May 4, 2005 | By: Laura Skillman

Learning to mix the old with new, interesting pieces was just one topic covered at the spring design seminar of the Pennyrile Area Extension Homemakers.

Trends and Traditions also offered downsizing tips for empty nesters, a look at how wood can enhance a home, care tips for cherished wooden pieces and decorating with quilts. More than 130 Homemakers from at least nine counties participated in the annual seminar.

 “There are a lot of wonderful things available right now in decorating,” said Christine Rivera, Caldwell County family and consumer sciences agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. “This is a chance for them to explore and see what’s available and how to take care of what they already have. It is spring and you kind of want a new look in your home.”

 Also, many Homemakers are empty nesters and are thinking of downsizing their living space. The seminar offered them ideas on blending old heirlooms with new things that are available, she said.

Jerrell James, chair of the Housing, Energy and Environment committee for the Pennyrile area, said there is a little something for everyone at the event, which also attracted some husbands.

 “We have some very good Extension agents in the area who have good contacts, and much of the information comes from the University of Kentucky,” she said. “I’m a collector so the redesign is very interesting.”

James said the segment on wood went along with the Housing, Energy and Environment topic for the past couple of years – forestry and forest products.

Terry Conners, UK forest products specialist, brought along cabinets to show seminar participants. Conners generally works with industry, so addressing the Homemakers was a new experience.

“I was asked to talk about the richness of wood and I was trying to figure out what that might mean to a Homemaker like my mother or wife,” he said. “Also, I live in an older house and am looking at the situation that I will eventually be remodeling this house and living in it until I retire and beyond that. So, I was looking at the opportunity to talk to Homemakers about kitchen cabinet selection, not in terms of style, but in the look and the way wood can affect the flavor and feel of a room.”

And it is not limited to cabinets.

“I don’t like to think of wood flooring as just carpentry or flooring, I look at it as furniture. It affects the whole appearance of a room,” he said. “It affects the cleanliness; whether it’s a formal feel or a country feel.”

Conners also talked about opportunities to use wood for practical purposes, such as creating cabinets and door thresholds for those with reduced mobility. And for a little fun mixed with a message, he dips a piece of oak into a bubble solution from a discount store and blows on the other end to create bubbles.

 “This is just to emphasize that wood is a very porous structure, and if I can blow air through it, then water can go through it very easily and they need to be aware of this,” he said.


Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278

Contact: Terry Conners, 859-257-2463