How to Calculate Returns for a Systematic Investment Plan?

A systematic investment plan, as defined by various investment experts, is an investment vehicle that allows the investors to pay equal amounts at regular intervals to the mutual fund scheme of their choice. It is quite similar to the recurring deposit schemes that banks offer; the only difference being in the rate of return. While recurring deposits have fixed rate of return, say close to 9%, returns in SIP may vary from 10% to 35% and beyond.

Calculating returns on an SIP is a tedious task. But, MS Excel comes as a handy solution to the users who want to know what they will get at the end of the term of the investment. To calculate returns on SIP, start inputting a sum of $100 from row 1 to row 12. As the cost of buying SIP varies (because of fluctuation in cost price), a number of units allotted changes accordingly. So, you get a different value under the head ‘Market Value’ each time. The total of all the market values (= NAV * no. of units) is the final amount you receive at the end of the SIP plan.

SIP takes time value of money in the calculation. Money tends to lose its value over a period due to rise in inflation. So, to know how SIP fares better than other investment alternatives, you can compare IRRs of these. To understand IRR, let’s first understand NPV.

NPV stands for Net Present Value. NPV tends to decrease at the same rate as that of inflation. It is believed that NPV may reach the value zero over the course of time. So, the rate at which NPV becomes zero is IRR.

The formula for calculating returns on SIP goes something like this:

NPV = NPV of Cash Flow in investment{Cash Flow / (DR +1)^n}

NPV = net present value

Cash flow = cash value of the investment alternative

DR = discount rate (mostly, inflation rate)

n = no. of years

Return of SIP investment is calculated using IRR function. If you compare IRR of a recurring deposit where the rate of return is constant, with that of SIP, you will find that SIP has lower IRR than RD. That is why, return on SIP is mostly higher than RD for a given period.

SIP has higher returns than fixed and recurring deposits. But, it is subject to a variety of loads as well as market risks. However, if market risk is of concern, then the investor can go for a variety of SIP plans that invest more in debt markets than the market-linked equity. So, if you want to enjoy the benefits of the volatility of markets without exposing too much to the risk, then you can choose SIP over company stocks for investment.

To conclude, if you are willing to take a calculated risk, you must go for Systematic Investment Plans. All fund houses provide SIP returns calculators to find how much money you will be making from your savings.

Light Up Shoes And How Things To Consider When Buying

LED shoes have become very popular. They are not only stylish and chic but also end up catching the eye of everyone you come across. If you love attention and like standing out from the crowd, then the light up shoes are what you should be thinking about. Unlike kids light up shoes that only come on with every step, the LED shoes remain lit. More and more brands are coming up with the light up shoe collection and this means you need to pay attention to a few things before buying.

Shoe weight and comfort

The added lighting feature should not in any way interfere with the way the shoe feels when you are wearing it. A good shoe is one that you can wear comfortably like your regular shoe and it should not have any additional weight that drag you down. Make sure the lighting technology used in the shoe does little in terms of affecting comfort and weight.

Color modes

If you are adventurous, then you will be looking for a shoe that can light up in different colors. Most of the LED shoes come with different color modes that you only need to switch using a carefully hidden switch to match your preferences. Consider the number of color modes you can enjoy and how that works for what you wish to achieve when wearing the shoes. Using your favorite colors you can match up the light with your outfit.

Lighting modes

When buying the shoes, consider the lighting modes provided so that you can select a pair that will deliver the kind of results that you are hoping for. Most of the shoes will have different lighting modes to choose from. Depending on what you select, you may be able to enjoy steady lights or glowing lights or even dancing lights.

Ease of use

How easy is it for you to control the lighting system, is the question you should ask here. Remember that the light up shoes need to be charged same way you charge your phone. Most come with USB cables to make this possible. Apart from easy charging options, ensure also that it will be just as easy to control color modes and type of lighting. You should be able to switch off the light system too when you do not want to have them on. Find out everything there is to your pair of shoes before you go ahead with your purchase.


These shoes rely on batteries to light up. Long lasting batteries will serve you longer. It also helps to find out how long you will need to charge the batteries and how long that charge will last. Some very good shoes can last up to 8 hours. Choose a shoe that has batteries bound to serve your light up needs for as long as you find appropriate. It is also important to ensure that your shoe has been tested for safety and is waterproof.

Why Do People Love Adidas Originals?

Adidas is churning out many lifestyle accessories. There is no specific reason for this fan following. The originals collection from Adidas hosts a wide variety of offerings – some of which will be outlined in this article.

It is imperative that Adidas is a company specializing in sports clothing. The segment is dominated by various types of track suits. Track suits are made with one intention – they are crafted so that maximum comfort is attributed to the wearer. The track suits from Adidas are often crafted using high quality fabric – the fabric is designed so that it is capable of stretching at will. Stretching of the fabric is quite common when indulging in sporting activities. The fabric must be resistant to these activities – else the shelf life of the suit will be diminished!

Adidas is noted to include intricate manufacturing expertise. Ample care is given so that the buttons are large. This aids in easy buttoning and unbuttoning of the track suit. People often resort to the same, when they feel the warmth building within the inner aspects of their body. Ample number of pockets can be found integrated into the frontal portions of the track suit. This can be used to house that MP3 player or portable media player. Listening to music while working out has its own share of advantages.

The Adidas originals shoes are worth pondering. Adidas ensures that the very best materials are employed for manufacturing these shoes. There are websites that specialize in selling these products. These websites resort to sell the genuine Adidas products for feasible rates. Coming across genuine Adidas sportswear is not tough – but the pricing of these products is a major turn off for most of the buyers.

However, with the aid of these custom portals that specialize in selling Adidas accessories, one will be able to adorn themselves with the choicest of the Adidas originals. If you are looking for the original products, for an obtainable price bracket, then do not look any further. A noted advantage while investing on sporting accessories is the ability to “try them” before you purchase them. This is inherently absent with the online purchasing paradigm! Yet, many are noted to flock these portals because they get access to the Adidas originals for feasible prices. Exercise the usual precautionary measures while purchasing via the internet!

Choosing Masonry Contractors: What to Look For in a Masonry Company

Choosing the right professional contractors for a masonry project is difficult, particularly if the homeowner is not fully knowledgeable on brickwork. Homeowners should research and find a contractor that will do a good job at a reasonable cost who are well versed in the type of project being proposed. The importance of going with the right masonry contractor lies in the fact that masonry should be used as a compliment to a homes décor because it gives a homeowner a chance to make a house differentiate from the rest within a neighborhood. Because, there are so many choices of size, colors, and textures to choose from to make any décor match the homeowners taste, it’s extremely important to select the right contractor who will successfully help you in the project.

When looking to hire a masonry contractor, one of the first considerations any individual should make is to be sure that the scope of the project matches the scope of the contractors business. For example, some mason projects are very small, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to hire a contractor who works only on big projects. So it is more or less matching the right skills with the right-sized project. First, look at the scope of the project, determine what needs to be done, and then consider the full breath of the potential masonry contractor’s work to determine if they are fully capable of the task.

Also take into consideration the type of project involved. Some masonry companies exclusively do walls and house facades. Other only do chimneys. Make sure the contractor you hire has extensive experience in the type of project you want completed.

Make sure that the contractor picked has references and that they check out. Ask to see past projects that the contractor finished, and get the customer’s opinion on the job performance. Additionally, make sure the contractors are properly insured for worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability. Any company who is unwilling or hesitant to provide this information should throw up red flags. Also, check with consumer ranking groups to ensure their masonry business is a good business to work with.

If the price quoted is adequate, then request a formal bid based on the same plans and specifications discussed. As you often hear, don’t automatically go with the lowest bid because it may mean they do not have enough experience to do the job properly. Instead, go with the bid that makes the most sense between a combination of experience, cost, and time to complete the project.

Hiring a professional masonry contractor is much like hiring any skilled craftsman. One has to be sure of their experience and capability of completing a project. When you do find the perfect masonry company, however, it should become quite evident that they are superior both in terms of their work and relations with you as a customer.

Tips for Aircraft Band Monitoring

Do you own an Aircraft Band receiver? Are you slightly disappointed because cannot receive the tower or aircraft on the ground, you are not alone, many have the same problem, keep reading to discover what can you do to fix the problem.

Your location, in other words where you live and the terrain between you and your local airport usually dictates what you will receive in aircraft communication.

Once aircraft are airborne it becomes less of a problem to receive their transmissions because when they are in the air, there is nothing to block their transmissions form your receiver, unless you live in an area where you are surrounded by metal, radio waves do not travel through thick metal objects, but you can improve your reception with these simple improvements.

The aerial on the top of your receiver is probably a rubber duck, this aerial may be tuned to a different frequency range. If like many rubber duck aerials that are supplied with a hand-held air band receiver, it probably works better up on the Ultra High Frequency allocation. It will work on air band if you are very near to the airport however the farther away you are from the airfield the worse the aerial becomes for air listening.

All aerials have quite a narrow band width and no rubber duck is going to cover the huge range of frequencies that you scanning receiver covers, but try making a simple quarter wave for your scanner, these are around fifty ohms impedance which you receiver needs to see to provide adequate signal to your receiver.

Simply divide the frequency you are interested in, into 234 feet, this gives you the length you need for a quarter wave aerial. You can make an aerial from stiff coat hanger wire by soldering it to the middle of the plug which fits into your handy. These plugs vary but many are B.N.C. type plugs. Attaching three or four radial wires to the outer part of the plug completes the design, radial wires cut to the same length as the radiator and made out of more flexible wire work well if you are within a reasonable distance from the airport.

Many people find that this simply built aerial is all they need, if you position it on a window sill on a second floor room it will work better because you are raising the height of the aerial, a good rule of thumb for any aerial is to site it as high as possible and clear of surrounding objects.

This quarter wave arrangement can be modified with time and patience and a little ingenuity to form a good quality outside aerial. The aircraft band is situated in the Very High Frequency part of the radio spectrum; it is a line of sight band which means that transmissions are best when you can see the transmitting aerial plus about a third. If you build the aerial use quality low loss cable to reduce the signal loss from your aerial. Using this design I have successfully received transmissions form my local airport at a distance of seven miles from my home location.

Another adaptation on the above theme is to make a half wave dipole, simply divide the frequency into 468 feet, feed the aerial in the middle of this length with loss coaxial cable and hear the difference you have made to your air band listening.

Importance of Owning an Electric Tea Kettle Kitchen Appliance

Every kitchen looks incomplete without an electric tea kettle. Since most households can afford electricity, they can easily use this gadget. According to recorded facts, a kettle is one of the oldest types of metal cooking appliances. In the past, manufacturers would use pressed steel or wrought iron to make cooking kettles. The kettles were mainly for the same use as today. Teakettles or tea kettles developed from the ancient iron cooking kettles. However, in USA, the teapot evolution has a closer link to that of stoves.

They are chiefly for boiling water that you require for making beverages, such as tea or coffee. Steaming hot tea is good for you to drink it in a chilly morning or evening. Unfortunately, without a reliable gadget, you cannot enjoy drinking cups of tea every morning. As a result, you should get yourself a good kettle that uses electric power supply. All you have to do is to connect it to an electric socket after filling it with cold water. 

You can expect to have boiling hot water in minutes. The kettles are made of materials such as aluminum, steel, iron, silver, copper or plastic. You can choose any style that pleases your eyes. The shapes of the electric tea kettle body, brim, and base differ a lot. Thus, you can get round bottomed and flat-bottomed styles among other shapes. If you give yourself a chance to view the online kettle images, you would notice how elegant they look.

The handles are in particular, very attractive, as they feature different decorations. Rust is ugly and some metals such as steel are vulnerable to developing it. Even so, the manufacturers of teakettles perform a coating procedure called anodizing. Through it, they manage to give you high quality kettles whose parts are safe from corrosion. They treat and paint the metal in very special ways to make it durable.

Thus, when buying an electric teakettle, you should be keen not to buy a replica. A genuine kettle should not feature any scratches, discolorations or any stains on it. This explains the reason why you should not buy the items from just any buyer. If you will be doing your shopping over the Internet, a web store such as Amazon is perfect. This common shopping spot even allows previous users to post product reviews. If you are into flavored teas, then you probably want to make them at home.

In this case, the electric teakettles will suit you a lot. They are very quick and reliable, not to mention their high degree of safety. Many brands such as Braun, T-fal, Alessi, and Cuisinart are very popular. You only have to find the written reviews about them on the Internet to realize it. Do not be surprised that many previous shoppers think highly of them. Stores that sell excellent electric tea kettle styles are very many, but ensure that you choose them cautiously. Pay more attention to the quality than price, as you could prevent another shopping task soon. Look for a store that provides a range of products.

Philippines Call Center – Mecca For BPO

I first started writing about my experiences of opening overseas call centers back in 2004 and now with 2010 just around the corner; I’d like to reflect on the changes that I have observed over the years and give a few predictions of  what I think will happen in the near future.

My outsourcing experience started when I was looking for a call center to set appointments for my mortgage/real estate office in Orlando, Fl. I tried many companies and spent tens of thousands of dollars with little success. I finally decided to lease seats from a call center in India and manage the process remotely.   Within a few months I found myself on a plane headed for Bangalore, India. After the initial shock of leaving my sheltered life in America, I realized just how big of an industry call center outsourcing had grown to be.

My process grew rapidly due to the great cost savings.  After being in India for 9 months, I ordered phone service from Vonage and talked to their agent for almost 15 minutes before I realized he was not in an American based call center and in fact ended up being a Filipino. Then I noticed huge BPO operations that were all around me like Dell, Sprint and had shut down their Indian call center to transfer to the Philippines as well. I thought to myself that this must the beginning of a large migration.

Philippines Call Centers

Our company starting doing research and making contacts in the Philippines and only 6 months later I was sent to Manila to tour call center facilities. We were able to setup shop and establish our Filipino branch in Ortigas Center which is located in the heart of Metro Manila’s call center district. The Philippines was occupied by the Spanish for almost 400 years as well as America after the second world war so not only do they speak great English but they also have a very Westernized culture especially compared to India and other parts of Asia.

For the moment India still remains the number one outsourcing hub of the world but the signs of that changing are all around us and this is something everyone living in India already is well aware of. The BPO industry in India has slowed down considerably while the Philippines call centers have formed one of the fastest growing outsourcing hubs in the world and my prediction is that it will soon overtake India.

While I still work in our facility in India and may continue to do so for years to come, most of our call center processes are fulfilled in our Philippines call centers. Not only have we save staggering amounts on our overhead costs, we have also been able to increase the performance of the process. A few examples are increased collections, better customer ratings of help desk and customer services departments. 

The reason for this is simple, in the States telemarketing doesn’t require strict credentials to be employed and with the Philippines being a developing country, the unemployment rate and competition for good paying jobs are high. For example, you must have a collage degree just to work at McDonalds in the Philippines. In America I was only able to keep collage kids or drug addicts but in the Philippines you can get the cream of the crop and these are people that are looking for careers not just paycheck every week.

In conclusion I am convinced that Philippines call centers are going to form the outsourcing Mecca of the world. Business process outsourcing also known as BPO is already a 108 billion dollar industry and increasing and I think the Philippines will dominate the market share in the years to come. 

Drilling Holes – Lubrication Tips And Tricks

While drilling holes using the diamond drill bits the most heat generated needs to be cooled off and that is best done by water or a coolant. This lubrication helps in making the life of the drill bit longer as well as prevents the bit from being damaged during the drilling operation.

Lubrication can extend the life of the drill bit quite a bit if the lubrication is done whenever drilling holes. While drilling into glass or tiles the drill bit tip should never be hot and it should be almost warm. This lubrication can help drain away the burr from the drilling process. Another important thing is that the drill bit should be always wet when drilling is happening. While drilling holes into concrete it is advisable to drill in water or have a water pipe or a shower of water over the drilling area as concrete drilling generates a lot of heat.

There a variety of techniques which can be used to lubricate the drill bit while drilling. The most basic method is to use a water hose which will supply water onto the top of the hole as well as the water will get into the hole. Another thing mostly for home users is to have a small water bottle, make a hole at the bottom of it and then keep it near where the hole is being drilled. The water will come out of the bottle and will reach the drill bit as well as inside the hole.

Another technique most widely used to keep the material being drilled into a pan or a plastic cub filled with water. Make sure that water is enough to cover the surface being drilled. Place a small plastic board beneath surface being drilled so that you do not accidentally drill into the pan.

Last but not the least, the best way to make sure that the water as reached inside the hole also, is to do drill using a pumping action. Pumping action action means that you merely drill half an inch each time and then take the drill out , water will go into the hole , then again take the drill into the hole and drill a little bit and then again take the drill out. This repetitive action is called pumping action and it makes sure that the water goes inside the hole and lubricates the bit.

Herbal Aides to Develop Psychic Skills

Traditionally certain herbs have been used to heighten psychic awareness. They are usually ingested as teas or burned as incense. Some are only used as elixirs. The following herbs are beneficial as you advance your psychic abilities.

  • Cinnamon-The bark of the cinnamon tree raises your overall vibration.
  • Lesser Celandine. This psychic herb promotes a sense of delight in scrying work. It can be made into a wash, bath or tea
  • Peppermint heightens your awareness of your surroundings. Peppermint tea is delightful and will awaken your senses quickly.
  • Mugwort-Mugwort has been recognized for centuries as a visionary herb. As a tea, elixir or incense, Mugwort stimulates visions and brings clarity into divination sessions.
  • Live Forever is normally found in flower elixir form. It helps to understand Spirit Guides and can help bridge between symbols found in scrying sessions and their appearance in daily consciousness.
  • Star Anise will clear your mind of chatter, making your thoughts more focused and that will allow greater focus in your scrying sessions.
  • Sage-A staple of native cultures, when used as a tea or incense will awaken spiritual illumination and help integrate images, symbols and visionary experience that occur during divining sessions.
  • Celery will deepen concentration and focus.
  • Thyme is effective as a tea or incense when entering the Akashic Records for past life information. It illuminates the past in the present.
  • Rose will enhance your psychic ability. It makes a delightful wash or bath.
  • Vervain, along with Mugwort, is one of the best herbs for crystal gazing. It is a visionary herb and is especially helpful for spiritual quests.
  • Citronella isn’t just for outdoor bugs; it can heighten your psychic abilities too.
  • Pennyroyal will cleanse the aura. It is a protective herb that will also clear negative experiences and negative energies from objects and tools you may have used during a divining session.
  • Honeysuckle will boost your psychic perceptions. If you are lucky enough to have honeysuckle vines that are not sprayed in any way, the nectar can be ingested directly from the plant.
  • Chaparral will stimulate deep visionary states and help you understand symbols. This plant is beneficial when working with archetypes.
  • Forget-Me-Not is usually found as an elixir. The elixir stimulates visions and is helpful when contacting Spirit Guides.
  • St. John’s Wort has become popular to treat depression, but it was first know as a stimulant to past life experience. It can be used as a stimulant for astral travel through crystalline portals. It strengthens inner visions and the light core.
  • Paulos Santos will clear negative energies in the aura and through the digestive tract.

As you work with these herbs, original forms are best. Straight from Mother Nature provides raw energies that cannot be duplicated once the herbs are packaged commercially. As you work with them, certain herbs will develop a resonance with your higher consciousness and before the ones you turn to first. It may take some time for this to occur and your first choice will probably change as your vibrations increase.

Lighting a Charcoal Grill – 3 Ways to Get it Sorted With and Without Firelighters

Lighting a charcoal grill is all about getting a flame going and getting the flame to the charcoal. Here I will show you easy ways to light charcoal, starting from an old fashioned way to a more modern approach.

1. If you’re Lighting a Charcoal Grill Without Firelighters-

Get some Newspaper, Cooking Oil or Olive oil, Matches and Charcoal.

Place the charcoal around the circumference of the grill leaving an empty fire pit in the middle.

Use 15 to 20 coals.

Smear oil onto the paper and spread it evenly like spreading butter on toast. Then Fold in once with the oil inside the fold and wring it like squeezing water out of wet clothes till it looks like a twisted log. (It’s not all that important to get it perfect.)

I call this a paper log. Make 5 or 6 of them.

Then put the paper logs all together in the fire pit in the middle of the coal on the grill and get them burning thoroughly. Make sure you get a good flame going and then start placing more coals on top of the burning paper.

The oil acts as a wick and will keep the paper burning for a while so there’s no need to rush with the charcoal.

Once you get the coals burning shuffle them around spreading them, lighting the other coals. If you lose your flame, don’t worry just spread the glowing or whitening coals around the grill.

TIP – Once a few coals are glowing they will continue smoldering and will get the rest of the coals smoldering too.

2. If you’re lighting a Charcoal Grill with firelighters, prepare the coal in the same way as above and place small blocks of firelighter in the fire pit. Light them and get them all burning, then simply put more coals on top.

Once again, just shuffle the coals around, if you lose your flame, remember that glowing or whitening coals will continue burning.

3. Lighter fluid can be fun and exciting. Just fill the grill with coals. Spray lighter fluid on them.

Do not spray lighter fluid on an open flame as this can be dangerous.

Once you’ve given the coals a good once over with fluid. Light them up and watch the coals go up in flames.

Barriers to Franchise Ownership

The road to acquiring and owning your very own franchise can be long and difficult. There are many things one must consider before they make the ultimate choice to say yes to the business. However, even after all the initial work is done to get the franchise of your dreams, there are still many barriers you must overcome to succeed in the long run. Keep in mind that franchise ownership is extremely difficult and you could hurt not only yourself, but also the franchise name.

One of the lesser known barriers to owning a franchise is time. As a franchise owner you had to put so much time and effort into maintaining your business that you will start to lose out on your personal life. While this meant that you will be well off financially, you will have to decide if you can handle the lack of personal time. This is not suited for all people, so it is important to consider this ahead of time. If you have a family, then working fourteen to sixteen hour days may not be right for you.

Buying equipment for your franchise can be a hassle. Many people will be inclined to get everything brand new to ensure everything will run smoothly. This is not necessary. Many franchise owners who have done this said if they could start all over they would go and get second-hand equipment and pay three times less than what they originally did. The important thing is to make sure the second-hand equipment you buy is in good condition.

Sometimes due to improper research, you end up with more money having to be spent. Sure having a franchise located in a shopping center would seem perfect to you. You have hundreds of customers going through there all the time and think you will get your money’s worth. However, you end up paying more in security fees to abide by the shopping centers rules. When you choose your location make sure you take into consideration your lease and land fees, security, location and any legal issues. You might really want to go to a core of shopping areas, but that could be too expensive. Instead consider going a few blocks away out of the core so you can pay less with the land you own or lease from.

The key is to do all your homework ahead of time. You have to plan for things that may not happen. Expect the unexpected as it would be. It is much better to calculate a higher fee for running your franchise and finding out you really don’t need that much rather than calculating low and finding out that you need much more.

So now that you understand the barriers to owning a franchise you can slowly but surely overcome them. Nothing in life is easy. The same is true with owning a business. It can be a more relaxed environment, but you will still have many things to keep you on your feet. The road to success is difficult, but it is very possible.

What Are High Security Locks?

I have discussed high security keys and locks in the past, but what makes a lock and key high security? A lot of manufacturers consider at least some of the locks they manufacture high security. So how do you know that you are getting what you pay for? Because you will pay far more for one of these locks than a regular lock that you can buy at your local big box store.

Here are some of the things to look for in a high security lock:

  • The locks and keys will be precision made, usually with a CNC machine rather than die casting
  • They are usually made out of brass or steel
  • If brass, they will have hardened steel pins embedded into the lock face for drill protection
  • The keyway and key should be protected with U.S. and foreign patents
  • The key blanks should be restricted to Service Centers and Locksmiths that are under contract to the manufacturer for the purpose of key control

The above list is not all inclusive but meant to provide the major points. There are a few items that I will explain further in an effort to give definition to some of the words used above that may not be familiar to all.

Keyway: In the simplest form, a keyway is a design on a key such as key cuts, spacing and angles and the matching design that is manufactured into the lock cylinder. Some manufacturers use a combination of cuts, spacing and angles along with grooves cut into one or both sides of the key. These side grooves will match the grooves in the lock. When applying for a patent these are the items that are usually patented.

Key Control: This is the ability to control not only the key blanks but also the cut keys. To demonstrate this let’s assume that the manufacturer sends 10 key blanks to one of their Service Centers. That service center cuts 10 key blanks to a secure code for one of their customers. That customer receives the 10 cut keys and records to whom they give them to. Throughout this process the keys can be accounted for all the way to the end user.

All of this comes at a price that will be at least 50% higher than a standard lock used for the same purpose. This goes back to that same question; what are you trying to protect and how much is that worth to you.

Tuscan Wall Stencils – How to Easily Create That Beautiful Old-World Style

The Tuscan style is popular with home decorators and professional designers alike. Tuscan motifs, used as borders and accents, add the finishing touches to a Tuscan-style room and are easily accomplished using stencils.

Tuscan wall motifs are versatile. They can look good in the kitchen, dining room, living room or patio and the effect is just as attractive in bedrooms and even bathrooms. The effect is one of understated old-world elegance.

The traditional homes in Tuscany that inspired this popular contemporary décor style are rustic and informal. Few were the homes of the wealthy and the style has a home-grown feel and folk art quality. Tuscan mural decorations (and in some cases, entire murals) served to add accents and visual interest to rooms, in much the same way as people elsewhere used wallpaper.

Tuscan Stencil Motifs

The classic motifs in Tuscan decorative work are drawn from nature and reflect the flora of Italy and the Mediterranean region. Think of Italy and olive groves may be one of the first things to come to mind. Not only does the olive branch motif evoke the Tuscan sun, but the muted gray-green color of the leaves fits perfectly into the spectrum of hues in the Tuscan palette.

Another popular motif is the grapevine, with or without bunches of succulent grapes. Acanthus leaves, evocative of classical antiquity, are another favorite choice. Traditional mural decorations include other motifs drawn from nature, including birds and bowls of fruit.

Not all Tuscan motifs are naturalistic or representational. Stencils are available to home decorators also use traditional designs, some drawn directly from Italian villas, farmhouses and other Tuscan dwellings. Roman urns and motifs drawn from classical statuary, or from designs on Italian tiles, are sometimes less strictly authentic but are nevertheless effective in Tuscan-style décor.


Tuscan homes used decorative motifs in a variety of ways. Borders are one obvious choice for contemporary homes, and can run all the way around a room, close to the ceiling, or like a dado rail or even at skirting board level. The motifs were also traditionally used as surrounds to add interest to features such as doors and windows.

Tuscan stencils need not only be used to create a pattern or design that is repeated all around a room. Tuscan murals can be wonderfully effective. Trompe l’oeil windows that apparently afford a glimpse of the Italian landscape are another option.

Achieving the Tuscan Look

The key to achieving the charming Tuscan look lies in the use of earthy, natural colours: burnt oranges, earthy reds, taupe, dusky pink and rich creams. Subtle greens and blues are also suitable.

Aim for low contrast. Your stenciled motif should blend with the background, not stand out. You can also use faux painting techniques to artificially age your paintwork, adding an antique look that is in keeping with the Tuscan theme.

Not only is stenciling a quick and easy way to add all-important finishing details to your Tuscan décor, but it’s fun to do and fabulously effective.

The Importance Of Opting For Temporary Stadium Flooring

For most outdoor venues such as product launches, concerts, charity fundraisers, parties, fairs and carnivals, people have to deal with several different elements. Weather is something organisers definitely watch out for. If the weather’s been dreary, one of the problems that the event will surely have is how wet and soft the ground will be. If the event is a casual one, people will easily overlook the ground issue and just choose to wear their galoshes, but if it’s something a little more formal and people will have to be dressed up, the condition of the ground will certainly be a huge problem.

There is, however, a solution to this: temporary stadium flooring. This can be rented for the event to make sure that various little disasters will be prevented. Temporary flooring sheets will protect event-goers’ shoes from sinking into the soft ground, getting grass stains and becoming all muddy.

Likewise, they will prevent people from experiencing accidents such as losing their balance when walking on soft ground and tripping over knotted grass blades. Women won’t have to worry about the heels of their fancy shoes sinking and breaking; they won’t even have to purchase those grass walkers, which help them walk comfortably on grass but reduce the elegance of their high heel shoes. Men, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about gaining a few centimetres in height because of the build-up of mud at the bottom of their shoes.

A heavy duty temporary roadway which is also a must to include for outdoor events scheduled after days of generous rain showers will make sure that vehicles don’t create ugly tracks on grass, or sink in soft ground, creating muddy pits that can cause other accidents. Temporary flooring is not only ideal for when the ground is soft; it’s also good to use on hot days especially if the ground is not covered with turf. Temporary flooring can prevent dust from rising in the air. With people walking and, at times, even running around, clouds of dust get created. Vendors at fair and carnivals don’t enjoy their wares getting all dusty because of the foot traffic. This can be controlled with the installation of temporary flooring. Whether it is wet or not outside, having temporary flooring is such a smart option.

For people who are thinking of staging an event at a local stadium, address the possibility of little disasters happening by renting temporary stadium flooring. This will greatly contribute to the overall success of your event.

Detecting a Septic Tank Alarm False Alarm

If you have a septic system with a drain field then I recommend that you install a septic tank alarm if you do not have on installed already. The alarm should be located in a part of your home or property where you can easily see it flashing or hear it beeping.

Newly built homes usually come equipped with a septic tank alarm. If you hear the buzzing of an unknown alarm or the flashing of a mysterious red light, it may be your septic alarm. This alarm notifies you when your septic pump is not working properly.

When the alarm sounds it generally means that the septic effluent (waste water in the septic tank) is not being pumping to the drain field successfully. Call a septic system cleaning company immediately. This type of problem can quickly lead to the septic effluent backing up and finding its way into your basement. Do not get caught up on the cost of pumping your septic system; it is much cheaper to clean your system than it is to renovate your basement and get rid of the septic odor in your house.

There are times when a septic alarm will go off and the pump is still working fine. Being able to diagnose these situations can save you time and money. Use the follow list to help you determine why your septic alarm is sounding.

  • Have you been properly maintaining your septic tank? A well-maintained septic pump usually lasts between 10 and 15 years.
  • Could the power to the septic pump be disconnected? If there is no power, it will appear that the pump is malfunctioning when it is not.
  • Are the lines in your drain field plugged up? They can clog when your septic tank is over used and when the drain field is clogged it can cause water to back up into your home.
  • Could there have been a power outage in your area or a blown fuse that caused the septic pump to lose power?
  • Do you have your septic system pumped out on a regular basis (every 1 to 3 years)?

Ignoring the septic tank alarm can result in a smelly mess in your basement, so make sure that you never ignore the alarm. Many people do not have a septic tank alarm installed, so they do not have the luxury of an early warning system and may one day wake up to a basement full of waste water.

Installing the alarm and using it properly will save you time, money and labor.