are in fighting a disease that affects all of us.”

    For Melcosky, fighting cancer is something personal. “Cancer is a real big deal for me,’’ he said. “Three members of my immediate family had cancer, including myself.”

    “I lost my sister a few years ago prematurely and fortunately for me, mine was skin cancer and we dealt with it through minor surgery. I feel lucky and I want more people to have a positive outcome and by donating to the Canadian Cancer society, we’re investing in research so more people survive this terrible disease.”

    The society will also use the Home show to increase awareness about radon gas, the second leading cause of lung cancer. A Health Canada survey found that nearly one in four manitoba homes have higher radon levels than federal guidelines. Across Canada about 11% of homes have radon gas levels higher than the Health Canada standard of 200 Bq/m3. in manitoba, 24% of homes have higher than the acceptable levels with some parts of the province – the area in and around Brandon, Boissevain and Dauphin – having up to 41% of homes higher than the accepted level.

    The society will also market their radon Detector kits at the booth and supply literature on the topic. For more information go to:

  63. Dog Days of Summer

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    Can you smell the wonderful aroma of the spruce needles from the native-to-Manitoba white spruce trees? What about the lingering drift of smoke from a recently lit campfire? Or maybe it’s the smell of fresh? Fresh leaves, fresh grass, fresh Manitoba lake water.

    To me, all of these aromas signal life at the lake. Living in Manitoba, we all know that summers can be and often are too short. It doesn’t seem to matter if we have the perfect spring, the best weather all summer long and a wonderful fall, we still feel robbed when the extended hours of daylight and the carefree, dog days of summer come to an end.

    Heading to the lake in Manitoba can mean different things to different people. For some people it’s embracing life in an isolated cabin sitting on a hill with a small, but beautiful to look at, body of water in perfect view. To others, it’s enjoying time with family and friends at a seasonal, recreational vehicle campground. Then, there are those that put the rubber to the road and travel from fabulous campsite to campsite every single weekend of the summer starting with the May long weekend. Some people just couldn’t live without their waterfront cottage with a perfect, clear view, and then there are others who enjoy the peacefulness of cabin a stone’s throw away.

    I think that’s the beauty of it. It seems as though, the options are limitless and there truly is a time, a place and a style of a home-away-from-home for everyone.

    Regardless, of where you sleep, I think lake life is lake life. It’s about getting together with family and friends, it’s about being on a mini-vacation. Don’t you just feel it, even as you drive up to your final destination…the shoulders relax, the tension dissipates, energy levels increase and sweet dreams turn into reality. The scents, the scenery, the sounds…it’s all yours to take in and enjoy.

    With an abundance of lakes throughout the province, time spent there tends to come with an endless list of fun, interactive and enjoyable activities. That’s definitely an added bonus to living in Manitoba.

    I dare the kids to ever say ‘I’m bored’ when we’re at the lake. I realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a boat, an RV, an ATV and all kinds of fun accessories, but even without that stuff there’s still plenty to do.

    I challenged myself to come up with a list of at least 20 things to do while at the lake. Not surprising, I met and surpassed my goal and found it quite amazing as to how many things I was able to come up with.

    Swimming, hiking, walking, quadding, napping in the hammock or zero gravity chair, boating, picking berries/mushrooms/nuts, biking, scavenger hunts, fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, bird watching, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, building sandcastles, nature photography, playing games (Frisbee, lawn bowling, bocce ball, croquet) hunting, going on a picnic, golfing, searching for weird bugs, taking a drive to look for wildlife, reading, listening to the elk bugling or the coyotes howling, looking for fireflies, watching the sun set, having a bonfire (of course with s’mores and cheesy sandwiches) and the most common activity of all (albeit far from the most popular)…squatting mosquitoes!

    This doesn’t even take into account all the socializing with family and friends or all the wonderful food and delicious meals we create and toss on the barbeque.

    The beauty with most of these activities is that you don’t have to have a waterfront place or even a permanent location (although, I think that’s what many of us dream of!). You can still enjoy life at the lake even if you’re able to just make a day trip out of it.

    Of course, in many cases waterfront locations aren’t available and may not even be in the budget. The benefit to this is that the prices of property that don’t have an adjacent shoreline are often less expensive and for those with young children they often feel safer being a little further away from the water. In many cases you still get a great view, you just enjoy it from a little further away.

    Regardless of whether you’re right on the water, a five minute walk or 10-minute drive away there’s nothing like spending the day, a weekend, a week or the entire summer at your favourite Manitoba hotspot.

    Summer is just around the corner and we all know it’s the shortest season of the year, so put your plans together now so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!

  64. Letter from the Editor

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    Planning a Staycation

    We looked at our calendar for the next few months and because of the busy schedule, we are deciding to do a staycation. It’s a term used when you are looking at events and tourist attractions in your own back yard. When going on a holiday you plan out your days with sightseeing, eating local cuisine, and visiting unique attractions. It is the same for a staycation, you plan to see, eat and visit things in your local area.

    Too often we spend the vacation visiting other places, but never really get to know the town or city we live in. Touring your own town or city can be fun, educational and inexpensive. There are lots of local attractions or public places in most cities to take your kids for fun activities and learn some history yourself.

    I started my search online, visiting tourism sites for Brandon and area. I was amazed at how many attractions, events, entertainment and activities that where available to me.

    Here are just of the few attractions I found on Brandon’s Tourism website:


    Brandon Hills – This area is home to a variety of plant and animal species and offers the perfect setting for recreational activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, cycling and bird watching.

    Keystone Centre – Western Canada’s premier facility for all your recreation, entertainment, convention and agricultural events.

    Riverbank Discovery Centre – Brandon’s Tourism information centre

    Riverbank Trail System – The trail system ranges from natural river bottom forest to paved, lit walkways and links sports venues to downtown shopping and dining. Enjoy an afternoon stroll along the riverbank or a picnic in one of the many parks of shelters along the way.

    The Sportsplex – This multipurpose facility is home to an arena, swimming pool with waterslide, three racquetball courts, track and field facilities and playground.

    Westman Reptile Gardens – Canada’s largest variety of reptiles under one roof. You can view over 300 reptiles including snakes, turtles, lizards and crocodiles, as well as spiders and much more.

    Museums & Historic Sites

    Brandon General Museum – dedicated to the preservation of the City’s history. The Museum is home to the original mayor and council chamber furniture and various other items.

    B.J. Hails Museum of Natural History – a large collection of over 800 specimens (mostly birds) native to Manitoba.

    Brandon Hills Model Railway Club – come down and check out the model railway systems.

    Carousels & Dolls Museum – largest collection of modern and re-production dolls in the prairie region as well as a large collection of 20th century dolls and early “Barbie®” favourites. Commission dolls as well as restoration and costuming for your own precious doll is also available.

    Commonwealth Air Museum – Canada’s only Air Museum dedicated solely to those who trained and fought for the British Commonwealth during the 1939-1945 War.

    Daly House Museum – a guided tour through the municipal heritage site and original home of Brandon’s first mayor, Thomas Mayne Daly. This upper middle-class home displays furnishings from the 1880s to the 1890s. The museum also contains a turn of the century grocery store and the magnacca research Centre.

    MB Dragoon’s Museum – this military museum exhibits a variety of military artifacts, memorabilia and archives.

    The RCA Museum – The award-winning RCA museum is Canada’s national Artillery museum, a manitoba star Attraction and one the largest military museums in the country. Get face to face with Canadian military technology, art, culture and heritage while exploring five galleries in a 24,000 square foot building.

    Art Gallery

    Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba – exhibits located in the Town Centre above the Library

    Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art – exhibits located at the Brandon university campus information was found at Please visit their website for addresses, admission and hours of operation.

    Eat out! Search for restaurants in your area and be a little rebellious. Trying a new international cuisine, it may be outside your comfort zone, but may become your new favourite place to go. To make it feel like a true vacation, we may look into renting a hotel room that has a pool and other amenities. This will give the whole family something to enjoy from fun in the pool, to maybe a relaxing massage.

    Remember to turn off your phone, and that having a little get away with the family doesn’t mean you have to get on a plane or pack up the car and drive far, why not check out your own back yard!

  65. My IDIAH: Laundry Cents

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    I have been making my own laundry soap for over 4 years now. I decided to make my own soap because it seemed easy enough, I enjoy making things myself and that feeling of accomplishment when it works! I love the fact that when I run out of soap, I just go grab 3 simple ingredients from my laundry room and make another batch. Many people have asked for the recipe I use, so I thought I would share it with everyone here.
    Laundry Soap
    • 1 Bar of Sunlight Soap
    • 1 Cup of Borax
    • 1 Cup of Washing Soda
    • Water

    In a large pot, grate the bar of Sunlight Soap, and then add 8 cups of warm water. Cook on medium until soap is dissolved and starts to boil. Then add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir continually until dissolved and comes to a boil. Let boil for a minute while stirring. Keep a close eye on it, as it can boil over quickly!

    shredIn a large container or bucket pour the soap mixture from the pot. Then add approximately 25 cups of water. I then leave it overnight. The next day your mixture will have become a solid gel. I take a wooden spoon and start to loosen it up; sometimes I get my hands in there too. Fun part for kids! Then add another 10+ cups of warm water and stir until it is of liquid consistency again. Leave it again to see if it stays liquid. If it becomes gel again, you will need to add more water. There is no exact amount of water to add, just until it has a thick consistency that you can pour. Sometimes the end product can be lumpy, but that doesn’t affect the soap, if it gets too thick, just add more water.

    bowlThis recipe makes anywhere from 3-4 4L jugs of laundry soap. I store mine in 4L milk jugs, but any container you can pour from works. I use approximately ½ cup of soap for each load of laundry. I just pour it in the liquid compartment of my washing machine and it is safe for front load HE machines. As this is scent free, if I want a little scent in my laundry I just add some laundry scent beads with my load or a few drops of essential oils.

    All of these ingredients can be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Borax has been harder to find lately, but some grocery stores or pharmacies still have it with the laundry soap. All 3 of these ingredients can be used for other things; look them up online to see.

    Like any product you try, watch for skin sensitivity and use at your own discretion. Happy Washing!

  66. Featured Story: Riding Mountain National Park

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    We are really fortunate in Manitoba to have a national park accessible to so many of us on the western side of the province. There is so much to explore and so many adventures to be had.

    With all its beauty and vastness, the possibilities at Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP) during the summer are nearly endless. If you love nature photography, there’s no better place, plus there’s always the chance you’ll run into amazing wildlife in their natural habitat. RMNP is a haven for bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts in general. There are 400 kilometres of hiking trails, there is an abundance of scenic and challenging biking trails and of course we mustn’t forget about canoeing, kayaking, boating and fishing. There are many options for camping or renting a cabin, yurt or hotel. Being able to stay in the area only opens the door for more activities and of course a whole lot of fun.

    The park itself is comprised of 3000 kilometres of prairie parkland. The townsite, officially called Wasagaming, is also well known as Clear Lake. There are over 60 businesses and as a popular tourist destination literally thousands of visitors and cottage owners can be found in the townsite during the busy summer months.

    There are many great places to shop, a fabulous variety of eateries and numerous places to relax and enjoy some downtime. Since the 1930’s, McTavish’s has been part of the rich history and character that the Wasagaming townsite was built upon.

    As of February 17 of this year new owners took possession of this historic business. And while they’ve made extensive changes in the last four months, what hasn’t change is the importance of the past.

    “We really wanted to honour the history of the place and the history of Riding Mountain National Park, so when we designed the front of the building we kept those things in mind and mirrored certain architectural aspects that characterize the original Riding Mountain National Park buildings, such as the use of cedar shingles and reclaimed cedar timbers. We wanted to do small things to make sure the building looked like it fit and had always been here,” said Karly McRae, managing partner.

    Partners Mike and Julie Collyer of Collyer Construction, Jason Potter and Karly McRae had a clear vision on how to develop it, change it and bring new life into it as they transformed McTavish’s into the breathtaking Lake House Boutique Hotel and the Lake House Ice Cream Shop.

    “We’re all business owners in the area, we live here, and our kids go to the school here. We really wanted to revitalize one of the original businesses in downtown Clear Lake and bring it back to what it was when we were kids. We hope to help start creating a new buzz around the Wasagaming Townsite (Clear Lake) as being the premiere tourist destination in Manitoba.” said Karly.

    Renovations began on March 1 and Karly refers to the remodel of the building as being a bit like Extreme Make-over Hotel and Ice Cream Shop Edition. “If you had been to McTavish’s before, you’ll have a hard time believing you’re in the same place. The crew at Collyers did an absolutely fantastic job in a very short time frame.” Other companies like Roy Painting and Decorating and Gord’s Plumbing and Heating also had a hand in the transformation of this unique Wasagaming destination point.

    The entire ice cream shop was gutted and completely redone with aspen wood ceilings, timber beams and live edge White Oak countertops, along with new lighting (from barn light electric), fixtures and furnishings. The new owners have also enhanced the business by adding a clean eating smoothie bar where all smoothies are made with fresh fruit and vegetables.

    In terms of enjoying one of the most delicious treats of summer, that hasn’t changed at all. The Lake House Ice Cream Shop has 32 flavours of heavenly goodness.

    “All of our ice cream is sourced from Manitoba based companies, we are carrying two local brands – Cornell Cream from Anola and Prairie West Ice Cream out of Winnipeg. We’re proud that all of our ice cream is made locally.” said Karly.

    Another new component of the business is their signature, made-to-order ice cream sandwiches. You choose your cookie, provided by local bakers, and then pick your ice cream flavour. It’s then sandwiched all together to make a delicious treat.

    In terms of the hotel, extensive work was also done to update all 16 rooms. The headboards and bed bases are custom made by the Collyer Construction team using reclaimed barn wood. The rooms also have all new lighting and fixtures, new furniture and linens. The design was purposeful in that the local entrepreneurs wanted to keep the look consistent throughout the property and maintain a modern, yet rustic flow throughout the space.

    “It’s a boutique hotel because we feel you’ll find things in our rooms that you will not find in any other hotel. For example, we have hotel amenities made by a business located in Inglis, MB. All the soap and body butters for our rooms are handcrafted; those are the little things that set us apart.”

    While the new Lake House owners are focusing on revitalizing downtown Wasagaming, they aren’t the only ones. Their neighbours to the north, Tyler and Julie Katkins, opened their second location of the The Foxtail Cafe. This former Scrase’s location was also completely remodeled by Collyer Construction.

    “It is really, really nice and encouraging to have new investment in business right next door to us. That’s what we were really hoping for and we hope to see more of it down the road. Having more businesses certainly helps to beef up the destination aspect, and to provide more for visitors to do and see while visiting Riding Mountain National Park.”

    Another iconic business in the area, just a half mile south of the gates for RMNP is Sportsman’s Park. As a summer destination for recreational vehicle (RV) travellers, the park offers campers and visitors an abundance of amenities including an outdoor pool, restaurant and lounge. They currently have 150 RV sites, the majority of which are seasonal. Managing partner, AJ Lewis, said seasonal camping has been a trend for a number of years.

    “You just don’t see as many of them (RVs) fl ying down the highway like you used to. A lot of people are looking for seasonal lots; they want to park in one place. I would say that 40 per cent of the people here don’t even have trucks that will pull their RVs anymore. The added bonus is that they can store them here and leave them over the winter,” AJ said.

    Sportsman’s Park is also expanding this year. They are developing 40-44 additional lots with 20 year leases. The lots will be for RV and Park Model vacation homes.

    “Sunridge Homes has exclusivity here for Park Models. They are low maintenance and ready to move in to. They definitely offer an affordable option for those wanting to be at the lake without a huge investment. A lot of the other properties in this area can be quite dear, in terms of price,” AJ said.

    With Sportsman’s Park having the reputation of being a meeting place, they offer events and activities to facilitate that. They have everything from a convenience store and car wash to mini-golf and bounce castles for the kids. Plus, starting just before the July long weekend the Flea Market opens every Saturday and Sunday.

    When planning your trip to Riding Mountain National Park, you should plan a coffee at one of the many shops and cafes. Hike, bike, canoe or kayak on the many trails and lakes that are available. Have your fi ll with the wide selection of great restaurants and lounges. Cool off in the many lakes or swimming pools. . Enjoy a round of golf at the wide selection of courses available to you. Or just relax and rejuvenate at the Elkhorn Resort Spa and Conferences Centre. Don’t worry about forgetting something. There are local grocery stores, gas stations, and hardware stores nearby that can take care of you.

    Whatever you decide to do around the Riding Mountain National Park, just remember it is a great place to relax, visit, or stay.

  67. Wine Advice: The Perfect Summer Wines

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    Have you ever heard the expression “the dog days of summer”. It refers to “the sultry part of summer, when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun.” The days are longer, the temperatures warmer. A time for relaxation.

    Imagine, there you are, sitting outside, basking in the sun and sipping on a nice cool and refreshing glass of wine. What kind of wines pair the best with warm summer weather? White, rosé, sparkling, and red are all suitable, each in it’s own way.

    Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava as well as many other sparkling wines are sensational selections. They range from dry to very sweet so it is best to let your personal preferences and food selections be your guide. Sparkling wines must be served between the temperatures of 6 – 8 degrees C. to fully appreciate their vibrant acidity and lively mousse. One of the sparkling wines I enjoy is Sileni Cellar Selection Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($17.06). This vivacious sparkling white wine is extradry and features gooseberry, grass, herbs and tropical fruit. The mouth-watering and citrus-laden acidity is refreshing and palate cleansing.

    Rosé is delicious, a versatile food pairing wine, and beautiful. Like sparkling wines, rosé is available in many different sweetness levels. Blush Zinfandel from California is, by far, the sweetest rosé whereas those from the Rhone Valley, Bordeaux and Provence, France, and many other European wine-making areas are dry. Dry rosé pairs exceptionally well with Mediterranean foods while offdry rosé compliments fresh red berries and fruit-based desserts. Try Chateau Mas Neuf Paradox Rosé ($15.99) from the Rhone Valley, a dry wine blended from four different grape varieties. This light-medium- bodied rosé has delicate aromas of white flower blossoms, raspberry, watermelon and peaches.

    White wines are considered the quintessential wines of summer. Riesling, Muscat, Torrontes, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio are some of the most-loved grape varieties. They are light-bodied and easy-drinking. The best over-all food pairing wines are white, high-acid and off-dry. One such wine is Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling ($14.99) from Canada, like summer in a glass this white wine is a crowd-pleaser. Serve light-bodied white wines between 8-10 degrees C..

    Optimal red wine selections are light-bodied with moderately high to high acidity. Wines made from the Barbera, Gamay or Pinot Noir grape varieties are excellent choices. Although they differ in some ways they do have some similairities and it is these qualities that make them suitable summer wines. These reds are both fresh and fruity with up front aromas and flavours of strawberries, raspberries and red currant. Light and medium-bodied red wines reveal their best when served between the temperatures of 14-16 degrees C. These wines are enjoyable on their own yet they also make great picnic and bistro wines, pairing well with charcuterie, brie cheese and salads with strawberries, cranberries or pomegranite. Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages ($14.49) is ripe and fresh with good acidity and charming red cherry, strawberry and blueberry notes.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  68. T’is The Season for Ticks

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    When I was a kid we were told to avoid areas where there were Oak trees. This is a myth as ticks can be found in and about most grassy or treed areas. I removed a tick recently after mowing my lawn in an urban setting. Check yourself if you have been in any grassy area.

    Most ticks do not carry diseases, and most tick bites do not cause serious health problems. But it is important to avoid and check for ticks, and to remove a tick as soon as you find it. Removing the tick completely may help you avoid diseases such as Lyme disease that the tick may pass on during feeding, or a skin infection where the tick bit you.

    Learn where ticks are most commonly found in your community. Avoid those areas if possible.

    Cover as much of your body as possible when working or playing in grassy or wooded areas. Wear a hat, a longsleeved shirt, and long pants with the legs tucked into your socks. Keep in mind that it is easier to spot ticks on lightcoloured clothes.

    Use insect repellents, such as products with DEET.

    Clear leaves, brush and tall grasses from around your house and the edges of your yard or garden. This may help reduce ticks and the rodents that the ticks depend on.

    In extreme situations call your local nursery or municipal extension office to see if your yard can be treated for ticks with nonchemical or environmentally safe methods.

    When you come in from outdoors, check your clothing and all over your body for ticks, including your groin, head, and underarms. Comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb, or have someone check your scalp.

    Check for ticks on any gear you had with you in the woods.

    Check your children daily for ticks, especially during the summer months.

    Check your pets for ticks after they’ve been outdoors. Your pets can carry infected ticks indoors where they might fall off your pet and attach to you.

    Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If you don’t have tweezers, put on gloves or cover your hands with tissue paper, then use your fingers. Do not handle the tick with bare hands.

    Grab the tick as close to its mouth (the part that is stuck in your skin) as you can. The body of the tick will be above your skin.

    Do not grab the tick around its swollen belly. You could push infected fluid from the tick into your body if you squeeze it.

    Gently pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin. Do not twist the tick. This may break off the tick’s body and leave the head in your skin.

    Put the tick in a dry jar or ziplock bag and save it in the freezer for later identification if needed.

    After the tick has been removed, wash the area of the tick bite with a lot of warm water and soap. A mild dishwashing soap works well. Be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water also.

    NOTE: If you can’t remove a tick, call your doctor.

    You can use an antibiotic ointment. Put a little bit of ointment on the wound. The ointment will keep the wound from sticking to a bandage. If you get a skin rash or itching under the bandage, stop using the ointment. The rash may mean you had an allergic reaction to the ointment.

    Some ticks are so small it is hard to see them. This makes it hard to tell if you have removed the tick’s head. If you do not see any obvious parts of the tick’s head where it bit you, assume you have removed the entire tick, but watch for symptoms of a skin infection.

    If you have a bullseye rash, headache, joint pain, fever, or flu-like symptoms, this could mean you have an illness related to a tick bite. If you have any of these symptoms, or symptoms of a skin infection, call your doctor.

    Smother a tick that is stuck to your skin with petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline, or rubbing alcohol.

    Burn the tick while it is stuck to your skin.

    Smothering or burning a tick could make it release fluid, which could be infected, into your body and increase your chance of infection.

    There are some tick-removal devices that you can buy. If you are active outdoors in areas where there are a lot of ticks, you may want to consider buying such a device.

    ~ Information found on Health links BC


  69. 5 Things to Do Before Starting a Kitchen Design Project

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    In deciding on what to do in hiring a kitchen designer a well thought out plan is necessary for any kitchen design project to be successful.

    A good kitchen designer should be able to work with you to create the design that will both fit your desires and needs and that squares with your budget.

    Before Starting A Kitchen Design Project

    1. How Much Are You Willing To Spend?
    Level with the designer just how much you will be willing to spend on your kitchen design project.

    Let the designer know just what you would feel comfortable spending. This way you can insure that the designer and contractor will have a clear direction on where to go with the project and not go overboard. They will have a good idea of the limits when drawing up plans and selecting materials.

    2. How Much Time Are You Willing To Devote?
    You need to consider what your personal needs are and if you will be able to work around the necessary construction in your kitchen. By consulting with an experienced kitchen designer you can get a good idea of how long your kitchen design project will take by providing a timeline that your family can plan around.

    3. What Style are you Planning for your Kitchen Design Project?
    You want to give the kitchen designer as much information as possible. You need to do as much research as possible before your meeting with a kitchen designer.

    First you should consult with design magazines and catalogs to get an idea of what style and design elements you would like to see for your kitchen. To compile more ideas visit kitchen design showrooms, check out products and design on the internet and take notes. What are your likes and dislikes regarding colour and styles. Make a scrapbook with clips from the magazines and catalogs, as well as examples of materials and design elements you would like to see in the kitchen. Use these to show the kitchen designer what your vision is for the new kitchen. Also bring a list of questions for your kitchen designer.

    4. How Do You Use Your Kitchen?
    You need to be prepared for questions that a kitchen designer will ask you when you first meet with them. Among the questions that you need to ask yourself before talking to your kitchen designer are:

    Will you be doing a lot of entertaining with family and friends? Is your family busy during the week with lots of activities? You should also fine out what other family members have in the way of ideas.

    5. How To Prepare For Your Kitchen Design Project?
    You will need to prepare for the disruption that will be caused by your kitchen design project. But with the right planning you can make the project run as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

    You need to make sure that the kitchen design project area and the living area are separate for both safety reasons and to stay out of the way of the contractor and his crew. You might have to set up a temporary kitchen in another room of the house. What time of the year you schedule a kitchen design project can make it easier on everyone since in the warmer months it is possible to eat and cook outdoors. – DYH

  70. Feat Business: Westman Custom Cabinets & Garage Interiors

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    It is quite often the case that a kitchen or bathroom renovation will take priority when a home owner is trying to decide where to invest their hard earned money. A space that can add a great deal of value to your home, but is often forgotten, is the garage.

    There are so many options to consider with what you can do with this likely under utilized space. You could turn it into a man (or woman!) cave, a games room for the kids, a workshop or perhaps just a more organized, functional space that is bright, welcoming and de-cluttered.

    Glenn and Tara Veysey of Westman Custom Cabinets and Garage Interiors can help you to plan and create a space that is suited exactly to your needs. They have multiple products and services that they offer so this part of your renovation will be a snap.

    “People are starting to spend more money on garages and getting them organized and looking nice. A lot of people build a big, beautiful home and then have a garage that just has a concrete floor with maybe some drywall. So people are now trying to spruce up their garages and make them much more functional,” Glenn said.

    Westman Custom Cabinets and Garage Interiors opened three years ago in Brandon, while they have a diverse range of products, the business primarily started when Glenn saw a need for a floor coating system.

    “We also own Precision Cleaning and with that business we got into doing a fair amount of concrete polishing. What we discovered was that there are a lot of concrete floors with cracks and many that needed repairs and this doesn’t always look very good with concrete polishing,” Glenn said.

    After some research, the Veysey’s found a floor coating system called Slide-Lok Polyaspartic that can be used for residential and commercial applications. And this is when the business really began and started to grow.

    “Our initial concept was to concentrate on garages, but we can use this coating on any concrete floor. We’ve done houses, basements, cabins, schools and commercial places like the Keystone Centre, Brandon School Division, Brandon Research Station, & Cromer Valley Store ” Glenn said. “It’s a very durable product that basically protects your investment and saves your concrete from getting eaten or worn away.”

    The best part of the coating is that it goes down into the concrete and attaches to it, so it doesn’t just sit on top like an epoxy or paint that could eventually end up peeling. To prepare the floor, Glenn and his team will use concrete grinders to open up the pores of the concrete, so the product can attach itself. It’s a roll-on three coat process. The first coat soaks in to the concrete, the paint chips (to add colour) go in to the second coat and the process is completed with a clear coat over top.

    “It makes a beautiful fl oor that is very resistant; there’s nothing that harms this product, not even gasoline or oil. It protects the concrete fl oor from salt, stops it from dusting and seals it in,” Glenn said. “Another advantage is that you can apply it to new or old concrete. It’s way cheaper than jack hammering out old concrete and doing a new pour.”

    In addition, this fl oor coating system comes in many different colour combinations, is non-slip, waterproof and will stop any moisture from getting into concrete. It can also be applied outside on driveways, sidewalks and stairs.

    So, now that we know what we’re doing in terms of fl ooring in the garage, it’s time for the rest of the remodel. Westman Custom Cabinets and Garage Interiors can design your garage so that you’ll be the envy of the neighbourhood. They have both medal and wood custom cabinets, HyLoft storage systems, and they carry HandiWall and HandiWall Accessories.

    “Both styles of cabinets that we carry are Canadian made and are customizable in terms of colour and layout. They are a lifetime cabinet, which means they are of the highest quality which is important for a space like a garage, laundry or craft room,” Glenn said. “Another product that we’re really enjoying using is Trusscore PVC Wall Panels. You use this product instead of drywalling, which means no taping or mudding or painting. It can be washed, it’s bright, light, and can be used on the ceiling as well. It can really quickly transform a space.”

    The best part is that this type of renovation isn’t weather dependent or seasonal. Westman Custom Cabinets and Garage Interiors can apply the fl oor coating in the summer or winter. And while any home renovation has an impact on your life, renovating a garage, storage room or laundry area is certainly less obtrusive.

    Westman Custom Garage also have a seamless urethane decking membrane called Flex-Stone that can be applied over existing wood, tiles, vinyl, fi berglass or other membranes. It to is a Canadian product, which is made for our harsh winters and is weatherproof, waterproof, chemical resistant, and designed to handle heavy traffi c and even vehicle traffi c. Flex- Stone is CCMC approved as a 100% waterproof roofi ng & sundeck membrane and can be applied in a variety of colors.

    When I asked Glenn & Tara if they had the perfect garage, they laughed and replied…”No, but it’s getting there. We were initially using our garage as a showroom, so it has a lot of the elements, but it’s not perfect. It’s kind of like the shoemaker’s children,” said Tara.

    For more information on their products and services, visit or call 204-717-4320 to set up an appointment to visit their showroom at 712 Victoria Avenue East (it’s very inspiring!).

  71. Downsizing Your Home

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    “It is very hard,” Pat Bowslaugh says to me. “It is one of the most emotional challenges a person has in their life.”

    Pat and I are meeting over coffee. Topic for discussion: downsizing. Shrinking your living from a house for a family down to a condo or apartment for a retired individual or couple.

    Pat and her husband Cliff are now in the downsizing stage of life. It is a joy to talk with Pat and get her ideas and suggestions. She is passionate as she describes what she has learned from her family, her work, and her life.

    After raising a family and retiring, people don’t need as much space. As well, they are usually happy to hand over the maintenance to someone else. They may want to reduce their costs and so seek a more simplified and economical situation. They may also wish to travel and so desire the convenience of having their place looked after when they are away.

    A condo or apartment often means no stairs, as well as the ease of negotiating a smaller space. For Pat and Cliff, like many others, an issue of mobility in their old house was a factor.

    That brings us to the larger concern of health. Of course, we don’t know how the future will unfold. But the ideal is to downsize before major health issues crop up. Also good to know that the tasks of mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, and all the rest are taken care of.

    But you can’t squeeze all of your stuff into your new location. How does that measure up for them? Their old place: a large two-storey house (which Pat designed herself) of about 4,000 square feet. With a basement. Their new place: a condo of 1,280 square feet. No basement.

    Pat and Cliff were able to buy their condo ahead of time. If you can manage owning two places, then do so, Pat advises. Because that gave them additional time to have renovations done in the condo as well as to downsize their possessions.

    Pat carefully measured the condo and planned exactly what would go where in the new space. For the most part, she was able to use their existing furniture. One exception: the second bedroom. It would serve mainly as an office, but sometimes be a guest bedroom as well. To make the best use of space, Pat designed a Murphy bed (which pulls out from the wall) and had it constructed by NuTrend Kitchens.

    Their condo unit was about 15 years old, and needed not only an upgrade, but also changes to suit Pat’s style. So, she re-designed the kitchen and the two bathrooms and had them completely re-done, with the help from NuTrends Kitchens.

    To personalize the window coverings in the condo, Pat chose Budget Blinds. Pat had already used Budget Blinds for her old house, so it was natural to choose them again. Pat raves about Budget Blinds: personable, professional, following her wishes, but also ready to make suggestions. The new look of the condo, Pat says, is “contemporary, but is me.” With the condo furnished, there is still enough furniture left over to “stage” the old house for selling purposes. (Any furniture not sold with the house will be either moved to their cottage, sold, or given away.)

    Dealing with all the other stuff – the stuff that won’t fit into the condo – is the really hard part. What about the keepsakes, the family heirlooms, the things filled with a lifetime of memories? For Pat, most difficult to part with have been the treasured gifts she received from her students over the years. To purge is tough. But, Pat says, remember: “it is only stuff.”

    Here is an important tip from Pat: don’t save stuff thinking that your kids will want it. Today’s generation, Pat says, wants today’s things, which are “plain, simple, current.” But, do give the younger generation the chance to take any “things that might catch their interest.”

    Their son took photos of many items and posted them online; they were very quickly sold. Pat and Cliff also had several garage sales.

    Don’t forget about donating, Pat reminds everyone. Before throwing anything in the garbage, think if it could be donated instead. That could include extra food supplies that won’t fit into the new smaller space.

    Quality professional clothing that Pat had worn during her career but didn’t need any more? She donated them to the Nearly New Shop, with the proceeds going to the Brandon Regional Health Centre. She says, “I felt really good about that.”

    Now that the process is almost complete, how do they feel about their downsizing? Cliff is delighted with the new place. For Pat – well – she is still getting used to the idea. She misses the house they left behind, the house she designed, the house with memories. But for Pat, downsizing is yet another stage to be tackled and accomplished in a full, productive life.

    Pat feels very good about all that they have done: the reducing, the renovating, the re-decorating. The condo, Pat says, will be “the last place we’re going to be together.”

    “We need a place that is ours.”

    Downsizing Tips
    Sue Swarbrick of Budget Blinds has helped many people with downsizing. Here are some suggestions from Sue:

    • Embrace this phase of your life. You are being liberated from the hassles of house and yard maintenance.
    • Focus on the positive. You have a smaller place; now enjoy making it your new home.
    • Let your personality come out. Let your new place tell your story.
    • Go ahead with those finishing touches, those little extras. Decorate it with the care you did your previous home over the years.
    • Note to the children: help your parents make their new place homey and special.
  72. Letter from the Editor

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    Building Our New Home

    At this point in time I was hoping to have started building our new home. We have all the trades selected and are ready to go.

    Unfortunately our current home has not sold. We had made the decision that we would not start to build until our home has sold. Having the pressure of building a new home, while trying to sell your existing home, was not something we wanted.

    We wanted to make sure we were not in a rush and making bad decisions because of time. This unfortunately will put a strain on the trades people we are using. They have other commitments and this may bump us to the bottom of their list.

    In this issue of Design Your Home magazine we wanted to be able to share our experiences of building a new home but the details will have to be shared in the fall issue. The delay however gave us the opportunity to talk to future neighbours, friends, and trades people in regards to what we should be watching for in our new build.

    A suggestion I would recommend, is when you are getting quotes, make sure it is as descriptive as possible. Understand exactly what your quote covers. You may find out later, what you assumed was covered, may not be.

    An example is Plumbing/Heating has a wide range of components you have to be aware of.

    Air conditioner/Furnace/HWT/HRV

    • Are the units included (not just hookup)
    • What type of units are installed
    • Will the units be efficient enough for your home
    • Are the thermostats and HRV controls included

    Duct work

    • is it included to complete the heating and ventilation system
    • Are the floor and wall grills included

    Plumbing and waterlines

    • Are the finishings and hookups included (not just roughed in)
    • Is the radiant heat system included
    • Is the septic field and tank included
    • Trenching waterline from the well and hookup included

    Make your own list of what is needed and then have each trade quote from your list. This will make it clearer on what you are paying for. The different trades people were very open to tell me what was covered and were willing to give me suggestions on other companies that can assist in other area of the job.

    By doing this you may also avoid unexpected costs and keep your build on budget.

    Stewart Dyck
    Publishing Editor,
    Design Your Home

  73. My Idiah: Wood Projects

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    Making decorative or functional pieces out of pallets and old barn wood seem to be all the rage right now, so I thought I would share some projects to help get your creative juices flowing for your own project.

    3 years ago we picked up some pallets to make a rustic, functional coffee table for our patio. The materials needed are: 1 pallet, approximately 4 feet of 4×4 wood, at least 8 long wood screws, 4 caster wheels and stain. Direction: Cut the 4×4 wood into 4-1 foot pieces to use for the legs of the table. Attach each leg under a corner of the pallet, you may want to check the length before you attach them with the screws to make sure you are happy with the height. After the legs are attached, screw in the caster wheels to the bottom of each leg to make the table easy to move around on a hard surface. Your table is basically complete now! Feel free to finish it with a stain of your colour choice. Now put up your feet on your new table and enjoy!

    This next project I created with a piece of old barn wood. I wanted to make a “Welcome” sign for my front door, so for materials I got: 1 piece of old wood, sander, pencil or pen, paint, thin paint brush, stencil for lettering. I started off by sanding the surface and the edges to make sure it was smooth to start with. Then, on a computer, find the font/size you want and print out the word you are using. I printed out the W a few times first, until I was satisfied with its size. Then I printed out the whole word. I cut them into individual letters and laid them out on the board, the way I wanted it to look. I took my pen/pencil and pressing firmly, I traced out the letters to form an indented impression of the letters on the sign. Now take your thin paint brush and trace out the letters in paint; the indent will help keep the paint from leaking outside the line and will give you a beautiful, crisp copy of the font/letter you chose. This can take some time, so make sure you have some patience! After tracing the letters, fill the remaining letter in with paint. After you have painted all the letters on your sign, feel free to add some embellishments to it. I took some twine and wrapped it around the top several times and finished it in a bow. Make it your own!

    A reader of ours shared with us a picture of an outdoor sectional she made for her deck out of old pallets. Great Job! She finished the project by staining the sectional and adding cushions.

    Check out our Pinterest page for more ideas and instructions on making your own pallet or barn wood projects. We put together an album full of tutorials, pictures and inspiration to help get you started on your very own project. Search for Design Your Home on Pinterest to find us!

  74. Brandon Suites Apartment – Investment Opportunity

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    Brandon Suites Apartment Real Estate Investment Opportunity or the BSA Real Estate is a trust which provides an opportunity for individual and institutional investors to invest in a portfolio of rental apartments in Brandon, Manitoba and participate in the profits derived from them.



    • We invest only in income producing apartments – the most stable and consistent sector of real estate.
    • We distribute tax efficient cash flow to you from your investment monthly
    • Our Investment has long term growth potential
    • You may be able to invest via registered plans like RRSP’s, RRIF’s and TFSA’s
    • It is a way to own real estate without the hassles of management
    • Investment is secured with land and units
    • The minimum investment is $10,000
    • Returns as high as 10% are possible

    Brandon Suites Apartment Real Estate is only open to investment from qualified investors via our Offering Memorandum. Qualified Investors may purchase unit shares in the trust.


    BSA Real Estate is an unincorporated open-end investment trust with the objectives of:

    • Provide investors with stable and growing cash distributions, payable monthly and, to the extent reasonably possible, tax deferred, from investments in a diversified portfolio of income-producing multi-unit residential properties located in Brandon Manitoba.
    • Maximize BSA Real Estate Unit value through the ongoing management of BSA assets and through the future acquisition and development of additional multi-unit residential properties.
    • Leverage the strategic relationships within Brandon Suites Asset Management’s network to increase investment opportunities and manage risk.


    Focus on Apartments. Apartments have proven to be the least risky asset class of real estate investments. Apartments are a basic needs industry and tend not to be as impacted by anchor tenant risk as other real estate investments.

    Focus on Canada’s economy and our stable and fiscally responsible government. Combined with strong banking and resource sectors this all equals a stable and growing environment to invest in.

    A private investment has stable, rational pricing of the shares with much lower volatility and lower correlation to major equity markets.

    For more information or to apply to invest in the Brandon Suites please register and we will contact you right away with more information.

  75. Wine Advice: Beyond the Grape – Fruit Wine

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    Wine is made from grapes. Yes, the majority of wine is made from grapes. Wine is also made from a number of other fruits and these “fruit wines” are an option well worth exploring.

    Pineapple, coconut, persimmon, lemon, kumquat, apples, pears, strawberries, and plums are just a few of the many fruits suitable for fruit wine production. Some fruit wine is made exclusively from one type of fruit, others are made from a blend of different fruits and some wines include grapes in the blend. Grapes are the most common fruit for wine making because of their natural balance between sugar, acidity and tannin. Other fruits lack such balance, although sugar (which is converted to alcohol during fermentation), acid and tannins can be adjusted during wine-making in order to obtain a balanced wine.

    Fruit wines may be produced by a number of different methods and are made in different styles. Wine styles include dry, sweet, still, sparkling, Ice wine, and fortified fruit wine. Most fruit wines, regardless of their style or method of production, are best consumed when young and fresh.

    The alcohol level in fruit wine varies and these wines are often sweeter than wine produced from grapes. In Canada, the minimum alcohol requirement for fruit wine is 7.1%, light wines are considered 9% or less, and if the alcohol level exceeds 14.9% the wine must be labeled “dessert” wine or “aperitif ”.

    There are more than 160 fruit wineries in Canada and the number of wineries and wines increases annually. Fruit wine is produced in every province although much of the commercially produced fruit wine comes from areas that do not have growing conditions suitable for grape vines.

    The quality and consumption of fruit wine is rising annually. Canada has regulations in place governing production. Fruit wine must be made from either the juice of ripe fruit, fruit juice or concentrate, although the majority of wine is made from the juice of ripe fruit. Wine made from fruit other than grapes is labeled “fruit wine”, and the wine label often names the specific fruit used in wine production.

    A recent study conducted by E&J Gallo noted that wine consumers between 25-40 years of age are not as “traditional” as others when selecting wine. This group is very supportive of the fruit wine industry, at times using these products as a component in cocktails.

    Fruit wines offer extremely good food and wine pairing possibilities. Sweet fruit wines or sparkling fruit wines are wonderful served alongside fruit-based desserts, apple wine is lovely with aged cheddar, cherry wine pairs well with brie cheese, and pear wine compliments both blue and goat cheese.

    Manitoba’s commercial fruit winery, Rigby Orchard Estate Winery, is located in Killarney, Manitoba. Red raspberry (dry and dessert), cherry aperitif, and haskap berry wines are some of the products produced by Rigby Orchard Estate. Other locally available fruit wines are saskatoon, black currant, plum and a wild blueberry and lingonberry blend made in Newfoundland.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  76. Safety First!

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    Safety first should be a priority when planning or repairing outdoor projects.

    Safety first should be a priority when planning or repairing outdoor projects. If you are planning a project that involves excavation, such as digging postholes for a fence, planting a shrub, installing a sprinkler system, or even putting in a new garden or flower bed, make sure you call Manitoba Hydro to locate underground lines.

    Before you start your project, call Manitoba Hydro to arrange an appointment where they will check and mark your property for buried electrical and natural gas lines. The service to locate Manitoba Hydro-owned underground facilities is free. Manitoba Hydro’s trained personnel will mark the locations of underground power lines and gas lines and buried installations such as vaults containing transformers or electrical switchgear.

    Manitoba Hydro personnel use marker flags and/or paint to indicate where lines are located. Be safe. Give yourself one meter of clearance on either side of the flag. When digging within the line locate range, dig manually. Don’t risk using mechanical equipment when you’re close to the lines. Remind children and curious spectators that marker flags are not toys and should not be removed until excavating is complete. Yellow marker flags indicate an underground natural gas line; red marker flags indicate an electrical cable.

    Calling before you dig can prevent:

    • Service outages;
    • Equipment damage;
    • Costly repairs;
    • Environmental pollution;
    • Personal injury or even death.

    Know what to do if you smell natural gas

    In its natural state, natural gas is colourless and odourless, so in order for it to be easily detected an odourant called Mercaptan is added to give it a rotten egg smell. Leaks from gas pipelines, although rare, can be a fire hazard. When it comes to natural gas safety, it is important to know how to recognize the warning signs of a natural gas leak both outside and inside your home and then take the necessary steps to ensure safety. Learn the three ‘R’s of Natural Gas safety: Recognize; React: Report.

    Recognize the smell of natural gas and other warning signs outside including:

    • a hissing sound;
    • dirt being blown into the air;
    • continual bubbling in a ditch, pond or waterway;
    • patches of dead vegetation among healthy plants.

    If you think there may be a natural gas leak, do not use any electrical switches, appliances, telephones, motor vehicles or any other source of ignition such as lighters or matches.

    React by evacuating the area immediately. If at home, leave the door open as you exit. Stay away from the area until safety officials say it is safe to return.

    Remember that overhead power lines also need to be respected on any job site. If you are planting trees, look up! Will the tree you plant today become tangled in a power line in the future? Always think ahead when planning your home landscape.

    In new developments, the lines are in a common trench, but in older areas and rural areas, they may have their own trench. In rural areas, please call your local Municipal office for locates of water lines.

    Most utilities need 3-5 working days notice to come mark the lines for you and once you have a clearance, there is roughly only 2 weeks that the clearance is valid or it must be redone.

    Good luck with your outdoor projects and remember Safety First!

    Information in this article attained from Manitoba Hydro and Bill White. Bill has been associated with work place safety committees for 25 years in the government and the private sectors.

  77. Westman Womens’s Expo

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    People come up with great ideas all the time. It’s when you put the right people together that the ideas blossom into reality. That’s how the firstever Westman Women’s Expo came to be.

    While it was founded by Robin Chant and Julia Sotas, Sue Swarbrick quickly came on board to form a three-way partnership to create an amazing one-day event for women.

    The idea of the Westman Women’s Expo grew from the concept of the successful Westman Wellness Show, which is held in January and was also created by Robin and Julia.

    “We believe in the importance of women’s empowerment, business networking, pampering and fun,” Sue said. “We’re just thrilled by how we’ve come together as co-producers with three very different backgrounds to pull this off!”

    Robin is the founder and owner of Inspire You Studio, as well as a Reiki and BodyTalk practitioner and instructor. Julia is a certified facilitator in Access Consciousness and Sue is the owner of Budget Blinds.

    The inaugural event, to be held on September 27 in Brandon at the Victoria Inn, is about bringing women together for everything from wellness to home decor and design. The fall trade show will host more than 60 exhibitors from a broad spectrum, plus feature a Speaker’s Showcase.

    “Basically, anything that women would want to shop for or learn about, we’re trying to bring it in,” said Sue. “We want to bring women together to trade, explore and be pampered.”

    The expo is intended for women of all ages from every background. A highlight of the event will feature wellknown designer and lifestyle speaker, Jackie Morra. Jackie will inspire you to make your home, your sanctuary and to make your spaces a reflection of you and what inspires you most. She will demonstrate décor and design ideas to show you how your style is directly connected to your mind, body and spirit.

    Jackie has been featured in various TV, print and online media such as Breakfast Television, Global TV, City TV, CTV News, The Toronto Star, Reno & Décor Magazine, Style at Home, House and Home and

    In addition, the Speaker’s Showcase will feature local motivational speakers covering a range of topics. Robin and Julia inform and delight the audience with their perspectives on wellness and you can look forward to more inspiration and guidance from mentors, Kim Standeven and Ruby Toad.

    In terms of exhibitors, you’ll find a variety of businesses showcasing the latest in hair, make-up, nails and fashion, plus there will be information on yoga, meditation and holistic living. A number of home-based businesses will be in attendance, as well as a variety of other businesses on home decor, investment, retirement living and everything in between.

    “What I love is face-to-face connections with people. In the spring, there are many events to showcase our business and our team. We felt that the fall was the perfect time to re-connect with Southwest Manitoba,” said Sue. “We are thrilled with the excitement that is being generated by this event and so grateful to our presenting sponsors.”

    The Westman Women’s Expo runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $10 to attend. So, if you’re looking to shop, indulge, explore, learn, network and pamper yourself, mark September 27 on the calendar!

    Speaker’s Showcase Schedule
    10:15 | Robin Chant “Are you Nurturing You?”
    11:00 | Julia Sotas “Happiness is Just a Choice”
    12:00 | Jackie Morra “Make Your Home Your Sanctuary”
    1:00 | Kim Standeven “Empowerment…Living True to Who You Are”
    2:00 | Tracey Ray of Bloom Financial “Money Mindset”
    3:00 | Jackie Morra Interiors…Nitty Gritty Q and A Session. Free 5 minute 1 on 1 sessions Live…Jackie with the audience!!! (bring your photos from your home!!!)
    4:00 | Yoga with Riley Swarbrick and Meditation with Ruby Toad

    Top of every hour we feature an outfit from “Fashion by Nadine”

  78. The Best Kept Secrets In Kitchen Designs

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    It has often been said that the heart of the home is the kitchen. If that is really true, then why is it that some kitchen designs just don’t to support more than one cook or guest at a time? You can turn your kitchen into a functional and beautiful workspace and gathering place for the entire family. Even if you have limited square footage, there just may be more room for expansion, storage, and oh yeah, cooking in your kitchen than you think.

    Counters & Cabinets

    Storage is definitely a consideration in designing a functional kitchen. If you are limited by floor space, just look up. There is often a great deal of space between the counter tops and ceiling that just isn’t being used in a kitchen. Look at the space above the refrigerator. Is yours just collecting dust or take out menus? If so, add a cabinet and you’ve got a great place to store seldom used platters or treats you want to keep hidden from the children.

    Kitchen cabinets also don’t have to be limited to one side of the countertop. If your kitchen design has a peninsula or island, you can use the ends and back side for more cabinet storage space.

    Kitchen cabinets come in more styles and finishes that you can imagine. However, if your budget is limited then you don’t need to replace them for an entirely new look. Cabinet refacing lets you select cabinet patterns that are up to date and beautiful.

    New countertops don’t always need to be included in this home improvement project either. Laminate countertops come with repair strips that will give new life to a worn surface.

    Laying Out Completely New Kitchen Designs

    If your budget calls for a complete renovation, then now is the time to really think about layouts and maybe calling in some specialist. The basic theor y is that there should be no more than 2 steps between work stations. That means you should be able to go from the sink to stove in 2 steps; from the range to the refrigerator in 2 steps and so on. However, with today’s extra large sized kitchens that’s not the case any more. You still should choose layouts that consider how much time it takes to accomplish the normal tasks of putting dishes away from the dishwasher or getting foods from the refrigerator to the stove.

    The newest gadgets in these mega kitchens make timesaving and energy efficiency into an ar t form. There are refrigerator drawers right next to the range and microwaves that brew your coffee while making your toast!

    Fixtures and Furniture

    The finishing touches are what make kitchen designs more inviting than ever. The furnishings, light fixtures and even the cabinet hardware can make kitchens into real living rooms. Look for task lighting that can highlight work spaces and then radiant lighting for atmosphere. You can even turn the legs of old furniture or newel posts into bases for centre islands to make you kitchen furnishings blend with the rest of the house. Get creative and enjoy doing much more than cooking in your new kitchen. – DYH

  79. Feature: Fall Parade of Homes 2015

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    Welcome to the 2015 Fall Parade of Homes. The Manitoba Home Builders Association is proud to present the finest variety of new homes. With 131 new homes by 33 different builders in 36 unique neighbourhoods, ours remains the largest Parade of Homes offered anywhere in Canada. Nowhere else is there more variety for you, the viewing public.

    The design and construction expertise that goes into each new home is unparalleled. Take time when visiting to appreciate outstanding Manitoba craftsmanship. It might seem impossible, but there are unique innovations and ideas to be found in every single show home. Talk to the representatives showing the homes about those features and what makes that particular home special. With such a wide selection available, we’re confident that the perfect new home is waiting right now for you to visit. There is definitely something for everyone.

    MHBA builder members appreciate the importance of your decision to purchase a new home. That is why they encourage Parade visitors to look carefully at each detail, talk to the sales agents and Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 8.45.59 AMreturn for additional visits. After all, show homes are open after the Parade, too. Our builders want to ensure that you are matched with the home that is perfect for your life situation and family for years to come. We believe that this year’s selection of new homes offers the right design and the right location for everyone. Be sure to visit as many homes as possible to take full advantage of the Parade. The more homes you visit, the more new and exciting ideas you will get.

    In addition to variety and quality, there are numerous additional good reasons why now is the perfect time to purchase a new home. Financial institutions are still offering long term mortgages at rates among the lowest in decades. Manitoba and Winnipeg homes continue to increase in value year after year, making them among the most sound of all investments. Manitoba new homes are the most energy efficient in the country and a move to a new home results in significant energy savings.

    Manitoba’s new home construction industry is strong and vibrant. MHBA member builders and suppliers keep abreast of the latest technology, trends and techniques to ensure that your new home offers affordability, quality and choice.

    Enjoy the 2015 Fall Parade of Homes and thank you for visiting.

    Show Home Hours:
    Monday – Thursday: 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Friday: By Appointment Only
    Saturday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
    Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

  80. Feature: Home Is Best

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    As we age, Canadian’s have a lot of things to consider. One of the most important is where we see ourselves living for the remainder of our lives. For the majority of people that is an easy answer – ‘my own home’! After all, isn’t that where we are the happiest, the most content, orientated? Where every corner holds a memory, the yard our children played in and the neighborhood full of friends….that sounds like home to me!

    The fact that we would all like to stay in our own homes goes without saying, however, there are some safeguards that often need to be implemented to ensure our safety and well-being. As we age we experience some physical and psychological changes. Our bones tend to weaken, our muscles lose strength, our gait becomes unsteady, our balance digresses; these are all things that can make us a risk of injury due to falls. We can also go through some cognitive changes that are often hard to recognize in ourselves, but may be easily seen by our family and friends. These changes may include decreasing memory, poor decision making, inability to manage own finances, poor nutrition or failure to turn off the stove. These psychological changes can impact a person’s or a families decision as to whether we can stay in our own homes safely.

    I am a firm believer in ‘where there’s a will – there is a way’. I believe every person can remain in their own home if they have insight, or their family does, to their needs and limitations. We accommodate small children’s needs in the homes all the time, whether it is by putting locks on the cabinets, or baby gates on the stairs, the same safety approaches can be taken for the elderly.

    Suggestions to promote safety in the home include:

    • Floors – remove all throw rugs, ensure all bath mats and area rugs have non-slip backings and lay flat on the floor. Look for tripping hazards such as extension cords, piles of newspapers, household clutter. Ensure that there is no rolling or cracking in linoleum that can cause tripping.
    • Bathrooms – keep free of clutter and unnecessary objects. Raised toilet seats, properly placed grab bars, bath/shower chairs, hand-held showers, and lowering the temperature on the hot water heater are all great things to consider. Did you know that most falls occur in the bathroom?
    • Bedrooms – Keep a clear path from the hall to bed. Remove any extra furniture that is not necessary. Have a lamp, cordless phone and a flashlight for emergency’s at your bedside. Ensure the bed is at a proper height to allow ease of getting in and out. If it is too high, have it taken off the bedframe, if it is too low you can purchase bed risers to adjust the height. When sitting on the edge of your bed, you should be able to plant both feet flatly on the floor.
    • Kitchen – Keep items that you use on a regular basis in a place that is easy to reach. Use a kitchen timer when you turn the stove or oven on to remind you to turn them off again. Always keep pathways clear of clutter.

    Other things to consider are having your family physician refer you to an Occupational Therapist (OT) to ensure all your mobility and safety needs are being met. An OT may recommend floor to ceiling poles to help you up and down from your bed or chairs. They can also instruct you on the type of raised toilet seats, shower/bath chairs, reaching/grabbing devices, aids to help you dress yourself, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.

    Often as we age, we find ourselves no longer able to do everything on our own. Daily tasks like housecleaning, going to the doctor, shopping, and bathing can become bothersome, physically hard, can create a safety risk and sometimes they are easy to forget. Keeping track of our medications, when to take them, with or without food, can also create problems for the elderly. If you find yourself, or your loved ones, in this situation then it is time to look for outside help.

    Outside help could come from the RHA Home Care department, or you could call a private home care company that specializes in elder care. A reputable private home care company should have a Nurse at the helm, be able to show you their employee’s credentials (certification, CPR, special training, etc), as well as provide you with several references and their phone numbers. Sometimes private care is thought to be expensive, but the nice thing about it is you get individualized personal care that fits your needs. I firmly believe you get what you pay for. You could hire a company that charges $18/hour or you could hire one that charges $25/hour. They may both claim to provide the same services, however, remember the old adage – ‘you get what you pay for’? The costs associated with a private company may also be covered by your personal health insurance (Blue Cross, Great West Life, Manulife, etc). Other avenues to have it paid for include: Manitoba Public Insurance (if you have been in an accident and they authorize it); Veteran’s Affairs (depending on the type of service you did for our country); or Self/Family Managed Care, which is a program offered by the RHA Home Care department which has eligibility criteria.

    If living your life in your own home means making accommodations which take into account your physical surroundings and your personal needs, then I say Go For It! Check out your options, discuss it with your friends and family, consult your family doctor and a home care expert. Take all the necessary steps to ensure many more happy, but safe, years in your home!

    By Gail Freeman-Campbell, LPN
    CEO, Daughter On Call

  81. Relocate Or Renovate?

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    Most homeowners are forced to ask themselves if they should renovate or relocate at some point in time. The decision to sell their house and move away or to stay in their home and remodel can be very tough indeed. Many factors certainly influence whether you decide to move or whether you stay and remodel your home.

    Should I stay or should I go? Inevitably, most homeowners are forced to ask this question at some point in time. The decision to sell their house and move away or to stay in their home and remodel can be very tough indeed. Many factors certainly influence whether you decide to move or whether you stay and remodel your home.

    Location, location, location. It’s usually the mantra of real estate agents, but it applies here as well. Where your home is located is usually the most important factor because a home improvement project will never change the location of your house. You may be forced to undertake a move because of external forces you cannot change, such as:

    • You may not like the quality of your local school system.
    • You may not have many local options for shopping or lifestyle choices.
    • The size of your current lot or piece of land may not handle an increase in size or expansion.
    • A neighborhood association may prevent additions or expansions because it changes the look of the area or subdivision.
    • Legal or zoning restrictions in your city might prevent any changes.
    • Your subdivision may only have identical housing plans (“cookie-cutter houses”) and adding a second story or home addition could make it less valuable than the others in the neighborhood.
    • It may cost too much to renovate.

    Because you cannot change these factors, you and your family may find that a move to a new location is absolutely necessary. Take a look at your home location and decide if it meets your needs, if it can be improved, whether or not it is too old, and whether or not you can deal with the stress of a remodeling project.

    Another factor in your “relocate or renovate” decision could be that your house is already the nicest in the area. An extensive renovation or improvement of the best house in the neighborhood might be fine if you’re planning on living there for an extremely long period of time. However, if you have plans of selling in the future, such a renovation might prevent you from getting a decent return on your investment. If your house is already the nicest, spending more on it won’t make the value go up even higher.

    If you’ve decided to stay put, you may have made the best choice. If you ask people to list the costs involved with moving, most will only talk about the price for a moving company to come pick up their furniture. It can actually cost more to move than to take on certain remodeling work. There are costs associated with selling your house, buying a new house (realtor fees, closing costs), cleaning services, transporting your family (hotels, meals, gas), repairs and renovations needed to sell the old house, and many, many more.

    If you’re going to renovate, keep these tips in mind to make sure your home improvement projects will go a lot smoother:

    • Decide whether you’re improving your home for you or for a future sale – If you want to remodel your bathroom or paint your interior walls, the choices you make can affect the value of your home. You might love the colour red or a modern sink design in your master bath. However, home buyers are not always fond of exotic designs and it may do more harm than good when you’re ready to sell your home.
    • Decide whether you’ll move out during construction – You and your family may not be able to deal with the noise, debris, dust, and extra workers in your home. You might need to temporarily relocate to a hotel, apartment, or house. However, it might be a good idea to stay. Some like to be close to the action and be able to oversee the work being done. It’s also important for someone to be there to receive deliveries. If you stay, it’s important to make sure you ask workers to clean up at the end of each and every day. Make arrangements to replace the room being worked on (for example, set up your kitchen appliances in a spare bedroom during a kitchen remodel.)
    • Arrange for sufficient financing to be able to cope during any project – There could be many hidden costs in a home improvement project, so it’s good to budget for surprises. Plan for problems that a contractor might discover during the renovation. Plan for extra time (which increases your budget), beyond your projected completion date. Plan for changes you might decide on, too – it might look good on paper, but you could change your mind during the remodeling job and those changes cost extra. Think about adding at least 15% to 25% to your expected budget… for emergencies. Consider the little things, as well – other hidden costs could include: ordering more takeout food during a kitchen remodel, paying for coin laundry services when your water is shut off for extended periods, or even hotel stays during heavy construction.
    • Plan to do it all-at-once or project-by-project – Many homeowners decide to remodel a kitchen and, while that job is underway, will then decide to add on a bathroom renovation. This can cause delays and extra expense. While it’s true that there are already construction workers on the job site, it takes careful planning to arrange for permits, materials, designs, and the subcontractors’ schedules to complete a project on time and on budget. It’s best to plan for your kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel, and new patio installation to happen all at once or you should plan for them to take place individually, over a period of time. It will cut down on cost overruns, delays, and headaches.

    As the real estate market continues to slow down, and in some areas drop dramatically, it is an important time to consider staying put and remodeling your home. Housing prices may continue to level out so one sure way to improve property value is a proper renovation. Consult a designer or architect in your area to determine which changes will be best for your home in your neighborhood. If you’re planning to stay in your current house for a long period of time, make sure that any renovations you do are truly for you. It’s your home and you’ve got to live in it and be comfortable. Whether you convert your basement into a recreation room or you want a spa tub installed in your master bathroom, go with the products and designs that work with your lifestyle. If your tastes are more exotic, you can always remodel or renovate again when you’re ready to sell. If you plan and finance your renovation appropriately, you should be able to “make over” your home to suit your needs with little or no problems. – DYH

  82. Letter from the Editor

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    Most people understand how difficult it can be to balance their work and home lives once they get married and have children. Somehow it seems that work life or home life is always encroaching on the other and causing problems at work, at home, and many times both. However the following five tips are great options to help with balancing work and home.

    Make a Schedule
    The best thing to do when trying to balance work and home is to make a schedule. Know how much time you have and schedule your work time and your home time. Then, you will know when you need to schedule work and home events. This will make your life significantly easier and you will know which activities fit into which time frame. Just make sure you stick to your schedule.

    Share Responsibilities
    Many times work and home responsibilities can become overwhelming because one spouse is handling more of the responsibilities than the other. So, learn to share responsibilities at home and each spouse can be responsible for their work. Also, older children should have some home responsibilities as well to help parents balance work and home.

    Leave Work at Work
    Balancing home and work can be difficult because it is so easy to take work home. If you really want to balance work and home then you will always leave work at work and keep home a sacred place for family and home activities. If you work out of your home, make it a practice to close your door at the end of the work day.

    Dedicate Weekends to Home Activities
    A great way to keep home and work separate is to always focus on home activities during weekends, or at least on days off from work if you happen to work on weekends. When certain days are home days and other days are work days then it makes balancing work and home considerably easier.

    The best way to balance work and home is to always make a plan. There are tons of tips that will help you, but there is nothing like making a plan and then following the plan to really balance work and home. It might be difficult, but if you have it planned out and follow the plan you will be surprised how easy you can find a balance.

    Stewart Dyck
    Publishing Editor,
    Design Your Home

  83. Wine Advice: Go-To Selections

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    We all have favorites. Go to selections – like a little black dress or leopard spotted pumps – that are perfect for everyday occasions and special events.

    More important than shoes or clothes, I have go-to wines. Red, white, rosé , sparkling and still, dry or sweet, dessert or aperitif I have favorites in all such categories and would love to share them with you. With the exception of Port and Dessert wine I have listed a value priced (under $15.00) wine along with one other. I believe these selections are easy-drinking, great value, broadly appealing, affordable and readily available.

    Let us begin with sparkling. Sparkling wines (along with rose) are the most versatile of all wines and are considered to be the wines of celebration. Begin an evening with a dry sparkling wine, either served alone or alongside aperitifs or end dinner with an off-dry or sweet sparkling wine easily paired with a vast array of desserts. Mums Napa Brut Prestige ($22.49), is made in the U.S.A. using the traditional sparkling wine technique ( the same technique as used for the production of Champagne). This is a beautiful and decadent wine. My value sparkler is Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, priced at $14.95, also made using the traditional method.

    Rosé wines offers incredible diversity and beauty. Styles vary, covering a broad spectrum ranging from dry to sparkling to dessert. Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rosé is dry and elegant and priced at $16.99. In the value category, and a relatively new addition to my go-to list, is the Marchesi de Frescobaldi Rèmole rosé from Italy. This wine is priced at $14.99.

    Next up. White wine. If you were to ask what my favorite grape varietal is, that is a question I can easily and quickly reveal. It is Riesling. Hands down. My go-to choices in the white wine category are Dr Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett, $24.99, a delicate and beautiful wine and the value-priced and charming Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling ($14.99.)

    Red wine is beloved by many. It is not as food – friendly as wine in other categories and food pairing is often a consideration. When choosing which go-to red is most suitable for an evening I like to not only select what I believe to be the most suitable wine but also give careful thought to who will be attending and what their red wine preferences are. One wine I have repeatedly featured at events and whose quality remains consistent from vintage to vintage is the Marchesi de Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina $19.99. A value red that seriously overdelivers is Grandes Vinos Y Vinedos Monasterio de Las Vinas Reserva ($14.99). Red wines from Italy, Spain and France offer terrific value, are great pairing wines and are well-represented on my go-to list.

    Dessert wines add a sense of formality to an evening. A rich and decadent dessert wine Torres Floralis at $14.97 (500 ml) is my currant go-to. This highly aromatic wine has an exotic nose of acacia, roses, brandied apricot, peach and honey. We served this at Thanksgiving Dinner and it was a huge hit. Don’t be concerned about the small bottle size (500 ml) as dessert wine pours measure 2 ounces so a small bottle goes a long way. Dessert wines are an extra special touch and not only pair well with the majority of desserts they are also lovely served along cheese or nuts.

    The cool weather and dark nights scream out for Port. Add a roaring fire and Port is essential. Although there are many different types of Port, I favor Tawny Port. Tawny is a blend of several vintages (years) and wood aging gives it softer subtler flavors and aromas. Warre’s Otima 10 year old Tawny Port $25.09 (500 ml) is consistently delicious. A standard Port pour is 3 ounces.

    It is comforting to have a go-to wine list. The wine selections listed above are a sampling from my go-to wine list, wines that I seek out for their broad appeal and exceptional quality. Favorites come and go so I encourage experimentation. It is the only way to expand your “go-to list”. Perhaps that is the best advice of all.

  84. Feature: Sentimental Value

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    Houses often hold more value than what you see on an assessment.

    The sentimental value that they hold, especially for a family home that you grew up in, can be truly invaluable. It could be a home where you celebrated childhood birthday’s, it’s possibly where you got your first pet or it could be the place where you introduced your parents to your future husband or wife.

    Many of us have fond memories of our family home. As a child, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever leave. As an adult, you may wonder what it would be like to live there again and if you could create special memories with your own family.

    One local homeowner doesn’t have to wonder anymore. As her and her husband started to think about downsizing, an opportunity presented itself that would allow her to move in to the family home where she grew up in the 1970s.

    She indeed has fond memories of sharing a bedroom with her older sister and watching her mother quilt and sew in the front veranda. With 1300 square feet, it was a warm and pleasant home where her mother and father welcomed family, friends and neighbours.

    Kate moved out when she was in her early 20s, but visited often as her parents remained in the family home until a few years ago. It was then, that her father basically handed her and her husband the keys.

    “My sister wasn’t interested in it, as she lives in Toronto. My parents and my sister and I always felt, and I’m not sure when it started, but it always seemed like I would live here. My husband and I talked about it and we knew when the kids were older and when we were ready to downsize we would move here, but of course everything had to align,” said Kate.

    The red brick cottage craftsman-style home on 14th Street is a two-bedroom bungalow with all the character and charm that you’d expect from a house that was built in 1916. As it becomes a century home, the care and maintenance that the new homeowners have invested ensures that it will remain part of the Brandon landscape for many years to come.

    “My parents had maintained and kept the house as it is, without any additions. While it was new to us when they bought it, it was already a 50-year-old home and had two or three families living here before us,” said Kate. “We’ve certainly modernized it. We tried to take advantage of the character that it has.”

    While renovations took longer than expected (nearly two years), the homeowners said it was well worth it and they are now thoroughly enjoying the comforts of their new, minimalistic space after downsizing from a home that had double the living area.

    The open concept living area is bright and inviting with many natural light sources and nine-foot ceilings which bestows a feeling of abundant space.

    “What I find so different, and it doesn’t have to do with any structural changes, is the windows. They haven’t been moved; my father did replace them, but when it comes down to it there were so many things in front of the windows that I always thought that the house was a little dark. We really like light and openness, it was a complete transformation when we removed the shelving units and drapery.”

    The homeowners chose a neutral, pure white for the wall colour (Benjamin Moore-Cotton Balls) and contemporary European style cabinets for the eat-in kitchen, which are offset by granite countertops and Quebec maple hardwood flooring throughout.

    They reclaimed what they could that was original to the house. The exterior, the front door, as well as the functional cast-iron wood fireplace are all features that were part of the original build. Some of the new aspects of the home, such as the bedroom and bathroom doors, were custom built to embrace the history of the home, while at the same time modernizing it.

    The authentic elements and select pieces of furniture are a reminder that the home was built ten decades ago, however the decor and extensive collection of eclectic art and furniture bring a modern perspective that adds a stunning finishing touch to a fabulous renovation.

    “We’ve always loved art and I likely got my love for it from my sister. We have travelled a bit and like to explore art collections. Once you’re exposed to it and learn who some of the artists are you can’t help but love it.”

    By Wanda Kurchaba
    Photos by Kara Matthews – Sterling Images

  85. My Idiah: Pine Cones

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    I love using items I find in nature to add to the decor in our home or use for crafting. This past fall, I collected an array of pine cones and used them in many different projects around our home.

    Before you use your pine cones, it is a good idea to bake them. Bake them? Yes, bake them! This gets rid of any tiny bugs and critters still inside the pine cones. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake them at 250o F for 30 minutes. After you have baked them, place them on a cooling rack for 1 hour. Now they are ready to craft with or just use as decorations around the house.

    One of my favourite and most basic ways I use pine cones, is placing them in clear glass containers and arranging them on my table. I like to do this in the fall/winter months.

    Add a little more punch to them by painting them! White pine cones look very nice, but feel free to paint them any colour you like. Try painting them the colours of the season and place in a dish on a table. I painted some soft pastel colours and then placed a yellow dot on the bottom, in the middle. When placed upside down on a dish, they resemble lotus flowers! Painted pine cones are one of my favourites now and great to do with kids!

    A couple ways to add fragrance to your home through pine cones, is using wax from old candles or essential oils. For the wax, I took old candles that had not completely burned and I melted the wax in a pot on the stove. The wax I used was a chocolate fragrance! I then dipped the cones into the liquid wax and placed on wax paper. After I dipped all the pine cones, I went back and dipped them again, and then again. This gives
    them a thicker layer of candle wax on the pine cones. They look really nice and smell even better! For the essential oil, pick the fragrance you want to use, I used cinnamon. Add a few drops to a tiny bit of water in a spray bottle. Place your pine cones into a large resealable plastic bag and spray them generously with the mixture. Seal the bag and shake them around. Feel free to open the bag and spray again. Then seal the bag and leave for about a week. After the week, feel free to remove the scented pine cones and use to freshen up a room!

    My last favourite thing to do with pine cones is to make Christmas decorations with them. Either for the tree, to give as Christmas gifts or just to decorate a present. The one project I made with my daughter this year, was little elf pinecones for our tree. I improvised the craft, with materials I had at home. Check out our Pinterest page for this craft and many other ways to use pine cones!

  86. Endless Possibilities

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    By the late 1980s, statistics show that close to 90 per cent of Canadian households had a microwave oven. At first, they were viewed as luxury items and now many see these handy kitchen appliances as a necessity. The Internet is much the same.

    The Internet was first developed in the late 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s when it really took off. According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, 87 per cent of Canadian households today are connected to the Internet. Similar to the microwave oven, the Internet was originally seen as a luxury item, but in today’s world it now seems like we can’t live without it.

    “The Internet is now considered a utility. It’s considered an essential service, a necessity. It’s not to say that an individuals life can’t continue without it, but it is so much more enriched with it. It’s definitely not a luxury anymore,” said Robbie Zetariuk, Director of Marketing and Dealer Development for NetSet Communications. It’s easy to see that as technology has advanced, so has the Internet. Even within the past ten years, not only has its use changed, but the speed of which the service is now offered, especially for rural-based homeowners, has made a significant impact on many people’s lives.

    “It’s no longer just the people that were brought up in the Internet generation, we’re finding more and more people that are retired are realizing that it opens up opportunities for them, whether it be connecting with friends and family or by stimulating their mind by learning new things. It’s not demographic based, it’s not gender based, it’s not aged based. It is there for everybody and everybody is using it,” Zetariuk said.

    And, we all know that the Internet isn’t just about email. It’s about the ability to connect at whatever level you choose, whether it be it through social media, email, Skype or FaceTime. It’s used for entertainment, education and for business.

    “The Internet is so important to our daily lives. For some it’s about staying connected with friends and family from across the world. Being able to watch your grandchild take their first step is so powerful, it changes how people are able to maintain family relationships. From a personal point of view, there’s a very emotional connection,” said Zetariuk. Of course with the latest advancements like Long Term Evolution, commonly known as LTE, service providers are able to easily add more customers, provide faster speeds and more reliability which enhances the experience for the end user.

    In many households, having the Internet is one thing, but having a WiFi router seems to be just as important. With Smart TVs, smartphones, laptops, tablets and almost anything else electronic in your home, it seems nearly impossible to function without WiFi.

    “A WiFi router is the device that rebroadcasts the Internet throughout your home. The larger the home and the more devices and users you have, the better quality of a Wifi router you need. The quality of the router will absolutely determine the experience the homeowner is going to have with the Internet. The Internet connection is only as good at the router and the router is only as good as the Internet coming into to, they both need to work in harmony,” said Zetariuk.

    In terms of how far we’ve come, Zetariuk said that it wasn’t long ago where people living outside of larger centres were forced to share their phone line with their Internet. Now, with faster speeds and reliable service we’re controlling our thermostats, alarm systems and automating our homes for more convenience, efficiency and security.

    “Even five years ago for residents in rural Manitoba the Internet was slow, it was very unreliable and worse you couldn’t make a phone call and be surfing the net at the same time. Now, you can run multiple devices, you can be on your laptop, you can stream music, you can download movies or you can take online courses, it’s unlimited.”

    by Wanda Kurchaba

  87. 13 Things Every First Aid Kit Should Have

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    Everyone should have a home first aid kit ready to go in case an emergency should arise. If you have small children, being prepared with an up-to-date first aid kit becomes even more important. Keeping a first aid kit within easy reach will provide you with considerable peace of mind. Here’s a handy checklist of the items that your first aid kit should, at a minimum, contain:

    1. An Antiseptic (such as Bactine)

    Cleaning scrapes or wounds is important for preventing infection. If soap and water are not on hand, using an antiseptic will help flush out debris and provide a mild pain relief. Antiseptics may come in cream or spray form. Many, such as bactine, also provide pain relief.

    2. Bandaids and gauze pads

    Bandaids help treat injuries of all sizes. Your best bet is to buy a large package that comes with a variety of sizes. For gauze pads, buying larger sizes works best, because you can always cut them down to the size you need. Gauze pads work well for more serious injuries.

    3. Scissor

    Speaking of cutting, scissors are often overlooked in many first aid kits. Scissors come in handy not just for cutting gauze pads, but for cutting clothing, adhesive tape, and anything other materials or obstructions that may present themselves in an emergency.

    4. Ace Bandages.

    Ace bandages come in handy in a variety of situations, such as sprains and breakages.

    5. Instant Cold and Hot Pack.

    These packs are for one-time use only, so it’s a good idea to stock up your first aid kit with them. They can be applied on sprains, bruises, and bumps to reduce swelling.

    6. Adhesive Tape

    Adhesive tape can be used to form splits, tape gauze, and secure any other bandages.

    7. Tweezers

    Like scissors, tweezers are often overlooked, but come often come in handy. They can be used to remove stingers, ingrown hairs, splinters, and hang nails.

    8. Latex Gloves

    Latex gloves are a helpful addition to any first aid kit. Latex gloves will provide a clean and sanitary way to protect you against bacteria, blood, bodily fluids, and other potential contaminants that you may encounter in an emergency situation.

    9. Analgesic

    An analgesic is a pain reliever. Include a small bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen to combat headaches, migraines, or pain due to injury.

    10. Antibiotic Ointment

    A small tube of antibiotic ointment can go a long way. Antibiotic ointment can be used on scrapes, cuts, wounds, and other injuries to prevent infection.

    11. Rubbing alcohol and disinfectant

    These are helpful for cleaning insect sting bites or for cleaning wounds. Alcohol wipes are particularly convenient to have in your first aid kit because they don’t take up much space.

    12. Antihistamine

    In the case that someone may suffer from severe allergies, having some sort of antihistamine on hand is a good idea.

    13. A list of emergency phone numbers

    Keep an index card with the numbers of your doctor, the national poison center, and all other emergency contacts. Also, it’s a good idea to write down the name of members of your family who have allergies, and any medication they take on a regular basis. – DYH

  88. Feature: Location!

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    Location! Location! Location!

    If you’ve ever been involved in buying or selling a house, you’ll often hear from family and friends and realtors how important it is to be in a good location. Von Ast Construction certainly had this in mind when they developed an amazing new condominium complex on Brandon’s North Hill.

    Twenty-four condominiums are part of phase one of the 831 Braecrest Condominium project. While there are many fabulous features in the complex, Royal LePage Martin-Liberty Realty Sales Representative Chris Coulter said that the convenience and advantages to being on the North Hill are certainly perks to consider.

    “It truly is a prime location on a corner lot with some of the views of the city that are so beautiful,” said Chris.

    Each of the condominiums are spacious and roomy with two bedrooms and two bathrooms within the 1146 square foot units. The open concept living room, dining room and kitchen provide for comfortable and ample space for relaxing with friends and family. Kitchen Gallery on 9th is proud to be part of the project and helped to design the kitchen layout and select cabinetry options.

    New homeowners, in the one-third of the units that are already sold, were all able to move in to their fabulous new homes by the end of October. With the remaining suites still available, there is still an opportunity for buyers to customize their dwelling to suit their own individual tastes.

    “We have Shelley Taylor of Tailored Interiors that works with each individual condo buyer to help them personalize their space as far as picking colours, cabinets, flooring, countertops and provide them with any other advice that she can to help them out,” said Chris.

    Each level of the property has garbage disposal, wide hallways and recessed doorways for more privacy and to reduce noise levels. As well, extra steps were taken during construction to help with sound proofing and provide quiet living accommodations. Another local trade, Innovative Plumbing and Heating from Brandon, was well involved in the plumbing and heating of this new development. From the mechanical systems to the plumbing fixtures.

    On the main level of the three-story building the entrance ways have secure access, there’s an elevator, a recreation/fitness room and a large meeting place.

    “On the main floor there’s a large common area that has a full kitchen with a comfortable sitting area that can be reserved for family functions or can be used to gather with neighbours,” commented Chris.

    While each homeowner will get a heated, underground parking spot, an added bonus is the ample space for visitor parking, as well as an additional parking garage for a second vehicle or a recreational vehicle.

    While Chris says this style of home would suit many different buyers, it is ideal for first-time home buyers, those that are close to or at retirement and are looking to downsize, as well as for professionals that are focusing on establishing their careers.

    “While there’s no age restriction, we’ve definitely been attracting those that are 50 plus where they are semiretired or downsizing. It’s the type of building that makes for a simple lifestyle and is convenient for those who like to travel,” said Chris.

    “It is quiet and comfortable and you can still keep an investment in place while maintaining an independent lifestyle. It’s a nice stepping stone or great alternative to home ownership without the high costs of retirement living or paying high rent and having no capital investment.”

    Future plans for the development will add an additional 24 condominiums running east/west on Braecrest Drive in phase two. Von Ast Construction is a fourth generation builder, based out of Niverville, MB.

    By Wanda Kurchaba
    Photos by: Kara Matthews – Sterling Images, Chris Coulter – RLP

  89. The Benefits of Vertical Wheelchair Lift

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    How fast can you walk? Run? Or climb the stairs? If without a second thought you can say “Faster than you” you would probably think that those are trick questions. But for those who find these rather simple tasks very strenuous and challenging to do, such questions can be arresting for them.

    The physically challenged, as well as the aged individuals, who spend most of their time in their wheelchairs, have limited mobility. Consequently, their independence are also lesser than what they had when they were not yet confined in their wheelchairs. These people can greatly benefit from special transportation equipment, such as elevators, ramps, and vertical wheelchair lifts.

    A vertical wheelchair lift, or platform lift, is powered by either hydraulics or electrical energy. This device allows a wheelchair bound individual to be elevated or lowered among floor levels without having to leave his/her wheelchair.

    The vertical wheelchair lifts come in many different models, some of which includes the following:

    • Enclosed Model – In this vertical wheelchair lift, the wheelchair and its occupant can stay on top of a platform while enclosed with walls as the lift moves up/down. This type of lift is especially practical for outdoor uses where safety may be compromised because of altering weather conditions.
    • Shaftway Model – This kind of wheelchair lift can fit within existing walls, just like a typical elevator. It is very much useful in both residential houses and public establishments.
    • Stage Model – This lift model features solely a platform. It is commonly used for shorter heights or elevations, such as on a stage or onto a vehicle.
    • Opal Model – This vertical wheelchair lift is similar to the enclosed model that has a platform enclosed with walls. However, this lift model has an open ceiling.

    Vertical wheelchair or platform lifts can be used in different locations, as shown in the following situations.

    • Vertical platform lifts give wheelchair confined individuals a better way in to and out of their residential homes as such devices allows them to be raised from the ground up on their elevated (or with steps ) front porches.
    • In schools and in other similar educational institutions, vertical wheelchair lifts are installed to give access to physically handicapped students, faculty and staff, and visitors to enter an auditorium stage or other elevated platforms.
    • Some public buildings already have elevators installed, but such transportation system oftentimes could not carry a wheelchair. Hence, they still opt to install vertical wheelchair lifts for this special need. Also, many older buildings have cramped areas that do not have spaces to accommodate ramps. That is why they prefer to have vertical platform lifts installed rather than the space consuming ramps.

    A vertical wheelchair lift is indeed of great significance to people with physical limitations. For them, having such device could mean a better life with more activities and greater independence. Whether installed in homes or in public structures, a vertical platform lift can make a significant change in the lives of these individuals. -DYH

  90. Feature: Nu Trend Kitchens

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    There is a lot behind the unassuming door at 535 – 34th St. There you will walk into a showroom filled with great displays, samples, and ideas. There you will see a state-of-the-art virtual tour of design possibilities. And there you will meet two of the most friendly and knowledgeable people around: the owners of Nu Trend Kitchens – Joyce and Mac Hofer.

    We are looking at a spot hidden in plain sight in the strip mall complex at 34th and Victoria. You might have heard the location referred to as “the old vacuum place.” No problem. It is now the home of Nu Trend Kitchens. It is where you go if you are a homeowner or a contractor and you are planning a new kitchen, bathroom, and more.

    Mac and Joyce Hofer exemplify the qualities that grow from sturdy Westman roots: friendly, practical, embracing innovation. Both Joyce and Mac grew up on a local Hutterite colony, grounded in an ethic of hard work, craftsmanship, and all-round resourcefulness.

    The Hofers bring a variety of skills to their enterprise. They got their introduction to the home construction and renovation business when they managed another company. When they worked there, they made contacts and discovered a natural love for the business and for meeting the needs of their customers.

    Two years ago, Mac and Joyce were ready to strike out on their own and they started Nu Trend Kitchens. The couple lives near Brandon and they delight in owning a small business, serving their customers, and building their own success story.

    The vision for Nu Trend Kitchens is a three-fold offering: more options, high
    quality of materials and construction, and customized design and build. They offer a total service to transform your ideas into reality. They do the design work. The cabinetry is custom-made right here in Westman. They will then do the installation, whether you are ordering a renovation or new construction.

    To get to know Nu Trend Kitchens, stop in at their showroom at 535 – 34th St. Their hours are Monday to Friday 9 – 6:30 and Saturday 10 – 2. (Just drop in. Or feel free to make an appointment; their phone number is 204-717-9200.) You can visit them online at their new website or on their Facebook page. If you are attending the Brandon Home & Leisure Show, check out their booth. For both of the two years that they have been there, their display has won the award for “best in show.”

    “We will listen to you,” Mac says about their guiding philosophy. Take it one step at a time. Start with the layout of your room. Decide what you want, where your appliances will be, the use of each cabinet. Later you can choose the colours and materials. And they mean it when they say “custom.” As Mac says, “If you feel you need one more inch somewhere, we can add one more inch.”

    There is beauty in Nu Trend Kitchens. There is the beauty of good design, colour, and material. And there is also the beauty of good planning, efficiency, and organization. The cabinets will fit exactly to your situation and around your appliances; there are no fillers or spacers. Maximum quality, maximum style, maximum use of space.

    The 1,400 sq. ft. Nu Trend Kitchens showroom brings these themes to life. Of course it is well designed and beautiful to behold. There is a range of options and prices for countertops and cabinets. Mac is keen to point out the quality built into each unit – they are all constructed of 5/8 inch material. And behind the doors and inside the drawers are many secrets to good organization: accessories for the storage of food, cutlery, dishes, garbage, recycling, and more.

    “Not that long ago, there was just a drawer and a door,” Mac says about cabinetry. But today, there is so much more. Customers are often surprised at the great assortment of accessories that can make storage and cooking that much easier and that much more enjoyable. Go ahead and ask: you can get all your questions answered. Like how to make the most effective use of your corner units. Or what options are available for under-the-cabinet lighting. You can then see how all of this goes together by immersing yourself in their Vortek virtual 3D display. This is a huge (4 ft. by 8 ft.) visual presentation of your design. You can try out – virtually – different options and change them instantly to reveal how they would look with different colours and materials. Mac and Joyce proudly point out that theirs is one of only three of this type of technology in all of Canada.

    Kitchens, of course, are at the heart of Nu Trend Kitchens. But if you are looking for something else – in either a new build or a renovation – Joyce and Mac are there for you. Think not only of the kitchen and bathrooms, but also stairs and railings, entry hall cubbyhole, closet organizers, bar, pantry, and entertainment centre. So take your time. The Hofers are happy to take the time with you. They recognize how important your home is to you. After all, as Joyce points out, “Most people will only get one chance at building their dream kitchen.”

    With Joyce and Mac Hofer of Nu Trend Kitchens at your side, you can have anything you desire. They want to custom design and build for you. They want to offer more options to you. They want to bring a finished project to you that looks better, works better, and lasts longer. “If you can think of it,” Mac says, “then we can build it.” And Joyce adds, “And if you can’t think of it, then we can think of it.”

    By David McConkey
    Photos By: Kara Matthews – Sterling Images
    Submitted by Nu Trend Kitchens

  91. Letter from the Editor

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    Our Third Anniversary!

    Wow, does time fly! This winter will mark our 3rd anniversary creating Design Your Home magazine!

    I love celebrating this anniversary at my favourite time of year. The winter season for me is all about family and friends. I love getting ready for Christmas, stocking the freezer with meals and baking to share with everyone, and every year I find a gift to make, that I can share with my neighbours, family, teachers and friends. Previous years I have gifted canning, homemade irish cream, and crochet dish cloths. I haven’t quite made up my mind what I’ll make this year, but I’ll be sure to share it on the Design Your Home Pinterest page!

    We enjoy snowmobiling, skating, sledding, ice fishing and of course, building snow forts and snow men/princesses! The winter months, is a great time to explore your city or town in ways you don’t during other months. That may be snowshoeing, cross country skiing or snowmobiling on trails through the bush, or ice fishing in the middle of the lake. Spending time outdoors in the winter is not only a great activity for your health, but a great bonding time with the people you love. And, you can never beat warming up with a big mug of hot chocolate!

    Winter is also a great time to get renovations done or start planning your projects for the new year. If you are going to be inside for the winter months, you may as well work on projects then, as when summer hits, you want to focus your attention outside. This is a great time to approach your local contractors and discuss any projects you want done and get a few quotes put together. I always say, that if you are able to get renovations done, do them now and enjoy them!

    I hope that you are able to get out and spend time with your family and friends over the winter months, or maybe tackle a project or two. Look for local activities, festivals, or just pack up the car and head to the local sledding hill, maybe we will bump into you!

  92. Wine Advice: Wine Labels

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    What’s in a Label? Important information and valuable facts about wine.

    Although wine labels may not contain every little detail, such as service temperatures and food pairing, the data they do contain is vital and in many cases essential, required by law. All you need to know is how to decipher it.

    The eye-catching label facing you, the label you assume to be the front label, may in fact actually be the back or reverse wine label. Some wine laws dictate not only what is included on the label but also where the information is located. Nowhere is it written that vendors must stock a wine with the front label facing out. With the exception of the odd wine geek – most consumers prefer the “pretty” side facing front and no matter, front or back, the required information is included.

    Label requirements depend on the labeling practices and requirements of the country of origin and by the requirements or laws specified by the importing country.

    There are five basic label requirements and two manners or “methods” in use that affect wine labeling. In regards to labeling methods, wines considered “Old World” wines (wines originating from Europe where there is a lengthy history of winemaking) bear different labels than “New World” wines (wines produced in countries such as ours). Old world wines are most often labeled according to local tradition.

    The basic information required for proper wine labeling includes the wine producer, country of origin, grape variety, varieties or “blend”, vintage date, and a.b.v. (alcohol by volume). Wine producers names are usually prominent, (although some producers use small rather than large text) and are positioned at the top of the label, although there are exceptions where the outward-facing label has the wine name without stating the producer. An familiar example of this labeling practice are the wines Carnivore and Apothic Red, both produced by the Gallo brand.

    The country, region of wine production, or a specific, much smaller winemaking area or single vineyard indicates where the grapes are grown. Generally the smaller the area the better the wine. A wine label may state a broad area such as British Columbia, or narrow the area to the Okanagan Valley or an even smaller area as in the case of the specific vineyard. Each area smaller and more specific than the previous one. In cases where a specific vineyard is noted as a rule it appears directly below the particular region.

    The grape variety or varieties used in production may or may not be indicated. Some labels bear terms like “red blend” or “Meritage” leaving the consumer to ponder exactly what grape variety or varieties such a statement refers to. Others reveal all grape varietals included in the wine and may provide the specific percentages of each. The date listed on the wine bottle is called the vintage date and refers only to the year grapes were harvested. Vintage-dated wine is generally better quality than nonvintage wine. That said, many fortified wines, sparkling wines, and sherry do not bear a vintage date and this is in no way a reflection of an inferior product but is only a reflection in the way the wine is made.

    Alcohol levels are indicated as a.b.v. (alcohol by volume). There may be a plus or minus percentage of error allowed when stating the a.b.v., but as the production area becomes smaller, more precise, this % of error decreases so that estate-bottled wine lists an exact a.b.v. High alcohol levels, 14% a.b.v and higher are often indicative of a full-bodied, ripe, fleshy and fruity wine made from grapes grown in a warm climate where those wines of lower alcohol, under 12%, are light bodied, high in acid and may be slightly sweet. “Old World” wine is often named for its geographic origin – the area it comes from – areas such as Burgundy and Chablis. Producers that label in this way assume the consumer is familiar with the area and the grapes grown there. Labels from areas such as this rarely mention wine style – once again assuming you are familiar with the particular wine. Such is the “Old World” way.

    Frequently used labeling terms are Reserve, Estate bottled and old vines. Many of these terms are undefined. It is your responsibility as a consumer to decipher what, if any, meaning they convey. European labels state “Reserve” in reference to additional aging and/or a slightly higher alcohol than nonreserve designated wine, where New World countries use of the term “Reserve” is undefined, often used by a producer to indicate what they perceive to be a superior wine.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  93. Condo Living

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    Condo living can make you feel so smug, no shoveling snow, no worries about the roof leaking and all that cozy, draft-free warmth while the weather rages outside!

    One of the important things about condo life is to move in without all the clutter that you ‘can’t do without’! Another important thing is to furnish and decorate your condo in a way that maximizes spaciousness. An experienced interior design consultant knows all the tricks, but here are a few to get you started.

    Let’s start with the outside; although the balcony or patio is part of the ‘common element’ of the complex, it is for your exclusive use, (unlike the hallways which are for common use). You are not responsible for its upkeep, but you can stack as many rattan chairs and barbeques and pot plants as you want on it! Overflowing onto the patio or balcony is a temptation that must be resisted!

    It is far more spacious and relaxing to look out of your windows onto a clear balcony affording a clear view. One way to do this is to buy chairs that are stackable and a table that folds down. Choose a small model of barbeque, or a table top version that can be stood on top of a small cupboard that also houses the coals, fire starter, tools etc.

    If you love your flowers, then group a few plants together with the taller ones at the back and matching pots would be great! Keep your furniture off to one side in the summer months and fold some of it down in the winter.

    Now we come inside. If the walls are all one colour, for example, cream or a very pale pastel, the separate areas will not be chopped up so much. This will create a feeling of having more space than there actually is in the condo. Blinds or shades can be the same colour as the walls, so that the windows will not break up the feeling of colour continuity.

    Of course, it is often the case that we have to fit in the furnishings we have already bought. In case you have the chance to buy new, here are some pointers to consider. A three seater sofa takes up a long space and how many times have you seen anyone perched uncomfortably in the middle? Not often! So opt for a two seater love seat – and you will optimize your floor plan.

    Assuming that you had to bring some of your clutter with you – you will need a place to keep it! This is where it is handy to buy end tables that actually have cupboards underneath. These can still have the look of fine furniture if you choose carefully.

    The same rule applies to the coffee table: look for a style with storage space under. Buying furniture that can have a dual purpose is very beneficial in a smaller space.

    Another option is to buy a coffee table with a glass top, so that the floor can still be seen. Of course, this will depend on how much you need the storage space that you will have to forgo!

    If you have a narrow wall, a large mirror can really enlarge your room and reflect extra sunlight. Never underestimate the power of mirrors in small spaces!

    Sometimes a narrow wall encloses the front entrance, in which case a small console is adequate space to drop your keys and bag. It is functional to keep the front entrance as roomy as possible as you may often be welcoming four people at one time.

    Shop around for pieces that will fit your home. There are more choices today then before and get advice from local business owners, as they are helping people just like you every day! DYH

  94. My Idiah: Herb Appeal

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    It’s that time of year, we start itching to be outside and for us, gardening! As it is not warm enough to be doing that quite yet, we started some of our plants inside this year.

    This is one of my favourite activities I like to do with my daughter. She loves to plant seeds and watch them grow! The excitement continues in our home from seeing the first plants starting to spout, to enjoying them in our kitchen as we prepare our meals.

    herbs in containerFor me, I not only enjoy using herbs, but looking for the perfect container to plant them in, is just as much fun for me! This year, I chose a galvanized chicken feeder and my daughter chose a chicken water dish to plant our seeds. I love all the different sections these containers have, in which we can plant our different herb seeds in. Feel free to plant starter plants from the nursery as well! Other fun containers you can plant your herbs in are matching pots, tea cups, sealers, larger planters with multiple herbs all together…let your imagination run wild!

    Herbs can be used in many ways. You can cook with them,   make a tea or beverages, use them for healing properties, or to infuse olive oils to name a few. I use mine mostly in cooking. When I plant my herbs in containerherbs, I like to plant a variety of herbs I use and ones I want to try for the first time. Even if you don’t use them, they are a beautiful plant, some flower and even keep away bugs from your patio, you can’t go wrong!

    Don’t forget to always check out our Pinterest page for more ideas!

    Preserving Your Herbs

    Drying your herbs is a great way to preserve them. You can gather a bunch, tie them with some string and hang them to dry or lay them on a flat surface until they have dried out. Then store them in an air tight container and continue to use them as needed.

    Freezing your herbs in olive oil is another great way to preserve them. Use ice cube trays and fill with your fresh herbs then drizzle in olive oil; place in freezer to harden. By freezing your herbs in oil, you can help to prevent herbs hanging to drybrowning or freezer burn. Once your cubes are frozen, you can store them in freezer bags in the freezer and use them as needed. This method is great for hard herbs you would use in cooking and stews where you would be adding some oil anyways.

  95. Helping You is What We Do

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    Royal LePage / Martin- Liberty Realty is committed to top quality service throughout the communities we serve as a full service real estate brokerage.

    Brandon Real Estate Market Stats

    In the late 1970’s Hugh Martin formed NRS Martin Realty Associates Inc. and Scott Hetherington formed Liberty Realty. In the mid 1980’s Brad Munn began a branch office of Liberty Redwood. As Liberty Realty was a leader in residential sales and NRS Martin Realty Associates Inc. was a leader in Farm and Commercial Sales, a partnership emerged. In November of 1996, Liberty Realty and NRS Martin Realty Associates Inc. amalgamated to form Martin- Liberty Realty. Martin-Liberty Realty was approached by a number of major Real Estate Franchise companies requesting a partnership. In 1999, Royal LePage and Martin-Liberty Realty formed a partnership to become known as Royal LePage/Martin-Liberty Realty.

    Royal LePage has a proud history of delivering quality service and innovation, dating back to 1913. Our founder, A.E. LePage, introduced many first to the Canadian real estate industry, including property showings by automobile, detailed property descriptions in newspaper advertising and the use of film to showcase homes. Today, Royal LePage has grown to become one of the strongest and most trusted brands in Canadian residential real estate.

    Looking forward to the future Royal LePage/Martin- Liberty Realty has expanded and improved its business model to help better serve the needs of Southwestern Manitoba which includes the formation of a new business partnership. Our Team of 56 Real Estate Sales Specialists includes 12 Partners, Nine Associate Partners, a Broker/ Manager and three Administrative Personnel who reside throughout Brandon, Clear Lake, Souris, Virden, Swan River and Thompson. With an eye for continued opportunities for growth and expansion, and as the real estate industry as a whole continues to change and evolve, it’s an exciting time to be involved with Royal LePage/Martin-Liberty Realty.

    As a client, we know that you are asking three questions of us. Can I trust you? Are you good at what you do? Do you care about me? Here at Royal LePage/Martin-Liberty Realty we want to assure you that we do care about you! Whether you are buying or selling, or considering a career in real estate, please give us the opportunity to serve you. Visit our website or contact us directly at 204.725.8800.

  96. Feature: Brandon Home & Leisure Show

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    It’s 1966. The Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup, Caesars Palace opens in Las Vegas, The Beatles end their U.S. concert tour in San Francisco (which is their last live performance), Canadian figure skater Kurt Browning is born on June 18, Star Trek debuts on NBC-TV, the Canada Pension Plan is introduced and mini skirts are the fashion trend of the year.

    Here in the Wheat City, the Brandon Sportsman’s Show was held for the first time! The event, which today is known as the Brandon Home & Leisure Show (BH&L Show), began as a modest trade show in less than 10,000 square feet.

    Clair Murray of Murray Chev Olds was the founder of the event, but after two years, Glen Lawson of Frank Lawson & Sons came on board and added boats and marinerelated products.

    “Fifty years, for any type of business, is a benchmark that is not a frivolous existence. A lot of our past and longtime exhibitors are really keen on celebrating the 50th anniversary with us this year. People realize the value of it and they are saying, ‘we have to be in it because it’s the 50th’. Everyone’s really excited about this year’s event,” said Dave Melcosky, Manager of the Brandon Home and Leisure Show.

    Manse Binkley, Bill Lawson, Bob Lawson, Don Main and Doug Murray took over the BH&L Show in 1979. Eventually, brothers and business partners Don and Ron Kille joined Don Main and Doug Murray as owners and the four businessmen managed the show for a number of years. Today, it is owned by the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba.

    To recognize Clair Murray for his innovation and willingness to take a risk on this new venture, the Murray family will be presented with an award in his honour during this year’s event.

    We’re grateful to everyone who played a role in building the show over the years, but it was Clair Murray who really took a chance and tried something new. I’m not sure that even he would have imagined that it would still be running 50 years later,” said Dave.

    The BH&L Show has grown 10 times its original size in its 50 years of existence, it now uses 100,000 square feet of space in the Keystone Centre and attracts close to 11,000 visitors over the course of the three-day event. Along with the size, the variety of exhibitors has changed as well.

    In addition to cars, boats and recreational vehicles, today at the BH&L Show you’ll find products and services for doit- yourself home repair, decorating and furnishing, exterior improvements, patios, hot tubs, home entertainment and landscaping. You’ll also see the latest in lawn and garden equipment, travel trailers, water crafts, and a wide selection of products for your favourite hobby or sport.

    While Dave has been the force in expanding and building on the event in the last seven years in his role as show manager, his history with the BH&L Show actually dates back to the era when bell-bottoms, disco and The Village People were popular.

    “When we started Stream ’n Wood back in the mid- 70s it was a natural at that point to be part of the show, because it was called the Brandon Sportsman Show and was strictly recreational equipment. Of course, Stream ’n Wood has always carried canoes, kayaks and such and it was a good fit,” said Dave.

    “Ironically, the year we were first involved was 1977 and the event was held in the Convention Hall which is just 10,000 square feet. Today, we’re just shy of 100,000 square feet, the growth of the show over the years has been quite amazing.”

    As an added highlight for the 50th anniversary celebration, the Showcase Stage is being reintroduced where exhibitors will have the opportunity to showcase their products and services to visitors in attendance. There will be an excellent variety of presentations on everything from interior design to landscaping and cabinetry.

    “The Home Show is an interactive show, I like to describe it as one of the biggest box stores in Manitoba. People are coming in to look at products and to find service providers. The opportunity for the exhibitors is tremendous – selling is the name of the game, making contacts is the name of the game; it’s about building a network of potential customers. For those attending the event, it’s a fantastic opportunity to see what the latest trends and innovations are.”

    Official Charity of the Brandon Home & Leisure Show

    Known for having everything anyone would ever want to know about your current or future home and now the Brandon Home and Leisure Show partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society to take on cancer.

    Home Show general manager Dave Melcosky said in addition to increasing awareness about the dangers of radon gas, the show’s timing creates a wonderful opportunity to community-build and increase Brandon’s engagement in the cancer fight. He said the Show has designated the Canadian Cancer Society its official charity of choice.

    “Due to the fact that April is Daffodil Month across Canada and the Show is in April or late March, it was a natural partnership,” Melcosky said. Karrie Smyth, manager of the provincial Daffodil Campaign praised Melcosky and the Home Show for showing leadership and commitment to helping Manitoba cancer patients and their families.

    About the Canadian Cancer Society
    The Canadian Cancer Society is the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada. Thanks to our generous donors and our rigorous, gold-standard peer-review process, we are funding hundreds of researchers in universities, hospitals and research centres across Canada. The Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Together we are discovering new ways to change cancer forever. For more information, visit or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934). Make your gift today at

  97. Why Your ‘Too Small’ Bath Could be the Best Room in your Home

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    By Jaydi Dinsdale of Timber + Lace Interior Design
    Photo: Amanda Sneddon Photography

    We have all said it before –  “I love this house, but the bathrooms are so small”; however, with thoughtful design and detailing, instead you could say – “I love this house, AND the bathrooms are so small!”. The fact is, a small bath can be a very good thing. As long as a bath has a highly functional layout, there is no reason why it can’t be a tiny shining gem within your home.

    Small Space, Big Impact

    In a compact space, your eye will notice and appreciate elements that would otherwise be less apparent in a larger area. Accents like a beautiful gold-framed mirror or a wellplaced piece of art can take center stage; while simple white subway tile with contrasting black grout can bring a sleek and contemporary look. Smaller details like cabinetry pulls, bathroom accessories and counter edge profiles can easily unify a small space and help to define the intended design concept. Remember, less is more, make sure not to overload your small spaces with too many items, patterns or materials, as this can cause the space to appear busy and cluttered. Keep it simple.

    Less Space, Less Cost

    Small square footage can often assist in achieving a high end look. Splurging on a Carrara marble countertop is much less costly when there is only a few feet of counter space. The material quantities are low; so treat your small bath as an opportunity to finally use the luxurious wallpaper you’ve been dreaming about, or finish the floor in a bold custom tile pattern. (Only use wallpaper if your bath doesn’t have a shower. Paper and humidity often don’t mix!). As an alternative to a standard 4” backsplash, consider bringing the backsplash material behind the vanity all the way up to the ceiling, or tile the whole wall behind the sink for a glamourous (and easy to clean) feature.

    Embrace your Creative Side

    Small spaces force you to use every square inch of space; which then provides the opportunity for creative solutions that you may not have considered before. Try using the space between wall studs to create recessed storage for display of accessories or storage of toiletries. Drop in bits of bold and playful colour, pattern or textures, this will help to create a focal point; just make sure to balance the rest of the space with a more subdued palette. Don’t be afraid to customize your cabinetry to suit a tight space. This could mean a shallower section of shelving, or perhaps accessing storage from the side of a cabinet as well as the front. Plumbing fixtures have come a long way and are now becoming functional art; find a fixture with a unique shape, finish or installation and let it speak for itself.

    The Perfect Test Space

    If you are wanting to update or renovate your home, a smaller bath could be a great place to start. Taking on a large renovation can be overwhelming, but updating a space with less square footage is a great way to ready yourself for the complexities of a larger design project. Bathrooms and kitchens require a lot of similar design elements: plumbing fixtures, countertops, cabinetry, and durable flooring. By using these items in a smaller scale and closed in room before using them in your kitchen, it can give you a small glimpse into how your kitchen could look. Of course, there are interior designers (like Timber + Lace) that could help you with any and all of your design decisions no matter the size of the project.

  98. Feature: Flip It – The Deconstruction (Part 1)

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    By Wanda Kurchaba
    Photos Submitted

    If you were told that a house you were considering purchasing was a tear down, would you still buy it? I’m guessing not.

    For most people doing cosmetic renovations like putting on a fresh coat of paint, installing some new flooring or adding new kitchen cabinets is likely very manageable. But, I think most of us have watched enough Holmes on Homes to know that the more serious the renovations – structural changes like adding or removing walls, re-drywalling or foundation work often leads to an even bigger project, which usually requires a bigger budget.

    Geoff Gregoire, owner of Contractor’s Corner, doesn’t shy away from houses that some would consider tear downs. In fact, the company just recently purchased a house in Brandon that had been on the market for a quite some time and was actually advertised as a lot for sale.

    It was one of those houses that was scaring away buyers, but it wasn’t because of the size, layout or location. It was the evidence of water damage that had folks lining up their next appointment to view other houses on the market.

    “Everyone said it was a knock down and it was listed as a lot. As soon as I looked at it, I realized that it was close to the train tracks, so there’s no way you can knock this down because you’ll never be allowed to rebuild that close to the tracks. When I checked with Brandon Area and Planning they said you have to be a 100 meters from the tracks and this house is within that range, so you’d never be able to build new,” said Geoff.

    The project house is at 834-9th Street. It’s a 970 square foot, open-concept bungalow with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a full-sized basement. The first step in taking on the renovation was to determine where all the water damage was coming from, but after a quick inspection it was clear to see.

    “Water was coming right down through the roof, but there was three feet of snow on it. So, we scraped off the snow and discovered that there was literally three huge holes in the roof. I’m surprised a rodent didn’t find its way into the house. So, to prevent any further damage, we re-sheeted the roof and put on new shingles,” said Geoff.

    The house was vacant for some time, but it is unknown as to what the condition of the house was with its previous owners. Geoff said they aren’t sure how long water had been coming in, but it also doesn’t take long for the damage to occur.

    With his partner, Dan Manser, and their three employees Geoff said Manitoba Restoration, their restoration business, works primarily on disaster relief.

    “For the most part, Manitoba Restoration works with insurance adjusters to handle disaster relief. This includes mould remediation, asbestos removal, fire, smoke, water damage and sewer back-up cleaning. It’s not fun work and it usually takes a long time to complete. There are a lot of safety standards to follow, especially with asbestos removal, but the end results are always worth it. It’s hard, labour intensive work, we basically tackle all the dirty jobs that no one else wants to take on,” laughs Geoff.

    Their employees are trained and certified and stay up-todate on safe and proper procedures. They also have all the right equipment to get the jobs done quickly and efficiently.

    “If your house floods, you need to get the water out fast. So you need commercial dehumidifiers and air movers. With the ones that we use, we actually put the hoses right into the drain, so we get the water out as quickly as we can. If you have sewer back-up, you can’t just put everything in the dryer to dry, you have to clean it all properly,” Geoff said.

    And that’s precisely why the house on 9th Street was an ideal project for Contactor’s Corner and Manitoba Restoration. Once they stopped the water from coming in, they started tearing off the damaged drywall to see exactly what they were up against. What they discovered was a bit of mould in the insulation.

    “If we didn’t have the restoration company, we wouldn’t have been able to take on this project. Just to gut it and clean it out, we likely would have quoted close to $20,000,” said Geoff. “I still say this is just an extreme cosmetic renovation because we’re not really doing any main structural work or adding on. We are taking it right down to the studs and when we’re done it’ll basically be a new home.”

    The Manitoba Restoration team does the tear down and cleaning of the property, then the construction crew
    from Contractor’s Corner will come in and rebuild it. Contractor’s Corner has been in business for eight years and is owned by Geoff and his brother, Tim.

    “This will probably be one of the biggest flips ever done in Brandon. Mostly because we’re taking it right down to the studs. Nowadays to flip a house and make money you can’t usually go to that extreme, unless you get it for a really good price.”

    Geoff started flipping houses right out of high school and knew when he graduated from Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School that this was the industry for him. “I based my grade 12 business plan on flipping houses. I’m very much a hands-on type of person and I’m mostly selftaught. If I don’t know how to do something I find someone who can teach me,” said Geoff.

    “The kitchen and bathroom of the house we’re working on will be pretty fancy. Since we don’t do a lot of new builds, we use houses like this as our show home. Our in-house interior designer has some great ideas for design and when all is said and done it will be a desirable, modern home.”

    So, if you are in the market for a house and thinking of a fixer up, Geoff said that people shouldn’t be shy about asking for a second or third appointment to see the house so that you know exactly what you’re getting in to.

    “Some people look at a house once, maybe twice and they’re scared to tell the agent they’d like to go through it one more time and bring along one or two people for some advice. Make that second or third appointment and get an experienced carpenter to go through the house with you. Your house is the biggest purchase you’ll probably make in your life, make the extra appointment and see it again before you make your final decision.”

    Geoff says it’s important if you need to get a home inspection, to find an inspector that has a lot of experience in the construction industry, so you get an accurate assessment. He also recommends you request to receive a copy of the home inspection if one is done on the home you are selling.

    Buying a fixer upper can sometimes be challenging, but with proper planning and qualified professionals, the results can turn a house into a beautiful home.


  99. Homelessness in Brandon

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    In January 2015, the Point-in-Time (PiT) Homelessness Count in Brandon was 117 people. Does this surprise you? Of those accounted for, 76 were unsheltered and 41 were sheltered. As you can imagine, these counts are more of a minimum baseline, as homelessness isn’t always visible. They can only register what is right in front of them.

    The iMatter committee in Brandon is once again organizing a Point-in-Time (PiT) Homelessness Count on Wednesday, April 13th. The benefits of knowing the homelessness count in Brandon is to ensure there are no unmet needs and programs that could be available to individuals or families in need. They use this information to help guide programs and services in an effort to ultimately end homelessness in Brandon one day. This program is a voluntary program being run, but shows the efforts being made to truly end homelessness in the Wheat City.

    If you are able to volunteer your time with the PiT Homelessness Count in Brandon, please contact them right away at They are training volunteers now, so if you are able to spare a few hours on April 13th and you are over the age of 18, please contact them. For more information on this program, please visit their website at

    Habitat for Humanity – Brandon Chapter

    We are so happy to see Habitat for Humanity running strong in Brandon again. Not only did they turn the keys over to a new family in February, but they already have another home being built. You couldn’t ask for a better partnership then with the trades students at Assiniboine Community College. They, as well as other builders and trades in our community, help in building habitat homes for the families chosen. Families have to go through an extensive interview process in order to be selected, as well, they have to be committed to completing hundreds of volunteer hours in the community. To learn more about the Habitat for Humanity in Brandon, visit them online at

    Other ways to support Habitat for Humanity is to shop at the ReStore located at 630 Rosser Avenue in Brandon. They sell new and gently used materials and products that would otherwise go to landfills. The money you spend there will help with the administration costs at Habitat for Humanity MB, in order for 100% of the donations to go directly to building new homes.

    If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, why not consider one of these organizations.

    Information for this write up received from, and

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  100. Wine Advice: Wine Popsicles

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    I have many childhood memories but when it comes to summer, especially ice-cold treats, Popsicles are foremost in my mind. Refreshing, delicious and pleasantly cool, Popsicle’s, although increasingly hard to find, having been largely replaced by gooey chocolatey concoctions and confections, have remained a favorite warm weather treat but now, for me, Wine Popsicles have claimed their number one spot. Childhood favorite and adult treat combined.

    Popsicles may be made from white, rose and red wine. If you are looking for a tart, mouth-watering treat look to acidic white wines. Sauvignon Blanc is a natural choice, it’s herbaceous, grassy and its vegetal flavours scream summer. Other white wines with high acidity are Vinho Verde from Portugal ,Chablis from France, Pinot Grigio from Italy, Riesling from Germany and various white wines from cool-climate growing areas.

    Once a wine is selected, pair the flavours in the wine with various fruits and other additives in the Popsicle blend. Blend green apple and stone fruits to Riesling, peach and pear to Pinot Grigio and Gewurztraminer, known for flavours of lychee and ripe peach, is complimented by this fruit. Wines made from grapes grown in warm climates,such as California or Australian Chardonnay, are best blended with tropical fruit such as papaya,mango, starfruit and pineapple.

    Hop onto the rosé train if you want to be trendy. The selection of rosé wines is mind-boggling when compared to the number of wines available a few short years ago. Many Rosé’s boast flavours of watermelon and red berries, making such fruits a natural and delicious choice.

    For red wine, as with white wine and rosé wine, pair dominant flavours in wine with complimentary fruit flavours. Blend Chianti with red berries and oranges, flavours found in Chianti. Gamay, Grenache, Pinot Noir and Barbera have flavours of red fruits (raspberry, strawberry, pomegranate) and blue berries. For full-bodied wines, the likes of Merlot, Malbec, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere posses darker fruit flavours and as such are enhanced by the addition of blackberry, plum, prune and fig.

    Popsicles aren’t limited to the addition of fruit alone. Other additives add flavour and interest. Herbs and spices are used to compliment and intensify fruit.

    Gelati is often used as a palate cleanser, served between courses. Break with tradition and serve a delicious wine Popsicle in its place. Popsicles also make a refreshing dessert. The perfect summer treat. For adults only.

    A Google search will provide any different recipes. The following is one.

    White Sangria Popsicle

    • 1 cup (250 ml) white wine
    • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) Grand Marnier or substitute orange liqueur
    • 2/3 cup (160 ml) peach juice or substitute pineapple, apple
    • 1/4 cup (60 ml) club soda
    • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
    • 1 1/3 cups (330 ml) of mixed fruit (for example: peach, apricot, pineapple)

    Combine white wine, liqueur, juice, club soda, lime juice and blend together.
    Combine fruit and divide it between molds.
    Pour wine mixture over fruit, add sticks, freeze for 6 hours


    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier (ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  101. Improve Your Home’s Value

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    Are you thinking about renovating and improving your home? Before you start spending, you should know a few things, so you don’t end up wasting any money.

    There are many home improvement programs; people expect the quality they’ve grown accustomed to seeing. That is one of the reasons many tend to expect their next house to be as nice as the homes on these shows. Improving your life style is a good investment; it can increase your home’s value. Some improvements can be, improving your master bedroom, media rooms and create outdoor rooms.

    Maintenance is the number one improvement you should be doing in your home. Buyers just naturally expect everything to be up to date, and as a result not keeping up with maintenance and appearance of your home can actually decrease the value. Be sure to have your home up to date, this includes fixtures, bathrooms, kitchens and flooring. These call all show the age of your home and some are easy fixes.

    Flooring not only wears over time, but can also date your home. If you are thinking you are going to sell your home soon, make sure you update any flooring with rips/tears, stains or any outdated rooms. You don’t want to turn a buyer off when they see that they have to make more updates to the home after they purchase it.

    It’s a good idea to do some of the cosmetics touch ups yourself, if you can of course. Jobs like painting and stripping wallpaper is something you might be able to do. And it can improve the look of your home.

    But be careful of improvements if you plan to sell within 2 to 5 years. If your house is improved beyond the entire neighborhood that surrounds you, it’s possible that the value of your home won’t be recognized when you are ready to sell.

    And lastly you should keep track of your home’s value. The best way to do so would be to look at homes that are on sale that are similar to yours. That way you can compare with the value of your home. If you find out that a house down the street from you sold for $400 000 with an outdoor room and a new kitchen, then you can get an idea about your own home. About the improvements you should look into.

    Consider some of these points before rushing into a home improvement. Carefully planned decisions will give you a better outcome and value in the end.

  102. Introducing a Simple. Reliable. Smart Home.

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    Imagine coming home after a long day at work to find your home warmly lit.

    The shades have been drawn and the temperature is perfect, just how you like it. Your home has prepared itself for you so you can immediately start enjoying a relaxing evening. All you have to do is arrive.

    Home automation technology allows you to control things like lighting, temperature, window coverings and other home functions all with the touch of a button. This technology is a luxury and until recently, it has not been a luxury the average home owner could afford.

    “Budget Blinds and Lutron have made home automation affordable and easy to use,” said Sue Swarbrick, owner of Budget Blinds of Southwest Manitoba for the past five years. “In the past, many homeowners felt home automation for window coverings was out of their reach, but now it is truly an affordable option.”

    Lutron’s Smart Home is a simple home automation system that allows you to control and schedule your window coverings, lighting and thermostat all through the touch of a button. You can control it with a remote or wall control, or through the Smart Home application on your smart device. If you have an iPhone, you can control the system with voice commands. Just ask your friend, Siri to draw the window shades or turn dim the lights.

    The system is programmed to recognize your smart device as you approach your home and it will set your preferred home ambience before you even walk through the door.

    “Budget Blinds works with both the natural and artificial lighting part of the Smart Home system and having automated window coverings will make you never want to live without them,” said Swarbrick. “You can set your window coverings to your time zone so they will rise and lower according to the daylight hours. People use this system to set their shades to come up at a certain time in the morning and use the natural light to wake them instead of an obtrusive alarm.”

    Having smart shades can also enhance your home’s security. You can set them to rise and lower at appropriate times when you are on vacation, making it appear as though someone is at home.

    Or, operate them from any part of the world at any time you wish.


    The Lutron cellular and roller shades are cordless, making them safe for children and pets.

    They’re made from sustainable materials and are very energy efficient. The shades are operated by a battery that lasts up to five years and is nearly soundless. You will barely hear that your window coverings are moving. Automated shades will be set to move at the same speed so all of your window coverings lower or rise evenly and rest at the same level.

    “These features are so luxurious to have in your home. I compare it to having a smart phone. We didn’t have smart phones years ago and didn’t know what we were missing, but now that we have them and use them so much we see how the technology benefits our daily lives and we can’t imagine going back to not having them. Also, just ponder for a moment our vehicles… fully automated. Most of us wouldn’t want to go back to window cranks and running around all 4 doors to lock them. We even request WiFi as a standard feature. Home automation is the same thing. It’s not something you think you need at first but once you have it life at home feels so pleasant and you’ll be so grateful you did it.” adds Swarbrick.

    The Lutron technology leads the industry. Not only was the company the first to invent the light dimmer in the late 1950s, they have invested hundreds of lighting control devices and systems and have led innovations in window shade technology using wireless and wired systems to control both daylight and electric light.

    “People love this technology. It is so accessible, convenient, easy to use and can really add value to your home life,” shared Swarbrick. The Future is Here!

    For more information on the Budget Blinds and Lutron Smart Home integrated home automation system, contact Budget Blinds of Southwest Manitoba at 204 727-4766 or by visiting

  103. On a Firm Foundation

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    When I last met with Stewart and Jaime-Lynn Dyck, they were all ready to start building their new home. Everything was set. They had their house up for sale, they had purchased a property, and they had finalized their new house design. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out as planned…

    A temporary dip in the Brandon real estate market stalled their sale, so they put their plans on hold. Oh, well; they are philosophical. “We are doing everything we wanted to do,” Stewart says, “but a year later.”

    And they ended up putting that year’s delay to good use. While initially disappointing, that time for reflection turned out to have real value. “It was nice to have that year,” Jaime-Lynn says, “to build stronger relationships with builders, tweak the design, and ponder the whole house.”

    During that year they walked over their property – a two acre lot just outside of the city. They also staked where the house could be located, looked again at the drawings, made measurements again of their existing house, and imagined how everything would fit together.

    Stewart and Jaime-Lynn are still delighted with the home design. Stewart describes their blueprints as “very meticulous.” Good plans are especially useful as Stewart and Jaime-Lynn are carrying out their original intention of being their own general contractor. “Having detailed plans with great images gives you a real perspective of your home before you even break ground.” Stewart adds.

    For selling their existing home, they decided to re-list with Brian Baker at Royal LePage Martin-Liberty Realty in Brandon. Stewart reports that Brian used his experience and contacts to find great perspective buyers; he “brought the right people to our house.” After successfully finding a buyer, Brian continued to assist them with the move. Brian offered one of his complementary Cargo Trailers to move their belongings. This made the transition from one home to the next, go smoothly.

    For the excavation and preparation of the property for construction, Stewart and Jaime-Lynn turned to Chris Griffin at Alternative Landscaping. Chris was able to size up the property and assess the best place to site the house. “There was concern with underground streams around the property and with Chris’s help and knowledge of landscaping we were able to find a location on the property that was high and dry,” Stewart explains. This saved them time and money.

    Stewart and Jaime-Lynn enlisted Powell Concrete Construction to form, pump and finish their concrete basement. Powell is best known in town for years of commercial work, but has been branching out to do more in the residential field. “Powel brings years of experience and was able to offer their insights and contacts to help,” Jaime-Lynn explains. “Powell took the lead and was able to communicate to the other trades when to start their projects.”

    Stewart and Jaime-Lynn decided to use Insulated Concrete Foundation (ICF) for their foundation walls. ICF is a system of formwork for reinforced concrete usually made with a rigid thermal insulation that stays in place as a permanent interior and exterior substrate for walls. The forms are interlocking modular units that are dry-stacked (without mortar) and filled with concrete. The units lock together somewhat like children’s blocks and create a form for the structural walls or floors of a building. ICF gives you savings on heating and cooling costs.

    To heat their future house, Stewart and Jaime-Lynn chose radiant heat (an in-floor water system). They asked Bryan at North Hill Plumbing & Heating to install it. The basement will have radiant tubing that snakes through the concrete slab. The entire basement floor becomes a giant radiant panel that heats everyone and everything in the space. Walking in bare feet or lying on the floor is pure warmth.

    “There are many pros when it comes to radiant heating,” Jaime-Lynn says. “It’s nearly silent, it’s clean, it’s comfortable, there are no ducts to clean, it’s efficient and requires minimal maintenance.” This system sends heated water from a central boiler to piping underneath the floor. It’s warmth from the feet up. Another benefit is the ability to zone your house. With a small amount of effort and some additional expense, you can have groups of rooms on their own zone. This allows you to have different zones at different temperatures at different times. If you only use a few rooms in your home, you just can heat those rooms in that zone.

    For the framing of the house, Stewart and Jaime-Lynn contracted with Geoff Gregoire at Con-Cor Homes, which is a division of Contractor’s Corner. Known originally as “Westman’s Countertop Shop,” Contractor’s Corner has greatly expanded over the years. The Con-Cor Homes division constructs new houses, ready-to-move homes, and condo developments.

    Con-Cor Homes will be in the next stage of the build… Stewart and Jaime-Lynn are happy to report that – so far – there have been no mistakes or surprises. They suggest three keys to success: take your time, do your research, and talk to as many people as possible. Even if they are not eventually selected for the job, Stewart points out, people “like to share, they want to make sure you are doing it right.”

    The best overall guideline: ask around to find firms that have a good reputation. Also look for those who can communicate well both with you and with the other contractors in your team. In short, Stewart says, “hire experience.”

    Stewart and Jaime-Lynn point out that there can be particular issues when building a new home. For one thing, they recommend dealing with a mortgage specialist. Financing the building of a new home can be trickier than financing the buying of an already-constructed home.

    They had decided beforehand they would only start building their new house after they had sold their existing house. (Remember: they delayed their plans until their house sale was completed.) That meant making arrangements for where to live during the construction and also where to store the extra stuff. But that kind of orderly pre-planning is worth it, Jaime-Lynn advises. Importantly, she says, it can “avoid marital stress.”

    Speaking of marital stress, I recall our conversation from a year ago. I asked back then: What is most important when you design and build your own home? Jaime-Lynn laughed and replied, “Go in with a good relationship with your spouse!”

    So, I can’t help but ask: Are things going OK now? Stewart and Jaime-Lynn both chuckle at the same time and nod affirmatively.

    Great! Good to know that everything is being built on a firm foundation.

    By David McConkey

  104. Car Cleaning… The Easy Way!

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    It’s that time of year when we are thinking about our vehicles. Taking the time to clean them inside and out after letting them collect dirt and crumbs for the majority of the colder months!

    I’ve researched some car care tips that hopefully can help you out, when keeping your vehicle organized and clean! I’ll start with one of my favourite tricks I found; use a small sponge paint brush to clean your air vents. This was super quick and easy and I recommend just keeping it in your glove box for the next time you want to use it. They are inexpensive and I just picked mine up from the Dollar Store.

    Bring life back to your windshield wipers by putting rubbing alcohol on them. Dampen a rag with some rubbing alcohol and just run that along the rubber on your blades. It will help with smudgy windows from your blades. No need to by fancy cloths to clean your car. Using old cotton socks or t-shirts will work amazing, are free and a great way to reuse old clothes.

    Another tip I would have never thought of, is washing your fabric floor mats in your washing machine! I shook off all the larger particles first and banged out a bit of the dust and then I just washed them on the gentle cycle in the washing machine. After they were washed, I laid them on the driveway in the sun to dry. I was very impressed by how easy this was and how great they looked! I’ll definitely be doing this again! *try this at your own discretion.

    Do you have loose change hanging around your vehicle? This tipped I learned from my mother-in-law. Use an old gum container to keep all your change together and keep it in an extra cup holder. It will be easy to find next time you need change for the meter or that cup of coffee in the morning!

    I love this idea! From the Dollar Store, buy a food storage container and use it for a quick and easy garbage that won’t spill over in your car.

    It is always a great idea to keep a “clean up” bag together for those messes that happen while you are on the road. No matter if you have a friend, children or pets in your vehicle, you are bound to have an accident or mess at some point. Some great items to keep on hand in your car is a roll of paper towel, wet ones, antibacterial cleaner, an empty plastic bag, sponge and a roll of toilet paper.

    I hope these tips help you keep your car looking its best this summer! Follow us on Pinterest for more ideas.

  105. Technology on Wheels

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    When you’re designing a new home, redesigning an older home, or even doing simple renovations, your vehicle can be a major factor – just ask anyone who’s ever tried to cram 2000 square feet of flooring into an SUV.

    While the shape and size of vehicles haven’t changed much in recent years, a lot of great advancements have been made in usability and space utilization. Compact and subcompact cars have developed new seating strategies that allow maximum cargo space, such as the Honda Fit, which has unique fold-up or fold-down rear seating that allows you to transport tall items such as plants and paintings.

    Vehicle buying has also become a very tech-savvy experience in our connected age – New models from all manufacturers feature a long list of convenience and safety features far beyond power windows.

    Speaking of those, do you remember when air conditioning and cruise control were considered luxury items? When the only “space age” technology in your new vehicle was a cassette deck or keyless entry?

    Those days are long gone.

    Modern vehicles contain an elaborate digital system of sensors, controls, cameras and entertainment interfaces. Things like GPS navigation and Bluetooth, once considered extravagant, have become common. Companies like Samsung, Apple and Microsoft have developed systems specifically for the auto industry, ensuring that the latest vehicles are compatible with their phones, tablets and even watches.

    Perhaps the biggest advancements being made are those relating to autonomy. A few years ago, the thought of a self-driving vehicle was preposterous. But as we speak, all of the major car companies are developing systems to create just that, and signs point to self-driving vehicles being only a few years away.

    Cars are already parking themselves, warning you if your bumper is getting too close to that garbage can, and change lanes for you automatically when you activate your turn signal. Backing out of the driveway feels a lot less risky when your backup camera lets you see a wide-angle shot of your path.

    Entertainment systems have also become much more elaborate, with Bluetooth and other wireless technologies ensuring drivers can stay connected safely while driving. In-vehicle wi-fi is already rolling out in new models, as well as other GPS tools that can allow a driver to actively view upcoming traffic snares with satellite imaging.

    When purchasing a new vehicle, be sure to take your time – ask lots of questions. Rearrange the seats and see how easily they fold up or down; test the Bluetooth system for compatibility with your phone. There can be pressure when buying a new vehicle and you may feel rushed – but a good salesperson will take the time to help you find exactly what you need in a vehicle!

    By Ken Jaworski,
    Marketing Director
    Forman Auto Centre

  106. Feature Business: Rolling Spokes

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    You might be surprised to learn that Western Canada’s second largest showroom for home health care products is right here in Brandon. Yes, Rolling Spokes at 215 – Sixth St. Here you will find a complete range of home medical equipment and services. And you will meet the owners: Vern Byers and Les Wedderburn.

    There’s an interesting story of how Vern and Les came to own the business. It was 2005. Rolling Spokes, which had been established 20 years earlier, was up for sale. Independently, both Vern and Les were looking to get into something new. They had diverse skills from previous occupations, including sales, the railway, and farming. The existing owner saw a potential partnership and introduced Vern and Les to each other. After meeting, Vern and Les decided to buy the business together. They have been delighted with the result.

    “It has been a very rewarding business,” Les says. “At the end of the day, we feel pretty good.”

    Over the years, Rolling Spokes has been at 12th and Rosser and also on First Street. In 2012, Vern and Les purchased the former auto dealership at Sixth and Princess. The building has a spacious 4,000 sq. ft. showroom as well a 6000 sq. ft. warehouse. The downtown location is excellent for visibility, access, and parking.

    What will you see at Rolling Spokes? Well, just about everything that aids and enhances daily living: like walkers, canes and crutches, clothing, kitchen and bathroom safety products, lift chairs, power chairs, scooters, wheelchairs, lift beds, ramps, stair lifts, and elevators.

    “There’s no end to the products,” Les says. “If there’s a need, there’s a remedy.”

    Vern and Les are ready to meet with you and discuss your requirements, either at their store or in your own home. Or meet with you in a personal care home; in a commercial or institutional location; or even – if you are interested in something like a scooter – out on the sidewalk. They will work with you and your family, with a health care professional like your occupational therapist, and with your insurance like Blue Cross, NIHB, MPI, Veterans Affairs as well as other 3rd party payers.

    Vern and Les have the products, they have many practical suggestions, they do set-up and installation, and they provide on-going service. Need something for only a short time? No problem: they will provide it to you on a rental basis. Rolling Spokes serves Brandon and area, going as far north as Swan River and to the border with the U.S. and with Saskatchewan. Les and Vern have specific weekly visits to all communities in the catchment area. As well, Steve services Brandon on a daily basis. There is also a branch location in Winnipeg that specializes in adaptive clothing call Ashley’s Adaptive Apparel.

    Store hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But Vern smiles when he says that they are at work “usually earlier, and always later” than their set times. You can make an appointment to see them in the evening or on a weekend. (You can contact them by phone: 204-571-1260; toll tree: 877-655-0346; or email: And check out their website at

    Vern and Les have lots of ideas if you are buying a place, building a new home, or renovating an older house. Sometimes only small changes are recommended. Other times, more substantial renovations – like a walk-in bathtub, ramp, or stair lift – are required to transform a limiting space into an accessible one.

    Eliminating a few steps, for example, or adding a few inches to a doorway, hall, or bathroom can accommodate a wheelchair. Look for a bathroom with a low bathtub and a high toilet (instead of the other way around). Another tip for a new or renovated home: incorporate sturdy material that could be used later to support the addition of a grab bar or hand rail.

    Over the past few years, Vern and Les have seen a great shift in thinking in society and among the people they meet. Community spaces are becoming more inviting and accessible, including residences, institutional settings, and streets and sidewalks. Everyone is encouraged to live more fully, actively, and independently. Today’s goal: help people gracefully “age in place.”

    In the past, people were more reluctant to get assistive devices. Vern remembers when he heard, “I’m not using that, people will think I’m old.”

    Now – especially with the baby boomers – there is a more confident attitude. Folks want to take charge of their lives. They want to take advantage of available products and services. Les reports hearing more people say, “If I need that, I’m going to have it.”

  107. Small Kitchen Design Tips

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    If you have a small kitchen to design, then the problem of designing a great kitchen boils down to just what you can fit and where. There are many different cabinet designs and surface patterns that can help you provide your small kitchen design with a sense of space.

    To create the small but efficient kitchen design, you need to work on three major areas of small kitchen design: storage, lighting, and appliances.

    Small kitchens may seem to be a very difficult design challenge, but they can also be functional, beautiful and efficient. Even with a small budget and building restrictions, you can find that there are many options open to you to transform your kitchen into something more ideal for your needs.

    To create a more spacious look for your small kitchen design the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends designing more unique storage solutions, mixing natural and ambient lighting, taking advantage of more space saving appliances, and adding personalized touches.

    A small kitchen design requires creativity in coming up with storage solutions. Some ideas to try include:

    • Putting an island in the center of the kitchen that can provide freestanding storage that is also convenient from any spot in the kitchen.
    • Using a galley kitchen design in which the cabinets and appliances line up on either side of a corridor can work out very well for a small kitchen space.
    • Today’s appliance manufacturers have come up with more compact space-saving appliances, that make small kitchen design easier, such as refrigerators that are 24 inches deep instead of 30 inches deep, as well as appliances that can be hung underneath cabinets like microwaves.
    • Another small kitchen design trick, is to create an eating area in the kitchen that includes using a drop table or a small sized round table with two small chairs that can be tucked into a corner. Or a built-in counter along the wall with chairs to provide an eating nook.
    • Another interesting challenge in small kitchen design is creating an illusion of space with under cabinet lighting. With the proper type of lighting the kitchen can be made to appear larger and more pleasing.
    • The use of light coloured cabinets with glass door inserts.
    • Installing deeper counters that can accommodate more appliances and increase work space.
    • Flooring tiles can be placed on a diagonal, and in a galley style kitchen hardwood flooring can be run the length of the kitchen.
    • For storage you can hang up pots and pans. This is a perfect way to free up cabinet space, and they add a certain charm and character to your small kitchen design. The insides of cabinet doors can be used to hang up everything from utensils, oven mitts, and other miscellaneous items. Pantry storage with units that go all the way to the ceiling with the upper cabinets to provide more space for seldom used items while making the lower cabinets more accessible with rollout shelves, lazy susans, and tilt-out bins.
    • Install a large kitchen sink, since larger sinks are considered to be more practical than small sinks when it comes to cleaning pots and pans.

    Remember most kitchens are small. When you are researching kitchens, you naturally notice that the kitchens featured are large and so you might think your small kitchen in inadequate. But good small kitchen design means being able to create space and incorporating ample storage facilities that will give you and your family that perfect kitchen.

  108. Feature Home: Part 2 – Flip It: Ready to List!

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    As I flip through home design magazine’s (especially this one!), the stories that I look for first are the ones that have before and after pictures. To me, it’s inspiring to see pink bathroom fixtures replaced with modern white ones or beautiful tile flooring taking the place of the psychedelic 70’s carpet.

    Single room renovations are amazing, but seeing the before and after on an entire house, especially one that many considered a tear down, is even more impressive.

    In the Spring Issue of Design Your Home Magazine we met with Geoff Gregoire, owner of Contractor’s Corner. He described how a bungalow on 9th Street was actually advertised as just a lot for sale, but that his company bought the property and began the process of gutting the house and doing a complete and comprehensive renovation.

    Well, they’ve continued to work on the project house and it’s now ready for re-sale and for us to get a glimpse of the stunning transformation.

    “What we discovered early on is that it was a solid, well built home, so we had lots to work with. It will be great for a young family that is looking for a good, solid home in a very good price range,” said Geoff.

    The 970 square foot, open-concept house at 834-9th Street has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a full-sized basement. It was untouched in terms of upgrades and maintenance for a number of years. Water damage from a hole in the roof meant an extensive demolition on the inside of the house with even some rafter and stud replacement.

    “It’s basically a brand new home. We put in new windows and doors, soffit, fascia, shingles, siding and replaced everything on the interior – all new drywall, insulation, flooring and so on. There’s barely a hint of anything from the original house, aside from the structure itself,” Geoff said.

    With easy to-care-for, sleek and modern cabinets from Norcraft Cabinetry, granite-like 180fx Formica laminate countertops (Dolce Macchiato 3478) and new lighting/ fixtures, all highlighted by a lovely taupe colour, the renovated home has a warm and pleasant, modern feel to it.

    “Gray’s have been really popular in the past few years so we decided to switch it up. We gravitated a bit more towards a taupe or brown palette, although we certainly tied the two colours together with the colour in the flooring,” said Geoff.

    The Solo Click Plank flooring that was installed in the main living area has a cozy and comfortable feel to. It’s a new product from Floored that is easy to install (tongue and groove application), is 100 per cent waterproof, comes in four different colours and is part of the company’s luxury vinyl collection. Brindle was the colour of choice for this project.

    “It is great for basements and pretty much any room in the house because it’s not made of wood. If it gets wet, you can take it out, let it dry and put it back in,” said Geoff.

    Other features that add appeal, as well as value to the home include fully tiled bathrooms (tub and shower surround, as well as on the floor) and a unique sun tunnel. The Velux Sun Tunnel provides a soft glow of natural light throughout the kitchen area and is one of the hottest new products on the market that can add a bit of flare to many different areas of the home.

    Moving to the outside of the property, the exterior was finished in compatible colour palette to the interior with a contemporary, smooth stucco finish, brick highlights (provided by Elite Stone) and finished with a rich vinyl siding.

    “We also added a doorglass blind insert with a decorative window to a standard front door to dress it up a bit, to give the home more curb appeal and to allow for even more natural light,”
    said Geoff.

    The company also tackled the full basement with a complete renovation. It has a large bedroom, three-piece bathroom, utility room and spacious recreation room, which can be arranged in a number of different ways to meet the needs of a growing family.

    If you’re interested in more information on this home or to arrange a viewing of this property, call 204-727-3799.

    *The majority of the products used in the renovation of this home, can be seen at Contractor’s Corner in their design centre gallery at 408 Park Avenue East.

    By Wanda Kurchaba
    “After Photos” by Country Lane Landscapes

  109. Backyard Retreat

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    You can create a stress-free outdoor space that is comfortable, convenient and low-maintenance. It’s easier than you may think.

    Follow these Steps:

    Set the Stage
    Start with a focal point, such as a patio. Look for the ideal location in your backyard to build one. It could be under shade trees, by the fence or closer to the house.

    Hiring a local company to prep the area and pour the pad is ideal. Work with them on choosing the right size of pad for your patio. Keep in mind what you want to put on it, a patio set, fire pit and lawn chairs, or an outdoor living room set. Make sure your pad is large enough to accommodate your furniture.

    A good idea is to map out the area with rope and set the stage to get a feel for the size. As it is a more permanent piece in your backyard, make sure you are happy with its placement and size. Now the stage is set.

    Shrubs and Greenery
    A beautiful way to enhance your new patio is to surround parts of it with greenery and shrubs. Choose plants that are low maintenance and that will enhance the living space with little or no effort. Make sure you pay attention to the mature size of the shrub and plant accordingly. Also pay attention to the aroma of the plant. You may not want something smelling too strong around the patio, opt for plants with lighter to no scents as you will be close to them. Stay away from poisonous plants . As you will be spending time in this space, so will your pets and children.

    Don’t forget to enhance your patio with beautiful planters. Don’t just plant your shrubs/greenery around the patio, but include some in planters throughout.

    Sounds of the Summer
    Having your home setup with wifi is not only beneficial for getting your emails; use your network for listening to music throughout your home, including outside. Use a Bluetooth speaker and connect it to your phone or tablet to listen to any genre of music or podcast you wish, while enjoying your outdoor retreat.

    Entertain in Your Hot Tub
    Make your backyard one of the most comfortable and relaxing places in your home with the addition of some alfresco entertainment. Need to unwind? Try a therapeutic spa with a wave lounger that will massage your body in a wavelike motion from head to toe.

    Effortless Awnings
    Motorized retractable awnings provide an elegant solution for enhancing backyard enjoyment and offer a number of benefits. In addition to coming in a wide variety of sizes and colours, awnings can make any deck or patio cooler and more comfortable while increasing a home’s energy efficiency. Awnings provide a protected outdoor living space that’s comfortable and affordable. The awnings can reduce the temperature of decks or patios by up to 20 degrees, protect from harmful UV rays and expand your outdoor living area, all at the push of a button. Now you can enjoy the stress-free, easy-care style of a beautiful patio, the relaxing jets of a soothing spa, the sun protection and ease of a motorized awning.

  110. Feature: The Woods

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    Most often when people think about investing in residential property or advancing from renting to ownership, one of the first things that comes to mind is to begin searching for a starter home.

    While this is certainly a popular option, the marketplace is shifting to offer alternative investment opportunities that may also be appealing to home buyers.

    Currently, there’s a unique development project underway in Brandon called The Woods, which is going to expand the opportunities for those seeking investments in residential property and provide home buyers with some new and exciting options.

    The Woods has been in the planning stages for a number of years and now the project is very close to breaking ground with construction expected to begin sometime this summer.

    The property, just off of 18th Street on Willowcrest Avenue at the south end of the city, will consist of town house and apartment-style condominiums. Brad Hardy, sales representative for Royal LePage Martin-Liberty Realty, said this project will to some degree shift buying habits of those looking to invest in property.

    “I think what we’re going to see more of in our marketplace is where people are stepping in to the market differently than what’s traditionally been done in the past. It’s no longer going to be – I’m going to buy a house, fix it up, sell it, buy another. It’s going to be – I’m going to buy an apartment style condo, then I’m going to buy a town house, then I’ll likely buy my first single family residence. It’s a way to get people on the property ladder quicker,” said Hardy.

    The new development will consist of 18 condominium town houses that will all have a double garage and ground level entry with options behind the garage for additional living space such as another bedroom, a family room or an in-law suite.

    The style of the building is influenced by designs usually seen on the West Coast, which is providing home buyers with something a little different from what currently exists in the city. With prices starting at just $299,000, Sandy Donald, also a sales representative for Royal LePage Martin-Liberty Realty said there’s been a lot of interest and excitement about the project because of the quality, the price and the look and feel of the property.

    “Brandon is growing and there’s a hunger out there for something a little different. People have certainly been interested in the uniqueness of the project. It’s ideal for those who want a low maintenance lifestyle, but still want to own property and want their investment to grow. We’ve had inquiries and have signed reservation agreements with people from all walks of life – professionals, retirees, first-time home buyers and everyone in between. With so many options and the features available The Woods appeals to variety of potential buyers,” said Donald.

    Phase one of construction will be the completion of the town houses; the second phase consists of a four-level building with 44 condominium apartment-style units. What makes these apartments unique is that there are seven different floor plans to choose from and the largest units are over 1350 square feet, which is much larger than most apartments.

    Other features include vaulted ceilings, open concept living, wrap-around or covered decks, 13 foot ceilings in the penthouse suites and an affordable price as the entry level units range from $215 – 230,000.

    “This type of property will appeal to people who want ownership and are in a position to be owners, but who may be having a harder time getting into first time homes because of the high average selling prices of single family dwellings in the city, especially when it comes to new construction,” said Hardy.

    In addition, each of the four buildings will have underground parking and the plans incorporate an all inclusive recreation facility, which includes a pool, exercise area and a central park for residents to use and enjoy.

    “This isn’t a cookie cutter apartment where every apartment is the same. We have multiple options with lots of flexibility, even in the finish. Homeowners can upgrade to quartz countertops or hardwood flooring if they wish. Both the town houses and apartments can really be personalized in the way that the Brandon marketplace really likes,” said Donald.

    It is anticipated that the town houses will be available for occupancy later this fall or early in 2017. For more information on how to reser ve a unit, visit:

    By Wanda Kurchaba
    Photos Submitted

  111. Tiny House Living

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    We are fans of the shows on tiny homes and tiny living, but I never thought I would come close to living like that myself. As we embark on the journey of building our new home, we decided to move into a tiny home to live in, in the meantime. I don’t mean 200 sq feet by any means, but going from over 1400 sq feet to 604 sq feet can be quite the shock to the system… or should I say family!

    Before we moved into our “tiny house” we prepped it the best way we could, to accommodate our family of 3. The kitchen was newer and pretty standard, so I truly lucked out there! Storage was my biggest concern before we moved, so I really went through our belongings and packed only what I felt we truly needed. Storage was minimal. There was a small shallow closet in the bathroom. I loaded it up with storage containers to hold everything we use to have in all of our bathrooms! Again, only bringing the necessities! You can truly evaluate all the junk or extra items you have on hand when you are downsizing. We are lucky and are putting everything away in storage until we move into the new home, but I feel I will be evaluating everything a bit differently when I unpack!

    Furniture choice was a big decision for this house as well. No bringing the oversized sectional or dining room suite! We narrowed it down to smaller pieces, even storing away our bedroom suite for furniture from a spare bedroom.

    As our family prepares to move in, we are excited for this new experience, though somewhat glad it is not long term. I am happy that we will be living here during the warmer months, as we can enjoy our new large, shaded yard!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  112. Wine Advice: Port

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    Port is considered the quintessential cool-weather wine although at one time Port was referred to as a gentleman’s wine, consumed in the drawing room after dinner, often accompanied by a cigar.

    Port, a fortified wine, is exclusive to the Douro Valley of Northern Portugal. Port production dates back over 2,000 years and it is still made according to certain centuries old traditions. Oxen have been replaced by the use of machines but traditional foot-trading, although largely replaced by mechanization, is still practiced because this method is considered the gentlest and best way to extract juice from grapes. Certain Port houses such as Taylor’s continue to foot-tread.

    Foot trading is done in stages. In the first stage workers stand in thigh-deep grapes, link arms and move across the lagar (treading tank) in unison to crush the grapes. During the second stage of Port production, called the “liberte”, workers move freely around the lagar to keep grape skins below the surface of the juice lengthening the time of skin to juice contact which results in deeper coloured more flavourful wine.

    In the year 1386 due to a close alliance between England and Portugal a treaty was established allowing both countries equal trade terms. At this time numerous English merchants re-located to Portugal and by the mid-15th century large quantities of Port were shipped to England. Then, as it is now, many of the famous Port producers were English. Another treaty, negotiated in 1654, further developed trade and in 1786 the Port vineyards were legally demarcated. These are the first vineyards in the world where legal boundaries were established.

    A number of grape varieties, many native to the Port production area, are approved for use in Port, although a limited number of grape varieties are actually used. Vineyards are located on steep land bordering the Douro River and its tributaries, their narrow terraces supported by man-made stone walls. This ‘wild and mountainous landscape’ is a world heritage designated site.

    As with all wine production, sugar is converted to alcohol by the process of fermentation. In Port production once approximately one-half of the sugar is converted to alcohol a neutral spirit is added to stop fermentation and increase the alcohol content of the fortified wine. The remaining sugar is responsible for the sweetness of Port and sweetness levels vary from one Port house to another.

    Once the fermentation process is complete, each wine is assessed and, at this time the style of wine is deter mined.

    Port is made in a variety of styles and this diversity is the main source of confusion amongst consumers. The final product is reflective of the length of time the Port is aged and the tanks or barrels in which it is aged. Port is divided in two main groups or categories – wood-aged Port and bottle-aged Port. Wood-aged Port includes White Port, Ruby Port, Reserve Port, Late-bottled Vintage Port and Tawny Port. Bottle-aged Port is Vintage Port and Crusted Port. It is bottle aged Port that requires decanting due to the sediment in the wine bottle .

    There are Ports to suit all tastes and food pairings although the most famous wine and food pairing is blue cheese or bittersweet chocolate served with Tawny Port.

    Port is no longer thought of as solely an after-dinner drink. Ports diversity of styles makes it a suitable wine pairing partner to serve alongside aperitifs and other food courses all the way to dessert.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  113. A Garden Fit For a Fairy

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    Fairy gardens have been trending for several years now, though they have been around for over 100 years. Our family has had one for a couple of summers, but this year we decided to add to our garden some unique items we have made ourselves.

    Fairy doors are said to be the gateway between our world and theirs; so be sure to include at least one if your garden. This year we made a beautiful door out of a horse shoe, popsicle sticks and embellishments like buttons and shale rock. We created the shape of the horse show out of the popsicle sticks and glued them together. Once set, we painted it and then glued it to the back of the horse shoe, trimming the excess sticks. Then it was time to decorate! We added a button for the door knob, a piece from an old belt as a window and a piece of rock to put a number above the door. The cost for a door like this will run you around $10.

    I love how the little tire swing for our fairies turned out! We used the tire from an old toy truck and hung it with twine. Easy as that and a super cute addition to any fairy garden! We created another style of swing out of twine and branches. Use a stick in the shape of a wish bone to hold the swing. Then wrap your twine around a twig and hang from either side. Another beautiful addition to any fairy garden!

    To make a twig chair for your garden, cut 8 pieces of twig, 1” long (4 for the seat; 2 for the backrest; 2 for front legs). Line up 4 of those twigs and glue them to 2 pieces that are 1 ¼” long. The longer end pieces will stick out the back of the chair for now. Now glue your 2 front leg pieces on. Use 2 twigs that are 2” long for the back legs/ backrest. Finish by gluing the remaining 2 – 1” pieces to the back of the chair, to complete the backrest. These make a unique touch to any fair y garden!

    As we sat at the table making our fairy garden creations, we came up with so many other fun ideas with our supplies that were in front of us like tents and fairy signs! No matter if you buy your fairy garden items or make them, just have fun with it!

  114. Preventing Water Damage in Your Basement

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    A wet basement can develop into a complete disaster especially since many maintenance systems are installed in it. For example: electrical wires, water and sewage pipes, garbage disposal etc.

    Read these following guide lines to learn how to prevent water damage caused by HVAC systems, ventilation systems, pipes condensations, sump pumps, walls, ceiling, and the foundations.

    Be thorough when performing these inspections and be sure to inspect your basement regularly. Fall is a great time to make sure all your maintenance systems are in good working order, before the cold months are upon us.

    HVAC Systems

    Heating and air conditioning systems must be inspected frequently. Check the drain pans and remove debris to allow free flow. Inspect the filters and replace whenever needed. When inspecting the HVAC, look at the ductwork and seal deteriorating insulations.

    Pipes Condensations

    Pipes condensation is a common plumbing problem caused by sweating pipes. This problem promotes mold corrosion and rot if ignored. Insulating your pipes will reduce condensation.

    Sump Pumps

    Sump pump systems assist in keeping unwanted water out of your home. When checking the pump, make sure the outlet pipe is not frozen or clogged and that it directs water away from your home. Clean the air hole in the discharge line and make sure that the motor is running well. Test the pump by filling the sump pit with water to make sure the pump is working properly. Check that the pump is actually pumping out water.

    Walls and Ceiling

    Check the walls and look for moisture signs. Moist walls may indicate an internal leak. Look at the walls and search for stains. If you detect stains, follow them to locate the source of the problem and fix it. Even the smallest sign for a leak in the basement must be treated promptly.


    When checking the ventilation systems, be sure to inspect all ventilation systems including water heater, exhaust fans, dryer vents etc. If you suspect any failure in these systems, repair it right away.

    The Foundations

    Foundations are not always waterproof. Gaps and cracks are created as the house shifts and settles over time. Landscape is also changing over time and may lead to excessive water in the soil around your home. Seek professional help if you need to make any landscape or foundations repairs.

    Talk to a restoration specialist if you have extensive water damage. They will be able to repair any damage and help you prevent it from happening again.

  115. A Timeless Classic That Does It All

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    Plantation shutters are a timeless design that will never go out of style. Exquisitely crafted and meant to last, they come in a variety of options like real hardwood and composite faux wood to match your refined taste. Shutters have an abundance of benefits that will cater to your high standards. They can be customized for your windows and there are new advances like motorization and invisible tilt that make them the ultimate choice when it comes to window coverings.

    They Do it All: Benefits

    Plantation shutters are a combination of beauty and practical functionality. They have an outstanding reputation for their great benefits. Of course they provide privacy and ventilation which are the first benefits you look for in a window covering but those are not the only things that they have to offer.

    A major benefit is lowering your energy bill; this is due to their insulating design which comes in handy during those cooler months. Plantation shutters come in a variety of louver size, to protect you and your belongings from harmful UV rays. No matter your location shutters are a great option to help you save.

    Another benefit they are known for is durability; they are constructed to be long-lasting, not requiring replacement every few years. Having all your windows covered by shutters creates a polished uniform look from the outside that adds curb appeal to your home, making them a valuable investment. Placing shutters on your windows might seem like a big step to take but overall they are the type of window treatment that will provide endless benefits throughout the years.

    Lastly, plantation shutters are very low maintenance and easy to clean. A major advantage to having them hinged into the window frame is that they can swing out so front and back sides are easy to reach. Just takes a quick wipe down to keep your windows looking beautiful.

    All the Right Angles: Customization

    Custom-made to fit any window, plantation shutters can be constructed into any shape to properly fit your window frame. When they are accurately measured and installed it will ensure there are no gaps causing unwanted light. You can even customize the colour of your plantation shutters to match your individual style.

    Custom shutters are impeccable for those hard to reach windows, arched windows and French doors. Skylights can be a common problem in households when it comes to covering them.

    Keep it Moving: Motorization

    Budget Blinds uses motorization powered by Somfy® to make your life easier. As the world’s leading manufacturer of specialized motors and control systems, so you know you are getting the best when it comes to motorization. Your shutters can be programmed with timers to allow for automatic opening and closing. They can be managed by wireless wall switches, hand-held remotes, a tablet or Smartphone app. Motorized shutters are child- and petsafe because they are cordless.

    One Easy Step: Invisible Tilt

    The invisible tilt is a way to have beautiful plantation shutters with an unobstructed view. Instead of having a tilt rod down the middle of your shutter it is hidden from view giving the shutter a more modern and open look.

    Plantation shutters are the picture-perfect window covering. They have it all! With high standards and elaborate features, you should have them on every window in your home. Let Budget Blinds transform the look and feel of your home with plantation shutter s.

  116. Custom Office Space

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    Home offices are not just for paying bills and kids doing their homework anymore. People working from home, either full or part time, is on the rise.

    Cabinets are essentials tools to any household office. These facilitate organizing materials, files, documents and other items that have to be kept for storage, reference or future use.

    While the design of the cabinets, particularly for a house, is of great importance, there are also other things that need to be considered before buying one or having one custom-made to your specifications.


    The size of the cabinet depends on two factors: the size of the space to be allotted for the furniture and the amount of materials that will be placed in the cabinet.

    Consider the space that will be allotted for the cabinet. There should be enough space in front of the cabinet that you can easily open it and take out whatever you need.

    It is also advisable to have enough walking room when the cabinet is open. This means that a person will be able to pass or stand freely in front of the cabinet while taking or placing the contents.

    Also consider the amount of materials that will be placed in the cabinet. It is better that you have one cabinet for organizing related things than having several cabinet in which you need to check when looking for a single thing. It is better that your cabinet still has enough space in case you acquire more similar contents so you can fit them all in the same place.

    Vertical or Lateral

    The concern on whether to have vertical or lateral drawers usually arises when deciding on what to get for keeping files.

    Vertical drawers are the most common filing cabinet used in offices. These require little wall space and stack two to five drawers that contain legal-sized documents. The files are arranged from front to back and are facing the user.

    These are good for storing personal files, since because of its compactness, each office employee can have one. However, because these are quite deep, they might diminish the room’s walking space when the drawers are open.

    Lateral drawers, on the other hand, require a larger wall space. Even if these are not as deep as vertical drawers, they have a high capacity.

    These can also contain legal files arranged in two to five drawers. The files, however, are arranged facing one side or facing the user in multiple rows.


    The commonly used materials for cabinets may be wood or steel. Wood is used usually for home office cabinets, while steel is preferred for important office files, due to its strength and durability.

    Wood is preferred for homes because of multiple decorating possibilities and its ability to add warmth and homey ambience.

    Make sure that the drawers can be extended fully and can glide smoothly. A drawer that is stuck can lead to several other problems.

    Purchasing cabinets for your home office can be an investment, so take the time to plan out your space with a professional, so that it is a functional space f or you.

  117. Bathroom Safety

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    Bath safety is one of the important factors that an individual with mobility issues needs to consider. But oftentimes this is overlooked because they do not know what bath safety products are available in the market.

    Each year thousands of accidents happen in bathrooms. That is why it is important to practice bath safety at all times and be aware of things to consider to avoid any accidents in the bath tub.

    Individuals with mobility issues have different needs and physical limits so bathroom products and equipment should be modified to suit their needs. Bath safety includes equipment and facilities modified to suit the person’s need and safety procedures. Without modification, bath safety can be very risky especially for people who have trouble getting in and out of the bathroom or bath tub safely. Placing a shower chair in the tub can provide assurance to disabled individuals that it is safe to shower in the tub.
    Likewise, hand held shower heads can provide flexibility and control to avoid blistering while bathing.

    Using walk-in bathtubs can also be more accessible for certain individuals. Walk-in tubs are as relaxing as standard bathtubs. This type of tub would not hinder the entrance and exit because you don’t have to climb over the edge of the tub to go in and out.

    Grab bars are among the easiest addition to a bathroom. They are built in the walls and sides of walk-in tubs for additional safety in entering, exiting and moving around the tub. The grab bars are often made of chrome plated or heavy duty steel. When adding this safety facility in the bathroom, it is important to consider the user because of the wide grips may be too big for a senior or a woman.

    However, if you prefer to use a regular tub there are still items that you should add for additional safety. This includes items such as transfer tools, transfers seats and benches. Other areas of the bathroom can also be modified for safety such as the toilet seats and toilet frames. Anti-slip tape can also be applied to the bathtub floor to make it slipfree. Slip resistant tub floors can also make sure that you have stability on the floor.

    There are many companies that provide home visits to assist in bathroom safety situation. If you are unsure how to modify your bathroom it may be worthwhile to get a consultation before making a selection of bath room safety products.

  118. Bamboo Flooring

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    An Environmentally Friendly Option

    Bamboo is a type of flooring that has gained popularity in the recent years.

    Bamboo is a type of grass that grows all over Southeast Asia, and China and it has become a high quality alternative to the traditional hard wood floors seen in the past. Bamboo flooring has become especially popular in the southeast and west coast areas due to its solidness and appearance. Professionals in the flooring business are always looking for good flooring materials to promote to their clients. They are looking for high quality floors that look good and withstand everyday lifestyles as well. Bamboo flooring does both these things and that is why it is a good flooring material choice.

    Bamboo stalks mature in just five years and reach heights well over 50 ft. Since bamboo renews itself naturally it is an environmentally friendly alternative to using wood from trees which can take anywhere from 50 to 100 years to mature. Bamboo, a type of grass, grows into a material that is very hard and durable. Bamboo can grow in areas with fair to poor soil, making it one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Even after harvesting, bamboo continues to grow vigorously, which makes it an extremely good alternative to other flooring options.

    Bamboo floors are a great way of adding value to your home since they are just as hard, durable, and attractive as traditional hardwood floors. When people are looking for floors for their home, they look for durability, fair pricing, and good looks. Bamboo flooring not only looks fashionable and attractive it is also very durable, almost as hard as steel! It is also environmentally friendly which is beginning to make it more popular. More and more suppliers are star ting to carry bamboo floors.

    Bamboo flooring comes in colours like lightwood, honey, dark wood, and amber which have all been known to be popular. Carbonization and pressure steaming are techniques used to create the dark colours seen on a lot of bamboo floors. Bamboo flooring panels can also be arranged in many different pattern types. Patterns that are usually seen are vertical or flat grain and bamboo floors are usually nailed down or floated. Unfinished as well as pre-finished bamboo panels are available and can be found at your local flooring centers.

    Bamboo floors are always a good option when you are looking to buy a new floor. Bamboo floors are cost effective, durable, stable, fashionable, and environmentally friendly. Any homeowner looking to buy a new floor should really give bamboo a chance since they really are affordable and are very easy to maintain. Bamboo floors have become more popular in the more recent years and can add value to your home.

  119. Feature: The Westgate in Waverly

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    If you’ve driven west out of Brandon in the last little while, you’ve likely noticed a beautiful, new property that was just recently built on the south side of Victoria Avenue.

    Keep watching, because there’s more to come. The new development, known as The Westgate in Waverly, will soon be a 72-unit apartment complex comprised of six independent, three-storey buildings.

    While a lot of new construction in Brandon lately has focused on the condominium market, The Westgate in Waverly project is appealing to individuals or families who aren’t at the stage in their lives where they are interested in purchasing a home or condominium, but are looking for a modern place to rent.

    Real Estate Advisor for Royal LePage Martin-Liberty Realty and property marketer, Darren Giilck, said the overall project from concept to fruition has been interesting and exciting for all those involved.

    “The land that we’re working on has never been developed and was just been sitting there, so we thought there was an excellent opportunity, especially considering the location,” said Giilck.

    “It has literally been decades since any new apartments were built in the Waverly or Riverheights area. The last development of this nature in the west end would have likely been Victoria Woods.”

    Much like the already built first apartment complex, each of the buildings will have 12 units or private apartments. Local construction related companies such as Quarry Hills and Keller Developments used their specialized skills and services to complete the first building to the highest of standards. All include quality finishes, in addition to in suite washer and dryers, and stainless steel appliances. No detail was left out by developer Keller Developments, including the attractive James Hardie Siding exterior that is available at Bandon’s newest lumber store, Westman Lumber Supply Ltd., located on the nor th hill on Middleton Avenue.

    “What makes these apartments a little different from what’s already on the market is that they are all very close to 1000 square feet, which is bigger than most apartments that currently exist in Brandon. As well, they have an open concept layout and bigger than average balconies – ones that you can actually sit on comfortably,” said Evan Keller, owner of Keller Developments.

    The spacious balconies will come in handy for relaxing and entertaining as residents will want to spend time outdoors enjoying the lovely views. In addition, there are plenty of parks and green spaces within walking distance, as well as schools.

    With these interesting features and the great location of these two-bedroom apartments, word has spread and the entire first building is almost fully rented. Enthusiastic new tenants star ted moving in at the end of August.

    “As there are just four units on each floor, living in this complex will allow for quiet suites, as well as privacy. With just a dozen tenants in each building though, it will be easy to form a community and get to know your neighbours well,” said Keller.

    Construction on the second building will be starting very soon. Giilck said they are already establishing a tenant list and this building is expected to be complete by May 2017. The intent is to have the entire complex finished within the next few years.

    Giilck said for him and some of the other investors involved it is one of the biggest projects they have ever taken on. But they couldn’t be more pleased with the initial outcome.

    “Just starting a project of this magnitude from bare land and establishing it into something that you can be proud of for years is really an accomplishment. Everyone involved feels the same way. We’ll always be able to say we built The Westgate in Waverly, that 72- unit apartment complex right on the edge of town that everyone’s going to see forever,” said Giilck.

    As the crews begin to break ground on the second 12-plex, Giilck said they will also be engaging
    in conversations with potential investors for the remaining five buildings. While fulfilling a need in Brandon’s housing market for rental property was one goal, a second goal was to create a larger property investment opportunity.

    “The first building is sold and nearly at full occupancy. With the advantage of having full-time, professional property management in place for the entire complex and the consistent strength in Brandon’s housing market, buying in to new properties such as these is certainly a solid and appealing investment,” said Giilck.

    By Wanda Kurchaba
    Photos by Country Lane Landscapes

  120. #supportlocal

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    Letter from the Editor

    Supporting local trades is not a new idea, but one that we should be reminded of. Communities would not have grown and become what they are today, if we did not support local vendors and businesses.

    Once you start your own business you really see the effects of what supporting local can mean, and this was true for us. The reason we started this magazine, was to help showcase the talent we have in Western Manitoba. In turn, by publishing our magazine, we support our local printer, graphic designer, writers, photographers, and more. It’s like a continuous turn table that helps grow our community one step at a time .

    As we continue to build our home this fall, we are reminded constantly about what it means to support local. Not only are you supporting businesses in your community, but you are meeting great people and building relationships that will continue on either personally and/or professionally. In our 3 years of publishing DYH magazine, we are asked on a weekly basis by our readers, friends and family to recommend someone for a job. There is nothing I like more than to talk about the great work I have received from someone or relationship I have with them. We love sharing information, either through the magazine or word of mouth, about the local products, businesses and people around us.

    When you support local, you are not only supporting a business, but you are supporting families and communities.

    I don’t necessarily feel that a business has to be run by someone local in order for you to be “supporting local” either. Businesses in our community hire local trades for work and our family and friends to manage them. By supporting them, you are supporting the families who work there too.

    We love living in our community and putting our money back into it, in order to help it grow and continue to offer us more. Think about the last time you supported a local business and think about where those dollars you spent might be now. Maybe, right back in your pocket!

  121. Designer Lighting For The Home

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    Lighting has been used to great effect on places such as theatre and musical stages, making up an integral part of the show. Now lighting is also beginning to spark a rapidly growing interest among home decor enthusiast, who realize that lighting can have dramatic effects on how a room is perceived. Although we are not talking about rapidly flashing disco-lights here, some lighting alternatives are actually used more for their aesthetical than their practical value.

    The art of employing lights and fixtures for achieving intense effects, designed to achieve a specified mood, have become a hot thing among home interior decoration designers.

    Ideally the lighting scheme should be great from both a down-to-earth and stylistic perspective and information shows that pendant lights and similar designs are taking up more and more space in stores committed to interior decorating.

    Various styles of recessed lighting are not really a new ingenuity, but in our time they are appearing in places you may not have encountered them before – such as out on a patio.

    Seeing a subtle yet, effectual recessed patio lighting, powered partially by solar power for the first time is indeed a model that get’s the inspiration going for lighting up the outside of your home as well.

    From the purely practical/economical point of view, the solar powered alternatives are of course most interesting. But, in many cases, combining appealing design and some sort of solar panels are not always easy or affordable. Once in place though, you can get literally unlimited energy without paying a cent for it, provided that you live in a location that provides enough sun.

    Among other common lighting trends right now are many forms of accent lighting that may, for instance, be aimed onto a wall in order to complement the illuminate provided by the fixtures in the ceiling or from a range of recessed lighting.

    Accent lighting is great for attracting awareness to specific features in the room, and often can add unexpected amounts of dimension and depth to the space. For people who want to go really advanced, there is also the option to put in the lighting arrangement in such a way that it can be “programmed” for countless scenarios.

    Depending on the time of day, the mood you want to set, and which architectural features or articles in the room you want to highlight, all can be effectively accomplished by a well designed lighting system.

    For lighting official places, professional designers are usually hired. But this doesn’t mean that the home improvement enthusiast needs to feel discouraged. Quite the contrary in fact, many rooms in your own house can be virtually transformed by relatively simple lighting schemes. As this won’t necessarily cost an arm and a leg either, there is not many reasons for the home decor hobbyist to not make a trip to the store and look at some of the new lighting systems available. DYH

  122. Wine Advice: Selecting Wine to Pair With Fish

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    Many people are familiar with the old saying “pair white wine with fish and red wine with meat.” Although this “rule” has been discredited, when it comes to pairing wine with fish, white wine is much more common a pairing but that said, there is ample room for sparkling, rosé and red.

    There are many different fish and seafood options to choose from on a year-round basis. Manitoba fisherman brave the winter cold to catch fresh fish, and an assortment of fresh, flavoured and frozen fish are available locally.

    When pairing wine with fish it is important to consider the type, weight and texture of the fish, preparation, cooking method, sauces, and spices. For wine one must be mindful of weight, texture, aromas and flavour.

    Mild white fish such as pickerel or perch call for wines that balance, not overwhelm, their flavour. Look to delicate white wines like Pinot Grigio, Vinho Verde or Chablis, and wine made from the grape varietals Pecorino, Muscadet, and Picpoul.

    Medium fish such as red snapper, trout, cod and halibut, call for a light- medium-bodied wine with stronger flavour and aromatic profiles than wines suitable for pairing with delicate fish. Unoaked Chardonnay, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc from South Africa are suitable selections.

    Full flavoured meaty fish like salmon, swordfish, and tuna, pair beautifully with Australian and Californian Chardonnay (unoaked or lightly oaked), dry Spanish or Italian rosé and rich weighty white wines such as Viognier which compliments as well as balances flavour and texture.

    Red wine, rosé and sparkling wines are suitable to partner with strongly flavoured fish such as smoked fish. Try Pinot Noir from Burgundy or Oregon or Gamay from a Cru Beaujolais. Many Portuguese red wines are also complimentary.

    Sauces and/or spices may define the wine and fish pairing. Pair light-bodied dry and zesty white wine with fish prepared with lemon or citrus. Butter sauce is enhanced by lightly oaked Chardonnay and Alsatian or Oregon Pinot Gris. Sweet and fruity sauces call for a slightly sweet or offdry white wine to amplify fruit flavours.

    The strong flavour of smoked fish is complimented by a sparkling wine such as Spanish Cava, dry Grenache rosé, and Pinot Noir while the distinct flavour of curry based sauce is enhanced by Gewurztraminer, off-dry Rieslings or slightly sweet Moscato. Paprika and pepper call for a spicier wine. In this instance choose Grüner Veltliner from Austria, known for its peppery aromas and flavours or herb-laden Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The light-bodied red wines made from Grenache and Gamay are suitable red wine selections.

    Serve Sparkling white wine or dry white wine such as Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, or Muscadet from the Loire Valley in France, Picpoul from Southern France, and Moschofilero from Greece, alongside raw fish, mussels, oysters, crab, shrimp, and sushi.

    The principles used when pairing wine with fish are similar to guidelines followed when pairing other food with wine. The goal of pairing is for both the food and wine to taste better together than either would when served separately.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  123. Choosing The Perfect Home Plans

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    Looking for the best home plans can be very fulfilling and exciting, especially if you put it on top of your priority list. In the beginning, however, keep your emotions in check. As you start your search, there are some features that are important to understand and keep in mind. Understanding how home plans are drawn up can save you money. In searching for the perfect home plan, you should take note of these suggestions.

    Home plans are made to improve your housing style. Nowadays, families prefer living a casual lifestyle which is more relaxing and soothing. A casual lifestyle can have a very inviting atmosphere that will also allow you the convenience you need. Open floor plans give the perspective of a larger home, by eliminating unnecessary walls.

    In planning room sizes, you should always consider the existing furniture you have. In designing the storage room, keep in mind it should have enough space and cabinets for everyday use and also for seasonal storage. And that formal dining room—is it really necessary? Check your home plans to see if a combination dining/kitchen setup is possible. Bedrooms can necessitate a huge space so come to a decision on how many bedrooms you really need. Putting in a guest room will be more functional and realistic instead of building an extra bedroom which is occasionally used.

    The Master Suite is considered a very important area in a house. The Master Suite should be carefully planned and that goes beyond closet storage, windows and wall space. Consider the morning and afternoon sun when locating your Master Bedroom. The rays of the sun can help warm a room but they can also bring discomfort to the ones using it. The bathroom should be designed with overall convenience in mind as well as consideration for future handicap accessibilities. There are a lot of plans that slot in laundry closets with a dryer and washer for the purpose of saving time and space.

    Current trends and fashion have altered the way we view our kitchens. One time used as a utility space, the kitchen is now an additional place where families spend valuable time with each other. Open kitchens can be a wonderful and happy place for gatherings and entertaining.

    In the past, home plans were only about planning and building homes. The recent trends, however, go beyond the boards and nails to give families enlightenment and convenience so they will have a comfortable life for years to come. DYH

  124. Home Theater Systems: Audio and Video Basics

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    All home entertainment units have three major components that are essential to creating a functional home theater system.

    The main focus of any theater is the television or video display. Sound quality is essential. A complete sound system is key to providing the soul and voice of the theatre. A source player is the third element, providing the picture and sound. Cable or satellite TV is standard in most homes but DVD and other players are also added to expand the usefulness of a home theater. It is these three major pieces of electronic innovation that make watching a movie, playing the XBox or listening to a favorite CD enjoyable and worthwhile.

    Visual Element

    There are video display options available to a home depending on budget and preferences. Buying a TV has never been a simple process, but now as we move towards the next generation of television, there are more options than there have ever been before. On the one hand you have the existing LCD and LED HD televisions we’ve all come to know and love, but increasingly new display technologies like Quantum Dot and OLED are entering the market, and the new resolution, 4K, is fast becoming a feature that is essential to have in your next TV. But not every new technology is a must have, and you can save yourself a lot of time and money by sticking with those that are here to stay.

    Audio Elements

    The sound system is going to make a huge difference in the enjoyment and functionality of your home theater. Too many home theater enthusiasts are willing to drop top dollar on a brand new television screen for their home theater, only to skimp out on audio immediately after.

    Sound is what allows us to feel every explosion and hear every whisper, which means that if you are using integrated speakers you are missing out on a lot of the excitement.

    There are a number of ways to assemble an immersive home theater, but the easiest way to get started is with a “home theater in a box”, which will sometimes come with an audio receiver or a DVD/Blu-Ray player.

    At the same time, buying speakers individually will give you much more control over the quality and features of your setup. Many companies offer modular speaker lines, which allow you to meet somewhere in the middle by starting with a surround sound system, and trading up as you become more invested in the perfect sound. For either case, your first step is to know what’s out there and choose a system that best suits your needs.

    Data / Signal Source

    A basic DVD player is a standard signal source in most theater systems. The signal information sent from the player contains the video data as well as your 5.1 surround sound. Your cable box, digital satellite, or Wifi are also signal sources for a home theater. These sources can all be used in one system with the proper wiring and remote programming.

    Technology changes fairly frequently, so it’s always a good idea to set yourself up with a home theatre system that you can upgrade in the future if you wish too. DYH

  125. A Time to Remember – Creating a Time Capsule

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    Time Capsules can be created for many different events; centennials, schools, weddings, new beginnings or just for fun! They are meant to preserve items for a future time or event, in order to tell a story or give a look back into the past.

    Time capsules don’t necessarily have to be buried or hidden for a great length of time; it all depends on what you are making it for. You can make a fun time capsule with your kids or family and plan to open it up in a few years. For kids, that’s a long time! We created our time capsule for our new home we are building. We wanted to create something special for another owner of the home, to give them a look into the process we spent building the home and what is happening right now, in time. We wanted to preserve pictures of our home being built for another home owner to see, so we printed off a handful of pictures, as well, we put them on a USB flash drive. We just hope they have the capabilities to use the USB when it is found! Along with the pictures, we also put a selection of current music and the 3D drawings we had made of the house on the USB.

    We wrote a letter to the person who finds our bottle and dated it. In it, we talked about current events, along with what we did and information on building the home and items in the bottle. We even had our daughter write a little bit about herself and she included one of her toys, a Shopkin, in which she treasures. Included at the end of the letter we put all our names and an email address we think we will have for a very long time, in case the person who finds it wants to reach out to us.

    In the letter we discussed Design Your Home magazine and how the building of our home was part of several issues. So, we included the Summer 2016 issue of the magazine, where we broke ground and started to build the home. We also included a copy of the Brandon Sun from the day we put it in the wall. The magazine and the newspaper would not fit in the bottle, so we rolled them up with a tie and put it beside the bottle. I was able to roll up the letter and pictures and put them in the bottle, along with the kid’s toy and the USB. We wanted to include something special with the bottle, which someone finding in the future may find unique. It was really hard to figure out what that would be and as a family, we decided on a 2012 penny, for the last year the penny was made. It did not fit in the bottle, so we adhered it to the bottom of the bottle, with an explanation in the letter, of course!

    The last thing we had to do is decide on where the bottle would be placed. We put it in a wall in our kitchen, as we thought that would be a room that someone would want to renovate in the future and would possibly discover it! Check us out on Pinterest for more ideas!
    Our Time Capsule included:

    • Local Newspaper
    • Local Magazine
    • Letter that was dated
    • Pictures
    • Popular Toy
    • USB Flash Drive
    • 2012 Penny
  126. Feature Business: Infinity Kitchen and Bath

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    Excellent service and quality products. These are the principles that Glen Gurr has used for the last twenty years to build his business on and it’s worked.

    Glen and his son Scott own and operate Infinity Kitchens and Bath, one of the leading custom cabinet shops in the Westman region.

    “We built the business from scratch and that’s not an easy thing to do in today’s world, but we based it all on service and quality. It was our goal and objective in everything that we did and that’s what helped to grow our business and it just keeps growing. Word of mouth is our best advertising, people recommend us to others and we keep getting a lot of good jobs,” said Glen.

    Glen had always wanted to work with wood, so when they sold their dairy farm in 1992, he originally started out by building furniture. He did that for a few years and then the business expanded into cabinet building.

    “I don’t have any formal schooling, we just learned it all by doing. We study a lot and are very open minded. If anything new comes along we research it and we’re always looking for ways to improve on how things can be done. Starting out building furniture really helped us to evolve into the cabinetry business, it was a very good experience,” said Glen.

    The father and son team design, build and install custom cabinets for kitchens and bathrooms in a variety of styles. They help families to find just the right look and layout for their homes and have a variety of cabinets and hardware to choose from including wood stained cabinets in maple or oak (and other wood types) or the newer styles of coloured lacquered cabinets that are now on the market. They are also one of the only shops in the area that works with bamboo, which has been a very popular in the last few years.

    “There’s a lot to choose from and the industry is always changing, but we help people to narrow down their choices by giving them the pros and cons of each. We do a lot of research and keep up with the trends so that we can advise customers on what’s practical and what isn’t,” said Glen.

    “We build all the cabinets ourselves so we know what works. Ever y project is star ted right from scratch and we build ever ything custom to fit, basically right to the millimetre.”

    Three years ago, they purchased a CNC Machine which cuts out all our components of their cabinets using a computer program. They also added a vacuum lift to the shop, which has helped tremendously to reduce labour.

    “It’s a fairly high tech shop for this area. The two of us can produce and install a lot of kitchens and vanities in a year because of the equipment that we have,” said Glen.

    Infinity Kitchens and Bath also has an excellent selection of cabinet lighting, accessories such as sinks and faucets and they carry high quality hardware to match the standards of their custom built designs. They also have many options for countertops including laminate and quartz.

    If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, Glen said you can expect the project to be complete in four to six weeks from beginning to end. He indicated that grey has been a popular choice for cabinetry in the last year or two in their designer series, but they have a variety of designs for consideration on display in their showroom.

    Infinity Kitchens and Bath is located four kilometres south of Richmond Avenue on 65th Street East.

    By Wanda Kurchaba

  127. Helpful Gadgets for Seniors

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    As you get older, you will need more help around the house, but it is not often that each and every member of the family will be around to help.

    A typical household will not have a hired caregiver, and so it becomes the duty of the homeowner to assist their aged parents or grandparents. Assistance may range from simple walking, to getting a hard to reach item. The wisdom comes in the form of self-assistance; that is, in the ability for the elderly to help themselves. This can easily be made possible with proper planning and slight adjustment to your daily routine.

    Eliminate obstacles around the house. These daily obstacles pose threats ranging from mild to critical. For example, glassware and tile pose a very serious threat, while polycarbonate and carpet virtually eliminates most concerns. Problems like that can be remedied by practical thinking: eliminate the obstacle, not the object. Outfitting the house to meet the needs of the elderly, while at the same time preserving the homeowner’s comfort of living, can be a much simpler task than perceived.

    Solutions can be entirely within the realm of practicality, while others involve expenses. The most obvious and time-honored solution is to leave all of their personal affects on the main floor of the home. Doing so will sidestep the most frightening scenario: falling down the stairs. If at all possible, ensure that plenty of necessities remain accessible on the first level, especially a bathroom. As a tip, lay out a non-slip surface inside the tub and showers, as well as bath mats on the outside. Inexpensive and easy to install, they deter the most hazardous of daily household injuries.

    By way of expenses, outfit the television with a wireless headset. This way, the volume can be turned up to suit their needs without disrupting the rest of the household. Another measure would be to enable subtitles and captions for movies and television. Other gadgets to consider are audio reminders, which will remind a person of certain tasks via pre-recorded messages. In short, gadgets of all kinds can aid in everyday life just as well as practical decisions. In times of boredom, say, handheld portable gaming systems integrate very well into the lives of the elderly. For example, crossword puzzles and other games that aid in critical thinking and coordination are easily accessible on the latest gaming systems.

    With these tips in mind, use your home to their advantage, all without necessitating too much change. Sometimes the elderly may be at home for hours at a time, alone. The best option would be to organize a lifestyle alongside your aged parents or grandparents, a lifestyle that suits them. This makes it easier for everyone involved, as self-assistance is the most ideal way to retain their freedom and their dignity. DYH

  128. A Case For Real Wood

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    Whether you are renovating a well loved home or building new one, your choice of flooring is one of the most important decisions you will make. Flooring underpins everything in your design and should be one of the first items on your checklist. Sadly, it is often overlooked or hastily decided on at the end of the process.

    While there are many products to choose from – quality hardwood flooring is still the gold standard in homes.

    Good quality hardwood products, whether solid or engineered can usually be repaired when damaged, refinished when you want a change of colour palette, or even have new areas added seamlessly. Have a character home? Even narrow strip hardwood may be rejuvenated, repaired, and made to look new again. It is very important to discuss hardwood services with someone who has technical know how and training in hardwood installation and refinishing, and certainly choose a company that has a portfolio of work behind them.

    Hardwood is a natural product and comes with a wide range of benefits and disadvantages that are best explained by a retailer that understands natural products. Unfortunately over the past few decades with the shift back to hardwood, big box stores and manufacturers of carpeting have ventured into the hardwood industry. They wanted back that “piece of pie” in order to reclaim profits lost to hardwood sales. Unfortunately this has flooded the market with products that are cheap and inferior compared to those that are produced by quality hardwood mills.

    So why are so many new homes still being built with carpet or laminate throughout? The simple answer is cost. On the surface, carpet is far less costly to install than hardwood. However, the upfront savings of carpet and laminate is quickly diminished when it becomes worn, damaged or stained and eventually needs to be replaced. Even the best quality carpet now only has a life span of 10 to 15 years, while hardwood floors can last for generations.

    Hardwood flooring is an investment that will retain it’s value when purchased responsibly and installed with care – but that does not mean it has to break the bank.

    Choosing the most knowledgeable and experienced company is an important first step to enjoying your hardwood floor for years to come.

    Melissa Turner is the manager of Turner Floors, Manitoba’s only National Wood Flooring Association accredited flooring store. Her husband Paul, has over 20 years experience in the flooring business and is an NWFA certified Installer, Refinisher and Inspector.

    By Melissa Turner

  129. Updating Your Bathroom Vanity

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    These days bathroom vanities come in an enormous variety of styles, for bathrooms of all different styles.

    If your bathroom’s in need of a makeover, adding a stylish new bathroom vanity set could work wonders at improving it’s appearance. Modern bathroom vanities are not just built to look pretty, they are designed to be functional as well. A vanity unit can be custom built to make the best use of even the smallest bathrooms. For instance, vanities with a built-in base cabinet beneath the sink can provide valuable storage space to keep countertops clutter free, or a specially made unit could be fitted to a spare corner.

    There are many options when it comes to considering a new vanity for your bathroom. The difficulty you might have is choosing which one would be just perfect for your needs. It helps to have a general idea of the style of your room. For instance, are your other bathroom fixtures traditional, contemporary or antique in look? Furniture style vanities are very popular, and come with a choice of decorative touches to add a touch of class to any bathroom, from arched skirts to Queen Ann legs. Think about the finish of the wood. Do you prefer glazed, painted or laminated finishes?

    Bathroom vanity tops also come in a range of durable and attractive materials, from granite to marble. Don’t forget to pay attention to smaller details such as the design of the hardware. Try to coordinate it with your faucets and the handles on your shower doors and bathroom cabinets, for instance. The positioning of your bathroom’s vanity lights and mirrors is also important, as this can have an influence over the look and feel of the whole room. There are lots of helpful hints and ideas available on the internet to give you inspiration for transforming your bathroom.

    Well chosen bathroom vanities can become an attractive centerpiece and focal point of a room, instantly adding style and function without too much expense or effort. – DYH

  130. Feature: Habitat for Humanity

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    It’s a history to be proud of and a future to look forward to for the Brandon Chapter of Habitat for Humanity Manitoba. Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity Manitoba has built over 350 homes in 18 communities across the province for low income, working families.

    Brandon has been part of this legacy to provide safe and affordable housing to families in our community. This past December, the Song family was handed the keys to their brand new home at 741 Percy Street; just one of three houses that were being built this past year by the Brandon Chapter, their volunteers and partners.

    “Our goal is to help low income families have the pride of home ownership; to give families who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a mortgage the opportunity to own a home,” said Michelle Pereira, Vice-President of Marketing, Communications and Philanthropy of Habitat for Humanity Manitoba.

    “They are working families, they have children and they contribute to society in a good way. They just don’t make enough money to buy a home on their own. It’s just a hand up, it’s not a hand out.”

    Habitat for Humanity homes are sold to the homeowners at a fair market value, set by an independent appraiser. The mortgage rate is calculated at 27 per cent of the homeowners’ income, but the payments must be a minimum of $550 per month. In addition, homeowners are not required to come up with a down payment and their mortgage is interest free for 15 years.

    “One of the biggest misconceptions is that the homeowners get it (the home) for free. The reality is that it is very difficult to become a Habitat partner family as they go through a rigorous process to be selected. They are contributing citizens, they just need a little bit of help to own a home,” said Michelle.

    While there is a complete list of criteria that must be met in order to qualify for a Habitat for Humanity home, some of the main requirements for eligibility include: the applicant has to be working for two years full-time or the equivalent of, they must have children, have good credit, and show a need for affordable housing i.e. living  substandard conditions.

    This most recent house to be complete in Brandon was a ready-to-move (RTM) home built by Green Acres Colony of Wawanesa. It is 841 square feet with an open concept main living area and two bedrooms on the main floor.

    Westman Premier Homes built the foundation and did all the final work on the exterior of the home once the RTM was moved into place. They also did all the finishing work in the basement, which has a spacious and roomy feel with nine foot ceilings. It consists of a large recreation room, one bedroom, a roughed in bathroom, a utility/laundry room and plenty of storage space.

    Margaret Schonewille, General Manager of the Brandon Chapter for Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, said that while all of their projects rely on many partners and volunteers, it’s when you see the families all come together to help when you really see the value in what you’re doing.

    “Homeowners are required to put in 500 hours of sweat equity or volunteer time, but it almost always ends up being more than that,” said Margaret.

    “Their volunteer time can be on their build, on another home or they can even volunteer to work in the ReStore. This family chose to work on their own home, but they also had friends and family who chose to volunteer their time as well. People take a lot of pride in their homes, especially when they’ve been part of the team that helped to complete the project.”

    Jibo and Yaping Song, along with their six-year-old daughter and two-year old son, took possession of their new home with much excitement mid-December. While unpacking boxes and getting settled may have been top of mind for this family, there was comfort in knowing that they were moving into a well-built home.

    All Habitat for Humanity homes are built with energy efficiency in mind. The intent is to keep energy costs as low as possible and upkeep and maintenance at a minimum. The east end home has an air exchanger, a heat recovery unit, air conditioning and is heated with electric forced air. In fact, the home has one of the smallest furnaces in the industry which runs on only five kilowatts of power versus fifteen. In addition, the home comes with a refrigerator, stove, washing machine and dryer.

    The new homeowners also have the added benefit of having custom window blinds (Honeycomb Cellular Shades) on all of the windows donated and installed by Budget Blinds. Owner Sue Swarbrick said while this is the first Habitat house that she was involved with, it won’t be her last.

    “It’s been a real learning experience, understanding the whole process and discovering what Habitat for Humanity is all about. It’s a great way to give people a hand up and has been an amazing experience working with such a beautiful family,” said Sue.

    In terms of the future, Margaret said the goal for Brandon is to build two homes in 2017, also in the east end of the city. They will be built on the lot by volunteers and professional tradespeople.

    “We’ll build them right on site and provide our volunteers with the tools that they need to lend a hand. And, if they don’t have experience in the construction or carpentry industry we work with our volunteers to teach them the skills to build the home so that we can all successfully complete the project,” said Margaret.

    Habitat for Humanity Manitoba only builds as many houses as they fundraise for. They need to raise $175,000 just to build one home, which doesn’t include the land. While the fundraising goals may seem lofty, the return on investment for the entire community is well worth it.

    “There’s a social return in which studies have shown that when families own their own homes they aren’t going to the food banks, they are healthier and not using the healthcare system as much and they become taxpayers. When we build a house, we’re also contributing to the local economy. We buy all the supplies locally and any money raised stays within that community. It’s reinvested to build more homes and help more families to improve their lives,” said Michelle.

    By Wanda Kurchaba

  131. Time Flies!

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    Time goes by in the blink of eye! While I sit here and think about it, it is hard to believe we are going into our 4th year of publishing this magazine. What stands out the most to me, are the people we have met who helped contribute to the magazine over the years and the relationships we have built. I can honestly say they have helped me grow as a person and educated me in their industry.

    We were able to expand on many of these relationships this year, as we built our own home. I really enjoyed working with many of our customers on a whole new level, and becoming one of their customers! Now the tables were turned! We built our home, in a not so traditional way, compared to the market right now. We were the general contractor and hired companies for every single job; some on our own and some through reputable businesses we were already working with. Were we 100% prepared for everything, definitely not, but eventually everything fell into place. We tried to give ourselves more time for the built to compensate for this. We did this, so we could have more control over the whole process and really pick out what we wanted, not be told only what they can offer. This was in order to make our home, truly what we wanted for our family. Doing this is a lot more work and a huge learning process, which I really did enjoy, as I feel I understand how a whole home a built now. Would I do it again…I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep, so not in the near future!

    Be sure to watch for our final reveal of our home in an upcoming issue this year.

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  132. Wine Advice: Entertaining with Wine

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    Entertaining requires much thought and planning. We often speak of wine and food pairing but it is equally important to consider the occasion being celebrated. Not only is there a wine for every food but also wine to suit all occasions. Whether a birthday, graduation, weddings or special holidays such as Easter and Christmas, all it takes is some imagination and basic wine knowledge. Wine is a versatile beverage making it the perfect choice for special events.

    Begin with selecting a style of wine for your special day whether red, white, rose, or sparkling, or if suitable choose a fun and interesting theme, such as wines from around the world.

    Wines suitable for pairing with your event need not be overly costly. In fact, you may put more than the usual amount of thought into considering cost simply because of the number of people in attendance and correspondingly, the number of bottles you require.

    There is a large selection of wines locally available, wine from regions and countries around the world and if working within a modest budget it is wise to consider wines from a region that is not well known.

    The occasion you plan to celebrate dictates the amount of wine required, for example a New Year’s Eve celebration will result in considerably higher wine consumption when compared to wine consumption at a birthday celebration. The general rule is one bottle of wine for every two people however, the type of event, whether a formal sitdown dinner or a cocktail party, has considerable effect on the amount of wine consumed. Consumption is lower when dining as more attention is given to food when compared to standing at a cocktail event where there is less attention to food.

    Familiarity with attendees provides a distinct advantage making sure you are aware of the amount of alcohol an individual consumes as well as the type of beverage they prefer. Calculating the amount of wine needed is certainly not an exact science which is why I advise you to purchase a few bottles extra so you needn’t be concerned about having enough. You are able to return wine as long as the bottle is intact and the label undamaged.

    Milestone occasions call for festive wines making sparkling wine the optimal choice. Although sparkling wine is often reserved for such occasions there is simply no reason to wait for a special occasion to drink it. Sparkling wines ranges broadly in price. Champagne, the famous sparkling wine from France is costly, so in its place you may wish to consider a suitable alternative. Other French sparkling wines, made using the same method as Champagne, bearing the term Crement, are quite delicious and worthy of celebration at considerably less cost or consider Cava from Spain, a wine also made using the most complex sparkling wine method.

    I am a huge fan of rosé and find it suitable paired with a traditional Easter feast.

    The colour of rose, ranging from delicate pink to deep salmon makes rosé a beautiful addition to any table. Pairing wine with an occasion is a fun and interesting learning experience that will increase your appreciation and knowledge of wine.

    Sit back and enjoy the compliments.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier (ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator (SWE)

  133. Design Choices For Kitchen Islands

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    Kitchen islands add a decorative element to the kitchen. They also add extra work and storage space. Space to store things and prepare meals is often lacking in kitchens. An island is the perfect solution to these problems. Some offer additional areas for cooking or an extra sink for cleaning up. There are designs and features to fit every lifestyle.

    Choices Available in Kitchen Islands

    The simplest kitchen islands resemble a table. They have legs and a flat counter space for cooking. These are functional for preparing foods and serving meals buffet style. In addition, they add a design element to the room. The draw back of these islands is they don’t add additional space for storage.

    Another simple design involves a simple flat counter area with storage space underneath. These are generally drawers and cabinets. They can be built to match the surrounding cabinets in your kitchen. This gives additional storage space under the island, rather than the wasted space of a table top design.

    More elaborate designs include custom built islands. These can include a sink, cook top, warming oven, small refrigerator or dishwasher. A granite island top or other solid surface will allow you to roll dough and prepare food right on the counter, without a cutting board. Butcher block allows you to cut right on the counter. You can have any combination of these features included in your island. The design elements of a custom built island are flexible, as it is built to suit your specifications.

    Multi level islands offer more flexibility and design choices. They have a smaller overall work space, but allow you to incorporate a variety of functions. These are generally larger islands and may include areas for food preparation and separate eating areas. You could have a sink or cook top on one side with a flat counter on another level.

    Measuring for Islands

    The sizes of kitchen islands vary widely. You need to be sure the one you want will fit your space. Measuring the area is one way to determine how much room you have. This can be hard to get a feel for with just two dimensional measurements. A better way is to place a piece of furniture or boxes in the size of the island in the center of the kitchen. Leave it for a few days and see how you feel about it.

    When taking measurements, make sure you have at least three feet of space around the island. You want to have room to move and easy access to your appliances. Make sure you can open all the appliances and have room to work with the island in place. You don’t want to open the dishwasher and hit the island or open the oven and not have room to manoeuvre when cooking a meal.

    If space is too limited for a large island, consider a portable one. These are often on wheels and can be moved out of the way when not in use. They are great for adding additional workspace when needed, but are portable. They won’t be in the way when not needed. The down side of these is you will only have additional work area, you won’t be able to add features like a cook top or extra sink.

    Kitchen islands really do come in all shapes and sizes, creating one for your specific needs and kitchen will help you be more efficient in your kitchen.


  134. Home Renovation & Maintenance

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    By doing a little preventative maintenance now, you can prevent minor problems from escalating into a major headache next spring. Minor repairs done now can prevent air and moisture penetration from attacking the structural integrity of your home down the road and will save you additional costs and frustrations in the future.

    Cleaning the eavestroughs in the fall, for example, can prevent ice damming in the winter, where moisture is forced up under the roof ’s shingles during winter’s freezethaw cycles. Roofing contractors are always busy in the spring, fixing damage and leaks that have occurred because of ice damming.

    Here are some home maintenance jobs that should be on a homeowner’s checklist:

    • Clean eavestroughs after the last leaves have fallen. Run a garden hose and check that they are draining properly and that downspouts are operating and directed away from the home’s foundation walls. Check for leaking or damaged gutters, downspouts and hangers. Remove rust and patch the gutters with roofing cement. Caulk leaking seams and make sure pop rivets are secure.
    • Check the roof for trouble signs such as broken or missing shingles, cracked, buckling or curling shingles, or bare spots where the granular coating has worn off. Check flashing around vents, skylights and chimneys. Look for pieces that have peeled back and for cracked caulking that could allow moisture penetration.
    • Have the chimney cleaned and check the exterior structure for worn flashing, loose bricks or crumbling mortar.
    • Have your furnace cleaned, inspected and safety checked. Depending on the system, you will need to have the furnace vacuumed, the filter changed and the pilot checked.
    • Check for blockage of attic louvres by wasp’s nests and put sheet metal, wire screen or wood over any openings, including under the eaves, to prevent animals from nesting.
    • Remove and store your window air conditioner. Make sure to clean the coils and filters and cover loosely for the winter. If you are leaving the air conditioner in the window, put a weatherproof cover over it to protect it during the winter.
    • Clean your lawnmower and other garden tools before storing. Give all the metal parts of your tools a wipe with an oiled rag to prevent rusting. Drain the fuel from gas-powered machines and run the engine until the lines are clear. Drain the oil and replace it. Clean caked-on grass and debris.
    • Check doors and windows for proper caulking and weatherstripping. Do the draft test: hold a lit candle and run it along the seams of doors and windows. A flickering flame means your heating dollars are going out the window. Check the bottoms of doors for a snug threshold seal or door sweep.
    • Make sure your fireplace is in safe working order. Check that the damper opens and closes smoothly and fits properly to prevent heat loss. Check inside the fireplace to make sure no bricks are loose or broken. If your fireplace is smoking excessively, check the chimney for fallen bricks. Installing a chimney cap can cure a smoking fireplace by improving the draft.
    • Drain exterior water lines, hose bibs, sprinklers, and pool equipment before the first major freeze. Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.

    If you have any concerns with the exterior of your home, use the spring and summer months to get these jobs done, in time for fall. Some projects may require hiring a professional. If you see an issue, call someone early so you get the job looked after before it becomes a bigger issue and more costly down the road.

    Maintaining you home’s exterior is the best way toprevent more damage in the future and more money in your pocket. All homes require maintenance and if you follow the checklist, you are sure to keep your home in great condition for years to come.


  135. A Guide to Arranging Your Home Décor Accessories

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    One of the biggest home decorating dilemmas is how to arrange your accessories, whether it be a bookcase, shelf, or tabletop. Here is a three step system that will transform your boring or cluttered spaces into charming vignettes.

    Harmony and Contrast

    When arranging a space with accessories, one has to keep in mind that the most important thing to avoid here is boredom! This has a lot less to do with the objects you choose than how you choose to display them. To keep an arrangement from putting the neighbours down for their afternoon nap, remember to keep a balance of harmony (things that feel like they go together, like similar colours or styles) and contrast (things that spice things up by being different…smooth against texture, round against straight line) You want a bit of both in your arrangement. Perhaps you could create harmony by repeating a square shape or the colour purple, and then add contrast by sitting a smooth candlestick next to a rough basket.

    Scale and Shape

    Make sure that the items you are using fit into their new homes scale…you don’t want one tiny paperweight on a large kitchen table, and you want to steer clear of using a huge ceiling high arrangement of flowers on a tiny end table. Most people tend to use things that are too small for their surroundings however. If you have small accessories you would like to display, but need to give them more oomph in the arrangement, try grouping them on a plate or a fabric covered box. You can also give them height by perching them atop stacked books or baskets.

    Layer and Soften

    Once you’ve chosen your objects for the space following the design principles above, now it’s time to layer and soften. Star t with a larger, taller piece slightly off center… this will be the defining piece in your arrangement. Now work to the outer edges in layers…Add a taller background layer, a middle sized medium height layer, and your tiniest objects in the front. Keep the eye moving up and down as it purveys the arrangement from left to right for interest. Add some fabric or twisted ribbon to soften the edges of the shelf or table, to bring in color, and to highlight certain objects.

    Above all, keep trying new combinations of items untilyou find an arrangement that works for you. Use things in unusual ways. Tuck flowers or a live plant into an arrangement that seems too static. Even professional designers will occasionally be surprised by trying things in a new way! And remember, if your arrangement still looks cluttered and lost, chances are you are trying to display too much. Develop a prop box or closet where you can keep some of your treasures, and switch them out a couple of times a year for a fresh new look without spending a dime!


  136. Feature Business: Turner Floors

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    A Lost Art

    When it comes to advancement in technology it seems as though every industry is exposed to new products and alternative methods on how to get the job done.

    For some work however, what is often required is the hand of a skilled professional who has maintained the knowledge of what some would consider a lost art.

    Paul Turner is one of those guys. While he’s completely up-to-date on all the latest flooring options available and works with a variety of products, some of his favourite projects include the restoration of century old floors.

    “It’s great to be able to put a new hardwood floor in, but what I really like is having an older home and renovation project where the wood floors are already installed and are pretty much destroyed. Maybe its dog scratches, glue residue from carpet or they’ve been painted over – basically they just look horrible,” said Paul.

    “We have current staining and finishing techniques that they didn’t have years ago. So, we can take a floor that you wouldn’t even want in your barn and bring it back to a functional hardwood floor that looks beautiful and preserves the historical value. When we use a multi layer stain process, we can create the same look with three dimensional colours and stains that you often see on the new pre-finished products.”

    Paul spent the early years of his career installing hard-wood floors in gymnasiums and community centres for a company out of Calgary. He and his wife Melissa eventually moved back to Brandon where Paul grew up and they opened Turner Floors. They’ve been in business since 2005.

    Turner Floors is a boutique shop that is open by appointment only. They carry a wide variety of flooring – everything from carpet and cork to ceramic tile and laminate; and they expertly install everything that they sell. Paul said they strive to provide their clientele with high quality products, which mostly tend to be Canadian made, that are reliable to work with and provide form, function and style for the customer.

    “I regularly go to trade shows to keep up on all the latest products. I think, part of what sets us apart is that I own the company, but I also do the work. I am on-site and I am hands-on with the products and the material that we’re using, as well as the techniques that we’re using. Since I work with the products, I have the ability to adjust our selection and choose products that are dependable,” said Paul.

    Turner Floors has been a member of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) for ten years and Paul has NWFA certifications including Installation and Sand &Finish. He is also just completing the training to become a Certified Wood Floor Inspector.

    “When it comes to hardwood, I focus primarily on sanding and finishing, that’s my forte. When I do a hardwood installation it’s typically to add to existing hardwood floor or to do more specialized work like adding borders and medallions for a customized look,” said Paul.

    “What’s frustrating in our industry is that many think that it’s better to just rip out old hardwood floors and replace them with a new product because there are better margins in selling new product versus refinishing. That means that floors that are able to be refurbished, that are still functional, are getting torn out prematurely.”

    As new products become available, Paul says that refinishing hardwood floors is becoming a bit of a dying art, plus many of the skilled workers are retiring and others leave the industry for different opportunities. For him, however saving natural hardwood floors is something that he is passionate about.

    “I’m an old school guy. I’ve refinished floors that are over 100 years old and brought them back to 90-95 per cent of their original condition. If I can do that in a house versus ripping it all out and replacing it, that’s what I really enjoy doing.”

    Wanda Kurchaba

  137. Something for Everyone

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    There are over 175 reasons to take in the 2017 edition of the Brandon Home & Leisure Show. That’s the number of exhibitors that are on hand at this year’s event to share all the latest trends for do-it-yourself home repair, decorating and furnishing, exterior improvements, landscaping and home entertainment.

    We’re all at different stages in our lives – some of us might be thinking about buying a new home, while others might be considering adding an addition to an existing home. Or perhaps, building a cabin is a dream that’s going to become a reality in the near future. Whatever the case may be, the Brandon Home & Leisure Show (BH&L Show) can educate and inform you on what to expect when starting projects of this nature, who can help you to get the job done and what plans to make to get things underway.

    BH&L Show General Manager, Dave Melcosky, said the home show provides visitors with an opportunity to meet business owners and representatives, so that connections exist for when you need them.

    “As a homeowner, there are always things that come up. You might need new shingles or windows, decide to build a garage or freshen up your living space with a new coat of paint or flooring. Whatever the case, you can get ideas and make connections with the businesses that provide these products and services all under one roof – it’s onestop- shopping. That way, if an emergency arises like a leaky roof or when your furnace goes down, you’ll have a better idea of who you can call to come to the rescue,” said Dave.

    As extending living space to the great outdoors has been a trend for a few years now, there are a number of exhibitors that will showcase landscaping designs, display the latest in lawn and garden equipment, feature the most popular pools and hot tubs available, provide the benefits of incorporating a three-season room, and others that will give you ideas on how to create a comfortable space in your yard to entertain family and friends during our gorgeous Manitoba summers.

    “We’re hearing more and more about homeowners investing more into their homes on the inside and the outside instead of travelling and going on extended vacations. They are choosing instead to maximize their investment by staying at home 365 days of the year. When you have a beautiful space, it makes it that much easier to thoroughly enjoy your staycation,” said Dave.

    There’s also been a resurgence of interest lately in sport, recreation and leisure activities and the BH&L Show has definitely seen how this trend is growing.

    “People work hard when they’re at work, but when their off they play hard as well. Visitors this year will get a chance to see all the latest toys when it comes to sporting and recreational goods. Whether it’s boating, quadding, paddle boarding, cycling or just relaxing in a great hammock swing, there’s lots of new products to check out,” Dave said.

    This is the 51st year of the BH&L Show and over the course of the three-day event 11,000 visitors will stroll through the building.

    The event itself started out as a car show and expanded to include boats and recreational vecicles using just 10,000 square feet of the convention hall. Now, there’s a huge variety of exhibitors that take up almost 100,000 square feet of space in the Keystone Centre; it is literally 10 times the original size since its inception in 1966.

    The 2017 Brandon Home & Leisure Show takes place April 7-9. For more information, visit:

  138. Feature: Westman Premier Homes

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    More often than not, the style and design of a home often reflects the individuality of the homeowner. If you have the opportunity to build a home, literally from the ground up, there are many decisions to make that influence the look, the flow and the function of the home.

    A project recently completed by Westman Premier Homes is just that – a customized home that elegantly showcases the individual preferences of the new homeowners. Located in Oakridge Estates, one of the city’s newer developments on Brandon’s North Hill, this 1538 square foot home was built with features that took into consideration the lifestyle choices of the young family that is going to reside there.

    The new homeowners, Michelle and Joe have been very hands-on in planning and making decisions to customize this home to meet the needs of their family and their own design preferences. As a family of five, they were drawn to Oakridge Estates primarily because of the spacious backyard the lot provided for their children.

    “This is going to be our oasis, this is where we’re going to be 365 days of the year. We wanted to have the space for a soccer pitch in the summer and a hockey rink in the winter. We decided to invest in this house and we’ve incorporated a lot of things that we’ve seen in other places. Little things like unique lighting, solid surface countertops and the butcher block, are all features we chose specifically since our plan is for this to be our forever home,” said Michelle.

    The open concept living room, dining room and kitchen will provide a comfortable space for entertaining family and friends with plenty of natural lighting from the All Weather PVC windows from South End Lumber in Brandon. A well-designed, functional kitchen, which features a large island with a stunning walnut butcher block finish the space elegantly.

    The high energy efficient wood fireplace that is part of the living room area is adorned with Stone Rox (Snow White) and porcelain tile (Salerno Taw Silk Series Olive) installed by Brooks Masonry and Acrylics. The fireplace, along with the sound proof floating cork flooring, will provide just the right amount of heat for the family to stay cozy and warm during our long Manitoba winters.

    On the feature wall in this great space, the homeowner chose to incorporate accent pieces to add even more comfort and ambiance. Two translucent, backlit DesignerStone®Panels give the room a warm feel and a touch of elegance as they contrast with the dark grey colour of the walls (Sherwin Williams- Cyberspace, SW7076).

    Scott Bromley, General Manager of Westman Premier Homes, said this home was showcased recently in the 2017 Spring Parade of Homes, sponsored by the Manitoba Home Builder’s Association.

    “This entire house is done to the homeowner’s tastes. I think it makes for a better show home because it’s not just a generic spec house. When you come to see a house like this, you’re either going to love it or you’re going to hate it. Either way, we’re going to get a reaction,” said Scott.

    The bungalow at 56 Outback Drive has two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the main floor. For now, the upstairs bedroom will accommodate the couples third infant child, but was designed so that it could eventually be converted into an office as the children grow up. And, as a great deal of thought and planning went into the design of the home, the bedroom closet can also be converted into an upper level laundry suite for added convenience.

    The second bedroom on the main floor is a spacious master bedroom that has a walk-in closet, ensuite bathroom and outdoor access to a wrap around deck.

    The ensuite features a walk-in shower and floating double vanity with carefully chosen, unique his and hers sinks and lighting on a stylish Cobalt Corian countertop.

    The homeowners were selective in choosing a variety of styles and colours for the doors in their home as well, which add to the distinctive features of the home. The kitchen pantry has double pocket doors to maximize access and space, and the mudroom off the garage entrance can be hidden with a beautiful custom painted barn door.
    The front door was coated with a brilliant Sapphire Blue and the large three-car garage doors in Charcoal offset the coloured stucco. The stone work, installed by Brooks Masonry and Acrylics, and siding combination finishes the exterior of the house.

    While this designer home has a number of unique characteristics to enhance the living space and highlight the homeowners’ eye for design, it was also built for efficiency and consideration of the environment.

    “The exterior walls were built to avoid any thermal bridges and the R-value is way higher than what is required. With infloor heat in areas on the main floor, in the basement and in the garage, extra insulation, LED lighting, a heat pump and future plans to incorporate solar panels, this home was built to be energy efficient,” said Scott.

    The family will take possession in May once the full basement is completely finished and landscaping can begin with installations of underground sprinklers and exterior accent lighting from D&B Sprinklers. While they’ve enjoyed the process of building a home, they are also excited to move to their new abode.

    “Just seeing it come together from literally an empty lot to this beautiful creation that all of these skilled craftsmen have worked on has been a pleasure. It’s really nice to have an idea and see it come to fruition right before your very own eyes. This has been an incredibly smooth process and very enjoyable, but we all can’t wait to move in,” said Michelle.

    Westman Premier Homes has been in business since 2009; they focus on residential and commercial building projects. Scott says as the housing market has fluctuated and changed in the last few years, so have the trends.

    “We started out putting up spec homes, but now we’re building more custom homes, working with the customers and building to their exact tastes. When you’re building fully custom, quality homes, as opposed spec houses, they are more detailed and we’re more involved with the customer. We’re also noticing that the homes people are building are getting bigger and more elaborate and fancier, so they tend to take a bit longer to build,” said Scott.

    This is the second home that Westman Premier Homes has ever entered into the Parade of Homes, which wrapped up near the end of March. If you missed your chance to see the home at that time, it is also be available for viewing during the Brandon Home & Leisure Show.

    Wanda Kurchaba
    Photos By Sarah Sobry & Westman Premier Homes

  139. Out and About

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    Spring is the time of year that we leave hibernation mode and get our gears working again. Not only do I use this time of year to re organize my home, but we also try to get out of the house as much as we can and see what is happening in the community.

    This is a great time of year to join your neighbours, family and friends at the many events happening around the community. The first big one for us in the year is the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair put on by Provincial Exhibition. This year it ran from March 27th-April 1st and is never a disappointment! Our favourites are the petting zoo, super dogs, the demos at the TD Ag Action Stage and the horse jumping at Westman Place. This is definitely an event you can spend all day at and is great for all ages!

    We also love attending The Brandon Home and LeisureShow as a family. The kids seem to have just as much fun as the adults do! This year the Home Show will be in its 51st year and held at the Keystone Centre from April 7th-9th. This show never seems to disappoint, probably because we always have something we are renovating or in need of! Many exhibitors have interactive displays and product you can purchase right at the show. This will be another show we will not be missing this year!

    One of my favourite activities to do with our daughter is attend local musical productions around Brandon. The first one we are really looking forward to this year is The Lion King. This production is put on by Mecca Productions and will be their 4th all kids musical! It will run May 4th- 6th in the amphitheatre at the Keystone Centre, contact the Keystone Centre Ticket Office for tickets. The music from Lion King is one of our favourite Disney soundtracks, and I’m sure it will be a hit with all ages!

    These are just a few of the events we plan to hit up this Spring, with an array of activities and events happening around the community, why not get out and check some out with your family!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  140. Enhance Your Entertainment Experience

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    TiVo is the perfect complement to your home to enhance your entertainment experience. This clever little box integrates all your favourite entertainment from Live TV and over-the-top (OTT) applications such as Netflix, YouTube, VU-IT! On-Demand and more.

    A neat feature is TiVo’s OnePass. It finds your favourite programs, recorded or OTT, and stores every available episode in a way that’s searchable and hasslefree. With aesthetics a major concern for homeowners, TiVo delivers on that. The boxes are small and line-of-sight is not required to use the remote, making it easy to tuck away out of view. Plus, the Netflix button is built into the remote. No need to toggle devices or switch inputs; one remote suffices for all apps.

    TiVo is easy to use and its features are customizable, making it the perfect entertainment system for everyone. Planning a long road trip with the family? TiVo has your road trip entertainment covered. The TiVo app makes it possible to download your kids’ favourite shows from your recordings to take on the road. Heading to the lake for a relaxing weekend? Take the shows you’re binging to the cabin by downloading them ahead of time. Planning a backyard game party? Why not watch it from the great outdoors on your device using TiVo. Plus, the app allows you to set up recordings wherever you are. Importantly, recording space will never be an issue, you have 1 Terabyte. Westman invites everyone to try TiVo the first 3 months are FREE, call 1.800.665.3337.

  141. Benny’s Wine and Food Pairing

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    The principal behind wine and food pairing is to have both the wine and food taste better together than they would if served separately. It was with this in mind the staff of Benny’s restaurant requested I pair wines with the following staff selections.

    Cedar Plank Salmon topped with creamy dill sauce and grilled asparagus served atop basmati rice.

    There are a wealth of flavours and textures to consider, some more noteworthy than others. Salmon is the prominent flavour here, the creamy dill sauce and grilled asparagus that accompany this dish compliment the salmons flavour and texture but do not dominate.

    When selecting a suitable and complimentary wine consideration must be given to the weight of wine, the weight and intensity of the food, food preparation and cooking method. Planked salmon is a method of cooking and smoking salmon. Salmon sits directly on a preheated slab of natural red cedar where the fish steams gently on the plank and is infused with woodsy notes. The moist salmon is served with a creamy dill sauce. The sauce is weighty, not overly aromatic or boldly flavourful but complimentary, the dill contributes fresh herbal character.

    Pinot Noir is the best pairing with salmon, so successful salmon and Pinot Noir is referred to as a “classic” wine and food pairing. Despite the difference in preparation, compared to broiled salmon, I believe Pinot Noir, a medium-bodied and lightly tannic red wine with red fruit and earthy flavours and aromas suits this dish perfectly.

    The following two selections – both salads – are tricky. So much so that certain sommeliers simply refer to salads as “wine killers”.

    Veggie Quinoa Salad

    Components of each salad and the dressing served in or alongside it must be evaluated in order to identify dominant characteristics and the overall flavour of the salad. You may choose to highlight a particular ingredient but I choose to pair wine with the flavour of the dish.

    This Quinoa salad contains grilled peppers, zucchini and red onions with a red wine and feta cheese vinaigrette, flavours that dominate the nutty quality and chewy texture of the quinoa. Vinaigrette is tart and acidic as is salty feta cheese. Fortunately, acidity in food brings out fruitiness in wine making the wine seem less acidic than it is. When pairing with high acid foods select a wine with acidity that is the equal or greater than the acidity of the food.

    I chose both a red wine and white wine for pairing with the Veggie Quinoa Salad. The red wine, a light-bodied fruity and tart red wine made from the Gamay grape from the Beaujolais region of France and the white wine, a lightbodied bright, acidic Pinot Grigio from Italy.

    Black and Blue Salad

    A salad made for the carnivore. Sirloin steak broiled to order with mixed greens crumbled blue cheese and tomatoes, roasted artichokes and dijon vinaigrette. Are you familiar with the saying go big or go home? This applies here. Go big. The stronger the cheese the bigger the wine, as for the steak – especially when served rare or medium-rare – the same “rule” applies. This salad calls out for a solidly structured red so Cabernet Sauvignon fans this salad is tailored for you.

    Grilled stone fruit (peach and plum) with a honey greek yogurt

    The flavour and sweetness of stone fruit in this dessert intensifies with grilling while honey adds complexity and richness. Riesling is known for its flavours and aromas of ripe stone fruit, green apple and honey characteristics that mirror the flavours and aromas of the dish. Another recommendation is the ever increasingly popular Moscato with its floral and fruity qualities, also a complimentary pairing.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  142. Barn Haven

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    It’s not unusual to look west late in the day and see the silhouette of an old barn outlined by the unique pinkish hue of a magnificent prairie sunset.

    Our deserted prairie barns are old in years, but not in heart, as many of these old structures hold the memories of our fathers and our grandfathers before. The boards and beams from these farm beauties hide many a secret, but are only too happy to show you the scars of helping a hungry family through The Great Depression, or to boast about all the generations of jackknife wielding kids whose initials found their way carved into the floorboards of their hayloft fort.

    Reclaiming this wood from these old barns, bridges, and historic structures is a growing trend in our area, fuelled by homeowners becoming more enamored with the warmth, character and authenticity of the rustic style. Rustic design elements have their roots in the Arts and Crafts ideals of the early 19th century, promoting the beauty and character of handmade craftsmanship. The uniqueness of dining on a table recycled from an old wagon bench, or walking on floorboards in your living room salvaged from a local grain elevator makes for intriguing guest conversation and rids us of the uniformity of box-store culture.

    The blank palette of a large weathered Douglas Fir beam allows the homeowner options that do not exist with the purchase of new lumber; resurfacing and exposing the inner beauty of old growth grain, leaving the warm rustic weathered patina of warn pith, or choosing to add paint or stain…decisions left to the homeowner’s imagination.

    Rustic design elements can warm any space…commercial, cottage, home or condo. This local custom bartop was salvaged from a 137yr Old Growth Douglas Fir tree, and is featured as a design element in our own condo on Augusta crescent in Brandon ( The live-edge was left alone on the reclaimed fir log to flow with natural materials of stone and slate tile, materials prevalent in rustic mountain-influenced architecture.

    The post-and-beams surrounding the fireplace (featured in the picture to the right) are accented with reclaimed weathered sheet metal, revealing a patina from years of battling Mother Nature. The Eastern White Pine post and beams have the weathered surface removed, leaving a less dramatic aesthetic as to not take your eye away from catching the live-edge mantel.

    The weathered patina was left on the surface of the reclaimed old growth fir countertops, adding a timeless warmth to the kitchen and providing a surface that isn’t cool to-the-touch as you find with a granite or natural stone surface.

    The rings from the fir tree visible on the end of the large reclaimed beam are a focal point with this rugged timeworn conversation table. Rustic furniture pieces such as this create a great center piece in an urban modern decor, melding styles together to create comfy ambience in an otherwise modern space.

    Reclaimed wood decor is only limited by your imagination! From tables, mirrors and mantels to home decor…if you have a project in-mind…we’d love to hear from you.

    By Josh Price

  143. Building a Dream

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    Visiting a brand new house is a treat. Especially one that I have been tracking the development of for two years: the home of Stewart and Jaime-Lynn Dyck. Great progress has been made – now just left to do is the landscaping and some other finishing touches. First impressions: it is a lovely home, with lots of character, quality, and individuality. Stewart and Jaime-Lynn have brought much to the process. They are the owners of the magazine you are reading right now, “Design Your Home.” The same curiosity, thoroughness, and dedication that fuels the magazine has also inspired this project.

    During five years of publishing the magazine, they encountered many good ideas. As Jaime-Lynn says, “We filed away in our brains things we liked.”

    Lessons learned? The first: be prepared for the commitment involved. Stewart and Jaime-Lynn were the general contractors, in charge of designing the plans, securing sub-contractors, picking out materials, and supervising the work. If you are up to the task, seeing the final result the way you want is a sweet reward.

    The second lesson goes back to the beginning. I asked them early on: what is most important when you design and build your own home? Jaime-Lynn had replied with a laugh, “Go in with a good relationship with your spouse!”

    Any relationship will be tested over the whole process. Think of the effort and decisions involved: preparing the old house for sale; sorting, decluttering, and storing possessions; finding an alternative living space for the interim; the actual building; moving (twice!); and, finally, the finishing touches.

    No need to ask them about relationships now. They have a sense of satisfaction and ease as they enter the last phase of a long project. They are in a good place.

    The third lesson: you can make your home more creative than you first might imagine. Stewart and Jaime-Lynn note that we folks here in Westman often go along with the standard, the regular, the normal.

    There are lots of creative ideas out there. Two ways they find helpful are visiting the website and sharing ideas through Pinterest. They have also benefitted from visiting friends and checking out show homes in other cities. Stewart and Jaime-Lynn conclude that residents in other places – like in Calgary and on the West Coast – are bolder and more ready to try out different things. The bottom line: you don’t have to do something just because everyone else does it that way.

    The fourth lesson: take your time. Stewart and Jaime- Lynn have taken the time at every stage – to ask more, to research more, to ponder more. Looking around, Jaime- Lynn says, “We put thought and conversation into every single thing in this house.”

    Many pieces fit together to make the whole. Take the electrical, where it helps to have a contractor who is ready to work with you, listen to you, and be open to new ideas. Stewart and Jaime-Lynn consider themselves fortunate to have chosen the electrical division of Badger Creek Plumbing & Heating as their sub-contractor for this component.

    Or consider flooring. As with other elements, they wanted something to fit their family lifestyle, which includes their eight-year-old daughter as well as their working from home. “We wanted flooring,” Jaime-Lynn says, “that would take abuse and not show it.”

    They selected Kraus Soreal Chalet laminate flooring from RONA J&G Supply. They were able to take home a large sample to put in different places and in different lighting to see how it would look. Stewart points out that material may not have the same appearance in your home as it does in the showroom.

    Then there is the last lesson. If you have the opportunity, leave some pieces undone and allow ideas to blossom as you actually live in the house. This is especially the case, as it is with them, with a larger house and spacious yard in a rural setting. Things can look different over the course of a day and over the course of the seasons. Examples include some lighting, window coverings, accessories, and landscaping.

    Working with trusted suppliers is important in this ongoing process. They had Budget Blinds do an in-home consultation, which included measuring all windows. Now, as Stewart and Jaime-Lynn decide on a window treatment, they place their order. Budget Blinds fills their request, using the measurements already on file.

    Stewart and Jaime-Lynn have put a lot of themselves into designing and building their new home. As they settle in, they are going to let the last inspirations come as part of a larger interaction.

    “Now,” Stewart says, “we are going to let the house speak to us.”

  144. Perfect Pantry (for me!)

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    When planning the design of our new home, we definitely could not overlook the kitchen. One of my favourite features of our custom kitchen is the pantry! It’s hard to believe something like a pantry can make me smile when I walk in…but it does!

    When building something custom and unique in your home, create it to suit your needs and lifestyle. You will not regret it, and it should make things easier for you. I love that when I walk into our pantry, everything is laid out neatly and organized. I no longer have to go to my basement to fetch a large platter or extra bulk food I purchased; it is all there!

    I want to share with you a few ideas I had, that you can implement in your kitchen or pantry. After we installed the wire shelves, I bought several wire under shelf units to put produce and extra items. These units hook on better to wood shelving, but all I did was loop a zip tie onto the back and attach it to the shelf it was hanging from to keep it level.

    Another great organizational item I added were plastic sponge holders you find at the dollar store. I removed the suction cups from the back and screwed them into the wall (could work inside a cabinet as well). These were perfect for the dip and sauce packets I have. The side section was perfect to hold the chalk for my chalk wall as well!

    I love the chalk wall I painted in the pantry. I framed it out in matching trim to my cabinetry to give it a more finished look. Our whole family likes to use the chalk wall for our shopping list, notes to each other or just to draw on!

    I ordered a custom decal from VM Designs in Rivers for a fun, yet functional addition to my pantry. Why not customize something in your space to make it extra special for you! I loved the measurement conversion chart for the pantry and feel it is very practical, as I like to bake a lot and this will come in handy!

    For an added bonus, we installed a motion sensor light switch for this room. It is very convenient to not have to turn the light on and off when we pop in to grab something, and we conserve energy as we are not leaving the light on too long.

    When customizing you space, think about the needs of you and your family. With careful research and design, you can create a space your very own as well!

  145. Examining 6 Kitchen Design Styles

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    As you are planning your new kitchen design, the look and style you select is very important in determining the overall feel your kitchen will portray. From the country charm of wood cabinets to modern looking stainless steel appliances, kitchen design styles come in many choices and styles.

    So just what determines your kitchen’s design style?

    Many of the more successful kitchen design styles are made up of many components that go together the right way. The colour you select, and the styles of fabrics, furniture, flooring, windows, cabinetry, appliances, and lighting can help to determine a kitchen design style. You will discover that various design elements of the kitchen provide each style with its own unique flavour.

    The type of kitchen cabinets you have are an important consideration in regards to the overall kitchen design style. The cabinetry can have a powerful effect on the design of your kitchen. The style of kitchen cabinet you choose will give personality and a specific atmosphere to your kitchen.

    Some of the popular styles of kitchen cabinets today are:

    English Country – Consists of open china display racks, unique paints and finishes.

    Shaker – This style is characterized by purity, simplicity, and utility. Uses flat panel doors that are inset and flush with the cabinet frame. It combines simple furniture design with clear crisp lines, and strength.

    Country – This style creates an old farm kitchen look with glazes and layered finishes. Includes open shelves, pot racks for cast iron cookware, butcher block, and multicoloured cabinet pieces that look like they are separate pieces of furniture.

    French Country – There are so many elements that go into the French country kitchen including the use of large pieces of furniture that are made mainly of light coloured woods and can be decorated with ornate carvings. Natural materials are an important element in walls, cabinetry and furniture that is used in the design of French country kitchens.

    Arts and Crafts – This kitchen design style is becoming a popular style for kitchens. In this type of style glass doors and natural wood tones with a matte sheen are used. The style can be eclectic and artistic.

    Contemporary – Kitchens that are done in the contemporary kitchen design style often use laminates, special wood veneers, enamels, lacquers, or metal foil laminate for the kitchen cabinet facings. Cabinet doors in this kitchen design style usually use frameless construction with overlay door and no toe kick panel.

    Homes can come in many different styles, and built using a variety of materials. So the same goes for kitchen design styles. However, in most cases, people will want their kitchen to match the overall design and style of their home.

    It may not be absolutely necessary to select a kitchen design style that is the same as your home’s exterior architectural style. Although it is considered a good idea that you should really try to select the kitchen design style that will best complement your home’s style.

    – DYH

  146. Decorating Your Home in Style

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    Creating a cohesive interior design for your home isn’t that hard if you know some of the basics. In fact, decorating your home so that all the various elements combine to create the look you’ve always wanted can be a lot of fun.

    To create the perfect designer look, you want to first consider the purpose for each room, how you want it to look, your personal tastes, features that can and can’t be changed, and finally, the budget you have available.

    The basics of good design are proportion, balance, contrast, rhythm, pattern/texture and harmony. Knowing how these elements work together will help you design your space so that it’s not only beautiful, but comfortable and functional as well.


    Scale is one of the most important things to consider when creating the look of a room. A room that is proportioned correctly will feel welcoming while an incorrectly portioned room will just feel crowded and unfriendly. The trick is to match pieces in terms of their scale. A large overstuffed sofa needs an equally large end table or coffee table; otherwise, these accents simply disappear as the sofa dwarfs them proportionally. When considering scale, look to the other rooms in your home for furniture that may be a better fit with the focal pieces you have in your room.


    When creating balance, there’s two ways to go here. The first is symmetrical design, where everything is perfectly balanced. For instance, one chair is placed exactly opposite another one just like it. While this creates balance, it can also make a room look static and lacking any visual interest or energy. Experienced designers use asymmetry to create this interest. Objects balance well because they are judged by their visual weight, not pairings. For instance, you may have a large sofa on one side of the room that is balanced by two large overstuffed chairs. These pieces balance the sofa visually, even though they aren’t equal in size or shape. The design works because there is balance in the asymmetrical layout of the furniture.


    Imagine walking into a white room with white carpet and white furniture. Pretty boring, huh? Contrast helps draw the eye around a room through the intelligent use of colour. Bold use of colours creates energy while the use of muted shades in complementary tones creates calm. The more contrast you create, the easier it is for the human eye to follow the intended design of the room, moving visually from one space to another, guided by the use of colour and contrast.


    To keep the room connected, you want to use rhythm. This means reusing specific colours, patterns, textures or themes throughout the room. Pick a couple main colours and repeat them in different ways in your paint scheme, fabrics and accents.

    Pattern & Texture

    As the eye moves about a room, it picks up specific patterns. These are grouped together, so a blue wall is combined with a striped piece of fabric that has the same blue in it. Patterns that don’t fit create conflict in the mind, compromising the appearance of the space. Again, you want to pick one or two primary patterns or textures and vary them within the colour palette you’ve already created for the room. Right alongside the elements of contrast and rhythm in home decorating is pattern/texture.


    If you’ve ever heard three singers sing different parts that sound amazing together, then you already know what harmony is. The same is true for the harmony in your home. Different colours, designs and proportions combine to create a new look that was never there before. It has a look that if you remove just one element, won’t have that harmonic feel to it any longer. When you’ve achieved harmony, you’ve achieved your design goals.

    – DYH

  147. Built Green® Homes

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    There are many advantages to purchasing a BUILT GREEN ® home. You live in a healthier, more durable house with a lower environmental impact-and because of increased efficiency, there’s a reduction in monthly operating cost, rebate eligibility, and more.

    Westman Premier Homes, in Brandon, is the first and only builder in Manitoba to be certified with BUILT GREEN® homes. Scott Bromley, General Manager of Westman mPremier Homes comments, “We believe that building green, energy efficient and environmentally conscience is the way things are going. We not only believe in these ideals but also feel the energy codes are headed this way and we fully intend to stay well ahead of the minimum requirements. Quality and reputation are what we value the most, that being said building green is a perfect fit.”

    The BUILT GREEN® program focuses on seven areas: energy efficiency, materials and methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water management and business practices. The Single Family certification program integrates the EnerGuide label, so as a home buyer, you get a two-in-one: the EnerGuide label and the Built Green® Seal.

    A healthier home environment means improved health and comfort for your family. With the program’s focus on ventilation and air quality, there is less stress on the respiratory and immune systems. For those with allergies, benefits can be significant. These homes have a significant reduction of drafts, cold spots, and temperature variances from room to room, due to the program’s attention to the homes air tightness.

    BUILT GREEN® homes are also resource efficient, reducing their environmental impact, both during the build and in the day-to-day operation of running the home. Some of the options to choose from include: energy efficiencyfurnace and air conditioners, windows, appliances (Energy Star), etc; electrical efficiency-Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) to timers and motion sensors to whole-home automation; and water efficiency – water-saving toilets to low-flow showers and faucets to xeriscaping and more.

    One of the most overlooked aspects of a sustainably built home is durability. BUILT GREEN® homes can feature a wide variety of durable features – we want to ensure that we aren’t building homes that need substantial renovation every five years. And improving efficiency means long-term cost savings; save on your water, electricity and gas bills.

    Plus, BUILT GREEN® homes are third-party certified, which recognizes the authenticity of the home and offers credibility: you’re able to view a detailed report and a checklist showing the products used. As the home owner, you have terms of reference for the maintenance of the home and can rely on home performance expectations associated with the certification.

    Contact Westman Premier Homes today to discuss the all possibilities of your BUILT GREEN® home.

    Information for this article supplied by BUILT GREEN®.

  148. Decorator’s Delight

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    Often when we travel to other cities we search for unique, one-of-a-kind shops for ideas on how to decorate our homes. Well, now we don’t have to travel far. One and Only Design Studio is a new home decor shop in Brandon that has an eclectic collection of furniture and accessories to suit a range of styles and tastes.

    One and Only Design Studio opened just a little over six months ago in heart of downtown Brandon at 130-10th Street. Owners Patrick Kim and Jenny Kang, along with their teenage daughter, created this haven for those who are passionate about home decor.

    For years, Patrick has been selling commercial lighting fixtures, furniture and accessories to hotels and hotel chains. His job required a lot of travel, but it was also a challenge to provide his clients with samples of all the products that were available. After all, you can only pack so much in a suitcase!

    So, the idea began to create a showroom right here in Brandon, where clients would be able to see the complete collection, get an idea of what the quality was like and get a better sense of size. As the plans for the business developed, the husband and wife team also decided to make their products available to local home owners and interior designers at a retail level.

    “It’s been a great experience so far. Our commercial clients are able to come here to get different ideas, concepts and options that they didn’t have as much access to before, plus they are now exposed to our retail line,” said Jenny.

    One and Only carries a wide variety of products that are imported directly from manufacturers in China. As a result, guests are discovering products in the store that you might not be able to find anywhere else.

    “Patrick travels to major international trade fairs in China and Hong Kong a few times a year to search for products that are unique and different, but still trendy and of good quality. He’s managed to find reliable manufacturers that really fit the Canadian market,” said Jenny.

    They currently carry sofas, accent chairs, coffee tables, end tables, side tables, lamps, wall art, and lighting fixtures. Jenny said they hope to get three or four shipments a year and with the next order, they are expanding their product line to include more pieces for small home decor, more accent chairs, dining room tables and additional side tables.

    Since their products are available to retail customers, as well as to commercial clients they are connecting more and more with local interior designers, contractors and electricians.

    “We have a good selection of commercial lighting fixtures. We know what is selling well and what’s popular, plus with our competitive pricing, contractor’s are able to get a good price for their clients,” said Jenny.

    And, if that isn’t enough they are also starting to do custom orders on furniture.

    “Our customers want to tailor their purchase to their own style and taste. We can custom order furniture and lighting fixtures, so if they want to change the colour or the material or the size, we can do that for them. This is something we were hoping to be able to do for our customers and so far it’s working out really well,” said Jenny.

    To enhance your shopping experience even further, this entrepreneurial family also has a coffee shop in the 4000 square foot space. Along with a variety of speciality coffee and tasty treats, O&O Coffee, also features live, local entertainment almost every Saturday.

    If you haven’t had the opportunity to explore this gem, I’d be sure to put it on your summer bucket list! It’s definitely worth the trip.

    – By Wanda Kurchaba

  149. Built to Move

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    Ready To Move homes or RTMs are sometimes thought of as cheap or low quality. This mindset is completely false. The homes are no different than an onsite; the main difference is the foundation is constructed in one location and the superstructure in another.

    Many farmers or customers who live in remote areas of the country typically have a challenge with finding quality builders to visit their desired home location. This is a huge advantage to buying an RTM. Sub trades and project managers don’t need to travel far, to and from the job site every day, which reduces costs and speeds up the construction process. All it takes is one move from building mover at the time of completion. Customers and builders can feel at ease knowing their homes are built in a secure location, reducing the risk of jobsite theft or vandalism.

    S.E.L. Housing, is a sister company to South End Lumber – Timbermart, a supplier of building materials in South Western Manitoba, serving communities for over 60 years. S.E.L. Housing, located in Brandon, Manitoba, was formed to help customers access quality trades in the construction industry for their RTMs. Customers can choose any product they wish to put into their new home thanks to South End Lumber’s buying power with the Timbermart buying group.

    A typical RTM can be built within 7 months after your first meeting. The key steps for the RTM home building process is as follows:

    1. Choose a property to build your home
    2. Check in with an S.E.L. Housing recommended mover, such as CNC Building Movers to visit your site to make sure your home will not have any challenges during the move
    3. Design your floorplan – We will work within your budget by choosing one of our stock floor plans or design your dream home from scratch
    4. Choose your interior and exterior finishes
    5. Sign contract and order special order building supplies
    6. Hire a foundation contractor
    7. RTM is built
    8. RTM is moved to your location
    9. An S.E.L. Housing representative will visit your location and do a walkthrough identifying any drywall cracks that may need to be filled and re-painted

    RTMs are moved by professional buildings movers, such as CNC Building Movers Ltd out of Brandon, Manitoba. Prestressed moving beams are used to ensure there is no unnecessary sag causing little or no stress on the structure of the house. RTMs are gently lifted at the building site using airbags to ensure a steady, secure lift. Air suspension on the truck and under the house maintain a smooth ride for the house, minimizing vibration. When the house is placed on the foundation, care is given to make sure it is square and centered. House to Foundation joint matches the quality of on-site construction.

    Typical customer responsibilities once the RTM is moved onto the foundation:

    1. Schedule Manitoba Hydro and your electrician to install the electrical service
    2. Schedule your plumber to install your furnace, ductwork and HRV. Controlling the humidity levels in your home is very important to the outcome of the finished product
    3. Install septic and water systems
    4. Install stairs from basement to main level

    S.E.L. Housing is a complete one stop shop for your home. If you wish not to take care of the above typical customer responsibilities, we will gladly manage the process from start to finish. We look forward to hearing about your ideas. Get inspired and visit us today!

    Photos by Scott Norosky
    Article Content by Scott Norosky & Craig Penner

  150. Gardens Galore!

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    It’s that time of year again when we stop by the local greenhouse and pick up our plants and seeds to start our annual gardens. It has been years since I’ve planted a large garden, due to our yard size, but since moving into our new home, we have no shortage of a yard to plant our garden this year!

    May Long weekend was the perfect weekend to build and plant our garden. Since we moved onto a few acres, we had some options as to where we should put the new garden. Our decision was to put it by one end of our property, where it would get south facing sun all day. We then spent the next few days mapping and then planting our garden. We were fortunate to be able to create a large garden, probably bigger than what we needed; but it gave us the space to map out what we wanted to grow, with ample room between rows and space for our vegetables to grow.

    Now we water, weed and wait!

    A great gardening initiative in Brandon this year is the Incredible Edible Brandon. A program that has a dozen, self-watering planters placed throughout the city. The community has really come together to help sponsor the development of this plan. Planters filled with produce, maintained by volunteers and available to whoever wants or needs it, as it grows. This is not only a program in giving, it is a program in trust, sharing and community. The concept of urban gardening projects like this one are not a new idea, but definitely new to Brandon and one they hope can flourish and spread.

    Even if you don’t have a green thumb or the space to garden, there is always an opportunity to get your hands a little dirty. Why not stop and weed a planter as you walk by or grab a tomato for supper!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  151. Wine Advice: Selecting Wine for Large Gatherings

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    When does a party become a celebration, event or gathering? When 20 people increases to 100 or more?

    Parties are costly and events referred to as “celebrations” or “gatherings”, implying more people, are even more so – the larger the number of attendees the higher the cost.

    There are wines suitable for each occasion. If the event is a celebration, for example, a wedding or retirement, you may want a have a toast, if so, sparkling wine is a must. Consideration factors such as will a meal be served? What type of food? What time of day is the event? Who will be in attendance and what are their drinking preferences?

    Decisions regarding wine selections should be determined by food pairing possibilities, wine preferences, amount of wine required and cost. Well executed wine and food pairing elevates an occasion so identify what food(s) you wish to highlight and pair wine accordingly. For the least costly yet good quality wines look to little known areas and grape varietals that are not mainstream. For example, a fullbodied red wine from Portugal made from the grape variety Touriga Nacional, a variety used for the production of port, with traits similar to the ever-popular Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Consider time of day, temperature, season and whether the event will be held indoors or outdoors. Outdoor events held during the summer season have notably more white and rosé consumption as do indoor events, however, more red wine is consumed during the cooler seasons of fall and winter. In addition, less wine is consumed during mid-day events as compared to wine consumption during evening celebrations.

    When calculating the amount of wine you require give thought to who will be in attendance and what their drinking preferences are. The elderly generally prefer spirits while young adults have a preference for wine and cocktails. To calculate table wine requirements purchase ½ bottle of wine per person where the calculation for sparkling wine is between 5-8 pours per bottle. Five generous full-glass pours or eight one-half glass pours. Purchase a few extra bottles of each wine as better too much than not enough, that and one must consider the possibility of faulty wine. Unopened wine can be returned as long as the bottle and label are not damaged in any way.

    The majority of events feature one red wine and one white wine selection although those held during the warm weather of summer often include a rosé. More white wine and rosé wine are consumed during warm months than when the thermometer drops, although rosé need not be thought of as simply warm-weather wine. It is becoming ever-popular both as a sipping wine and as a fabulous option for pairing with white fish, salmon, Mediterranean foods, Mexican, Indian and Thai cuisine.

    If selecting only red wine and white wine the percentage of each is split equally 50% red wine and 50% white wine, If red, white and rosé are served during the warm summer months then 40% red, 40% white and 20% rosé, while for cooler seasons 45% red, 45% white and 10% rosé is ideal.

    Much less wine is consumed if served rather than “selfserve” or placed on the table. In addition, and of utmost importance, when wine is served it will be kept at the ideal temperature as the bottle will be placed on ice between servings. Wine shows best when served at the ideal temperature of 16-18 C for red and 9-11 C for white and rosé wines, this is especially so with less costly wines.

    Last but certainly not least, prior to finalizing your wine selection, always sample each wine, ideally alongside the foods that will be served.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  152. Feature Business: Westman Communications

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    40 Fabulous Years. 14,600 Days. 2085 Weeks. 480 Months.

    Whether you count the days, the weeks or the months, it still equates to 40 fabulous years of providing Westman residents with televised entertainment.

    As 2017 marks the ruby anniversary for Westman Communications Group (Westman), they are looking at the success of their past, but also looking ahead to an exciting future.

    Westman officially received a broadcast license from the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on August 8,1977 and went on the air in Brandon and Carberry in September 1978. They began by providing 12 analog television signals to 4,000 homes.

    In comparison, today they have over 20,000 residential customers in 36 communities utilizing cable television, Internet and home phone services, plus they have nearly 2,000 business customers.

    With technology advancing at a rapid pace, Westman has developed and embraced the changes and they strive to offer the best and latest technologies in order to sustain a robust and reliable network.

    “The biggest change in the last 40 years would have to be the use of Internet and streaming of television content online,” said Marketing Team lead Courtney Baxter.

    Baxter continued, “TV isn’t just on TV anymore, streaming TV has become equally important and continues to grow as an industry. We’ve had to transition our focus as a company to ensure we have the speeds, network reliability and support to enable content and provide the best viewing experience for both cable TV and Internet streaming users.”

    With the recent launch of TiVo, Westman is bridging that gap between online and cable TV content. TiVo enables users to stream content and leverage a unified search engine that maximizes their cable TV subscription. This means that more content is available to customers on all of their preferred devices, including their TV. With TiVo, they can access some of their favourite streaming apps using a single button on their remote and there is no need to switch inputs or toggle devices.

    In addition, Westman recently increased the Internet speeds in all of their existing packages, as well as created new packages with higher speeds to further meet the streaming needs of their customers.

    As the only locally owned communications provider serving western Manitoba, Westman looks to the next 40 years as they are always investigating new ways to offer more service in more communities. They recently invested over $5 million to upgrade ten Westman served communities with fibre and broadband technology. This provides customers with the full suite of services which includes digital cable TV, Internet and home phone both residentially and for businesses.

    “By the end of this year, we will be fibre connecting another four communities.

    Since last year, we have grown the number of communities with all three lines of business to 22. Our presence in these communities has been well received and we’re pleased to continually offer our customers leading-edge technology for all their communication and entertainment needs,” said Baxter.

    Westman employs 140 people and is a local co-operative. They also own and operate two local radio stations – 94.7 Star FM and Q Country (880 AM and 91.5 FM), as well as WCGtv, which is a local community programming channel.

    By Wanda Kurchaba

  153. My IDIAH: Curb Appeal

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    Painting your exterior door might be out of necessity (like for us) or it might just be, because you want to add some curb appeal to your home. For either reason, if you take time to follow the extra steps to prep your door, the process will be a lot more successful!

    Before you start your project, take a trip to the paint store and look at paint chip samples you like. Talk to the people who work there, as they are always full of useful information! Once you pick out your paint colour, pick up the proper paint brushes for your project as well. For painting doors, I like a medium sized brush with a tapered end, so I can get a clean edge when I need it. Be sure you buy the proper paint for the job as well. For my project, I purchased an exterior paint with a semi gloss finish and make sure you don’t forget the primer!

    Step 1: Start by cleaning your door. You can do this with a pressure washer, if you feel it requires it, but simply washing it down is fine too.

    Step 2: Use sand paper / block to remove any rough edges from the wood or from old paint that is chipping away. You will want to start with a smooth surface! Wipe down your door with a damp rag once you are finished any sanding.

    Step 3: Tape out any windows, hinges, lock or door handles you want to protect from the paint.

    Step 4: Prime the door! Primer helps seal the pores of unpainted surfaces and prevent colour from bleeding through if the surface was previously painted. It also provides a surface for the paint to stick to and will keep your colour true. Make sure you give yourself several hours before you apply your first coat of paint after the primer.

    Step 5: First coat of paint! This is the exciting step, you finally start seeing a transformation in your door! Take the time to paint on smooth coats. While I paint,
    I constantly look over what I just did to make sure there are no paint drips in grooves and that I have painted the surface consistently. This will show through in the finish once the paint has dried. Again, wait several hours before applying your second coat.

    Step 6: Apply your second coat of paint. You may think one coat is fine, but to get
    a consistent and true colour match, you will want to apply a second coat. Especially if you are going with a darker tone. Same rules apply with step 5.

    Step 7: Apply a third coat if you feel you need to, but it is usually not necessary.
    Let your paint dry a few hours, then remove the tape and enjoy your freshly painted door!

    Another tip to follow, is if your door is in direct sunlight, wait until later in the day to paint or on a cloudy day. Painting in the direct sunlight will cause the paint to dry faster and will cause issues with your project.

    This is an easy, one day project, that will boost the curb appeal on your home!

    Written and Photos
    By Jaime-Lynn Dyck

  154. House or Home?

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    Can you tell the difference between entering a house and a home? If so, what makes the difference to you? Is it something about the way a living space looks that helps you decide? Or perhaps it is a feeling, something about the atmosphere that makes a house different than a home?

    I guess that there are many factors that could account for the differences we all experience as we enter a living space. For me, one of the biggest things that helps me determine whether a living space feels like a house or a home is the decor.

    You know how it is. You enter someone’s house and look around to see nothing but blank walls and minimal furniture. You silently wonder how they live in a place so stark. There is no art work, no colour, and certainly no sense of inviting and warmth about the house you are seeing. It seems like they haven’t put in any time to adding decorations or the touches that make a house seem like more than a house.

    Enter house two. From the time you walk through the front door all of your senses are awakened. There is a wonderful smell coming from the candles burning throughout the house, and the lighting of the candles isn’t too bad either. The house is bursting with colour and personality, almost as if it reflects something about the people who live there. The walls, bookshelves, and furniture are all a part of the decor that fill this home and make anyone want to spend time there.

    Most everyone I know wants to have a home rather than a house. They want their living space to feel lived in, inviting, and special. They want their home to reflect who they are and the things they care about, and they certainly want it to be filled with amazing colours, great textures and smells, and a lot of great decor.

    The good news for you is that regardless of what your house looks like now, you can transform your space into a wonderful home by doing a few simple things. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try risky things in your space, after all, it is your own. If there is a crazy colour or a unique couch that you like, just go for it. Gather ideas from friends and look through a few decorating magazines to discover the style you like.

    No matter what you decide to do to transform your houseinto a home, make sure you fill your home with great decor that is truly your taste and that allows all of your guests to feel welcomed and comfortable.


  155. Home Automation

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    Smart home technology is not only for your alarm system and thermostat; it is now available for your windows. Budget Blinds, North America’s largest windows.

    Budget Blinds, North America’s largest window covering provider, and Lutron®, one of the most respected names in smart home automation have teamed up to give you the best when it comes automated window treatments. This partnership will allow you to integrate smart home technology in a fashionable way with automated window coverings in stylish colours and fabrics. Smart Shades by Budget Blinds can be the start of your home’s transformation into a smart home. Here are four major benefits you can expect with home automation.

    1. Peace of Mind
    With home automation you can control almost everything in your home from securing your alarm system to controlling your window coverings. Smart home technology can provide a certain level of comfort – after all, your home is the place you should feel the safest. With the help of smart home systems, you’re able to turn lighting on or off and open or close your window coverings at all times to make it seem like someone is home even when you’re not. It is a way for technology to provide peace of mind when it comes to your family and their safety.

    2. Convenience
    Your household may be chaotic, but smart home technology is here to make life a whole lot easier. Having these systems in your home make it easy for you to enjoy automated lights, shades, even music at the touch of a button or with a simple command. This technology was invented to simplify your everyday life.

    3. Energy Efficiency
    Did you know that you can save money on your energy bill with home automation? It’s estimated that we lose over 50% of our home’s heating and cooling through the windows. So rather than cranking up your heat or air conditioning to avoid uncomfortable temperatures in your home, consider automated Smart Shades by Budget Blinds. These automated shades can be controlled with the touch of a button or with your favorite smart phone or tablet.

    4. Child Safety
    As a parent your number one concern is your child’s safety. It is important to not overlook basic household items such as window coverings when child proofing your home. Smart home technology can be a major benefit for parents. Having automated shades by Budget Blinds can eliminate dangerous dangling cords out of a child’s reach keeping them safe around all windows.

    Simply put, smart home technology is life changing. From security and light control to child safety, the benefits are endless.

  156. Oasis at Home

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    After working full-time in a demanding, yet rewarding field for thirty-five plus years, it is a good feeling when you know that your hard work has paid off when you are able to retire in style.

    Heather and Kelvin, formerly of Winnipeg, have done just that. They bought property in rural Manitoba, retired, left their fast-paced life in the city to spend their golden years in a beautiful, brand new home overlooking a scenic valley. They call it their oasis.

    Their 2700 square foot home (on the main level), with an additional four season sunroom is situated south of Rivers, in the Riverdale Municipality. The new homeowners worked with Westman Premier Homes to literally build the home of their dreams.

    With a walk-out bungalow floor plan, the homeowners took full advantage of their gorgeous south facing view with an open concept living space and an abundance of massive windows to take full advantage of the scenery and local wildlife.

    Scott Bromley, General Manager of the residential division for Westman Premier Homes said while this was a big project in terms of square footage, it was an absolute pleasure planning and executing the build with the homeowners.

    “They were awesome to work with. They spent a lot of time planning and carefully thinking through exactly what they wanted in their retirement home. They were very organized and often exceeded the timelines that we had set at the beginning of the project,” said Scott.

    While builders don’t often have the luxury of building a home over an extended period of time, for this project Westman Premier Homes had one year to complete the build and the homeowners moved in right on schedule this past June. They are slowly settling in, unpacking boxes and basking in the awe of their new home.

    “Sometimes having the pressure is better, but being able to take your time, weigh decisions and carefully consider various options also pays off; as it did with this house because it is stunning,” said Scott.

    The home has a main floor laundry room complete with a pooch wash station, an office, master bedroom, a four season sunroom that is adjacent to the hot tub deck, a family room, formal dining area and a kitchen that would make most professional chefs green with envy.

    The maple cabinets have a cherry finish which are set off by the quartz countertops that are brown and grey with specks of silver that complement the small tile backsplash. The large island serves as the hub for baking and meal preparation with a built in cooktop.

    The drawers and cabinets open from both sides, providing easy access to utensils, spices and everyday ingredients.

    The kitchen also features a spacious, walk-in food pantry, an additional buffet area for entertaining, a casual eat-in space and a barbecuing deck. Nu Trend Kitchens worked with the homeowners to create a kitchen that is modern and functional, that ties in beautifully with the rest of the living space, and will stand the test of time.

    Another highlight of the home is the master bedroom complete with a 225 square foot en suite with a luxurious walk-in closet/dressing room. The closet has custom shelving and cabinetry and a separate section for linens. The en suite has a walk-in shower with multiple, spa-like shower jets, heated ceramic flooring and a spacious make-up vanity all offset with crystal lighting that adds a touch of bling.

    “It is like living in a resort. We worked hard in our careers with the railway and we were able to save and we’re so proud that we are able to be living this dream. It’s so relaxing and stress free. It’s good for the body and we feel blessed that we have such a space,” said Heather.

    As you make your way down to the lower level of the home (2270 sq. ft) you soon discover that it is as spectacular and spacious as the main floor. The focus of the games room is a custom bar ideal for entertaining and socializing with an inviting and unique, curved counter and feature wall of stone.

    There are also two bedrooms, a complete work out area, a den, craft/hobby room and utility room that houses the geothermal heating and cooling system, electrical panels, a security system, the hot water tanks, a central vacuum system and the air exchange unit.

    The quality building materials for this home were supplied by South End Lumber in Brandon. The high end finishes through out the home stand out and bring everything together.

    With an earth-tone colour palette highlighting shades of green, purple and taupe throughout the house, this new home has the feel of an ultimate retreat. An additional feature that the couple is especially enjoying is the music system that they installed throughout the entire home.

    “We love music, so it doesn’t matter where you are in the home you are able to listen to whatever you want to at the level that you want. We love it,” said Heather.

    The exterior of the home has low maintenance PVC decking, an attached two-car garage with in-floor heat, a stucco finish and complementary stonework done by Brooks Masonry & Acrylics Ltd.

    The homeowners were nothing but pleased with the quality of workmanship and how positive the experience was in building their retirement abode.

    “It sounds funny, but I feel like I’ve inherited a new family,” said Heather.

    They are excited to put the finishing touches on the house and to invite family and friends to visit so they too can enjoy all that this fabulous home has to offer.

    By Wanda Kurchaba

  157. The Changing of the Leaves

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    Letter to the Editor

    It’s that time of year again, the leaves are changing, kids are back in school and we start to prepare for the hibernation of winter, well at least some of us!

    In the cooler months, we still enjoy outdoor activities, but we are usually preparing ourselves for those winter projects that we need to do around the house. After moving into our new home, we spent much of the summer working on our landscaping. We will continue to get the yard and exterior of the home ready for winter, as we plan our interior projects for the coming months.

    After building a new home, there is no shortage of jobs to be completed. Prioritize your list on what needs to be done and what is cosmetic and can stand to wait a bit longer. This fall, I look forward to completing the cabinetry in our laundry room and getting our garage ready for winter. Fall is the perfect time to re-organize the garage. In the summer months, you use it to park bikes, store lawn chairs, rakes, wagon, lawn mower, balls and kites. This is a great time to organize and pack away all those items, in order to comfortably get your vehicles back into the garage! If you have a garage, you usually want to be able to park your car in it, during our winter months, right? Not only is insulating and drywalling a garage a big job, but so is organizing it to be functional for you and your family. Life seems to run a little easier when everything is organized!

    When planning your winter projects, do some research first to help get yourself organized. Make a list for the project and what supplies you need. The fall is the perfect time of year to visit the hardware store and pick up your items on the list so you are ready when it is time to start. Instead of hibernating all winter, get some projects completed off your list in order to make your home more functional for your family.

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home


  158. Wine Advice: Wine Selections

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    Spring marks a time to embrace fresh light-bodied wines that reflect the season. Light, refreshing and best served cool many of these gems are also very reasonably priced. All the more reason to look forward to spring, as if the cold and large amount of snow is simply not enough.

    As daylight hours lengthen food and wine preferences change as does our wardrobe. We cast away heavy coats replacing them with light spring jackets, and substitute brightly coloured clothing made from breezy fabric for wool sweaters. Spring marks the time to abandon the heavy reds and the “warming” tipples served during the cold winter season in favour of light-bodied fruity, citrusy and floral alternatives. Pairing wine with the season? Why not?

    The most suitable wines, those that evoke spring and pair beautifully with spring fare, are light-bodied and available in red, white and rosé wines. Such light-bodied delights capture the flavours and aromas of spring in all its glory.

    Fresh produce becomes more plentiful and seasonal produce like pea shoots and local fresh and tender greens become readily available with help from greenhouses and hoop houses that speed things along. Fresh greens are introduced, spring salads inviting.

    There are many variables to consider when selecting suitable wines. When making a selection remember that wines produced in warmer climates, from places and countries that we think of as fortunate to have eternally warm weather are fruitier and more expressive than those produced in cool-climate areas. This is true for white wine, red and rosé wine.

    In general, lighter dishes pair well with white wines with profiles that include fresh stone fruit and a floral component. riesling, both slightly sweet and dry versions, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Chardonnay (unaoked) and Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and the most fragrant of white grapes, the Moscato grape variety are fabulous spring choices.

    Many wine blends are delightful spring wines and one example is Vinho Verde, a blend of indigenous grape varieties from Portugal. “Verde” means “young wine” indicating the wine is released to market 3-6 months after production when youthful. This light-bodied wine, whether white, rose or red, is fresh and lively with a welcoming spritz of bubbles upon opening. Aveleda Fonte Vinho Verde, a light-bodied and lively multi-award winning value white wine retails for $11.49 and Pluma Rosé Vinho Verde costs $10.99. Red Vinho Verde production is limited and not locally available.

    There are some white wines that are collectively referred to as “green wines” as they are considered ideal wines served with greens like tender greens, asparagus and artichokes. The Austian white wine Grüner Veltliner falls in this category. Light-bodied, aromatic and peppery the Grooner Grüner Veltliner retails for $15.63. Albariño (Alvarinho) from Spain and Chablis from Northern France are other fine examples of green wines. Sauvignon Blanc is considered the “best “ pairing for greens especially those wines produced in the Marlborough area of New Zealand.

    Light-bodied and delicate rosé pairs beautifully with fresh spring salads and lighter fare. The dry wines of Provence, France, are excellent choices. Chateau Gassier Sables D’Azur Rosé at $17.99 is a personal favorite.

    Red wines produced from young grapes are much lighter in body and fruitier than red wines produced from older grapes which make wines of greater depth and complexity. Examples include the wines of Rioja in Spain, Valpolicella in Italy and Chianti, also from Italy. These light-bodied youthful wines are less costly than their aged counterparts. Other red selections are Beaujolais, an easy drinking approachable light-bodied red wine with aromas and flavours of strawberry, red cherry and raspberry from Beaujolais, France, Barbera from Italy and youthful Pinot Noir.

    The above wines are also suitable summer wines although as we progress to the first day of summer, June 24/2018, you may wish to introduce medium-bodied wines.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  159. The Increasing Popularity of RTM Homes

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    With the world today in such a fast-paced mode, there is a need for everything to be done in a hurry. This is even true when it comes to finding a home.

    For some people they want to have a new home of their own, but do not have the time or even the money to have one built. This is not a problem anymore; there are now RTM houses to fix this problem. An RTM or Ready to Move home is a good choice for many people.

    The current state of the economic strength is also a reason why many people are turning to RTM homes instead of having a home built or buying a home that is way out of their price range. With the cost of living on the rise for consumers, they will have to choose between a home in need of repairs or get an RTM house to fit their budget.

    One thing that you must have for the RTM home is a piece of property to have it placed on. There are many local communities and developments that are set up especially for these types of homes. Many times, these developments offer larger lots and even acreages, so for many this is an added bonus.

    RTM houses have come along way! They are built with the upmost of industry standards and offer the most up to date interior finishings. Anyone that is buying an RTM home will have many choices to make with their purchase. They will have to choose almost everything in the home. This will include everything from windows, and doors to carpeting and counter tops. Owners of RTM homes will have the choice to upgrade anything that they want.

    An RTM home is a wonderful way for anyone that is on a fixed income or for a new couple that is just starting out. These homes are comfortable and will give you the option to choose what you want for your home. You will have the opportunity to decide on these things and what you can afford for your budget.

    Having an RTM home will be just like having a regular home. You will go through a bank and have a mortgage on the home. You will pay a percentage rate on the home just as you would for any other loan. You will have a home of your own just as you want it and be able to afford it as well.

    When researching for an RTM home make sure you cover all the extra costs associated with it. From the foundation, electrical/gas hookups to the moving costs. Researching and going with a reliable company to move your home will put your mind at ease. They are professionals and make the move look seamless from the loading and unloading of your home to the permits required and routing your home to your location.

    With all the options available today for RTM homes you will be sure to find the perfect home to suit your families needs for years to come. – DYH

  160. My Idiah! Chalk Paint

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    I think by now we have all heard of chalk paint, right? It sounds like a miracle product; no striping, no sanding, no priming! What! Could a paint really be this incredible?

    I decided to do some research on chalk paint and painted a bench in order to test it out. In my research and from my experience, I have to say that the more time you put into re-finishing a piece, the better your results will be. Even though this product says you don’t need to stripe, sand or prime, I did sand my piece so I had a smoother, cleaner surface to paint.

    Overall, I was very happy with the outcome of my bench and of the product. I used Martha Stewart Chalk Paint in Linen. I chose to only paint the bottom part of my bench and leave the top it’s natural wood. This was just a personal preference I liked from viewing projects on Pinterest. I will finish my piece by staining the top of the bench for added protection.

    Here are some steps I followed:

    Prep – Wash down your piece and remove any hardware. Sand the rough edges and fill in holes with wood glue/filler.

    Paint – Paint with the grain as best as possible, though chalk paint is forgiving. Your first coat will look streaky, no need to worry! Paint 2-3 coats and allow 1-2 hours to dry between each coat.

    Distress Options – Use medium grade sand paper or a sanding block to distress the corners and edges as much or as little as you like. Make sure you wipe down the piece with a damp rag after in order to remove all the dust particles.

    Wax – Waxing your piece is optional, though recommended. The wax seals and protects your furniture. When applying, do so in a circular motion, but finish sweeping it with the grain of the wood. The wax will turn into a hard finish once complete. You can do this step a couple of times, especially the top of your furniture. Wax is available in many different options and can really change the look of your piece as well. Make sure you research and test your chalk paint colour and wax first before completely a large project to ensure you will be happy with the final product.

    Let your furniture cure for 24 hours before using, though it can take up to 30 days to completely cure. After 24 hours, take a soft rag and buff your piece for some added shine, and put your hardware back on.

    I hope this helps inspire you to start your own chalk paint project this year! I already have my next project lined up and I can’t wait to get to work on it. Feel free to share your projects on our Face Book page!

  161. Moving on Up: Should You Buy or Sell First?

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    In Canada’s evolving real estate markets, both buying and selling a home are very personal decisions. Add buying and selling at the same time, and the process becomes even trickier. The path up the property ladder is different for everyone and which to do first depends on your unique circumstances.

    Buying and selling a home at the same time is no small endeavour and involves extensive research and a clear understanding of all the steps involved.

    Here are some things to consider before making a move:

    Should I sell first?

    The upside of selling first is that you will know how much money you have to work with, and it’s also easier to get new financing when you need it. However, if there are delays or challenges finding the right new home for you, you may incur additional rent and storage costs in the interim.

    Should I buy first?

    In this case, you will have time to plan your move and get your current home ready to sell. However, closing dates on both the purchase and sale may not line up and if your home doesn’t sell for a while, you’ll be stuck with two mortgages at once and a higher debt-to-income ratio.

    Add a contract contingency.

    Whether you’re buying or selling, try to add a contingency to your contract that lines up the closing dates to bridge the in-between period. This isn’t always possible, as it depends on the market and whether the buyer/seller is willing to agree to an extended or reduced period of time.

    Know the markets.

    Research prices in the areas where you’re buying and selling. Does the market favour buyers or sellers? This is the best way to decide which move to make first. As a rule of thumb, you want to sell first in a buyers’ market and do the contrary in one that favours sellers.

    Consider rental revenue.

    Research the rental market in your area and calculate the cost versus profit ratio of renting out your home to tenants, rather than selling it. It could be financially advantageous, and real estate could be a great way to diversify your investment portfolio.

    Find more information and the right advice about your next purchase please contact Angela Hainsworth at 204-721-0093, your RBC Mobile Mortgage Specialist in Brandon, MB.

    Submitted by Angela Hainsworth-Brosseau

  162. Something for Everyone

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    Much like the onset of spring or the Victoria Day May Long weekend, people in the Westman area anxiously await and look forward to the Brandon Home & Leisure Show.

    In its 52nd year, this year’s event will be without a doubt another crowd pleaser! As trends change, technology develops and processes evolve the Brandon Home & Leisure Show (BH&L Show) allows visitors to expand their knowledge with the latest and greatest all under one roof. “As with each and every year, we have lots to offer with new and returning exhibitors. We look forward to welcoming in over 11,000 visitors to see what’s new, improved, popular and trending,” said Dave Melcosky, Manager of the BH&L Show.

    Some of the highlights of this year’s event include:

    Powered by the Sun

    More and more conversations around the dinner table and in the coffee shops as of late as are centred on solar energy. Solar panels are becoming a common sight in rural Manitoba, as well as in our urban centres. How can you make solar energy work for you and your family? Visit exhibitors at the BH&LS to get up to speed on the savings and the benefits to our environment.

    Numbered Success

    52 – 11,000 – 150 – 100,000. These are just some of the numbers that define all that there is to see and do at the BH&L Show. It’s our 52nd anniversary year and we can’t wait to welcome over 11,000 of our closest friends to the Keystone Centre where they’ll find over 150 exhibitors making use of 100,000 square feet. Is there a lot to see? You bet! Is there a lot to learn? You bet! Are there deals to be made? You BET!

    Improving Curb Appeal

    Cracks in the windows? Paint peeling? Driveway woes? Keeping the exterior of your home maintained is just as important as taking good care of the inside. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or if you’re looking for qualified professionals to help you spruce up the exterior of your home, then you must stop by the BH&L Show to visit one of the many exhibitors who can help guide you in the right direction on improving your curb appeal. We guarantee that your neighbours will thank you.

    Small Home Living

    Small home living may have started as a trend, but it is now becoming more and more common. Many people are looking at living a simple, clutter-free life while taking up only a small footprint. We’ve seen the shows on television and we’re starting to see more and more people in the Westman region interested in and taking advantage of the benefits of small home living. Discover more at the 2018 BH&L Show.

    Fresh & Modern

    Are you dizzy from looking at the psychedelic linoleum from the 1970s on your kitchen floor? Are you looking forward to ditching the floor to ceiling drapes? Making small improvements to your home is possible and within your reach. At the BH&L Show, you can get ideas on new cabinets for the kitchen at home or at the cabin, how to renovate your bathroom, see the latest in window coverings or see the latest flooring samples. Take on a small DIY painting project with professional advice or find a professional to take on the job for you.

    Home of Your Dreams

    Building a new home or cottage is exciting, but it can also be a little scary. The first step is often choosing the design or plan that is right for you and your family. Thankfully there are a lot of people that are able to help narrow down the choices that not only suit your lifestyle but your location as well. Having your plans computer generated with three-dimensional software can help to take the guesswork out of what your future home or cottage will look like. Look for exhibitors at this year’s show that can set you on the right path in choosing the plan of your dreams.

    Outdoor Oasis

    Our backyards are often seen as an extension of our indoor living space, especially throughout the summer months in Manitoba. If you’re looking for ideas on how to make the most out of your backyard, then you must visit the BH&L Show! Maybe you’re looking to add a sunroom, put in a swimming pool, build a backyard fireplace, add a relaxing hot tub, buy a new grill or turn a basic backyard into an oasis with a great landscaping plan? If so, you’ll find lots of great folks at the BH&L Show to make it all happen!

    Play Hard

    You’ve heard the old saying – Work Hard Play Hard! Well, we at the BH&L Show like to say, Play Harder! Come check out the newest in all-terrain vehicles, water-crafts, cars and trucks to get you on your way to enjoying a summer of a lifetime.

    Something for Everyone

    The BH&L Show is always pleased to welcome retailers with the latest products that help you to keep your home clean, improve the time you spend in the kitchen, help you to relax and everything in between. We also have exhibitors ready to serve up tasty treats…Mmmmm, can you say mini donuts? Don’t forget that there are also great prizes to be won. Your admission fee gets you an entry into a draw to win thousands of dollars worth of prizes. Who knows, it could be your lucky weekend!

    Taking the Lead

    As one of the original owners of Stream ’n Wood, Dave Melcosky’s first experience with the BH&L Show was that of an exhibitor. Fast forward a few years, and Dave is proud to be managing and organizing his 10th event. “I’m always looking for ways to make the show more dynamic. People look forward to it and make sure they carve out some time to spend at the show in April. It has become one of Brandon’s premier events thanks to the support of the community, our sponsors and the exhibitors over its 50 plus year history. We can’t wait!”

    The 2018 Brandon Home & Leisure Show takes place April 6-8. For more information, visit:

  163. Feature: Westman Premier Homes

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    Quality, caring, professional: these are the words that Scott Bromley used to describe Westman Premier Homes. To him and his business partners, the model to be successful in their business is that simple.

    “We want to be the best at what we do. We care about our clients and we’re personally invested in building their homes. It is like being an extended member of the family,” said Scott, General Manager of the Residential Division of Westman Premier Homes.

    Westman Premier Homes started back in 2009 by Matt Bootsman and Jeff Thompson, then a few years later Scott Bromley and his brother Brent joined the team after merging two businesses together. Now, with both the commercial and residential components of the company, they employ 40 employees in the peak of the construction season.

    “Our focus is 100 per cent on building custom homes. We don’t prebuild any of our houses and then sell them. Each and every one that we build is unique and custom to the individual homeowners,” said Scott.

    The professionals at Westman Premier Homes pride themselves on being extremely hands-on and focused on every project. At least three people are assigned to a building project who will assist the new homeowners through every stage and process of building the home of their dreams. They start by helping design floor plans, if that is what is required, and continue working with the homeowner until all the decisions are made right from the layout to the paint colours.

    “We do our best to create a trusting relationship with each and everyone one of our clients. We’re passionate about each build; every one of them is unique and important to us,” said Scott. “We spend a lot of time just planning the project. This helps to manage expectations, keep the project moving in a timely fashion and allow the homeowners to stay one or two steps ahead so they have ample time to carefully consider and make all the decisions that they need to.”

    Last year Westman Premier Homes built a 2700 square foot home (on the main level) for a couple that retired from the hustle and bustle of city life to the Riverdale Municipality.

    The homeowners were thrilled with the quality of workmanship and how positive the experience was in building the home of their dreams that they’ve since coined their oasis. The relationship that they built with the team from Westman Premier Homes wasn’t what they had expected.

    “It sounds funny, but I feel like I’ve inherited a new family,” said Heather.

    “We try very hard to make sure that our clients know exactly what’s going on at all times, it creates a better relationship and there are no surprises in the end. You hear horror stories about all the extras billed at the end of some projects, we try to make sure that doesn’t happen through good communication,” said Scott.

    Westman Premier Homes has been proud to showcase the quality of their construction by featuring some of their homes, in partnership with the homeowners, in the Parade of Homes brought to you by the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.

    Many of their projects come to them through client referrals, which speaks to their strong reputation for being quality home builders that are reliable and professional.

    By Wanda Kurchaba

  164. Feature Home: Daughter On Call

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    A Home Like No Other

    It is modern home with an open concept design, a large kitchen with an unbelievable amount of counter and cabinet space, an abundance of windows to let the gorgeous sunshine in and six spacious bedrooms.

    This sounds like a fairly standard home, well maybe except for the six bedrooms! And, for the most part, it is. What makes it unique is the people who live there and its purpose.

    The 2884 square foot home located at 1323-8th Street is owned by Gail Freeman-Campbell, owner of Daughter on Call, a private home care business in Brandon that started in 2012.

    Gail built the home to meet the needs of her home care clients, as well as others, who are requiring the next stage of care, which generally means 24-hour care that is no longer in their own homes. If it wasn’t for the support of Sunrise Credit Union, this project would not have been possible for Gail.

    “We do provide 24-hour care in a person’s own home, however this is not always affordable to everyone which leaves them with the only other option – moving into a personal care home (PCH) that may take many months before a room is made available to them. And the room in the PCH will usually involve sharing the space with 1-3 other individuals which is a difficult transition for most people, “ said Gail.

    After recognizing the need, Gail started to research what options were available. She discovered similar housing units in Saskatchewan that she felt would also work in Manitoba. The homes in Regina weren’t new and were converted from existing homes, but the overall concept was what she was looking for.

    The residence, which is currently full, can accommodate six to ten people, including couples. Those living in the home have their own private bedroom with individual on-suite bathrooms. And, it truly has all the comforts of home as two hypoallergenic friendly, adorable furballs named Cali and Ellie-May also take up residence with their human friends.

    “We provide everything that they could possibly need or want while they are with us. We look after all their personal care needs, their medications, we prepare and serve meals, assist with eating if necessary and cater to specific, individual needs as required,” said Gail.

    The home was built by Westman Premier Homes with careful planning of the design and layout to fully accommodate a variety of clients. All the rooms throughout the house are spacious, the hallways are wide and every room is accessible by wheelchairs or walkers. In addition, a durable, commercial-grade vinyl plank flooring was used throughout the home. It was chosen for durability and easy maintenance.

    To make the home healthier and to save money on energy costs, Insulated Composite Envelope Panels (ICE-panels) provided by Greenstone Structural Solutions were used for the foundation and the exterior walls. The combination of a double framed wall using steel and EPS insulation provide a superior performing building shell with no toxic off-gassing or VOC content.

    “It was a unique project, we really haven’t built anything like it before and it was the first time that we used the Greenstone ICE-panels. From start to finish the project came together well and went very smoothly,” said Scott Bromley, Manager of Residential for Westman Premier Homes.

    As the kitchen is generally the hub of any home, good working space with proper form and function was essential for this new build as well. NuTrend Kitchens worked with the team to create a space to meet the needs of the caring staff, who pride themselves in preparing delicious home-cooked meals, desserts and treats. If residents wish, they can also help prepare meals, do some baking or assist with clean up so the spacious kitchen design works well when there are lots of helping hands.

    “We also wanted to have a lot of natural light and good lighting, so having a lot of windows was an important part of the design. Budget Blinds worked with us to choose window coverings that would maximize the amount of light coming in, while still providing privacy. We chose a neutral colour palette to reflect light and make the home bright and cheerful. We painted the doors and trim a contrasting colour to make them stand out for those who have a difficult time seeing,” said Gail.

    The project was finished last fall and residents started moving into their new home in November. Some came from their own homes, as they were no longer able to live on their own and others moved from personal care homes. After a few months, Gail couldn’t be more pleased with the model and level of care that they are able to provide.

    “We try to promote as much independence as we can, which looks different for every person. There’s lots of interaction here and residents are encouraged to make choices for themselves. They decide when they want to go to bed or get up in the morning. Everybody needs a purpose and we want to try to empower them and allow them to still have control of their own lives and situations,” said Gail.

    Westman Business, a division of Westman Communications, worked with Gail to make sure this location was set up with the most up to date communication systems including WiFi and TiVo. They wanted their residence to experience all the comforts of home while living here.

    While the concept of the house was originally researched and built based on seniors, Gail quickly realized that there is also a need for clients who require 24-hour care that are not elderly. Those of a younger demographic who may have multiple sclerosis, brain injuries or have been diagnosed with young-onset dementia benefit also from this style of shared living space.

    “I feel like we’ve made a difference with not only the people that live here but their families too. We provide a real sense of peace of mind. Family members can now take a step back from being the caregiver and go back to being that family member again. They can come and go and visit and enjoy their time together versus worrying about doctor appointments, physical care or whether their loved ones are eating well and getting proper nutrition,” said Gail.

    “Growing old doesn’t have to mean that you sit in a chair in a personal care home; growing old can mean that you can laugh and dance, sing and bake cookies and enjoy life.”

    After seeing the results of the positive environment that they’ve created for the residents, Gail is currently looking for more opportunities to build a similar type of home in Brandon as well as in other communities throughout Manitoba.

    By Wanda Kurchaba

  165. Letter from the Editor

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    Spring is Upon Us!

    It’s that time of year when, for us, hockey season is winding down and the hopes for warmer, longer days are on the horizon! The smell of spring is in the air and you begin to yearn for those outdoor projects and activities.

    Nothing starts the spring off more then the Brandon Home and Leisure Show! This show, to me, is the start of many things; warmer weather, seedlings starting to spout, and new projects around the house start building up on the to do list. It can be the start of new beginnings for you and your family for many of these reasons! This year our list is still long, after moving into our new home. We hope to one day complete the list, but this year the yard will be the focus! From moving dirt to planting trees, we will have our work cut out for us.

    As a family, we love to wander, browse and meet new people at the Home Show every year. In our business, it seems to be the time to run into old friends as well! This is the perfect time to talk face to face with local professionals in regards to questions you may have or to seek recommendations for your project. Exhibitors take the upmost pride in their booths; where you have the opportunity to touch, experience and test out gadgets, blinds, stone, saunas, cars and more! Where else can you do that all in one place! The exhibitors that come to the Brandon Home and Leisure Show are a wealth of knowledge, take advantage of that and stop in to check out what is new this year.

    If you are looking for a new gadget or looking to build a new home, the Home Show has what you need!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  166. Wine Advice: An Apple A Day?

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    There was a time when thoughts of cider brought to mind the non – alcoholic apple cider found in grocery stores, the sort that could be served on its own, or as an ingredient in apple cider sangria in the summer and hot buttered cider or hot apple cider with dark rum and lemon in the cooler months.

    I, and many others, have broadened my horizons and discovered a “new” kind of cider. Ciders made from fermented apple juice, only available in liquor stores and outlets. Consumers have “discovered” cider much as they have craft beer. The consumption of cider has increased dramatically (over 250% over the last seven years) ,as has production which has resulted in a cider apple shortage. Apples used in cider production are apple varieties used specifically for cider production. These apples are often referred to as “spitters” due to their bitter astringency and acidic profile. Biting into a cider apple is comparable to the experience of biting into an under-ripe crab-apple.

    Over the years orchards planted with cider-making apple varieties were uprooted and replaced with apple varieties suitable for eating and baking, apples referred to as grocery store apples. Some cider apple orchards were lost during the time of prohibition or temperance and in many cases not re-planted. Simply put, apple production is driven by consumer demand and the majority of consumers are wanting grocery store apples for eating and baking not tannic, acidic apples for cider production.

    The type of cider apple/apples used in cider production (most ciders are blends) dictates the colour, body, flavour, mouth-feel, tannin and acidity and the balance of the finished product. The sweetness level of the fruit ultimately determines the alcohol content of the finished product although a producer may add a source of sugar or fruit before a second fermentation to boost alcohol content.

    Pairing cider with food is relatively straight-forward, whether summer, fall or winter fare. Look to foods complimented by apple flavours such as pork chops, pork belly, pork roast, ham, sweet potatoes, root vegetables, butternut squash and soft cheese. Select weightier, more full-bodied cider as a pairing partner for a traditional Thanksgiving meal of ham and turkey, especially if the stuffing contains sage. Apple pie and crisp are complimented by ice cider, a beverage that is higher in alcohol and sweetness.

    It is true that weightier more-full-bodied ciders are best with weightier foods while lighter more delicate and fragrant ciders are best suited to summer fare. Perhaps the most important considerations when pairing cider with food is to determine both the level of tannin and the sweetness level of the beverage. Ciders sweetness level ranges from dry to very sweet. Some ciders contain various flavours and aromas such as ginger, hibiscus, cherry or rhubarb which broaden pairing possibilities.

    Popular and widely available ciders include the brands Samuel Smiths Organic, Strongbow, and Angry Orchard. Some cider producers you will recognize as they produce other alcoholic products. Beer producers Molsens and Stella Artois are two. Many ciders come in packs, some variety packs, which offer a nice introduction to the beverage. The four can, 200 ml each, mini-variety pack from Strongbow costs $4.95 and contains Strongbow Original Dry, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Strongbow Ginger and Strongbow Dry Pear. Other flavoured products include Angry Orchards rose cider with hibiscus and the well-known cider producer Somersby offers a red rhubarb flavoured cider.

    Lots to choose from. Where to begin?

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  167. Considering a Sunroom?

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    Sunrooms can create a room in your home that are as comfortable as any other, yet as close to nature as possible without enduring the elements.

    A sunroom can offer a peacefulness to your free time that you cannot find anywhere else. Moreover, it can offer some great health benefits. Exposing our bodies to the sun boosts vitamin D production. Building a sunroom would allow you to enjoy the benefits of the sun without having to endure the cold winter weather.

    There are many things to consider when drawing your sunroom plans from construction materials to contractors who can get the job done. It is important to think about every step of the process while working on your sunroom plans.

    Many contractors have a variety of pre-made sunroom plans and kits at their disposal. Contacting a local person or business would give you the option of asking questions, planning, and getting an immediate price estimate for your sunroom. They would also be able to give you the best advice on what type of sunroom would work best in your location. You have to consider the elements where you live when purchasing a sunroom for your home, in order to get the most out of your purchase.

    Make sure you choose the best location for your sunroom. Installing it in the wrong location can cost you on your energy bills during the cold winter months. Conversely, installing it in a location that gets full sun may make it unbearably hot during summer months. Most likely, this is a purchase you’ll want to enjoy year-round. Do some research to decide where your sunroom would best be located.

    If you have decided on a 4-season sunroom, choose a colour scheme similar to your own home, so it flows nicely and doesn’t stand out. When making furniture choices, lean towards typical interior furnishings to make it feel like another room in the house. A typical sunroom can add a couple hundred square feet onto your existing house and can be used as an addition living space for you and your family. Outdoor access with indoor comfort can be yours with a sunroom.

  168. Feature Business: CNC Building Movers

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    You stop. You stare. You watch in awe. After all, it’s not every day that you see an entire house moving down a local road or major highway.

    In Manitoba, purchasing a ready-to-move (RTM) house is a convenient and popular option for those who are building a new home or cottage. Luckily there are experienced and qualified movers like CNC Building Movers Ltd. who eliminate the stress of having a home, new or otherwise, transported to the home owner’s property.

    Craig Penner has owned and operated CNC Building Movers Ltd., based in Southwestern Manitoba, for the past ten years.

    “I started by purchasing some used equipment from another mover. I had previous experience hauling oversized loads but gathered as much information as I could and gained more and more experience as the years past. I have also added and improved our current line of equipment to stay competitive,” said Craig. ‘‘

    As well, the International Association of Structural Movers (IASM) has become a valuable resource for Craig and his three employees as the business has grown in the last decade.

    “There has been a steady growth in business. The cottage business in Manitoba is ongoing and moving RTM homes to locations outside of large centres is a big part of the work that we do. It is often easier and more cost-effective for home buyers to have a ready-built house brought in than it would be to bring in skilled tradespeople from long distances,” said Craig.

    As you can imagine, the process of moving a building takes a lot of pre-planning and organization. When a move is scheduled, CNC has to plan routes, assess the property for where the building is being moved, take out permits and determine a timeline. It generally takes two to four weeks before the actual move is able to take place.

    “When we arrive to load a house or other building, steel beams are placed underneath and these beams are then lifted using hydraulics on the truck and the air operated mat jacks under the beams. Moving dollies (wheels) with air ride are then placed under the beams. Loading and preparing a new home for a move generally takes two to three hours,” said Craig.

    Once on the road, the travel speed can vary based on the size of the house. In addition, depending on the height of the load, power companies may need to be involved to raise power lines along the route. Some moves can be done in one day, however, depending on the project and the distance it could take as long as one week.

    “When we arrive at the destination the unloading process begins. The dollies are removed from under the house and it is slid over top of the foundation; we may also use rollers depending on the situation. Hydraulic jacks are then used to take the load off the beams and the steel beams are removed and the house is then lowered onto the foundation. Of course, we take a lot of care to make sure it is square and centered. This process alone can take anywhere from four to ten hours depending on site conditions and the design of the house,” said Craig.

    CNC has moved homes and other buildings throughout Manitoba, and into Saskatchewan, Alberta, and North Dakota. In addition to moving RTM homes for various local builders, CNC will move all types of buildings including those built entirely of brick; they also move other large scale items. Summer is by far their busiest season, but they do operate year round.

    By Wanda Kurchaba

  169. HVAC 101 A Quick Study Guide for Homeowners

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    There’s a lot to think about when buying a heat pump, gas furnace or central air conditioning system. That’s because next to your home itself, a home comfort system is one of your largest investments.

    Here are answers to ten common questions to help you make an intelligent HVAC choice:
      Air conditioning and heating equipment consume about 44% of a home’s energy bill. Today’s ENERGY STAR® qualified systems are as much as 60% more efficient than 10-year-old equipment.
      As a rule of thumb, replace your existing home comfort system when repairs cost 30% of a new purchase—or when utility bills have increased 50% as a result of older, less efficient systems using more, higher-priced electricity.
      In new homes or remodels, a central home comfort system is the best solution for overall comfort and superior indoor air quality and humidity control.
      Look for a programmable thermostat for accurate, reliable, energy-saving performance. For added savings and convenience, our Residential Communicating Control with Wi-Fi® support works with mobile devices to easily program your system wherever you are.
      Seek out a contractor who is associated with a recognized brand. If they are backed by the product and training resources of a major manufacturer, you will feel confident that you’re getting the home comfort system that best meets your needs.
      Get solid advice from an expert. The right contractor can perform a load calculation
      or an energy analysis to determine your operating costs. After getting to know your needs, he can customize a system just for you.
      Every system is different. After a thorough inspection of your electrical system, ductwork and other components, your contractor will provide a rundown of what you need to replace and what you can keep.
      That depends on the house and the system. While air conditioners and gas furnaces require different components, the common denominator is ductwork, which must be properly sized and zoned for proper system performance. Your contractor can evaluate your existing setup and tell you how simple your installation will be.
      An air handler circulates conditioned air throughout your home. You can combine it with accessories to filter, humidify or dehumidify the air stream as needed.
      Indoor air can be from five to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. Adding humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ventilation systems, UV lights and air filter technologies can dramatically improve your indoor air quality.
  170. Plenty of Harvest

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    This is my favourite time year! I head down to our garden and reap the rewards of all the time spent there in the summer months.

    I learned to bake and make preserves from my mother with recipes handed down through the generations. This is one of the reasons I love the start of fall; I can spend time in the kitchen making pickles, jams, salsa and lots and lots of muffins! Yes, muffins! I enjoy using fruit and vegetables to make dozens of muffins that I freeze for us to enjoy for the coming months. It is a popular item in my daughter’s lunch at school.

    Here are some of our favourite muffin recipes I make yearly and freeze by the dozens.

    Cinnamon Apple Muffins
    • ½ cup of butter
    • ¾ cup of sugar
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • ¾ cup milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 3 medium sized apples, cored, peeled and sliced into cubes
    • 1tbsp of sugar and ½ tsp of cinnamon mixed together and set aside

    Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixer, add all the ingredients (except sugar/cinnamon mixture) and stir until mixed. Grease muffin tins and add an even amount of batter to each tin. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the sugar/cinnamon mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

    Zucchini Muffins
    • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • ¼ milk
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 cup shredded zucchini
    • ½ cup chocolate chips
    • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Grease muffin tins and add batter evening to the tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool before removing from muffin tins.

    Pumpkin Muffins
    • 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • ½ cup of brown sugar
    • 1 tsp of baking soda
    • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • ½ tsp of ground cloves
    • ¼ tsp of nutmeg
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 cups of pureed pumpkin
    • ½ cup of coconut oil
    • 1 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Grease muffin tins and scoop batter evening to each tin. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes until removing from muffin tins.

    I will not only freeze the muffins, but I will also freeze pureed pumpkin and shredded zucchini (in 2 cup servings) so I can make more muffins or pumpkin pie later in the year. There is nothing like using produce you have grown in your own garden to make treats and meals for your family!

  171. How To Get More Space in Your Garage

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    It doesn’t seem to matter how big your garage is: you can always fill it up with stuff. Here are 5 great tips to help you make the most out of your garage.

    1. Hang things from the ceiling.

    Garages usually have plenty of headroom, so that leaves many cubic feet of space you can exploit. Is your family full of sports fanatics? You can buy ceiling-mounted racks designed specifically for outdoor recreational equipment, everything from snowboards and bicycles to canoes and kayaks. You can also get platforms that go up and down with a crank of a lever. These allow you to tuck hundreds of pounds of equipment up amongst the rafters.

    2. Make use of wall space.

    You’ve probably got at least one pegboard in the tool area of your garage, but there’s no reason to limit yourself. You can attach your own homemade brackets, nails, and pegboards, or you can buy special panels designed to support hooks, baskets, and shelves. Handiwall available at Westman Custom Cabinets and Garage Interiors is an excellent choice. It’s lightweight PVC slatwall base is available in a variety of colours.

    3. Cabinets are for garages too.

    Most garages have enough room on the sides or in the back to accommodate banks of cabinets, while still leaving enough space to get in and out of the car. Even if there’s only enough room for 12” deep cabinets, that’s still a lot of extra storage if you run them from floor to ceiling. Also, cabinets look nice–all your clutter gets hidden behind the doors, where you don’t have to look at it every time you drive inside. Cabinets for your garage are just as modern as your kitchen now, offering soft close and many options in colour and finishes.

    4. If you have too many vehicles, try a car lift.

    You’ve got a good 10-12 feet of height in your garage, right? And the average car is less than five feet high, right? Well, there are systems out there that let you stack them. Granted, these are pricey, and raising and lowering the top car can be a hassle if the vehicle is driven every day, but if there’s a car you don’t drive that often but that takes up space, it might be something to look into. Car lifts can make a lot of sense in houses with one-car garages. A SCG Toy Lift can also help open up space in your garage if you are a “toy” enthusiast. Stack ATVs or snow mobiles in the off season is a great way to free up some space.

    5. Think garage sale.

    If you’ve tried your hardest to find storage space for everything, but you’re still tripping over stuff, it may be time to clean the garage out. Chances are you have toys, boxes, and tools, that you bought many moons ago that you don’t need to keep around. So, gather up the clutter and excess items you no longer have a need for and have a garage sale. At least then you make some money and are rewarded for your efforts.

    A garage can almost act like another room in the house. It houses some of your most valued belongings, your vehicles, recreational vehicles sports equipment and tools. Taking the time to organize your garage can make life a little easier and free up some extra space you didn’t realize you had!

  172. How To Find The Right Home Builder

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    There are several advantages to building a home as opposed to buying one that is already built.

    With a custom home you get the house built to your specifications. The components usually incorporate the most modern design elements and all the features are new. Resale of a custom home is usually better since they are typically built in areas of expansion. Also, it can be personally gratifying to take such an active role in designing and building the home of your dreams. Finding a good home builder, though, can be tricky. There are several things to consider.

    Decide on the type of home you want to build and the lot where it will be built. The type of land and area may be restrictive, so take that into consideration. A home builder who is or employs the help of an architect will be beneficial in designing the home to your specifications. Ensure they are skilled in all aspects of home building including soil conditions and building codes.

    Make sure the builder has experience or specializes in the type of home you want. Building types vary greatly and it makes no sense to use a builder specializing in log cabins to create your ultra modern home. Get a list of past projects so you can look at what they have done in the past. Equally important is experience in the area where you want to build. If a builder is familiar with building in established developments but you want a home on your isolated tract of land, ensure they are aware of the environmental conditions to avoid pitfalls based on the soil or landscape.

    Check the references of the potential home builder. Past customers are an ideal way to determine if they do a good job. Ask if the home was built to their specifications and everything is in proper working order. Ensure that the home builder has been in business for awhile with a solid reputation. Also, make sure they are financially sound. You don’t want your home builder going bankrupt mid project, leaving you with having to find someone to complete the project at a much greater price.

    Find out when they will be able to start the project and the estimated time of completion. Custom homes can take time to build so if you are in a hurry, there may need to be compromises in design elements. Get everything in writing – especially the warranty. Ensure the warranty is comprehensive and will cover all aspects of faulty construction for a period of time. It is rare to see potential issues in a new home within the first few days, so be sure the warranty will cover you for a significant time.

    You will spend a lot of time with the home builder you choose, so be sure you are comfortable interacting with them. Building a home can be highly rewarding and a lucrative investment. Taking time to choose the right home builder for your needs will save time and frustration; allowing you to more fully enjoy your new home.

    – DYH

  173. Create a Plan For Your Debt

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    Create a Plan to Pay Down Your Debt and Start Saving for a Down Payment

    Submitted by Angela Hainsworth-Brosseau

    According to a recent RBC poll, Canadians are carrying an average of $16,420 in non-mortgage debt these days.

    While about a quarter of us are debt-free, a solid 38% of us are still feeling anxious about our debt. Carrying a debt load can dramatically affect how much of a mortgage you qualify for, as well as limit your saving ability for a down payment.

    So how are you feeling – debt-speaking? If you’re finding that your debt is weighing you down and seemingly impossible to pay down, you’re not alone – there are at least 1/3 of Canadians who are feeling the same way. When it comes to getting your debt in shape, and start saving, it’s all about taking small steps to get there. It’s just like any major task – like learning a new language, losing 20 pounds, writing a novel… you can’t just sit down and do it one shot!

    Here are five helpful step by step tips to help you pay down your debt – step by step:

    1) Pay down the debt with the highest interest rate first. Continue making the minimum payments on all of your cards or loans, but put the largest amount of available cash on your most expensive debt.

    2) Make more than your minimum payment each month, whenever you can. This will help you pay off your debt faster.

    3) Consider consolidating your debt into one loan. Having all of your debt in one place will make it easier to manage and ultimately pay down, and at a lower interest rate.

    4) Make healthy choices. Canadians delay buying a big ticket item because of their debt… if you can avoid taking on additional debt, you’ll get into a better financial situation sooner.

    5) Create your plan. That sounds like a lot of work – but it doesn’t have to be. There are some great tools that can help you map out your debt and create a repayment schedule. Whether you feel you’re in good financial shape or facing some challenges, it’s important to have a strategy for reducing debt. With the right strategy, and by making small changes to your spending and borrowing habits, you can improve your cash flow and reduce your debt sooner.

    Finally, I would suggest two steps to help motivate you to realize that home ownership is in fact possible, even if you have some extra debt now.

    Firstly, check out your financial institution’s home financing website calculator and determine the amount of mortgage you could potentially qualify for. The amount of mortgage you qualify for will be based on your income and how much debt you have – or don’t have. Secondly, base your saving plan on what you will need for a down payment. Remember you can put down as little as 5% of your home purchase price. If you need further advice and guidance to help you put your plan into action, connect myself Angela Hainsworth-Brosseau your RBC Mobile Mortgage Specialist at 204-721-0093 to help you get started.

  174. One Lonely Sock: Textile Diversion Program

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    Do you have a ripped t-shirt, or a lonely sock? What do you do with it?

    By all means, when we have clothes we no longer wear and want to make room in the closet, we pass them down to someone or donate them to a local organization for resale. But what do you do when you have an article of clothing, or a blanket or slipper that just won’t make the cut? You donate it to the Textile Diversion Program.

    Markham, Ontario is the first municipality in Canada to ban textiles from the landfill. They did it by implementing a Textile Diversion Program that is catching on across Canada. The City of Brandon will be participating in a national pilot study spearheaded by Diabetes Canada and York University. Across Canada, there are a total of 160 municipalities participating. The study will look at the behavior of textile donation, opportunities, education and life cycle analysis (how many litres of water are saved, ghg reduced and the amount diverted).

    The environmental impact is the greatest impact we can make when we repurpose, reuse or recycle. Did you know that it takes 700 gallons of water to make one cotton t-shirt and 1800 gallons of water to make a pair of blue jeans? On top of saving the environment, new products are popping up in the market every year, being made of recycled textiles. From running shoes and jackets, to home insulation and tiles. Donations that don’t make the cut, can be re-used for rags as well.

    The average Canadian throws away 36kgs of textiles every single year. In Brandon alone, we have 4 charitable organizations where we can donate our textiles. Even so, an estimated 85% of textiles still end up in the Brandon landfill. That’s an estimation of 1,764,000 kg of textiles going into the Brandon landfill each year.

    So, what can we do about this? Keep a recycling bin in your home for just textiles. When it fills up, empty it at one of the 4 bins around the city. You can find the bins at Kin Park, East End Community Centre, Rideau Park and the Keystone Centre.

    Or, donate your reusable textiles to one of the charitable organizations in Brandon or in your community.

    Brandon MCC Thrift Shop located at 414 Pacific Avenue. Proceeds support the local and global relief, development and peace projects of the Mennonite Central Committee.

    Nearly New Shop at 601 9th Street. Proceeds fund the purchase of patient care equipment at the Brandon Regional Health Centre.

    Adult & Teen Challenge Super Thrift Brandon located at 127 7th Street. Proceeds support the Teen Challenge Brandon Women’s Centre.

    Diabetes Canada, that has 15 bins located around Brandon or you can contact them to schedule a pickup by going to Declutter. The proceeds support diabetes research, children attending D-camps and advocacy programs for people living with diabetes or prediabetes.

    Recycling textiles here in Brandon will be just one more way we can help our environment and the City of Brandon is making it easier for us to do this, starting this fall.

    Find a drop off bin in many Brandon Locations.
  175. Building a Home For Humanity

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    The Habitat for Humanity Brandon Chapter is going strong as they work on 3 new builds this year for 3 hard working families in need of decent and affordable housing.

    While volunteering at the Women’s Build for Habitat this year, I got to work along side 2 of the families. You really get to learn about them and their story while you hammer in nails and put up walls! It makes the work you are putting in, feel much more rewarding. Each family has to put in 500 hours of work, in one capacity or another, as a commitment back to Habitat prior to moving into their home. This work can be on their home or another one being built and can range from different family members helping out.

    The Brandon Chapter has had ample of volunteers help out this year, many on their Faith Build, Women’s Build and Men’s Build. This is a great way to get friends, family or colleagues together to help give back to the community. Keep it in mind for next year, as these are now annual events! During your time helping out, you are working! Building walls, framing the house, getting the house ready for siding; all with your hammer and nails! But don’t fret! You are under expertise instruction of the foreman Kelsey and members of CFB Shilo.

    Canadian Forces Base Shilo’s connection with Habitat for Humanity began with a military carpenter who did some volunteer work with Habitat previously. He found he was able to meet the requirements of his On-The-Job- Employment (OJE) with the Habitat project, something that is often difficult to achieve working on the base. Getting all the requirements of the OJE package proves rather challenging since they conduct few “new” builds of simple buildings on base. This proved to be an ideal opportunity for valuable training and the Brandon chapter of Habitat was approached. Thus, three military apprentices and two military journeyman tradesmen are working alongside Habitat for Humanity’s hired tradespersons.

    “So much of what we do domestically on military bases in Canada involves maintenance and repair of industrial sized buildings, yet when we deploy we have to return to the basics of building. Helping out with construction right from the foundation up on simple domestic buildings will help us when we have to open camps in new theatres of operation in the future.” says Major Jérémie Dulong, Officer Commanding of Real Property Operations West Detachment Shilo.

    “Another valuable skill is cross training; while the structural work is being done the other trades provide a helping hand, when the electrical work is being done the remainder become trades helpers and so on and so forth. The experience we get from this opportunity is tremendous. And, we get to give back to our local community by helping some families get into their own home. It’s rewarding on all fronts.”

    Many local businesses are working with Habitat in Brandon to get these homes ready for their new owners. Nickel Electric is happy to support the affordable housing initiatives Habitat builds in our community by contributing their work to the builds. When they heard about the Women’s Build last year they wanted to keep with the spirit of the project and took the opportunity to use a female Journeyman to head the electrical on site.

    Sue Swarbrick with Budget Blinds in Brandon has been involved with Habitat for several years now. “I was honored to work with a wonderful committee of women from May 2017 to Feb 2018, establishing the first ever Women Build” Sue comments. “The actual week of the build was a pretty special time for all of us last summer and one of my roles was to secure donations for meals, snacks and beverages. Our community really rallied around the cause. We organized an online auction in November and in February hosted Brandon’s first Designer Bag Bingo.” This Spring, Gord and Sue donated the blinds to complete the finishing touch on the Women’s Build house from last year.

    Westman Lumber Supply Ltd., located at 1875 Middle Avenue on the North Hill, works with the Brandon Chapter to ensure they have all the supplies they need and delivered on site. If it wasn’t for local businesses like these, the job of Habitat would be a lot harder.

    If you would like to check on the progress of the builds, head over to the 700 block of Franklin Street behind the hospital, you can’t miss them! If you want to learn more about Brandon’s Chapter, reach out to them at 204-726- 4960. Myself, like many of the volunteers and businesses that help out, look forward to the completion of the homes knowing we helped make an impact on the lives of another family right here in Brandon.

    By Jaime-Lynn Dyck

  176. Letter from the Editor

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    Building a home can take years of planning and years of building!

    If you choose to build your forever home, do not rush it. Make sure you are 100% satisfied with your plans, your property and the people you hire before going forward to reduce the number of bumps in the road.

    Building our home has been a process that has us in the third year now. We knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight and we were prepared for that. We weren’t prepared for some unexpected life “hiccups” along the way, but nothing every goes as planned, right? We are what you call “do it yourself” kind of people. The majority of the inside finishings were picked out and finished by us. So, when you throw in our 9-5 jobs and a kid in activities, things will definitely take time.

    We planned most of our outdoor work during the summer months, as developing your yard is a lot of work if you aren’t hiring professionals. Renting equipment and manual labour is expected but so worth it when you can admire your beautiful landscape when it’s done. For us…that will be next year I hope.

    In the upcoming months, we plan to tackle some minor finishings that have been left to the end, as they don’t interfere with our day to day lives. In our laundry/mudroom room, we have installed all the cabinets, the fixtures are up and rooms are painted, all that is left is the flooring. We plan to lay a neutral durable ceramic tile in that area to make it easy for cleaning as this will be a high traffic area. Once that is installed, we can trim out the rooms and everything will be complete in this area.

    I am looking forward to finishing the shower in our master bathroom as well this fall. Since we already have a fully finished bathroom on our main floor, finishing the master shower was not a high priority. There are so many tile options and designs available, I’m having a tough time making up my mind on what the final project will look like. We tend to stick to neutrals and modern design, so I’m sure whatever we choose will blend in perfectly with the surroundings. I like to go online and look at pictures on Houzz and Pinterest for inspiration. Sometimes visualizing the finish product is difficult and these websites can really help you get an idea of what you like.

    Since doing a fair amount of manual labour is expected when finishing your house, make sure you treat yourself to a little muscle relaxation when the job is complete! My favourite stop is Avelle on 18th and College Ave in Brandon. Nothing completes a job well done than a deep tissue massage!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  177. Enhanced Home Wifi

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    Brandon, MB – Experience total control with Westman Communications Group’s new Enhanced Wi-Fi Service, a product designed to boost wireless signal strength for customer home networks.

    “Our customers are looking for faster speeds on a reliable Wi-Fi network with coverage in every corner of their homes,” said John Quail, Westman’s Chief Marketing Officer. At Westman, the quality of experience goes all the way to our customers’ fingertips; making whatever device they are using work seamlessly no matter what they are using it for.”

    This new service gives Westman customers a strong and reliable Wi-Fi signal by using the latest technology to locate the ideal placement of the modem. Along with this, Westman will also ensure maximum coverage in all the places each member of the household uses their personal devices.

    Self-healing technology (Cloudcheck Optimization) is constantly working in the background to maximize the network for the best Wi-Fi service and provides additional diagnostic insight to Westman’s support team. An example of how this works: A 2.4 GHz band provides coverage at a longer range but transmits data at slower speeds. The 5 GHz band provides less coverage but transmits data at faster speeds. If a customer is in their backyard, further away from the Wi-Fi modem, Cloudcheck Optimization might automatically move them to the 2.4 GHz band to ensure there is still a Wi-Fi connection. These features are all happening in the background (no need to lift a finger!), making the experience better and the connection more reliable.

    The customer can take total control of their Wi-Fi with the MyHitron app, which is available in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. The MyHitron app gives the customer the power to control and manage their Enhanced Wi-Fi Services. A few great features of the app include parental controls, the ability to create guest networks, perform speed tests and easily change and set Wi-Fi passwords.

    “It’s important to us that we deliver this experience in the most efficient, customer-friendly and cost-effective manner,” shared Quail. “We are pleased that our customers already see value in the new features offered with our Enhanced Wi-Fi service.”

  178. Letter from the Editor

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    he travel bug bit me many years ago.  From a young age I was always curious about different places and cultures and after my first few trips as a young adult, I was hooked!  

    I’m a big believer in discovering local first.  Have you ever gone online and searched your own community and ones around you?  Have you ventured to those locations, museums, trails, parks? If you haven’t, I highly suggest you do that this summer.  Go online or to your local tourist office and discover places you haven’t ventured to yet in our own community.  Last year we hiked the trails in Spruce Woods Provincial Park for the first time.  I can’t wait to take family out there this summer when they come to visit!   

    We have ventured to other countries and even other continents for travel, but my family has always loved travelling within Canada.  This summer we hope to plan an adventure to the east coast.  This is one area of Canada we have yet to discover and are truly looking forward to it.  There is nothing like planning a new adventure to a place you have never been to.  I start by searching the area online like local towns, cities and tourist attractions.  Then I talk to family and friends who have lived or travelled there before.  When you arrive at your destination, always plan extra time for the unexpected!  Talk to locals and other tourists and find out about placed you don’t read about online.  Years ago, we planned a trip across the West Coast and as much as I loved visiting the places we planned, it was the places we never realised we would discover that was more exciting!  The waterfall we came to on a trail in the forest.  The whale watching tour we decided to join last minute.  

    We have so many adventures to discover right in our own backyards!  Go to these websites to find some. 

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  179. Feature Home

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    In designing an existing home or building a new one, we all have a look or feel that we hope to achieve with the ultimate goal of creating a space that is personalized. The design style for some it might be country charm, others might choose traditional or shabby-chic, while others may gravitate to a modern, hipster style.

    As we wandered through this issues feature home located in the Parkland region, we quickly discovered that the homeowners valued a minimalist, simplistic style in choosing the building’s design and the decor of their home.

    Located two miles west of Russell, MB on a four-acre lot, the 2100 square foot bungalow provides the homeowners with spacious, easy living space that is enhanced by the delightful view of their country acreage.

    Sue Swarbrick owner of Budget Blinds had the pleasure of putting the finishing touches on the home with the installation of roller shades using smart home technology.

    “What really stands out for me in this home, something that is quite unique is the oversized windows with black window frames. They give the home a very crisp, modern look. With the size of the windows it was important, as it always is, to consider form and function, as well as complement the existing aesthetics,” said Sue.

    The couples inspiration for the design of their home came from visiting various show homes, specifically those built by Artista Homes and Maric Homes based out of Winnipeg.

    Their home, however, was built by local contractor Lester Goossen. His construction business, Countryview Homes, is located in Roblin, MB. As a family friend and neighbour of the homeowners, they were pleased with the professional workmanship and had an enjoyable experience during the entire process of building their new home.

    This modern abode features five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a triple-car attached garage, and a gas fireplace. The homeowners chose to create a cozy atmosphere with in floor heating, supplemented by a gas furnace.

    The space they’ve come to adore the most is their main, open concept living area that includes the kitchen, dining room and living room. The neutral palette of white and grey with black highlights showcase the minimalist style while the rustic, engineered hardwood floor provides a lovely contrast.

    The practical design of the kitchen would be an absolute delight for all food enthusiasts who love to create and entertain. The sleek, clean lines of the Thermofoil cabinets (Euro Style; Arctic White) and quartz countertops (Cambria®; Colour: Brittanica) were made possible with the help of Pleasant Valley Cabinetry, based out of Swan River, MB. With a sizeable island that allows for comfortable seating and ample storage space, the homeowners will be able to enjoy an elegant, yet practical, maintenance-free kitchen for years to come.

    In addition to Countryview Homes, Pleasant Valley Cabinetry and Budget Blinds, the homeowners were grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Zimmer Electric. Also based out of Roblin, Steve and John Zimmer are Red Seal Journeyman Electricians who specialize in home wiring, as well as farm and commercial wiring. They used LED wafer lights for the main lighting throughout the house and created a smart home effect making use of technology to control lighting, as well as the family’s home entertainment system.

    While the couple carefully considered their own comfort when designing their home, they were also mindful of their English Bulldog Jersey. The beautifully crafted dog shower that they incorporated into the house plans is sure to make all fur ball owners just a smidge jealous!

  180. Renos Big or Small

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    It’s finally time to tackle that home improvement project you’ve always wanted to do. Or, you might have waited so long, now you need to do the project. Which leads to your first question “Where do I start?”

    Well, the truth is… some jobs are simply too big, too complicated, or require too much time to handle on your own. Whether it’s remodeling a kitchen, installing gutters, or electrical rewiring for – you’ll likely need an expert.

    First you need to figure out your needs and your wants.  These are two totally different requirements for a renovation and need to be considered.  Sitting down with a professional can help make this process go a lot easier.  They can offer insights into what on your lists are possible within your budget and may even be able to expand on the opportunities.  Never underestimate the value of working with a great professional! 

    Some top renovations to consider:


    Kitchen renovations are very popular.  You need to consider if you are looking for a kitchen facelift or complete reno.  A kitchen renovation can be from updating fixtures, appliances, countertops or flooring to a full gut job and moving walls.  This is when it’s best to have a contractor who can go over the whole process with you from timeline and costs, to structural requirements if they are necessary. 


    Though bathrooms are small, renovating them can be big. Always make sure you have a second bathroom available when renovating so you are not totally inconvenienced.  Many bathroom renos are done to update your fixtures, plumbing and décor but keep a close eye out for water damage.  Finding water damage may put a damper on your bathroom reno, but repairing any leaks or damage now will prevent more headaches in the future and will leave you with peace of mind.  Adding additional bathrooms to your home is also very common and a great return on your investment.


    Becoming more popular over the years, built-ins are a great storage option for your home.  Look for a professional who can show you previous jobs they have done.  This will show you the type of materials they have worked with, projects they completed and give you a few ideas as well.  Built-ins in your living areas are great for storing items you don’t want out all the time. Open shelving units are perfect for displaying some of your favourite keepsakes, pictures or books.

    When considering a renovation, make sure you enjoy it!  Don’t wait until you are ready to move to complete the upgrades or much needed renovation to your home!    
    – DYH

  181. Fixed Rate, Variable Rate, or Both

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    Whether you are purchasing, renewing or refinancing your mortgage, one of the biggest decisions you face as a homeowner is choosing between a fixed or a variable mortgage. 

    A few years ago, it was clear that going with a variable rate mortgage could result in savings.  Now, discounts on fixed rate mortgages and the narrowing spread between short term and long term interest rates have made the choice less obvious.  Choosing between a fixed or variable rate mortgage is no longer a simple decision, which is why many people are looking for advice to help them decide which type of mortgage will work best, based on their personal circumstances.  You can choose to go with a stable, less flexible fixed rate mortgage or you may feel more comfortable with the risks and potential rewards of a variable rate mortgage. For the “best of both worlds”, you might decide on a mortgage that combines both.  It really depends on your tolerance for risk, as well as your current goals and the life stage you are in. Here is some information about each option to help you make the right choice.

    The case for fixed rate

    Fixed rate mortgages are chosen most frequently because of the high level of stability they provide.  A fixed rate mortgage offers the security of locking in your interest rate for the term of your mortgage. The most popular term is five years.  This means you’ll know exactly how much principal and interest you will be paying on each regular mortgage payment throughout the term you select.  The main advantage of selecting a mortgage with a fixed interest rate is that you can depend on an interest rate that stays the same during the entire term of the mortgage.

    The case for variable rate

    Many Canadians shy away from the option of a variable rate mortgage because of the potential risk of rate increases. While there is always a risk of interest rate fluctuations, this concern may be less of a factor than you may think.  Many Canadian economic experts believe that a mortgage rate that varies with fluctuations in the bank prime rate will offer the greatest advantage when it comes to long-term savings on interest costs.  With a variable rate mortgage, regular mortgage payments are set for the term, even though interest rates may fluctuate during that time.  When rates go down, an increased amount of your payment goes towards paying the principal.  When rates go up, you’ll see an increase in the portion of the payment that pays the interest. With less going into the principal, the amortization period is extended.  Some banks variable rate mortgages offer a convertible option.  A convertible mortgage can be converted to another term at any time. This feature provides you with security and flexibility, as it enables you to convert to a longer closed term should your variable rate mortgage no longer meet your needs.

    The case for both: fixed and variable rates in one mortgage

    Not sure about putting all your eggs in one basket?  If you have sufficient equity in your home, many banks offer mortgages that can “contain” both fixed and variable segments.  You can split your mortgage between fixed and variable rates with different terms and maturities in order to benefit from potential interest savings and the security of a predictable rate.  Whether rates remain stable or fluctuate, this strategy reduces the risk of making a bad decision and could save you thousands of dollars in interest costs.

    Which option should you take?

    Advice is important!  I can help you decide which option best fits your situation and risk tolerance.  The reality is, no one can be certain what the future holds.  Rather than trying to guess where rates are headed, it’s best to consider your own situation – the life stage you are in, your current goals, your objectives and tolerance to risk all come into play.

  182. Moving a Building?

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    When it comes to moving a house or building, it is best to use the services of a reputable building mover and other professionals.  There are many steps in moving a building along roads and highways that you may not be aware of and your mover will walk you through it.  From using the proper equipment to getting all the permits, your professional building mover will take care of it all.

    Did you know that there are restrictions on when you can move a building down a road or highway?  There are certain times of the day and days in the year that a building can be moved.  Spring weight restrictions are put in place to help prevent excessive damage to the roads, which will cost money and create delays with construction for everyone. Your building mover will have all the notifications on road restrictions and the proper permits requires to move your building with ease. 

    Lining up all your professionals is best, but before they go to work, you will need to have the property prepared and foundation ready for the arrival of your building.  Having all your professionals work together will ensure everyone is on the same page and make the project run smoothly. 

    A professional electrician and plumber will also be required when disconnecting a previous building and reconnecting on the new site. If you are moving an existing building on site, your electrician and plumber will need to come in and disconnect the home from hydro, water and sewer.  Before moving your existing or new building onto its foundation you will once again need to make sure someone professional comes out and has all the connections ready to get your home or building on site.

    Doing your research ahead of time will ensure a smooth process from start to finish.  If you have a house or building you are looking to buy or move, call a professional today and go over the steps with them as you start this exciting process!  – DYH


  183. Herbs: Some of my favourite uses.

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    Some time ago, I wrote an article on growing herbs and thought I would expand on it.  The idea came to me at the end of the summer while walking our property. 

    I was admiring the wild sage that grows where ever it likes, and decided I would pick some and dry it in our pantry over the winter.  My project for this sage was to do a cleansing smudge on my home in the new year. 

    To do this, I dried the sage in a cool place for several months, ensuring it was completely dry.  Then I gathered sections of the sage and folded it over to make a little bundle.  I used string to wrap around the sage to hold it together in a tight bundle.   After lighting the sage bundle with a lighter, I let it smoulder a bit and walked around our home, taking time in each room.  You can also put your sage bundle in a bowl and let it smoke in each room of your home for a short period of time.  (Do not leave a burning herb bundle left alone in a room)

    The belief behind smudging is that the smoke will absorb or dispel negative energy.  This in turn will cleanse and purify your home.  You can do this anytime you see fit, but a great time is when moving into a new home. 

    We can’t talk about herbs and not mention cooking!  Using herbs in your meals is a great way to embellish any dish; make sure you give them a rub in your hands before adding to “wake them up”!  Not only can you cook with herbs, but you can infuse oils and vinegar with an array of herbs.  Take a glass jar of oil or vinegar and put some sprigs of herbs right in.  Give it some time for the herbs to get infused in and enjoy!  Look online for recipes
    and instructions. 

    You can use herbs to make your very own tea blends at home, or my favourite, using mint to make a simple syrup for Mojitos! 

    Herbs are very common in essential oils.  I have used essential oils for several years now and probably wouldn’t live without them.  I use them for their medicinal, detoxifying, purification and calming effects.  If you are considering using essential oils, definitely do some research first with a consultant or professional. 

    Lastly, I started growing a lavender plant in my garden last year.  My future goals for the lavender is to use it for fragrant satchels, in body/foot scrubs and for the bath.  Maybe I’ll infuse some oil with it too! 

    I hope I have given you more ways in which you can use herbs in your daily life.  They provide medicinal, healing and calming properties with a variety of benefits.  Always consult a professional if you have any questions about using herbs. 

  184. Exterior Insulation and Finish System

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    It’s always tough trying to decide what you want for an exterior finish on your home.  E.I.F.S (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) is a great option for a new build or a renovation of your current home. 

    What is EIFS? Exterior insulation and finish system are a multi layer exterior finish that is made up of the following steps. 

    1. Liquid air barrier
    2. Adhesive for insulation installed with a notched trowel to insure a drainage plane behind the system; no mechanical fasteners this limits thermal bridging
    3. Type 1 EPS insulation
    4. Reinforcing mesh and base coat
    5. Acrylic finish. 

    This system when installed by certified installers carries a warranty of 10 to 15 years depending on the products used.  There is also an R value of 3.75 per inch added to the exterior wall of your home or business.  You will notice a reduction in outside noise in you home as well.

    Tired of spending piles of your hard earned money on heating/cooling of your home. Thermal bridges are penetrations in a buildings insulation layer that allow heat to escape and cold to enter in the winter months. Vice versa in the summer.  In a properly insulated new home, thermal bridges can account for heat loss up to 30%. Using E.I.F.S. to clad your exterior will greatly reduce thermal bridges as shown in the thermal image.   If your home was built before 1999, it may not have enough insulation. Adding to the insulation in your home will help save energy and improve the comfort of your home. Brooks Masonry and Acrylics can help you apply for rebates through Manitoba Hydro.  E.I.FS. is unlike other exterior finishes as it allows you to recoup the expenses of the installation over time and eventually put that money in your pocket, as it can reduce your energy consumption.   

    The design possibilities are endless with E.I.F.S. from using aesthetic grooves, custom built details, and the ability to pick any colour you could imagine.  There are different finish styles to choose from as well as using stencils to achieve patterns and architectural designs.   Acrylic finish can also be used inside your home or office to create a feature wall.   Light weight stone veneer can be installed over E.I.F.S. ensuring you have that continuous insulation on the exterior of your home.

  185. Installing a Hot Tub

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    Before you actually purchase your hot tub, there are many things to consider.  How many people will be using it?  What do you want to use it for? Where will it be installed?  This is where the guys at Creasy’s Hot Tubs and Billiards and Hardy Electric can help.

    Creasy’s Hot Tubs and Billiards has a wide selection of hot tubs and hook up options.  They are the distributer for Jacuzzi hot tubs across Manitoba with locations in Brandon and Winnipeg.  When shopping for your hot tub, think about how many people you see using it at once, how many jet options you would like, do you like to lounge and listen to music while in the hot tub?  Whatever your desire, there is a hot tub for you!  Jacuzzi, as well as the Nordic hot tub line are both energy efficient.  Look for a hot tub that has full foam insulation and a high-density foam cover.  Nordic hot tubs are perfect for those looking for a more economical option or a hot tub for the lake.  They come with a variety of options, even plug in! 

    Devon from Creasy’s tells us, “We are here for our customers from purchase to install.  If a customer needs base prep, an electrician, delivery or maintenance, just give us a call or stop by.” 

    When considering a hot tub make sure you have your location picked out and that your electrical panel can manage the installment. 

    What size of electrical panel do you have in your home?  Most homes have a 100-200-amp service.  If you wish to install a hot tub, have electric heat or have a small shop 200-amp service is recommended.  If you are not a high user of electricity, 100-amp service may suit you just fine or your electrician can install a sub panel as well.  Figuring out your options before you purchase, may save you some unexpected headaches down the line. 

    “Installing a hot tub can be done fairly quick, as long as there is room in the panel” says Brian from Hardy Electric.  “If a customer is looking for a hot tub, we recommend they call us ahead of time so we can go over the hook up options with them in their home.” 

    While hooking up your hot tub, Brian also recommends having a surge protector installed on your panel.  With thunder storm season upon us, there is no better assurance that our investments are protected than with a surge protector. – DYH

  186. There’s a wine app for that

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    There are many wine apps, some that allow users to document their wine cellar and record wine selections, while others provide prices and ordering information, educate, plus much more.

    You can download several apps but usually one or two will suffice depending on your needs. The following apps are popular, some have very specific uses, while others offer a broad range of information. The apps featured here include a wine scanning feature which uses the phone camera to identify a wine. And don’t be intimidated, there are apps for beginners, wine geeks and professionals.

    The following wine apps are highly rated and popular.


    With over 30 million users this free social media app is considered by many to have the best wine-label scanning capability. Vivino users take a photo, using the phone camera, to access information including reviews and food and wine pairings along with information about the wine’s region of production. This app allows you to change the vintage so it is accurate (the app recognises the bottle but the specific vintage is not always correct), rate wine and record your own tasting notes. Users create a user profile and may purchase wine if local laws allow.


    Scan a wine label to receive wine descriptions ratings and reviews. This app keeps a record of your wines, which you can share with others, and allows the user to rate wine, make tasting notes and access ratings and reviews by famous winemakers and wine critics who you may choose to follow. Users may also check out prices and explore suggestions for wines that suit your palate.

    Hello Vino

    This app is promoted as the users personal “virtual wine assistant” and is great for those familiarizing themselves with the world of wine. Hello Vino boasts a “No Snobs Allowed” policy.

    Should you desire information about wine and food pairing or wine suitable for a specific occasion this app is for you. Users have access to information regarding wine type, taste and grape variety – not only common grape varieties but also lesser known grape varieties. Users may access community and professional wine reviews. Hello Vino makes wine recommendations and “personalized picks” based on the user’s preferences which is determined by the user’s response to specific questions. In addition, this wine app has a good dictionary and pronunciation guide.

    Cellar Tracker

    This app is for those with a sizeable wine cellar. Users scan barcodes to access the huge database. This app keeps track of and manages wines in your cellar by recording the number of bottles you have, the number of wines consumed (both the specific wine and where you consumed it) and pending deliveries.

    It also allows users to track the cellars value. In addition, users can access professional tasting reviews and notes, keep a record of their own impressions, and join a wine community to share their thoughts.


    This app provides information on grape varieties, winemaking techniques, growing regions, wine styles, and wine and food pairings. Users may record and share their thoughts with other users and friends and create a personal gallery of wine by uploading a photo and recording the occasion and specifics about the wine consumed (name, vintage, grape variety, flavours). Users complete a wine taste test to receive wine recommendations specific to their palate. As with Hello Vino, Plonk includes a sound file for correct pronunciation.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)

    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  187. With Much Gratitude

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    Budget Blinds has been collaborating with Design Your Home for 7 straight years. We love this magazine and the content delivered to the Westman readers. We have been involved in featuring interesting homes and décor and often showcase the latest in window covering fashion and trends.

    In this the Home Show issue we would like to take a moment to thank our customers. We are so grateful for the relationships created with the homeowners we serve, and it’s common to hear one of us raving at end of day about the great people me met and worked with. We have served somewhere in the vicinity of 2500 homes over the years and put on close to a zillion miles in the rolling showrooms. We strive to deliver an excellent customer experience in every single home.

    We celebrate belonging to a large family of Budget Blinds owners from all across North America. We truly enjoy coming together once a year (1500+) for annual convention/reunion. We learn and develop, explore all things new in the industry, and share in our successes.

    This year we were recognized with two awards at the Orlando Convention in January. Our team was thrilled and cheering us on as we were honored with a Brand Ambassador award for making ourselves available to prospective Budget Blinds owners who have many questions and concerns about the ins and outs of our business. We are big fans of our company and love to share that enthusiasm with those interested and exploring their options. The second was a Heart and Home award for our commitment to community—specifically our annual event in February supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba. We have also been very involved with Habitat for Humanity, the United Way and several other initiatives over the years. We find great joy in giving back.

    So once again, we extend much gratitude to all our customers —can’t do what we do without you and those you refer to us.  – Sue and Gord Swarbrick

  188. Letter From The Editor

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    Pictures are important to me and it seems like they are becoming a lost art. 

    Thanks to this magazine, we tend to get family pictures taken more than the norm.  I am so thankful for that and the amazing photographers we have worked with along the way.  As I picked our picture for this issue, I stumbled across a file of pictures of my father who passed a few years ago.  Scrolling through and reminiscing with my daughter really warmed our hearts.  If it wasn’t for those pictures, we wouldn’t be able to go back and look at snapshots from many special events over the years. 

    As much as we are taking millions of pictures with our phones, what are we doing with them?  I make sure I download images from our phones and camera and put them in yearly files.  What I love to do is make photo books of our holidays or special occasions.  I always order 2 photo books and give one to our daughter to keep. 

    Printing pictures to frame or on canvass is another thing I like to do with our pictures.  Having pictures hung around your home, really warms it and gives you a daily reminder of a special day or activity you did.  Decorating your home with images and souvenirs from a holiday is really special and tells a lot about who you are. 

    Fall is my favourite time of the year to take family pictures.   As much as I like to take relaxed family photos outside, also consider more intimate pictures inside your home.  When I was little, family pictures was going to the studio and posing with your loved ones in front of a back drop. There are so many options now!  I love casual images of our family just walking down a park path or having a conversation on a bench, or while sitting in the grass.  These images reflect who we are and gives a very natural reflection of your interactions with your family. 

    What are you doing with your pictures?  Don’t just leave them sitting there on your camera or store them on the cloud, only to flip back to.  Print them off, create a photo wall in your home, print images of loved ones we lost.  There is nothing more nostalgic!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  189. Town of Neepawa

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    Neepawa residents share a sense of pride in their community. The community, which has been identified on more than one occasion as the most beautiful town in Manitoba, developed a new Neepawa Tourism committee to tell their story.

    Neepawa; Where stories take a beautiful turn.

    This tag line was given to the community of Neepawa “Largely because of our physical location, right along the Yellowhead Highway, we’re a busy drive-through community. Our committee decided that we needed to capitalize on that and encourage those who are driving through to maybe take a few minutes, an hour or even a few hours to stop in Neepawa for a visit,” said Eoin Devereux, committee chair. “The intent is to share the message that whatever your vacation story is, hopefully, it includes time here.”

    “Our ideas grew from one of our main attractions, the Margaret Lawrence Home, but it was soon realized that we have a lot of unique interests to draw people to our community. There’s Farmery Estate Brewery, the Neepawa Bird Sanctuary, the Lily Nook, our beautiful, well-maintained golf course, the Arts Forward Cultural Centre and the Beautiful Plains Museum to name a few,” said Eoin.

    The Margaret Lawrence Home is a great place for History Buffs and Literary Lovers, it is a must see! One of Manitoba’s Star Attractions and now a Provincial Heritage Site and Level 2 Museum, the turn of the century house is the childhood home and living memorial to the world-renowned author Margaret Lawrence.

    The Farmery Estate Brewery believes in adding value to the crops they grow on their family farm as well as to their community, by investing in where they live. For Farmery, local is a way of life, not a fad or a trend.  Enjoy a flight of their latest brews after a tour of the Farmery Estate Brewery and Hop Yard.  Experience first hand where Farmery’s beer and ingredients are grown and produced.  In the summer look forward to Farmery’s Food Truck which serves homemade beer battered fish & chips, fish tacos and finger-licking smoked ribs and pulled pork.  The first Canadian brewery that grows their ingredients for their beer, Farmery Estate Brewery is “As Homegrown As It Gets!”

    The Bird Sanctuary has become a popular destination. Nestled on the south end of town by Park Lake, the sanctuary is home to emu’s, pheasants, peacocks, ducks, geese, rabbits and other animals. The facility is operated by volunteers with the purpose to provide the birds with a facility that advocates the conservation of various species of birds in their natural habitats while promoting survival and rehabilitation.

    On a landscaped six-acre plot, the Lily Nook has over 1,500 named varieties of lilies growing, spanning all nine divisions of the genus lilium. Their annual catalogues offer 150 varieties with 136 colour pictures. Bulbs are shipped throughout the world both spring and fall. Their unending quest is to offer many more exotic blossoms for those who have discovered the excitement and pleasure their beauty can bring.

    The Neepawa Golf and Country Club is situated along the escarpment of the Whitemud River.  Their beautifully groomed course is challenging yet responsive and fair for all calibers of golf.  The well-established trees and breathtaking terrain are enhanced by the winding river and prairie landscape.   Or try out Disc Golf at the Lions Campground! 

    Neepawa Tourism now has a website, Face Book page, promotional print material, as well as new merchandise (t-shirts, ball caps, etc. ) that were released earlier this summer. They are currently fundraising so that by next summer they will have new signage in place to further promote the community and all the wonderful things that it has to offer.  Visit for further information on these attractions. 

  190. Parade of Homes

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    From September 7th to 29th, Manitoba’s best home builders will begin a three week showcase of over 130 new show homes during the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association’s 2019 Fall Parade of Homes.

    During the Fall Parade, Manitobans will have the chance to see the newest trends in home building design and the latest fashions in home decorating.  For those looking at buying a new home, the Parade is the perfect way to see the best in today’s new housing market.  This year’s Fall parade will again feature show homes in the newest communities and neighborhoods in and just outside of the city of Winnipeg, Brandon, La Salle, Niverville, St. Adolphe, Stonewall, Headingley, Oak Bluff, East St. Paul, and West St. Paul.  We are also very excited to feature 2 new communities – Selkirk and Grande Pointe Meadows – featured in this Fall’s Parade of Homes.   Finding out which community has the right set of amenities and services that best fit your family can be just as important as finding which new home design is the right one for you.  Taking in the Fall Parade of Homes is a great way to explore these wonderful new communities and neighborhoods across Manitoba.

    The MHBA Parade of Homes is also a great way for those who may not yet be in the market to buy a new home to see what is new and exciting in-home décor, technology, finishings and fixtures. Many people who visit the Parade show homes are curious to see what the hottest trends in home decorating are, or they are looking for ideas for a renovation to their existing home.  Kitchens, bathrooms and the latest technology in the show homes are always a huge draw for people attending the Parade of Homes.

    We are very happy to have 3 beautiful Brandon show homes featured in this Fall’s Parade of Homes.  J&G Homes has 2 entries in this Fall’s Parade, 18 Derlago Drive in Bellafield and 1 Ingstad Way in Southridge.  R&M Homes is presenting 3 Marsh Crescent in Brookwood.  These incredible show homes demonstrate the very best in new home designs made available by Brandon’s best builders.

    Be sure to look for #PARADEOFHOMESMB on social media and follow the MHBA and on Instagram, Twitter, as we will be featuring each of the over 130 show homes entered in this year’s Fall Parade throughout September.  Visit our website at for information on each of our Parade show homes.  There you’ll find more details on your favorite show homes and connect you with MHBA’s builder members.

    You never know.  You could just fall in love with one of the homes you see or a neighbourhood you visit and decide that a new home is right for you. 

    Fall Parade of Homes hours in Brandon are Tuesday and Thursday 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 6:00 pm.   The MHBA Fall Parade of Homes runs from September 7th to September 29th, 2019.

    Fall Parade of Homes  September 7th – 29th, 2019

    J&G Homes:

    • 18 Derlago Drive in Bellafield
    • 1 Ingstad Way in Southridge.

    R&M Homes:

    • 3 Marsh Crescent in Brookwood. 

    Tuesday and Thursday 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm;
    Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 6:00 pm.

    Friday (By Appt. Only)

  191. Life Lease Lifestyle

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    People have often heard about a life lease community; however, they don’t often know how they work and why people would choose a life lease community over a condo or traditional apartment. 

    A life lease community is a rental arrangement where a tenant makes a cash contribution called an entrance fee, these fees can range from as low as $10,000 to $200,000; when the tenancy ends, the cash contribution is returned to the tenant (or to the estate in the event of death).

    The entrance fee is held in trust by a trust company, as the project reaches full occupancy; a Landlord can use the equity to fund construction.  The Landlord must keep a certain number of deposits with the trust company as a float to repay tenants moving out in the future in case a new tenant cannot be immediately found to take the vacant unit.

    While the tenant has put equity into the community, they still pay a monthly rental amount that is less than it would be in a traditional rental community.  This monthly rent covers the maintenance costs, property taxes, water and other common area costs for the community.

    In times of property appreciation, one might ask why someone wouldn’t buy a condo instead of choosing a life lease community.  The most common answer to this is while life lease holders do not gain equity in times of property appreciation, they do not have to worry about selling their unit in a down market and can be free and clear of their life lease commitment with 90 days notice, rather than risking selling their condo in a down market should their lifestyle or health change.

    What are some other benefits of Life Lease Communities?

    Tenants find they are part of a community of likeminded people with common interests and of similar age and values.

    The entrance fee generally allows for tenants who care for the property and take pride in the appearance of their community.

    Although the entrance fee is not earning interest, the contribution itself helps by saving monthly rent, as a portion of the equity required for the project is funded by the life lease holders.

    Brandon’s newest life lease community is being built on the North Hill just east of Grand Valley Church.  The Summit will feature two 18 suite buildings with underground parking.  The first building is complete and available for viewing. 

  192. Electrical Home Renovation: Overload Warning Signs

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    Modern technology may be placing an enormous burden on your home’s electrical system. If you live in an older home, chances are your electrical system wasn’t designed to handle the demands of computers, dishwashers, microwave ovens and other energy-draining
    modern conveniences.

    If you are planning to renovate or install a home office, make sure you upgrade your electrical system while you’re at it.

    If you have these warning signs, experts say your system probably can’t handle the load:

    • Lights flicker when an appliance is turned on.
    • Circuit breakers trip or fuses blow repeatedly for no reason.
    • Appliances are not operating at full power.
    • You use many extension cords

    Major appliances, such as the fridge, freezer, room-size air conditioner, dishwasher, washer and dryer, and furnace, are not on their own circuits.

    In the laundry room, make sure laundry room appliances are properly grounded and are plugged into outlets with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

    An overloaded electrical circuit is a dangerous thing. Play it safe and have your wiring checked by a qualified professional. DYH

  193. Take a Walk Through Our Woods

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    Windsor Plywood is Manitoba’s premier home improvement and building retailer, serving Brandon and the surrounding communities for 50 years now.  They carry high quality responsibly sources products, and staff their locations with friendly, knowledgeable craft/trades people that don’t work on quotas or commissions. 

    Their staff are trained to help customers with every step of their project – big or small!  From the moment you enter the store, to helping carry out your bundles, answering any questions you have and finding the right product that fits your needs, they are the experts you need to know! 

    Their store specializes in hard to source interior and exterior home finishing products including flooring, live edge, timber framing, doors, mouldings and specialty wood.  They are right there to provide professional advice to help you make the most of your home improvement projects.  Their goal is simple, focus on their customers’ needs and provide outstanding customer service.   

    Windsor Plywood is committed to providing outstanding value and personalized one-on-one service to all it’s customers; homeowners, business owners, the avid do it yourselfer, renovators, builders, designers, craftsmen and contractors.  Regardless of the type or size of your project, they will bring your vision to life.  Let them help with your renovation or building supply challenges.  They stock quality products, sell them at competitive pricing and most importantly, they offer you great service! 

  194. Welcome Home!

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    This is not your cookie cutter home!  From the moment you walk into
    3 Goldenrod Drive, it feels like home.  The design, the layout, the finishes; have all been meticulously thought out by the builder, R&M Homes. 

    This slab-on-grade home is perfect for someone looking for their first home, not wanting to invest in a full basement that may never get used, but yet has everything you would want including 9-foot ceilings and main floor laundry.  Or, are you looking to retire and downsize, and find that final home in the perfect neighbourhood?  Look no further! 

    Completely finished, this 1364 sq ft home boasts 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms.  The large master suite is complete with a custom tiled shower and walk in closet with storage.  The garage entrance to the home features the main floor laundry nicely tucked away and custom cabinetry.  Be ready to entertain on the 12×12 concrete pad outside, just steps away from the dining room, while the fully fenced yard is sodded and ready for kids or pets! 

    All Fired Up Plumbing & HVAC-R worked with R&M Homes on this project. With a slab home, there is a lot more planning and prepping that must take place compared to other builds.  This home has everything you need from central air conditioning, high-efficiency furnace and a 200-amp panel.  As well, heated floors throughout the home are ready to be hooked up, making this home even more energy efficient.  Slab homes typically have electric heat or bulk heads that can reduce ceiling height.  This slab-on-grade home was designed in mind to have a full furnace system plus central air conditioning, along with eliminating the need for bulk heads and gave the builder the option of going with 9-foot ceilings with a more open concept.   

    The custom kitchen and cabinetry throughout was designed and installed by BDNLUX Kitchen & Design.  The upgraded quartz finishes the kitchen perfectly for any chef, while the soft close drawers and cupboards are what every home owner wants.  The large island is perfect for when you are preparing a meal, or just pull up a stool and visit with friends.  No detail is missed! 

    This home is ready to be moved into, complete with 6 high end Maytag appliances.   All you need to do is unpack in your new home!    To view this home please contact Mark Bailey at 204-573-5676.

  195. Home Sweet Childhood Home

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    Having the opportunity to visit your childhood home is an incredible experience, not many can say they have done. 

    I had the privilege of visiting my childhood home this summer and it was so nostalgic to say the least.  The current owners, who have lived there for 25 years, had just finished renovations to their living space and let me take a tour.  I was made aware of their renovations from a family member and Jaydi Dinsdale of Timber + Lace Interior Design here in Brandon.  They were nice enough to put me in contact with the owners, who opened their door to me. 

    When going back to see your childhood home, so many things run through your mind.  What has been changed to it?  Is it the size I remember it to be?  And on top of that, I got flooded with memories of walking those halls for 13 years of my life.  Like many say, the rooms felt a bit smaller than my adolescent memory had but that is understandable, I was a child then.  It’s funny what memories come flooding back, bath time when you were a kid, having birthday parties at the kitchen table, and climbing the stool to get chips from the high cupboard over the stairs.  The smile it put on my face to see the shed my dad built still standing in the backyard.  All memories from over 25 years ago, now I can imagine the memories from the current family as they have put their own touch on their home. 

    I was excited to see the beautiful renovation orchestrated by Jaydi Dinsdale on this home.  They fully renovated the kitchen from top to bottom.  New appliances, cupboards, countertops, flooring, window coverings and a fresh paint job.  Most older homes have good bones and a renovation or little facelift is all they need. 

    A lot of work was put into prepping the walls and ceiling for the renovation.  Jeannie Bos of Jeannie’s Interiors removed the textured ceiling in the kitchen and the dining room, as well as removed years of old wall paper, patterns I even remembered, and minor patching throughout. Jeannie offers free estimates, colour consultations and guidance for interior finishes to her clients.  For this reno, Jaydi had designed the project and already picked out colours with the home owners.  Jeannie walked through the space with the home owners to explain the process, as well as the time required for the project. 

    Jeannie Bos has been in the painting industry for 17 years.  Her work consists of residential and commercial projects, from new builds to re-paints.  She works in and around Brandon working with her clients every step of the way.  Having the right people for the project makes a world of difference and that shone through in this renovation. 

    It was a delight to be able to walk through my childhood home again, an experience I will never forget! DYH

  196. Sunspace Sunroom

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    Many of us love summer and all Mother Nature has to offer, but when the elements and bugs ruin your precious summer days and nights, wouldn’t it be nice to be sitting in the “outdoors” and still be sheltered  from the rain or protected from annoying critters?

    Or, would you rather have some additional space to entertain in?  Or even have spare room for guests. A Sunspace sunroom by Elite can give you all of that and more.

    Elite Sunrooms is owned and operated by Keith Bourgeois, a carpenter for 30 years with over 15 years in the sunroom business. Aiming to provide customers with a superior product, Elite has chosen Sunspace, a Canadian owned manufacturer with a superior product. Their rooms never fail to impress our customers. From the durability to the aesthetics, you will not find a comparable product.  The rooms are engineered for Canadian winters and are customized for each customer.  With a wide range of colour options and styles of rooms, your dream project can be a reality. Consultations and estimates are free and there are never any hidden costs. 

    Don’t know where to start? Keith has worked on hundreds of projects and can advise you on everything from location of the sunroom to the decor. Elite will take care of everything from obtaining the building permits to hanging the blinds in the room. All you have to do is share your vision for the project and then enjoy. 

    Their team is professional every step of the way, as well, workmanship and attention to detail is reflected in every room they build. Most projects are completed in a week or less so you will be able to start enjoying it right away. Check out their website at for reviews by customers about their dream projects. 

    Whether you are interested in extending the space in your home or cottage or looking for a comfortable way to beat the heat, the rain or the bugs…. they would love to show you how a sunroom can enhance your life. 

  197. Wine Advice: Dine In, Dine Out

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    Whether at a restaurant, someone’s home or my own home, I enjoy dining. Brandon’s own Benny’s Restaurant, owned and operated by Brandonite Ben Hernandez, offers all such dining options.

    All selections from the restaurant menu, which includes a wide variety of appetizers, lunch and dinner, are available not only while dining at Benny’s but also at home. Pick-up and catering options have always been available but delivery apps, such as Dash, have opened many restaurant doors. Benny’s Restaurant has chosen Dash for the convenience of those who wish to dine at home.

    Diners are increasingly cognizant of liquor consumption, being especially wary when driving. For those who wish to consume alcohol while dining there are options. Unfinished bottles of wine can be corked and taken home, which is not only convenient but also increases wine options as diners are not limited to wines offered by the glass. When dining at home wine selection is limited only by your imagination.

    When you ask Ben how long he has been immersed in the restaurant business his reply is “all my life” and his menu reflects his vast experience. Not only does he work closely alongside Red Seal chef Rodney Randall, Ben also values the input of guests and it is clientele that he turns to review the restaurants menu and provide feedback prior to finalizing the menu.

    Benny’s in-house wine list offers a selection of wines to suit all tastes and food and wine pairings. White wines available by the glass are chardonnay, pinot grigio, white zinfandel and the increasingly popular moscato. Sauvignon blanc and a white blend are available by the bottle. Red wines by the glass are shiraz, malbec, and merlot, while seven red wines are available by the bottle including Chianti, cabernet sauvignon, Valpolicella, pinot noir and a red blend. Sparkling wine, Prosecco, is available in both small (200 ml) and regular 750 ml sized bottles. Port completes the list.

    Benny’s menu includes rib eye steak and braised lamb shank which is perfectly paired with cabernet sauvignon, while the best and a classic wine pairing for pan seared salmon is pinot noir. If you prefer white wine the flavour of classic carbonaro or fettucine alfredo are enhanced by chardonnay while the taste of spinach and goat cheese stuffed chicken is intensified by a refreshing glass of sauvignon blanc.

    Ben and the staff are happy to assist patrons with wine selections while dining whereas for Benny’s catered events patrons can elect to have Ben make the wine choices or you can choose your own selections.

  198. Feature Business: Westman Premier Homes

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    The name couldn’t describe this company any better…Westman Premier Homes (WPH).  This premier company has been building homes around Western Manitoba for over 10 years now.  Founded by Matt Bootsman, WPH has grown and has many partners helping run this every evolving company.   

    Starting as a builder, WPH has created quality homes for its customers since the beginning.  They work hand in hand with their customers from the design of their custom home, right until the keys are handed over.  Their transparent estimates give customers peace of mind.  That’s why it made sense for them to create their Restoration and Renovation division, explains Scott Bromley, General Manager and Partner.  From working with insurance providers to doing clean up, WPH is right there with their customers along the way.  With their professional red seal trades on staff, you are in good hands after you have experienced damage, flooding or a fire.  As well, no one is better to sit down with and go over a renovation project you have in mind for your home.  They will walk you though the design, the demolition, to the finished project.  Their years of experience and training shine through in their work. 

    Since WPH has quality trained staff, their latest divisions only made sense.  Electrical Services and Plumbing and Heating are the latest segments to join Westman Premier Homes group. No job is too big or too small, from handyman services all the way to wiring your entire home.  Do you have a new home theatre system but don’t know where to start?  Call them for their expertise!  WPH Plumbing and Heating division is there for customers who need a new furnace or hot water tank installed, maintenance throughout the home or to getting their home more energy efficient. 

    Westman Premier Homes is a Certified Master Builder. To become a Certified Master Builder, you must be a Certified Housing Professional first and have employed a senior decision maker for a minimum of 5 years. The program ensures ongoing commitment to furthering education by instilling those involved to complete required coursed plus electives.  To maintain your designation, they must continue to complete a minimum number of hours to professional development annually.  This proves their commitment to their trade and ensures their customers the confidence in hiring them to build their home.

    When it comes to building and maintenance of your home, Westman Premier Homes years of experience and training gives their customers the confidence of a job well done. 

  199. Letter from the Editor

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    Ok, I have talked about travelling and exploring your own back yard, right?  Well…maybe not enough!  This year marks 150 years since Manitoba was founded as a province.  What better way to celebrate this great province, then to explore it!

    I’d like to think we have explored plenty in Manitoba, but in all reality we probably haven’t.  Our goal this summer is to head to Provincial Parks in the province we haven’t been to yet.  Top of my list is the Whiteshell area and Nopiming Provincial Park.  A hiker and campers dream, the Nopiming Provincial Park is part of the Boreal Forest and Canadian Shield, with pristine lakes and miles of wilderness to explore.  There are many places we plan to explore closer to our home like Eternal Springs just north of the #1 Highway, East of Virden.  With 2 stocked trout ponds, a swinging bridge and BBQ pits to have your lunch, it is the perfect day trip.  A new favourite we recently visited is Spruce Woods Provincial Park.  A great place for a family with active children to explore!  The trails give them places to explore and the climbing and descending on large dunes of sand is second to none.  What a treat it is to arrive at the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a small spring fed lake with amazing views!

    Though we have been to Riding Mountain National Park dozens of times, this year we plan on taking some new trails and views of the park!  We were married in the park 16 years ago, so we make it a plan to stay there every year to take in its natural beauty, reflect, and enjoy our time outdoors with our family.

    To make your exploring more fun this summer, Explore 150 has created an app to help you find places to explore near and far, across the province.  The map pinpoints locations for you to visit, check in and take a picture to earn points for great prizes!  Make sure you download it and play along with your family!

    Take time this year to check out Manitoba and celebrate what it has to offer!

  200. Blue Lions

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    Two buildings are being built by Westman Youth For Christ at 705 Lorne Avenue. Once complete, they will serve many needs in the community, and will help those who need a stable and secure place to heal and create a future different than their past.

    “We have young people who are trying to get out of addictions and they have a negative community around them, so it’s hard,” said Dwayne Dyck, executive director for WYFC. “They get clean, and then they get back into old routines with their peers and their families or whatever it is, and they slip back into addictions.

    “So we wanted to create a safer space for them where they could live. We’re building two apartment blocks. In those two blocks will be a total of 30 units and fourteen of those units will be more secure housing on the third floor.”

    The third floor apartments – seven in each building – will be designated specifically for youth trying to stay on a healthy, addiction-free path.

    “They can live there for years,” Dyck said. “We have a mentor living on the same floor offering onsite support as well as 24/7 access to Life Skill Coaches. There are also locked doors to the third floors – no buzzers – so it’s a more secure space. If somebody really wants their friends to come up, well, they can do that, but it’s not easy. And if people just want to bring them back into a lifestyle they’re trying to avoid, they can just stay up in their apartment, turn their phone off and ask the mentor or a peer for support in holding to their decisions.”

    Westman Security & Automation Ltd. has ensured tenants gain access to their buildings and rooms with RF fobs rather than keys. The company has also installed a high-definition camera system inside and outside both buildings, and will also monitor the fire alarm system.

    The main floors in each building feature barrier-free affordable housing, while the second floors offer additional affordable housing – two-bedroom apartments that might especially appeal to single parents with children because of their location. With Prairie Oasis, the YMCA and New Era school close by, residents will have plenty of options for support right in their own neighbourhood.

    Samson Engineering, which completed the design, focused on meeting the various needs of users of the building. One of the main goals was to create a sense of community throughout, such as the centrally shared main entrance used for both buildings. Samson also incorporated highly insulated walls, roofs, floors, and minimal thermal breaks. The innovative design creates privacy for the residents with rotating floor plans on each floor.

    Funding for 85 per cent of the project came from various levels of government. And WYFC is still in the process of raising the other 15 per cent, which is $900,000. Dyck said local citizens and businesses have been incredibly supportive.

    “We’ve had people come in everywhere from a hundred bucks to $50,000,” Dyck said. “It’s been really great.”

    One such entity is Excel-7 Ltd., which is the general contractor and design builder for the project.

    “Excel has been a supporter of Westman Youth for Christ for a long time and is excited to see this project come to fruition for the local chapter,” said project assistant Stephanie Dornn. “Youth programs are so important for our community, particularly those assisting teens and families through difficult life situations. As a contractor, we get to appreciate all the local builds we are part of in growing our community. It is special to be a part of a project for a program with YFC’s values.”

    Both Dyck and Dornn are particularly excited about the fact the buildings are not only visually appealing, but thanks to Samson Engineering’s design, extremely energy efficient, which will ensure long-term maintenance costs will be lower.

    “This building is 55 per cent above code, so it’s significant,” Dyck said. “A square box is probably more energy efficient than lots of corners. But lots of corners look better. So we’ve gone with something that’s attractive and hits some really aggressive energy markers – our greenhouse gas reduction is 82.7 per cent. The engineers have done a great job on it.”

    The colour palette for the buildings is blue and grey, in tribute to a former director of WYFC’s U-Turn program (which serves homeless youth). He was a professional photographer, and his company was called Blue Lion.

    “He died of cancer a few years back,” Dyck said. “So to honour him and continue his legacy, we’ve named the project – the two buildings – Blue Lions. And that’s why we went with a blue colour scheme.”

    As mentioned, the apartments will be self-contained and each will have a bedroom or two, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living room. Affordable housing rates are set by the province, and Dyck said those are “warm rates,” which include hydro and heat. But WYFC owns the buildings, and will therefore be the landlord.

    Blue Lions should be ready for occupancy in October, but while people have been generous thus far, WYFC could still use more financial help to reach its $900,000 goal. Anyone interested in more information or to contributing to the building project can contact Dyck at

  201. Feature Business: R&M Homes

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    Quality workmanship, first-rate customer service, and providing whatever their clients need are the cornerstones of R&M Homes’ business philosophy.

    Established by owner and president Mark Bailey 10 years ago, R&M Homes is essentially a one-stop shop for home construction. With departments that provide 90 per cent of the necessary finishing trades in-house, there’s nothing they can’t do.

    “We build single family and multi-family homes in Brandon and surrounding areas,” Bailey said. “Within R&M, we have a concrete company to pour foundations and do flatwork – driveways, sidewalks. We do millwork – baseboards, casing, and shelving. Then we have our own flooring installers, cabinet installers, and custom millwork as well.”

    Many home builders rely on subtrades to complete projects. At R&M Homes, they construct 90% of their builds with internal trades. The philosophy behind this is that R&M has control of a high-quality end product with competitive pricing. Bailey is proud of their internal trades, since not only do they work closely with R&M Homes on a daily basis, they’re also very active doing additional jobs for other clients. These companies are bdnLux Kitchen and Design, and All Fired Up Plumbing and HVAC.

    BdnLux Kitchen and Design assists clients with kitchen designs and cabinetry. They offer interior design for their builds, or renovation projects large or small. They supply cabinetry, handles, countertops, and built-ins for all projects.

    All Fired Up Plumbing and HVAC provide service to projects large or small, new or existing. Their HVAC services include ducting, ventilation, heating and cooling and they offer 24-hour service calls.

    For R&M Homes, the end result of providing everything as a package is a better price for the homeowner. The few services that are contracted out, such as landscaping, stuccoing, soffit and fascia, are done with businesses R&M has associated with throughout its decade of existence.

    “These are long-standing, honourable companies,” Bailey said. “We’re committed to them because we work with them exclusively. We’re not just hiring out at the lowest price.”

    In fact, Bailey said, he refuses to compromise just for the sake of the bottom line.

    “I truly believe you can deliver a high-quality build at any price point,” he said firmly. “I don’t believe that, whatever you’re building, you need to compromise on quality. We offer the best that’s available.

    “Everything we build is mid-grade and up. The interiors might be different but the bones and structure are not. We stand behind our work. Our employees are hard-working and they care. They’re the best in the business.”

    A lifelong Brandonite, Bailey believes the personal touch is the best approach to any business arrangement. He meets with every client R&M builds for face to face.

    “I’ll never change that – I believe that’s what people want and that’s what people deserve,” he said. “I know people work hard for their dollar, and I think they should get the most they can for their money.

    “I’m very passionate about this – I love it. I enjoy working with people. I know that at the end of the day when we build our projects, they’re the very best we can do.”

    Another thing people might not be aware of is that R&M Homes doesn’t just build new homes. They also do renovations, remodels, additions – even fences and decks are in their wheelhouse. If somebody wants some painting done, they’ll do that too.

    “We’re not only dedicated to R&M Homes,” Bailey said. “We’ll do whatever we can to help people out.”

  202. Sunspace by Elite Sunrooms

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    Sunspace by Elite Sunrooms has been locally operated for 22 years out of Brandon, Manitoba.  Their sunrooms have been manufactured in Canada for 29 years and they are continually updating their products and colours to meet customer’s needs.  Sunspace has excellent warranty, durability and finishes, making it one of the best sunrooms around!

    Keith Bourgeois is the local authorized dealer for Sunspace.  He is a red seal carpenter and has been involved in every aspect of the business from sales, ordering and installing.  They specialize in quality, custom sunrooms to meet their customer’s lifestyle and budget.  They are also your go to for decking, aluminum railings and Weather Master windows with all products warrantied and maintenance free.

    Sunspace by Elite Sunrooms has moved locations and is by appointment only to view.  Their excellent customer service can service new or old customers any time at
    204-726-8488 or by email at   Contact them for a free estimate today!

    Customer reviews:

    “We absolutely love our new sunroom! Thanks to Keith, Ryan and Tyler for their long hours of hard work, professionalism and attention to detail. Keith was there every step of the way, from the detailed quote, to the build, to follow up service. Any questions we had were answered promptly and to our satisfaction.

    We were very impressed with Elite Sunrooms and would highly recommend them.” -Terry

    “Our expectations were exceeded! We are so happy with our sunroom. Keith and his staff were very professional, even with rain delays they met their time commitments, kept a clean and safe environment and went above and beyond.” -Vern

  203. Wine Advice: Food and Wine Pairing

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    Food and wine pairing can be challenging, although much less challenging when selecting food and wine pairings for a single meal than pairing for an event where a variety of different foods and wines are served, while also considering various preferences and palates.

    Planning events comes with a certain degree of stress. Current commitments often leave limited time for planning and some gatherings offer little notice. Hiring a sommelier for guidance with food and wine pairing and selection and a caterer for menu selections, supplies and service, simplifies planning, lessens stress and ensures hosts have time to participate in and enjoy the occasion.

    Benny’s has years of catering experience and numerous menu selections to choose from, ranging from appetizers to multi-course dinners, including dishes suitable for all dietary restrictions and preferences. In addition, Benny’s is licensed for both indoor and outdoor events and has the necessary supplies such as tableware, napkins and stemware.

    The best wines for events are those suitable for pairing with an array of foods and the majority of palates. In my experience most hosts work within a budget, budgeting an average of $15.00 per bottle. Suitable wines are available for all budgets so select quality wine without compromising taste.

    Some guests prefer white wine some red so ideally select one of each. White wine pairs better with lighter dishes and most appetizers while reds pair best with heavier dishes, beef and game. Some hosts include sparkling wine, a rosé or both sparkling and rosé. Sparkling wines are often served to guests upon arrival and used to toast an occasion. Champagne costs can be considerable so choose sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Cava and wines made from the traditional winemaking method as they are generally far less costly. Rosé has gained a significant following and is recognized for its broad pairing potential.

    The best quality for value wines are most often the wines made from certain grape varieties from select areas and countries such as Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, Chile and New Zealand. Look to delightful and refreshing white wine such as Pinot Grigio from Italy or zesty, mouth-watering and palate cleansing Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Red wine from Portugal remains largely undiscovered and many of these full-bodied earthy and dark-fruit laden wines are made from Port grapes, grape varietals often unrecognized and wrongly avoided. Chile is known for value wine, especially Cabernet Sauvignon.

    When calculating wine requirements, the time of day and day of the week should be considered as consumption varies with more wine consumed in the late afternoon, evening and on weekends. The time of year is also a factor as more sparkling wine, white wine and rosé is consumed during the warm summer months while more red wine is consumed during the fall and winter seasons. Also consider your guests preferences.

    Once wine selections are made be certain adequate stock is readily available and purchase additional bottles for fear of wine faults, breakage and higher than anticipated consumption. Most, if not all, wine stores allow wines to be returned so long as the bottle has not suffered any damage and the label remains intact. Check each stores policy prior to purchase.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  204. My IDIAH

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    How You Can Create Unique Storage Solutions – upcycling tin cans

    Most of us use tin cans weekly; soups, sauces, cookies, beans and more.  Did you ever think about reusing your cans instead of recycling them?

    Here are some great upcycling options for cans you may have in your recycling bin right now!

    Always remember, safety first when working with used tin cans.  They will have sharp edges and you don’t want you or a family member to cut themselves.  I used pliers to bend down sharp pieces and you can also put a bead of hot glue on the edges to protect yourself!

    In this project, we used several different fun and practical materials to upcycle our tin cans.  We used spray paint, cork board and scrap booking paper.  Other options are newspaper (comics), paint, stickers, old toys, lace, wrapping paper, burlap, fabric, ribbon or twine.  There are lots of ideas on Pinterest!

    Tip: Use painters tape to create designs on your can when spray painting or painting.  Make sure you press the tape into the grooves to create a nice crisp line.

    Always peel the label and wash your can first.  This will create a clean surface for your paint or glue to adhere to.   We upcycled our cans for storage solutions and some for planters, for some seed we were growing.  Cans are a great container for plants as you don’t need to worry about seepage or damage to the tin from the water.  Just make sure you upcycle it with water safe materials.

    I love the cork can we created!  We used regular Elmers glue to adhere the cork.  Now for the fun part..stick tacks in it for notes!  A fun tin we created for the kitchen was upcycling our old tea tin.  We spray painted it and then used a magnetic clip on the front to hold recipe cards, filled the tin with cooking utensils and now it’s the perfect accessory for the kitchen!

    We used scrapbooking paper to make some of our cans more elegant!  Then filled them with make-up brushes and hair products for the bathroom.  You can also use cans like this for your office.  I love my daughter’s creativity in creating her green spikey can with an old ball from a vending machine.  It popped and we were left with a hole in it, so she put a soup can inside and made a fun container to hold her markers.  – DYH

    Tip: Once you glue paper or cork to a tin, use elastics to hold it in place as it dries.

  205. Rona Design Center

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    Located conveniently at 2404 Park Avenue, Brandon, the RONA Design Center is a 3,000 square foot contemporary space where vision, composition and creativity collides.

    The personalized selections of premium quality products provide an exclusive experience allowing you to see, touch and visualize your dream projects. Our experienced designers will take you through everything and help you choose colours, cabinets, faucets, fixtures, flooring, finishes and more.

    In conversation with Howard: Tile, Stucco and Paint

    With over 20 years of experience, Howard is an expert of tile, stucco and paint. He engages with customers throughout their project to ensure that not only the job gets done but lasts a lifetime! Speaking about the availability of samples in-store, Howard says they are “extremely important to the outcome of every job. Being able to take those samples home is even more important. Lighting and secondary colours in a room can and will affect the final colour the product shows”.  Howard encourages all of his customers to take a sample home before making a final decision.  His personal favourite tile is Carrara, a porcelain tile that is a high definition imprint of a white marble with grey, brown and black fault lines in it. When asked about current trends he says that he is seeing “customers remodelling their bathrooms. Removing the tub and installing a custom tiled shower with a bench seat, heated floor, in the bathroom and shower floor”. Howard continues to grow his knowledge by attending workshops hosted by suppliers to learn what’s new and works closely with installers to research innovative solutions to problems. He says that “proper preparation is critical along with understanding the installation and using the right products for the vast array of situations you run into. No two projects are the same”.

    In conversation with Megan: In-house Design Consultant

    Her role, Megan says is, “to provide customers with the best designs possible based on the style and theme they desire and to help them visualize this and bring it to life. This includes a consistent colour scheme, the best products based on their household and style, and making it functional while making it look beautiful”. Her most recent project was of a very unique basement renovation, “the clients asked for a man cave, where their kids can play under the stairs, and they wanted a white laundry room”. After discussing the details, she got the floor plans and started designing room by room which included a bathroom, bedroom, bar/TV area, laundry/utility area and converting underneath the landing into a play area for the kids. Once the designs, selections and quotes were discussed and approved by the client, she then worked closely with in-house teams to arrange building permits, order the products, schedule trades and had the work started right away. Fast forward 8 weeks, she says “the clients were very happy with the outcome of the basement and the quality of work to the point that they thought their basement outshined their main floor in certain aspects!”. Speaking about some of her personal favourites, Megan says she loves the two-toned kitchens currently trending, higher wall cabinets to the ceiling capped off with molding to the ceiling for added height/scale/storage/less cleaning above and prep pantries for a clean and beautiful look and extra storage. Creating rooms that function yet look stunning and seeing how happy clients are with their finished project, Megan says is her ultimate goal.

    We believe that it is very important to have all products, trades and services in-house to provide the best of the best to our clients. Take advantage of our full renovation service offered at the Design Center and let us worry about the details, we are here to make sure your renovation is stress free.

  206. It Pays to be a Westman Communications Group (Westman) Co-op Member

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    Westman is owned by the members who use our services.

    All earnings belong to our members, and each year, these earnings increase your equity in the company. Westman reinvests each member’s equity into its operations, enabling Westman to add or enhance services and remain competitive.

    This is the critical difference between Westman and other providers of Internet, Digital HD TV and Phone services. As a Westman member, you build equity in the Co-op, and your patronage contributes to both the company and your community.

    More Benefits

    Westman member benefits also include:

    • A yearly statement of your equity, annual reports, and other information about the Co-op.
    • Occasional dividend payments of equity.
    • The right to run for a position on the Board of Directors.
    • The right to vote for the Board of Directors.
    • A voice at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and other special meetings.
    • The opportunity to be a member of the Community Media Committee (CMC), which manages WCGtv, your local community programming channel.

    Five Fun Facts about Westman as a cooperative:

    1. Westman was established as a co-op in 1977.
    2. Westman supports over 80+ initiatives throughout communities across Manitoba annually.
    3. Every year, Westman offers an exclusive giveaway and other special offers for members that have been with us for 5+ years.
    4. Offers up to $16,000 annually in scholarships to over 30 high schools in the communities that Westman serves.
    5. Environmental Responsibility initiatives are in Westman’s corporate vision to ensure that our company can reduce our impact on the environment. Things such as energy-efficient heating and cooling in our building, adding eco-diesel trucks to our fleet, and more have been implemented to ensure we do our part. To learn more, go to

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    Are you a wine consumer? How many grape varieties have you tasted? Most consumers are familiar with the so-called international varieties, grape varieties widely planted around the world, popular, familiar, and widely available. Also known as classic varieties, these grapes usually produce quality wine wherever the wine is produced.

    You found a wine you enjoy and stick to it, purchasing that wine or wine made from that grape variety. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with experimentation either. Maybe you have tired of drinking the same thing as everyone else.

    Both myself and like-minded wine loving friends enjoy the opportunity to introduce others to new grape varieties, wines, and wine-making styles. Most people enjoy trying something new and if wine is thoughtfully selected, with consideration of current preferences, it is more likely your guests and you embrace the choice. Now is the time. No time like the present. We are spending time at home, by ourselves, with family or select friends in a small bubble. Explore the wine world from the comfort of your home.

    Keep an open mind. Remember, grapes are different, they share similarities with others, structure, aroma, flavour, but they have their own distinct personality and deserve to be explored. Some grape varieties are given different names depending on where they grow, Primitivo of Italy, Zinfandel of California are good examples. Primitivo and Zinfandel are the same grape. Another consideration is wine style. Wine style is reflected in the grape name, as we see with Shiraz and Syrah, the same grape made in different styles.

    Fortunately for us and the environment, there is a trend among wine consumers and producers to hunt for grape varieties not commonly known, some on the verge of extinction. Climate change is affecting vineyards the world over, wine laws banning the use of certain varieties have been and are being re-examined and revised to allow for the planting of varieties known to thrive in certain environmental conditions. Grapes less prone to disease, more adaptable to climate change, lessening the need for fertilizers and fungicides.

    The most common wine grape variety is Cabernet Sauvignon, grown world-wide, the most famous of the international varieties. International varieties are very popular with growers and producers and there is a very good reason to stick with these varieties. The best reason? It is easier to sell the wine. There are approximately 10,000 wine grape varieties, but the internationally famous varieties have become increasingly dominant. Countries with the greatest reliance on classic varieties are France, Chile, Australia and the U.S.A. Those with the highest percentage of indigenous varieties are Georgia, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, and Cyprus.

    For those of you wishing to broaden your wine experience the following suggestions will aide you with wine selections. Start with a grape varietal you enjoy and evolve from there. It helps if you can articulate what you like and why. Staff are happy to assist with wine selections, they are knowledgeable and familiar with products. If you are fortunate enough to identify someone who shares your preferences, they are a fabulous and reliable resource.

    Full-bodied Spanish and Portuguese red wines, Zinfandel or Primitivo are excellent alternatives to Cabernet Sauvignon. A word in support of Spanish and Portuguese wines. Such wines are great value, and often exceed expectations. Certain popular red wines are slightly sweet. If this is a style that attracts you, select wine from warm-climate New World areas (southern Australia, California).

    Chardonnay is a chameleon, the styles many and varied, your search for an alternative is dictated by the type of chardonnay you prefer. Do oaked wines appeal to you? If so, look to wines with descriptors such as buttery, toast, and vanilla on the label as these are surely oaked. Full-bodied, and ripe? Try Chenin Blanc and Viognier. Lighter-bodied, sleek, minerally, high acid and lean examples such as Chablis, more to your taste? Reach for Fiano, Verdicchio or Muscadet. 

    Shiraz/Syrah more to your liking? Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Nero d’Avola, Mourvèdre (Monastrell) and wines from Jumilla, Toro or Priorat are excellent alternatives. As are Malbec or Petit Verdot.

    Enjoy Riesling? Although offered in a broad range of styles ranging from dry to very sweet, much of what we have locally available is off-dry (slightly sweet). Grapes similar in profile to Riesling – aromatic, delicately flavoured, often made in slightly sweet styles, are Muscat/Moscato, Torrontes and Gewürztraminer. Prefer something dry? Try Moschofilero, a fresh, floral, aromatic white wine from Greece.

    Favour Merlot? Carménère was mis-identified as Merlot for some time so there is no denying the similarity, Zinfandel and Nero d’Avola, also share similarities.

    Sauvignon Blanc fan? Grüner Veltliner, Albariño are good alternatives. Certain wines carry the name of the geographic area where the grapes are grown and the wine made, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are two examples, wines made from Sauvignon Blanc, in a different style from that of many New World wines, New Zealand for example, wine reflective of the climate, history, tradition of France’s Loire Valley.

    Pinot Noir fan? Reach for Grenache (aka Garnacha), Tempranillo, Sangiovese, or Pinotage, not to mention red Burgundy which is, in fact, Pinot Noir

    The more consumers purchase unique wines and those made with less common grape varietals the more the wine market evolves. A win-win as I see it.

    As I write this, I’m sipping on Vazisubani Estate Saperavi, 2017, an unfiltered dry red wine from Georgia, the ‘cradle of wine’, where winemaking dates back to 6,000BC.

  208. Living Well At Home

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    One of the top items new home owners look for is natural light.  Who wouldn’t want a bright house?  Sun light is known for it’s Vitamin D and Mood Boosting benefits, right! 

    As much as natural light is enjoyable, it can also cause issues.  Added heat in the summer, fading of natural wood and fabrics on your furniture and rugs, and glare on televisions and computer screens.  The team at Budget Blinds will help you enjoy the beauty of natural light in your home, while controlling it at the same time. 

    “We saw an increase in calls from customers working from home this year,” says Sue Swarbrick, owner of Budget Blinds of Southwest Manitoba and Budget Blinds of Southeast Manitoba.  Using your home in a new way, such as working from home, makes you see your space in a whole new light.  Your needs may change and Sue and her team are there to help you identify them in ways to help you live well at home.  Your home office might be in a separate room, or it might be at the kitchen table, but many did not think about their windows when checking off what they needed to work from home.  Internet..check, desk…check…window covering??  Until you sat down and started working, you didn’t realize the glare the sun is putting on your computer because you never worked at your kitchen table from 8am-5pm, 5 days a week. 

    When talking with the professionals at Budget Blinds, you will begin to understand all the different options available to you.  What works best in your home and your lifestyle.  They will walk you through the difference between roller and cellular shades, and go over the opacity levels (transparency) of each.  You don’t want to lose the natural light in your home, you just want to control it.  Having a blind like a cellular or roller gives you the ability to filter the sunlight from sheer to blackout without obstructing your window when you don’t require it.  Blinds like honey-comb top down, bottom up, give you the ability to control where the light comes through that window throughout the day.  You can have privacy at the bottom, while still enjoying the light at the top.

    Trend Alert for 2021 is drapery!  From sheer, to patterns, to big bold colours, they are back.  You can pair your window with a drapery alone or add it to an existing shade or blind.  Homes are full of hard surfaces; tile, wood, metal, glass.  The addition of drapery in your living space can be a statement and functional at the same time.  Sue says that many of her customers who have installed drapery lately have said, “I can’t believe I waited so long!”   The addition of a drapery softens our homes, can be decorative or functional and really play to our personality. 

    Reach out to Sue and her team for a no obligation home consultation.  Let them help you make your living space suit your needs today. – DYH

  209. Feature Business: Daughter on Call

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    By Wanda Kurchaba
    Photos Submitted

    As we slather on creams, add fibre to our diets, and discover each day that we’re not quite as agile as we once were, we’re well aware that we can’t turn back the hands of time. What we can do is live our best life and remind ourselves that growing old is indeed a privilege. With that privilege, however, often comes tough decisions.

    One of the most challenging decisions for the aging population is dealing with the basic need of housing. As this demographic grows in Manitoba, entrepreneurs like Gail Freeman-Campbell are not only seeing the increasing need for quality housing but are taking action to give seniors and their families more options to choose from.

    Four years ago, through her business Daughter on Call, Gail introduced a new concept of senior housing. She built a home that gives the elderly another option to choose from when it’s no longer safe or desirable to continue living by themselves in their house, apartment, or condominium.

    The setting provides residents with a comfortable, true home atmosphere, where you have companionship, privacy, and 24-hour care and security.

    “The concept that we’ve created is something that people are embracing. When you ask people where would you want to live when you get older, in an institutional type setting, in your own home, or somewhere else where you get to call the shots? The first answer is always their own home, their second choice is to live in a group living environment such as we offer,” said Gail Freeman-Campbell, owner of Daughter on Call.

    Daughter on Call now has seven elderly group homes in the Westman region. There are three in Brandon, two in Carberry, and two in Pinawa. In total, they have space for 52 residents.

    The houses vary in size, some having six bedrooms and others with eight. The residents share the common areas, however, they all have private bedrooms and private bathrooms. Some of the homes also have deluxe bedrooms available to accommodate couples. Couples can move in together and stay together even if they both don’t require care.

    One of many advantages to living in a Daughter on Call elderly group home is choice and flexibility. Since it’s as close as one can get to living at home, residents are free to make their own choices on things that we take for granted. For instance, they can choose when to get up in the morning or when to go to bed; they can choose what they want to eat and when. Residents are encouraged to participate in the running of the home, which means they can help in the kitchen, bake, or assist with other household tasks such as caring for pets or tending to the gardens in the safe outdoor spaces.

    “We follow The Eden Alternative® philosophy of care. What those teachings tell us is that majority of the elderly in the world are dying of three things – helplessness, loneliness, and boredom. In a Daughter on Call home, these things don’t have a chance to grow or flourish. We keep people busy and active; we give them purpose,” said Gail.

    With the low staff-to-resident ratios and the close connections between them, staff get to know the residents well and notice even the slightest changes in them. The homes have nurses and physicians who provide house-call services, which means they offer the same service as an assisted living facility or personal care home but in a smaller, more family-style environment.

    Daughter on Call is very progressive when it comes to caring for someone living with a dementia. They follow Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care® method and have been successful in reducing residents medications and implementing non-medical measures to enable them to continue living a life of purpose.

    As seniors move into the Daughter on Call homes, Gail said they track the number of falls, hospitalizations, and infections compared to the year before they came to the elderly group home. What they’ve discovered is that they have reduced the hospitalization of people in their care by 94 per cent and they were able to reduce falls by 88 per cent. With their small numbers of staff and residents, they’ve never had a flu outbreak at any of the homes. Gail said the health and well-being of the residents, as well as their employees, is and will continue to be their number one priority.

    While the residential branch of Daughter on Call has taken off, Gail said they also still offer a vast array of services that the business was originally built on. Working throughout the Westman region, she has 85 employees providing care to people who need the extra support. Some of the ways they can help seniors is with personal hygiene, administration of medications, post-surgical care, housekeeping, companionship, or assistance in getting to medical appointments. They can also assist in applying for government funding to offset the cost of care in their homes.

  210. Windsor Plywood

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    By Wanda Kurchaba
    Photos Submitted

    Above and beyond. That’s the type of service you get when you visit the Windsor Plywood store on 18th Street North in Brandon. With experienced, knowledgeable, and loyal employees ready to assist you, your projects can start and end with confidence.

    Windsor Plywood has been part of the retail landscape, serving customers in the Westman region and beyond, for nearly 50 years. Although some may think of the store as a lumber or hardware store, it is so much more.

    “We don’t sell drywall; we don’t sell shingles. What we have is the best selection of doors and moldings. We also have the biggest selection of exotic woods. We carry products from Mexico, Brazil, Africa, basically wood from all around the world. Plus we have hobby and craft woods, crafting tools, and a full-service shop for hanging doors, building stringers, making butcher block, and much more. We’re probably one of the last little stores like it,” said Peter Behrens, Brandon’s Manager.

    Known as the finishing store, Behrens said along with their unique product line, it is their staffing complement that raises the level of customer service. With four carpenters on staff and many long-term employees, they can guide customers and offer expert advice from the start of the project right through to the end. Also, with a full carpentry shop on site they can help customers to prepare their product so that it’s either easier to work with or easier to get it home.

    “We will help them cut the wood, sand it, or grind it if we need to. A lot of people working on projects around the house don’t have trucks to take a full sheet of plywood home, so we can cut it down for them so they can get it in the car. Or, if they prefer we can deliver it for them.”

    While many businesses were forced to shut down and others faced a steep decline in sales this past year because of the global pandemic, Windsor Plywood’s challenges were of a different sort. Supplies became scarce, the price of products sky-rocketed, and all at the same time demand increased.

    “The pandemic caught everyone with their pants down, including ourselves and our suppliers. People were stuck at home, sick of looking at the same walls. They spent their time on Pinterest coming up with all kinds of project ideas. People were lining up to come in here. Everyone was building fences, building decks, building planters, and making all sorts of things. And so the race was on to try to get the material. It was the perfect storm,” said Peter.

    Windsor’s craft and hobby section that was once popular years ago had died down as the older generation of hobbyists drifted away, that is until COVID-19 made its way into Manitoba. Peter said they started seeing a whole new customer base, a new generation of young craftspeople. People are getting into building furniture and bowls, making guitars, creating projects with epoxy, and even building canoes.

    Between Christmas and New Year’s, the Windsor Plywood team took on a project of their own and started greeting customers in the New Year with a unique new counter that they created and built using specialty products available within the store.

    “It was time for a change, and we needed a more functional counter. Plus we built it using products that we carry. The actual counter is a 20-foot live edge and there’s a full-size tree that we used as one of the posts. People love it, plus it has helped to showcase some of the unique products that we sell,” said Peter.

    “We’re blessed that we were able to stay open, that we were still able to work. We have a good company behind us and great staff. We were glad to be able to help the crafters and do-it-yourselfers to pass the time during this pandemic by helping them with their projects.”

  211. My Idiah! – Rooting Around

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    I adopted a hobby this year, like many individuals during a pandemic.  Plants!  I always loved plants but never had a green thumb.  We also have cats that love to get into things, so I felt it was a challenge when it came to keeping plants alive and thriving.

    I started by propagating a Geranium at work and couldn’t believe how easy and successful it was.  I took the cutting, left it in a cup of water and soon roots appeared.  After the root system was several inches long, I transferred the stem to soil and kept a close eye on it, probably too close!  Like having a new baby in the house, I watched it’s every move.  Was the soil dry?  Was that a new leaf coming?  It’s flowering!!!  It can be really exciting and started me on a path of no return.

    There are different ways to propagate plants.  Propagating is taking a piece of a parent stock and creating new plants.  So far, I have taken cuttings of plants and put them in water to root, like the Geranium.  Some cuttings must be left out to callus over for a few days, like succulents, before directly sticking into soil.  I love plants that propagate on their own by producing babies right in their own pot.  An example of this is Spider Plant or the Pilea Peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant).  I was lucky enough to get a Spider Plant (baby) from a friend and it has been thriving.  I can’t wait for it to produce babies of its own that I can repot!  The Chinese Money Plant has produced lots of babies that I have separated and cloned. Propagating is a great way to increase your plant collection or share and trade with friends.

    When propagating a plant like a tradescantia or a pothos plant, make sure you cut a piece just below a leaf node; this is where the leaf connects to the stem.  This is where you new roots will form and emerge from when placed in water or soil.  Your cutting should be a small section with only 1 or 2 leaf nodes, so the plant energy is focused on making new roots and not sustaining too much upper growth.  You can buy or make propagating containers or use what you have at home.  I use small glass jars so I can watch the water level and keep a close eye out for roots.  I found a sturdy popsicle mold works really well when you are propagating multiple cuttings at a time.  Once the roots get a few inches long, transplant them into a small pot of soil.

    Choosing the right pot

    New plants can start off in a 2–4-inch pot, depending on how many cuttings you are putting in it.  You never want to use a large pot for new or small plants.  You may think it’s a great idea and the plant will grow into the pot, but this can actually cause mold, lead to disease like root rot, and increase your chances of pests due to too much moisture in the soil.  You need the soil to dry out between watering as this is where the roots get their oxygen from.  Once your plant is established and flourishing, you should go up only one pot size at a time.  This will give your plant the room it needs as it grows and in return you will have a very happy plant.

    Ideal pots to use are breathable pots like ceramic and clay as they are made from natural materials that allow both air and water to flow through their natural pours.  Water will evaporate quicker in a clay pot, which will result in less chance of root rot and very beneficial for new gardeners who may over water.  Remember, it is best to under water than to over water and look for pots with drainage holes.  Drainage holes relieve excess water from your pot and again will help prevent root rot from over watering.

    When watering your plants, stick you finger in your pot about an inch or two and see if the soil is dry.    You should only water your plants when dry to the touch as all plants absorb moisture at a different rate, while weather and environment can affect this.   If you do not have drainage holes you will need to be more careful with the amount of water you give your plants.  If the soil is damp when you stick your finger in, it is not yet time to water.  In addition to water and the nutrients your plant receives from soil, you will need to fertilize March to September, during the active growing season.  Winter is a time plants slow down so there is no need to fertilize in the Winter months.  Fertilizing for plants can be different for each variety, so it is best to read the requirements for your particular plant or to talk to a professional.

    Plant enthusiasts and green houses go hand in hand.   The local green house has a wealth of information and supplies for gardeners.  I visit Alternative Choice Garden Centre when I am in need of supplies and want to expand my garden or plant collection.  For many gardeners, it is like a Christmas wonderland when you enter the green house!  At Alternative they have the products you need to get started for propagating plants or germinating seeds.  They have an assortment of supplies from mini dome greenhouses, heating mats, root stimulant, soil, pots and more.  If propagating is not your thing, they have a wide selection of plants that include succulents and cacti, ferns and topicals.  If there is a variety of plant you are looking for, they are more than likely to have it or can try and source it out for you.

    When I visited Alternative Choice Garden Centre last month, Kerri was able to help me with all my gardening needs.  Not only did they have the supplies I needed for my new hobby, but she was able to give me some very useful advice on propagating specific varieties of plants.  Working with knowledgeable staff makes all the difference.  Alternative is a year-round garden centre, if you have questions or want to add to your collection, they are the place to go.  Year-round they carry a full line of supplies from fertilizers to soil, tropical plants, planters, and décor.  Approaching winter, you will see the garden centre full of Christmas Trees, Poinsettias, and bursting with Christmas decorations and novelties.  This is truly a magical time to visit the garden centre giving your winter blues a real mood boost.  Spring and Summer, you will see many new additions of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals, vegetables and herbs.  Most of our trees and shrubs have come from Alternative and their tomato plants have never failed me.

    When you purchase from a local greenhouse, you know you are buying plants that have been cared for by very knowledgeable staff who truly love what they do.  I can see that when I go into Alternative and talk with their staff members.  If you are just starting out or are an experienced gardener, I suggest stopping in soon as I’m sure this will be another year of booming gardens!  – DYH

  212. R&M Homes: Building During a Pandemic

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    Seeing its highest growth in 3 years, new home construction grew 4% in Canada last year, according to Statistics Canada.

    The year started off slow and remained at a stand still in March and April while globally we figured out restrictions, policies and what safety measures to put into place in order to pull through.  Put a lumber shortage on top of that and we saw costs increase across the country.  You would think home builders would have had their backs up against the wall, but that wasn’t the case.

    Mark Bailey President of R&M Homes, tells us they can’t keep up with the current demand over the past year.  Many people were in lock down in their homes, with not much else to do.  When you can’t spend extra income on travel, or just about anything right now, a lot of people turned to their homes.  The lock downs and home schooling changed the way people looked at the function of their homes and what was or wasn’t working for them anymore.  This created an increase in families searching for a home that would meet their new needs and created a boom in the home construction industry mid way through 2020.

    “Blessed and fortunate to be able to work through the pandemic,” is how Mark Bailey describes this past year.  The usual face to face conversations with customers has changed slightly over the past year but that has not slowed down R&M Homes at all.  They were able to jump onto technology quickly, in order to work with their customers everyday and keep their builds on schedule.  Emails, phone calls and Face Time have now become the norm, and was instrumental in working with a new customer who lived provinces away.   Mark and the team at R&M Homes worked closely with this customer through the whole build process and never met in person until possession day.  Mark tells us that Face Time played a big roll in this specific build.  They were able to walk the customer through the home and show them the progress from foundation to completion.  Not only could the customer see how the build was going, but Mark took the time to measure and step count out rooms live on Face Time, in order to give the customer an idea of size and spacing.  Going above and beyond is what stands out at R&M Homes and it shows in their builds.

    Having an open-door policy is what R&M Homes delivers.  They want their customers to be able to see their homes being built, especially during the early stages.  At this point, you can really see what is happening inside your home with plumbing, electrical and much more.  Once the drywall goes up, most of that is inaccessible and is just as important as the finishings of your home that you see everyday.  R&M Homes will also share with customers 3D renderings of the interior and exterior of their home.  This is another great tool offered to customers, in order to better visualize their new home.

    Face to face is still possible when working with customers while following safety guidelines.  But Mark has never been more thankful for the use of technology while working with his customers this past year.  As we move forward, we will definitely see a shift in how builders and home owners can work together in the future and has opened the door to new possibilities when working with customers who are not local. – DYH

  213. Kitchen Trends for 2021

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    Kitchens are still the number 1 room to renovate in your home this year.  If you are renovating or building new, here are some key trends to consider.


    Add a bit of depth in your kitchen design with a two-toned colour approach.  We are seeing different colour cabinetry on the island to add some contrast in the kitchen.  If you don’t have a kitchen island, you can mimic this trend by selecting a different colour for your lower cabinets compared to your uppers.

    Touch of Gold

    Gold is here to stay this year.  It has moved from jewelry and home finishes to the kitchen hardware in a big way.  Add a touch of gold to kitchen with an easy upgrade to your kitchen faucet or hardware.  Carry the trend with gold accessories on shelves or your countertop.

    Quartz Countertops

    Quartz is a manufactured product and has an endless array of colour and pattern options that you can’t get in natural stone like marble or granite.  It is a durable surface, easy to maintain and resists staining.

    Clean Lines

    Cabinetry is on trend with a minimalist design.  From smooth, sleek lines and minimal to no hardware, this trend can be seen in any size kitchen.

    Back Splash

    While white is still the most common colour for a backsplash, this is a great place to add some of your personality to the room.  The selection of pattern and textured tiles is growing each year and can really add a splash to your kitchen.  Solid, one-piece marble back splashes are also on trend for the year.

    Organic Elements

    Natural elements such as wood grain cabinetry, rattan or bamboo pendant shades and plants are making their way into the kitchen.   This is a great way to incorporate a light and uplifting feel to your kitchen with raw materials.

    Your kitchen design specialist can walk you through which trends suit your family’s needs and style.  You can add a current trend to your kitchen with a small upgrade to a full kitchen renovation, let the creativity begin!  – DYH

  214. On The Move

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    Moving a large structure can seem like an impossible task, but that is not the case when you hire professionals like CNC Building Movers.  From homes and sheds to barns and garages, it can be moved!

    When hiring a building mover, it is best to reach out 3 months before the move is to happen.  This gives the company time to research the project.  They will need to know the type of building, accessibility to the building and they will look into each location and distance in between.  The move is not as simple as point A to point B, there are usually obstacles along the way such as bridges, narrow roads and hydro lines.  Moving a building is a big job and an experienced company will take the time to discuss the move with you and give you a quote based on the job start to finish.  Your mover will customize the project and sometimes the equipment specifically to you, as every building move is unique.

    Typically, when moving a home, your mover will insert steel beams under the home to lift and move it.  CNC Building Movers use air ride suspension axles and dollies.  This provides smooth lifting, loading and unloading capabilities in order to give your building or home a safe ride. Using air ride suspension is so smooth, you can keep appliance and building materials inside the structure you are moving and they will not get disturbed.  When hiring a building mover, make sure they are licensed and insured.  This will give you peace of mind during your move.

    The popularity of Ready to Move (RTM) homes has not slowed down.  Customers are realizing that they can get everything in an RTM as they would in an on-site build.  RTM homes are customizable, energy efficient and can be built to suit your families needs.  Emjay Homes, centrally located in Austin, Manitoba, has been in business for 10 years, though their experience in building RTMs far surpasses that.  They have an array of floor plans their customers can look through from cabins to homes.  The experienced contractors at Emjay Homes are there to work with you and make every home they build unique to their customer.  The quality and craftmanship shines through in their builds.

    When moving an RTM, keep in mind that the building move, new foundation, permits and utility hook ups are the home owners’ responsibility.  Your RTM builder and building mover are a wealth of information and work with many of these trades everyday.  Talk to them about the process and they can give you some recommendations.  If you are moving an existing home, you will have to disconnect the utilities (hydro, gas, water, sewer) at the location before it is moved, as well as set up at the new location.  When you move an existing home currently on a lot, you may have to remove trees or landscaping in order to lift the home and remove it.  This is also the case when you are building the foundation for the home you are moving; the mover will need plenty of room to get it into place safely on the foundation.

    Working with experienced businesses like CNC Building Movers and Emjay Homes will make the process go smoothly for you.  Contact them today if you have any questions. – DYH

  215. Letter from the Editor

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    Coming Together

    This year has flown by in the blink of eye!  If you feel like you haven’t held us in your hands for a while, it’s because you haven’t.

    We decided to only run the Spring Issue last year, as the planning for our Fall Issue was right in the thick of things.  We really weighed the pros and cons and decided that staying safe and keeping our advertisers safe was our top priority.  Now that regulations have been steady and maintained for some time, we felt it was the perfect time to be back.

    We could not be more excited to be back and so was everyone involved in this issue.  It really felt like a “coming together” with businesses in our community.  Behind the scenes, these businesses really went through a lot this year and are eager to see you again, if it’s in person, for curbside pickup or a phone call.  They are here for you!

    This past year has really put things into perspective for us and most people.  We will carefully consider where we spend our money and how that supports our community and local families.  It’s not just local businesses, there are lots of great employers in our community that put a roof over our heads and food on the table.  We are all in this together!

    We have always been a supporter for our community, and that is really where the idea for this magazine came from.  We want to help businesses showcase their craft to our readers and work hand in hand with them in order to do that.

    We want to thank our readers for all their support, keep the emails and phone calls coming because I love to refer great businesses!

    We hope you enjoy this issue,
    Jaime-Lynn and Stewart Dyck

  216. Letter from the Editor

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    During our free time this year, we did what many families in Canada did; we completed projects around our house.  Not too often are we given time like this, as we are usually running to and from activities all year long.  This pause in our life was necessary and gave us more time with family and to tackle projects that seem to sit, waiting patiently to be completed. 

    Since building our home 3 years ago, projects never seem to vanish.  From inside our home to landscaping our relatively bare 2 acres, we knew going into this, it would be a marathon and not a quick race.  This year I was excited to complete our bar area in the basement.  This was a project we had planned as we were building our home.   Make sure you check out the “My Idiah” article in this issue for the complete project!  In our yard, we worked on completing a rock wall/border from stones already on the property.  I love to sit back and stare at the finished project, reflecting on all the hard labour we put into it.  Now it’s my job to incorporate plants into the wall to soften the edges of the hardscape.  I really enjoy planting native plants from the prairies to create the finished look we like. 

    During family time this year we continued hiking and exploring our great province.  We are lucky to have some great paths in our own neighbourhood, but really enjoy navigating the Brandon Hills and Riding Mountain National Park.  Sometimes finding an activity that all family members like to do can be challenging and we found that hiking keeps us active and gives us time to talk while we are enjoying nature.  Golf is another activity we enjoy doing together for all the same reasons.  No matter the activity you like to do with your family, this is time everyone will remember.

    We made sure we appreciated what we were given this year; time.   It really goes by in the blink of eye and I hope you were able to spend some of those , not so often, free minutes with your loved ones in person or on zoom, crossed some items off your ‘to do list’ or sat and smelled the roses.

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  217. Benefits of an RTM

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    Located in the community of Austin, Manitoba, Emjay Homes Ltd. offers Ready To Move (RTM), as well as on-site construction, of new homes. 

    For some, on-site construction is best when it comes to size, shape and style of the home.  There are no constraints for an on- site build and you don’t have to look at site access and power lines when moving your home into its location.

    For others, the benefits and logistics of an RTM home out weigh the options.   

    Benefits of RTM homes

    They can be more cost effective for remote builds.  The builder doesn’t have to carry the costs of employee milage and lodging.

    They have the same building codes and inspections to pass compared to on-site builds.

    You receive a fully finished home and can work with the builder on finishes for the interior. 

    RTM homes can be completed faster as the structure and foundation can be done simultaneously with no time delays. 

    RTM builders offer warranty just like on-site builds.

    Emjay Homes Ltd. was established 10 years ago, but have years of experience that exceed that.  They pride themselves on high quality, excellence in service and value-added affordability.  If you are looking to build a new home, talk to them about your options today. 

    If an RTM is the right option for you, make sure you reach out to Craig Penner and his team at CNC Building Movers to discuss your moving time-line.  Contacting your building mover early on is recommended, as every move is unique and custom.  CNC Building Movers use safe and precise measures in all their moves, from houses and buildings to barns and sheds.  Their expertise can help you move your home or building across Western Canada and even into the United States with a smooth ride on their air ride suspension. 

    If a new home is in your future, consider all your building options while doing your research.  Talking with experienced businesses is a great asset when making your decision.  – DYH

  218. R&M Homes Building Up

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    Two-story homes are starting to pop up more and more while cities continue to expand.  Their smaller foot print on the lot makes them more attractive for smaller or unique size lots, while still giving you a yard to play in.

    If your lot size is not of concern, building a two-story home can give you the space you need for a larger garage, a pool, or entertaining area in your back yard.  Two-story homes are ideal layouts for multi-generational living.  You can create perfect separation areas for your family while all living under the same roof.

    Located on Marsh Crescent in Brandon, R&M Homes currently has a couple two-story homes waiting for you.  These modern, farmhouse inspired homes, though both 2-story layouts, are very different and unique in their own way.  While both boast the convenience of second floor laundry, a large kitchen pantry and open layout, each has their own special touches. 

    This beautiful open concept home features a sunken living room with fireplace and custom built-ins.  The 2-toned kitchen by BdnLux Kitchen and Design, has modern, texturized, natural oak melamine cabinetry featuring a texturized island in black, and upgrade quartz countertops.  The glass herringbone backsplash completes this timeless design.  The mudroom off the garage has storage, a main floor powder room and passage to the walk-through pantry.  The walk-through pantry from your mudroom room to your kitchen makes it easy and convenient for your family when you come home with groceries.  The access allows you to drop off your groceries as you enter your home, saving you time. 

    The second floor consists of 3 bedrooms, laundry and features a bonus room perfect for a kid’s space or a little “me time”.  The primary bedroom boasts a large ensuite bathroom with a luxurious free-standing soaker tub, separate custom tiled shower and water closet.  Continue through to a spacious walk-in closet.  No detail was left out in this beautiful home. 

    This home features a traditional open-concept layout with warm wood tones accented by black and gold.  An electric fireplace and custom built-ins are the highlight of the family room, while the kitchen from BdnLux Kitchen and Design showcases white shaker cabinetry paired with a natural maple island and upgraded quartz countertops.  The mudroom, located off the garage, is complete with storage and a powder room. 

    A unique custom metal railing brings you up to the second floor where you will find 3 bedrooms and conveniently located laundry. The spacious primary suite is complete with walk-in closet and features an ensuite with his/her sinks and custom tiled shower. The second floor has a jack and jill bathroom nestled in between the two remaining bedrooms, perfect for your growing children.  This allows access to the bathroom from both rooms. 

    These two beautiful, custom homes are available for viewing now.  Contact Mark from R&M Homes at 204-573-5676 to book at appointment or for more details.  – DYH

  219. My Idiah! Hidden Potential

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    Finding hidden potential in your home may not be as hard as you think.  You need a keen eye and the ability to transform a space into an area that is useful or just plain fun! 

    Closets and the area under your stairs have the most potential space to transform in your home.  Depending upon your needs, you may need extra open or closed storage for pantry items, winter clothes, or holiday decorations.  Creating shelves or closed cupboards and drawers, would be a great way to create extra storage for these items in either an extra closet or under your stairs.

    If you are short on space or have smaller rooms in your home, a desk area for work or school is another great way to use the space under your stairs.  You can create an area with a desk and shelves or take it a step further with custom built in furniture and cabinetry.  If you don’t need a desk area, a popular idea is to create built in book shelves under your stairs or even a reading nook. 

    If you have a young family, why not create a unique kid zone in this space. Kids love the idea of a space to call their own, while having some of their toys and books in a separate area tucked away, is a win-win for parents. 

    In our home, we were wanting a small wet bar that didn’t stand out and take up space.  We felt the area under the stairs was a perfect size for what we wanted.  We could have made the area even larger, but chose to create a storage closest at the end of the space.  Since we built new, we had the plumber run lines to that area so we would be ready to install the sink when it was time. 

    To create this space, we measured out what we would need in cabinetry with our small bar fridge at the end.  The space worked out perfect for standard cabinetry and then we just cut a countertop to length according to the angle of the stairs, which took a few cuts and careful maneuvering to get in.  We added floating shelves above to add extra storage and a light to keep the space bright while in use.  Having our electrician add the light and extra plugs really helped finish the space.  We can now make use of small appliances like blenders, microwave or popcorn maker on the counter. 

    Adding a plug in or two, by a professional, in this type of space can be very useful.  You can use it for a tv in your kids zone, or computers and chargers in your desk or reading nook space.  Creating a space that is personalized to you is very rewarding.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot and can be transformed in a short period of time.  Is there a space in your home that has the potential to be transformed?

  220. Make The Alternative Choice

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    Curb appeal adds value to your home; but if you are not wanting to sell your home, what is the benefit and why should you care about it?  First, the pleasure of enjoying your yard while you live there is important to a lot of people.  Second, taking the time to properly landscape your yard will create less work and save you time in the long run.  Invest time and money now for a long term benefit and enjoyment. 

    While in the first stages of planning your landscape project, look for inspiration.  This can be in your neighbourhood, in magazines or online.  Searching online can be very convenient, as you can save pictures to a folder or in Pinterest, and keep track of what inspires you.  Once you have gathered images, look for a common trend, theme or style.  This will tell you what you like and give you a great starting point.  From there, you should create a drawing of your yard where structures, trees and fixtures are located.  This is the first step in the future plans of your yard.  If this step seems a bit daunting to you, this is the perfect time to reach out to professionals. The experienced staff at Alternative Landscaping Ltd have been creating beautiful yards for over 23 years.  They can help you from the first stages of creating your project to full completion if you choose.  Alternative has the software to create you beautiful 2D and 3D imaging of your yard to help you visualize your project.  This is great in the planning stages as you can get a feel for where space is and how to work with it. 

    An online survey suggests that 57% of gardeners struggle with design and planning.  This is referring to garden style, arranging beds, pairing plants and getting started.  Hiring a professional can alleviate the majority of these stresses for you and help get you started in creating a beautiful landscape.  When speaking with a professional, like Alternative Landscape Ltd, you need to discuss what your needs are.  The list can be as long or short as you like. 

    Some of those needs may include:

    • Pool
    • Patio
    • Outdoor Kitchen
    • Play Structure/Area
    • Water Feature
    • Focal Point
    • Seating Area
    • Fire Pit
    • Garden
    • Fence

    The benefit of hiring Alternative Landscaping Ltd, when creating your conceptual design, is that they will be efficient due to experience, have fresh eyes on the project, know your climate and what plants will thrive, and can be a project manager if necessary.  The price you pay for this will save you time and money in the end.   

    Some things you might want to keep in mind during this process:

    Animals – do you need to consider deer resistant plants or plants safe for your family pet? 

    Cost – only do what you can afford.  Budgeting and planning for several phases of your project is a great idea to spread out the cost over time. 

    Maintenance – a well landscaped yard should save you on maintenance in the future.  It may take a few years to mature, but your goal should be to enjoy your yard and not be extensively working on it.   

    Sun Position – you need to know what areas of your yard get full sun, partial sun or shade now and in the future once your yard matures. 

    Privacy – do you need to create privacy in areas of your yard from neighbours or the street?    Consider a structure like a fence, screen or pergola, or plant a tree or shrub.   

    Drainage – having proper drainage in your yard will save you from excess water on your property.   Water that doesn’t flow away can harm the foundation of your home or create soil erosion in your yard.  You must also be mindful of your neighbour’s property as well.

    If working in your yard and doing some of the hard labour is what you like, you can hire Alternative Landscaping Ltd to start you off on the right foot.  You can use them for any stage of the project or the complete task, it’s up to you.  Alternative is conveniently open year round at 34th Street and Patricia Avenue, to help you with any project you are tackling.  Their yard showcases a wonderful selection of pavers, retaining walls, gravel and sod.   The green house is an inviting space to help inspire you any season of the year.  From the initial needs of your project like containers, fertilizer or dirt to indoor and outdoor plants, trees and shrubs, they are a one stop shopping experience with the knowledge to back it. 

  221. Budget Blinds Celebrating 10 Years

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    When October rolls around this year, the Swarbrick family will be popping champagne, and they will have plenty of reason to celebrate.

    For starters, it will be the 10th anniversary of their business venture in Brandon. Sue and Gord Swarbrick took a giant leap of faith in 2011 when they uprooted their family from Saskatchewan to move to a city where they didn’t know a single person.

    “It started with our oldest son who was employed as an installer with Budget Blinds. I then joined them as a style consultant, and we fell in love with the business. We felt that it suited both of our skill sets and decided to peek around to see what other territories were open. It turned out to be the Brandon-Westman territory that was available and here we are a decade later,” said Sue Swarbrick, Budget Blinds Owner.

    Budget Blinds is a North American-based company that is a successful franchising system made up of like-minded, small business owners. In Swarbrick’s case, their franchise is family-run and operated. Gord is an installer and their two sons Riley and Shane are both consultants. As well, full-time installer, Laurie Smitzniuk, has become a valued family member after spending close to six years serving alongside the team. With two other loyal family members (employees) retiring recently, Swarbrick is currently training replacements for these administrative positions. 

    “The first six months were very scary, but by the time we got to our first year, we were hiring style consultants to keep up,” said Swarbrick. “It has just grown exponentially year over year. The biggest thrill for us, and truly it is not cliché, are our customers. We would not have succeeded here without building the relationships that we have. It has been a great area to do business in.”

    The main showroom and warehouse for Budget Blinds is at 381 Park Avenue East, and they have a second showroom in Morden after purchasing the Southeast territory two and a half years ago. As they prepare for their 10th anniversary, part of the celebratory plans include renovating their showroom in Brandon with the project getting underway in the coming weeks.

    However, with five vans on the road, three of which are loaded with product samples from more than a dozen different vendors loaded in the vehicles, Budget Blinds is built on the rolling showroom concept and continues to deliver on that.

    “We go to our customers for in-home consultations. We cover a big territory, and we know our customers appreciate that and see the value in the service and product that we provide,” said Swarbrick.

    In terms of product, Swarbrick said that a key to their magic is the alliance that the company has with various vendors. Budget Blinds has access to 27 vendors through their Vendor Alliance Program, which means they can present customers with more options and price points than any other company.

    “We’re sourcing fabrics and products literally from all over the world. We’re not at all limited as to what we can put in people’s homes, plus the vendors treat us like royalty so, we can pass that on to our customers. That means along with an amazing selection of products, we have warranties and services that no one else can offer. That is our magic,” said Swarbrick.

    Throughout the last 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Budget Blinds team was running at full speed. As families spent more time at home with less travel and fewer activities, many chose to update their decor, renovate their houses, or build additions.

    “People were at home so they could indulge; many chose to spend money on updating their window coverings. Fortunately for us, the blind industry wasn’t affected by production delays; the only thing that slowed us down a bit was shipping delays. It has been a very busy time for us and we are grateful.”

    Working hard to stay on top of the trends and ensuring they have products available that their clients are asking for is an important part of the business as well.

    “As with any industry, our products are constantly evolving. The Smart Home Automation we offer today is reliable and convenient. More and more consumers are choosing Smart Products for their homes,” said Swarbrick. “Drapery has also made a huge comeback, specifically over the past year in our market. When we add the softness of a custom, well-made drape to a room, our customers stand back and say in wonder…why didn’t I do that sooner?

  222. Windsor Plywood Workshops

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    Though working with epoxy seems to be all the rage right now, it was created in the 1930’s and became very popular with the artistic crowd in the 1940’s and 50’s.  People have been using epoxy for decades to create beautiful pieces like table tops, jewelry, coasters and charcuterie boards and so much more. 

    Windsor Plywood is a great local business that can provide you with all your epoxy pouring needs.  If this is something you don’t want to try on your own and would appreciate some guidance, they offer ecopoxy classes during their closed hours, throughout the year.   Reach out to them and find out when their next class is. 

    Their most popular classes for ecopoxy are cutting boards, charcuterie boards and river tables.  They will provide you the board and resin when you sign up for a class and you can then choose what colours you would like to use on your board.  You are always welcome to bring your own as well, if there is a special piece you have on hand and would like to use.  Creating a river table is a very personalized project.  It can be as simple as pouring epoxy between the 2 boards to create a beautiful table or board, or you can add items to the epoxy to create a wonderful effect.  Adding natural items like stones and wood can really bring a natural feel to the project.  Or you can personalize it with coins, jewels, toys and memorabilia.  You want to stay away from items that have a high-water content like fresh flowers/food, or anything you would want back.  If you want to incorporate flowers, food or bugs, it is best to make sure they are dried out first.   

    A new class Windsor Plywood will be offering is Lichtenberg Fractal Burning on charcuterie boards.  One of the reasons this is so exciting, is due to the fact that this is a very dangerous process and something that you can not and should not do on your own.  The professionals at Windsor Plywood are able to do the fractal burning for you, then you can finish it with ecopoxy and bring home your amazing creation.  Fractal burning is created by applying an electrically conductive solution to wood and then following up with high voltage electricity through a transformer using a prong.  This process burns a unique pattern into the wood, called the Lichtenberg figures or fractal burns. 

    Reach out to Windsor Plywood in Brandon or follow them on their Face Book page to find out when their next class is.  You can also book private classes if you have a group or organization that would like to try this out.  Make sure you visit them to find in stock epoxy kits and supplies for high end wood working and more.  – DYH

  223. KM Construction

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    “Our highest goal is  your satisfaction”

    – KM Construction


    For decades, KM Construction has been building quality homes in the heart of Southern Manitoba. 

    Even though they are carefully constructed on site in Cartwright, Manitoba, these homes put their roots across the Prairie provinces and into North Dakota and Montana.  Extra care and attention is given during construction to ensure a smooth move to it’s final destination. 

    Designing your new house will take some time, as you need to think about the needs of your family and your personal style.  But you don’t need to do this alone, the experienced staff at KM Construction can walk you through the process from drafting your dream home to selecting your cabinetry and paint colours.  They offer an array of samples and in-house displays to help you in selection process. 

    If you are in the market for a ready to move home, contact Keith or Kyle at KM Construction and see what they have to offer.

  224. Rotary Villas at Crocus Gardens Your Golden Years

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    When you hit a certain age, one of the things you look forward to the most is your golden years. Retirement is supposed to be worry-free, stress-free, relaxing, and liberating. After all, it is a time in someone’s life when the calendar is filled with only the events and activities of your choice and, you are no longer obligated to report to work.

    While many people have a vision of how they want their retirement to look, the plan they may have had has likely shifted following months of lockdowns and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic. If one could sum up how people felt during this time, the first word that comes to mind is lonely.

    Many seniors and retirees spent months all alone in their homes, apartments, or condominiums. While their homey spaces may have once offered a place of solitude and comfort, the time spent in isolation away from family and friends may have some people re-thinking their living arrangements.

    Many people are starting to think, what if this were to happen again, would I still want to have the same living arrangements? Jody Kehler, Executive Director with Rotary Villas At Crocus Gardens, said that of the seniors she’s spoken with recently, many are considering other living options, including all-inclusive retirement living.

    “Throughout the pandemic, we were always able to provide our residents at Rotary Villas with all the essential services, and each day they would see friendly, familiar faces. We certainly had challenges, but that just meant that we had to step outside the box, be more creative, and think of different ways to keep our residents active and entertained while at the same time protecting them,” said Kehler.

    Although there were many hardships, especially during the peak of the pandemic, there were also many lessons to be learned.

    “We had to adjust and change gears. One minute I was a leasing coordinator, the next I was an entertainer. We did what we needed to because we realized that at times our residents didn’t need a nurse, they didn’t need a coordinator, they needed someone to bring a smile to their faces. We did that, we had fun, and we all got through it together,” said Tanis Low, Leasing Coordinator for Rotary Villas.

    With high vaccination rates among seniors and the tight restrictions of the pandemic behind us, the staff at Rotary Villas are now grateful to provide more regular programming and recreational services.

    “We have a vigorous recreation program with a creative project going on at all times. In addition to our programming, there is a healthy living centre, games room, billiard lounge, and a library. And soon, we’ll once again start offering excursions. We’ll plan day trips to the casino, to museums, or head out to a nearby small town to do some exploring. There’s always so much going on, I can’t imagine anybody ever being bored here,” said Kehler.

    Although all-inclusive retirement living has many benefits, it is still a big decision on when it’s the right time to take the leap and permanently change your living arrangements.

    If you think all-inclusive living at Rotary Villas is similar to booking a trip on the most deluxe cruise ship, then you are correct. It is, especially in terms of all the services and amenities that they provide. The difference in coming on board is that you don’t experience a huge financial setback.

    Some of the lovely one-bedroom suites at Rotary Villas are available at $2995, which provides you with three meals a day, 24-hour security, light housekeeping services, use of the shuttle and recreation services, plus cable, Internet, and telephone.

    “We work through scenarios with prospective residents all the time. When you are in your own home and start adding up all your monthly and yearly expenses, things such as hydro, cable, Internet, groceries, vehicle insurance, gas, property taxes, and so on you soon realize that it’s often equal to what you are paying now or sometimes less. Plus, when you’re living on your own, you don’t always have delicious and nutritious meals, companionship, housekeeping services, or all the other great amenities that we offer,” said Low.

  225. Brian Baker – A Second Chance

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    At 19 years of age, all Brian Baker had on his mind was the dream of being a firefighter.  He was two weeks away from graduating Fire College in Brandon, and his future seemed to be laid out for him.  All that changed in the blink of eye, following an accident that would forever change his life.

    In May of 1992, Brian volunteered to participate in a 217 km run from Winnipeg to Brandon in support of the Firefighters Burn Unit.  Their procession of vehicles travelled along the Trans-Canada Highway with lights flashing as the participants took turns in the run.   After just passing MacGregor around 4am, tragedy hit as the vehicle Brian and several others were in, was rear-ended by a semi trailer whose driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.  Five were injured, including Brian who was rushed to a Winnipeg hospital with serious injuries, including multiple fractures to both legs.  The next 15 weeks of Brain’s life would include the discussion of possible amputation of his legs, multiple surgeries and the realization that the dream of becoming a firefighter was no longer.

    Over the next 4-5 years, Brian would endure more surgeries and physical therapy while waiting for the case to settle.  During this time, Brian and his friend Jeremy Collyer purchased a cabin in Clear Lake.  While living in the cabin part-time (Jeremy full-time) they renovated and flipped it.  This led Brian to purchasing a 4-plex in Brandon and with the help of Florence Zawatsky at Martin-Liberty Realty, starting his career/transition into real estate.  Florence saw the potential and drive in Brian and helped guide him toward a path that is going on strong for 24 years. 

    Brian showed his dedication to the industry when he became President of the Brandon Real Estate Board in 2001, 4 years after becoming a real estate agent, then sitting on the Manitoba Real Estate Board for 1 year.   Following this, he was a Director for the Brandon Chamber of Commerce from 2002-2004 and served on the Manitoba Securities Commission for a 3-year term.   He contributes his success to being a hard worker from being raised on a farm south of Brandon where hard work and determination was necessary.   

    Brian became a partner with Royal Lepage/Martin-Liberty 15 years ago and has been in the Top 10 of Royal Lepage agents from 2010-2021, usually sitting near the top.  His extensive knowledge in the industry helps his clients find what they are looking for while he negotiates the best price for them.  One of his clients says, “We hired Brian as our real estate agent when we moved back to Brandon.  He was able to tell us about different neighbourhoods and the schools in each area.  We have since used him to sell our parent’s home and find a revenue property.  He gets the job done!” 

    Being a graduate from the Fire College and 23 surgeries later, most recent was April 2021, Brian Baker’s career path is not where he thought it would be when he turned 19 years old.  But he felt like he was given a second chance, something his family and friends will forever be
    thankful for.  – DYH

  226. Wine Advice: Canadian Wine

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    Most wine consumers think wine and immediately think grapes. Although by far, the majority of this fermented beverage is produced with grapes, it is also produced from various fruits and vegetables, flowers, and weeds, which explains why wine is made commercially in every province other than the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut. This may change.

    A University of Texas study projected the effects of global warming will result in the ability to grow grapes in the Yukon by mid-2040’s. We have already witnessed wine-making areas in France revise historic laws restricting grape varieties, introducing varieties suitable to a changing climate.

    Manitoba’s two wineries, Rigby Orchards Estate Winery of Killarney, established in 1999 and Manitoba’s first winery, and Shrugging Doctor Beverage Company of Winnipeg, both produce wine from fruit other than grapes. Rigby Orchards produces saskatoon and certified organic apple and haskap wine, while Shrugging Doctor’s portfolio includes raspberry wine, and a strawberry rhubarb blend.

    Canada is internationally re-known for, and the world’s top producer, of Icewine, wine made from grapes frozen on the vine. There is one million litres of Ice wine produced in Canada annually and if one requires proof of its international appeal, a trip through Canadian airport duty-free shops serves as confirmation. First produced in BC in 1972, Icewine is made in all four of the largest wine producing provinces. Ontario is responsible for 90% of total Canadian production, made from the grape varietals Vidal, Riesling, and Cabernet Franc. Although Icewine is the most famous of Canadian wines, Canada has received international recognition for red, white, and sparkling wine.

    Basically, there are two types of wine produced in Canada, 100% Canadian (including Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA)) and International Canadian Blended (ICB) wine “made from imported and/or domestic wines”. 

    Liquor stores display 100% Canadian wine separate from “Blended and Bottled in Canada”, “Cellared in Canada”, and “International Blend from Imported and Domestic Wines”, acknowledging 100% Canadian wines as those made with Canadian grapes and others as those whose contents may include foreign grapes or wines. International Canadian Blended wine competes against other wine in the entry-level category. Priced at approximately half that of mid-price VQA designated wine they are a viable option for those seeking value wine.

    Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) labelled wines, a term only applicable to wine from Ontario (VQA) and British Columbia (BCVQA), are monitored by provincial bodies who oversee and enforce VQA standards and regulations, rules that guarantee quality and authenticity, grape and wine origin, production standards, varietal content, and labelling requirements, VQA wine must also undergo tasting and sensory evaluation to ensure the wine reflects regional terroir (the taste and character imparted by the environment where the wine is produced).

    VQA wines, thought to be superior, do indeed meet strict regulations, however, wineries must apply for VQA status which includes a fee. Certain wineries within the two VQA provinces chose not to apply while all wineries located outside Ontario and B.C. cannot apply for VQA status simply due to location. 100% Canadian wines, which are not VQA certified, are quality wines made from grapes grown in Canada.

    There are over 600 Canadian wineries and 31,000 acres under vine, most vineyards located between 30-50 degrees latitude north. Canada’s varied soils, topography and climate affords multiple suitable viticulture areas. Wine Tourism generates 1.5 billion dollars and shows continued growth with public interest in on-site wine tastings, events, dinning and lodging. The industry employs 37,000 workers.

    Canada’s primary grape-growing, wine-making areas are the Niagara Peninsula, Okanagan Valley, other areas in both B.C. and Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Most growing areas are  considered cool-climate zones. According to Wines of Canada, there are 284 wineries in B.C., where the top red grapes are Merlot and Pinot Noir and top whites Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Ontario records 185 wineries, with Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc the leading reds, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris top whites, Quebec has 125 wineries, Nova Scotia 22. Both Quebec and Nova Scotia production focuses on hybrid grape varieties.

    Most Canadian wine is made from European, Vitis vinifera, grape varieties, although there are many hybrid grape varieties employed in Canadian wine production. Vintners chose grape varieties for their flavour and aromatic profile as well as the ability to thrive in the soil, climate, and topography of the area.

    Canadian wineries employ a range of grape-growing and wine-making methods including sustainable, organic, and biodynamic practises, information found on the label. Wines may also be labelled as vegan, gluten-free, and low-calorie.

    Canadian wine is produced in a wide range of styles, ranging from dry through sweet, fortified and sparkling, the later produced mainly by the traditional winemaking method, the same method used for Champagne production. Over 200 Canadian wineries produce sparkling wine.

    Next to beer, wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Manitoba where consumers prefer red wine over white, followed by rosé and sparkling. Canadian wines feature prominently on wine lists in BC, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, but unfortunately this is not so, in many other provinces.

  227. Dine-In or Take Out?

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    Going out to eat in a restaurant is more than just satisfying your appetite, it is a place to break bread and gather with family, friends and colleagues.

    This past year, the restaurant industry has been hit hard by employee layoffs and a decline in sales due to closures and capacity limits.  Unfortunately, it will not rebound overnight as restrictions lift, but restaurants are being creative and adapting in order to keep their doors open.    

    Pick up and delivery service has been one of the top focuses for many restaurant owners, including Ben Hernandez from Benny’s Restaurant & Catering Services.  Benny’s Restaurant has an up-to-date website with great online ordering features that made them easily assessable to their customers this past year.  Not only can you order everything from food and beverage services online, you can also email, phone or use a third-party delivery service to place an order with them directly.

    Prior to 2020, Ben says they would receive around 3 pick-up or delivery orders a week.  Once the pandemic and restrictions hit, that changed to up to 40 orders a day.  There has been a significant growth in this service and Ben doesn’t see it going away anytime soon, even after restrictions lift. 

    Many restaurants had to invest in their websites to create ordering options for customers in order to stay operational.  At a time when sales are at an all time low, restaurants were pouring money into their businesses just to stay afloat.  From updating websites to include ordering options, to new point of sale equipment to make receiving payment easier on deliveries, these new expenses did not slow down.  If restaurants wanted to open their doors, they would need to make adjustments to their dining areas as well.  Ben hired professionals to create permanent partitions between his booths.  This forward thinking gave him the ability to have customers safely dine in now, but it will be there for future use, even just to create a sound barrier between booths.  Ben says, “They have a responsibility and will take what measures are necessary to keep everyone safe – customers, staff and his family.” 

    Customers rely on restaurants to balance their busy home/work life.  As people grow comfortable again and we see restrictions lift, dine-in will start to get back to normal, but in the meantime, support your local restaurant with pick-up, delivery or dine-in.