Art Deco Chandeliers

Art deco chandeliers are products of an art style that originated in the 1920's. Its origins lie in Europe until it spread in other parts of the world such as the United States.

The term Art Deco came from the World Fair held in Paris in 1925. The fair was officially titled Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. For years, Paris remained the center of Art Deco style. From this place came popular Art Deco designers like furniture maker Jacques Emile Ruhlmann and metal artist Jean Dunand.

True to its name, art deco chandeliers reflect the characteristic of materials that characterize the Art Deco style. Among the materials that make up such chandeliers are aluminum, stainless steel, inlaid wood and lacquer.

Designs of Art Deco chandeliers also resemble typical patterns reflected in Art Deco paintings. These chandeliers usually have sweeping curves in its design. The sunburst motif is also a famous example of an Art Deco chandelier design.

Because Art Deco was originally associated with elitism, Art Deco chandeliers have been a favorite feature of royal gathering places and churches. Their antique look and large sizes match the high ceilings and rusty posts of such establishments.

In the United States, Art Deco lightings came to birth during the 1930's, when buildings inspired by the art movement were established. Examples of these are the Chrysler Building and the Radio City Music Hall. Both are located in New York City.

Today, Art Deco chandeliers are readily available as a form of modern chandeliers. Sample pictures, complete with prices and shipping charges, are available in several websites of chandelier stores. Some stores also offer custom design packages for buyers who want to implement their own touch to readily available Art Deco chandelier design templates. With the help of the store artist, they can come up with their own version of an Art Deco chandelier.

Together with chandeliers inspired by other periods in history, Art Deco chandeliers have indeed widened the selection of homeowners and interior designers alike.

How to Get Rid of Torpedo Grass

Torpedo grass is the most common and most difficult to get rid of weed that can grow in your garden or lawn, but if you follow these basic tips your lawn and garden will be torpedo grass free.

The most simple and inexpensive method of getting rid of the annoying grass is by digging it out. Using your everyday shovel or weed popper will aid you in ridding your lawn of the grass. When using a shovel or weed popper make sure you don’t come into contact or shake around the sprouted part of the plant, doing this will spread out more torpedo grass seeds and result in germination all over your yard.

The alternative to doing the back breaking labor of digging out the weeds is to spray them with herbicides. This method is best used when you lawn is completely overrun with the grass and digging it out one weed at a time is too unreasonable. To make sure this method takes be sure to spray your lawn with the herbicide at least twice a year for a couple of years. This will make sure the persistent reoccurring weeds die off effectively.

Now in the extreme case that your lawn is nothing but torpedo grass which may occur if left unattended for a long period of time you have the option of tearing up your current lawn and relaying fresh sod. This procedure is only to be done if your yard is overrun to the point where one cannot walk without stepping on the grass.

If you have an infestation somewhere in between the basic couple of weeds and the extreme whole yard coverage you have the alternative method which combines the digging of the grass with a herbicide. What happens is once you dig up the torpedo grass you can spray that area with a lighter herbicide such as Round Up. This will assure that no torpedo grass will survive.

Overall if you are suffering from this overgrown weed there are several methods to follow that will completely eradicate it, just be sure to follow through with each method till the end!

The Elbow Lift in Body Contouring After Extreme Weight Loss

The elbow lift, or removing excess skin from around the elbow (middle) area of ​​the arm, is an uncommon procedure in body contouring surgery. Most of the time an upper arm lift (between the elbow and the armpit) is enough to take care of one's arm concerns. But the extreme weight loss patient can present with loose skin that passes below the elbow area.

When it is obvious that a lot of excess skin sags beyond the elbow area with the arm horizontally extended, then an 'extended' upper arm lift can be done and the arm problem can be solved in a single operation. The length of the scar, however, can understandably make some patients hesitant to extend the scar that long in a noticeable area even if it is obvious that the shape of the arm can so benefit. Other times, the amount of loose skin in that part of the arm is not so evident or the patient does not express concern until after an upper arm lift has been done.

The elbow lift removes skin around and beyond the elbow into the forearm area. The cut out of skin and the resultant scar can be done on the back of the arm or on the inside part of the arm. Like the medial (inside) upper arm lift, the scar continues across the elbow into the inside of the forearm. Because it is on the inside of the arm, it is less visible. Because it crosses the bendabale elbow area, however, it may develop a tight scar. A small z-plasty can be done at the crease of the elbow to prevent this potential problem although I have found this concern more theoretical than one I have actually seen.

The elbow lift can also be done on the back of the arm crossing the thickened pad area with the prominent underlying elbow bone. (Humerus) The concern about crossing this area with potential wound problems is a very real one. The skin is thick in this area for a reason, it is the one spot where the traction and sheering from elbow motion is the greatest. And after surgery, patients must bend their arms putting a lot of stress on the wound edges, Wound separation is a not uncommon problem with wounds that cross this area. For this reason, I perform a bilobed or figure-of-eight skin cutout, removing the least width of skin around the elbow area in the longitudinal cut out pattern.

The uncommon elbow lift is a simple procedure that is less in magnitude than an upper arm lift. It can be done on either the inside or back of the elbow area. Special care of how much skin is removed around the elbow is important to avoid wound separation when the back of the elbow approach is used.

Buying a Residential Elevator

Buying a residential elevator would be an excellent solution to the accessibility problems of the disabled and elderly persons. This home accessibility equipment takes you up and down the stairs, comfortably, safely and effortlessly. Besides, residential elevators help you to safely transport heavy items such as laundry, furniture, seasonal items and groceries from floor to floor.

A Wide Range of Residential Elevator Options

Residential elevators are a great addition to multistory residential establishments. Normally, indoor and outdoor home elevator models are available in various forms–vacuum drive elevator, roped-hydraulic drive elevator, winding drum elevator and counter-weighted chain drive elevator. Residential elevators can be effortlessly installed in your new home or your existing residence.

Apart from these, other advantages of residential elevators are affordable installation, as well as safe and hassle-free operation.

Models Available in Various Configurations

In the residential elevator industry, the top manufacturers that offer this line of accessibility equipment are Federal Elevator, Savaria Concord and ThyssenKrupp Access. Various models of residential elevators are available in a variety of platform sizes and weight carrying capacities to meet varied needs. Some of the well-known models are Infinity, Eclipse, Prolift Voyager, Volant, Rise, Lev, Signet, Windsor, Minivator, Telecab, Panorama and Renaissance.

Prolift Voyager – Good Choice for Your New or Existing Home

The Prolift Voyager model can considerably enhance your standard of living. This model comes with stylish cab interiors and other safety features including

o 1:2 cable hydraulic drive system

o Submersible hydraulic pump

o Large standard cab platform size of 35″ wide x 60″ deep

o Travels a distance of up to 40 feet

o Maximum stops: 5

Choose the Right Residential Elevator

Residential elevators add value and convenience to your home and enhance your standard of living. Therefore investing in a residential elevator is surely worthwhile. When buying a residential elevator, choose a space efficient and convenient model that caters to your taste and preferences.

A History Of Number Plates

Vehicle registration plates are usually made from metal or plastic and attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for the purpose of identification. The registration is identified by a numeric or alphanumeric code (the registration number) that is unique to the vehicle that the plate is attached to. Depending on the country in which the car originated, the registration number may be unique to the state or province, otherwise it will be unique to the country itself. Also, in some countries the registration is actually associated with the driver, rather than the car. Vehicle registration plates might also be referred to as license plates, number plates, vehicle tags, license tags, or simply tags.

There have been license plates almost as long as there have been automobiles, emerging during the final decade of the nineteenth century during the transition from horse to combustion powered transport. The first national licence plates were introduced as “driving permits” in the Netherlands in 1898. The first of these licences were simply plates displaying a number, beginning with 1 and continuing numerically. The last of this series of Dutch plates, released on January 15th 1906, was numbered 2065.

In the U.S, where each state issues plates, New York has required plates since 1901. Plates were not originally issued by the government in most American jurisdictions, and so motorists were obliged to provide their own. The first government issued plates were supplied in Massachusetts and West Virginia, and were made out of porcelain baked on iron, or simple unbacked ceramic, making them very fragile and prone to breakage. This has resulted in very few examples surviving today. More materials were later experimented with, including cardboard, leather, plastic and copper, and even pressed soyabeans during wartime shortages.

Depending on the area from which they originated, early models of number plate varied greatly in their shapes and sizes, to the point that new holes would need to be drilled into the bumper to accommodate the new plates should the driver of the vehicle relocate. Standardisation of plates came in 1957, when automobile manufacturers came to agreement with governments and international standards organisations. There are three basic standards worldwide;

* 12 by 6 inches (300 mm by 150 mm) – Used in the majority of the Americas.

* 20.5 by 4.5 inches (520 mm by either 110 or 120 mm) – Used in the bulk of the European countries and many of their former overseas territories.

* 14.5 by 5.3 inches (372 mm by 135 mm) – Used in Australia and some other Pacific Rim countries, about halfway between the dimensions of the other two standards, longer than Western Hemisphere plates but taller than European ones.

The formation of characters on a number plate also tends to change depending on the country of origin, and time period that the plate was made during. This has begun to change more recently, with France and Italy now adopting the same formation, for example.

Throughout a century of automobile use, number plates have become an essential tool for the protection of drivers, allowing for the identification of vehicles caught in accidents, and effective enforcement of law on the road.

Outdoor Woodboilers and Woodstove Corrosion Inhibitors

When purchasing your wood boiler or woodstove make sure to use the proper corrosion inhibitors to protect the metallurgy in your boiler system. Even if your wood boiler is stainless steel it will corrode from the outside in. Woodstove manufactures use a cheap grade of stainless steel and the iron will each through to the water side resulting in premature boiler failure.

A proper corrosion inhibitor should include a one that is high in pH, above 10.5, and it should contain Nitrite, Borate, Silicate, and Tolyltriazole. This Nitrite portion of the corrosion inhibitor mixture will passivate your mild steel. The higher pH will decrease your over all corrosion rates on the mild steel. Hot water becomes more corrosive at higher temperature., So it is important to have a higher alkaline product. The borate, silicate, and TT will protect any aluminum, copper, and solder from corrosion.

The most common antifreeze for wood boilers and woodstoves is propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is considered a safe form of Antifreeze. Dilute your Antifreeze to a 40% solution. This will protect your system from freezing up to -40F. Do not use RV Antifreeze. They claim to protect to -50F, but it does not. I get at least one call a week from someone that had there system frozen and pipes destroyed. Spend the extra money and buy 95% corrosion inhibited propylene glycol. The 5% is the corrosion inhibitor that is an all organic chemistry designed to work well with glycol to minimize your boiler corrosion rate. The same chemistry discussed above can also be used in heated home floor systems.

Stainless Steel Pressure Cookers – Which Brand is Best?

As you go about looking at different stainless steel pressure cookers you naturally may be wondering which brand is the best. In order to determine which is best for your needs, you will want to take a look at reliable stainless steel pressure cooker reviews. The following are independent review summaries on the major brands to provide you with a meaningful yardstick in your own search for the best one for your cooking needs.

Kuhn Rikon is a manufacturer that makes top of the line pressure cookers that are ideal for a person who enjoys spending time in the kitchen. The different models offered by come complete with a variety of different attachments that make these cookware options invaluable to the experienced cook as well as to a person who wants to improve his or her kitchen skills. They are superb items and if there is a drawback at all it’s only in the fact that they tend to be a bit more expensive than some other lines.

Fagor has been manufacturing highly regarded pressure cookers for a long time. This company offers a nice size selection of different models. In other words, this brand offers cookers that are ideal for the casual cook and ones that are perfect for the person who really has mastered his or her culinary skills. The only real downside to some of the cookers made by this company is that some of the attachments are not easily interchangeable from one unit to another.

Presto is an ideal brand of pressure cooker for families on the go. This brand includes models in different sizes and for cooks with different levels of expertise. Moreover, products from this company are some of the most affordable cookware pieces on the market today. The only limitation associated with this brand is that it really is not in the high-end market as such.

Mirro is another brand that focuses its attention on the market segment that includes busy families. This brand maintains lines of very affordable pressure cookers. Moreover, the company offers solid warranties on all of its products. As with some other manufacturers, this brand really has not entered into the high-end marketplace. Nonetheless, this brand is ideal for everyday meals and to make completely wholesome meals.

In the end, by taking the time to do a bit of homework (including considering these review summaries) you will be able to identify the very best stainless steel pressure cooker to meet the culinary needs of your family. You will be able to purchase a piece of cookware that will serve you well into the future.

Fiberglass Pond Liners

A pond is a place of beauty and serenity in a garden or a building. Modern materials have made pond building cheaper and easier. There is a great variety of choice in the size, shape, nature, material and cost of a pond. Man-made ponds are made of different kinds of Pond Liners. The basic difference is between preformed and flexible forms of liners.

A fiberglass Pond Liner is the most common type of pre-formed Pond Liner. Pre-cast fiberglass ponds are available in garden stores. While they are the most durable of Pond Liners, on the flip side, they tend to be less attractive, more expensive and more difficult to conceal than flexible Pond Liners. In-situ fiberglass is better, but it is even more expensive. Nevertheless, there are many admiring customers of fiberglass Pond Liners too.

Fiberglass shells are easy to install and come in many shapes and sizes. Simply set them in the ground and they are ready to stock with fish and aquatic plants. The best fiberglass liners have a smooth black liner surface with a deep look. They will support rocks and their own weight of water above them without cracking. In terms of ease of installation and longevity, fiberglass liners are the best.

Some of the advantages of fiberglass are evident to all. It is the easiest to install. No hole need be dug and the decorative pool has just to be set on top of the ground and surrounded by rocks. Fish ponds are also easy to install, as precise grading and a sand base is not required. A rigid fiberglass pond does not need support to stay level. It will not cave in from back-fill, nor cave out from water pressure in case there is some problem with the hole you dug.

It has a professional appearance, as it pays heed to details like putting the pool edge ½ inch above grade, and that cascades should be completely covered with rock for a natural look. In any case, a fiberglass pool or cascade will not sag and collapse like a flexible pool. Also, the pool can be left in operation at all times, even in winter. Fiberglass allows space for expanding ice, and is not prone to shattering or cracks like plastic. The surface is easy to clean with cloth and water. It is also protected from wear and tear over a lifetime.

For those who do not have much space in their garden, do not want to waste time digging and filling, and want a long-lasting water body in their garden, fiberglass is the right choice.

Wide Plank Laminate Flooring That Compliments Your Home

It is helpful to know what kind of wide plank laminate flooring you want. You will be looking for two vital things and they are the finish and wood grain you want. If you want to be totally sure of wood finishes that will compliment your house, you can always order a few samples and test them. There are several ways that will help you decide on the wide plank laminate flooring you require. The first one is viewing samples in a flooring showroom and it will go a long way in helping you make up your mind. If you are shopping online, you should not worry because you can make use of the pictures or photographs available. You will certainly know what you want when you make use of pictures.

Wide plank laminate flooring information on the warranty is very crucial. Find out what period of time the warranty offers and many warranties for this product should range from 10 to 15 years. There might be additional information and it is vital for you to know it. This will help you know the facts instead of assuming things contained in the warranty document as is done by many who are ignorant. You need to know how much the plank will cost you and also know where you can save money. When there are offers being carried by sellers, the product will be very affordable and sometimes very cheap. Take advantage of such offers and if you have to wait for a few months it will be worth it because you will get good deals.

Wide plank laminate flooring notably does not come with faults or imperfections unlike wide plank flooring and this may be witnessed in gaps and texture and you must be aware of this. However, it is a worth investment and it does not come cheap. Consider it a huge achievement on your part when you get the elegant pieces. Get more information about the flooring so that you can know how best to go about a purchase that has real quality. Make use of opinions and reviews from consumers because this is the best way to learn about a product in an unbiased way. Let mistakes of some consumers be a lesson to you and take in every helpful tip. Ensure that you do not get carried away by the positive side. Therefore, knowing the negatives will help you have a more realistic perception on the product.

Finally, when you have acquired quality wide plank laminate flooring, you can expect to enjoy many things and first, you will have the style and design you wanted for your home. Secondly, you can rely on the quality of the product because it will serve you for a very long time. Cleaning the flooring will be done with ease because you do not require a lot of effort. It is vital to have some tips on how to care for the flooring. For example, know the kind of cleaning products to use and which not to use.

The Purpose and Place For a Spiral Staircase

 I love a spiral staircase, especially the design and installation. Spirals come with some heavy restrictions beyond that of a “normal” staircase. First and foremost is the idea that a spiral stair serves as a secondary staircase in a home or business; or it serves as a loft access that does not exceed 400 to 500 square feet (depending on local codes).

Code compliant spirals are rather vague when you consider it is under or applies to the BOCA, UCB, CABO, IRC 2003, IRC 2006, or IFC 2006 codes. One must check with their local building department to get an update on what codes your spiral with fit.

Here is a short list of the most common code factors:

1.      Minimum clear walking path of 26 inches. This means that the spiral will be a minimum 5-foot diameter

2.      Each tread will have a minimum of 7-1/2 inch tread depth and 12 inches from the narrow edge.

3.      The riser height (from the top one tread to the next) shall not be more than 9-1/2 inches in height.

4.      The staircase must maintain a minimum headroom of 6 foot 6 inches.

5.      The balusters (spindles) shall be installed so that a 4 inch sphere cannot pass through. A couple code agencies permit up to 4-3/8″.

6.      The stairway must have at least one handrail on the wide edge of the tread.

7.      Handrail height, measured vertically from the nose of the tread, shall not be less than 34 inches and not more than 38 inches.

Some define a spiral as a stair which winds around a central pole.   That doesn’t always hold true. Five years ago a homeowner was given the okay through his building department to install a ladder or spiral accessing his 400 square foot library loft.   They did not want the traditional spiral, but rather the look of a free standing staircase with glue-laminated stringers. This would require an inside and outside handrail, the inside being a 6 inch radius.   We got the classification of a ladder and built a complete free standing spiral stair with enclosed risers, inside and outside skirts. In essence, a spiral can be creative a creative design only housed by your imagination.

Here’s a fun fact: Spiral stairs in medieval times were made of stone and were installed in a spiral down right. This put attacking swordsmen at a disadvantage who were generally right handed and served as defensive in design and structure 

What Your Porch Railings Need To Look Professional

Installing a professional looking porch railing can be a rewarding experience when is carefully planned and designed and specially important if it is your first experience on doing it. Proper planning and designing take time and you are welcomed to spend enough time thinking what kind of design may match your home style, what kind of material you can handle skillfully and the cost of all the inversion. When you are determinate to start, visit lumberyard shop, search online or visit your home improvement supply store. Remember that professional looking deck railings have many parts as finials, balusters,post and rails for the top and the bottom of the structure. Depending on chosen material, even can be PVC, and design, you may be need more parts,first of all, measure the space available for the railing with accuracy, after that, you can go ahead with your plans.

What Your Railings Need to Look Professional

When someone looks at professional rails, instantly knows it, the reason: skill in the design and realization; intricate details and handsome elegance. A professional design will highlight your home style adding grandeur, soberness, simplicity or coziness are different styles that can be exalted by the appropriate railings.

Plans have features that show their status of professionally made, one of the trademarks of experts porches is the decorative detail and a sense of uniqueness achieved by the creator. Woodworks offer you many designs to lend the exterior of your house the look you are searching.

Including in your search the neighborhood houses and architectural style. It is amazing when a group of houses gain value due to aesthetic improvement obtained

Installation Tips For A Professional Porch Project

Installation is as important as the design. A porch railing with a inappropriate installation not only is a problem to solve by reinstalling but is a financial lost. Let’s start with some installation tips.

1. Learn well what elements need,always there must be some nails, files,a saw, a drill and if you plan to paint,a matching color with your house exterior.

2. Measure the space available.

3. Always wear safety goggles when working, specially if the installation needs some kind of welding,sawing,or cutting,or even if there is some kind of glass involved in it.

4. Keep all tools at hand, safe and clean.

5. Measure the space you have available for the installation including spaces you have between nailing points and the total surface area available on your porch,if you plan to install post,measure the area available for the opening.

6. Electric installations: check that there is not trouble or shock risk with your electric installation during the railings installation or after it.

7. Cut filler strips to the length you’ll need. You must cut from the top and not from the bottom.

8. After you cut them baluster, mark the positions on strips.

Finish touch: ceramic,crystal,wood or stone pieces for post caps and finials make your porch railing looking quite professional.,you can design and cut or carve your own in some cases or search for them in local and online shops,additional note: search if it is needed any local authority permission to install your porch railing, and avoid troubles and fines,it is easy to inquire in your local offices or online.

With all this information, you can go along for achieving a really looking professional porch railing.

A Short Checklist Before Building a Staircase

Making a staircase is something that is best left to the experts. Building stairs seems easy to do but it's actually quite the opposite. Building a staircase requires some degree of expertise and experience for you to successfully pull it off within a relatively short period of time. Since not all of us can afford to hire an expert, here is a short checklist to help you as you start building your staircase:

Know your Stair Parts

Familiarizing with the parts of your staircase will make everything easier for you. Since sooner or later you will be needing the expert advice of a stair builder, knowing all the terminologies involved in stair building will give you confidence as you ask for some tips or advice.

After some time, you will have to pay a visit to a stair warehouse or an online site that sells stair parts, where you are surely to encounter these words, so better start getting acquainted now. Just like learning any other skill, it's best to learn the jargon first.

Start making your staircase design

Making your stair's design might seem to be the easiest step, while in fact it is the hardest. Post why? This is because here it takes more time to make your own design usually taking a couple of drafts, revisions, and until you are completely satisfied with your piece of work.

For this, you can use the simple pen-and-paper tandem, or if you're a more digi-savvy, you can also use Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW or Indesign. These are such great tools for all kinds of design. It's easier to visualize and it's also easier to transfer your concepts to your stair builder.

Make a timeline and finalize your budget

These stage is crucial so that you'll know what budget it is that you will be working around. Surely, you do not want to realize that you are short when you're already halfway your balustrade construction. Or you do not want a fat credit card bill which scares you when due date arrives. Or make you want to feel like "This staircase is amazing but I can not pay for it, can you uninstall it instead?" Fail! Draft a sound and realistic budget and confirm this with your partner and your stair builder.

Likewise, the timeline will help keep you on track and monitor your progress. Also, it keeps you from procrastinating and your staircase renovation / building will not have to interfere with your other previously scheduled engagements.

There is your quick staircase checklist that when followed will guarantee you the results that you've wanted.

Fabric Care

The use of fabric is so variable that it's difficult to give hard fast advice on how it might behave in different situations. For example velvet can change its finished length by the fibers relaxing in certain atmosphere. The longer and heavier the fabric is the greater the finished length may alter over a period of a few weeks. Viscose and rayon may shrink or relax in different humidity. Cotton velvets may drop considerably as may looser weave fabrics. For this reason curtains should be made with a good-sized hem, loosely sewn as with side seams. Any linings should also be slip stitched. This will allow for any possible movement when the curtains are hung. Alternatively, lengths can be cut and hung over a banister where the atmospheric conditions are the same as to where the curtains are going to be hung.

Fading

All fabrics will eventually fade but dark dye silks will fade particularly if they are in direct sunlight. Avoid dark colors at very sunny windows where possible and always use a good solprufe lining to protect fabrics. Keep furniture, where upholstery fabrics have been used, out of the sun.

Shrinkage

All fabrics are susceptible to shrinkage particularly natural fabrics such as cotton and linen. You should allow up to 6% shrinkage when making curtains and loose covers. Fabrics may also shrink with dry cleaning. When making loose covers it is important to allow for shrinkage. Tight fitting covers look the best but be aware that, after washing, the loose covers will shrink. The initial fit should allow for up to 6% shrinkage.

Please note that any accessories or trimmings used on cushions etc may shrink at a different rate. Also it is important to use the correct cotton for sewing as this can shrink at a different rate and spoil the look of curtains or cushions etc.

Cleaning

Most fabric companies suggest dry cleaning and it is important to follow the recommendations for care otherwise problems can not be put right at a later date. Most loose covers are better dry cleaned as there is less room for shrinkage and they come back pressed and generally look better. However, some people prefer washing cushions etc particularly where there are young families. This is possible with natural fabrics but its best to test a sample piece first to check how the fabric might react.

Pattern Repeats

If there is a pattern repeat to the fabric you choose always make sure before you cut into it that the patterns are aligned for curtain use. The majority of pattern repeats adhere to the specifications given in the pattern book but occasionally a variance might occur, particularly with woven fabrics. No company will accept responsibility for this once the fabrics have been cut into so it is very important to check first that you are happy with how the widths of fabric join up.
Fabric suitability

Check with your supplier first that the fabric you have chosen is the correct fabric for the job you require it to do. Fabrics used for covering furniture are usually given a rub test and then categorised in to Careful Domestic, General Domestic, Severe Domestic or general contract or Severe Contract. A family with children climbing on and off the sofa is going to require a general domestic fabric whereas a sofa used occasionally may be OK with careful domestic.

The Beer, the BBQ, the Bat!

My brother, Rick, invited me over one Saturday night for a barbecue and beer. His wife had gone camping with her girlfriends, so it was like our own boys night out.

It threatened to rain, but that did not dampen our spirits and we sat outside. We started to barbecue and listen to his newest blues CDs on his portable player. Many laughs and several beers later the rain forced us to take the party inside.

What more could anyone ask for? Various genres of blues wafting through the house, ice cold beer flowing, steaks cooked to perfection, and, oh yeah … the bat flying around the livingroom.

"A what?" my brother choked. "There's a bat flying around your livingroom", I calmly replied. He belted out a scream as he leaped from the table and raced upstairs. I could hear the bedroom and bathroom doors being slammed shut in unison. All the while I was laughing at our new situation. Well, until the bat swooped down on me, that is.

We must have made quite a sight. Two forty-something men screaming like frightened school children over a flying mouse. "What do we do now?" my out of breath brother wheezed. I suggested we get a broom and a towel to catch it in. Twice before I encountered bats in my home and this technique worked well. Rick handed me the broom and declared, "Since you're the expert you can chase him out the patio door." I bravely marched into the livingroom to duke it out with the flying vermin, giggling stupidly the entire time.

With each swing of the broom my enemy out-maneuvered me. I brushed it a couple of times but that only infuriated him all the more. I glanced in the hallway to check on my brother. He ws holding a dishtowel like a matador tempting a bull. "Get out!" he repeatedly yelled as he waved the towel wildly. Like the bat would understand him, eh!

Wings flapping furiously our rodent flew straight up the stairs towards the bedroom. "See? I was right to close those doors!" Rick exclaimed. I figured it was only a lucky guess on his part but I was not about to steal his thunder. I let him bathe in the glory of his decision by keeping my mouth shut.

Once again, I forged ahead broom at the ready. I slowly climbed the stairs waiting to spring into action. Watching my every move with his beady brown eyes, the bat rested above a door. In an instant, it lunged at me recklessly. I'm sure I could hear it screeching as it dove … or, it was me screaming a hasty retreat down the stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs I regained my composure and proceeded to launch a counterattack. Charging back up, broom frantically waving, I managed to trap it against a window ledge. Huffing and puffing I triumphantly announced, "I got the little bastard, now get your ass up here!"

During my counterattack my brother chose to don more protective gear. Rick, now sporting oven mitts and goggles, squeezed in front of me and pushed the dishtowel against the vermin trying to hold him in place, as I cautiously slid my broom to the side. I then raced into the bedroom to get a chair. Rick climbed onto the chair to improve his grip. "He's moving!" he hissed through clenched teeth. I repositioned myself directly behind my brother by balancing one foot on the stair bannister and my other foot on a wall. I then reached over his shoulder and clutched the dishtowel with the squirming bat underneath. "Let's open a the window and push him out!", I volunteered. Then, I asked Rick how to open his windows as they were just recently installed. "How should I know? I did not put them in!" was his retort. So, with my free hand I reached over his head and tried to open the latch every which way with out success. "Hurry" he gasped "He's trying to escape!" No kiddin '?

Eventually, I managed to slide two windows over only to find a one piece screen covering the opening. Rick instructed me to open it any way I could, as enough was enough. With my free hand I pushed the screen as hard as I could. It instantly popped out and fell two stories onto the lawn below. At that exact moment we shoved our winged visitor out the window. Amazingly the bat grabbed onto the ledge and looking back at us refused to budge. Rick heaved at it one more time and out it went. We immediately closed the window and took a deep breath.

Rick looked over his shoulder at me and declared, "Well, I'm sober now. Time for more beer!" At which point we toasted our victory.

Masturbation Tips: Getting Out of a Rut

Because masturbation is one of the easiest ways a man has to entertain himself, it’s something they tend to do on a regular basis. Many men have absolutely no problem with their masturbation routines and make masturbating part of their penis care regimens. These men masturbate and enjoy it, plain and simple. But some men find that they have fallen into a rut with their masturbation. They find themselves going through the motions and getting some amount of pleasure from it – but also finding it’s become a bit “old hat.”

For men who are in the latter camp, the following tips may prove valuable in getting out of the rut and reinvigorating their masturbation routines.

– Change the time. Lots of men masturbate on a fairly regular basis at the same general time. That may be every day when they wake with morning wood or every night before they go to bed or every Sunday afternoon. If a guy is a trifle bored with his self-fondling, he should try indulging at a different time and see how that feels.

– Change the timing. By the same token, some men tend to spend the same general amount of time on each masturbation session. The man who has become bored with self-pleasure can extend that regular 5-minute quickie into a 20- or 30-minute session. Or the guy that tends to go about his business for a half hour can switch things up with a quickie and see how fast he can bring himself to ejaculation.

– Go loco on location. Altering where a man masturbates can also make a big difference. A guy who spends all his time at the computer may enjoy taking to the bed with his special friend. Instead of finding pleasure in the bedroom, perhaps try the living room or kitchen or laundry room. Rather than stay indoors, go outdoors (if there is a privacy fence in the backyard, for example). Or if the house is boring, try a stall in the men’s room at the local mall.

– Reposition things. Those who masturbate sitting down might try doing so standing up. Those who stroke while lying down might try kneeling or squatting.

– Switch hands. The penis becomes accustomed to strokes from the dominant hand – so switch things up and use the other hand for a while. Or use both hands – either at once or alternating. Also, a guy should see if he needs to use those hands in a different way. If he tends to concentrate on the glans, spend more time on the shaft (and vice versa). Also, too many men neglect their balls while masturbating, and many are afraid to explore their anus – yet both of these can be rewarding in terms of stimulation and interest.

– Lighten up (or down). Changing the lighting in the environment can also affect the mood and enjoyment. Should the lights be nice and dim – and is a guy ready to turn on the flood lights for a change? Is it time to switch off the overheads and go for indirect lamplight? And hey, maybe there’s a reason why red lights are associated with sex; why not find out?

These are just a few ideas for getting out of a masturbation rut and back “into the game” with playtime. Of course, masturbating regularly means a need to keep the penis healthy, which requires the daily use of an exceptional penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Sometimes men get a little over-enthusiastic while masturbating, resulting in a loss of sensitivity from rough handling. A crème with neuroprotective acetyl L carnitine helps with the peripheral nerve damage that can lead to a loss of penile sensation. That rough handling may also damage the skin, so using reparative hydration is needed. A crème with both Shea butter and vitamin E is packed with moisturizing power.