French Interiors Old World Chic

Unlike the extravagant interiors of a Malibu Hollywood styled mansion, a French home is very elegantly under-styled. You will always see an element of carelessness, be it a wrinkled pashmina blanket or a mirror with distressed paint.

Although in contrast to those classic undone moments, the chic French homes also have a touch of extravagance, like dramatic embellished drapes that puddle onto the floor. An over-sized mirror made from doorways and arches with distressed carved textures from the old castles is seen embracing these interiors.

French closets are the old styled armoire, a freestanding storage piece that has drawers, shelves, and the classic porcelain knobs. Old doors styled into cabinets in deep dark wood tones splayed against an ivory wall, so classic French chic! Add one to your bedroom to hold your clothing or to your study for your books.

French interiors are rarely bold but they often have a vintage French chandelier giving the ceiling an old world elegance.

Many French homes have stunning historic architecture taking from their historic beautiful cathedrals and palaces. Celebrate the old traditions with vintage scalloped arches and doorways with finials and brass accents. Beautiful ornate carved-wood detailing against the backdrop of white walls gives the antique sculpture a statement character.

Soaking and unwinding in a deep elegant porcelain tub with old wall sculptures or a huge arched mirror as the backdrop; stay in the realm of extravagant chalky and subdued grays. Antique white, pale mint, sunkissed sand, washed linen, or gray are the pallets found abundantly in French homes. Add color in art or decorative accents, subtle and quiet beautiful jamavar woven pashmina blankets steal your heart.

Antique white provides a lived-in feel to a room with traditional French decor. In dining areas, delicious vanilla softens the hues of the dark palace door dining table. Inspiration goes beyond tradition with salvaged antique barn doors, used as a room divider. The vintage antique washed turquoise chests and consoles made from renewable sources are the splash of subtle color in an otherwise quiet room.

Handloom cotton throws in paisley prints remind you of the summer, yellows and green, a pleasing array of color. Sheer curtains give the room an airy romantic feel, interlace with solid panels and the room has a beautiful aura.

Easy uncomplicated colors work beautifully with vintage washed palace doors and archways, intricately detailed by hand, unique and one of a kind. Old world elegance balanced with contemporary pieces stimulates the five senses, bringing beautiful vibrant energy to your home.

The Making of a Patachitra Painting

We have all seen contemporary artists in action. We have seen them splash paint on giant canvases. But there is another way to make great art. And that is through the rigor of practice and the perfect control over one’s fingers. In the world of traditional artists – practice marks out the best from the rest. Through eyes that can barely see, and through the strength of their frail fingers – the older generation of indigenous artists, create art that simply tantalizes the perfectionists.

Patachitra art has been around for a long time. However the alienation of indigenous art forms has made it difficult for the enthusiast to find out the techniques and methods which produce a great Patachitra. Conversely some of the traditional techniques require upgrading to the latest available materials and tools. With the intention to understand how authentic Patachitra is made, I traveled to Raghurajpur in Orissa to get a first hand view of some of the best Patachitra artists.

So how is good Patachitra made? There a number of steps in the traditional style. The first is of course the preparation of the materials required for the painting. Tamarind seeds are soaked in water in an earthen pot and then boiled to get a gummy solution. Rice powder may be added to give a stiffer feel to the canvas. This process knows as ‘Niryas Kalpa’ takes a few days.

After this, two course cotton cloth pieces of the same dimensions are selected and pasted together using this solution. This forms the ‘Pata’ or the base canvas for the painting. Chalk, clay or stone powder is then mixed with the tamarind solution and applied on both sides of the canvas to give it a semi-absorbent surface coat. After canvas has dried it is burnished first with coarse grain, and then with polished stones to give it a smooth surface. The process of polishing involves many hours of careful work. The result is a canvas with high tensile strength and an excellent surface coat for the intricate lines that are to be made on it.

‘Chitrakarita’ or the process of painting begins once the canvas has been polished. The first step called ‘pahili ranga bhara’, involves painting a red background and the borders and outlines of the composition. The central solid colors are then painted in. The main colors used are red, brick red, yellow, white and lamp black. Many different types of brushes are used to make the different details on the painting. For fine lines, brushes made of the hair of a rat or mongoose is used. For thicker lines buffalo hair is the traditional choice. Kiya plants have been used to make the bolder lines, in the past. However in the last few years some of the artists have started using standard painting brushes made of synthetic materials.

The painting is finished with a coat of lacquer, applied using a soft cloth. After the lacquer has dried completely, the edges are clipped down to the decorative border. The lacquer layer is called ‘jausala’, and is glazed in the final step. In earlier times the lacquer layer was made by sprinkling resin powder on the painting and then holding it down with a hot bag of sand. Synthetic varnish has been used as a substitute in recent times with mixed results. A fallout of the varnish is the brown tinge to the painting.

In the past the themes of the Patachitra paintings belonged to a few major categories

  • Pictures of the god Jagannath
  • Hindu epics and episodes especially “Krishna Leela”
  • Stories from Folklore
  • Worship of various gods and goddesses
  • Animal and bird themes
  • Erotic themes

In recent times modern themes have started appearing on these paintings, even including themes from other religions. However the newer themes are mostly secular and center around modern day events and stories. The depictions however are not uniform and the structure of the paintings can vary from circular paintings to long rectangular panels.

The Patachitra artist also paints on a variety of mediums other than the ‘Pata’. ‘Talapatachitra’ is a variation of the style done on dried palm leaves stitched together to make a canvas. The design in this technique are primarily made with a needle head and etched on to the surface of the dried leaves. This is an extremely difficult and time-consuming process requiring many hours concentration at a time. The older artists develop eye problems mainly due to the extremely detailed designs they make using this technique.

Other mediums that have been used are wooden boxes, tassar silk apparel, coconut shells, wooden doors and panels and even traditional playing cards called ‘Ganjifa’. Compendiums of mythological stories called ‘Chitra-pothies’ are made from many palm leaf paintings stacked together between decorated wooden covers and held by strings or silk threads. These form interesting and memorable gifts, especially desired by the discerning tourists visiting the state of Orissa.

In a following article we are going to examine what differentiates a good painting from an average one. Also on the cards is a an indepth look at the life of a Patachitra artists and the hardships which have made most of them abandon this most delectable art form.

Should You Start Your Own Electrician Business? – Pros and Cons

Just about anyone would love to start their own business. The thought of being able to call the shots and work on your own really sounds great on the surface, but becoming an electrician is a far more difficult task than most people think. It takes years of dedication and learning to become licensed and to become a credible business is a whole other struggle.

Here are the Pros of why you should start you own electrician business:

• Potential Income – Electricians can make anywhere from $40 – $100 dollars an hour and the electrician business is one of the fastest growing businesses in the United States. For you this means there is going to be plenty of money to make if you can become licensed and insured.

• Self Employed – The great thing about become an electrician is the fact you can run your own business with your own rules. You can work from your home or office as long as you have all the materials needed to perform services.

• Tax Benefits – There are a lot of tax benefits of running your own business. The government will literally give you money for start-up costs. The schooling you need will be costly and the government will help out with a portion of that as well.

Here are the Cons of why you shouldn’t start you own electrician business:

• Apprenticeship – It takes years of being an apprentice to a licensed electrician to be able to become one of your own. Some people just don’t have the drive to make it through the years of schooling and apprenticeship that it takes to become licensed in this business.

• Dangerous – Electricians have the possibility of being electrocuted and killed if the right voltage is discharged. There are stories all over the internet about electricians accidentally getting hurt or even worse, killed on jobs where something went wrong. This is a very dangerous job that has high risks of injury. Keep this in mind if you have children or people that rely on you on a regular basis.

• Competition – The competition is this field is high but if you are licensed and insured, you will set yourself apart from a high percentage of the electricians marketing themselves online or on Craigslist. Most of the electricians that you will find on Craigslist, might say they are licensed but they really aren’t. I suggest that when you get your license, you display it on your ads and website, so people know that you are licensed and insured right away.

Becoming an electrician is not an easy task but if you stay motivated, finish your schooling and apprenticeship, and get licensed and insured, it is very likely that you can become successful in this business.

Build Your Own Dry Washer And Dig For Desert Gold

A dry washer is a piece of equipment that is used to separate gold from sand with pulsations of air coming up through a porous cloth medium. This allows the gold to settle downward and get caught. It is the gold prospecting equipment of choice in dry desert areas. The vibrations and flow of air replace the function of water in the normal sluice, allowing the gold to settle downward. Screened gravel passes down an inclined riffle box with cross riffles. The bottom of the box consists of a thin, light weave canvas or some other fabric through which moving air passes upward.

There is question that dry washers are a type of gold prospecting equipment that you just have to have if you’re working in the desert, but the prices are really high. In addition, at least for the bellows type dry washer, they are not that hard to make. It really has only been in the last 40 years that you could buy pre-made dry washers quite easily. For a hundred years before that generally most dry washers were home made affairs designed and built in the gold prospector himself. If you’d like to be a part of that great tradition of prospectors, read on.

First, the bulk of what homemade dry washers are made of is wood, so standard home wood working tools are sufficient for all but the riffle tray. I prepared some general plans for an average puffer type homemade dry washer, and they can be seen on my website (see below). You can adopt and use these plans, or use them as a starting point and design your own dry washer. To build one, you need to think about how you will build your particular unit, and what design ideas you want to use on your own homemade dry washer. There are also commercial units on the market, and it can be helpful to take a look at them when thinking about your own design.

The first design concept you need to think about is the air source. Do you want to build a bellows puffer, or a powered blower type of unit. Both work well, but the puffer type is plainly easier to build. Because of this, I recommend a Puffer type dry washer if this is the first one you are building. Remember that dry washers are built such that you could always modify it in the future to switch from a Puffer type to a blower type if that’s what you eventually decide you really want to do.

No mater your design, you will need the following construction materials: wood, metal, cloth, screws, screen. I suggest 3/8 inch weave for the material screen – half inch would probably be OK, but I suggest 3/8 inch as best. Too large a size and those larger rocks will help push gold out of your sluice, and if too small and you may loose a nice nugget if you dig one up.

You will need standard working tools. See my web page about obtaining the tools you will need. I have done up a page on hand tools for this type of project, you can check it out on my website.

My best suggestion if you want to start fabricating mining equipment (and keep the stuff you have in good repair) is to purchase a small welder. In fact, I so strongly recommend that you consider buying one of these welders that I have done up a whole web page on it. If you are seriously considering building your own dry washer, you check it out on my web page.

A dry washer consists basically of two connected boxes, and upper box and a lower one. The upper box is really just a hopper you can feed gravel into. The material too large for the screen falls off the screen as “oversize”. The exact dimensions of the upper box are not that critical, but you don’t want it to be too big or too small. The lower box contains the bellows or blower as well as the riffle set up.

You shovel onto the screen until the upper box is full, then with a puffer type, you step to an upwind location and pull the cord to make the bellows puff. The material then works its way down through the hopper, and across the sluice riffles. When the hopper is empty, you start shoveling again until it’s full.

Make sure the screen you purchase for the upper box is durable and that on the hopper it is well supported from underneath. If you toss too many big rocks onto a poorly supported screen it will simply bend and break. That is something that can be fixed, but when you are out in the field, it can be very inconvenient. A couple quarter inch diameter steel rods can be very helpful support for the screen.

The gold catching riffles in the lower box of a dry washer are different than those on a water sluice. The design on a water sluice box is that the gold is retained downstream of the riffle. On a dry washer, the gold is designed to be held on the upstream side of the riffle. The riffle tray is one of the things that really need to be put together by welding. I suppose small bolts would be a possibility, but welding would be much superior. Welding up the removable tray does not take that much work. On the underside of the riffles is a light weave muslin cloth that allows the air to pass upward through it. The riffles need to be a movable tray, so that periodically (usually every hour or two of run time) the riffles and the concentrates can be removed and put in a bucket for later processing. In addition, with the puffer type, dust gets sucked into this lower air box and it needs to be cleaned out from time to time. Check out the welding page noted above for more details.

On the underside of the lower box is where the air comes in. If you use a blower, this is where the duct enters. If you are making a puffer / bellows type dry washer, this is where the bellows will go. Good heavy canvas makes a good bellows. Material that has been rubberized or made waterproof is best. You also need a flapper so that air can go in and go out only through the riffles. The one way flow flapper is usually just a piece of 1/8 inch rubber covering a hole about 4 inches in diameter. The bellows are hinged on one side and a pull cord is attached to the end opposite the hinge. Pulling on the cord puffs the air through the riffle cloth. See the photos on my website for further detail. Its helpful if the support legs on the lower blocks are adjustable in some way, as the ground surface in the gold fields is often very uneven.

What Are Scrunch Butt Bikinis?

Yes, you must have heard about, or come across this latest trend on the beach – scrunch butt bikinis! These bikinis are currently the hottest swimwear in the market. They are also known as “ruched” or “pucker back” bikinis. They feature cut lifts and supports that really shows off your treasured assets. This innovative styled swimwear was invented by Luli Fama, a leading brand of Brazilian swimwear and bikinis.

Like the name suggests, a scrunch butt bikini is styled to accentuate the shapely curves of your butt. If you have a nice backside, this is the bikini for you. It is designed to add a little more to the back end of your swimsuit. Once you wear this gorgeous swimwear, you should avoid turning your head when you pass guys. Of course you know the reason for this! All their heads will be staring back to your nice assets.

Note that, these bikinis are not just meant for women who are well endowed on their backsides. Women who do not have too much in the lower back region will find these bikinis very useful. They will boost their small fine curves and help them appear bigger than they actually are. In fact, this is the main reason why these bikinis were designed this way. The “scrunch” look, which is achieved by pulling its material inward, to the center, is meant to enhance the size of the butt making it appear larger in a good and sexy way. Many women are going for this stylish swimwear with the aim of gaining this “junk in the trunk” look if you would say. If you are wondering what type of bikini you should buy this spring, you have the answer. Our collection of scrunch bikinis are just simply amazing and you will love each and every one of them!

Scrunch butt bikinis are simply amazing. They are available in many great different styles and colors. For each style, there are different variations and designs. Picking preferred style from our huge collection is just fun. You will certainly find a bikini that will give you a great look by enhancing your backside. Whichever design you may choose, all of them are super-hot sexy! All these designs lift and contour the bikini to your skin. This eliminates the problem of sagging that is common with other bikinis. The bikini bottoms of ordinary bikinis are usually pulled down by the weight of water. This gives them a saggy look. The contouring of this bikini fixes this problem. It will give you a nice curvy look in and out of the water.

Some of the most popular scrunch butt bikini designs from Luli Fama include the Delirio ruched bikini and the Rhumba ruched Halter bikini. All these bikinis are very comfortable and supportive. Additionally, you can adjust them to any size. They are available in a variety of colors such as pink, gold, periwinkle blue and many more. By wearing one of the scrunch butt bikinis from our store, you will be rocking the beach like never before. They will offer you shape, lift, contour and an unmatched sex appeal.

Avoid Lazy Speech Habits – 1-Minute Quick Tips to Sounding Crisp

Do people ask you to repeat yourself because they didn’t quite catch what you were saying? Every time you speak to a single person or a group of people, they need to hear clearly the words that you say. So often, we are tired, or it is the umpteenth time that you’ve repeated the same speech, or you never move your lips or jaw when you speak.

The solution to fixing this is to tune-up your articulators. The articulators are those parts of your body that make your speech distinct and clear. They are your lips, teeth, tongue, and a relaxed jaw. So if you are lazy or inactive with these parts of your body, then it is time to start doing these simple exercises to perk them up. If you do these each day, especially, before you have to give a speech, then you will not only be crisp and clear; but you’ll also, feel perky and better about yourself.

Here are 10 essential Quick Tips that you can do about a 1 minute:

1.   Loosen your facial muscles by scrunching up your face

2.   Stick your tongue out of your mouth, stretch it to touch your nose, then your chin, then from side to side 3.   Flip your tongue up inside your mouth, then under, then sideways from ear to ear

4.   Loosen your jaw by letting it drop and move it around

5.   Loosen those lips by blowing air just as if you are blowing out your birthday candles

6.   Repeat these tongue twisters 3 times quickly, or any others you know that use the lips and tongue:

a.    a big black bug bit a big black bear

b.    red leather; yellow leather

7.   Do these actions 3 times: give a kiss mid-air and then smile

8.   Repeat this pattern 3 times: “oo- ee”

9.   With your fingers give your face a gentle massage

10.  End by saying with enthusiasm and a sharp attack on the beginning and end of each word:

“Speak with the lips, the teeth, and the tip of the tongue!”   Now, you are all tuned-up to give your speech to one or many. Use this quick warm-up every day just after you brush your teeth in the morning, and it will be a sure kick-start to energize your day. By Brenda C. Smith

Parmesan Crusted Sole with Lemon Beurre Blanc

Sole/flounder is a refreshing sweet and mild flavored fish which allows it to be used in a variety of ways. With its long thin flesh, sole is often stuffed or used in other extravagant plate presentations. Because this fish is very thin it’s a great choice to pan fry for a quick meal. Parmesan crusted sole is the best of both worlds, it’s eloquent and fast. You can make it look even better with some fresh chives, tarragon or basil. Even if you don’t like fish, you’ll love this recipe.

Serves 4

  • 4 ea. Sole fillet (6-8 oz) – if the fillets are small use 2 per serving
  • 1 ½ cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • ½ cup Grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. Parsley – minced
  • ½ tsp. Granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • ½ cup Flour – all purpose
  • 3 ea. Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter
  • 4 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 cup Lemon beurre blanc

In a food processor blend panko, parmesan and parsley until fine. Transfer to a shallow pan. In a separate pan whip eggs and milk until well combined. In a third pan place the flour.

Take the sole fillets and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Dredge sole in flour, then egg wash and finally in the parmesan/panko mix. Pat the parmesan and panko into the sole until the mix sticks to the fish.

In a large sauté pan heat butter and olive oil until hot. Carefully place sole in the pan and shake the pan to make sure the fish doesn’t stick. When sole is golden brown, flip over and continue to cook. When sole is done (120° F internally), transfer to plate and top with lemon beurre blanc.

Lemon Beurre Blanc

Yields 1 cup

  • 1 cup White wine
  • 1 Tbsp. White wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Shallots
  • 4 Tbsp. Heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ lb Butter – unsalted, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. Lemon pulp – chopped (see note)
  • 1 tsp. Lemon zest – minced
  • 1/8 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. White pepper

In a sauce pan over medium high heat, combine wine, vinegar and shallots. Reduce until almost a syrup consistency. Add cream and continue to cook reducing by half. Turn the heat to low and add butter cubes 2 at a time while stirring until all the butter is added and sauce is a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: If the butter is not chilled it will not incorporate into the sauce. Also if the wine mixture is not reduced far enough the sauce will be runny.

Note: To make the lemon pulp, cut off the rind including the white part. Cut between the sections removing just the pulp. At the same time removing any seeds. Place the pulp and any juice in a cup. It is also a good idea to zest the lemon first.

The History of Scented Candles

Candles have been an important part of human society for thousands of years. Originally, the only way to possibly see once the sun went down, was from either torches, fires, or candlelight. Torches were not safe indoors, and walking from room to room carrying a portable fireplace with you was not practical or possible. Therefore, candles lit the way. Everything was done by candlelight once the sun set, from carrying out one’s chores, reading, sewing, or even signing the Constitution of the United States.

Candles also had a useful purpose in early China. There, they actually invented a type of calibrated candle called a “candle clock” that was used for keeping time. Weights were inserted into the candle at precise locations, and when the wax melted to a certain level, the weights dropped into a container below and made a noise. Imagine what it would be like to have a candle alarm clock to wake up by (don’t try to hit the snooze button), or to try to time your bread in the stove based on a candle clock?

Originally, candles were not made using the high quality of wax that we have today. Instead, they were made from whale fat in China. Later, Japan learned how to extract wax from squirrels (don’t ask me how). In the Middle Ages, candles were frequently made from the fat of various animals, such as cows and sheep. The smell from manufacturing these types of candles, however, was so horrendous that several cities banned the manufacturing process. Instead, candles were soon made from beeswax, which had a less unpleasant odor. In 1850 paraffin became available commercially, and soon all candles were made from a type of paraffin.

Those who made candles and experimented with various types of materials were called chandlers (from which we get the word today “chandelier”). From the earliest of times, candle makers added scents and fragrances to produce the best scented candles. It started in China with the ‘time clocks”. Incense sticks were often inserted into the wax to add a wonderful aroma. In fact, sometimes the incense was added at particular intervals so that the change in fragrance, rather than the dropping of weights, indicated the change in time. Later, India also discovered the aromatic benefits of using a wax made from boiled cinnamon for their candles. Unlike the use of animal fat, which smelled horrendously during the manufacturing process, the use of cinnamon provided a relaxing and fragrant aroma.

In addition to experimenting with scented candles, some ingenious candle makers also attempted to create a smokeless candle. They understood what such an invention would mean….no more wick means no more flame! No doubt fires starting from candles were a fairly common. Thomas Payne was one such individual. In the late 1700’s he attempted to invent a smokeless candle, but was not able to do so. Benjamin Franklin also started off as a candle maker before he began his political career, and experimented with various types of materials and methods for candle making. However, it would be centuries later before such technology would be pioneered and wickless candles would be available wide spread.

One reason for the delay of scented and wickless candles is because candles were put on the back burner once kerosene lamps were invented. Then, candles almost became completely extinct upon the invention of the light bulb later at the end of the nineteenth century.

However, in the 1980’s and especially in the 1990’s, the rebirth of the popularity of candles became an international phenomenon. This was due partly to their decorative value, but also to their ability to allow the stressed out, modern, over-worked homeowner an opportunity to create a relaxing environment using the aromatherapy of scented candles. At the same time, awareness over air quality and health conditions such as asthma and allergies led to the exploration for a more safe and healthy, environmentally friendly scented candle. Once again, the search for a flameless candle began, and once again, scent, or fragrance, became very important.

Armed with the modern electrical age, the invention of a flameless scented candle became possible. Scentsy is generally credited as the company that invented wickless scented candles in the year 2004 and satisfied the need in the market for a healthy, safe, environmentally clean and fragrant candle that burns a high quality wax without a flame. Instead, a low voltage light bulb uses a decorative selection of ceramic warmers to heat a scented wax bar with a very long life. Scented wax bars can be mixed and matched to create custom scents. This allows each customer to be their own “chandler”, or “candle maker” as they personalize their own candle and candle warmer to suit their individual taste.

Yes, candles have come a long way over the last thousands of years of human history. From burning whale blubber and holding your breath just so you avoid the offensive smell of the candle, to today when people actually buy a scented candle for the main purpose of the wonderful smell it emits, we can all be thankful for the age of enlightenment!

How to Microwave a Potato Properly

Microwaving a potato at times can be tricky. The problem that many people run into is that the potato ends up being rough and dry on the outside while being uncooked in the middle. It’s hard to get a good mix where the potato is cooked through all the way evenly when using a microwave. There are some tips that you can use that will help you cook a potato better this way.

First of all, always wash off the outside of the potato. You don’t need this extra dirt and potential bacteria that might be on the potato. This is a good practice with any vegetable.

Poke holes in the potato all over with fork. These holes need to get deep so that the middle of the potato will be exposed to some of the heat. This helps with the problem of the middle of the potato not cooking right.

When you put the potato in the microwave, something must be done to prevent the outside of the potato from drying out too much. Take some paper towels and get them wet. Wrap these around your potato. This keeps moisture on the outside of it to keep the skin more moist.

The exact microwave time is going to be different from one microwave to another. Many potatoes are a different size as well. Cook for about 5 minutes and check on it. If it’s soft when squeezed giving a little, it means that it’s done. Cut it open and check the center to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. If not, add more minutes to it.

When it is done, it’s best to just leave it alone for a few minutes still wrapped up in the paper towel. This completes the cooking process as it’s still warm on the inside.

Microwaving a potato at times is difficult. Learn some techniques that will help you cook these better.

Table Skirt – An Important Accessory For Your Dining Area

Table skirt is the material that is used on your table to make it look complete and beautiful. It is basically used to take your attention from the tables’ legs by hiding them with a cloth. Table skirts are used in home, hotels and restaurants on normal days and also during special occasions. Let us now see the benefits of using this accessory.

1. It hides the unnecessary things that could be kept under the table.

2. It gives the table a very good look.

3. If you are dining with your family, there are chances of your children spilling the juice on the table. If your table has a skirt, it would protect the table from not getting stained by those spilled juices.

Let us now look at the different types and varieties of table skirts and clothing available in the market and how they are unique from each other:

1. Polyester: It is a less expensive skirt and is synthetically made. It does not absorb anything so it is good if you have a polyester table for your children.

2. Plastic: It has a long lifetime and it is cheap too. It would not dig a hole in your pockets.

3. Linen: Linen is a very flexible and stretchable fabric. So if you find a linen skirt which is not a perfect size for your table, then you can probably stretch them up at the corners to compensate for the short size.

4. Fitted: These are basically not ready made skirts. You buy a piece of cloth or any other material suitable for the table and tailor make it to exactly fit your table.

5. Pleated: It is a kind of skirt which uses two fabrics, one to cover the table and keep it secure and the other is used to cover the first cloth and give the table a trendier look.

6. Covers: These covers are more flexible in nature and are basically used to cover the table. It is firmer, flat and once fitted does not move like skirts. The cover is fitted by folding the cupping of the cover at the corners below the table. It is very easy to put it on but it does not cover the legs of it which gives your dining area a better look.

7. Cloth: Is basically used to cover up the dining place and is available in various fabrics, size and shape.

8. Overlays: It is basically the additional piece of decorative cloth that goes on the top of the table cloth. It is used basically to add more colour and style to a dining area. These overlays could be used in different styles and come in different colours.

Thus, these are the different types of skirt available for your dining area and their uses too. After going through all the above information, one thing is for sure that a table without a skirt would look like a man without his pants.

Evolution of a Fairy Tale: The Three Little Pigs

James Orchard Halliwell-Phillips included the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf fairy tale in his 1843 book called Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales. It was the first known written version of the story, although it probably existed in some form in oral folktale tradition. The written form of the story may have borrowed elements from other fairy tales of the time, like The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids to create a new fairy tale. It is not clear what the exact origin of the tale is, but this 1843 version is the beginning of the Three Little Pigs story as we know it today.

Joseph Jacobs put together a collection of fairy tales in a book called English Fairy Tales, published in 1890. He cites Halliwell-Phillips as the source of The Story of the Three Little Pigs that he includes in his book. In fact, it appears to be a word for word reprint of the 1843 printing of the story. However, it is usually Joseph Jacobs who is credited as the person who created the version on which most modern versions of the story are based.

In the Jacobs and Halliwell-Phillips version of the fairy tale the mother pig sends her kids out into the world to seek their fortune. The first pig builds and house out of straw. The wolf comes, blows the house in and eats the pig. The second pig builds a house out of twigs. The wolf comes, blows the house in and eats the pig. The third pig builds his house out of bricks. The wolf comes, can’t blow the house in, and tries to trick the pig to let him in. The third pig outwits the wolf so the wolf tries to come down the chimney. The wolf falls into a pot of boiling water and the pig ends up killing and eating the wolf. There is very little personality given to the pigs, especially the first two. We know that their choices were poor, but the pigs weren’t characterized as dumb or lazy in the story.

Joel Chandler Harris included a variation of The Three Little Pigs in the book Nights with Uncle Remus. He called the fairy tale The Story of the Pigs and included 5 pigs instead of three. This version has the mother pig close to death when she warns her 5 children to beware of Brer Wolf. The pigs were named Big Pig, Little Pig, Speckle Pig, Blunt, and Runt. Big Pig built a house out of brush. Little Pig built a house out of sticks. Speckle Pig built a mud house. Blunt built a house with planks. Finally, Runt built a stone house. However, the wolf doesn’t huff and puff and blow the houses in. The wolf tricks the pigs into letting him in and then eats them, except for Runt. Runt outwits the wolf and ends up killing him in the fire when he comes down the chimney. Joel Chandler Harris really added more personality to the pigs by giving them names and they each also had an attitude about their mother’s warning about the wolf.

Another version of The Three Little Pigs was included in Andrew Lang’s collection of fairy tales called The Green Fairy Book, published in 1892. Like Harris, he also named the pigs: Browny, Whitey, and Blacky. Also like Harris, he gave the pigs more personality than the Jacobs version. Browny was said to be a dirty pig who only liked rolling around in the mud and didn’t obey his mother. Whitey was smart, but she was also greedy and selfish and only wanted to eat. Her mother warned her that one day she would suffer for her greed. Blacky was a very clever pig who was neat and nice. His mother was very proud of him, but only him. In this version of the tale, the mother pig asked her children what kind of houses they wanted and she would have them built. Browny wanted a mud house, Whitey wanted a house made of cabbage and Blacky wanted a house made from bricks. Another difference is that Lang’s version features a fox as the villain, not a wolf. Also, rather than huffing and puffing and blowing the first two houses in and eating the pigs, the fox is easily able to get into the houses to capture the pigs. He then carries them to his den. Blacky outwits the fox in a similar manner to the Jacobs version, kills the fox, and then goes to the fox’s den to save his brother and sister. Browny and Whitey then go to live with Blacky and give up their bad ways and all three live happily ever after. This is quite different from the Jacobs version.

Disney produced an animated short film of the The Three Little Pigs, released in 1933. It has some story elements from both Jacob’s and Lang’s versions of the fairy tale. Disney names the pigs Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig and Practical Pig. They are also given more personality like in the Lang version. Fifer builds his house out of straw and Fiddler builds his house out of sticks. They do so very quickly and then have fun all day while teasing their brother, Practical Pig, about working so hard to build his brick house. They just want to play instead of work hard. Practical warns his brothers about the big bad wolf, but they ignore his warning. Like Jacob’s version,the wolf huffs and puffs and blows the straw and stick houses down. But, instead of the wolf eating them, they escape their own houses and end up in the brick house. The wolf tries to blow down the brick house but when he can’t he tries to gain entry through the chimney. There is no attempt at tricking the pigs to let him into the brick house, like in the Jacobs or Lang version. Finally, once the fox gets burned from the pot of boiling water, we runs away in pain rather than being eaten by the pigs. Like Lang, Disney chose to soften the story by not killing off the first two pigs. Unlike earlier versions, Disney also lets the wolf survive.

These are just a few of the variations of The Three Little Pigs fairy tale. To read the full version of the Joseph Jacobs version please follow the link in the resource box.

The Millionaire Mind Money Management Plan

One of the most important books that I’ve read during the past year is T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. I want to review and share a savings plan that Eker shares in Chapter 14 called the Millionaire Mind Money Management Plan. Eker begins his chapter with these words:

Rich people manage their money well, Poor people mismanage their money well.

It’s an excellent chapter, and I’m going to share with you a summary of the financial management plan that will set you on the right path to building wealth. It’s important in all things resulting in success that you take action. So, no matter what you can start with, even if it’s a dollar a month, you must take action and begin to manage your money.

Some people say, “Well, when I get ahead financially, I’ll manage my money.” That’s a poor person mindset! The millionaire mind begins to manage now, because if you can manage a little, then you’ll begin to manage a lot. I was SO into this way of thinking in the past. When I turned it around and began to manage money, I started to get wealthy!

Before I share the money management plan, here are some wealth principles from the chapter and that Eker teaches at his Millionaire Mind Intensives.

  • Until you can handle what you’ve got, you won’t get any more!
  • The habit of managing your money is more important than the amount.
  • Either you control money, or it will control you.

So, how exactly do you manage your money? Here’s a great plan from the book. Remember, it’s important to start, not the amount. Start with $1 if you must; just start! Get the habit going!

Prepare 6 jars (“Jars” can be literal, or bank accounts, or categories on a spreadsheet).

Place the following amounts in each of the jars every month after taxes.

  1. Financial Freedom Account (10%)- used only for investments and buying or creating passive income streams. Money is never spent, only invested. Also, have a Financial Freedom Jar where you deposit money each day ($1, $10, loose change). Do something daily.
  2. Play Account (10%)- Use this money to nurture yourself. Use it for extra-special things in your life. The only guideline is that you must spend the money every month. Use it each month in a way that makes you feel rich!
  3. Education Account (10%) – Set aside money for your education (school, seminars,etc.) or your child’s education.
  4. Long-term Savings for Spending Account (10%)
  5. Giving (10%)
  6. Necessities Account (50%)

Start the plan and let the universe know that you are ready for more money.

Is a Vegan Diet Better For Your Hair and Skin?

The question whether a vegan diet is better for a person’s hair and skin depends a lot on if a balanced vegan diet is followed, in addition to the level of toxins that are in the body. It also depends on what type of vegan a person is and what vegan foods are eaten. At first, the skin will look much worse as the body begins to detoxify itself due to the amount of toxins in the body. The hair will become overly oily or too dry, depending on the diet and the level of toxins. When meat or dairy products are consumed, it takes anywhere from one hour to a full day to process, it would be like placing a hamburger or glass of milk out in the hot summer sun all day and then eating it.

A healthy diet improves the appearance of skin and shiny healthy hair, but genetics and stress are important factors. Vegan people have noticed a big difference in their skin and hair within 30 days by simply changing their diet and making different food choices. Dairy products have a lot of toxins in them, so vegans would switch from dairy milk to soy milk and from regular cheese to vegan cheese. Another change for vegans is moving from a low fat vegan diet to a higher fat vegan diet, due to necessary hormone processes kept under control – meat and dairy products contain high levels of hormones in them. Colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and avocados are higher in fat content and add softness and color to the skin and natural looking hair, as compared to dry colorless skin and hair from low fat vegan diets.

Dermatological studies have shown that diary and acne are connected. Hormones in the pregnant cow’s dairy milk over stimulates the human oil producing glands. Cows are milked when they are pregnant, in addition to being milked while she is pregnant with her second calf – and the first calf possibly still suckling. Seeing as vegan diets eliminate all dairy products, it stands to reason the hormones affecting human skin and oily hair would be less in vegans. Foods like milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, cream, pizza, cheeseburgers and lasagna are adding extra hormones into the human body and converting to DHT. This increases cellular activity that creates acne, hair problems and skin issues.

Unfortunately, the words natural and organic have become over-rated with today’s products. Used as selling gimmicks, most natural and organic products are still using animal derived ingredients. Not all vegan products are vegan because of this. There are some vegan websites, like kristensguide.com that will test any vegan products in question, promoting those that are 100% vegan. Vegan makeup companies keep the hair natural looking and the facial skin toxic-free, with products available at Jason Natural Cosmetics, Beauty Without Cruelty, Giovannie, Nature’s Gate, Crystal, The Merry Hempsters, Home Health, Yves Rocher, and Kiss My Fact (a less expensive company than others). Vegan hair products can be found at Giovannie, ABBA, or Jason. Vegan skin care products can be found at Jason. Each company has their own type of vegan products, crossing over with some. Just make sure it is vegan based to match the vegan diet for your hair and skin

Top 3 Creative Raspberry Pi Projects for 2016

With the recent release of the Raspberry Pi Zero, the popular family of tiny computers is up for another great year. This is largely thanks to its amazing community of dedicated users who are always keen on sharing their latest projects and inventions with a whole world. These projects range from simple educational concepts designed to teach basics of electronic design all to way to very practical embedded solutions that could easily be turned into actual mass market products.

We have selected top 3 creative projects that best showcase the versatility of Raspberry Pi, while still being suitable even for relative beginners. Never forget that when it comes to hardware design and prototyping, the best way to learn is to get your hands dirty and build something awesome.

Your Own Tor Router

For those who don’t know, Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis and other forms of surveillance. It’s widely used by journalists and activists from all corners of the world, but it also helps ordinary citizens and businesses to maintain confidentiality and privacy, especially when using public networks.

Your own personal Tor router gives you the ability to securely encrypt your data traffic regardless of your location and device you are using. As such, it’s perfect for security company laptops or computers of friends and family members who don’t have the technical ability to install Tor by themselves.

What You’ll Need:

To complete this project, you’ll need a few things:

  • Raspberry Pi (preferably the B+ model)
  • An SD card with Raspbian operating system
  • A compatible Wi-Fi adapter (or two if you don’t want to use Ethernet connection)
  • A power supply (portable power bank will work just fine)

Putting It All Together:

This project is very easy to put together, with the exception of Tor configuration. It essentially boils down to installing Raspbian, connecting to the Internet, configuring the Raspberry Pi to act as a public access point, and setting up Tor routing.

Please, don’t despair if all of this seems like a lot of work. The guys over at Make have put together an amazing guide that will tell you exactly what you need to do. Just stick to the instructions, and you’ll have your own personal Tor router up and running in no time.

Smart Picture Frames

Electronic picture frames are nothing new. These days, you can get a high-resolution one for a very appealing price. But purchasing one that’s fully assembled and neatly packaged takes away the fun of tinkering and just doing it yourself. This is especially true if you intend to use the finished picture frame as a gift for someone who’s close to you.

Raspberry Pi provides a fantastic platform that you can use to create a custom smart picture frame that will look and function exactly as you like. The first guide comes from Samuel Clay, who connected his Raspberry Pi to a Flickr account and configured everything to display a new picture when movement is detected. He used a LCD monitor, a USB Wi-Fi dongle, and a motion sensor to create a very compact unit that neatly integrates modern technology with personal memories.

Of course, not everybody uses Flickr to store their photos. Cameron Wiebe downloads various artwork from DeviantArt and uses his command line ability to configure it to cycle through images throughout the day and display them on an LCD screen.

Alternatively, you could just put all image files into a USB stick directly from your computer using Raspberry Picture Frame. This operating system offers a convenient way how to setup images slideshows for Raspberry Pi and comes with some pretty neat features, such as the ability to save space by displaying images from remote locations. We strongly encourage you to visit its homepage to learn more details about it.

Small, Portable Radio Transmitter

A very fun project that is suitable even for smaller children is turning the Raspberry Pi Zero into a portable radio transmitter. This project teaches the basics of soldering, Linux command line, and, most importantly, FM modulation.

All that’s required is the Pi itself, a solid wire that will act as an antenna, and a portable power source. The heart of this project is a library called Pi-FM, which uses the hardware on the Pi that is actually meant to generate signals on the GPIO pins that are transmitted as FM Radio energy. As a result, you can broadcast mono or stereo signals from a range of 1Mhz through 250Mhz. Individuals who would like even more from their new radio can use Pi-FM-RDS program, which adds a real-time RDS (Radio Data System) data generation ability.

Just be aware that FM broadcasting frequencies are restricted and licensed to individual broadcasters. Fortunately, the Pi has such a limited range that you won’t cause any harm.

A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Recording Gear

Playing in front of an audience is only part of the fun for some musicians, as many also enjoy recording material from the comfort of their own homes or in a professional studio. But people who are looking to buy their own recording gear must consider a number of issues before making a purchase. First and foremost, what type of recording do you want to do?

Most recording equipment can produce results that would easily be good enough for professional release, while other options could be better suited to creating multi-tracked demos. And some may want to commit a band rehearsal or live performance to disc, rather than a studio track.

Musicians in all these categories therefore need the capability to record at least in two tracks, either in a standalone digital audio device or through computer-based software. At least one microphone is also an essential requirement, although additional mics can be particularly useful when recording instruments such as drums.

And before recording, a person should ensure they have the proper cables to meet their needs, as many mics for instance contain XLR connections, while guitar amps typically have jack sockets. If the digital audio recording device only contains inputs for one type of connection, adaptors can be purchased to enable both cables to be used. Mic stands can also be useful in ensuring optimum sound for your recording, so accessories such as these are certainly a worthwhile purchase.

Recording equipment needs to have a sufficient number of inputs, particularly if the project involves recording a live band. Microphones, guitars, drums and keyboards all need to be individually input into a recording device at the same time to give producers the chance to mix each instrument in isolation.

This means that at least four tracks of simultaneous recording capability are needed, as well as MIDI inputs and outputs. Separate microphones for each instrument and vocal will also be required, along with headphones and studio monitors for playback and overdubbing.

At this stage, recording artists may benefit from the use of outboard gear such as a mic preamp, a compressor, a channel strip and a mixer that has a sufficient number of channels. Other accessories at this stage could also include direct boxes, pop filters, studio foam, monitor stands, racks and recording furniture.

But what if a project needs to be recorded on a much larger scale? A 12-channel mixer or eight-track recorder may be insufficient to be cope with this, which means more specialised top-end equipment would be needed.

Bigger projects should only be recorded on a device that can deliver at least 16 separate tracks of simultaneous recording, and a selection of headphones and monitors will be required if the producer, engineer or musician wants to listen to the track with a critical ear.

Using different types of microphone may also be useful, as using a combination of dynamic mics such as the Shure SM58, through to ribbon and condenser mics, will make sure that all types of instrument are covered.

People engaged in larger projects could further benefit from incorporating a wide array of signal processors into their recording set-up, such as mic preamps, compressors, limiters, equalisers and effects units.

And finally, a much larger and higher quality mixing desk would be needed to do justice to the music being made. At least 24 separate channels will ensure that all the sounds can be suitably recorded, isolated, manipulated and balanced to produce the optimum result.