About Porch Flooring

When you are building your home, it is easy to become overwhelmed at just how many decisions there are to make. Forget how big and what color you want it to be, or what kind of windows you want. You have to decide everything right down to the color of the screws used to install your electrical switches. It is easy for people to forget that they have to decide what kind of porch they want to have. There are two basic types of porches: wood and concrete.

Wooden porch floors can be beautiful, but the upkeep is complicated and it is likely that the porch will have to be replaced eventually as everyday wear and tear can completely break it down after a few years. Owners who decide to use it also need to keep an eye out for wood rot as this is a sign that their entire porch might need to be replaced. That being said, wood can be very beautiful and the perfect finish to a beautiful home.

Concrete floors are by far the more popular choice among today's home builders. Typically it consists of concrete slab that is poured onto an already existing wooden substrate. The concrete can then be covered by a wooden finish or be stamped and sealed in various designs. What you usually need to worry about most with concrete floors is cracking. As the wooden substrate gets older it can start to weaken which will cause the concrete to shift. This shifting can cause cracks in the concrete which, in turn, weakens the porch. Concrete porch flooring will often stand the test of time longer than wood, but once the concrete starts to go, it is a sure sign that your entire porch will need to be replaced.

When deciding what kind of flooring you are going to use for your front and back porches, you should do your research. Learn about how porches are constructed and talk to local contractors and architects about what will work the best in your area. How well it holds up often depends a great deal on the physical environment. If you live in a very rainy area you will need a different type than you will if you live in a very dry area.

Do you research on the various forms of wood that are available to you for use. Go to your local library and look for information online. Always try to learn everything you can before letting yourself get talked into making a decision. After all, an informed decision is the best decision. Knowing about wood and concrete and the advantages and disadvantages for both will help you out a great deal when it is time to decide which kind of flooring is right for you.

Do You Have a Good Pool Cleaner?

It is very important to the quality and the pH level of your pool water to have a good pool filter installed along with your pool. A good pool filter will reduce the presence of algae and help reduce alkalinity and calcium hardness. Even the best pool filter will leave some dirt and debris in your pool, but this is the reason an additional cleaning is needed at least once a week. Unless you want to invest in an automatic pool cleaner whether your pool is above ground or in-ground, cleaning the pool is a time-consuming task. With an automatic pool cleaner you will have only a minimal amount of maintenance to do. It can make your investment in a pool worthwhile.

The only difference in the cleaner for an above ground pool and the in-ground pool is the structure and the range of the automatic cleaner; however the basic technology is the same for both of them. The cleaner for an in-ground pool is designed to work in depths up to 8ft where as the above ground cleaners are not. If your pool be deeper than 8ft you will need to invest in a specifically designed cleaner created for the greater depths.

The cleaners for the above ground pools are cheaper than the cleaner for the in-ground pools. Above ground cleaner should work as well as the in-ground cleaners; however with above ground pools the initial installation cost is often times skimped on. By cutting some corners a strain can be placed on the pool filter, the pump system, and the cleaner. Before you invest in an above ground cleaner, make sure your pool filter and pump system are working at their optimum level.

There are three types of automatic cleaners you will find on the market. The first one is the Suction-side. This cleaner uses the suction of the pool filter to create a vacuum for the cleaner. This is probably the cheapest and easiest to use of all the cleaners. Large debris will clog the skimmer, and you may have to adjust the different settings and set-ups before you get the coverage area you need. In your pool if you have more dirt than large debris the suction side is the best cleaner for you. This pool cleaner is the best option for the smaller pool owner because it is inexpensive and reliable.

The next cleaner is the Pressure side, which uses the water pressure from the return hose of the filter. This pressure creates the cleaner's vacuum and drives the cleaner around the pool. Because this type of cleaner has its own collection bag it eases the stress on the filter system, which will increase the life and the performance of the filter system. The collection bag will need to be emptied on a regular basis, much like your house vacuum. By doing so will allow the cleaner to take care of the debris. This type of pool cleaner may require a booster pump to create enough pressure to do its job.

The last cleaner is the Robotic pool cleaner. This cleaner operates separate from the pool pump or the filter. It has its own filtration system, which is self-contained. These devices will clean your pool faster and better than any other cleaner on the market. They need to be programmed to operate automatically or they can be operated by remote control. If you have a large pool or areas in your pool, which are difficult to clean, the extra cost of this cleaner will make it worthwhile.

4 Tips to Get a Lean, Flat Stomach

To get a lean stomach depends on more than just one thing. Many people believe that getting flat abs takes nothing more than doing sit-ups. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this article I'll layout 4 tips to help you get a flat belly. Please, do not just read and walk away. Apply them and see results.

1. Focus on fat loss – Most people who want to get abs concentrate on working their abdominal muscles. That's the wrong way to go. It does not matter how strong you stomach muscles are. Unless you get lean, the flab will cover those muscles. You need to concentrate your efforts on burning fat.

2. Stay away from exercise machines – When you go to the gym, work with Free weights or free cables and pulleys. Do not use single position machines because they can actually cause more harm than good. What these machines do is stabilize your motion so that your core muscles do not work as hard as they would with free weights. They also lock your body into a position which may not be best suited for your body frame. This can actually cause back and joints problems.

3. Do not focus on your abs – The best way to burn more fat is to have more muscles. Muscle tissue increases your resting metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day. But it does not matter if the muscle is in your legs, shoulders, back, or abs. We lose fat from all over our body not just the place we exercise. As our large muscle groups are in our back, legs, and chest, neglecting them to concentrate on your abs is actually a mistake.

4. Switch soda for water and teas – Sodas and sweet beverages are rich in useless calories and do not even fill you up. There's no easier way to break a diet than to indulge in them. If you want to get a lean stomach, switch from sodas to water or green tea. I will not go into why green tea is good for you as that will require a whole other article, but take it from me that it is.

Follow these tips and you'll have a much easier time to get a lean belly.

Should You Buy an LCD Monitor Or an LCD TV?

Lately businesses are buying large format (> 32 inch) LCDs for video conferencing, boardrooms, receptions, and for a number of applications such as retail showroom advertising and surveillance. A key question being asked is whether they should buy an LCD monitor (also called LCD information display panel) or an LCD TV. Some people think that an LCD TV is an LCD monitor plus a TV tuner and they are surprised to find that an LCD monitor may cost more than an LCD TV. For them, it just does not make sense.

Here's what is an LCD monitor and what it is not:

A better image for LCD monitor: An LCD monitor produces higher quality images and has high brightness and contrast levels as well. An LCD TV is likely not going to offer the same resolution as an LCD monitor! This is could be very important when viewing data.

A longer-life more rugged-dust proof system: An LCD monitor is a closed end device with no fans and moving parts. An LCD TV usually has a fan, is not a closed box and may have moving parts. Most LCD monitors can be operated on a 24/7 basis however LCD TVs can not and the numbers of hours that an LCD TV can be operated should be checked. Typically LCD monitor has a life of 50,000 hours or more.

An LCD monitor can be operated 24/7: An LCD TV can not and built for max 6-8 hour continuous operation.

Are you looking to connect displays together for advertising effect? An LCD Monitor can be easily connected together to create a video wall. The bezel can be removed and the gap between the monitors can be minimal and there are connection outlets in the monitor so that an image can be displayed across monitors to seem as one large image. This can not be done in an LCD TV. LCD Monitors can be connected in a mirror image format so that the same image appears in all the monitors at the same time.

Lower energy consumption: The energy consumed by LCD monitor is very less and since the electro-magnetic radiations emitted are also less, it is also less hazardous to health.
Monitors can be networked: An LCD

Monitor can be connected to the network and remotely controlled and monitored. As a business anyone would want to know which monitors are working and which are not from one central location so that a technician can be dispatched to take care of faulty monitors and this can easily be done incase of an LCD monitor. Further networked LCD monitors allow for remote content management and scheduling as well which is an added advantage for big businesses.

Should you buy an LCD monitor vs. LCD TV? Consider the different variables and make the knowledgeable choice.

Louvered Closet Doors – Material Options

Remodeling your bedroom or any room in your house to make it look modern is easy and quick if you install louvered closet doors. A door with louvers is a great addition to your home because of its beauty and functionality.

It features slats which are available in wood, mirror or glass, making it decorative and stylish. Aside from aesthetic, these slats have their function which is to circulate the air in the interior of your closet. The best way to find quality doors if you are in a budget is to embark on comparison shopping. Here are offerings from different online retailers.

Estate Millwork Louvered Closet Doors:

The company’s closet doors are custom-built to fit in any home decor. They are milled from premium grade solid hardwoods and combined with classic door joinery techniques. The fully customizable louvers in closet doors are made with fixed state or functioning louvers in any configuration and size. You have also the option to specify the wood type that you prefer to be fabricated on your closet doors. The available wood species are cedar, poplar, oak, mahogany, cherry, teak and maple.

Standard features include hand-crafted solid hardwood components, double tongued, deep pocket tenon and mortise joinery, feather tenoned, floating panel frames, base rails, deep seated louvers and custom sizing. The available styles are Cabana, StJohn, KeyWest, Biscane, Havanna, St Bart, St Marten, St John and Nassau.

Miami Louver Door:

This Miami Louver Door offers ventilation to your closet as well as enhances the flow of fresh air between rooms. This door is a beautiful and fabulous accent to any room, from bedroom to pantry to laundry. It is functional and stylish due to its solidly constructed stile and rail. It comes in various styles and designs which make this door ideal replacement for closet doors, pocket doors, room dividers, French doors and pantry doors. The door is available pre-sanded to make it easy to apply finishes such as clear pine, finger jointed primed pine, radiate pine, crown MDF primed and oak. The bifold version measures 1 and 1/8 inches in thickness for easy opening.

Louver Doors:

This door is popular because of its beauty and functionality. It provides ventilation, classic styling and solid wood built to allow it to withstand rigorous use. You have the option to choose between full-louvered door or half-louvered door. For closets, laundry, linen or pantry rooms with full-sized openings, you may opt for the bifold version which is available in raised and flat panel designs. Available thickness are 1 and 3/8 inches and 1 and ¾ inches.

Solid Pine Wood Louvered Bi-fold Closet Doors:

Khrido.com offers this solid pine wood bifold closet doors with louvers. They are available in different sizes, such as 76 and ½ inches high by 29 and ½ inches wide and 78 and ½ inches high and 23 and ½ inches wide.

Boyd Louver Folding Door:

This louvered folding door is great closet cover as well as divider to separate rooms. The door features double-glider roller system, key-lock system and plastic frame material. It is constructed with heavy-duty and extra strength 63-inch PVC. The dimensions include 0.75 inches in length and 80.0 inches in height. You have the option to use an additional folding door if this louvered door is not wide enough for use in your doorway.

Home Owners DIY Guide to Block Paving your Drive

DIY Block Paving Instructions

Like to try your hand at DIY? This comprehensive instruction sheet will help you to block pave your drive or paths or patio. Although, with less weight and stress on paths or patios, you are not limited to the Herringbone style of laying the blocks, as with driveways, you are.

Most of the tooling can be rented from the local tool hire shop. Most of these businesses allow you to rent a tool from one day or how many days you will need the tool. For this job, most people will definitely need to hire a plate vibrator. (Unless its on your Christmas wish list of course!)

Tools Required:

Plate Vibrator

Block Cutter

Type1 Sub Base material

Drainage Channels

Washed Sharp Sand

Shovels, Broom, Gloves

The selection of paving, blocks and edgings are for you to decide. Most local builders merchants will supply a range of these products. Or, specialist companies who manufacture clay or concrete castings usually have a brochure you can pick up and peruse.

Step 1 a. Mark out the area to be paved and remove all the topsoil or existing surfacing to a depth so that the finished level is at least 150mm below the damp proof course of any adjoining house or building. If the area is flat it will be necessary, for drainage purposes, to create a slight slope during the excavation, dropping 25mm over 1 metre across the width (1:40) and 25mm over 2 metres along the length (1:80).

b. Compact the excavated area with the plate vibrator, digging out any soft spots and filling them with sub-base material. c. Install surface water drainage channels if required, ie if the paved area slopes towards the house / building or any other place where water run-off would not be welcome. Recessed manhole covers should also be installed at this stage if required.

Note: Finished level of paving should be approx. 5mm above any drainage point.

Step 2 Install all edge restraints, whether kerbs or edgings, by setting firmly in concrete to correct levels.

Step 3 Lay the sub-base material within the edge restraints and compact it firmly with the plate vibrator; depending on how well it compacts, you may need to go over the whole area between 5 and 10 times. It is essential that this sub-base is firm and to the right level and if there are any voids, fill them with sharp sand.

Note: Also, at this stage, if you intend to use lighting in your driveway, lay down the electrical cable within a conduit sleeve in your sub base. You can work out where to leave the cable ends in relation to the lights. If you have no electrical knowledge, I suggest that you get a fully qualified electrician to install the electrics for the lighting. Ideally, the lighting should illuminate each side of the drive.

Step 4 Spread the sharp sand to a depth of 50mm, compact it with the plate vibrator and spread a further 15mm of sharp sand over the area as a loose screed. Correctly level the screed with a rigid piece of timber or screed bar drawn along guide rails.

Step 5 Lay one course of blocks on the sand along all the edge restraints. They may be laid long ways against the edge ( 'a stretcher course') or with the short side against the edge ( 'a header course') depending on personal preference.

Step 6 Lay the blocks hand tight only, with a joint gap of 2-5mm, starting in one corner and at the bottom if there is a slope.

Notes:

a. Randomly mix and lay blocks from at least 3 packs to ensure even distribution of colour and texture.

b. If laying in herringbone pattern pull a string line across the area at 90 "or 45", as appropriate, and lay the blocks along the line. To start a herringbone pattern either put stretcher blocks along the line with one corner against the edge restraint and fill in the voids later with cut blocks, or use Bishop's Hats, which sit flush against the edge restraint and give you the angle to work from.

c. Pieces smaller than one quarter of a block should be avoided where possible.

Step 7 Sweep the area thoroughly after it has been laid – particularly if a block cutter has been used – to remove all chips and fragments. Then check to ensure there are no damaged blocks; if there are any, this is the time to replace them.

Step 8 Compact the whole area with two or three passes of the plate vibrator.

Step 9 Sweep jointing Sand over the entire area, ensuring it gets right into all the joints between the blocks.

The Notes;

a. Jointing Sand should not be applied in wet weather as wet sand will not fill the joints properly and could stain the surface of the blocks.

b. If there is a recessed manhole cover, care should be taken to avoid any sand getting in between the cover and the frame.

Step 10 Vibrate the whole area again to force down the Jointing Sand and fill any gaps which appear in the joints. Leave any surplus sand on the surface for the wind / rain to wash into joints. Alternatively sweep off the surface and re-sand if necessary.

We hope this DIY Paving project and general groundworking advice helps you to achieve the driveway you want. We have more information about this subject online, with pictures.

Brooklyn Bridge – Landmark of New York City

Walking on the Brooklyn Bridge is a great experience. There are numerous bridges are present in the United States, but still this bridge is the major attraction of New York City. Due to its magnificent construction, it is becoming more popular around the world. In the year 1883, the construction of this bridge was completed. It connects the Manhattan's New York City boroughs and Brooklyn by spanning across the East River. If you are planning to visit New York, then try to experience this place and make your vacation memorable. The beauty of Brooklyn Bridge is well maintained by the New York Department of Transportation.

This historical monument is considered as one of the oldest suspension bridges which are present in the US It is also ranked as the longest suspension bridge in the globe. This bridge was the first steel-wire suspension bridge. After opening ceremony of this bridge, it becomes the landmark of this beautiful city. Now, this iconic part of city's skyline offers amazing views of New York. Initially, the name of this bridge was New York and Brooklyn Bridge, but later on, it was dubbed as just Brooklyn Bridge.

In the year 1964, it is designated as the National Historic Landmark. Its Neo-Gothic towers are also very famous. At the end of this bridge, the pedestrian walkway is available. It is a Broadway which you might have been seen anywhere else. Around this bridge, there are numerous stunning views. Hence, make sure that you carry your camera along with you. Before visiting this bridge, do not forget to collect all the details about this place. To avoid the traffic, you can use the option of pedestrian path. Take pictures of the great views of the towers of the bridge. All these views easily grab the attention of the visitors. The length of this Brooklyn Bridge is around 1,595-feet, 6-inches and the width is 85 feet.

The opening ceremony of this bridge was held on 24 May 1883. From this Brooklyn Bridge numerous vehicles like bicycle, motor vehicles, and elevated trains are passing daily. It does not charge anything from the people who are using this bridge. It connects the two various areas over the big river. To enter on this bridge, you have options such as the New York Department of Transportation, pearl streets and exit at the 28B of the eastbound Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Most motor cars can enter the bridge from either direction of the FDR Drive, Chambers / Centre Streets, Park Row, and Frankfort Streets in Manhattan.

Work at Home Craft Assembly – Is it For You?

Work at home craft assembly jobs that you do at home is available all over the Internet, but searching for them is tedious task. With the help of the right information and resources, this kind of job is just a few clicks away. There are lots of available crafts that you can create at home that can allow you to open a new business.

When you are looking for the perfect home assembly job on the internet, you must be extra careful before you commit yourself to one company. This is a truth that you need to know, almost 90% of assemble work that you’ll find when you search are scams. These kinds of websites will just take your money from you. You will not be able to get your money back. It is imperative to be very picky when choosing a company that you feel you can trust. There are work at home craft assembly companies that are genuine and you can find them.

There are other ways for you to locate home assembly job aside from going online. You can visit your local jewelry shop or wedding planners because most of them need someone to do customized crafts for them. Work at home craft assembly is actually in demand because of all the shops that you can find locally in your area. Stay at home moms can now make use of their extra time to earn extra income. Do n’t worry if you do not have any knowledge in making and assembling crafts. If you can read and follow instruction will have successful career in assembling home products.

Types of Deer Mounts

Trophies of deer are very common in households across the country and world. There are various ways that deer can be mounted. Each type of mount gives off a different sense. Here is a look at some of the different types of deer mounts.

One of the most common types of mounts is the shoulder mounts. It’s actually the most popular choice. One of the main reasons why it is so popular is because this mount can be done in combination with common gutting and skinning methods. This means that hunters won’t have to go through any extra trouble.

Another type of deer mount is the upright position. With this position, the deer’s neck is set to be almost vertical, in an upright position. There is also the sneak position in which the neck is horizontal. This position is chosen if you want to portray the scene of a buck trailing a doe. In between the upright and sneak position lies the semi-sneak. With this position, the deer’s neck is turned at a 45 degree angle.

When it comes to deer mounts, there are different head positions that you can choose from. One of the main decisions that you will have to make is whether to have the head tilted to the left or right. The direction you choose will likely depend on the type of rack the buck has. If one side is smaller than the other side, you may want to keep it relatively hidden from view. The head can be turned to a side that enables the larger antler to be displayed prominently.

Deer mounts can also vary depending on the angle of the nose. Some mounts have the nose canted down, while others will have it canted up. Most people who choose an upright neck position will have the nose canted up since it’s more traditional. However, you can give the buck an aggressive aura by having the nose turned down.

There are also antler mounts. These types of mounts are used whenever the head can’t be used for some reason. A common reason occurs when the hunter accidentally shoots the animal in the face. Also, the hunter may not have enough money to purchase the more expensive mount, and will simply choose to get the antlers mounted instead.

Finally, there are full-body deer mounts. This type of mount is very rare, as with other full-body mounts of larger species. It can be difficult finding a taxidermist that is equipped to handle such a large project. It can be very difficult to skin an adult deer without causing damage to the skin the form of stretching or tearing. During the process, the fur will also likely be damaged. It’s slightly easier to work with fawns, but finding them will be difficult in itself.

Needless to say, full body mounts will be the most expensive of all the different types of mounts. These full body mounts typically make use of realistic looking natural scenes. Having them created will further drive up the price.

Hammertoe Surgery

Hammertoe surgery may be a treatment option if you have a severe hammertoe. A hammertoe is a contracture of the toe due to a muscle imbalance between the tendons on the top of the toe and the tendons on the bottom of the toe. There are two types of hammertoes, a flexible hammertoe and a rigid hammertoe.

Flexible hammertoes are less serious because they can be diagnosed and treated while still in the developmental stage. Flexible hammertoes are still moveable at the joint.

Rigid hammertoes are more serious and can be seen in patients with severe arthritis. In rigid hammertoes the tendons have become tight and the joint misaligned and immobile making surgery the course of treatment.

With hammertoe surgery there are several types of surgical options depending on the location and extent of the problem. The first option is arthroplasty. With arthroplasty, a portion of the joint is removed and the toe is straightened.

The second surgical option is fusion. With fusion surgery, the cartilage between the two toe bones is removed and the bones are fused to form one longer bone.

The third surgical treatment option is to have an implant put in the toe. With this surgery a portion of the bone is removed and replaced with an implant.

After hammertoe surgery some swelling, stiffness and limited mobility can be expected for as long as eight to twelve weeks. To help reduce swelling it is important to keep the foot elevated and apply ice. Most physicians will also recommend that a splint or surgical shoe be worn for the first two or three weeks after surgery. This will help to protect the foot and help to dispense body weight allowing the body to heel.

Some potential complications from hammertoe surgery are infection, swelling and possibly deviation of the toe. If a lot of bone is removed the toe may be a bit floppy. This will last for about seven weeks but generally will not be permanent.

Hammertoe surgery is one of the most successful procedures for surgeons today. Over 300,000 hammertoe surgeries are performed each year with few complications. Most patients are able to resume their daily activities without significant interference.

Glass Mosaic Tile Art – What Exactly is Grout?

Making wonderful glass mosaic tile art is easy! Let me show you how.

Ever wonder what grout actually is? As a mosaic artist, you should. Yes, it's cement, but what's cement? Even if you could not care less, as a mosaic artist, you should understand the materials used in your work. So, let's discover just exactly what cement is.

Portland cement is the most common type of cement. Did you know that Portland cement is a generic type of cement, not a trade name? Many different cement companies make Portland cement. Joseph Aspdin, a bricklayer in England, invented and patented Portland cement in 1824. He named it "Portland" cement because it resembled the limestone from the Isle of Portland (a 4.5-mile long by 1.5-mile wide limestone peninsula extending into the English Channel). He heated a coarse mixture of crushed limestone and clay in his kitchen stove. The resulting concoction hardened after he added water.

Although it may contain small amounts of various elements, cement comprises four basic components: calcium, silicon, aluminum, and iron. These elements are commonly found in limestone (source of calcium), clay, and sand (sources of silica, aluminum, and iron). Raw chunks of these ingredients are crushed and measured to get the correct mixture (limestone is by far the main ingredient). The crushed materials are then heated to more than 2500 degrees F (that's hot!). The extreme heat causes a chemical reaction and turns the materials into calcium silicates. The resulting material is called "clinker." The clinker is then cooled, crushed, and manufactured into a fine powder. The gray powder that we know as Portland cement is so fine that one pound of cement contains more than 100 billion grains, which is fine enough to pass through a sieve that can hold water. That's right! Finished Portland cement can pass through an extremely fine sieve but water can not. Is not that amazing? So, now that we know what cement actually is, the next question is why and how does it harden when water is applied?

Cement hardens because of "hydration," a chemical reaction caused by water resulting in a new compound. The reaction forms chemical bonds with water molecules that are called "hydrates." The calcium silicates react to release calcium and hydroxide ions. When the reaction process saturates the material, the calcium hydroxide crystallizes. At the same time, calcium silicate hydrate forms. As time proceeds, the calcium silicate hydrate grows (ie, the cement hardens) and the process continues until there are no more water molecules and un hydrated compounds. The resulting substance is rock-hard cement.

Grout adds strength to your mosaic, keeps out dirt, and helps protect your mosaic, especially outdoor projects. Grout is not an adhesive, so do not try to adhere tesserae to the mosaic's foundation using grout.

Remember, making mosaic art is easy. You can do it. Yes, you can!

African Paintings

African paintings bring color and style to the home. The art forms are varied and range from photographic realism through to the very abstract. African art is still less well known outside Africa and the works continue to create great conversation.

Some painters like Kenyan Joseph Muchini create detailed portraits as well as abstracts which is a rare combined capability. Abstracts are typically both easier and faster to create and so are the more common. As for material, the use of Acrylics and oil is more frequent than watercolors. Oil paint is by far the preferred medium today and it lasts much longer.

It is often best to buy art online because of the wide selection and quick price comparison. When purchasing art online it is important to observe the following:

If you are looking for an investment bare in mind that signatures and dates will assist collectors in the future and therefore increase any future antique value for pieces. Some top east african artists are: Shine Tani, Kamuyu Martin, Ash Uman, Alex Mbugua, Zachariah Mbutha, Lucki Mutebi, Giko (Hosea Muchugu), Peter Githire, and Eliod Babu.

It is unfortunately not so common for paintings to hold a date however, the reason being that many buyers prefer to think they are always getting the "latest" pieces, and a painting with a date might risk the perception that the artist failed to sell the item for many years! – I know it sounds strange, but that is the way it is.

Check the website's credibility. Look for other sites that link to the website. Look at the quality of the site design. Look at the content (for example does it have hundreds of nasty ads?) Advertizy sites exist for the wrong reasons and are always painful to use. Be wary of sites asking for credit card details instead of sending you to a safe site like Paypal for payment.

Obviously keep your eyes open for that single most important thing: "Uniqueness". This is much harder to define, but thorough research in critical, look on other sites for similar items and prices before you buy. Look at other works by the same artist to get a feel for the style (s). Search for any exhibitions that hosted the works of an individual.

How to Clean an Antique Chandelier

An antique chandelier, like all chandeliers, needs to be cleaned of dust and grime once in a while. The same principles that apply to cleaning more modern chandeliers apply to the cleaning of older one's too though you just have to use a bit more caution when dealing with older chandeliers.

Unless it is hung in particularly dusty area or where smog or other contaminants are found in the air an antique chandelier should not need to be cleaned more than once every 3 to 6 months depending also on the type of crystal found in the chandelier. Some crystal tends to repel dust while others will tend to attract it.

If a cleaning is called for there are several different ways to do it.

Method 1

If you just purchased your antique chandelier or if it has not been cleaned in a long time the best way to clean it is to remove the crystals and clean them separately from the chandelier itself. It is important to make sure that you are able to put the crystals back on in the same place where they came from. To accomplish this you can either draw a diagram yourself or use what is called a trim diagram which can sometimes be found for a particular brand of chandelier either from the manufacturer if they are still around or from the person you bought the chandelier from. The important thing being to put the crystals back in their place properly. Once removed the crystals can be washed with warm, not hot, water using a mild dish soap, rinsed well, and then dried with a soft, clean cloth before being put back on the chandelier.

Method 2

If the crystals and / or chandelier is not too dirty you can clean the chandelier by leaving the crystals installed. Cleaning them in place. A cleaning solution of one part isopropyl alcohol to three parts distilled water can be used. Distilled water does not contain any mineral contaminants and will not leave any streaks. Likewise the alcohol will mostly evaporate and not leave any residue behind. You will need two white cotton gloves. With one glove moistened with the cleaning solution you can wipe each crystal. Following quickly with second, dry glove to wipe the solution off the crystal. You may need several pairs of gloves to accomplish the job depending on how big your chandelier is.

It is important, especially when cleaning an antique chandelier, that you not use chemical cleansers that will eventually degrade the finish of the chandeliers. Ammonia is one such chemical that should not be used on a chandelier.

No Dig Potatoes

You can grow an enormous crop of potatoes without any of the backbreaking effort of digging. Just follow the steps below.

There is no need for fork or spade in any way, shape or form. This is ideal for those who have problems bending and lifting heavy loads. It is also a good project for a school or aged home gardening project.

Mark out an area of lawn

1. Lay down some weed suppressing material like carpet underlay, cardboard or thick layers of newspapers.

2. On this put a layer of compost and / or earth.

3. Put seed potatoes, or pieces of potato with eyes directly onto this layer of compost, exactly where you want them to grow

4. Cover this with a fairly generous layer of mulch or hay / straw, roughly 30 cm (1ft) deep.

5. Water this in well. Green plant shoots will come through this layer of material.

6. Add mulch as required to cover any tubers, which may grow on the surface of the mulch.

7. Water and treat pests and diseases regularly as required

8. With this method you can pull back part of the mulch to access some of the small potatoes for early use.

9. When the Haulms (Plants) have died back, you can pull back the remaining mulch to find a big crop of clean big potatoes. Which probably will not even need to be cleaned.

10. Next growing season, lay the seed potatoes directly onto the broken down layer of mulch to start again.

This method of growing potatoes requires little effort, on the part of the gardener. You are able to grow potatoes anywhere from the lawn to a rooftop to a driveway.

It also helps teach youngsters about where and how some of the produce actually comes from and grow, rather than it simply coming from a greengrocer. So why not get out there today, and grow your own potatoes.

How to Dig a Ditch in Rocky Ground

Are you bored? Do you have an enemy? Or do you just need to dig a hole in your front yard to plant some plants? Then you’re probably wondering how to dig a hole in that annoying part of the ground that’s so rocky that you just can’t dig past it without breaking your hand. But fear not there are a couple of ways to dig a hole. Here are some tips from my friend who has done quite a lot of digging in my time, including 8 hours of digging on hard rock digging 20 holes 2 feet x 2 feet big.

1. If you have nothing more than a shovel than you’re in a bit of trouble; the only way short of brutally hammering down on the rocks is to circumnavigate the rocks by digging to the side and then going under the rocks. This way you’ll be able to go under the rocks without ever encountering them.

2. If the entire field is full or rocks then the cheapest tool that you should buy is a pickaxe. Don’t take full swings with the pickaxe as that is an inefficient way and uses more work from you than it delivers onto the rock. Instead go up so that the tip reaches your head and swing down with the broad head of the pick axe. If you encounter an extremely big rock and can’t go around it, swing down with the narrow side and you will crack the rock. A great way to maximize efficiency is to have one person using pickaxe and breaking up the rocks, and one person using a shovel to dig out the debris. Obviously the bigger person should go with the pickaxe as to break the most rocks.

3. If you have a decent budget, a pretty big job to do, or just have rocks that feel like concrete, a jackhammer may be in order. Jackhammers usually cost at least $400 dollars so consider hiring help with a pickaxe before going off and buying one. Put some earplugs in and simply start drilling away at the rocks. Note: Please be sure you know what you’re doing before you handle a power tool as serious injury can be inflicted on your body.

Well, there you have it. If you want to dig a ditch in your neighbors house or if you want to plant a couple of plants in your backyard, simply take out whatever tools you have and dig away. Time, efficiency, and patience are the key factors of digging so be sure you have the time and energy before starting anything.