How to Write More Effective Brochures

Brochure projects are the vampires of marketing. All too often, they drain the blood out of our budgets without adding life to our sales. Post why? They're expensive. They're misused. And for people too lazy to think, they're the standard default when it's time to "do something" to help market a product or service.

Brochures are poor sales devices. (For that, look toward letters and other offer-centric vehicles.) But they do one thing really well that can help support the sale: when the product is not literally in front of the customer, it figuratively puts the product or service in the prospects' hands. The more vivid the illusion, the more effective the brochure. Here's how:

Tell a story: Paint a word- picture in which the reader the can imagine himself using the product / service to his advantage: "Within minutes, the whisper-quiet Split-All reduces tons of timber into convenient piles of lasting fireplace fuel. Simply elevate the rear axle of your truck, replace your tire with our patented SpinLock Connector, then … "

Bring out the features: I know you 've been told a million times to turn features into benefits. True enough. But you have extra leg room in the brochure. And you need concrete things to flesh out your picture. This is the right time and place to list your product / service features: "Comes complete with two safety chucks, a lifetime greaseless action bearing, three special blades for hard, soft and 'wet' woods, and a FREE 30-minute video that will have you cutting wood like a pro. "

Describe alternative uses: The more things your product / service can do or offer, the greater its value. The primary use of the Split-All, for example, would be chopping wood for fireplaces and stoves. But perhaps it could be a way for customers to make a little moonlighting money on the side – "Turn your cleared land into cash!" – Or to help them clear that land in the first place.

Use charts, graphs, illustrations and photos : As a professional writer, I'm loathe to admit it, but yes, sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words. Be sure, however, that your captions tie your illustration back to the sales message: "In just one hour, the Split-All builds a stack of wood equal to two weeks of winter heating fuel."

Weave in the testimonials: Do not list them in a sidebar. Do not save them for the end. Use them as callouts throughout the body copy to reinforce your points across your entire sales story.

And for Pete's sake, have a call to action: It's not enough to be "informative." By the end of the brochure, make it absolutely crystal clear what customers need to do get your product and service. And be literal about it! Tell them to call and give them the number and business hours (or list your URL or direct them to a local dealer or tell them how to find a local dealer, etc.).

Wedding Centerpieces

Wedding Centerpieces are one of the most talked about aspects of the Wedding.

You want guests to have the "wow factor" once they walk into the reception room.

The most traditional Wedding centerpieces are floral arrangements they are classic and make the table stand out.

A floral arrangement also ties in easily with your color theme.

Use your imagination when designing your wedding centerpiece and remember it should reflect your personality.

You may opt for flowers but not in the traditional way.

Floating candles and flowers make a beautiful table arrangement as do flowers placed in an hourglass vase with fruit stones or candy

The trend in Weddings at the moment is lighting this changes the feel and atmosphere of a room. Small lipstick lamps and a small posie of flowers on the each table accessorise a table without being too expensive.

Candles are a perfect way to add romance to your Wedding and can also act as a centerpiece be creative and use different size candles clustered together for the center of the table, floating candles in small glass bowls with crystals, beads or pearls look amazing.

Go natural and have a baskets filled with fruit, potted flowering plants are also popular at the base of the pots write a number and on each table have a number on place cards. At the end of speeches have someone on the table look at the base and the guest with the number on each corresponding table takes home the potted plant and a memento of the day.

Beach themed weddings-

– On each table place a sand filled pail with seashells and a pin will.

– Goldfish in a fishbowl with colored rocks an use the same method as I mentioned with the potted plant.

Balloons

When using balloons as your wedding centerpiece always use odd numbers on tables and make sure that they are not in the way of conversations at the table, Balloon topiaries are perfect for tables remember to tie in with your color theme.

One of my favorite centerpieces is ice sculptures are so elegant are definitely a "wow factor"
I recently had a client that had roses inside a cube ice sculpture placed on every table they were amazing and had guests talking about the wedding centerpieces literally all night, the flowers tied in with the color theme and the sculptures added a romance to the table.

The list is endless once you start to use your imagination on what you could use as your wedding centerpiece.

You could easily spend a fortune on your wedding centerpiece, you do not have to in fact creating your own is one of the easiest ways to cut costs, here a few of my favorite do-it-yourself decorating ideas that would work with almost any theme.

-Create A wedding centerpiece by tying three helium balloons to a matchbox covered in metallic paper and filled with sand to act as a weight

-Use Potted plants

-Add Floating flowers, such as daises to terra cotta bowls

-Create Balloon topiary trees- blow up six balloons, tie them together two at a time to form a round ball, then attach them to a long wooden dowel, and weight the dowel in its base with sand or plaster

-Take A large candle, then wax mould it onto a wooden baseboard, decorate and add scattered flowers.

Crafting Your Own Crochet Hooks

Dowels are a versatile crafting and project supply. As such, they can be used in innumerable ways. Frequently, they are a simplistic, but essential part of a craft or project. However, they can also be used as a stand-alone supply, then used secondarily in the creation of other crafts and projects. For instance, a dowel can first be used to craft crochet hooks, which can then be used to make any number of items, such as afghans, baby blankets, or shawls.

To craft your own crochet hooks, first start by securing a few items you will need to complete the project. This includes a dowel with a diameter close equal or approximate to the desired size, 40 grit and 100 grit sandpaper, and a wood carving knife. If you’d like, you may choose to also have a metal crochet needle on hand as a point of reference. However, given the overall simplicity of this project, it’s not necessarily a requirement.

With these materials on hand, begin the project by first cutting the dowel into two five to six inch segments. This is the standard lengths for the average individual. However, the segment lengths can be adjusted to shorter or longer lengths to accommodate the height and the overall comfort of the individual handling the hooks.

Once the dowel segments are cut, use the wood carving knife to make the rough form of an oval at the tip of the dowel. This is the area that will become the notched end, supplying the crocheting hook. Use the 40 grit sandpaper to help form the oval shape. Then, use the 100 grit sandpaper to apply a more fine finish.

Using a pencil, lightly mark the area of the dowel that lies approximately 1/4 of an inch from the oval tip. Then, use the wood carving knife to apply an upward cut of about 45 degrees into the wood dowel. Be careful not to inadvertently cut all the way through the dowel. Again using the sandpaper, wedge the 40 grit into the cut to achieve a rough sand and allow for more space within the hook. Once the size of the hook is satisfactory, follow by using the 100 grit sandpaper to apply a fine, smooth finish.

It is the carving and sanding of the notch that determines the size of the hook. Because of this, the crafter is allowed full control in making the crochet hooks. In fact, an array of crochet hooks of various sizes can be created by or for the crafter.

This is just one way in which a hardwood dowel can be used in and of its own right in the creation of other crafts and projects.

PAGG Stack – Is It a Hangover Cure?

It seems that there may well be a side effect of the PAGG Stack. The PAGG Stack is a new combined set of supplements which has enabled people to lose weight. There are no reported negative side effects which is why it is becoming more and more popular as people hear about it.

One positive side effect that has come out of the wood work is the possibility that it is a hangover cure. There is obviously no cure for a hangover as every supermarket in the land would be selling it and probably be making a huge profit along the way.

However, it does seem that it has a dramatic effect on the way you feel the day after drinking too much alcohol, and can significantly reduce the hangover effects enough to enable you to carry on your day as normal after a very good night out.

PAGG – Can it lessen the Hangover Symptoms?

The PAGG Stack consists of Policosanol, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Garlic Extract and Green Tea. All of which have been reported to contain the right kinds of ingredients to lessen the hangover effects. So combined, it makes excellent supplements to take on the day of a good session, to ensure that the next day is not a complete write off.

There are four main theorised causes of a hangover which consist of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level), dehydration, acetaldehyde intoxication and glutamine.

So the theorised causes are that blood sugar is too low, dehydration and that toxins are present in the liver and gut. The PAGG supplement stack consists of ingredients that clear toxins from the liver, reduce acetaldehyde intoxication and also passes contents of your gut through the body faster, stopping them from sitting in your system and entering the blood stream.

To get advanced scientific information on each supplement it is best to Wikipedia them to see the benefits, but the basics are below:

Policosanol: Works by helping the liver control production. It is a long chain of aliphatic alcohol composed of 20 or more carbons. It is known to reduce serem lipids and ultimately improve liver function. This can lead to significant acetaldehyde concentrations being reduced.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: Increases the excretion of toxic metals, helps the liver detoxify itself and regenerates vitamin C & E.

Garlic Extract: Contains S-allyl-cysteine which is a neutraliser of acetaldehyde.

Green Tea: Helps to constrict the blood vessels, thereby reducing the throbbing pain of an impending headache

Where can I get the PAGG stack?

If you are looking to buy PAGG supplements in the EU / UK or US there are many places that sell them, but ensure you buy each supplement with the right level of necessary ingredients. There are also other things to take into consideration, i.e. if you buy PAGG from the US and live in the UK / EU you will be subject to some additional charges and the same may apply the other way around. Alternatively you can buy the supplements separately which can definitely workout cheaper, but again ensure the right levels are in them.

To find out what these level are and the various places that they can be bought, checkout this site which is dedicated to trying to provide information about the supplements and also places to buy them: PAGG Stack

Ethical Standards In Business

When I was in college, been awhile, the key phrases which were continually bantered around my business law class was "Good Corporate Neighbor" and "Responsible Corporate Neighbor." At that time in history the American people and government had finally realized the devastation uncontrolled pollution was having on our environment.

The media utilized a visual barrage vividly showing sewers pumping millions of gallons of raw sewage or toxic industrial waste into the waterways we drank from and played in, as well as the tops of dozens of smoke stacks belching black toxic fumes and particles into the air we breathed, a very effective campaign.

Did many of these companies knowingly dump these pollutions into the environment without regard to the devastation they were creating, yes of course there were.

There were also many companies operating in what I call, a Gray Zone in which they knew it was harmful, but lacked the technology to prevent it, such as the development of scrubbers, or were not going to spend the capital needed to fix the problem.

The public outcry and government action resulted in, possibly the fastest and one of the most successful resolution of a serious problem, in the history of big business. These are the types of results the sincere implementation of ethical practices by the business community can achieve.

Defining exactly what constitutes good business ethics are, at times difficult, but the obvious implementation of unethical business practices is quite easy to define and see, unless there's a concerted effort by the perpetrator to conceal it.

For instance, the utilization of every conceivable cost cutting effort and productivity increase in order to produce products cheaper, enabling the undercutting of the competitions' price, is standard business practices which must be maximized in order to remain in business.

However, if a business knows the integrity of a particular part in their product is suspect and could result in property damage or personal injuries, yet continues to produce the product due to profit motivation, this is clearly unethical practices.

A company's ethical standards should be created and implemented with the same seriousness afforded the company's Mission Statement.

Ethics in business should not really be difficult to define, as it really is not any different than our normal conscious which guides us through our normal life. Sometimes we forget a "business" is not some living, breathing and uncontrollable monster, it's the end results of the people operating it.

An average intelligent business person, when approached with a deal Too good to be true, would immediately have red flags, bells and whistles or both resounding inside his head.

The response to an unethical decision should be every bit as alarming and quick to resonate inside his moral fiber.

What Is an Arc Fault?

There is a very good chance that you have never heard of an arc fault. This mostly unknown event, however, is the cause of several thousand building fires every year. In order to prevent an arc fault, an electrician can install protective devices such as arc fault circuit interrupters. These devices help to stop this dangerous event before it ever happens.

What Is an Arc Fault?

Arc faults occur as a result of high-energy discharge between wires, or other conductors. The transfer of electrical current between the two conductors, which looks like a jump, or arc, marks this. Because of the extreme heat generated by an arc fault, it is very likely that flammable materials nearby could be ignited. Although there are a few exceptions, this is typically caused as a result of damaged electrical cords and cabling. For this reason, you should never use nails, pins or staples to hold extension cords or other electrical cabling in place. Similarly, you should never use extension cords as a permanent power solution.

What Are Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters?

Although they are designed to stop a variety of dangerous electrical situations, your standard circuit breaker is not built to stop an arc fault. A device called an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is designed to stop this dangerous arcing from happening. An AFCI is also very different from a GFCI circuit breaker. A GFCI is designed to protect someone from the discharge of dangerous electrical current under wet or otherwise dangerous situations. An AFCI is designed to detect any arcing between wires, and make the proper changes to stop the arc from continuing.

Although AFCIs were not installed as a standard feature in the past, many local electrical codes have adopted them in order to bring advanced protection to more homes and commercial buildings. It is fairly standard, for example, for AFCIs to be installed in bedrooms. Unfortunately, it is often difficult for owners of older homes to stay current with changes to electrical code. As a result, older homes and buildings are at a greater risk of electrical arcing. If you live in an older home, contact your local electrician to talk about installing AFCIs to increase your protection.

Although arcing is not often publicized as a danger to most homes and businesses, it can cause serious problems whenever wires have become damaged. Whether the damage was caused by pests, or by a stray nail, an electrical arc can lead to catastrophe if your home does not have the proper protection. In the same way that you would install a carbon monoxide or smoke detector to protect against the possibility of these dangers, the installation of AFCIs can be very important to the overall safety of your home or business. If you have any doubts about whether or not electrical arcing presents a level of risk to you and your home, talk with a local electrician. They will be more than happy to perform an electrical safety assessment, and provide you with a professional recommendation.

Compound Bow Cams Explained

Simply put, compound bow cams are the pulleys, usually attached to the end(s) of the weapon. These are almost round in shape and usually attached to the limb(s), the cable slides, the bow strings and the buss cable. The cams’ main purpose is to take in as much kinetic energy from the pull exerted on the bow string and keep it off the aiming arm. This ensures that the arm and the bow remain steady during aiming which should result in a more accurate shot.

Although there are numerous people taking into careful account of bow cam designs, there are also certain things you should look out for when choosing cam types or styles. For example:

Products that promote the newest cam groove technology or alloy composition are basically telling you that they have added a few more incidental lines or attachments to the existing designs of the pulley system. Both of which will not affect the performance of the weapon itself, but may help increase the prices of the said products. Cams have specific purposes, and the type of groove that is installed in the strings and the type of materials these were made from, are standard fare. You should not be paying more for these.

As such, there are four types or styles of cams available in the market. These are: binary, hybrid, single and twin cams.

Binary cams. Binary cams are the newest of all cam designs. The main principle behind these pulleys is that there is more control to be acquired if the cams are attached mainly to each other by way of cam-to-cam control cables, instead of being installed on the end of the bow’s limbs. This free floating system guarantees that the force of the pull easily equalizes any imbalance in limb, string or cable length control. Often referred to also as the self-correcting system, this type of cam usually does not suffer from synchronization or timing issues.

Hybrid cams. Hybrids feature a control cam at the top of a limb and a power cam at the bottom end of the bow. Attached to these pulleys are: a control cable, a main string and a single spilt harness. When properly adjusted, each and every shot can burst out with increased velocity but with very little noise factor. In other words, an archer can have the speediest and the quietest nock possible, making string silencers unnecessary.

Single cams. Single cams or solo cams are pulley systems comprised of a power cam and an idler wheel combo. These usually provide fast aggression that is most suited to the skills of the archer. Aside from the fact that it can easily be subjected to troubleshooting options, many enthusiasts of the sport favor such because of the cams’ reliability.

Aggression, by the way, is a term that refers to the tidal wave like energy stored in the bow string just after a let off – or when the archer releases the bow string after a shot. As soon as the string is released, it snaps forward and back before settling into a vibrating collapse. The momentum of that energy can be adjusted for a silky smooth (but relatively slow) shot, or a very powerful and fast (but unsteady) shot.

Twin cams. Also referred to as dual cams or two cams, the twin cams have two symmetrical cams at each end of the compound bow, and attached to an assortment of cables and strings. The main benefit of using twin cams is that these increase the accuracy and speed of each and every shot. Many youth bows feature twin cams.

Ways to Improve Lymphatic Drainage and Lose Weight

The Lymphatic System is a drainage network of fluid, vessels and organs responsible for the elimination of cellular waste, bacteria, viruses, toxins, large proteins and foreign bodies. It also plays a role in the destruction of cancer cell. The lymph circulates moves through the lymph nodes, which act as purification centres.

The key lymphoid organs are the bone marrow and thymus. The secondary lymphoid organs include lymph nodes, lymphoid tissue, spleen, appendix, tonsils, adenoids and the small and large intestines. Their prime role is to act as a defence against aggressive agents entering the body as well as eliminate accumulated wastes.

What is surprising to many people is that there is as much as 10 litres of lymph in the body, vs 3.5 to 5 litres of blood in the system. On a daily basis around 2 litres of lymph circulate throughout the body. By having an efficient lymphatic circulation system can increase lymph circulation from 10 to 30 litres per day. The lymphatic system has to rely on muscular contraction to be its pumping mechanism as it is not connected to the heart. The lymphatic system has millions of one-way valves, which ensure that lymph fluid flows only in one direction only, upward and away from gravity.

There are up to 1,000 nodes in the human body, and more than 50 percent are located in the abdomen. They act as important processing and collection centres called lymph which is critical to:

  • filter and purify the lymph circulation
  • destroy toxins and cancer cells
  • Produce lymphocytes and monocytes.

Because of the important of Lymphatic System, vessels need to stay clear and fully functional. If they become clogged the flow can stagnate or even stop. Contributing factors can include fatigue, lack of physical activity, stress, infection, emotional shock or dehydration. This reduced lymphatic flow allows toxins to accumulate and cells are unable to function properly. This can result in a range of metabolic and infectious problems.

There are number of ways to improve lymphatic drainage.

  • Using a trampoline can stimulating the lymph flow. It is sometime called “Lymphocizing”. The up-and-down bouncing causes the one-way valves to open and close simultaneously increasing lymph flow many times over.
  • Message can improve circulation and lymph flow. This will enhance the immune function and correct various disorders of the muscles and nerves. There is an advanced technique called Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) which is gentle pumping to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow.
  • Drinking sufficient amount of water will prevent dehydration which can slow and stagnate the flow of lymph.
  • There are homeopathic drainage products and programs designed to resolve lymph-related problems. The most well know remedy is Baryta iodata. This homeopathic remedy also known as Bar-I, is made from Barium iodide which is an inorganic compound with the formula BaI2. This white solid compound exists both as an anhydrous (contains no water) and hydrated (contains water) form. When heated, hydrated barium iodide dehydrates and the anhydrous salt can be obtained.

An efficient lymphatic system can aid in weight loss by aiding waste elimination.

What Causes Pipe and Drain Clogs?

Pipes and drains mainly get clogged due to foreign objects and hair. However, sometimes when you maintain your sinks and toilets properly, you still find yourself stuck with a clogged drain problem. So, how do you put this clogging nightmare to a stop? Of course you can try some DIY techniques to unclog your drains, but there is a high chance that the problem will still persist. It is always best to call a professional plumber to help solve your problem. Let’s take a look at the different causes of pipe and drain clogs, which will clearly tell you why you need the help of a professional.

Toilet Paper

One of the biggest causes of toilet clogs is toilet paper. When you flush a large amount of toilet paper at one time, your toilet becomes clogged. These tissue papers get stuck in your toilet, keeping it from working properly. So, try not to flush a lot of toilet paper, instead, try throwing the used papers in a separate bin. You can also use few flushes to save your toilet from getting clogged.

Soap Scruff

When soap and hard water comes in contact, you get a thick white substance which sticks to the sides of your tub and shower. This soap scruff also collects in your drain, which causes water to drain slowly. This is a major reason that your showers and tubs get clogged from time to time. The soap scum also catches other foreign substances, which continue to worsen the clog, resulting in complete blockage. If your bath tub or shower is completely clogged, call for 24 hour emergency plumbing service to help you with it. The plumber will also give you tips to keep clogging problems to a minimum.

Grease

Do you often find your kitchen sink clogged? The major reason for clogged kitchen sinks is grease and oil. When you cook food and leave oily pots and plates in the sink, the oil drips down the sink. No matter how much hot water you mix with oil, it will still easily solidify in your pipes, resulting in a clogged sink. The problem with grease is that it also attracts food particles, which causes a major block in your drain. It is best to take help from a reliable plumber to help clear block in pipes.

Bathroom Wipes

Many people have the habit of flushing bathroom wipes through their toilets. Bathroom wipes aren’t meant to disintegrate easily with water. So, when you flush bathroom wipes through your toilet, you end up with a clogged toilet. It is better to dispose-off wipes in a bin. You should also be careful in using flushable toilet products as they solidify and block the drain. Don’t try to unclog the toilet on your own. Call a plumber to help find the cause of the clog and provide you with its effective solution.

Clogs are common in kitchen sinks and bathrooms. However, if you catch the problem in its early stage and ask a plumber to help you, you will save lots of money on repairs and extensive maintenance.

DeWalt Cordless Drill Reviews

One of the most well known manufacturers of cordless drills and tools is DeWalt. Their cordless drills contain a variety of voltages, weights, and sizes. They have several lines of drills, such as Compact and Heavy Duty, and models that use lithium-ion batteries for power. While their cordless drills generally target contractors, some of their drills can be used for work around the house as well. The following are reviews of two DeWalt cordless drills: the 18-Volt Cordless Impact Wrench and the 18-Volt XRP Lithium-Ion Hammer drill.

DeWALT DW059K-2 18-Volt Cordless Impact Wrench Kit

The DeWalt DW059K-2 Cordless Impact Wrench is great for fastening heavy-duty applications. Whether you are loosening nuts and bolts or securing lag screws, the consistent performance and versatility of this wrench will certainly be appreciated.

With the potential to produce 1,650 rpm and 2,600 bpm, you will finish the tougher tasks quickly. You can switch from forward and reverse with ease with the rocker-switch.

You will not be disappointed with the comfort grip of the DW059K-2. Being able to easily grip the drill allows you to work long hours without wearing down. The drill actually weighs less than 8 pounds.

With its all-metal transmission and magnesium gear case, you will not have to worry about durability when under heavy loads.

What was noticed about the DW059K-2 was that it does not have the electric brake and variable speed that some of the other drills have. Overall however, this is an excellent impact wrench.

DeWalt DCD970KL 18-Volt Hammer Drill

The motor of the DeWalt DCD970KL 18-Volt Hammer Drill is capable of producing 450 unit watts, which allows users to take on a variety of applications. It has a three speed transmission that gives users the ability to use the speed necessary for the task at hand. This translates into getting the job done more efficiently.

The DCD970KL comes with an ergonomic grip for improved handling. Control is easier because of the balanced, mid-tool placement of the handle. A 360-degree side handle gives users several options for hand placement to limit fatigue when working for long periods of time. It also features an LED light for increased visibility and weighs in at just over 5 pounds.

It also features an LED light for increased visibility and weighs in at just over 5 pounds. The all metal drill chuck is self-tightening and provides tremendous bit-gripping strength. One of the few complaints was that there is only room for one bit on the front.

Top 4 Safety Tips When Sanding and Polishing Timber Floors

Personal safety precautions should be taken into consideration when using industrial floor sanding machinery and coatings with potentially toxic fumes. The correct protection will vary depending on the various stages associated with the sanding and coating processes.

1. Safety glasses and dust mask

Your first task will involve the punching of the nails. Safety glasses are a must as small shards of steel can become projectiles from nail heads or from the striking of the hammer to the punch head. Most of the dust is collected by the machine although very fine particles will be airborne during the sanding process.

2. Dust fire hazard

Take care when storing sawdust in plastic bags leading up to disposal as they may start to combust. The main cause I have encountered is when the drum machine has sanded over the top of a nail head creating a spark. This spark along with the sawdust and air suction during dust collection leads to the dust starting to smoulder.

3. Toxic coatings hazard

Common floor coating formulations used today include both one and two pack water or solvent based polyurethane coatings. Among other health issues, exposure to these coatings can have both short and long term effects on the respiratory system, the skin and eyes. Always wear a chemical respirator when applying these coatings. To ensure a tight seal between your face and the mask it is beneficial to be clean shaven and ensure it is adjusted correctly.

As these coatings are generally highly flammable it is advisable to ensure the evaporating vapours do not come in contact with any source of ignition. Apart from the obvious – no smoking or open flames in the vicinity, caution should be taken when coating near refrigerators. Old fridges can create a spark when the motor starts and should be removed from the area prior to coating. Gas water heater pilot lights are another danger to be aware of.

4. Risk of electric shock

As all floor sanding machinery have metal bodies, it is good advice to use a safety box between the sanding machine and the power outlet at the wall. I have personally sanded into a number of extension leads over the years exposing the raw wires, and with the drum spinning at such high revolutions it is easy to do if you are not constantly vigilant while concentrating on sanding the floor in front of you.

Do it Yourself – Build a Pole Barn

A Pole Barn is a wood framed building that is constructed with poles to sustain the walls of the structure and the roof. The name ‘pole barn’ was first used to refer to buildings built for agricultural reasons such as accommodating livestock or putting away hay and other feed. This can be used for a variety of purposes other than agricultural. Having one means having extra space to make use of. They can also be used as a garage for recreational or off-road vehicles or storeroom for tools and other garden equipment. There are several ways that pole barns can be erected. It all depends on what you prefer and what function the pole barn will serve.

Pole barns are quite simple to build and require little knowledge and experience. As a matter of fact, there are kits available nowadays to make the task a lot easier. So if you need a pole barn but do not want to bear the trouble of building one, then this is the best choice for you. These kits contain everything – from simple screws to roofing materials – to build it from scratch. Some can be made by using metal and wood or using just one of the two. They may have simple dirt floor or concrete floor based on the user’s preferences. The advantage of a pole barns are that it can be construct quickly and it is cheap to erect.

In order to erect a pole barn it is important that you choose an area that is appropriate for the building. To be exact, one that is flat and has proper drainage so that water is not stored.

Here are the instructions to erect a pole barn:

Necessary Materials:

Pre-mixed concrete (enough to fill four post holes)

Four poles

Roof trusses

Tin roofing sections

Rope

Roofing nails

2″ x 4″ lumber

Roofing screws

Necessary Tools

Post hole digger

Hammer

Drill with accessory to screw in screws

Instructions:

1.Use the post hole digger to dig four holes spacing them carefully depending on the size of the chosen shed. Holes should be dug at least 16 inches deep.

2.Position a pole in each hole and fill with the concrete for additional reinforcement. Modify the poles to make sure that they are straight and steady.

3.Affix the 2″ x 4″ lumber to the tops of the poles and fasten them tightly. They must be well secured so as to bear the weight of the roof and the trusses.

4.Install the roof trusses. Fasten the first truss by using the rope to tie it in position.

5.Nail 2″ x 4″ lumber onto the outward border of those that were installed to the tops of the poles. This will aid in supporting the weight of the trusses.

6.Using the drill and roofing screws, screw the tin roofing sections to the roof. Intersect sections of the tin sheeting so that extra resistance against climate conditions is guaranteed. And that is how you construct a barn!

Tips:

If the ground is wet, widen and deepen the holes to ensure they are kept in place.

It is a good suggestion to use 8-foot sections if you decide to purchase industrial lumber. This is because the 8-foot lengths are more economical to use.

Make sure that the tin roofing sections are corrugated.

Some individuals decide to use walls around their barns. If you want to add walls, you can use ply board to do so.

The Board Game Revival

Each year in February the world's largest Toy Fair is held in New York City. This is the Mecca for buyers, sellers, promoters and inventors of toys, dolls, plush toys and games. Every conceivable type of whimsical product is displayed and hyped with gusto, creative marketing and some bluster. The event is attended by people from over 100 countries.

This year the Toy Fair was reflective of what is going on in the world economy. Attendance was down, there were noticeably fewer vendors displaying product, the glitz was considerably dimmer and the overall mood was very somber. The world's largest toy companies Mattel, Fisher Price and Hasbro reported sales declines for the recently concluded 2008 year. Mid-size and smaller vendors had even worse news to report and many seemed to be barely hanging on, hoping for a robust 2009 Holiday selling season to resurrect their fortunes.

For the past decade or more the exciting growth in the toy / game world was in electronic products. Electronic Arts became a juggernaut by producing action video games targeting the highly desirable male teen demographic. However, this year even Electronic Arts has struggled, sales dropped and just recently the Company announced the resignation of their most prolific game design engineer.

Interestingly, there was one area of ​​vigor and strength touted at the Toy Fair: mundane board games. Yep, the kind of game families used to play around the kitchen table after dinner. Parents and kids interacting; while they enjoyed time together, talking, negotiating, competing, laughing and bonding. Great concept! Board game sales actually enjoyed a record year.

Hasbro introduced several new iterations of classic Monopoly. The world's most popular board game, Monopoly is played by almost 500 million people all over the world. The iconic game, crafted during the Depression to mimic the various strata of society during that time, is the gold standard in the board game space. At this year's Toy Fair new board game offerings were on display as never before and seemed to be the center of renewed interest from buyers noting the tenor of the times. The simple board game is enjoying a revival, in part because the times we are living through have adjusted our sites to the importance of quality family time.

Video games are typically solitary or demographic specific products. Board games offer a wholly different play platform. An eight year girl, her 10 year old brother, visiting college age sister and mom and dad can all enjoy a game of Sorry. The game is played at a leisurely pace. Lots of kibitzing is part of the fun. Soda's and popcorn are ubiquitous while the family enjoys the game.

My consumer product consulting firm is approached with a number of toy and game submissions each year. Many are quite ingenious. The marketplace for this type of product is extremely competitive, as are most mature consumer product categories. However, the market is always open to novel, inventive new products. The Great Depression, similar in some ways to our current economic circumstance, was a Golden Age for consumer product inventiveness. The opportunity to launch successful products today is just as ripe.

The key to launching a successful board game, as with so many other consumer products, is simplicity. Make sure the play rules are quickly and easily understood. If playing the game requires a tutorial and lots of qualifiers, the likelihood for achieving retail placement and commercial success is minimal. It is important that the competitive aspects of the game depend upon a mixture of basic skill and chance. Every player, no matter age, education or experience, should enjoy a reasonable chance of winning.

The world is undergoing a sea change caused by an economic malady that affects virtually all of us. The opportunity to profit from this adjustment of societal values ​​and attitudes offers entrepreneurs unique possibilities to provide products with timely features and benefits that fit the times. The return to popularity of board games is symbolic of this new reality.

Your Front Door – Designing The Entry To Your Home

Here’s a subject that’s rarely given enough thought in custom home design…the way you enter and leave your house. We’re just talking about a door, right? A hole in the wall, a way in and a way out; what more is there to consider?

It’s easy to overlook the design of the entrance to our houses. We spend our time working on the design of the exterior and creating the spaces inside the house. But the front door and the spaces connected to it occupy an important middle ground between indoors and out and set the stage for the success of the entire custom home design. The entry begins to establish your home’s personality and suggests how the rest of the house should be. The entry is a symbolic passage from the public realm of the street to the private realm of the family and tells the world something about the people within.

If Walls Could Speak

It’s a cliché to say that the front of a house “makes a statement”, but clichés usually have some basis in truth. The entry can be a barrier or an invitation, obvious or concealed, pompous or humble; it can welcome you in or it can keep you at arm’s length. The front door and the area around it can be a message board for the neighborhood – hung with wreaths and ivy during the holidays, festooned with red, white, and blue on the Fourth of July, and decorated with pumpkins and corn shocks at Halloween.

Each element that makes up the home’s entry has something to say. The classic American front porch is a good example; it’s the outdoor social center, a place to watch the activity of the street, a place to meet and greet neighbors and friends. A front porch is an outdoor room, neither completely public nor private and easing the transition into and out of the house. A house with a big, broad front porch tells the world that the family inside values the social fabric of the street, welcoming neighbors and friends and inviting them to stop and visit.

The Entry Sequence

But the front porch is just one part of a sequence of spaces and elements creating a transition from the public realm (the street) to the private realm (the house). That sequence includes walks, landscaping, steps, porches, overhangs, lights, doors, and interior entry spaces. A successful entry sequence considers the placement and design of all of these elements and their relationship to each other.

The entry to a home begins long before you’ve stepped onto the property. It starts in the street with the initial visual cues — where the entrance to the property is, and where the entrance to the house is.

At first glance from the street, the entry to the house should be seen or at least hinted at to provide a clear destination for our guests. Our old friend the front porch is a great way to indicate clearly where the entrance is to be found. A porch or overhang at the entry also keeps your guests out of the weather while they’re waiting for you to answer the door.

A path from the street or driveway to the front door should be direct – people look ahead subconsciously as they approach a building, searching for the shortest path to the entrance. The beginning of the path should be well lit so that it can be found in the dark, and should be wide enough for two people to walk comfortably abreast. This is also a great place for colorful landscaping. In temperate and cold climates, leave areas open where shoveled snow can be piled alongside the walk without burying the planting beds.

A little mystery isn’t a bad idea here either – vary the direction of the path a bit so the scenery changes and the front door moves in and out of view.

It’s A House, Not A Greek Temple

Historically, the design of a home’s entry gave the public an indication of the wealth and status of its owners. The entrances to grand homes are often flanked by huge classical columns, their doors framed by elaborately carved surrounds. But when more modest homes take up these motifs, they often feel out of place and forced. An entry can be too easily seen from the street, announcing itself too boldly (as if it were an entrance to an office building), and draining all of the warmth from the entry sequence.

Better to design the entry on a human scale, using familiar elements that don’t overwhelm the visitor. Benches, small windows, potted plants, brick paths and porch railings all contribute to the comfort we want our guests to feel as they are welcomed into our homes.

The human scale should continue on the other side of the door. Although some larger homes are appropriately fitted with double curved stairs and four hundred square foot entry halls, these features overwhelm a typical family home. Entry halls and foyers should welcome guests, allow them to get oriented to the house, provide a place to hang their coats, and direct them efficiently to the “public” rooms of the house. There’s a place for splendor and majesty of course, but that’s best left to the grand homes.

Hey, I didn’t invent this stuff…

Other cultures also place a high value on the design of a home’s entry. The Ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui dictates exactly where a home’s front door should be to attract good Chi (energy flow) and block harmful Chi. It’s a complex relationship between compass position, proximity to other structures, roads and paths, access to sunlight, and views to the outside. According to Feng Shui, a well-placed and well-designed front door can enhance luck, promote business success, and increase the health of the occupants. Although deeply rooted in ancient culture, much of Feng Shui is simply good design practice that we can apply to the design of the ways that we enter and exit our own homes.

Welcome Home To… Your Laundry Room?

Although the introduction of the automobile has had a profound impact on the way we enter our houses, it was the popularization of the attached garage in the mid 20th century that eventually relegated the traditional front door and porch to ceremonial status. Ironically, we rarely use the impressive entries we build in our homes. We’re content to enter our own house through the garage – often through a laundry room or mudroom. Is that what we’ve worked so hard for? Providing grand entry experiences for our few visitors or the annual holiday gatherings while we trudge daily through the dirty laundry? The owners of the house should be welcomed into their sanctuary through a space designed to greet them, to acknowledge them, and to recognize them as the reason it exists.

On a recent pre-design tour through a remodeling client’s home, the client and I entered through the garage and laundry room, moving aside bicycles, toys, and baskets of dirty clothes to get into the kitchen. She hadn’t thought about it, but I suggested we consider reworking the way she enters her house as a part of the remodeling. She agreed, and the result is a small but well appointed “owner’s entry hall” directly off of the garage and connecting to the kitchen and breakfast room. The laundry and mudrooms are adjacent to but closed off from this entry. She’s already told me how much she enjoys the new space and how it brightens her spirits at the end of the day.

Knock, knock…

But what about the front door itself? The front door is at once a bridge and a barrier. Should it be big, small, opaque, transparent, rectangular or arched? I prefer a big door wide enough to make the furniture movers happy – at least 42 inches wide. Because the front door will be used every day, durability and resistance to weather damage are important. A bit of glass in the door allows permits residents to see someone outside without allowing the stranger a view of the interior. A lot of glass in the door is less private, but brings in more light from the outside.

Although a wood door is susceptible to damage from the elements, it always looks better than metal or fiberglass imitations. And if properly protected with an overhanging roof, a quality wood door should last the life of the house.

An Open And Shut Case

The front door is one part of many elements that make up an entry design. A successful entry sequence starts in the public realm of the street and moves through a sequence of spaces on its way to the private realm of the house. The design of the entry communicates with the neighborhood and is scaled appropriately to the rest of the house.

That “hole-in-the-wall” is much more than just a way in and a way out.

How to Choose the Best Stucco Contractor

If your home improvement project involved stucco, you will want to be sure you find the right contractor for the job. It is always important to hire good contractors, but it is especially important when they will be doing work such as stucco installation, which is not as common as other contracting duties. You need to work with a people who know how do to the job properly, so you can be sure it will get done right the first time.

Fortunately, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a good contractor, as long as you know what questions to ask during the process. Use the tips in this article to help yourself sort through the field to pick out the perfect stucco contractor for your job.

Get Multiple Bids

The biggest mistake that homeowners make when picking out any type of contractor is only getting one or two bids as part of the process. You should treat this project just like you would treat a commercial job – you need to secure multiple bids in order to select the best option for your needs. It should be noted that the lowest bid doesn’t automatically win. Instead, you need to weigh all factors, including price, experience, referrals, and more before selecting the company you will hire. It should only take a day or two to contact multiple companies with a request for a bid, so you can have much of the information you need within a short period of time.

There Should be a Guarantee

When you get the bids, make sure to ask if the work will be guaranteed once it is completed. A quality contractor will stand firmly behind their work, so don’t hesitate to ask this question. If the labor and material are not covered by some form of guarantee, you should quickly move on to the next bid. There are plenty of contractors out there who are willing to stand behind their work, so there is no reason to work with one who isn’t.

Keep It Clean

Stucco can be messy business. Make sure there is a plan in place to protect the rest of your property from the mess that can be made when stucco is put in. You don’t want to be left with a huge cleanup project after your contractor has left the job site, so ask specific questions as to how they will keep the rest of your property as clean as possible.

Call References

All contractors should have references, and it is no different for those who work in stucco. Don’t just ask for references, however – be sure to call at least a couple of them to inquire as to the quality of work that they received. This is your best chance to get an unbiased review of the work that was completed, so have a list of specific questions prepared when you give a call to one of the provided references.

Everything in Writing

It doesn’t matter if someone ‘seems’ trustworthy or not – get everything in writing before a project starts. This contract is meant to protect both parties, so make sure that the language is suitable for your needs before you sign on the dotted line. Once the work that is to be done is clearly outlined, along with the costs for the project, you can go into the job with confidence that you will reach a successful conclusion.

Hiring a stucco contractor doesn’t need to be a long and drawn out process, as long as you know what you are looking for from the start. Use the points above to guide your search, and only hire a contractor once you are fully satisfied that they are the perfect selection for the work that you need completed.