Sleeping Beauties: Porches For Dreaming

There's something magical about sleeping outside, drinking in the night sounds of crickets, frogs and wind chimes, watching fireflies and stars, and feeling the cool night breeze. You'll find children giggling long past their bedtime from sheer excitement.

A treat for adults and children alike, sleeping outdoors has long been part of camping tradition, but many adults also have fond memories of childhood nights in their parents 'or grandparents' sleeping porch.

The cover story of Architectural Digest's October 2003 issue featured a visit to the Montana ranch of Dennis Quaid where he has built a magnificent home that includes a wraparound Pennsylvania bluestone porch and a tree house for his son Jack. In addition, the actor "requested specifically" a sleeping porch adjacent to the veranda.

In doing so, he joins the ranks of such luminaries as former US first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, author Jack London and baseball legend Babe Ruth, all of whom enjoyed slumbering in screened-in rooms.

A sleeping porch has been defined as a well-ventilated, usually screened, porch used as occasional sleeping quarters. Before the advent of air-conditioning, families often created an area on outdoor porches where children would sleep during the hot summer nights. Sleeping porches were, more often than not, on a home's second storey, frequently above a ground-level porch.

It was during the Arts and Crafts movement of the early twentieth century that sleeping porches really gained public favor. Arts and Crafts architects often designed homes without abrupt divisions between inside and out, and sleeping porches provided an ideal transition space.

Unfortunately, modern homes do not often sport open-air sleeping quarters and our culture is poorer for it. Few of life's experiences speak of summery comfort as a sleeping porch does, and one is never out of touch with one's surroundings in the neighborhood when sleeping outside.

Happily, it's reliably easy to create a secure, comfortable place that makes outdoor sleeping a real joy again. If you can, choose a porch or balcony on a side of your house that is protected from the weather, or add a simple framework on a deck. A leak-proof roof with extended eaves is critical and helps keep inclement weather from blowing in directly onto the occupants.

If security is an issue, you'll feel safer in a second storey room. Privacy is easier to achieve on the side or back of a house, but even a room on the front of your house can be hidden from view of passers-by with the installation of matchstick roll-up blinds or fabric drapes.

The room should be screened in to protect sleepers from mosquitoes and other night-time insects. You can install window-height screens, or make an integrated screened walls of floor to ceiling panels. If you'd like to extend the use of the area beyond the warmest months, you'll want to install moveable windows or walls. These will also allow the room's occupants to better control the amount of outdoors that comes in – a desirable feature during inclement weather.

You can furnish a sleeping porch with as many creature comforts as you desire, keeping in mind whatever exposure to the elements the pieces will have. Ceiling or floor fans will aid the night breezes. Bedside tables will provide a place for a book and reading glasses, or a cold drink. If you want to use the room during the day as a living area, use day beds, couches or chaises that serve the dual purpose of seating by day and sleeping space by night. Or use fold-up cots or roll-away beds. Kids will even enjoy sleeping bags on the floor.

Whether used for daytime catnapping or a full night's rest, sleeping porches can give you a chance to enjoy summer weather to the fullest, and experience some of life's pleasant, peaceful moments.

How To Choose Topsoil For Your Garden

Generally speaking there are 3 types of topsoil available: natural topsoil, skip waste soil, and blended soils.

Natural topsoil is highly variable in quality and availability and ranges from an acidic, nutrient-deficient sand, to a strongly alkaline silt-loam, and also to organic-rich peaty clay. If the characteristics of the topsoil are not suitable for the plants grown in the soil, then the plants may fail to grow, and this can be quite expensive.

Natural topsoil always contains a bank of seeds, including annual and perennial weed seeds; and can often contain rhizomes of persistent weeds and grasses, such as creeping buttercup, and couch grass. This topsoil is derived from former agricultural land, and may contain elevated levels of heavy metals as a result of the repeated application of sewage sludge, etc. This is important if the topsoil is used for sensitive plants such as domestic gardens.

Skip Waste Soils are more common in urban areas and are a result of the materials derived from building and demolition operations, which are then screened. Skip waste soils are a mixture of topsoil, subsoil, clay and include numerous fragments of building waste materials – brick, concrete, mortar, ash, clinker and to a lesser extent asbestos, glass, metal, wood and plastic.

Skip waste soil is usually extremely alkaline with a pH range of 8 – 10, saline, deficient in organic matter and plant nutrients, and can often have elevated levels of zootoxic and phytotoxic contaminants. Although skip waste soil can look like good topsoil, it often results in either failure in the growing of the plants or, stunted growth. In addition to this, the consequences of using skip waste soil include potentially having contaminants present in a garden.

Blended Soils result when two or more components are intimately mixed to form a growing medium. These components can be prime natural topsoils recycled from the food production industry, and also recycled, peat-free, soil conditioner. These soils are blended from raw materials to ensure consistent quality-soil is produced, with no variation in consistency. It’s important to account for the full traceability of all of the components of a blended soil, and to regularly have them tested for PTE’s (Potentially Toxic Elements).

Ideally, landscaping topsoil is organic-rich topsoil, with a Ph ranging from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, and is a fertile sandy loam, free from contamination with no waste or sharp materials. Ideally this would be available all year round in bags or in bulk.

When buying topsoil, there are some important questions that your topsoil supplier should be able to answer. These include:

What is in the soil?

Is the soil safe?

Where did it come from?

What can it be used for?

Is an analysis certificate available?

Is it free from contamination such as debris and PTEs?

Can I get hold of the same soil year round?

How would it be delivered, in bags or loose?

There is a marketing and communications association that was formed to assist entrepreneurs in the topsoil business and the general public as well. 1.800.TOPSOIL provides an easily remembered number where people can get information about the availability of good top soil. 1-800-TOP-SOIL members include the finest Topsoil and Landscaping supply companies in the nation. They currently have members spread throughout the United States. In order to find the topsoil and landscape supply company in your area, that is right for you, call 1.800.TOPSOIL.

What Are The Prices On Pellet Stoves?

Many people have started to use pellet stoves due to their high efficiency in heating and combustion. Is much more convenient to have one of them, than a wood stove or fireplace and it also saves you a lot of money in electricity bills.

Some people are concerned about the prices, the truth is that they are not cheap, but they can work for years warming your home and saving you thousands of dollars in electricity bills. You should also notice that, usually they have a higher demand on winter and then the prices are much higher that at any other time in the year.

Generally the retail prices range from $ 1400 to $ 3000 dollars depending on what model you want and what features it has. There are some of them with remote control and there are others that are multi-fuel pellet stoves.

For example there is the 40LB Hopper, which at this moment costs $ 1349.99. There is also the Auburn Heater- NPS40, which costs $ 2,002.0

I went to ebay.com made a search and found a Newport Avalon Wood pellet stove at $ 949.99, which is a great price. This is a used one, but has all the features that you need.

As you can see prices different depending on how advanced is the model and what are the features that you want to have. Prices on used pellet stoves can be very cheap, just make sure that it has all the features you need and that it has a warranty. Also, before you buy one, make sure you know where in your house it will be install it and what ventilation you are going to need.

Demystifying Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Do you feel like the flooring options for your home have gotten confusing? There are so many different types and brands now that keeping up with everything can seem overwhelming. Most people don’t shop for new flooring that often, so when you do begin to look at options, you might feel a little out of your league. One type of flooring we hope to explain in this article is luxury vinyl.

In addition to carpet, hardwood and laminate, vinyl is a popular choice for the floors of your home or business. Vinyl itself comes in several forms. There is sheet vinyl, which is glued directly to the subfloor. Sheet vinyl has come a long way with realistic tile, wood and stone looks. The other option for vinyl is called luxury vinyl, which comes in either tiles or planks.

Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) look like stone or ceramic tile. With natural colors and surface texture, these tiles look and feel like real stone or ceramic. Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP) offer the look of wood planks in various species and colors. Surface textures can even include scraping or embossing to heighten the realism.

Whether you choose sheet vinyl, LVT or LVP, you will get a resilient flooring, know for its warmth and comfort underfoot. It’s real claim to fame though is its resistance to moisture, making it the best option for a bathroom or kitchen. It’s also much less expensive than real ceramic or wood.

So, maybe you’ve decided luxury vinyl is the way to go for your new bathroom install, now all you need to do is decide on the style and color, right? Not quite, there are still many more things to consider and this is where it can get confusing.

First, you can choose how you want to install the luxury vinyl floor. There are still some that you can glue down, while other options include floating click and loose lay. With floating click, the planks or tiles click together forming a water-tight seal. Loose lay flooring allows you to simply lay each piece down to cover the floor. This type of flooring is simple to repair since you can easily remove one piece in the middle of the room and replace it.

You will also have choices on the thickness of the tile or planks. The core of the plank may have extra cushion to dampen sound and provide more comfort under foot. Other types may be more rigid, allowing them to hold up better under heavy foot traffic.

There are some other acronyms used to describe the core of luxury vinyl: WPC and SPC. Depending on the manufacturer, these stand for different things. For example, WPC can stand for Wood Plastic Composite, Waterproof Polymer Core or Wood Polymer Core. Likewise, SPC can stand for Stone Polymer Composite, Solid Polymer Core and other variations. So, you can see where the confusion might set in!

If you are looking for new flooring and decide to research luxury vinyl, you might become frustrated with all the different terms and lack of consistency. All manufacturers tend to have their own name for things, which makes it difficult for the consumer to know what’s what. With just a few searches on the Internet, you will soon realize there’s way more to luxury vinyl flooring than you may have originally thought!

This is where you local flooring store can be your best option for expert flooring advice. They will know the differences between manufacturers and the type of products they make so you will be better able to compare. In addition, you can simply explain to an expert at a flooring store what type of look you want, where in the house it will be used and what type of traffic it is likely to get. Then they can offer suggestions and help you weed through the flooring jungle to find the best luxury vinyl option for your needs.

Designer Grillz – Full Frontal Bling

If you buy your jewelry at the big box variety store, chances are that you're not looking for designer jewelry. And you're also not looking for dental jewelry.

Grillz, fronts, removable grills, gold caps or slugs, whatever you want to call them are not something you will find at your local super center. If you want a nice front you will need to either buy it online or go to one of the designer shops found in select cities.

Here is the question: Is it worth the money to go designer with your grill?

Paul Wall is famous for his music and for his designer grillz. At his website you will find fronts costing more than $ 5000. Of course the majority of his grillz cost a lot less and you can find a deal at the "Specials" link.

So what do you get if your front is a wall creation, or another reputable designer? For one you get bragging rights. Another thing you get is the confidence that you are getting what you pay for. Any time you purchase jewelry, dental or not, you should buy from a reputable dealer. There are a lot of unscrupulous merchants out there and many of them are not above using substandard or even fake jewels.

If you buy a designer front that is made of a precious metal and decorated with precious stones you also get a piece of jewelry that has intrinsic value. The gold or sliver and the stones can be sold at a later date if you desire and you can recoup part or all of your investment. If the price of the metal and stones go up enough over time you may even profit from the sale of your jewelry.

Anytime you buy a diamond you should remember the four C's: cut, color, clarity and carats (weight).

If a diamond is cut too shallow light will be lost out of the bottom of the stone and the brilliance will be reduced. If it is too deep light will escape out of the sides and make the diamond appear darker than it should.

Most diamonds have some color, and except for the fancy colored diamonds, the absence of color is the most desirable trait in diamonds. A truly clear diamond is rare.

Clarity is the absence of blemishes on or in the stone.

Carats are the measure of weight of the stone. You can usually get more carats for your money by buying several smaller stones rather than one larger one.

Last, when you buy your designer grillz, take them to an independent appraiser and have them appraised. That way you can be sure you got what you paid for – truly fine pieces of jewelry.

Understanding the JAMMA PCB and Edge Connector Pinout

First, here is a little history behind the meaning of the acronym, JAMMA.

Back in the dark ages of the Golden Era of arcade video games (1984 and earlier), game manufacturers operated in exclusive little domains where they designed game components in a way that best served their own interests.

Consequently, they each had their own proprietary circuit boards, power supplies, and wiring harnesses. There was essentially no interchangeability of components between one manufacturer’s game cabinet and a game cabinet made by someone else.

Thanks to the Japanese, around 1985, all of that exclusivity was soundly laid to rest. The Japan Amusement Machinery Manufacturers Association (JAMMA) created some industry standards, particularly for the design of game printed circuit boards (PCBs). And, things forever changed.

The most important and influential of these new standards was the PCB standard pinout. Any game PCB complying with that pinout standard is what we now call a JAMMA board. You can see the JAMMA logo stamped close to the pinout section of a JAMMA board. Almost all JAMMA boards sport that logo.

The wiring that connects the game’s components – monitor, power supply, control panel, speaker, etc. – to the PCB is called a JAMMA wiring harness. The wiring harness 56-pin edge connector seats onto the PCB’s pinout fingers.

There are many JAMMA terms that we have come to hear and use frequently – JAMMA board, JAMMA harness, JAMMA edge connector, JAMMA cabinet, and so on. At the root of their meaning is nothing more than the concept of PCB interchangeability between cabinets of different manufacturers.

And, it is the JAMMA standard PCB pinout (charted below) that has made it all possible.

The following JAMMA pinout chart is basically a map of the JAMMA wiring harness 56-pin edge connector. When properly seated onto the PCB, the connectors of the edge connector will align with the pinout fingers of the PCB, and your game will play.

When you tire of a game, you can plug-and-play the JAMMA PCB for your next favorite game. Plug-and-play simply means to unplug the edge connector from one PCB, and plug it onto another PCB.

And, that process of plug-and-play can continue on and on, because there are now 1,000’s of JAMMA game PCBs that you can play in your JAMMA cabinet. Thank you, Japan.

JAMMA PINOUT CHART

Solder Side – Alpha Characters – 28 Pins – A-Z, a-f

The solder side is the bottom side of the PCB. It is the side where the soldered connections of parts are exposed to view. Few, if any, parts are located on the solder side. The solder side pinout is identified with alpha characters.

Parts Side – Numeric Characters – 28 Pins – 1-28

The parts side is the top side of the PCB. It is the side where the parts are located. The parts side pinout is identified with numeric characters.

Usually, the PCB is printed and the edge connector is embossed with the alpha and numeric characters.

GROUND – A, 1

GROUND – B, 2

+5VDC – C, 3

+5VDC – D, 4

-5VDC – E, 5

+12VDC – F, 6

KEY SLOT – H, 7

COIN COUNTER #2 – J

COIN COUNTER #1 – 8

LOCK OUT COIL #2 – K

LOCK OUT COIL #1 – 9

SPEAKER (-) – L

SPEAKER (+) – 10

N/C – M

N/C – 11

VIDEO GREEN – N

VIDEO RED – 12

VIDEO SYNC – P

VIDEO BLUE – 13

SERVICE SWITCH – R

VIDEO GROUND – 14

TILT (SLAM) SWITCH – S

TEST SWITCH – 15

COIN SWITCH #2 – T

COIN SWITCH #1 – 16

PLAYER 2 – START – U

PLAYER 1 – START – 17

PLAYER 2 – UP – V

PLAYER 1 – UP – 18

PLAYER 2 – DOWN – W

PLAYER 1 – DOWN – 19

PLAYER 2 – LEFT – X

PLAYER 1 – LEFT – 20

PLAYER 2 – RIGHT – Y

PLAYER 1 – RIGHT – 21

PLAYER 2 – BUTTON 1 – Z

PLAYER 1 – BUTTON 1 – 22

PLAYER 2 – BUTTON 2 – a

PLAYER 1 – BUTTON 2 – 23

PLAYER 2 – BUTTON 3 – b

PLAYER 1 – BUTTON 3 – 24

N/C – c

N/C – 25

N/C – d

N/C – 26

GROUND – e

GROUND – 27

GROUND -f

GROUND – 28

Understanding the JAMMA Pinout Chart:

N/C – No connection.

Key Slot – A keyed slot which aligns with a leave-out in the pinout section of the PCB.

This safety feature is provided to assure that the Power Section seats at the correct end of the pinout section. If the edge connector is reversed, and the Power Section is seated at the opposite or incorrect end, irreparable damaged can occur to the PCB.

If the key has been removed from the edge connector, then mark the connector as to the “Parts Side” to help assure correct seating.

Power Section – Pins A-F, 1-6, e, f, 27, 28

Video Section – Pins N, P, 13-15

Coin Section – Pins J, K, T, 8, 9, 16

Controller (Joystick) Section – Pins V-Y, 18-21

Pushbutton Switch Section – Pins Z-B, 22-24

Light Bulb Information

Incandescent light bulbs have been in use since the early 1880s. These bulbs have provided humans with illumination, safety, and security for over a century. They have been used to light up every room of our homes, offices, and other places of business. The heat from these luminaries has been known to save lives, back in the days before incubators were readily available. In some places, the incandescent bulbs are still used as incubator lamps. Yet, the incandescent light bulbs will soon be kicked globally and other types of bulbs will have to be used instead.

Reasons for global ban:

For many decades, some scientists and other experts have been sounding an alarm about global warming. According to these experts, coal-burning electric power plant emissions are major contributors to the green house gas effects. In order to reduce the green house effect and global warming, humans must reduce their energy consumption. Incandescent light bulbs waste a lot of energy when in use, and billions of them are in use every day.

Up until recently, using other alternatives to the incandescent bulbs has been strictly voluntary. However, most of the governments of the first world countries are now highly involved in resolving the global warming issues. Many laws have been passed in the past few years that ban the production and usage of this type of bulb. Within the next decade, these higher wattage bulbs will become extinct, unless something drastically changes the current trend.

Other Lighting Options:

Currently, people have a few other choices of lighting available. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, so there is some controversy as to which will be best for future use. Some of these light sources are better for commercial or outdoor applications, while others are better for indoor or residential applications. These types are on the market now or will be in the near future:

• Fluorescent (CFL) – Pros: Uses approximately 1/5 to 1/3 of electricity as comparable incandescent bulbs, and lasts up to 20 times longer. Cons: contains mercury and other toxic elements, there are not enough places to safely dispose of the explosive bulb and mercury can endanger humans if bulb breaks, need extra components, such as ballasts.
• Light-emitting diodes (LED): Pros: Is more efficient than other types of light bulbs and lasts up to five times longer. Cons: very expensive initial output for consumers, have not been fully developed for residential use yet.
• Tungsten-Halogen – Pros: Provided more light per watt, they emit a whiter, brighter and more focused light beam; maintain maximum efficiency through life of bulb, and has a longer life than regular incandescent, can be dimmed. Cons: They are more expensive, need to be handled more carefully, and can become fire hazards if used in certain areas and do not give off as warm of a glow as incandescent lights do.
• Xenon-Halogen: Pros: Puts out as much light as a tungsten halogen but burns cooler; Cons: is more expensive and can not be used in very many applications.
• High-Intensity Discharge (HID): Pros: Produces a larger quantity of light from a reliably small bulb, lasts a long time; Cons: needs auxiliary equipment, such as ballasts, has not been fully adapted to residential use yet.
• Low-Pressure Sodium: Pros: highest efficiency of all commercially available lighting sources and are economic; Cons: only emits a yellow light, takes awhile to warm up before reaching full brightness, is only adapted to outdoor uses.

Types of applications:

The types of lighting sources are not the only changes that have occurred. The lighting applications have also been expanded over the years. People use a variety of styles of lighting for residential and commercial uses. For residential use, as well as some commercial applications, there are three basic types of lighting. These are:

• General – Provides overall illumination of an area; usually radiates a comfortable level of brightness; Basically is a form of replacing sunlight; and enables a person to see and walk about safely.
• Task – Assists with the performance of specific tasks, such as reading and doing detailed work; should be free of shadows and glares
• Accent – Helps to create dramatic visual impact, such as spotlighting paintings, plants, and other prized possessions; also highlights texture and landscaping features.

Types of lighting fixtures and appropriate light source:

One of the best ways to reduce energy consumption is to properly apply lighting technology to the individual's lifestyle and needs. Each light fixture is designed to use a particular type of light bulb, and to provide a specific type of light source. Utilizing too many light fixtures or not enough light fixtures to project the amount of light needed can waste energy. Moreover, using the wrong wattage of light bulbs can needlessly consume energy.

Therefore, people should become aware of the kinds of light fixtures available, and what each one is designed to do. Here are some of the light fixtures currently on the market, and what purposes they fulfill:

• Track Lighting – Provide general, task, or accent lighting; is very flexible and versatile, can use standard or low-voltage current, and a choice of incandescent, tungsten-halogen, and energy-efficient compact fluorescent light sources.
• Recessed Lighting – Provide general, task, or accent lighting in less noticeable ways .; especially great improvements for low-ceilings and high cathedral ceilings; available in both standard and low-voltage current and a choice of incandescent, tungsten-halogen, and energy-efficient compact fluorescents.
• Ceiling Fixtures – Provides general lighting; are especially practical for use in busy areas; are available with incandescent, fluorescent, and energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs
• Portable Lamps – Provide general, task, and accent lighting; somewhat flexible, depending on lamp's style and shape; available with incandescent, tungsten-halogen, and energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
• Wall-Mounted Fixtures – Provide general, task, and accent lighting; good for supplementing overhead lighting or lighting smaller areas, such as hallway or bedroom; are available with a choice of incandescent, tungsten-halogen, and energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs
• Pendants – Provided task and general lighting; are good for freezing up space normally occupied by table lamps; usually has a dimmer control to adjust lighting, but not all bulbs are compatible with dimmers.

For consumers, it is hard to keep up with all the options available, just for residential applications, let alone for other applications, such as for vehicles. Consumers can obtain more information online from organizations, such as the American Lighting Association or the US department of Energy. The Environmental Protection Agency is another good source.

It can be quite difficult for an untrained individual to choose the proper lighting suitable to his or her needs. Anyone who is in the process of remodeling their home or designing a new lighting plan should consult a certified lighting consultant or visit a local lighting showroom.

Roofing Options – Types of New Roofs and Cost Comparisons

Composition
Also referred to as asphalt roofing, composition shingles are the most commonly used and the most economic option. They are available in a wide range of colors and styles and are easily repaired and highly fireproof. This type of shingle is available in a fifteenth to forty year lifespan guarantee. A typical home size of around 2,000 square feet can run anywhere from $ 6,000 to $ 10,000 for professional installation.

Metal
Metal roofing is available in steel, aluminum, tin and copper. While this type of roof is environmentally friendly and very lightweight, it can get fairly expensive, especially for copper materials, which can cost up to $ 40,000 for a typical sized home. Metal roofs can be styled to resemble shake shingles or even the look of slate. These roofs are durable, easily maintained and can last up to fifty years. The other metals can cost up into the lower $ 20,000s installed.

Wood Shingles
Exceedingly beautiful, wood, or shake shingles create a style all their own. Priced along the middle range, up to $ 20,000, they do require some maintenance and are obviously not fireproof. Some insurance companies charge a higher premium for a wooden roof but they can last up to fifty years given the proper upkeep.

Tile
Tile roofing provides the dramatic cap on a Mediterranean styled home, but is now being used on contemporary and country French styled homes as well. They are available in a variety of colors and types, making them super versatile. Price ranges for tile roofs span from $ 12,000 to $ 60,000. Tile is very durable, fireproof and easy to maintain but not all existing homes are built to bear the weight of such a heavy roof. Lifespans of tile roofs can stretch to up to fifty years.

Slate
The most expensive type of roofing on the market today is the slate variety. Its beauty speaks for itself, and its durability complains such splendor, as a high quality slate roof can last up to 100 years. Slate is fireproof and low maintenance, but like tile, its weight limits its use on existing homes. Slate roofs are also fragile, so weather conditions in your area should be taken into account when considering a slate roof. These roofs can cost up to $ 80,000 to install.

Now that you know the differences in the types of roofs available, you can make a more informed decision on which type may be right for you. Contact your local roofer for more information.

Vinyl Flooring: The Range Of Benefits That It Offers

Although vinyl flooring is a popular option, a lot of people still do not avail this option due to their ignorance. Many people are still not aware about its different benefits. If you wish to install this type of flooring, but lack the confidence to do so, this article will definitely offer you with a proper way-out.

Strength and durability

Vinyl parquet is a valuable addition to your home, primarily due to its strength and durability. But, the durability and sturdiness mostly depends on the installation quality. The landing material will certainly last for years, if we install it properly. Quality vinyl parquet installations not only reduces the wear and tear, it helps you save a lot of money too.

Besides its durability, it also offers great comfort to people even if they stand on it barefoot. This is mainly because of the slip resistant layer over the primary vinyl sheets. The original sheets also offer you a firm grip due to their high flexibility.

Easy cleaning feature

Vinyl parquet is quite popular among the public due its hygiene and cleanliness. The material is seamless and highly tolerant against water. So, it will always resist mould or bacterial infestations (which are hard to avoid otherwise). Moreover, such parquet are highly stain resistant if you clean them regularly. Regular cleaning makes your home safe and more hygienic place for your kids.

Cost-efficiency

Vinyl flooring is also quite popular due to its cost efficiency. Not only does it come at a modest price, it also has an easy-to-install feature. So, DIY installers can also lay out these parquet themselves. Moreover, you do not need to replace the landing quite often owing to its durability. Installing this kind of parquet will certainly help you reap plenty of benefits.

Wide variety

Vinyl flooring comes in plenty of designs. One can choose between different colours, textures or patters according to his tastes or preferences. These flooring materials are available in almost every colour. So, finding the right match for your room is not as difficult as you think.

Besides the colour and design patterns, vinyl flooring is also available in different varieties as well as textures. You can choose between smooth textured materials, rough textured materials as well as the stone-like textures.

But, before planning the installation, you should always look for a reputed flooring contractor. Finding a qualified professional will certainly help you find the desired results.

How to Exercise Less to Lose More Weight?

For most people who want to lose weight, exercising more and heavily seems the only way to burn fat effectively. Some of them might end up exercising heavily and damage their health. You’ll get to know the correct way to exercise here to exercise less but still lose weight.

You can eat healthy food. If you’re healthy, your body has a higher activity level that burn more fats even you exercise little. If your body is not healthy, cells can’t regenerate, less cells to burn fats, fats don’t have the vitamin and minerals to turn into energy when you exercise.

You can exercise without being tense. When you exercise relaxed, you’ll feel happy and exercise will be more effective. If you’re exercising and telling yourself “I must lose weight!” Exercise will not bring you big results and you will be tired.

You can exercise lightly. When you exercise heavily, you can’t train the muscle which burn fats effectively. You’ll have big muscles and burn little fat. Exercising lightly will train your lean muscle which allows you to burn lots of fat and have good body shape.

Remember to breathe when you’re exercising. Only when you have enough oxygen does your body use your energy effectively. If the energy in your body is not used effectively, you burn less fats.

So by all these knowledge, you can choose to to exercise less but burn fats effectively or exercise the same but burn few times more fats than before. You can now not stuck in the situation that you need to exercise a lot and hardly lose weight.

The Perfect Mother's Day Champagne Breakfast

A Mother's Day function, which has grown in popularity over the years, is the simple, yet elegant, Mother's Day Champagne breakfast.

It can either be served, to the very important Mum, in the snug comfort of her bed or it can be a more formal affair involving the entire extended family and reputable London catering hire.

Mother's Day in the UK

Traditionally, Mother's Day in the UK is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of lent, a day of temporary reply from the fast. Food, and lots of it, is an obvious ingredient for success on this day, dedicated, centuries ago, to our own Mums, the Mother Church and, in some cases, the Virgin Mary.

The Champagne Breakfast

The simplicity of a Champagne breakfast ensures it can be an informal affair, where the kids take over the responsibility of a sumptuous cook-up or it can be a sophisticated brunch, served at an elegantly set table, with Crisp Matisse, Brocade or Shimmer linen table cloths and napkins, Georgian or Platinum Ring bone china, robust Kings Pattern, Harley or Levite sterling silver cutlery and, of course, the piece de resistance, the finest French Champagne served in Stendhal, Siena or Aquataine Crystal Champagne flutes!

Mother's Day Menu Ideas

Mother's Day menu ideas can range from delectable fresh fruit and yoghurt entrees, or smoothies, served in funky cocktail glasses to freshly baked sweet and savory muffins, croissants or Belgian waffles, stacked up high on silver trays.

Breakfast casseroles, steam steaming hot in oval chafing dishes, or the full breakfast spread of crispy bacon, sausage, eggs done in a number of ways, fried tomato and hash browns, served directly from piping hot Bain Maries, are generally the preferred choice for Mum's first special meal of the day.

Checklist

Once you've decided on the menu and venue, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty of the logistics. The best way to cover all the bases is to compile a Mother's Day Champagne breakfast checklist:

  • How is the food going to be presented? China hire, cutlery hire, glassware hire, linen hire – check off each item once ordered from a reputable London catering hire company.
  • How will you accommodate guests? Table and chair hire and, if outdoors, do not forget the sunshade, parasol or patio heater in case of a change in the weather.
  • How will you prepare the food? Will it be on a charcoal barbecue, on gas or electric hot plates or on a griddle plate?
  • How will you keep the food warm? Will you hire a Bain Marie, hot cupboard or a heated lamp unit?

Artists – Do You Need an Art Agent?

Most visual artists dream of having an agent that will market their work, gain collectors for them, and help them by doing all that tedious, non-artsy stuff like marketing and selling.

But the reality is that it’s extremely difficult to find a good agent, and one that you can work well with.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

The agent-artist relationship works differently in every situation. Typically, the agent will agree to represent an artist in exchange for payment, either on a percentage basis or a monthly retainer.

A % payment ranges from 30% to 50%. In this case, the agent would be paid when artworks are sold and paid for.

A monthly retainer or stipend arrangement is where the agent would be paid a specific dollar amount each month. Some agents charge $1,500 per month, others charge $2,500 per month. The downside to this arrangement is that they get paid regardless of what sells.

WHAT GOES WRONG:

The reason it’s difficult to find a good agent and then make it work is that if you paying someone on a % basis, the agent ends up putting in many unpaid hours. Over time, the agent will lose steam and you will lose faith.

Most artists cannot afford to pay an agent a monthly retainer, and so that arrangement is very rare.

THE BEST AGENTS:

The best agents are well connected, and because of that, they put in less time to connect you with buyers and deals. But, to get one of the best agents to work with you, you’ll have to be a proven seller, or the next best emerging artist in their eyes.

ALTERNATIVE TO AGENTS:

Consultants: You can hire consultants on a need basis. I’ve often hired consultants to help me to solve a problem that I have little experience with. They charge by the hour, and they are a great resource.

Represent Yourself: Representing yourself is the most common way to go. It’s preferable, in my opinion. You’ll have more control over what happens to your art, your brand and your connections. You’ll also get to keep all of your proceeds. The down side is, you’ll have to work harder. But many artists do very well representing themselves.

To do the best job of representing yourself, take time to get education on marketing, sales, promotions. Read books for artists – there are many good ones out there. Take classes, online and live. Use the expertise of consultants.

And remember, you aren’t in a race. Take your time and you’ll get to where you want to go.

Chandeliers: New Trends and Designs

Everything really does come back in style, and chandeliers are again high fashion for homeowners. The elegant lighting fixtures lost points in recent decades for their ornate "fussiness" and the (incorrect) perception that they required onerous maintenance.

As with anything that comes back in vogue, though, today's chandeliers feature a few changes from their predecessors, most notably price. Lightening manufacturers have made the beauty of chandeliers more accessible by offering attractive designs for hundreds – instead of thousands – of dollars.

Much of this has to do with the manufacturer's newfound willingness to deviate from the standard brass and crystal design. While plenty of traditional models are available, homeowners can now purchase chandeliers made from rustic iron, as well as fixtures made of alabaster and stone and even tropical-themed bamboo styles.

Pastoral antler chandeliers are also making a comeback, popular with both the country's sophisticates and those who appreciate a fair amount of kitsch. Tiffany-style and stained glass chandeliers – the kind found in casual eateries and barrooms through the 1970s – are back too, but with a twist. New color palates featuring the softer, neutral hues used in many home decors are replacing the gaudy patterns from years ago.

Mottled paper shades featuring pressed flowers, vibrant colored crystals in abstract shapes and modern "wire" chandeliers are also popping up in households everywhere.

Perhaps most interestingly, where as years ago homeowners were loathe to hang any chandeliers, a new trend is to double up. Designs show that many people are opting to use two smaller chandeliers to light a space, rather than one grand fixture.

The best rule of all, though, is that clean, simple lines never go out of style. After all, no homeowner wants to be stuck with a chandelier comparable to acid washed jeans or bouffant hair.

Getting Ready for Fall – Storage Tips for Gardening Tools

The storage of garden tools in an organized and precise fashion not only helps keep them in good working order but also saves you a lot of time in locating them. If you do not currently have a place to store your tools, a tool house 3×6 feet can take care of a great deal of equipment.

Because tools are usually kept in unlit places, and often not wiped off after use, rust is the major enemy. One of the best ways to safeguard against rust is to keep vulnerable tools away from air when they are not in use, by storing the metal ends of the tools in a box of sand installed with crank-case oil. Avoid having so much oil that it makes the tools greasy and hard to deal with, and avoid putting the working parts of the tools, such as the pivot part of a pair of shears, in the sand. The garden hose is often not taken care of properly. Besides using a hose reel, you can reserve the life of your garden hose by not letting it kink while water is running through it. Avoid leaving it in the hot summer sun (especially if it is a plastic hose) and coil the hose loosely on your reel. For optimal care, tools should be cleaned immediately after their use, while any dirt or debris is still moist. Use emery cloth, steel wool or a wire brush to remove rust or cankers. Rub the metal parts with crank-case oil, especially when putting them away for the winter. Keep your wooden handles sanded down and reserve the wood with linseed oil.

Sharpen the upper edge of the shovel only. Start at one side holding an 8 or 10 inch file at a 45-degree angle to the edge of the shovel and pointing towards the middle. Make four or five strokes then move your file in an inch or two towards the center and repeat until you get to the middle of the shovel edge. Once you reach the center, move to the other outside edge and work your way back into the middle of the shovel. Then treat the sharpened edge with oil to prevent rust. Hoes can be sharpened in the same way with an 8-inch mill file, stroking toward the cutting edge on one side only. Do not sharpen your digging tools too keenly for when they are thin they get nick easily. Apply the file to only one side of sickle type tools, with the bottom edge kept flat.

You only need to sharpen one cutting edge of pruners. Quality pruners are normally easy to take apart for cleaning or sharpening. Once they are taken apart the cutting blade can be sharpened using a whetstone or a knife sharpener. After sharpening the blade spread some oil on it to prevent rust before reassembling the pruners. Manual or power sprayers should be triple washed with clean water and washing soda after each use, and the nozzle should be examined to get out particles of grit. Clean the sprayer's rubber hose with vinegar and the shower, and the nozzle with kerosene. On older sprayers, oil the leather plunger washer after use to prevent the leather from drying out.

The Elevator Speech Is Dead

If you're like most people, you spend weeks or months thinking about how to distill what you do down into a 30 second sound bite so when people ask "what do you do?" you have an intelligent, concise answer. And it was probably grueling to come up with the thing.

The bad news is that the elevator speech is just completely dead.

The good news is that there's an even better replacement. I call it the "reach out." And the really amazing thing about it is that instead of just telling people what you do and hoping they know someone who could benefit from what you do, this reach out method allows you to add people to your network for life – earning you not just one "maybe" client, but a string of loyal customers for life.

When people ask you what you do, they do not usually want to know what you do. They're really asking you "what can you help me with?"

The problem is that in order to know how you can help them, you need to know what problems they're dealing with.

So the next time someone asks what you do, considering asking if you can ask them a question. Then ask: "what's the most frustrating thing about __________" (your field of expertise). When they tell you, offer them a solution right there on the spot – an idea or helpful resource. Then hand them your card and say "Let me know how that goes and if you need anything else, you can reach me through my web site."

You have just started a relationship for life – offering value and establishing your expertise.

This also serves as a natural screening tool. Those who do not touch base with a thank you would probably be unappreciative clients.