Fresh Herb Gardening


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Every year I plant fresh herbs in my garden. Oregano, mint and chives are my “regulars” that keep coming back every year. This year I took the time to do some research  and paid a visit to  my local garden nursery. Every year I try to choose a new and exciting addition to add to  my  herb garden and these photos are just a few of this years selections. Keep in mind I have quite a large herb garden and I tend to dry  and store them to be used all through the winter months. Below is a description  along with some of their uses in cooking. There’s nothing more flavorful than cooking with fresh herbs and spices that you have grown in your garden. Fresh herbs just bring your meals to life.  Bonne Appetite!


The African Basil Plant

Is one of a few types of basil that is perennial. The leaves of African blue basil start out purple when young, only growing green as the given leaf grows to its full size, and even then retaining purple veins.  Goes well with pesto dishes.

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The  Bay Laurel Plant

The By Laurel Plant is a small Mediterranean evergreen tree with small blackish berries and glossy aromatic leaves used for flavoring in cooking; also used by ancient Greeks to crown victors The unique scent is also known for its bug repelling properties. The Bay Laurel is the perfect seasoning roasts, soups, and stews.


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The Vietnamese Coriander Plant

The top of its leaf is dark green, with chestnut-colored spots while the leaf’s bottom is burgundy red. The stem is jointed at each leaf. This herb’s leaves are  commonly eaten fresh in salads, soups, stews, fish and beef.


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The Curry Plant

The Curry Plant  is a compact pant with silver foliage and yellow blooms. Pick leaves at any time and use for seasoning salads, soups, meat dishes and more.


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The Sage Plant 

A perennial with hairy aromatic foliage and attractive edible blue flowers. Pick leaves at any time and use for seasoning fish, shrimp, pork, chicken, corn on the cob and chicken.


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The Rosemary Plant

Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub with  leaves that  can be picked anytime  and used for  flavoring in foods such as stuffing and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey.


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The Lavender Plant


The Lavender Plant beautiful purple-tone blooms atop foliage that oozes fragrance on a sunny afternoon. Pick and dry flowers for seasoning desserts, such as cookies, cakes, and ice cream, or use as an edible garnish on a salad or fresh berries. Lavender blends deliciously with mint and lemon to brew a refreshing tea.



The Dark Opal Basil Plant

The Dark Opal Basil Plant has purple leaves with pink flowers Opal Basil is a very high quality basil perfect for culinary use in any dish. It’s used in fresh or dried form and can be frozen for later use. It works particularly well in salads and stir fry.

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Up Cycle Tired Furniture with Paint & Colour-Don of all Trades

Photos courtesy of Don of all Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services

Painting furniture is a great approach to make it more personal. If you are thinking about up-cycling your furniture,  this article from our latest DIY Weekend Projects with Don of all Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services will help explain how.

With regards to giving your home a face lift, the difference is all in the details. Painting tired furniture is one of the quickest and most cost effective  approaches to revive a room’s stylistic theme.

Up Cycle Tired Furniture with Paint & Color-Don of all Trades
Photos courtesy Don of all Trade Professional Home Maintenance Services

This bedroom needed some TLC and we wanted to give it a new fresh cleaner look.  We had to first start by  decluttering, organizing  cleaning, prepping the walls and then painting the room.

Outdated window treatments were replaced along with the original large pine wood bed with with a newer sleeker basic iron headboard. New mattress and box spring were purchased as well.  The only original bedroom furniture left in this room was the was the dresser.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with this dresser except cosmetically,  it didn’t fit in with the planned updated decor and style  we wanted to achieve in this room.

We decided to up-cycle this dresser and give it a face-lift with some chalk paint. And let me tell you….ARE WE EVER GLAD WE DID!

Below are some before and after photos of this dresser up cycling project including steps, tips and our experiences completing it. We hope that this article  inspires you to create something new  and unique as a DIY project for your home.

Step 1-Surface Preparation-Before You Paint

  • Remove any removable elements like hardware, shelves, drawers.
  • Run your hand across the piece to find any rough patches that might need sanding (but you do NOT need to sand the entire piece when using Chalk Paint–even if it’s varnished!).
  • Fill any holes with wood glue.
  • Even if your furniture piece appears to be clean, it will still be covered in oils from hands.  So, make sure to give it a once over with some warm soapy water.  we just used a mild dish-soap, followed up with a final pass of clear water, so we didn’t leave behind any soapy residue.  Then, just allow ample dry time before applying your first coat of paint.
  • Edge off any sections that won’t be painted using painter’s tape (like the inside of drawers).
Photos courtesy Don of all Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services
Up Cycle Tired Furniture with Paint & Colour-Don of all Trades

Photos courtesy

Step 2-Choosing Your Brand of  Decorative Chalk Paint

For this particular project, we purchased the Rust-Oleum Brand-Chalked Ultra Matt in Linen White. Ultra Matte Paint creates a matte finish that dries to a velvety smooth finish. It transforms and rejuvenates furniture and home décor, creating a unique one of a kind look.

Product Overview
  • Easy to use – No prepping or priming required
  • Use on wood, metal, ceramic, canvas and more
  • Water based for easy clean up

Step 3-  Our Brush of Choice-The Nour Craft 1 ½ inch Premium Oval Brush

The 1.5 inch (37mm) Premium Oval Brush is a professional polyester brush for use with all paints and wax. This brush is ideal for spreading wax because of the density and firmness of the filaments and is best suited for application on medium-sized objects. In addition, the oval shape provides greater coverage.


Product Overview

  • Dyed, tipped and flagged polyester filaments
  • High density of filaments (increased paint pick-up & release)
  • Fine tips for smooth finish
  • Firm stiffness (excellent for wax application)
  • Oval Handle
  • Oval Brush

Good To Know Tip-How To Apply a Chalk Finish Paint

Practice painting a scrap board before tackling a project. When layering different paint colors for a distressed finish, apply a heavier base coat than top coat. Work quickly — chalk-finish paint dries fast  and immediately remove any particles in the wet paint.

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Good To Know Tip-When Chalk Paint Becomes Too Thick…

When applying the chalk paint, we found after time the paint got thick and we ran into problems with unevenness on how the paint laid down on the wood. This was a concern because this dresser got very streaked with brush lines and we were disappointed on how this project was turning out so far.
In this case we corrected this issue by using a damp sponge and carefully smoothed out the imperfections after a few hours.
We recommend separating a portion of the paint to be used and thinning the paint by simply adding a little water to it.
Note: When painting make sure room temperature is not to cold because it enhanced the streaking problem.
We then realized that it would most likely  take two to three coats of chalk paint to finish this job.
It’s a really good product if you know what to expect……like all good things in life it takes a little time and effort but in the end you will have a beautiful piece of

Step 5-Adding a Protective Top Coat

Since this piece was still being used as a dresser, we chose the Rust-oleum Brand Chalked Protective Top Coat  to add an extra protection against any possible spills or accidents.

Rust-Oleum Chalked Protective Topcoat

Product Overview:

  • Adds a protective, sealed clear topcoat to any chalked surface
  • Ultra-matte, smooth finish enhances color and durability
  • Goes on in 1 to 2 coats with no need to reapply

We found that this product worked like it said it would. This is a good sealer for the chalked paint. We also wanted to mention that this product  does darken the colors a bit.  

Up Cycle Tired Furniture with Paint & Colour-Don of all Trades
Absolutely Love the new look this older dresser now gives in this bedroom!
Well this DIY up-cycling dresser project was a lot of fun and and a great learning experience to complete. Ok, so it 4 coats of chalk paint and a little bit of patience to achieve the look we wanted but we are so happy  we made the effort.  We absolutely love the results and the new fresh clean look it adds to this bedroom. Best of all-it was an affordable alternative!

Three More Reasons Why You Should Consider Up Cycling 

Number 1-Saves You Money

The number 1 reason for choosing  to upcycle furniture is clearly that it saves you money. We live in a throw- away generation whereby individuals rush to simply throw away undesirable things; the perfect opportunity to get your hands on something to give a makeover!

Number 2-Customize

Why purchase new when you can make something totally customized for your home? No one else will have the same and you can give your creative  imagination and energy a chance to run wild.

Number 3-Good for the Environment

It’s good for the environment –Instead of trashing unwanted pieces consider recycling them as something else and turning them into something you love is the way to go. Landfills are  wrecking havoc with our environment so next time you make a trip to dump, think “can I re-purpose this?”
Have A Question About Your Home Improvement Project?
Get In-Touch With Us. We’d Love To Hear From You!
We offer a wide range of home improvement services for your home including FREE ESTIMATES in Durham Region. Call 905-259-5249 or email Visit our website at to find out more!


About Don D’Orazio

Founder of Don of all Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services.

Donato has over 20 plus years of experience. His company has completed various projects for many clients. Donato’s philosophy is to always treat “YOUR HOME AS IF IT WERE HIS OWN”. His goal is to provide quality service at affordable prices without compromising the finished product.

Donato always ensures all his projects are completed with the highest standard of quality and craftsman ship. He also takes pride in knowing that he can take your ideas and turn them into reality….. Giving you the home you’ve always dreamed of having.
Donato D’Orazio, owner and founder of Don of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services, classifies his vision for home renovation projects with three important goals.

1. To come in on budget
2. To complete the project on-time.
3. To make the customer’s experience as stress-free as possible

It is these three goals that form the foundation for the Don of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services business model, which is unique from the way that other home improvement companies operate. Our clients have told us the benefits they’ve seen from our business model.

Don’s Motto

“Start living better and get peace of mind and the freedom in life to get back to the important things that matters most to you.”


Don Continues to Find Compassion Within Himself to Stay Attached to Values That are Linked to the Common Good

In 2013 Don and and his team created the Helping Hands Building Trees of Hope Program benefiting worthwhile causes and creating partnerships within our communities in Durham Region. The Tree of Hope is a symbol of commitment, inspiration and community. Every year Don’s goal is to add new Helping Hands to the Tree of Hope and have it completed by December 31st from generous donations collected from clients, friends, family and local businesses in the community from our Donation Wish-List. Don believes it’s important to give back and not only volunteers his time, he also funds and hosts a number events throughout the year to help Do Good and Give Back.

Here’s an important life lesson: no matter how tough you think your life is there’s always someone who has to face challenges that are tougher than yours.

Our Memories of Giving Back in 2017



Enhance Your Bathroom Experience-Don of all Trades
Enhance Your Bathroom Experience-Don of all Trades

Free-standing shower enclosures take the shower out of your bathtub and give it its own place in your bathroom. These enclosures can help you transform your shower into a separate oasis or even eliminate the bathtub altogether to free up space. Free-standing shower enclosures can be placed almost anywhere in the bathroom, but choosing your shower requires careful consideration to ensure the best possible fit and performance.

Recently, our Don of all Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services team had the privilege of  replacing this older shower stand with an new updated modern model.
Original Shower


Our client had referenced that they were not content with their current  shower stand in light of the fact that the entryway continued opening  whenever they would use it  alongside the reality they didn’t care for the yellowish shading and style.


When investigating the situation,  we found that the entryway was opening on the grounds that the shower base was not level.


Our customer chose to move forward  and update their bathroom with a more modern  stand shower model.

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The first step was to carefully dismantle and remove the the original  shower unit.

Next, a bottom row of tiles and an area of drywall was carefully removed,  replaced  with new drywall, original tiles and grout.

The new acrylic shower base was installed. New tracks were installed and screwed into the walls. The doors were hung and adjusted. All seams were caulked. A test was done to ensure there were no holes, leaks or any other issues.

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What a touch of elegance this newly installed Karina Sliding Door Rounded Shower Kit with Acrylic Base and Chrome finish adds to our client’s bathroom! This unit is the perfect solution for small spaces and did we mention it’s also easy to maintain?

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Sending out a thank you to our client who called our team at Don of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services to install this unit for them.

Have a question about your current home improvement project? Get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you!
We offer a wide range of home improvement services for your home including FREE ESTIMATES in Durham Region. Call 905-259-5249 or visit our website at: to find out more!

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Mother’s Day Gifts Bags Brighten Holidays For Women In Shelters

Help us celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday May 12, 2019 by donating items to put together into our 15 Gift Bags that will be donated to the women at Herizon House Women’s Shelter. A total of 15 Mother’s Day Gift Bags will be given away this year with the help of some wonderful angels who give from their heart.              Learn more


Repairing Your Entrance Way Stairs & Landing-Don of all Trades

Another  home improvement  project checked off the TO-DO-LIST with Don of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services.

It’s amazing how some paint has completely changed the look of this entrance way, stairs and landing area. The original railing was in need of repair.

A new stair newel post, new top rail and mounting hardware was installed.

Instead of replacing the stairs with new ones, broken steps were repaired, finished grade plywood was installed to eliminate creaking and to help add more strength to the steps.

Steps were painted with 2 coats of a charcoal shade and finished off with 2 coats of water based varnish satin coat with Serenity Brand Cottage Paint which was purchased at the Benjamin Moore Whitby Shores Decor Centre.

Photos courtesy Don of all Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services
Repairing Your Entrance Way Stairs & Landing-Don of all Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services

Although making the decision of trying something completely different by painting these steps a dark color was a difficult one, this client was extremely pleased at how they came out.

Walls were patched and sanded. Even the front hallway closest got fresh coat of paint inside and out. Walls were painted in a shade of grey, all ceilings and trim were painted in a white.

All this area needs now is some personal touches like adding picture frames and new lighting fixtures to complete the look of this space.

Have a question about your improvement project? Get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you! Call us at 905-259-5249 or visit our website at: to book your free in home consultation in Durham Region today.

Have a question about your home improvement project? Get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you!
We offer a wide range of home improvement services for your home including FREE ESTIMATES in Durham Region. Call 905-259-5249 or visit our website at: to find out more!

Need some motivation? Watch our video below!