What Is the Purpose of an Electric Skillet?

Why do people even use electric skillets? That is something that I wondered for a while because nearly every home has a stove. It was only after I visited a friend’s house that I realized how useful they are. Now I am sure that most people have seen the person who can’t use their kitchen counter because of all the clutter from the small kitchen appliances but if you know how to use them then it is a great time, space, and mess saver.

Electric skillets are one of the more useful kitchen appliances. This allows you to save time by using the temperature dial to set the heat level you will cook your food at. For homes with gas stoves, this is a great way for cooking those sensitive dishes that require precise heating. It is very easy to overcook something or even burn it while leaving the center uncooked if you don’t know exactly how to set the flame. Some electric skillets have you choose a number while others actually have specific temperatures on the dial so you don’t have to experiment with it. This greatly helps in reducing the amount of burnt food offered to the family. This is a great thing for single dads who are trying to figure out how to cook. I wish my dad would have had an electric skillet. Another piece of precise heating that is provided by the electric skillet is being able to cook evenly. They also have an even heating surface which allows the food near the edges to cook just as well as the food in the middle. Most burners on the stove have hot spots in the middle or around the edges depending on the size of the burner and the type of pan you are using.

Small kitchen appliances also save space, when not overdone of course. Have you ever tried to cook a large meal for your family or cook multiple dishes for a party? Sometimes those four burners are just not enough. Having an electric skillet allows someone to help you by cooking a piece of the meal without tripping over you trying to get to the stove. Not only does this give you an extra cooking surface but it also allows you to get help cooking. For mother’s day each year, a group of us guys get together and do all the cooking for everyone. This usually involves 5-8 families. Imagine trying to do that on one stove. You would have half the food cold before you got to serve everything.

Now what about the mess you can avoid. Electric skillets are self-contained and allow for precise heating. This means that you don’t have splatter from the food all over your stove. Now be honest. Cleaning a stove with the splash over cooked into all the creases usually means a lot of scrubbing. When the electric skillet is done, then you just unplug the cord and wash it like any other large pan and the entire mess is done. For my family, this is the most used appliance in our house.

Solar Cookers – The Pros and Cons of the Different Types

One of the primary things to consider when buying or making a solar oven is; “what kind of foods are you planning to cook.”

This may seem obvious but it will have an effect on the ease of use, effectiveness and cooking results of different foods while using a solar cooker.

You can, of course cover all bases by building or purchasing one of each style of solar cooker,( as many people do) which would greatly increase you cooking capacity and reduce the length of cook time.

You might ask yourself; am I mostly interested in baked goods such as breads, cakes, cookies etc., or do I want to do more of the high moisture content dishes such as soups, stews, chilies and meats that are ideal for slow, low temperature cooking?

Most all of the solar cookers available in the three main classes can cook a large range of foods whether dry or moist, but some are more suited to specific kinds of foods than are others.

A good sized box cooker is capable of baking foods on a tray/baking sheet and at the same time can cook together a pot of fresh vegetables or a soup with the same satisfactory results.

Generally a box cooker, with the aid of panel reflectors, can reach very hot temperatures which are ideal for most general baking needs, but will do great for moist foods as well.

* Note: Most traditional method cookbooks will state specific temperatures for baking cakes, pies or cookies.

But you will soon find out that you can cook just fine; pretty much any kind of pastry, in a solar oven.

The most notable difference will be the lengths of time due to a lower cooking temperature…remember it just takes longer using a solar cooker.

…it is not always possible, nor is it necessary to maintain a cooking temperature of 300° F or higher in order to cook baked goods.

Higher temperatures indicated in traditional cook books are designed more for convenience, (time) and for browning, crisping, or setting of cakes and pastries. *

Solar Box cookers will usually maintain cooking temperatures between 200° F up to 350° F., depending on the type of food being cooked.

This style of solar cooker is also quite safe and usually requires very little supervision and guidance since it is difficult to burn or scorch the food.

A solar panel cooker will usually consist of a pot/pan with a plastic or glass enclosure nestled into a, three up to five sided, reflective panel for better concentration of the suns rays.

Most panel cookers are used for the cooking of foods with higher moisture content, as was previously mentioned.

But you can bake items in a panel cooker pot/pan, even though it is a little bit more challenging and restrictive with some items.

A panel cooker will usually maintain cooking temperatures between 200° F to 250° F, which is more than sufficient for most all foods.

A panel cooker does not require adjustment or alignment as often as say, a parabolic cooker.

A solar panel cooker is also one of the easiest and least expensive to make using common materials found in the home or at a hardware store.

Minimal ability and supervision is required to use a cooker of this style, and even some young children can be taught to safely use one.

Remember also, it is quite difficult to burn or overcook food in this kind of cooker.

A Parabolic Solar Cooker is generally capable of maintaining higher cooking temperatures than a box or panel style cooker and therefore can be used for grilling and even frying.

The single biggest drawback to a parabolic cooker is the need to adjust the angle and direction of the cooker more frequently than other styles of cookers, for maximum cooking efficiency.

Usually the amount of food that can be cooked at one time in a parabolic is less than in a box or panel cooker due to the size of the cooking pot or pan.

But, because the parabolic can achieve higher temperatures, and do so more quickly, foods can be cooked quicker, allowing for more individual meals to be cooked.

Due to higher temperatures and the more frequent need to adjust the cooker, an experienced user/cook is recommended while cooking as opposed to the lesser necessity with box or panel cookers.

The second most common drawback to a parabolic cooker is the higher complexity in design and build.

Many people have built very efficient and practical parabolic cookers from scratch using readily available materials, but most will admit they are more involved than other styles of solar cookers.

These cookers are usually more expensive to make, and the commercially manufactured ones, though of high quality, are also more expensive.

Well built cookers of all classes and styles though, will usually last you for years, and will provide many delicious meals if they are taken care of and treated properly.

For more information on practical application and use of the different kinds of solar cookers you can visit our site at solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com

Tips to Build Homemade Coin Sorter

Do you have a lot of coin? It may be irritating to count it. Having your own coin sorter will be a good idea. You can also make it by yourself easily. You can get the material for your need by utilizing the plastic boxes. You can get them from the office supply store or house ware stores.

Your homemade coin sorter will be able to sort your mixed coin for you. You only need to put your mixed coins in and shake the boxes. The coin sorter will directly sort your coins between the boxes based on denomination. Then, it will put the coins into the wrappers so that you can easily take it to the bank. Then, what do you have to do for making it?

Step one: choose the drill bits

You have to make the drill bit which is a little bit larger than the dime, one which is a little bit larger than the penny, one which is larger than a nickel and another one which is a little bit larger than a quarter.

Step two: separate the boxes

You have to separate the boxes and then drill them to be three long rows with six holes for each row into the bottom of one box by utilizing the dime drill bit. Then, place the box on the top of one undrilled plastic box.

Step three: drill another box

Take another box and drill it to be three long rows with six holes in every row into the bottom of the box by utilizing penny drill bit. Then, mount it in the dime box. Meanwhile, for the penny and the quarter, you can repeat this step. Yet, for the nickel drill bit, you have to mount the box in the penny box.

Step four: add coins to the top of the boxes

You can now try your coin sorter to work by adding your coins to the top of the boxes and shake them from side to side. You will see that the smaller coins can fall through the holes of the top box. While you shake the box, each coin will sorted through the holes into each box.

Sex Positions for a Tighter Vagina

How great is sex? Who loves being with their partner and experiencing the magic of amazing intimacy? We all do, men and women alike. It is the bond that keep many relationships together through thick and thin in fact and often determines the fate of being together or parting company. This is not a shallow thing, it is simply the nature of love and sex that are separate, but also strongly linked.

So what happens when the sex starts to suffer a little bit? This can be very bad for both partners and can make people feel terrible, guilty, frustrated and more. While there are many reasons why your sexual side might suffer, one that women seem to try to avoid is how tight they are – especially after childbirth. Your partner will be too polite to say if it does not feel as good as before but it is something that many women have an issue with.

Luckily, one way to help with this is to know about some sex positions for a tighter vagina to increase the pleasure for you and for him!

Legs Up!

First up is a simple one which you can do by lying on your back ready for the missionary position. However, rather than spreading your legs – lit them up ad put your feet on your partner chest gently and let him rest on your soles. It kind of looks like you are squatting on his chest sideways if you are doing it right. You are not going to be able to kiss and touch as much in this position but it does give other benefits.

The position will increase how tight your vagina feels by virtue of the position, but also it engages the vaginal muscles due to the pressure making them squeeze tighter. This is from the pressure on your feet that runs down your legs, cum and all your pelvic area.

Extra hard but tighter version: if to close you ankles as close to your thighs as you can to feel a greater squeeze!

Do The Plank!

Planking as a sex position it not about taking silly photos of you lying flat on an object like the internet decided it meant. It is about making your body as straight as possible and a little stiffer. This will squeeze your vagina tighter as you can imagine and should give extra pleasure for him and you as long as he is careful about his weight on you.

Extra Tip!Try crossing your legs slightly to gain an even tighter squeeze ladies!

Lotus Position!

This is a tougher one for sure. It is a slow and sensual position that allows maximum intimacy for you to touch and kiss though which is very nice if that is your individual taste!

To get into this position, have your man sit in a cross legged stance on the floor or bed first. You will then need to straddle him and lower yourself carefully onto him. Once this is all OK, you will need to wrap your legs around his waist and squeeze into him using your leg and pelvic muscles. It is an amazing feeling for both you and him with such a sense of closeness and intimacy!

Linking Quality Assurance’s Operational Plan in Higher Education Institution’s Departments

All organizations strive for stability to accomplish recognition. To achieve immovability, they need accreditation by authorized bodies that release institutional sanctions based from standardized criteria and procedures. In order that educational organization will be qualified for recognition, its quality assurance should stipulate the important tenets in its operational plans. According to Church (1988), quality assurance is about ensuring that there should be instruments, actions and procedures available to guarantee the achievement of distinctive level of superiority, which alludes to UNESCO’s academic definition as “the systematic review of educational programs to ensure that acceptable standards of education, scholarship and infrastructure are maintained.”

Quality Assurance systems connect to the mandates and other related policies released in any country. It is highly needed for academic, social and economic development. A country’s development plan acts as legal basis of implementing quality assurance in an educational institution since it contains mandates and policies by orders or decrees which are directed to all state’s agencies. It acts as a mother plan for quality assurance- accreditation bodies that implement and monitor. Usually, in the absence of a created quality assurance group for endorsement, the Higher Education becomes the channel of implementation which connects to private or public institutions, through releasing guidelines. Every institution plans its own quality assurance system with the employment of development plan. The legal bases of Quality assurance vary from one country to another. Despite difference of legal bases, general operational plan of colleges and universities commonly exists that can further branch out for all departments to pattern depending on the organization’s structures or sizes.

To formulate an operational plan, there must be constitution and by-laws, college manuals, quality assurance accrediting council guidelines and the institution’s development plans that stipulates or implies the tenets of accreditations that are to be achieved. All these three elements’ are interconnected through the mandates containing operational canons or principles to be attained specified by the mother plan or the university’s general operational plan. Assuming that the X University has five departments namely College of Teacher Education, College of Liberal Arts, College of Tourism and Hospitality, College of Engineering and College of Nursing. Each of this department will frame its own Operational Plan; a portion is a part of a whole that is analogous to sub-operational plan is to department while a general operational plan is to its university.

A department’s plan operationally defined herein is a process to be undertaken by all members of the department to link and augment the achievement of the whole institutions’ operational plan. It is how every member of a department functionally and effectively contributes in the expansion of clients and stakeholders’ welfare in an organization. The performance of this operational plan hopes to lead for quality services.

It comprises a department’s background in a form of a preamble in conjunction with the mother plan. It states the types of students as recipients of services, courses it offers, content of the curriculum and how this curriculum operates for the promotion of students’ development. It also contains vision, mission and objectives revolving around the relevant the tenets. These principles to be strictly followed include but are not limited to the curricular programs of the educational institution, methods of instructions including faculty requirements, institutional facilities for the development of course offerings and the faculty, technical and academic services offered to the students’ learning development, faculty researches, publications, the management, and community alliance or linkages whether they are local or international private or public organizations. The operational plan stipulates how these tenets are achieved in a specific period. Since it is designed as an element of the mother plan or whole institutions’ operational plan, it is divided into University’s Operational Goal/s based from the goals stated from the general operational plan. The university’s main goals are further formulated into University Operational Plan Sub-goal with Specific Objective/s to be supported by Specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These three (3) elements are associated together depending on the extent of the whole organization’s goals. Furthermore, these four elements provides five (5) major components to follow in the execution of the plan of actions which are objectives, strategy, accountability, indicator, and targets as products of institutional discretions which means that these components can be revised or added depending on necessities for the fulfilment of the plan. The objectives refer to the intended outcomes extracted from the main goals linked with sub-goals.

Strategy is the approach on how these objectives will be carried out, accountability refers to the members of the institution such as administrative bodies or staff in charged or any personnel connected to the accomplishment of the objectives. Indicators are the performances done by the staff/members of the organization in achieving the objectives. Targets refer to the frequency, extent or measure of performing the tasks, accomplishments and its period of attainment. It also indicates expected outcomes. A target elucidates the functionality of the strategies employed. The department’s operational plan is a subdivision of the university’s operational plan, so it has to follow the chronological components from where it links. Therefore, it has to contain General University Goal, Specific Department’s Operational Plan sub-goal and Key Performance Indicators together with the components of the action plan on how to acquire.

For example, the tenets targeted to be accomplished as stated in the mother operational plan is on instructions and faculty requirements, this principle will be stipulated in the department’s operational plan similar to what appears below.

(1) X University’s Operational Main Goal: The university strives to provide quality education that will allow graduates for national and International competitiveness through staffing of faculty employees of high qualifications.

(1) Specific Liberal Arts Departments’ Operational Plan sub-goal/specific objectives: To standardized recruitment policies in the college of Liberal Arts by employing college instructors with relevant experience vertically aligned to their specializations and who possess Masters or Doctorate qualifications from internationally recognized public or state universities from around the world.

(1) Key Performance Indicators: Increase population of college instructors with masters and /or doctorate degrees with relevant college teaching experiences alongside with impressive international researches and specialized trainings.

To establish the plan of action, a table consisting of columns for objectives, strategy, accountability, indicator and target must be framed. As an example, the objective will contain: organize and strictly observe the standardized guidelines on the recruitment requirements of teaching personnel in the department. The strategy entails: strict compliance to the recruitment guidelines mandated by the Department of Higher Education in admittance of university teaching personnel. Accountability encompasses: department dean, department head, and dean of academic affairs. For indicators cover: appraisals of the recruitment policies and monitoring teachers’ professional development. The target provides: perform hiring and retention every beginning of the academic year, rendition of faculty’s degree survey once a year, reclassification of teachers’ position per semester, 100% compliance to the recruitment standards set by the Higher Education Department.

As a second example, let’s presume that the second tenets stipulated in the general operational plan goal No. 2 of the institution is on research. An approach to this general goal is illustrated below.

(2) X University’s Operational Goal: The university endeavours to produce teachers with viable researches that contribute to the development of the institutions’ curricula and the recognition of faculty’s academic standing institutionally, nationally and internationally.

(2) Specific Liberal Arts Departments’ Operational Plan sub-goal/specific objectives: To encourage teachers’ research regarding their respective specializations by funding the conduct and publications of researches in institutional, national and international peered journals and award faculty’s scholastic efforts as evidenced by their written works.

(2) Key Performance Indicators: Increase of faculty researches in national and international -peered academic journals. Researches are used in the department, university and are accessed by other institutions nationally and internationally.

Now to establish the plan of action, a table consisting of columns for objectives, strategy, accountability, indicator and target will follow. To exemplify, the objective/s will contain: to produce research’s which are useful in the institutions or in other organizations in national or in international setting. To create an image of faculty vested with thorough knowledge capable of international effectiveness. The strategy entails: fund and encourage the concepts of faculty members for research engagement and assist the publication of researches to institutionally, nationally, internationally peered journals depending on the nature of the researches and award or compensate teachers with published researches. Accountability encompasses: the university president, human resource management, academic affairs and department head. Indicator covers: the approval of proposed research, monitoring of ongoing and accomplished researches in the college of liberal arts and submission of reports on feedback regarding research status to the head of the department. The target provides: yearly completion of accomplished reports to be submitted to staff accountable for evaluation. Reminders of research proposal through issued directives at the beginning of the academic year. 80% submission to the directives of the department heads.

Quality assurance in an educational institution doesn’t surface without the availability of relevant resources and these principles which educational goals are based on are the following tenets: curricular programs, instructions, facilities, academic services for students, faculty researches, publications, management, and community alliance or linkages with local or international private or public organizations. The operational plan stipulates how these tenets are achieved in a specific period of time. The quality assurance status of a general university will be assessed through its individual departments’ accomplishment whose quality assurance’s status have been weighed according to quality assurance standards by accreditation institutions.

The Right Way to Maintain Your Foot Rails

Bars, kitchen islands and even tables for card games now boast of added functionality unlike in the past. Its added feature today is the foot rail that provides a comfortable resting place for the feet. With this fixture in place, people using those areas can enjoy their time and not worry about getting tired their feet.

The foot rails are those long tubing that you see attached at the bottom and front part of a bar counter or kitchen island. It can be made from different types of material such as wood, stainless steel and brass. They not only serve an important purpose but they also improve the beauty of your home bar or island counter of your kitchen.

But as in any fixture in the home, maintenance is crucial for the foot rail. This is to prevent it from getting scratches, dirt, dust and stains. Additionally, polishing is vital especially for the stainless steel and brass rails to maintain their glow.


For your brass foot rails, applying brass polish and lacquer will help prevent tarnishing going forward. Keep in mind that this material is prone to corrosion. This occurs due to the condition of the environment including chemicals, salt air, pollutants and ultraviolet rays and when this happens, the lacquer may disintegrate.

Experts recommend applying a non-abrasive automobile wax on the tubing’s surface at least two to three times each year. This is to prevent tarnishing.

Also keep the material away from paints and other chemicals that can affect the brass’ condition. Another option should you see signs of tarnishing is to apply a lacquer remover and apply a new coat of polish on the brass. After that, you can add a polymer car wax cleaner, wipe it clean and apply a coat of polyurethane sealer before buffing the material using a clean and soft cloth or rag.

An ideal way of cleaning your brass foot rail is to use a mixture of water and mild soap. Wet your rag with the solution and wipe the rail. Do not use abrasive cleaners as much as possible as they can result in scratches.

Stainless steel

For your stainless steel foot rail, you can either use a soap and water or detergent and ammonia along with a sponge to keep it clean. Never use scouring pads with metal or metal scrapers.

If you see stains and some discoloration, you can use a stainless steel cleaner or just a mild cleanser. You can choose from several types such as the alkaline, alkaline chlorinated or non-chloride cleaners. A toothbrush with soft bristles can be utilized.

If rust exists, mix nitric acid and warm water with a one is to nine ratio. The right to mix this is to add the acid into the water and not the other way around. Leave the mixture for about half an hour to keep the corrosion from spreading. Rinse afterward and let dry.

Follow these steps on a regular basis and you’ll make your foot rails more durable and attractive for a long time.

Repairing Your Gooseneck Lamp

While it is generally not really that worthwhile to repair your gooseneck lamp, particularly if it is the cheaper type of gooseneck desk lamp, there may be times when you would prefer to do so. Some repairs are all together too difficult to attempt, but there are some that you can safely try.

The first repair, or maintenance, that you will probably need to do with your gooseneck lamp is replace the light bulb. If your light will not turn on yet it is plugged into the switch and the power button is pressed on, the first thing you should check is your light bulb. Usually these screw out. With some lamps you can easily see if the filament is broken by holding it up to the light. It may not be as easy to tell with other bulbs, however. You should try to keep one or two replacement bulbs on hand so that you can instantly switch to a new bulb should you suspect yours is broken. If replacing the bulb with a brand new one does not resolve the problem you may have to look further.

If you have the type of gooseneck lamp that clamps onto something you may have problems if the spring on the clamp breaks. With a little ingenuity and some basic handyman skills, it is often possible to fashion your own base. You can attach the broken clamp to a piece of 2 x 4. You may need to weight the bottom down, especially if the shade section of the lamp is heavy. If so, look for some heavier metal that you can attach to the base of the wood. That should give you enough weight on your base to keep the lamp positioned properly. Be sure to sand the wood and paint or stain it afterward.

Sometimes the wiring is broken. This often happens close to the plug, especially if you are in the habit of grabbing the cord to pull the plug out of the socket, rather than grasping the plug itself. It is actually fairly simple to replace a plug. All you have to do is cut the old plug off, strip the wires, find a new plug and attach it to the wires, carefully entwining the wires around themselves so that a connection will be formed. Wrap up the individual twisted wires with electrical tape and then finally wrap some black electrical tape around the cord where it was cut.

Of course, these simple tips may only help on a temporary basis. As gooseneck lamps are actually fairly inexpensive, you may find it is easier and perhaps more safe to simply pop out at the next earliest convenience and buy a new one.

Is Procrastination A Habit Or A Disorder

So many people fall into the trap of procrastination and so many continue to call this behavior a bad habit that needs to be kicked. Though, we are going to be looking into the term procrastination and whether it really is a bad habit or now recently it’s being addressed as a disorder.

Looking further into procrastination, let’s first define the word procrastinate. The true definition of procrastinate is to put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness. While this definition suggests that procrastination is a carelessness habit, others are debating this, that procrastination is a disorder.

After researching this question of whether procrastination is a habit or disorder? The results for yes, procrastination is a habit and yes procrastination is a disorder, were found. Let’s just look a little deeper into both suggested ideas.

Procrastination is a disorder: until now few but some psychologist are taking this standpoint. Some research has shown that procrastination can be linked to a physical disorder and or injury in the brain primarily located in the frontal lobe. This section of the brain controls and processes cognitive (i.e. organization, thought process, planning, attention spam, etc). This section is the most developed part and gives the person the ability to make and achieve goals in a proper manner.

This is not something you learn, but is something installed in our prefrontal cortex (PFC). So the suggestion by doctors is if the PFC is dysfunctional, and causes some problems with distractions, attention spam, organization, etc. than the underlining factors of procrastination could be a disorder of your PFC. And others are suggesting that PFC could be science’s proof of legitimate procrastination disorder.

Though, many will still argue the fact that procrastination is just a lazy man’s habit. Procrastination is not a disorder, but more of a self-handicap starting with the person themselves. For example, the person that continues to blame problems, failures, and other non-pro-activity for not succeeding. This is nothing more than lack of discipline, disorganized, lack of self-control, making excuses, and the list goes on. Therefore many will argue that procrastination is a habit.

Whether procrastination is a habit or a disorder, we do know it is a major issue in our culture and society today. The attitude you bring towards procrastination is the one that you feel is more convincing. Bottom line is we all need to overcome the obstacles that lets procrastination creep ever so slowly into our lives. We tend to find ourselves getting busier, working more, and always adding more to our life.

No matter what you want to call procrastination, the fact of the matter is, if it’s your life you need to work on putting an end to a habit or solving the disorder. To overcome procrastination starts with committing yourself, setting goals, and sticking to your goals. Only by doing this will you than become the person of action towards your goals.

A Brief History Of Tuscan Decor

Tuscan interior decor begins with an understanding of Tuscan architecture. Even a cursory page-flipping through the history books of Tuscany and its architecture reveals two impressions: Strength and Grandeur.

In the minds of modern day homeowners, these concepts seem to have translated into ‘security and permanence’, and ‘nobility of design’.

The book and subsequent movie, Under The Tuscan Sun, seem to have awakened a long dormant desire for the rustic, simple beauty found in the hill towns of Tuscany. Often described as voluptuous, sensuous, and seductive, this region of Italy has experienced an unparalleled awakening in both the European and North American consciousness.

The power of broad facades, massive stones, and symmetrically aligned square windows are once again the fashion of the day. Perhaps we are drawn to such strength of design if our own country of origin and its heritage are so young, so unrefined, and so seemingly impermanent when compared to Italy and the ancient Etruscan and Roman societies.

Thankfully, the ‘throw away’, ‘use it once and toss it’, light weight, impermanent mindset of recent decades has been abandoned in favor of enduring quality. The stark simplicity of contemporary design seems to have gone cold and lifeless. All now replaced by a quest for homes designed with a sense of history, luxury, rustic strength, and an air of permanence.

Tuscan decor says, “I’m here, I’m of the earth, and I will be here forever.”

The brilliance of using what we have –

Out of necessity, Tuscan architects utilized readily available materials, such as stone from local quarries. They adapted dwellings to the warm climate, and incorporated depth and strength of walls during warring times. Hence, we see massive stone facades, the most easily recognizable feature of Tuscan architecture.

There also seems to have been an innate love of simplicity and symmetry. This appreciation for beauty, evidenced in even the most humble buildings, is no doubt born of daily exposure to the pure elegance of the Tuscan countryside. Endless vistas of undulating green hills, gracefully thin cypress trees, lush olive groves, and intertwined grape vines have slowly evolved into the Tuscan decor so loved today.

Early Etruscan architecture was easily recognizable by its massive stones, the square forms of their edifices, and their heavy projecting beams, even when later embellished with Greek or Roman design elements. Often called Mediterranean (a broadening of the geographic area of design elements), Tuscan decor brings to mind sun washed colors, liberal use of stone, metal, square windows, and symmetry. Intricate details are often found that soften the strong, masculine features. There is always present a meticulous attention to quality craftsmanship, and stones marry with precision.

Even during the time of Michelangelo, who frequently combined rustic with polished, old with new, and Etruscan with Roman, builders faithfully retained the original elements of Tuscan decor. Before Michelangelo’s day, the earliest Etruscan architects, while originally designing almost solely for strength and defensive integrity, later gave way to including details that added nobility.

It’s no wonder that North Americans, as well as many other western cultures are craving a sense of antiquity, a longing for the rustic beauty, warmth, and functionality of Tuscan design. Discriminating homeowners are demanding not only design excellence, but also quality materials and furnishings to carry out those designs. Clever and knowledgeable modern builders/architects have learned how to weave the ancient concepts of the Tuscan builders into modern design. Using updated materials, they have been able to adapt the most basic elements of Tuscan design in order to meet the requirements of today’s savvy designers.

And so with a respectful nod to Michelangelo, we see that caring and ambitious home decorators can take the best from the past, blend it with the newest technological innovations of today, and build the dreams of the future.

Copyright 2008. Excerpt from Decorating in the Tuscan Style, the 162-page eBook packed with tips and techniques (and lots of photos) to help you transform your home and garden into the heart and soul of Tuscany. To learn more about Tuscan décor, visit http://www.intheTuscanstyle.com.

The Best Flashing Material For Building A Sturdy, Watertight Roof For Your Home

Choosing the right material when you are building a roof, whether from scratch or choosing an existing one for your home can be confusing. With the wide variety of materials that readily available and worthy for consideration in the market which include wood, composite shingles, slate, concrete, clay tiles and metal, it can be hard to settle on one. Additionally, you will also need to consider a variety of factors such as the quality, durability and design.

To help you choose the perfect material you can use for your home, here is a list of things you need to know.


There are of course different type of materials that are required for every roof. A flat roof will require a surface that is different from one with a steeper pitch. In these cases, slate and tiles are your best choices. To further elaborate, here are the different type of materials for your roof:

Wood – For centuries, building a roof using wood was the main choice. Even today, you will find a lot of home owners prefer using wood for roof but for some areas, fire codes forbids its use. Wooden roofs are usually made of cedar, redwood or southern pine.

Metal – Aluminum, steel, copper, and lead are the most durable type of metal roofs however, it is quite expensive. While copper/asphalts are often installed as shingles, other materials are used for seamed roofs consisting of vertical lengths of metal joined with solder.

Slate – among roofing materials, a slate has been known to be one of the most durable type. In fact, hundred-year-old slates are often recycled for reinstallation with the expectation that it will last another century. It is however, expensive and very heavy.


Like every durable roofing, whatever your choice of material may be, you will probably need flashing. Far all exterior work such as roofing and siding, flashing is an important factor that makes sure your material lasts longer. Flashing is a process of applying metal or plastic film applied in strips to areas where dissimilar materials adjoin.

An excellent flashing work will help prevent water from seeping into the gaps of your roof edges. If you wish to have a good flashing for your roof, choose one that has undergone extensive trials and tests all throughout the country to make sure that the product complement the geography of all different regions and are sure to withstand all their harshest condition.

An End and a Beginning

Wednesday, 21st of September, 2016. On that day my life gave me quite the hit. It realised my most innate of emotions and showed me just how unexpected life can be.

Perhaps if I had reached earlier, perhaps if I had called him, perhaps if it hadn’t rained. All such thoughts went around jumping in my mind. Everyday I walked a short distance from my home to my maths tuition. It was a cozy little room with what seemed like hundreds of books and a variety of curious and interesting objects, in which four tables and a few seats were somehow adjusted. In the middle of the room sat the most remarkable person I’ve known.

He never really liked being called sir, rather he asked us to call him “uncle.” He was a teacher in every sense of the word, teaching us not only maths, physics, chemistry, accounts and economy, but also the many twists and turns, topsys and turvys of life. For the better part of 2 years I have known him and after these two years I find myself lost without him. Where everyone saw an abomination, scum so to say, he saw a lost yet innocent soul. More than just telling me my problem, he took active interest in solving my problem. After a long day of making notes and solving sums, I looked forward to spending 3 more hours of making notes and solving sums. Why? Uncle. No one could give me what he did, inspiration. In everything he did he managed to inspire us, be it his days in the army, his relationship with his sons, who are both doctors but can teach you calculus in three hours, or just a casual epiphany he had from last night. My only regret is, I never really told him what a bad student I had been. I did regret it when I performed badly in the maths exam. I did not regret it when I didn’t get into that college I always wanted to go to, even after which he still pledged to help me so that next year the sun should really shine on me. I regretted it on the day I found him dead in the basement.

A walk down the road is uncle’s house, where his wife, whom we very originally just called aunty, had her beauty parlour, and on the other side, the entrance to the dinghy basement room which was our happy little tuition. That day I was to give a test in integrals. I was a little late so I was preparing my excuse on the way. So excited, I headed down to the tuition. Upon arriving I see the door ajar. Now here is the thing, since the tuition is the basement room, you can only see the very top of the door from the road. Approaching the door I see that the tuition is flooded. There is no sign of uncle. A couple of chairs rested knocked over by the entrance. I also saw a motor pump rested beside the stairs and thought to myself, “he must have been trying to drain the room.” Another step forward and horror struck. Under those very chairs I saw the torso of my teacher. I hurried into the room and stepped into the water and was instantly greeted with a shock, literally. I threw away the chairs and saw him clutching onto a wired plug socket, face first into the ankle deep water. Immediately I went for the socket in his hand upon touching which I was greeted by another shock. I took it from his hand and put it on the table. I lifted him and turned him over and attempted to resuscitate him all the time shouting his name. When a minute or more had passed since I walked in I ran to the parlour and informed aunty about what had happened. Soon there were a dozen people at the entrance of the room. We lifted him outside the room and waited for the requested ambulance but time was of the essence. So we seated him in the car with aunty and other people, and they drove away to the hospital, but I knew better. Even as they drove him away, I saw his face, with lifeless eyes and an unchanging expression, I knew, that he was long dead. The parlour staff, the security guards from across the street and only I were left. They asked me to lock the basement door, handing me the keys. With trembling hands and a very pressured mind, I locked up the room, picked up my slippers which I had somehow broken in the process and went on home. I went into an empty room and cried, cried till I lost my voice. After that I just fell silent. Only at midnight, when my parents really got worried about me, I narrated the tragedy. That night I didn’t sleep. I kept thinking of what could have been. If only I had reached earlier, if maybe I had called him before coming, could I have saved him? Even aunty and the staff claimed to have heard a loud band but never suspected something so grim.

Also I sat wondering, why were his glasses intact? The only plausible explanation was, he was still alive for sometime before dying. The current paralysed him, but if that didn’t kill him, then the water surely did. Till dawn I mourned and blamed myself. In time I understood that it was not my place to grant or take life. The next morning, I went up to the house and paid my condolences to aunty and her son, who had on an emergency notice flown to Hyderabad. All who came were all words about me. How I removed the socket from the water, preventing further casualties, how I had this presence of mind, giving him CPR, straightening him up and all else. With every passing second I found this praise increasingly stupid. What use is bravery if it doesn’t save the one life that really mattered to me? After a little persuasion by the family members and my mother, I went back home. Before going I requested them to contact any students coming and tell them what had happen since I and only a few other who were outside town had known of the incident.

The next day at about 4:00pm in the evening, the remarkable man, colonel Charanjit Singh Arora, our dear uncle was cremated. So much irony here!! He passes away a few days after a granddaughter is born to him. He showed me all his articles from here from the very first one and he isn’t even here to see my first. He always told us that his time is near, maybe in 10 years. But here’s the thing, we may have prepared ourselves for when the time comes, but never expected it to be 10 days. Under his guidance, we had all flourished somehow or the other, always learning something new and improving on the old. Even in his death he had taught me a lesson,” to always care and live life with contentment.” For the next 30 or so years of my life I don’t know what I’m going to do, but after that, I want to be a teacher, so I can also one day become someone’s “uncle.”

The Importance of the Window

The house has many parts. Its strong sturdy walls are there to protect us against the winds and other natural element that could be too harsh for us. The roof of our personal domiciles is the one that keeps the harmful rays of the sun and the rain away from us so that we can stay dry and in the shade when we have had too much rain or too much sun. The floor is there so that you are not exposed to the dirt every single hour of the day. Even the door serves its purpose as it allows us to enter the home that is so important to us. However, what purpose does the window serve?

The window may seem insignificant when you compare it to the other elements of the house but it is perhaps the thing that makes every inch of the house work as well as it does.

One of the most important functions of a window in a house is that it lets the air in. A house without a window would not just only be stuffy it would actually be down right suffocating. The windows protect us against strong gusts of wind when closed but if opened to the proper proportions, these same gusts can become the source of life giving oxygen to your home.

In addition to ventilation that lets air in, it also lets an important resource to the home and that is light. Without a well placed and well made window on the walls of your home, it would be just too dark to live in the house. One may need to turn on an electric light bulb or a fluorescent lamp continuously but that option would be too expensive and wasteful for the homeowner. Some people may think about opening the door instead but that might open your home to a risk of security.

The window can also serve as an exit point during an emergency. In cases of emergencies like fires or earthquakes and the doors are blocked by fire or debris, the window is a quick and easy way to get out. Should you be on a higher floor some windows are equipped with ladders that will aid in a quick escape.

The window can also serve as a means to keep the inside of your home private. When a window is closed it keeps people from seeing into the house. Sometimes, all you need is some curtains and it would be good enough to keep onlookers to peer inside the house.

In some instances, the window also gives you a way to get out of your private space. A window allows a person to simply crack a smile or wave to the neighbor. Without the window, you would need to breakdown a wall just to greet your neighbor a good morning.

These are just some of the reasons that show how important a window can be. Go ahead open your window and in the process be happy that you have it.

The Rudiments in Thonging Leather

Thonging is a decorative way of securing or joining the ends of the pieces of the article together. A thong is a long strip of thin leather that is cut and used for thronging. The width of the thong varies depending on the size of the article to be produced. However, the common size is 1/8 inches while the size is further reduced to 1/10 inches if the article is very small. Leather to be used for thonging must be strong but thin. Usually, the type of leather used for the production of the article is used for the thonging provided it is thin. However, if a different colour effect is to be achieved, the leather craft man can dye the thongs. To create a continuous thong, the leather is marked in a continuous formation using a compass or any circular device.

Before thonging can be done, holes or slits have to be punched by the use of any punching device such as a six-way punch. Normally, a thin paper or card is placed under the leather to obtain a clean cut hole.

Also, after the punching, the punching tool must be twisted slightly before it is removed to ensure a perfect punching of the holes. The holes must be large enough to take the thongs. Therefore the size of the thong must be known so that the holes to be punched will correspond to it. The holes marked must be equally spaced usually ¼ inches from the centre of one hole to the next. A marked line can be created on the leather as a guide for the punching of the holes so that they would be straight.

It is advisable that corners of the articles for thonging be rounded so that the spaces, as well as the thonging, would not look ugly at the corners. If slits are to be created instead of holes, punch pliers are used. A very flat needle is used for threading the thong through the slits created.

The Thonging process

To thong two leather pieces together, the thong is drawn through the first hole on the top piece of the leather. It is cut and laid down inside the two pieces of leather between the thonging holes and the edge. It is then secured with glue. The thong is passed through the first hole again from the underside through both pieces of leather. The process is then continued, depending on the thonging technique. When the thonging is complete, the thong has to be fastened or secured. This can be done by threading the thong between the two pieces of leather just below the last hole. The surplus thong is cut leaving about ¾ inch end. It is then glued on the inside.

Another method is by deliberately letting loose the last few thonging stitches and threading the final end under them between the two pieces of leather. The thong is then drawn up tight and cut off on the inside. When a new length of the thong is to be joined together, the ends of both the old and new thongs are skived or pared down using a knife. The ends in opposite directions are slanted and a little glue is applied on the skived portions. They are then secured together and hammered to make them flat. It is essential to place a piece of card over the thonged area during hammering so as not to damage the surface quality of the leather.

Choose The Best Custom Plastic Displays Provider

As a retailer or manufacturer, one can get extremely creative with these displays. They can be made in a myriad of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Adding added effects such as illumination further enhances the value of your product, and helps it to stand apart from competing products.However, this is possible only if you have the right backing in the form of a custom plastic display manufacturing firm. Such firms are specialists in fabricating plastic, acrylics, and Lexan components. They can work with just about any idea that you might have in mind.

Marketing and merchandising firms, and sign and lighting service providers make use of these services to provide the best display projects to their clients. The success or failure of a display marketing campaign hinges on the capabilities of the chosen custom plastic display manufacturing firm. To make your search a tad easier, this article elucidates the various things that you should expect from your chosen firms:

• The chosen firm should constantly keep in touch with the latest marketing trends to give you the best service and ideas. The best conceptual designs, materials, finishes are important factors that come into play when you need to grab consumer attention.

• The second most important aspect to consider would be the experience and track record of your chosen firm. An experienced player that isn’t creative will probably not be able to add value to your project. On the other hand, a relatively new firm that is brimming with ideas might be able to take your custom plastic displays to a whole new level. This is one of those factors that will give you a clear edge over your competition.

• In addition to the factors we have mentioned above, you might also want to consider the firm’s commitment towards meeting deadlines. This can be done by consulting with previous customers of the firm-most will provide you with a reference or two.

• Whether it is an entirely creative display or an industrial project, using the latest technology is of utmost importance. Hence, you need to do a background check to know if the tools and techniques being used in your custom plastic displays are up to the mark. These behind-the-scenes factors have a noticeable effect on your end product.

Working with plastics is a complex process, and that’s precisely why it needs to be entrusted to a reliable firm. Using these basic tips will help you zero in on the best firm that can manufacture custom plastic displays.

The Benefits of Mood Lighting to Create Your Home’s Desired Atmosphere

Most people see their home as a place to kick back and relax after a strenuous days work, whilst others use it as a place to socialise by throwing house parties, dinner parties, or by using it as a place to invite your family and friends over and have a quiet drink. Whatever the occasion, you will need to set the mood for the evening – and there is no better alternative than the use of mood lighting!

Mood lighting is becoming an increasingly popular lighting solution for households and gardens, and there’s no wonder why: it highlights and enhances a particular space with a dramatic effect, as well as allowing you to create multiple moods in your home during set times of the day.

One of the most popular forms of mood lighting is a dimmer switch, which allows you to decide upon the brightness and glow of your lights. You can alter the mood by increasing or decreasing the brightness of the lights in order to cater to your differing moods and emotions. This also gives you the ability to change the ambience of your rooms at different times of the day. For example, you may want to dim the lights and relax in the evening whilst you watch the TV, yet for the morning time you may want your bathroom lights to beam brightly when you go for a shower and get set for the working day ahead. So essentially you can create any mood you want – be it theatrical, peaceful, relaxing or fun.

Extra benefits of mood lighting include the reducing the amount of energy you consume – and therefore the reducing the amount you pay for your electricity bill. When you want to create a quiet and subtle atmosphere, you can dim the lights and reduce the amount of energy you are using – and in the winter months when the evenings get dark earlier this could save you a substantial amount of money.

Mood lighting has also been used in the classroom, as it has been claimed that it will enhance the pupil’s academic performance. The research changed both the light intensity and the colour temperature to see how the pupil’s behaviour and motivation changed; it is said to have made a marked improvement in pupil performance since the introduction of these systems.

This goes to prove that the level of illumination in a room can affect the mood of your behavioural characteristics. In other words, when you desire to relax and enjoy your evening meal, a subtle light tone will help you unwind and soak up the atmosphere of the evening. If you are rushing around the office and you need to act pro-actively in order to meet a deadline, the bright colours and lights will keep you alert and enable you to effectively carry out your workload.

Mood lighting and dimmer switches are also great additions for the bathroom lights, as you can turn the lights up in the morning when you need to wake up, stop snoozing and prepare yourself for the day ahead. Then later in the evening when all your working troubles have passed, you can set the lights to a relaxing and calming tone which will enable you to drift away in the bath and recuperate before you do it all again tomorrow.