Hang Your Canvas Wall Art With A Ribbon

If you want to add a little flair to the way you hang your canvas wall art, why not use ribbons to hold them up on your wall? It’s an innovative way to present paintings. It also brings more attention to your wall decor. This style of hanging paintings is very suitable for a child’s playroom or bedroom. You can also do this for your paintings in your living room.

If you were to hang your canvas the traditional way, all you would need is a hanging kit, a nail, and hammer. If you want to be a bit more original, then you could use ribbons to hang your artwork. The ribbon should be visible on top of the canvas. The ribbon will become part of the artwork and your wall decor.

If you have decided on a particular painting that you want to hang this way, then you should analyze your painting’s colors and base your ribbon color on that. You have to let your ribbon complement your artwork, not clash with it or overshadow your canvas wall art.

You should also get wider or thicker ribbons for bigger canvas so the ribbon can support the weight of a heavier artwork. Use thinner ribbons of about an inch of smaller paintings. Stick with plain ribbons and avoid patterns on the ribbon. You don’t want the viewer to be distracted from the painting by a flamboyant ribbon.

When you hang your canvas wall art with a ribbon, more attention is drawn to it and it automatically becomes the focal point of your room. You only need a few things to get started with this project like scissors, ribbons, a nail, a hook for your wall, and hammer.

Hammer a small thin nail to attach the ribbon at the back of the canvas, not on the sides. Nail the ribbons on the left and right stretcher bars of the canvas. Lay your painting upside-down on a smooth flat surface with the back facing you.

Place a soft cloth underneath the painting to cushion the blows from the hammer. Hammer carefully to avoid damaging your artwork. You don’t have to hammer too hard because tiny nails can easily puncture the frame.

Install the hook on your wall a bit higher than usual. Remember that the ribbon will be exposed and when you hang your painting, your canvas will fall slightly lower than when hanging without a ribbon. Use bigger and tougher hooks for larger canvas, and smaller hooks for small paintings.

Hanging paintings this way in a series in your hallway or stairwell will also look cute. Don’t overdo the ribbon look in all your canvas wall art throughout the house. Use it only for a few pieces so it won’t look too commonplace.

The Benefits of Egyptian Cotton Towels

Egyptian cotton has been used for making cotton garments and bath towels for many years. Enjoy the warmth and comfort of wrapping around these plush towels around your body after a warm bath that would make you relaxed and happy. Egyptian cotton towels are made of the natural fibers of cotton, which can absorb dampness fully to make you warm and dry. Made from the long fibers of Egyptian cotton, the towel is durable and well cut for rough use.

Egyptian cotton is a popular choice for making towels as it has more thread count and thickness that ordinary cotton. The strength and durability of the fibers coupled with the low risk of shrinkage, makes it a perfect choice. The woven fabric is durable and can be washed at home. Super absorbent, warm and breathable, cotton towels, wick out the moisture from your body and are well suited for babies and adults alike. Available in a range of colors including the popular choice of white, these towels are soft and thick and last many years with proper care. No matter how your bathroom is designed, a pile of colorful towels placed at one end will greatly add up to the milieu of the bathing space!

Organic towels are in vogue these days and are soft on all types of skin. Fondly called as the “king” of cottons Egyptian cotton is priced for its long and highly absorbent fibers. Indulge in the soothing luxury and warmth of these soft towels that form everyday essentials for any home. Egyptian towels are expensive as they contain longer, more-fibrous threads, which increase its absorbing capacity. These ultra-soft towels are used high-end spas and hotels apart from hospitals and gyms among others Towels made of low density fibers are well suited for a gym bag or a beach tote; whereas the thicker towels would suit the guest room of your house better

Egyptian Cotton towels could become hard and rough over the time and to make it soft by soaking them in a cup of vinegar for a few minutes and then rinsing it off as it will loosen the fibers and soften the towel. Excess use of detergent and fabric softeners also will spoil the texture of the luxury towels.

Furniture Painting DIY – How to Paint Wooden Furniture at Home

With usage, paint of wooden furniture becomes fad and furniture looks old and worn. In fact the wood structure of furniture remains intact for many years, it only needs a re-painting process to look like new. Painting home furniture is not a difficult process and you can do it yourself by adhering the following suggestions.

Tools and Materials Needed For Job

  • Brush
  • Foam Roller
  • Sand Paper
  • Wood filler (Putty)
  • Wood Filler Knife
  • Paint-Primer
  • Paint
  • Lacquer or Sealant (optional)
  • Face mask
  • Gloves

Preparing the Home Furniture for Painting Process

Select a well ventilated place and use cloth or plastic sheets to place furniture over it. Clean the furniture and fill the pitted, uneven and scratched areas with wood filler. Apply wood filler and wipe off excessive with a filler knife. Also use wood filler in joints for firm attachment. When wood filler is dried, use sand paper to get smoother surfaces. Now clean the furniture well with a liquid and then with a lint free cloth.

Using Paint-Primer Before Painting

Primer is useful to make the coat of paint to adhere evenly to the wood as well as to get the paint long-lasting. Without primer, paint peel off after few months or a year. Use paint brush on corners and edges and roller on flat surfaces to apply the primer. Don’t worry for the even application of primer, it will be fixed in next steps. When primer has dried, sand it with a fine grit sand paper and then clean the sawdust.

Painting the Home Furniture

Now furniture is ready for applying the paint. Use foam roller on flat surfaces and then paint brush on uneven surfaces and where the roller could not reach. Use paint conditioner to slow down the drying edge of the paint. It helps to make the paint coat more even. Apply a second coat of paint if necessary and let it dry.

Sealant or Lacquer

Although you are done, but for a shiny look, you may like to use paint-sealant at this final stage. It protect the furniture from scratches and add a gloss over it. Again, let the lacquer to dry well before moving the furniture.

Safety Precautions

For personal safety, use good quality face mask to prevent the harmful effects of fumes of paint-chemicals. Carry out all this painting in a well ventilated and illuminated place. Use gloves and full cloths to protect the skin from toxic chemical effects.

An Explanation Of Swarovski and Waterford Crystal

While thinking of crystal, two reputed brands that come into our mind- Swarovski and Waterford. While there are also certain other renowned brands available in the world, but none can match the extreme brilliance and finesse of the products that comes out from these two manufacturing houses. You can simply close your eyes and rely upon the genuine quality of their manufacture products.

Waterford crystal primarily originated at the country of Ireland. The establishment date can be assumed during the year of 1872. The name of these fascinating products came from the originating place, known by the name of Waterford, which is a little town situated in the Ireland. The superior qualities of the products that come out from the house of this renowned manufacturer have made them so famous before the entire world. Some of the finest home décor items can be seen coming out form this manufacturing house of crystals. One of the most renowned and famous products that come out from their manufacturing houses are chandeliers. They are prepared from such fine flint glasses that even a person with no taste of beauty will fall for it

Other than the wide range of chandeliers, there are a wide range of artifacts and other accessories available that you can use as great home decorating items. A wide range of tableware and fine bone china range are also available with these crystal manufacturers. Each product that comes out form this renowned manufacturing house is unique in style and design. The company has also be seen designing trophies for notable competitions like people’s choice award, German Pix Formula One, etc. Each and every product that comes out from this renowned manufacturing house are passed through quality check before getting them available to the customers and common people.

Swarovski is the name of another brand that is renowned for manufacturing and selling of high quality genuine products. While Waterford mainly focus on chandeliers and home décor items, Swarovski has a more wider range of items to choose from in order of categories is concerned. Not only chandeliers but various other products like fashion jewelries, glassware, kitchenware, lamp- shades and showpieces are some of the items that are manufactured from this renowned manufacturing house.

What is most noticeable in these products are the fine cutting and the elegant designs perfectly done. The shine that a Swarovski crystal possesses is simply unmatchable and remains on a lifelong basis. The cuts and shapes are unique in appearance and are finely crafted from effective designers and crafts-men from all over the world. These products are not only famous in the European countries. Rather, they have spread their fame in various regions of the world comprising of other continents also.

Deciding Between A Diesel or Gas Truck

Diesels from the mid 2000’s were noisy, they had obnoxious exhaust emissions, they vibrated and cost more money to build than a gas burning truck. Clearly they are made better today, but are they actually better than a gasoline engine? Each has their own good and bad points, and once again you will have to determine how and what you most use your truck for. Dodge Ram 1500 came out with the first ½ ton pickup in the US market with a diesel power option in 2013. Now we have the Chevy Colorado Canyon with a Duramax Diesel, and the Cummins powered 2016 Nissan Titan XD. It is rumored that Ford is testing a Lion V-6 powered F150 as an addition to their diesel lineup. So, you do have some options for a ½ ton, but I am going to focus on full size trucks for this information. The diesel engine is a more suitable choice if towing capacity is critical to your trucks’ operation due to the torque advantage.

Diesel fuel has a higher energy density than gasoline, which means less fuel is needed to generate the same power as gas, therefore offering the potential for a 30-35% fuel savings compared to gasoline engines. It should be noted that over the past decade, diesel has consistently averaged 14% more per gallon than unleaded gas. Over time, the maintenance of a diesel engine will end up costing more than a gas engine, partially due to the engine components that may require servicing more often or are not found on a gasoline engine. Diesel engines have a larger oil reservoir plus the water separator and fuel filters will require replacement more often than its gasoline counterpart.

Gas engines are known to make more horsepower, while diesels produce more torque. This is where the “how” of using your truck comes into play. Do you need more acceleration from your unloaded truck while driving around town, where quick starts may be important to you. If you don’t haul any cargo or tow a trailer very often, a gas engine is probably best for you. Simply by design, a gas engine will rev faster and can reach higher RPM peaks than a diesel engine. This feature allows them to reach greater horsepower more rapidly in zero to 60 mph time frames. Gasoline is typically more readily available than diesel since some gas stations do not have diesel pumps. These engines also have longer service intervals for engine oil, spark plugs, and engine coolant.

One other consideration may be retail value. The truck market perceives that a diesel-powered engine with 150,000 miles on it has more remaining productive life than a gas-powered truck with comparable mileage. Small companies with lower budgets that need towing or hauling fleets may turn to used vehicles instead of new which makes a used diesel more in demand than gas engine trucks.

It really boils down to using the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t use a rake to shovel heavy wet snow. Using a gasoline truck for heavy towing in most cases would result in significantly reduced engine life and increased gasoline consumption. Using a diesel truck for a light-duty truck would make equally as little sense if you don’t need to tow anything or haul heavy cargo. Consider how long you may use your truck before trading up, and the value of a diesel engine compared to gas over time.

Strength Vs Power – Which Should You Develop?

Most everybody knows what strength is. Ask any Joe in the gym to describe strength, and they’ll tell you it’s the ability to lift heavy things, which is close enough. Strength is the ability to exert force on something, whether you’re lifting, pushing, pulling, whatever. The more force you can exert, the stronger you are. But ask somebody to define ‘power’, and suddenly you’ll get blank stares. Everybody agrees that ‘power’ is a good thing, but most people confuse it for strength. Is it the same? Which is better to train? Is one better than the other, and what’s the best way to develop each one?

First, let’s stop being coy and define what ‘power’ is. Power has a very specific definition, and it’s the amount of work performed per unit of time. Ask a physicist, and they’ll tell you it’s measured in joules or watts. For us non-scientists, all you need to know is that power is the ability to apply force rapidly. Let’s define a few more things: velocity is the speed of an object, and acceleration is the change in speed of an object due to applied force. So force applied to an object accelerates it through space, changing its velocity. Simple, right? So a strong man can generate enough force to move a heavy weight, while a powerful man can move the same weight quicker. A powerful man can apply his strength quicker, generating more acceleration. Clear?

Now, the practical ramifications of this is that the ability to produce force against a weight is dependent upon the speed with which you practice doing just that. Think of it this way: if you lift heavy weights slowly, you will become very proficient at lifting those heavy weights slowly. Try and lift those same weights quicker, and you’ll find yourself struggling. However, develop your power, and train lifting weights quickly to begin with, and you’ll find yourself able to lift the same speed quickly or slower. Strength developed at a slow rate of speed can only be used slowly; strength developed at a fast rate of speed can be used quickly or slower.

So should we all focus on power, not just raw strength? Not necessarily. Most people can exert maximum power at only 50-75% of their maximum strength. So if somebody maxes out at lifting 200lbs, they could only generate maximum power at about 60lbs or so. Working out at this range, while it helps develop power, will not substantially increase their strength; thus it’s imperative that both be worked on at the same. Power AND strength must be trained, so that both may increase and compliment each other.

Toward this end, consider the dead lift and the power clean. The first is an excellent way to develop strength, the second the best way to generate power. If they are trained together (staggered so as to not overlap), you should develop an incredible amount of strength and power both. Not only will you increase the amount of force you can exert, but you will improve the speed at which you can exert it. Your max in both exercises will increase as they complement each other, and you will find yourself reaping incredible rewards.

The Origin Of The Term Dumbwaiter

Dumbwaiters, that is to say small industrial freight lifts, are an almost ubiquitous sight in hotels, bars and restaurants nowadays. Often used to reduce trips and simplify everyday tasks for kitchen and hotel staff, these devices are extremely popular for their compact size, versatility, ease of use and relative sturdiness.

Yet while many people are familiar with the concept of a dumbwaiter, very few are likely to have actually stopped and thought about where that name originates from, and why it was adopted for that specific implement in the first place. Aside from being common in the kitchen areas of hotels and restaurants, what other link is there between an industrial lift and a waiter? Where does the ‘dumb’ part originate from? Does it refer to lack of intelligence, or lack of ability to speak? All of these questions and more will be addressed in the lines below.

The Unspeaking Staffer

The exact origin of the term dumbwaiter is hard to pinpoint, but its etymology is relatively uncontroversial. The expression derived from the fact that the small freight elevators of the same name were often used as an inanimate stand-in for an actual member of staff; ‘dumb waiter’ therefore referred to the way in which these devices carried out some of the tasks that the help would normally take care of, while at the same time being unseen and unheard, or in other words, ‘dumb.’

The term is thought to have first been used sometime in the mid-19th century, in wealthy homes and estates in the United States. It seems consensual, however, that the term first rose to prominence in public consciousness when it was used in a theatre play, ‘The Dumb Waiter’, by Harold Pinter. First performed in 1957, the piece quickly rose to international fame and renown, and with it, the term ‘dumbwaiter’ as a synonym for a small-scale industrial freight lift. It is thanks to this play that the expression is thought to have entered public consciousness once and for all, and therefore, it can be considered its true originator, or at the very least responsible for its diffusion across western society.

Campaign for Change

Perhaps more surprising than the origin or meaning of the term dumbwaiter is the fact that, in recent years, several parties have been lobbying for it to be changed. The expression is nowadays seen as mildly derogatory, and a number of replacement terms have slowly but surely been taking its place over the past few decades. Alternative names for these types of devices include microlift, lazy Susan, and serving tray, all of which are considered more acceptable and politically correct than the term defined in the lines above.

Regardless of these efforts, however, it seems unlikely that the term dumbwaiter will slip out of public consciousness any time soon. Even if these alternate denominations do catch on with an increasingly more socially conscious general public, the transition will not occur overnight; the process is likely to take a number of years, and until then, these small, useful implements will continue to be known by their current name.

Whatever name they are known by, however, one thing seems clear: dumbwaiters should continue to play just as key a role in the hospitality and catering industry in upcoming decades as they do now. The versatile and easy to use nature of these lifts makes them an indispensable asset in any large, industrial-style kitchen or laundry room, and this status looks to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. Whether they are known as dumbwaiters, microlifts, lazy Susans, serving trays or any other name, these lifts should continue to be hotel and hospital staff’s best friends for as long as they remain in production.

Dynamic and Condenser Microphones – What’s the Difference?

Most professional microphones pick up sound waves and convert those waves into an electrical signal to be used by audio equipment in one of two ways.

Dynamic Microphones

A dynamic (or moving coil) microphone operates by using a wire coil and a magnet to create the audio signal. The interaction of the wire coil and magnet is called electromagnetic induction and is responsible for generating an output signal voltage. A diaphragm is attached to the coil, and is mounted within the mic so that it can move in response to a sound wave. When the diaphragm vibrates, the attached coil moves back and forth within the magnetic field. This motion within the field generates an electric current (induction), which can be converted by audio equipment into sound waves. The strength of the electrical current is directly related to the motion of the coil.


Dynamic mics are great general-purpose microphones. They have less moving parts than condenser mics, and as a result they’re typically more rugged and durable. In addition, since they generate their own current, no external power source is required.


The physics behind the moving coil can contribute to limitations in frequency response. Generally speaking, dynamic microphones are less sensitive than condenser mics.

Condenser Microphones

In a condenser microphone a voltage charge is applied to the diaphragm by either a battery or phantom power. The diaphragm is mounted very close to a stationary back plate. Sound waves hitting the diaphragm causes it to move closer and farther away from the back plate which causes electrical charge fluctuations to occur. The interaction between the diaphragm and back plate creates an electrical component called a capacitor (or condenser), and the resulting variations in voltage can be reinterpreted as sound waves by the receiving audio equipment.


Condenser microphones are very responsive and create a much stronger signal than dynamic mics. This makes them an ideal choice for professional settings such as studio work, where it’s important to pick up vocal subtleties.


Typically condenser mics have more moving parts than their dynamic counterparts and are less durable. Also, since they do not generate their own current they require an external power supply. (Battery or phantom power)

What is phantom power? Phantom power is a direct current (typically between 12 and 48 volts) that supplies microphones with power through audio cables. 48 volt phantom power is the most common and is often supplied by microphone preamps and audio mixers.

Accidental And Deliberate Causes Of Loss

Given that any loss must be caused fortuitously to be covered by any insurance, one might think that an event caused deliberately which gives rise to a loss would not entide the insured to payment. This is not always so: to avoid payment the insurer will have to show that the damage was intentionally caused to the insured property.

– A fire which is started unintentionally in a building emits considerable smoke, which damages goods in a neighbouring warehouse. This is clearly a fortuity and the proximate cause of the smoke damage is the fire.

– A bonfire is deliberately lit, and its smoke causes damage to goods in a warehouse. The proximate cause of the loss is the fire, but there was nothing on fire which ought not to be on fire and the smoke did not come from a fire within the meaning of “fire” in a fire policy. The proximate cause is not a fortuity and any claim could be properly


– Bank notes and jewellery are hidden in an unmade fire in a grate, for safety. The insured later lights the fire, forgetting about the valuables, which are damaged. The fire was intended to be in the grate and had not broken its bounds. The test, however, is whether the insured intended the insured property to be on fire. The fire is clearly the proximate cause of the loss and its damage to the insured property is a fortuity, so that the insured could recover under a fire policy (Harrisv. Poland [1941] 1 All ER 204).

– Sugar is being refined by heating on a stove. An employee fails to open the draught-plate so that the stove overheats and the sugar is spoilt, but it does not ignite.

The excessive heat and smoke which damaged the sugar is not fire damage because nothing has ignited which ought not to have ignited and because the fire in the stove had not broken its bounds (Austin v. Drewe (1816) 6 Taunt 436). Any claim under a fire policy could be rejected

How to Make Brawn Like My Mother Used To

Dad had a butchery in a small village and as a small girl I used to watch my mother make brawn. She used to cook ox trotters for hours in a huge pot on the old wood burning stove. When so soft that the bones were quite clean, she took the soft mass of meat and sinews, chopped them up and mixed it with the clear stock left in the pot. This magically became a stiff jelly in the fridge.

As a young mother I watched her make brawn for church bazaars while trying to keep my two active youngsters out of trouble. Now, many years after her death, I cook for myself only and I try to imitate the taste of the brawn she used to make, for the exact recipe was never written down. Nor is it now as few people still make it.

Brawn is so quick and simple when prepared in a pressure cooker and I have found that it is a really nice standby to have in the house.

You will need:

  • 1kg well cleaned ox trotters. (I buy it frozen at the supermarket butcher
  • Enough water to cover the trotters in a pressure cooker
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons vinegar for every liter of water

I remember my mother’s brawn had a slightly sour tang and I read that vinegar leaches calcium from bones. Ma was born in 1903 and her mother 25 years before that. Now where did housewives in the 19th Century learn about this?


  • Cook the brawn in a pressure cooker for about 11/2 – 2 hours
  • Let it cool of with the lid on until the contents are just cool enough to handle
  • Strain and remove the bones
  • Chop up the very soft solids and put it back into the stocktaste
  • and add more salt if required Pour into containers of your choice.
  • Mine goes into the fridge in an oblong Pyrex dish covered with foil.

When set there is a thin layer of soft fat on top that can easily be scraped off before serving. It does not freeze well.

Seasonings can vary and nowadays I add an onion stuck with a clove, a few peppercorns, some herbs such as thyme and a sprig of rosemary for some subtle extra flavor. I use only ox trotters and not beef shin as well as my mother used to do when she made brawn for church bazaars. I prefer the clear jelly and soft textured residue that came off the bones as she used to make it in my early childhood.

Sometimes brawn that contains curried meat as well is set into loaf shapes and thinly sliced for serving. Others might prefer to add squares of sliced ham or other cold cuts, chopped hardboiled egg with finely chopped parsley, small cubes of multi colored cooked vegetables such as beet root and pickled gherkins or carrots and peas.

Personally I hanker after the taste of early childhood when I tasted what my mother must have tasted in her childhood home on the family farm, as she watched her own mother make brawn. Maybe the vinegar was also used as a preservative in those days before refrigeration hence the tangy taste of Ma’s brawn?


The Benefits of Solar Greenhouses

Many individuals are starting to recognize the benefits of solar greenhouses. A greenhouse is a structure that is composed of either a plastic type material or glass. Generally, the sides of this structure implement the use of the same type of material. A standard greenhouse will pull in the sunlight so that the plants may be kept warm. A solar greenhouse is a bit different in that it actually pulls in the sunlight and the heat to keep growing conditions at a regulative temperature – even when the sun is not shining, but when the sky is cloudy and overcast. These agriculture structures are designed to grow plants all year long. Here, you will learn the various benefits associated with greenhouses that are considered to be “solar”.

As you explore the solar greenhouses, you will notice that there are some distinct characteristics that make them stand apart. First, the solar type of greenhouse is insulated heavily to ensure that all of the heat that enters the structure is maintained – regardless of the external weather conditions. Whereas basic plastics are used to construct a standard greenhouse, special glass and plastics are used in solar greenhouses. These materials are designed to withhold the heat. They store heat so that it can be used over and over again. This is beneficial in that it allows the materials to maintain an environment that has a constant, not fluctuating temperature. These units also have a ventilation system that allows the proper distribution of air within the structure.

There are many different styles and sizes associated with the solar greenhouse. These units can be used commercially, or privately. For example, an “attached” unit can be purchased and placed near a home. These are ideal for basic herb gardens and even small vegetable gardens. “Freestanding” units are relatively large and are most commonly seen on commercial properties. You can find these in a shed-like building or a Quonset. If a shed structure is used, special care must be placed in the setup. This is because there is generally one side that contains more insulation than the other sides and it must come in direct contact with the sun at all times.

When you take a look at the “freestanding” solar greenhouse, you will find that these are often round in shape. There is no extra padding as far as insulation is concerned; however, the unique design allows all of the plant life within the structure to actually receive a proper amount of lighting. The circular shape allows the light and heat to be distributed evenly within the structure. Instead of maximizing the light and power of the sun, this type of structure works to optimize the heat that surrounds the unit so that it is maximized and evenly distributed.

In conclusion, solar greenhouses can prove to be extremely beneficial when it comes to growing plants and other types of plant life. These units can be used either in a commercial manner or in a private sector. Simply by harnessing the power of the sun, these units can and will keep a steady and appropriate ventilation system, along with an even distribution of heat and sunlight. You can implement the use of these greenhouses on a year – round basis. If you want to harness the power of the sun, a solar greenhouse is the way to go!

Scaffolding Towers Review: The "Gardeno" Mobile Work Platform

When you think about the phrase “scaffolding tower,” chances are you think of the type large scaffolding systems you see deployed on a construction site. While it’s true that scaffolding towers are used extensively in construction, as an avid DIYer, I’ve often wished there was a scaled down model designed for use by home-owners, especially in the garden. Well, my wait is over. I’ve found the perfect solution: the “Gardeno” mobile work platform. Read on to learn more.

About the “Gardeno” Mobile Work Platform

Since I have a fairly extensive garden, I’m always looking for products that will expedite its care. This is an exceptionally stable and strong mini scaffold designed with gardeners in mind. The “Gardeno” is mounted on two large (10in) pneumatic tyres, so it’s quite easy to move over many types of surfaces, hard or soft. By the way, a pneumatic tyre is one that’s filled with air, rather than being solid. Fitted with independent screw jacks at each corner, along with durable steel foot pads that are 6in in diameter, the “Gardeno” is easy to level. The footpads prevent sinking if the platform is located on soft ground. The platform adjusts to four heights: 50cms (20in), 80cms (32in), 110cms (44in), and 140cms (55in). The platform is sturdily built from plywood, which tends to be stronger than plain wood planks. Surrounding the platform is a strong steel frame to which it is securely mounted.

Features and Specifications

The “Gardeno” will support a maximum load of 200kg (31.5st). Remember that this rating includes both the weight of the person and the weight of any tools or materials that are present. When I was shopping for a work platform, I found many models to be quite difficult to handle. One of the reasons I chose this one is that it’s amazingly light and thus very easy for one person to handle. I simply use the inbuilt handles to wheel it to a new location in my garden, very much like a wheelbarrow and not much heavier. Quite well balanced! For durability, the “Gardeno” is finished in tough epoxy-based powder coat over heavy duty construction that uses strong 32mm (1.25in) quality tubular steel.

More about the “Gardeno” Work Platform

You should know that this product requires some minor assembly, but no tools are required. Just follow the simple instructions. When you’re done using the “Gardeno,” just remove a few pins to pack it flat for easy storage, even in small spaces. The platform size is a generous 115cms x 42cms (45in x 16.5in). I’ve been able to reach working heights of up to 3.5m (11ft6), so it’s great for trimming small trees and the ivy that grows on my house. Expect to pay about £85.00 for the versatile “Gardeno.” The price should include VAT and free delivery.

For anyone with an extensive garden or a list of DIY projects that require working at height, the “Gardeno” mobile work platform is a versatile alternative to large scaffolding towers.

Reserve 20 Year Letter and Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan

Let’s say that you completed 20 good years for retirement in the reserves on June 1. Your Retirement Year End date (RYE) is August 1 the same year. After August 1, in this example, you should see your “20 Year Letter” uploaded into your electronic record.

A hard copy gets mailed to you and/or your unit. Included in this mailing is a packet on the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan. This plan gives you an opportunity to select from one of three plans:

Plan A: Gives you the option to wait until you’re 60 to choose an option. If you die before you’re 60, your beneficiary doesn’t get any annuities.

Plan B: If you die before you turn 60, your beneficiary starts receiving annuities on the day you would’ve turned 60.

Plan C: If you die before you turn 60, your beneficiary starts receiving annuities effective your date of death.

If you chose “Plan A” or “Plan B,” your spouse also has to agree in writing by also signing the enrollment form.

By law, you’re automatically enrolled in “Plan C.” If you don’t make an election, this election becomes permanent. You have 90 days, from the day you receive your survivor benefit packet, to make an election.

Who could be your beneficiary?

Spouse: Your spouse has to be married to you when you select one of the plans. You guys have to be married the day you die. If you guys get divorced, then you remarry, your new spouse has to be married to you for a year. If you have a child with your new spouse before the first year wedding anniversary, that spouse becomes eligible the moment your child is born.

Spouse and Children: If you chose this option, your spouse is subject to the same criteria listed for “spouse” above. This option allows your children to receive annuities if your spouse isn’t eligible for the annuities. This could happen if the spouse remarries before becoming 55 years old, or via death.

Former Spouse: A court could order you to choose this option as a result of a divorce. You could also do this voluntarily. If you’ve remarried, you’ll need your current spouse to also sign the enrollment form. This option prevents your current spouse and children from receiving annuities if you die. This is applicable even if your former spouse no longer is eligible to receive annuities.

Former spouse and children: Same general criteria as the “spouse and children” and “former spouse” options above. This option prevents your current spouse and children from receiving annuities.

Insurable Interest: This is for those who aren’t married, but do have a dependent child. You could also chose an immediate family member, like a brother, sister, child, etc. to be covered by this option.

Chose wisely; once the military service receives your enrollment packet, your decision is final.

If your beneficiary dies you could “suspend” coverage. If you get married again, your new spouse has to be married to you for a year to become eligible. The spouse could become eligible sooner than a year if you guys have a child. Use the “Survivor Benefit Plan Election Change Certificate, DD Form 2656-6, to suspend or resume coverage.


There’s a basic premium and a reservist premium. The basic premium is applicable for option “A”. The reserve premium is applicable for options “B” and “C.” Everybody would pay the basic premium. The reserve premium covers benefits that could be received before the reservist would’ve turned 60.

Basic Premium:

You could choose your entire retirement check as the base amount to calculate premiums. You could also select a fraction of your retirement check as the base amount to calculate premiums. You can’t select less than $300.00 as a base amount. If your projected retirement pay will be less than $300.00, you have to select your entire retirement pay.

If you choose an amount that’s less than your retirement pay, your spouse also has to sign your enrollment form.

Calculating basic premium if base amount is up to $1,601.00:

1. Multiply 2.5% by $747.00

2. Subtract $747.00 from the total base amount.

3. Take the result from step “2” and multiply it by 10%.

4. Add the results of steps “1” and “3.”

The result is the approximate base premium that you’ll be paying.

Calculating basic premium if base amount is over $1,601.00:

1. Multiply base amount by 6.5%.

Reserve Premium:

This is based on a percentage of your base amount. It depends on how old you are relative to your spouse. The older you are relative to your spouse, the more your “per $100.00” rate will be. If your spouse is older than you, use your age. When looking at the rates in one of the rate tables, use the age that’s closer to the date you made your election.

Coverage suspension:

You can suspend your coverage if your beneficiaries no longer qualify. This happens in case of death or remarriage. If your spouse, or former spouse, gets remarried before age 55, the annuities stop until the spouse gets divorced again. You use the election change form to suspend coverage.

What forms will you get when you get your 20 Year Letter packet?

This article is based on an Army Reserve retirement packet. The Department of Defense forms are consistent among the services. Each service will have additional forms in these packets.

Notification of Eligibility for Retired Pay at 60 letter:

This letter lets you know that you have enough years to qualify to retire with pay.

If you end up becoming eligible for retired pay for an armed force, you won’t be eligible for this retirement pay. For example, let’s say you have almost 18 years of active duty service. You mobilize for a deployment that’ll put you over 18 years of active duty. You submit a sanctuary packet to stay on active duty until you have 20 years of active service.

In this scenario, you’ll be eligible for a regular military retirement, you won’t be eligible for your reserve retirement. If you get medically separated, and accept a severance pay relative to that medical separation, you won’t be eligible for reserve retirement pay.

The letter reminds you that you have to maintain 50 points minimum each retirement year in order to continue to remain in the active reserve status. This is applicable to those in the troop program unit/(SELRES), Individual Ready Reserves, and Individual Mobilization Augmentee program.

If, after receiving this letter, you fall below that number, you could face involuntary retirement.

The letter continues on with information on the survivor benefit plan requirement.

Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan packet:

This packet contains information on the survivor benefit plan for reservists. It includes an example of each of the plans. This packet explains each option, and provides information related to your retirement. You’ll find the following forms in your 20 Year Letter mailing:

1. Notice of Eligibility to Retire with Pay at 60 letter.

2. AHRC Form 4162: Retiree Casualty Assistance Checklist.

3. DD Form 2656-1: Survivor Benefit Plan (SSB) Election Statement for Former Spouse Coverage.

4. DD Form 2656-2: Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Termination Request.

5. DD Form 2656-5: Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) Election Certificate.

6. DD Form 2656-6: Survivor Benefit Plan Election Change Certificate.

7. DD Form 2656-7: Verification for Survivor Annuity.

8. DD Form 2656-8: Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) — Automatic Coverage Fact Sheet.

You’re required to complete and return the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan Election Certificate. Keep the other forms, and let your beneficiary know about them. They’re available in case you have to fill them out and turn them in at a later date.


Army Human Resources Command “20 Year letter” and “Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan” mailing packet.

Additional Reading:

Army Regulation 600-8-7, Retirement Services Program.

Internet Services – These Different Types Of Internet Services Will Leave You Speechless

Did you know these different types of internet services?

All of us are hugely dependent on the Internet in our day to day life. Quite often, you face problems with your Internet services and want to switch to another service provider. You may or may not have too much choice there, depending upon your location. Furthermore, one internet service provider may just be as good or as bad as the other.

If you happen to be a commoner and you do not like your current provider and you are desperate to switch, you are further foxed by the terms broadband, fiber optics, cable and satellite. They add to the many problems that you are facing and render decision making a bit more cumbersome.

If you are looking at the best ways to find a dependable internet service for yourself, you may like to look at the following aspects:

Different types of Internet Services

The term “Broadband” covers cable, satellite, DSL and fiber optic services for providing Internet services to customers. In contrast to the Dial-up services which were more common earlier, broadband keeps you constantly connected.

1. DSL – DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) operates over your normal telephone lines. Out of two choices, namely, ADSL (Asymmetric DSL) and SDSL (Symmetric DSL), ADSL is cheaper with faster download speeds than upload speeds. SDSL provides about the same fast download and upload speeds. You may like to have SDSL if you often back up large files to your cloud.

DSL is an economical option with stable speeds. However, if you are located far away from the service provider’s central office, your connection may be slower and less reliable.

2. Cable broadband – This is provided by your cable television service provider through coaxial cables. This is faster than DSL, more widely available than fiber optic broadband and does not depend on your distance. However, as the available bandwidth is shared with others in your neighborhood, the speed may be rather slow, particularly during the peak hours.

3. Satellite broadband – It uses satellites to beam Internet signals to your dish. It even covers areas where DSL, cable and fiber connections are not available. However, it is a bit slower than other broadband connections.

4. Fiber optic service – The latest in Internet connectivity, it operates using light over an optical network and offers the highest speed connections. But it is available in limited areas only.

Before finalizing the Internet Service Provider for your Internet service, please also consider the availability, download and upload speeds, cost, terms of service, add-ons, special features, and reliability and customer support services by the ISP.

How to Get Fit Exercising With Mini Trampolines

Back in the ’70s, trampolines or rebounders, as it was called then, did wonders in keeping people trim and helping them keep up with their training programs. Use of the trampolines was a fad then, and soon, it lost its glory as premiere weight loss equipment with the emergence of fitness centers. However, mini trampolines are slowly gaining their lost glory and can now be seen alongside other gym equipment.

The mechanism involved in the use of mini trampolines is the same as the large ones. The difference would be the size of the net and the smaller and tenser springs. Because of this, you should not attempt to jump higher like how trapeze artists would do using a bigger trampoline. Focus of this exercise is more on the descending movement rather than the upward motions.

Jumping on mini trampolines proved to be an effective low impact cardio workout that does not harm the joints and the spine. But before engaging in such an exercise, there is a need for you to consult a physician first to determine if you are strong enough to use the equipment and if your heart can bear the physical activity.

To start with the regimen, following are some important points to consider:

Warm up. Ensure you do some warm up exercises before subjecting your body to strenuous activities. This will help prepare the body and the muscles for the rigid exercises following the warm up.

Wear support bra. For women with big breasts, it is important that you wear a good support bra to help you carry the frontal weight. Jumping up and down can cause pain around the chest area.

Slowly build stamina. Don’t over exert yourself when using a mini trampoline especially if you are still new at it. It can lead to shortness of breath and will easily tire you out. With constant exercising, your staying power will improve and you will be able to perform more complicated routines.

Feeling of light headedness. If you’re a beginner on the use of mini trampolines, you will initially feel dizziness while or after the exercise. This is normal. Soon enough, as you improve your sense of balance and coordination, the dizzy feeling also disappears.

Cool down. After each session, do not forget to cool down. Never stop abruptly as this will make you lose your balance, feel dizzy, or worse, faint. Give yourself time to relax and slowly get back to your normal pace.

Try this easy and enjoyable fitness drills and see the big difference.