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November, 2011 |

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Santa gives a hand to Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County this past summer opened its ReStore, where folks can buy home improvement goods such as furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances.

The “green improvement” store also accepts donations. Acceptable donations include kitchen or bath cabinets, countertops, windows, appliances, re-usable building materials and other items listed on its website,

What’s more, the store benefits a good cause: projects in Ontario County undertaken by Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.

Habitat volunteers, with financial donations, to build homes for those in need. Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County is an affiliate of the national organization and is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization responsible for its own fundraising.

A visit with Santa at the ReStore — this Saturday, Dec. 3 — is also a chance to learn more about this effort toward improved community housing.

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Tricking the eye to limit portion sizes

From The Wall Street Journal:

A series of experiments by two U.S. researchers found participants served themselves significantly more food if the color contrast between the dinnerware and the food was low—for example, cream-colored pasta on a white plate.

Overserving was reduced, however, when the contrast was more pronounced, for instance, by offering pasta with red tomato sauce on a white plate, the study found.

The opposite occurred when dinnerware was contrasted with an underlying tablecloth.

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Frat water

WSU fired head football coach Paul Wulff on Tuesday, and the school’s athletic director said he hopes a new coach will inject energy into the Cougars’ apathetic fan base.

That either means the new coach must build an exciting, eight-win team, or simply make sure that every Wazzu frat house is well-supplied with Natty Light on weekends.

Everybody remember where we parked: The latest cool thing from Google is digital mapping on your Android device of America’s big-box stores and gargantuan super malls.

Hey, the Google engineer who successfully mapped Ikea stores deserves a MacArthur genius grant.

Mix-a-lot: Snohomish airbrush artist Nicole Dinardo’s very cool customized KitchenAid stand mixers have been snapped up by very famous people, including Katy Perry, Tori Spelling and Britney Spears.

And we’ll bet the celebs’ maids appreciate the mixers, especially when they need to whip up a batch of gluten-free red currant scones because Miss Britney will wake up soon and will want her breakfast.

— Mark Carlson, Herald staff

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Wine and Sand Makes for Great Fun at Sloss!

ArtBLT.comWith a glass of wine and a little imagination, a belle can have a great time anywhere, but we truly can say that we had fun this cold Birmingham night at Sloss Furnace. Let me start off by saying that though Shermika and I travel all seasons, including winter, we don’t like the cold. We had no idea how cold it was until we got in the car to head downtown.

The sis and I are Junior Patrons of the Birmingham Museum of Art; there are several events throughout the year one can attend. We heard good things about their Iron Pour Party, so we decided to attend. To say the least, we had a ball. Sloss is rumored to be haunted, but we didn’t see any ghosts. Though I like to watch real ghost stories on TV, I most def don’t want to see a ghost in person.

Everyone had their own piece of sand.

It was very cold and dark, but there were plenty of tall portable heaters that saved our night. There are so many things that I can appreciate about Birmingham, including iron. In case you didn’t know, Birmingham was known back in the day for iron. Our city still produces the most unique iron in the country. We make everything from cast iron skillets to cast iron art. From sand and with cast iron we made one-of-a-kind paper weights.

I wrote out the word: Love with the heart as the “O!” Shermika made a “S” that the word love next to it!The ladies at our table made some cute designs!

To put it simple, we carved our our own design with a nail on a slab of sand and had some iron artists pour hot lava-like iron inside the sand until it hardened. Since sand doesn’t burn, the mold is created beautifully.  Have you ever heard of doing something like this? It was my first time and I can honestly say that I look forward to doing this again. Check out our video below. You can see how they pour the hot iron inside of our sand blocks. There are a few more pics to see below, too!

Click here to view our video and more pics of the iron party!!

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One stop kitchen store Cookscape en-route to franchise concept through Francorp – Your

One stop kitchen store Cookscape en-route to franchise concept through Francorp

November 21st, 2011: COOKSCAPE a one-stop kitchen store offering comprehensive kitchen solutions has associated with FRANCORP a part of Franchise India Group, an ace integrated franchise and retail solutions company in Asia to strategize its expansion path in India.


FRANCORP is supporting COOKSCAPE by preparing the franchise concept evaluations and framework development; economics and management of franchise network; guidelines for franchise operating systems and manuals; marketing guidelines and franchisee recruitment process; performance management and reporting system; franchisee revenue model and fees structuring and finally preparing legal agreements- guidelines.


COOKSCAPE is a well designed store with brightly lit interiors and a thematic display of different kitchen layouts and kitchen products. It is manned by a team of well trained and motivated personnel, skilled in all aspects of kitchen design, kitchen installation and offering comprehensive kitchen solutions. A never before kitchen store, COOKSCAPE offers the entire range of modular kitchens and kitchen products, all arranged and organized in the most convenient and user friendly manner. The services offered by COOKSCAPE are taking the kitchen measurements; Designing of the  kitchen; Supply, installation and commissioning of the kitchen; Design and installation of the kitchen counter;  Selection of kitchen supporting systems and kitchen appliances; Kitchen financing; Installation of kitchen products; Post sales service of kitchen products.


The various products that encompass COOKSCAPE are modular kitchen systems; kitchen accessories; kitchen counters; chimneys and kitchen hoods; built in hobs, barbeque, deep fry; cooking ranges, dish washers; kitchen sinks and faucets; water purifiers and food waste disposers; built in ovens and micro wave ovens. COOKSCAPE also offers other home woodwork requirements like the Wardrobes, Show Case Units, Pooja Cabinets and TV units.


The Company has tied up with Baumatic, a UK incorporated Company who have their head quarters now in Prague, The Czech Republic, for their requirement of Chimney, Hobs, Heating and Cooling Appliances including Dishwashers and Washing Machines. Orchid Designs Private Limited are Baumatic’s sole Indian partner.

The Company also has tied up with EWE, Austria for exclusive imported kitchens and has exclusive showrooms displaying EWE kitchens in Chennai and Bangalore. EWE, is part of the group Nobia, who have 24 brands under them and are the largest manufacturers of Kitchens in Europe.


Mr. Gaurav Marya. Managing Director – Francorp on this occasion opines “We are happy to account COOKSCAPE in the overall review and recommendation program. The concept of modular kitchen franchise is mostly elite in India and has a great scope in the market. The sector has immense potential given its nascent growth. Tackling huge demand for modular kitchens require new and enterprising players, who are ready to exploit the segment with their commitment and business acumen. Gradually, it is percolating down to the upper middle class as well. This provides for perfect ingredients for a successful biz concept.”


According to the industry survey, the Market share for the Modular Kitchens in the west is presently hundred percent while in the oriental and Eastern countries it is sixty to seventy percent. In extreme contrast to this, India presents a major business opportunity for the Franchisee, in that, the market share is less than 0.1 percentage of the total kitchen market . In the next five years, a shift of 5% towards Modular Kitchens in Urban India with a consequent impact on Semi–urban markets is envisaged. This would mean a market size of a few thousand crores which is bound to grow exponentially in the years to come.


About Francorp


Since its inception in 1976, Francorp has been the unsurpassed leader of the Franchise Consulting Industry globally. Over the years, Francorp based out of Chicago, has assisted companies in virtually every market segment with its patented processes and unmatched expertise. The clients include companies like Bridgestone, XEROX, Shell Oil, Hallmark Cards, Encyclopedia Britannica, Mad Science Group, Pollo Camperio, Ace Hardware, BP, Fruehauf, and Gant, to name a few. In India, Francorp has associated with Franchise India Holdings Ltd. and has coalesced in an experience of 34 years.


For media enquiries, please contact: Ruchika Malhotra| PR Corporate Communications Manager| 09311911705|

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When buying cookware, go for quality

Good cooks or even aspiring cooks love good cookware and culinary gadgets.

The right pan or kitchen tool makes cooking more enjoyable and renders better results. Whether you are thinking a major purchase or simply stocking stuffers, there are many excellent choices. Why not give the cooks in your life a gift they actually will use this year?

On Saturday morning, I invite you to stop by Cooking at Bonnie’s Place, where I will be conducting a complimentary cooking demonstration at 10 a.m. I will discuss cookware and various gadgets as I demonstrate Pasta Fagiola, a hearty Italian vegetable soup from my cookbook “Cooking With Bonnie: Farm to France.” I would love to have you stop by, watch the demonstration and pick up your free copy of the recipe. I also will be autographing my cookbook. And as always, I welcome your questions about food and cooking.

If you are thinking of purchasing cookware, quality does make a difference. The first set of pans I purchased many years ago seemed to be a bargain, but they were far from “good” pans. Learning to cook with my “bargain” purchase was frustrating — most things scorched no matter how much I stirred, and my over-easy eggs always ended up scrambled as they would stick like glue to the bottom of the skillet. Some pans actually buckled and rocked when on the burner. Eventually, I upgraded my cookware, and my culinary skills and joy of cooking suddenly improved.

Here is an excellent question from one of our readers who is contemplating making a major purchase.

Q. It is time I retired my older set of aluminum pans and want to purchase a really good set of cookware for myself. Where do I start? The choices are overwhelming. What kind of material is best?

A. I prefer stainless steel and use it almost exclusively because it looks good and is easy to clean. But you need to look for quality. Some are lightweight and will not cook well.

Stainless pans that are “clad” or have layers of metal, with one of them being copper, are excellent conductors of heat and will cook beautifully.

Look for pans that are easy to grasp because they create less stress on the wrist. Non-reactive pans are a good option, too, because you can cook anything in them.

There are several good brands available. Regardless of what brand you select, pick the pans up and see how they feel in your hand — you will be using them frequently and want comfortable pans.

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Heather Lynn Photographie

What do hot rods and Kitchen Aid mixers have in common?

They both have curves.

And they both become a whole lot sexier wrapped in a beautiful paint job.

About two years ago, Nicole Dinardo of Snohomish discovered that she could combine an art form most often found on racy showmobiles with the world of cooking.

She began using her airbrush to paint original thematic scenes, landscapes and retro-looking pin-up girls on KitchenAid stand mixers.

By mixing these two worlds, the 30-year-old Dinardo created a thriving niche business.

Today, celebrities like Britney Spears and Katy Perry own Dinardo’s highly stylized KitchenAid mixers. A famous chef prominently displays Dinardo’s work in his personal kitchen.

But why spend between $350 and $1,400 for your KitchenAid mixer to be all artsy?

It’s for the “pop” value.

“KitchenAid mixers — everybody either owns one or wants one,” Dinardo said. “It’s the hot rod for your kitchen.”

Dinardo has found that as people customize their kitchens they want to make personal statements in their choices of colors, textures and appliances.

To help achieve that personal statement for her clients, Dinardo creates one-of-a-kind airbrushed scenes on the mixers, either following the wishes of a client or ideas of her own.

Clients can order the KitchenAid mixers new through Dinardo’s website or ship their mixers to her.

The end product is a paint job that compares to a quality finish on your car. If you could drive one of these KitchenAids down the highway, the paint would hold up to rock chips and still keep its shine, Dinardo said.

Dinardo is a driven perfectionist, sometimes taking up to 12 hours to prepare a mixer before the paint process begins.

“There’s one thing in my personality that makes me think anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” Dinardo said. “I won’t send it out the door until I’m 100 percent satisfied.”

Dinardo’s masterful airbrush technique has made these mixers a medley of artwork and working appliance, and a must-have for celebrities.

Khloe Kardashian had Dinardo paint a 22-carate gold filigree on her mixer against a distressed coffee brown background.

Britney Spears’ mixer has a floral flair.

Katy Perry’s thing is pink so Dinardo did a pink-on-pink leopard print spiked with a vintage pin-up girl on the side.

Dinardo just finished a mixer for actress Tori Spelling, who loves yellow. Dinardo covered the appliance with canary yellow “cloverish” shapes and airbrushed capital “Ts” inside some of the clovers.

Hubert Keller, chef at Fleur de Lys restaurant in San Francisco, loves his mixer so much that he wrote Dinardo a letter.

“He wrote to tell me that when he gives people a tour of his house, the mixer is the first thing on the tour,” Dinardo said.

Dinardo just finished designing a mixer for chef and television personality Mario Batali, who had the artist incorporate the color orange with images of an Italian race car and the flag of Italy.

A lifetime of drawing and creating as an artist helps Dinardo in the creative process of designing a mixer, but it took a while for Dinardo herself to find this niche.

After an abusive marriage, Dinardo decided she needed to find a purpose in life.

In 2004, she called Mike Lavallee, owner of Killer Paint in Snohomish, a company known worldwide for its custom auto designs, and asked if she could be an apprentice. Lavallee, who also specializes in fine art, portraits, wildlife and murals, accepted Dinardo into the world of airbrush paint.

While raising two children — a daughter who is now 8 and a son who is now 11 — and commuting two hours to Killer Paint, Dinardo completed her training but got more than a skill.

Lavallee hired Dinardo to help manage the shop. Eventually, the two struck up a romance. That was seven years ago.

While Dinardo worked for Lavallee, her mother bought her a KitchenAid for her birthday, presenting it with the caveat that she’d have to get her airbrush out and paint it. Dinardo painted hers and then painted her mom’s. Then she painted one for her friend. Then it became an obsession.

Dinardo thought, “Well I love this so much why not paint these mixers as a business?”

So Un-Amore was launched.

Along with designing Kitchen Aid mixers, Dinardo will also airbrush designs on skateboards and guitar cases. She also has her own line of aprons that she embroiders.

Dinardo is airbrushing like mad these days, trying to finish a rather massive order for the Academy Awards ceremony.

Dinardo is working on designing and painting 30 mixers, each one to become part of a “swag bag” for Hollywood stars and starlets who will stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hollywood during the Oscar celebration.

“The designs are really cool and elaborate and I’m going crazy with Oscar themes,” Dinardo said. “They are going to be super glamorous with the guys’ version having a more masculine approach, and completely over the top for the ladies.”

Un Amore
On her website,, artist Nicole Dinardo offers clients KitchenAid mixers that have a one-of-a-kind, custom, airbrushed design. She calls them “kitchen couture.” Call her at 425-377-3080.

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