Graffiti Supplies – The Street Artist’s Handbook

The art of graffiti writing is alive and well. It is a practice that spans throughout societies, cultures, communities, and peoples of all kinds and generations. The motivations people have for tagging vary. For some, it can be an effective way to communicate a message of a political or social nature. For others, it is simply a means of expression — a way to announce their presence to the world. Whatever the case may be, graffiti writing remains a common phenomenon all over the world. Rebellious youths continue to illegally tag walls and public spaces in their communities while professional graffiti artists create grand works of art for the enjoyment and consideration of the public.

There are all kinds of graffiti supplies out there on the market that taggers at all levels use to create their art. In addition, there are many taggers out there taking a DIY approach and creating their own tools of the trade as graffiti culture evolves. The main graffiti supplies taggers are using these days will be outlined below along with pricing and usage tips.

Spray Paint: What to consider before shopping for spray paint

The heart and soul of every tagger’s collection of supplies is their spray paint; it only takes one cheap can of paint to go out and start tagging. Of course, there are tons of options out there and it is best to think about a few key factors before deciding on what kind of paint to buy. First, what is the level of the tagger? For people just starting out, it is probably best to stick with inexpensive spray paint for the beginning, learning stages of graffiti. Second, for what kind of project is the spray paint being used? Tagging on brick walls and cement streets is one thing, but if the goal is to paint a specific personal object such as canvas or an automobile, higher quality paint will work best. Primer and sand paper are other investments to consider in that case, as using them along the way will make for a better finished product.

There are also different can tips or caps to be used on cans available to achieve different effects such as an extra wide or skinny spray. Caps are typically cheap; three for a dollar or a 25-pack for around $7.00.

Compare and Contrast: The different spray paint options on the market

Quality and price of spray paint for graffiti varies. Fortunately, it is pretty easy for anyone to get started, as there is inexpensive spray paint out there that will get the job done. From beginners to professionals, spray paint of varying price and quality can be found in most cities.

On the low end, a can of spray paint can go for as little as $0.99. Stores such as Walmart and KMart carry these cheapest options, which can range from $0.99 to $1.50, depending on geographic location. Such low budget options are a great way to get started without paying much money.

As for mid-range options, the tried and true brand of spray paint called Krylon is perfectly acceptable and is actually used regularly by many taggers. It is still quite inexpensive, ranging from $2.45 to $3.15 per can, and can be found in the hardware sections of big department stores such as Walmart and Target. Krylon is sold in many different colors and styles (translucent, flat, glossy, metallic). The paint goes on thick with great coverage, and is a solid option for taggers.

On the high end, high quality spray paint such as Valspar or Rustoleum can be found in caged areas at hardware stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, respectively. However, it is recommended to only invest in these for personal home projects.

Serious graffiti artists can shop online for the best tagging spray paint on the market. Brands such as Molotow and Belton carry spray paint in all different colors and shades with various tipped-cans to produce certain effects when painting. Their cans can cost up to $9.00 each, but will certainly perform well.

With so many spray paint options of varying prices on the market, it is best for taggers to try out as many as they can to determine their weapon of choice. In the end, it comes down to personal preference; the most expensive option is not always the best one.

Stencils: Taking graffiti art to the next level

While spray paint covers a lot of ground (or wall) and is a lot of fun to use, it can only take graffiti artists so far. When taggers want to take their graffiti art to the next level, they may turn to stencils to give them control and detail that is simply not possible with a lone can of spray paint. Stencils can technically be made out of any kind of paper material, so taggers’ techniques for creating them differ.

Regardless of the material used in creating stencils, a quality Xacto knife is needed to cleanly cut out designs and shapes. Xacto knives can be found at any hardware store or even CVS or Rite Aid for around $3.00.

On the low and inexpensive (read: free) end, cardboard can be used for stencil creation. Cardboard stencils are useful for testing out designs that are relatively simply to draw and cut out.

However, serious graffiti artists may use wax paper designed specifically for stencil creation. Graffiti wax paper, which is transluscent, holds up well after multiple uses and can be cut through easily enough. It is also thin enough for printing; this is key for taggers who wish to create their stencil designs using a computer program such as Photoshop and then print them out. Wax graffiti paper might be found at a paper store, but can definitely be found online at websites of graffiti supply stores. They are usually sold in bulk, for example: three sheets of 9″ by 12″ paper for $7.50 or six sheets for $11.50.

Markers: Filling in the blanks with ink and paint based graffiti markers

Markers go along with stencils as additional tools most graffiti artists have in their supply kit besides spray paint. There is a huge selection of graffiti markers on the market. Some are ink-based while others are paint-based. Like spray paint, it is better to try out different kinds and go with what is most comfortable and successful for the project at hand.

Like stencils, it is possible to take a DIY approach and actually create homemade markers. Some graffiti artists like to create their own materials; it allows them creative freedom to experiment with colors and marker types while keeping costs down. In-depth instructions and recipes can be found online.

Graffiti markers on the market vary in price, and can range from $5.00 to $9.00. Some are ink based, which means they can be refilled with ink and reused. Others are paint based. Markers of all kinds can be found at graffiti product websites such as http://www.bombingscience.com, which carries every competitive brand such as Molotow, Grog, Do’Em Dirty, and others.

Spray paint, stencils, and markers — oh my!

While fancy stencils and markers will help new taggers create more dynamic visuals, it will not give them inspiration or ability It is important to remember that graffiti is an art. All the expensive materials and know-how in the world are no good without time, dedication, hard work, and at least a little bit of talent. The best graffiti artists have always been able to do a lot with a little. They are the ones who take the tools they have and use them in unique and challenging ways the world has not yet seen. They all had to start somewhere, though — and it all starts with a can of paint.

Construction Tools – Types and Usage

It refer to the various kinds of tools and equipments used for building and construction purposes. It has always been an integral part of the construction and building industry as it is unimaginable to construct a building without these tools. In fact, for every single activity at a construction site one invariably needs one or the other kind of construction tool to start up the work.

It is also important as there needs to be a definite and appropriate tool for every activity during the construction of a building. Its range from the lighter equipments like sand screening machine, air compressor, brick making machine to large, heavy equipments like cranes, dozers, haulers etc. Every builder or constructor looks for durable tools which last long in the rough and tough conditions of a construction site. Thus, construction tool manufacturers too work on the principle of providing reliable tools to serve the requirements of the site workers in the best possible manner.

Discussed here are some of the basic construction tools which are generally used at a construction site:

Excavators

Excavators refer to the heavy construction machines used for the purpose of pushing or lifting heavy objects from one place to another. This particular construction tool simplifies the mammoth and tiring task of moving the large objects on a construction site.

Sand Screening Machine

Sand screening machine is used for screening sand to get rid of dust, dirt and slit from sand. Generally constructors prefer vibratory screening machine as it can sieve both wet as well as dry sand.

Concrete Mixers

Concrete mixers are needed for mixing the cement consisting of sand and gravel with water. Together these ingredients form a homogeneous mixture of concrete. The anatomy of a concrete mixer comprises of a rotating drum used for mixing the ingredients. Though some mixers also carry hoopers which make the job of mixing all the more easier.

Jaw Crusher

Jaw crushers are used for crushing heavy stones and rocks into smaller pieces so as to make them usable for construction purposes. The sizes of this construction tool vary as per the nature of job it has been assigned to.

Scrapers

Scraper is a multipurpose mechanical construction equipment. This one single equipment is capable of doing three different tasks at a site i.e. excavating, digging and hauling. It is one versatile construction tool which digs the site, loads, hauls and dumps the scrap thereafter. It is instrumental in preparing construction sites.

Cranes

Cranes again account into the heavy construction machinery. These are used for lifting heavy materials from one place to another. Cranes form an integral part of the construction tools as these simplify the task of transporting heavy materials to and fro to a great extent.

Boring Machines

Boring machines are the machines used for the purpose of digging holes of precise diameters and depth in hard rocky surfaces or even in to metal equipments and buildings. This construction tool is used quite often at the construction sites.

Guide to Customizing Breyer Model Horse Mohair Manes

Owning a Breyer model horse is fun, but what’s even more rewarding is creating your own customized versions! You can achieve some stunningly realistic and beautiful results by adding a mohair mane and tail, for instance.

To start with, you will need to collect some materials. First, you will need a painted model horse (wooden or plastic) and a shank of mohair in coordinating color, at least a foot long, perhaps two feet. It does not have to be a Breyer horse because these same steps will work with just about any brand of model horse. A glue that works well is Aleene’s Tacky Glue. You will want both a pair of embroidery scissors and another small pair of scissors with pointed blades (a set designed for children is usually small enough). You will use round toothpicks to poke the hair into place.

At the end, the really fun part is the styling – you get to comb and mousse the hair into place. For this, you will want to use alcohol-free mouse or spray gel (the kind with “extra hold”). Small brushes that work well for styling are a toothbrush, eyebrow brush, or a gun cleaning brush.

To prepare the model horse, you will need to drill a narrow trench down the neck (with some Breyer models, you will need to trim off the hard mane which is sticking out) and trim down the hard tail to the proportionate size of a horse’s tailbone.

Next, you will begin gluing in his mane. You will want to start at the withers and start with shortest pieces of mane. You’ll want to cut each piece one inch wide. (This is where the embroidery scissors come into play.)

Try to mash glue thoroughly into the ends of the piece of mohair. Then trim straight across and hold this straight cut carefully (use the regular children’s scissors, to keep from getting glue on your embroidery scissors). Dab glue along the edge and insert into the trench on the neck (remember, you’re starting with this short piece at the withers end). Use toothpicks to help push the hair in.

Cut a little bit longer piece of mohair, still keeping it about one inch wide. Repeat the process of trimming and gluing and pushing it into the trench a little further up. Keep going until you get to the top of his neck, where his bridle path would be.

Now you are ready to create his forelock. This will use three separate pieces of mohair. Cut them longer than you will want his forelock to be, using the embroidery scissors. Mash glue into one of the pieces, and trim it off square with the regular scissors. Dab on a bit more glue on the end of the cut. Stick this piece onto the forehead just in front of the ears.

Mash glue, trim, and dab on extra for the next two pieces, adding them just behind the ears so the ends hang down and blend with the first piece.

Now, you will create the bridle path, adding realism that transforms a model horse into a real horse, well not quite real but a lot closer anyway.

Take the embroidery scissors and cut a small amount of mohair into very fine pieces. Apply a thin layer of glue across the area you want the bridle path to be – think about the shape you want it to be and how far you want it to extend. Trace this shape with the glue.

Carefully apply the tiny, finely cut pieces to the glue and press them into the glue in a realistic way.

Allow the mane to dry for at least an hour. You can work on the tail while you are waiting.

You’ll start gluing at the end of the tail and work your way up toward the horse’s body. Measure the length needed from the end of the tailbone to the ground (or to the height you want the tail to end). Use the embroidery scissors to cut a piece of mohair slightly longer than this.

Work glue into the cut end until saturated. Trim straight with regular scissors and apply more glue. Stick the mohair around the end of the tailbone, so you make a layer of hair all the way around (not just gluing some hair to the top or the side of the tailbone).

Repeat this process just a little higher up. Keep repeating with slightly shorter pieces until you reach the base of the tail.

At the base of the tail, you will use three separate pieces. Measure and saturate with glue as before. Trim the middle piece into a V shape with the regular scissors. Dab on more glue and apply it to the top of the base of the tail.

Trim the other two pieces at a matching angle and apply one to each side of the tailbone. The tail should now be completely covered in hair. Press all the hair on securely with the fingers one last time. Let dry for at least an hour, perhaps overnight.

Once the glue is dry, you can carefully brush out the mane and tail (be gentle about this, so as not to dislodge your hard work). Trim any bits that are significantly too long. Wet mane and forelock with mouse and enjoy styling your new customized Breyer horse! Follow up with the tail. Once the mousse has dried completely, trim any remaining excess hair and use a damp cloth or a tissue to carefully clean up any excess mousse.

The results are stunning! This will take some practice, so start with some used or broken models and just have some fun playing around. Once you have gained some familiarity with the process, you’ll be ready to work from a brand-new Breyer horse. I’m sure you will want to try this again and again to craft unique collectible pieces admired by model horse lovers. Soon your friends will be asking you to teach them how to customize their model horses!

A Workout For A Couple With a Young Child

All too often you come across workout routines designed for a single individual. That’s great for those planning on doing the activity all by themselves but sometimes there are situations where a couple may want to exercise together. To make the situation even more challenging, let’s say for example this couple has a six month old child. Question posed, is it still possible to work out together even with a child that needs to be monitored?

The simplest solution is that each person exercises on their own leaving one person to take care of the little guy (or girl) however for the sake of argument let’s imagine this couple has agreed to only workout when they’re able to do so together.

There’s a number of reasons when this situation may potentially arise.

Say for example the Mrs. does not want to work out by herself and there’s no babysitter that’s willing to work for a mere hour while they workout. Or maybe the husband does not want to work out without his loved one since he’ll feel guilty that she is unable to partake in the activity also.

Any of these situations sound familiar to you?

Here’s an easy way to solve this problem and potentially get a hour-long workout for the both of you. Best yet, even though you’ll both be working out your child will still be taken care of so you can bring the little one along in the stroller, car seat, or portable playpen. Hopefully it’s nap time or he/she keeps himself occupied on something for this workout session to leave you both in relative peace.

Ideally if there is a local track or high school nearby that allows you to use their facility that would be perfect since it will be easy to tally the total distance traveled. If not, you can always simply use your neighborhood block for reference. If you don’t live on a typical “block”, then first use your car to mark what 1/4 of a mile is from your house and back preferably in the shape of a circle or rectangle. This way when you start from your house by the time you get back the distance traveled will have been 1/4 of a mile.

Once you have the 1/4 mile length set and both of you are dressed in your workout clothes, it’s time to begin.

The main point in this tandem workout is while one of you is running/walking the 1/4 mile lap, the other is doing calisthenic exercises right next to your child. When the first person comes back from their one lap, you switch.

If you both are starting to workout for the first time, be sure you take it slow. It’s important to warm up properly so first take a walking lap together with baby to get the blood pumping and body/legs moving. Then take 5-8 minutes to gently stretch. After that you should be pretty loose and ready to go.

Here’s a potential schedule of exercises you can start with. One complete circuit should take about 20-25 minutes which means from start to finish including warmup time will be right around 30 minutes per cycle.

After warming up like mentioned above, decide who will jog the lap first while the other does the calisthenics. The goal is that as long as the person is running, the other person continues doing that exercise until they return, then you switch spots. However if you feel too tired or exhausted to continue, then stop. Remember, your body needs to build strength and stamina which will not happen all of a sudden. It takes time and consistency to get there.

As you both get stronger and build up endurance you can change-up the exercises, but for now let’s stick with this schedule.

Lap — Exercise

————-

1 — Squats

2 — Situps

3 — Lunges

4 — Pushups

By the end of this 25-30 minute session each person will have completed one entire mile along with doing 50+ squats, situps, lunges, and pushups. Not bad for a 30 minute workout right? If you both still have some energy left, do another circuit for a grand total of one hour worth of exercise. After that hour you will both have run 2 miles and completed 100+ squats, situps, lunges, and pushups!

Keep in mind that the person who’s doing the calisthenics also needs to keep an eye/ear on baby and always attend to his/her needs first, even if that means stopping the exercise to take care of business. Before taking any advice from this article please remember, being an attentive parent ALWAYS comes first!

Commodities Contract – What You Should Know

Whether you are new to investing in commodities or a seasoned pro, it helps to understand the two primary commodities contracts through which most commodities trades are carried out. Failure to comprehend these contracts fully can result in devastating losses. The two contracts are options and margins.

When people speak of investing in commodities, what they really mean is that they are investing in commodities futures. Commodities investing involves entering a contract to purchase bulk raw materials at a specified price to be delivered on a future date certain. The seller is hoping to secure a stable price for goods while the buyer is seeking to either lock in commodities needed at a particular price or speculating that the cash or spot price will rise on or before the settlement date and the goods can be sold for a nice profit. It is for this latter reason that most commodities contracts are bought and sold many times and the buyers will seldom take possession of the commodities.

In an options contract, the buyer agrees to buy commodities at a set price on a date certain in the future. However, the buyer is under no obligation to accept delivery of the underlying commodities. If the price rises, the buyer sells the option contract. If the prices begin to fall, the buyer can sell the contract and try to recoup some of the money paid for the option. Or, the buyer can just walk away in which case all that is lost is the fee paid for the option. One of the great benefits of this commodities contract is that a large volume of goods can be controlled for a small price.

The margins commodities contract is similar with one main difference. The buyer is under an obligation to accept delivery of the goods so that in the event of falling prices, the buyer will have to sell the contract and pay the original seller the difference in the amount received and what was promised. Thus, under a margin contract, the investor could lose a lot of money very quickly, although the investor could also make a lot of money just as quickly.

Making Honey Wine – Mead – At Home

The Celtic tradition has always embraced mead in both ceremonial and festival use. Indeed, mead is just as Celtic as the Druids. It has been touted as the “drink of the gods” for centuries. Even among today’s pagans a good bottle of mead is often just as prized and coveted as some ritual tools or “mystic secrets.” You might even be surprised at the bartering potential of a bottle of high quality mead among some circles of heathen brethren today. 

A Brief History of Mead 

Mead was quite possibly one of the first fermented drinks mankind developed. Egyptian, African, Greek, Roman, Celtic and Norse cultures all have recorded history mentioning mead as a favorite and preferred drink. Mead is made from honey, and honey was the only source of sweet foodstuff available to biblical and pre-biblical man. Refined sugar was not to be introduced for several centuries. The earliest recordings of mead are from the Egyptian culture. We know there was not a great abundance of high-sugar fruit in the Egyptian region. The only abundant source of sugar for producing alcohol came from honey, which was highly prized in the region at that time, and still is today. Other early civilizations like the Romans and Greeks also lacked high-sugar fruit and refined sugar sources to make drinkable alcohol, but honey was readily available and cultivated in these areas as well. 

How did man discover the process for making alcohol? 

Well, more than likely it was accidental. Honey has a tendency to accumulate water derived from moisture in the air, and once water accumulates to dilute the honey at the surface of a container the natural yeast present in the honey starts the process of making mead naturally. More than likely, early man just realized that when honey was combined with water and was left to sit it would generate what we now know as an alcoholic beverage called mead. This was a very unpredictable cultivation at first because these cultures had no idea exactly how the process took place or what the catalyst was. Batches of honey were often simply diluted with water and left in the sun to see what happened even up until the 1800’s. Some mead was successfully brewed and other batches were more than likely spoiled by contamination from other microorganisms. 

The father of modern brewing – Louis Pasteur

It was not until the mid 1800’s that the process of making drinkable alcohol from sugar, a process known as fermentation, was truly understood through the research of Louis Pasteur. Pasteur is most recognizable to Americans as the scientist credited with the development of pasteurization used to sanitize milk as well as other contributions to the field of biology. However, the rest of the world widely recognizes Pasteur for his great contributions to the field of wine making. He was credited for discovering and documenting the scientific basis for fermentation used to this day in all forms of brewing. The process seems quite un-natural until you have an understanding of microbiology. Egyptian and Celtic cultures certainly had no knowledge of these concepts. More than likely a serious spiritual significance was probably placed on the brewing of mead. However, in today’s world we understand how the process works on a biological level.   

The Ingredients: 

Other than core ingredients such as honey and fruit juices there are relatively few additional ingredients. Some added ingredients are to help with fermentation and others are for flavor enhancement and balancing. Here is a basic list of the most widely used ingredients today: 

Campden Tablets kill bacteria, molds and wild yeast and are essential when making wine from fresh fruit or unpasturized honey. They’re not generally required if using sterile ingredients to being with and should be avoided in these cases as they will only unnecessarily slow down fermentation. The normal dose is usually 2 crushed tablets per gallon. Be sure to cover the mixture with a cloth or towel and let vent for at least 24 hours before adding cultured yeast to the batch. Otherwise, the tablets will slow down or kill the yeast that’s deliberately introduced to the batch to kick off fermentation. Campden tablets are also often added to wine just before bottling (and not given a chance to evaporate out) to sterilize the wine and prevent fermentation in the bottle. Campden tablets have a mild effect on flavor when used in the prescribed doses. 

Yeast, is the key to making wine, is a microorganism that naturally consumes sugar (along with other nutrients) and outputs waste and carbon dioxide along with other particles. Yeast occurs naturally in most fruit and in honey but this yeast often produces an undesirable or undrinkable wine and should be destroyed using campden tablets or boiling before starting fermentation. Several strains of yeast are available from local brewing shops. Some are used for beer, others for wine and others for Champaign. Each type produces a different type of flavor. Most mead is made with wine yeast or Champaign yeast if a slight carbonation effect is desired. 

Yeast Nutrient contains all the essentials for yeast to thrive. Adding nutrient is not absolutely necessary but without it some fermentations would become sluggish and take much longer to complete. Nutrient should be added in the amount of 1-2 tablespoons per gallon before the yeast are added to the wine. 

Yeast Energizer is essentially the same thing as Yeast Nutrient but is especially bended for fresh fruit wines. 

Acid Blend is a crystallized version of most of the acids naturally occurring in fruit (tartaric, maltic and citric acid). This is often added mainly as a flavoring agent to fruit wine that is naturally low in acid such as apple wine. Refer to your wine recipe for acid blend amounts. 

Tannin (grape or other) naturally occurs in some fruit such as grapes and is used primarily as a flavoring agent. Tannin increases the “astringent” quality of wine which gives it a fuller flavor or “zest”. Tannin also aids in clearing/fining the wine and in aging quality. Refer to the recipe for amounts to add.

Peptic Enzyme is added to fresh fruit wines and forces the fruit pulp to release more of the natural fruit juice and the natural fruit color. Refer to the recipe for amounts to add. 

Potassium Sorbate is an additive used just before sweetening wine when bottling. The additive coats any existing yeast cells so that they cannot reproduce even if there is sugar present in the wine. Note, this does not kill any yeast cells, it simply means that the fermentation will not get any more intense than it already is. If there are still enough living yeast cells in the wine when bottling you may still have problems after the wine is bottled even if potassium sorbate is used. 

Sodium metabisulfite is an extremely strong contact-sanitizer for wine making equipment that can be purchased at most home brew shops. Any equipment that comes into contact with the wine should be thoroughly rinsed in sodium metabisulfite.

Sparkloid is a brown powder substance that’s mixed with hot water and poured into a mead that has stopped fermenting in order to help clear the mead. The mixture must be thoroughly stirred and then allowed to settle for at least 24 hours. The clear mead may be siphoned off of the sediment that settles at the bottom. Fining agents must often be administered two or three times to achieve optimum mead clarity. . 

Bentonite is a fining agent used the same way as Sparkloid but can be much more effective in my personal experience and ranges in the same price. If given a choice I choose bentonite over Sparkloid anytime.   

The Equipment: 

Primary Fermentation Container: The best container to use for primary fermentation (discussed later) is a food grade bucket with lid or barrel. The key to selecting an appropriate primary fermentation container is the container having a large surface area exposed to the wine (no small openings) and having it at least a gallon larger than the batch you want to produce. If you want to brew a five gallon batch you probably want to select a six gallon container and leave a few inches of air space at the top for the foaming that may occur during fermentation. 

Secondary Fermentation Container (Carboy): A secondary container should have a very slender opening and should be able to be easily filled almost to the top. As little surface area of the wine as possible should be exposed to the air. You should also be able to attach an air lock and rubber bung to the secondary fermenter making it air tight except for the air lock. The most widely used secondary fermenter is a glass carboy or plastic ozarka bottle. 

Siphoning / Racking Equipment: At the very least you will need some type of rubber or vinyl hose to move wine from one container to another. Many home hobbists also use a “racking cane” which is essentially a J-shaped hard plastic or glass tube with or without a small cap to keep the cane above the sediment in the containers. When working with five gallon batches of wine at least 5 feet of hose is required. 

Hydrometer: A hydrometer measures the specific gravity (density) of the wine. This allows you to judge the sugar content of the wine. A minimum starting sugar content of wine is usually 1.74 to 1.90. When the hydrometer registers 0 all sugar in the wine has been converted to alcohol. Hydrometers are also effected by temperature variations in the wine. Refer to the documentation that comes with your hydrometer for exact specifications and conversion tables. 

Levered or Floor Corker: If you are planning on bottling and corking your wine it’s well worth the $20-30 for a levered or floor corker. Some models of corkers do not use levers and require you to apply a large amount of direct force to the cork to force it into the bottle. These types of corkers can be extremely difficult to use. If you are planning on corking your wine then you’ll want to invest in a relatively inexpensive corker that will allow you to quickly and easily seal bottles. Remember, a five gallon batch of wine can make as many as 25 standard sized (750ml) bottles of wine so you probably won’t be corking just one or two bottles at a time. If possible, try out the corker before buying it to make sure it’s comfortable for you to use. 

Other useful tools: A plethora of other tools can be very useful when making wine but are not necessarily “specialist equipment”. They are not absolutely essential but they can make the process MUCH easier. These include bottle brushes, rinsers, drainers, fillers, long handled stirring spoons, thermometers, funnels, hose clamps, pulp bags, etc.   

How Mead is Made – Fermentation & beyond 

Yeast does the work 

The whole feat is accomplished using a microorganism known as yeast. These microscopic life forms are classified as a higher order of fungus with the ability to consume sugar and expel drinkable alcohol and carbon dioxide as waste. If yeast is introduced to a liquid with a high sugar content and held at the optimum temperature (about 70-75 degrees F) it will quickly consume the majority of sugar in the mixture and replace it with its natural byproducts, alcohol and CO2.

The more sugar present in a mixture the more alcohol generally produced in the end product. As the percentage of alcohol in the mixture (known as “must” in the wine industry) raises the process of fermentation slowly halts. Alcohol is toxic to yeast in high volumes. Some residual sugars may remain in the mixture after fermentation is almost complete but if more is added the process of fermentation will continue to further raise the alcohol content to somewhere in the neighborhood of 24-25% (50 proof). At this point, the alcohol content of the mixture is usually too high and the yeast begin to stop fermentation and die. Quick step-by-step guide:

  1. If using a yeast culture (recommended especially for fresh fruit batches), buy a bottle of bottled apple juice and pour out about ½ of the juice. Mix in the dry yeast and cap with an air lock and rubber bung. Do this at least a week before you plan on starting the wine batch. Let sit in a cool dark place.
  2. Mix all ingredients in recipe except for yeast nutrient/energizer & yeast into the primary fermenter.
  3. If fresh fruit or un-pasteurized honey is used crush and mix 2 campden tablets per gallon into the wine, cover with a towel and wait at least 24 hours.
  4. Whisk wine (optional) and add yeast nutrient and dry or cultured yeast.
  5. Stir thoroughly daily for at least the first week. (remember to sterilize your spoon before stirring )
  6. When air lock bubbling slows to 1 every 2-3 minutes test with hydrometer. If SG is below 1.34 then rack switch to secondary fermenter.
  7. Freeze and thaw (see instructions below) if desired.
  8. Clear with Bentonite or Sparkloid 3-4 times
  9. Stabilize with Potassium Sorbate & Campden tablets
  10. Sweeten to taste
  11. Bottle in corked bottles, 2 liter or gallon containers.
  12. Age as desired (aging can also be done in larger secondary fermentation containers.
  13. Sample liberally

 

Other Sources:

  • http://www.squidoo.com/easybeermaking

  • http://simplehomebrewing.com

Efficient Use of Air Conditioning – The Proper Way to Do It

There are several ways of making the quality of your house and your lifestyle a lot better. One of the factors that improve it is the cooling system used in your home. Using the right air conditioning system will help increase air ventilation inside the house and a livable thermal condition. Provided with the current condition of the environment where global warming and heat waves happen come and go, air conditioners are necessary in every home, business establishment and other offices.

Majority of homeowners have the usual but false beliefs on picking the appropriate cooling system to install in their houses. There are essential qualifiers to be followed when you choose the right air conditioning unit that will suit the cooling needs of a particular area in your house. When you pick the ideal unit, it is essential to consider the size of the actual unit. It is definitely wrong to say that the bigger the unit, the cooler and more comfortable the area becomes. Apart from the size of the unit, the actual dimension of the place and aspects of the area where you want the unit to be placed must be considered. A bigger unit of air conditioner will not be appropriate for a small place. It will be very inefficient.

In addition to that, you also have to look at the specifications of the product as this will have to coincide with some features in your house. These include the number of windows you have, the insulation of the ceiling and walls which can definitely affect the circulation of air and temperature. You need to take a look at the parts of the house that will affect the amount of outdoor air that will get inside the house. The actual heat given off by the people staying in the house and the appliance used will affect the coolness given off by the air conditioner. All these factors must be considered in order for you to get the proper air conditioning system in your house. Everything mentioned above will greatly influence the durability, performance and energy consumption of the whole system.

There are two kinds of air conditioners depending on their function and where you need to use them. The typical air conditioners are the room type and central air type which you can select depending on your cooling needs. Usually, to get a good unit, you have to know its functions, the complexity of installing the unit and the practical aspect of the item. Secure that the unit does not need of heavy maintenance so that you will have lesser energy consumption. Nowadays, there are units that have energy saving features which will come out more efficient even if they cost more compared to the regular air conditioners.

To secure the efficiency of a certain air conditioner, you need to have enough resources and the most reliable installers. Improving the quality of your life will require you to invest on something similar to this.

Eliminating that Terrible Hum From Your Home Theater Speakers

You’ve all heard it, that dreaded 60Hz hum through the speakers of a home theater or house audio system. Hopefully you heard it at a friend’s house and not your own. It can drive you completely nuts. You may have even tried, unsuccessfully, to fix the little noise problem. That can make you even more crazy. What causes that horrendous noise through your speakers?

More often than not humming through your speakers is caused by a grounding problem. There are three main ground problems that cause problems in an audio / video system. These are ground loops, improper grounding and lack of a ground altogether. The other possible culprits that can cause noise are bad cables, a faulty piece of equipment or electrical noise from a lighting dimmer or electric motor. There are steps you can take to troubleshoot the noise and eliminate it from you theater.

The first step is find out where it is coming from. Disconnect your source and display equipment from your receiver or surround sound processor. If the noise stops, connect them back to the receiver or processor on at a time until the noise returns. When the hum comes back, you found where the noise is entering your system. Note that if you are connecting remote equipment, such as running the signal from your theater room DVD player to the TV in the bedroom, your chances to pick up noise increase dramatically. With such long runs, noise can be induced into the long cable runs from adjacent electrical wiring. It is also easy to create a ground loop, because the equipment is plugged into two different, widely separated outlets, on different electrical circuits.

If the noise is caused by a cable box, the noise is likely caused by the cable TV ground. To test this theory, disconnect the incoming cable TV feed to the rear of the cable box or TV while they are still connected to the rest of the system. If the noise is eliminated by disconnecting the TV cable, the problem is the cable TV ground. You can electrically decouple the cable TV feed from your system with a ground breaking transformer. These are available from many sources. Be advised that many newer, digital cable TV systems require any device in the signal chain to pass a full 1,000 Mhz. Some of the older ground break transformers will not do this. Be sure to check the specifications of whatever device you are purchasing to verify it will pass the digital cable TV signal.

If the noise is from your projector, TV, or monitor, it is most likely caused because the video display device is plugged into a different outlet than the other a/v equipment. It could be on a different circuit as well. These circuits may have two different ground potentials. That is, the resistance to ground is different on each circuit. A difference in resistance to ground from one ground point to another can cause the dreaded ground loop. If you get a ground loop, current flows between the two components. If the current flows through the components internal audio signal ground, you will get a hum.

You can use an isolation transformer, similar to the type used for cable TV ground problems, to eliminate the electrical connection from one component to the other. These transformers are inserted in line with the audio signal connection between the two components. If there is no audio connection between the components, the problem may be current flowing through the video portion. In this case, a video isolation transformer should be used to eliminate the ground loop.

Sometimes power conditioners will stop noise problems by placing equipment on different, electrically isolated outlets. This is done using isolation transformers. Sometimes this is ineffective however, due to the differences in internal construction of different power conditioning equipment. Some safety regulations, such as UL 1950, specify that an isolation transformer is only allowed to isolate the hot and neutral wires; the grounding wire must be passed straight through. If this is the case, the ground loop problem may still exist because many communication circuits are connected to the grounding conductor and not the neutral. In this case, the isolation transformer, or any power conditioner or UPS with an isolation transformer will have absolutely no affect on the grounding problem.

The noise may be generated externally, from a dimmer or refrigerator compressor for example, and coming in through the main power input on the audio video equipment. In this case, a high quality power conditioner may be effective in reducing or eliminating the noise problem. You may also find that one of the signal interconnecting cables in your system is faulty. This can also cause noise problems. Check for this by swapping the cables with one that you know to be good.

You can solve most noise problems in your home theater or multi room audio/video system by taking the systematic, step-by-step approach. Work your way up the signal chain, eliminating each piece of equipment as you go. If you have nothing connected to your speakers except the speaker wiring, and they still hum, the problem is noise induced into the speaker wiring from adjacent power cables. Other than that case, most problems are caused by ground problems, which you can find, and solve, if you take it one step at a time.

Church Candles Play an Important Role for Christians

Have you ever noticed the prominent role that candles play in church? There are many special services that use candles and they play an important part for the occasion. Candles at home can of course be nice, but in church they have a deeper meaning and important symbolism. Also, most church candles contain at least a certain percentage of beeswax.

As churches have used special candles throughout history, there are certain specifications as to what kind of candles are supposed to be used. Depending on the religion or denomination, certain candles used must contain a minimum percentage of beeswax. For example, at one time the Catholic church required that all of the candles in their church were made from one hundred percent beeswax. A couple of reasons for this is the symbolism behind the beeswax as well as the fact that beeswax candles produce no smoke which could ruin paintings and artwork that were present in the church. Paraffin candles, one of the other options at the time, emitted a black smoke that was known to damage items.Today, Roman Catholic churches still require that the candles present in church contain at least 51% of beeswax.

Beeswax candles are very symbolic. The pure beeswax represents the pure body of Jesus, while the wick is symbolic of his soul. The flame that burns from the two combined elements is a representation of Christ’s divinity which dominates and absorbs both.

Christmas season is a time where churches seem to incorporate candles even more. Many churches hold Christmas Eve or Christmas morning candle light services. During this service, every person present in the congregation usually gets their own small candle that is lit. When the lights are turned off in the building and you can see only the candles burning from the congregation it is quite a beautiful sight.

The advent wreath also contains candles and is used four weeks before Christmas. This is made up of a wreath, four taper candles (usually three purple and one pink), and a large white pillar candle in the center. One of the taper candles is lit each Sunday prior to Christmas. The fifth candle is lit on Christmas day. As each candle is lit, scriptures are usually read and then everyone gathered takes some time for prayer. Each candle has a different meaning including: The Candle of Prophecy, The Candle of the Way, The Candle of Joy, The Candle of Peace, and the Christ Candle / Christmas Candle.

If you are wondering where this coveted beeswax comes from, it is literally a bi-product of worker bees. Only worker bees have a “wax gland” that secretes wax from the bee in the form of flakes, which is then rubbed off of the bee by its legs and deposited on the honeycomb. Scientists estimate that bees need to consume about six to eight pounds of honey in order produce only one pound of beeswax. This is why beeswax can be very expensive.

One of the most well known manufacturers of different church candles and beeswax candles is Emkay Candle Company. This company is located in the United States and has made a good name for itself among churches. Their products include anything from individual congregation candles with drip protectors to altar candles made of beeswax. There are also other church candle companies that can be considered as well if you are looking for a manufacturer.

Next time you are at a church service and there are candles being used, remember the importance and symbolism of them and think of all of the hard work that was put into making them by the worker bees.

75 Ball Bingo Rules And How To Play Guide

How to Play 75-Ball Bingo

75-Ball Bingo is the most common way to play bingo, based on the traditional North American version of the game. Introduced on a national scale in the 1930’s by toy manufacturer Edwin Lowe, 75-Ball Bingo is easily one of the most popular games among all age groups in the United States and beyond.

It’s not hard to learn how to play 75-Ball Bingo. So long as you can read numbers, you can play. 75-Ball Bingo is a game of sheer luck, with no real skill involved.

How to Play 75-Ball Bingo: Numbers

75-Ball Bingo is played with balls number 1-75, generally drawn randomly from a machine that uses a puff of air to bring one ball to the surface at a time. Other 75-Ball Bingo games involve an electronic number drawing, where a software program uses an RNG (random number generator) to select each number at random.

The numbers are displayed on a screen, made clearly visible to all players.

How to Play 75-Ball Bingo: Cards

A 75-Ball Bingo card is made up of 25 squares in a 5×5 grid. The very center square is the Free Space, marked “FREE”. This square is instantly marked off to assist in the completion of whatever 75-Ball Bingo pattern you might be playing. (See “How to Play 75-Ball Bingo: Patterns” below)

There are 5 columns down, each labeled with a letter; B-I-N-G-O. Each column will contain 5 random numbers (or 4 numbers in the case of the N column, because of the Free Space) within a 15-number range. The first column, the B, can only contain numbers ranging from 1-15; the I column 16-30; the N column 31-45; the G column 46-60; the O column 61-75.

How to Play 75-Ball Bingo: Patterns

The biggest difference between 75-Ball Bingo and its European cousin, 90-Ball Bingo, is the presence of pattern bingo games. Because the 75-Ball Bingo card has a 5×5 grid of random numbers, there are hundreds of patterns that can be applied. These include numbers, letters and shapes, like the coffee mug, umbrella or airplane, as well as things like 4-corners and coverall bingo.

Coverall is often played as a jackpot bingo game with bigger prizes on the line. The players must cover every single square on their bingo card to win.

How to Play 75-Ball Bingo: Playing the Game

To play 75-Ball Bingo, make sure you are first aware of the bingo pattern being played (it should be displayed on or next to the screen where the numbers are shown). Each time a number is called, the player looks over his/her card(s) for that number. For example, if B-13 is called, players look in the B column for a 13.

Whenever a called numbers appears on the card, it is daubed with a foam-tip marker, called a dauber.

How to Play 75-Ball Bingo: Winning

To win a game of 75-Ball Bingo, all you have to do is complete the bingo pattern being played on a single bingo card. Once all numbers within that pattern have been daubed, shout “Bingo!” the first person to correctly daub the complete pattern and shout “Bingo!” win the game.

How to Play 75-Ball Bingo: Online Bingo

Playing 75-Ball Bingo online is much easier than the live version, though it doesn’t really get your heart racing in the same manner. This is because players are not required to really do anything. An Auto-Daub feature can be used to instantly mark off all bingo cards, and the software even calls “Bingo!” for the winner(s) automatically. You can turn off Auto-daub to have a more realistic live bingo experience.

Most players choose to keep the Auto-Daub feature on because it allows them to participate in the online bingo chat, or play side games like slots, video poker and other casino style games. This helps break the monotony of a standard 75-Ball Bingo game with a more entertaining distraction, especially for avid online bingo players.

Decorate With Sports Art

Decorating with sports art is an ideal way to show your enthusiasm for your home team or favorite player! Sports art can give your sports themed room a finished and sophisticated look. Your man cave can be decked out in no time with a few well placed autographed fine art prints or canvas giclees.

Theme rooms have always been popular in decorating and today they are an easy answer for those who struggle with how to decorate a room. At times a spouse may have different ideas for that rec room or man cave but once you both settle on a sports theme it becomes easy. Easier yet if you both are rooting for the same teams! You love team A and she loves team B? No Problem! Nothing wrong with some good natured competition. Perhaps a line down the middle or ‘end zone’ is in order? Each gets a side to decorate as they see fit? Family and friends will have to choose sides when you are entertaining in your newly decorated sports room or man cave!

A line down the middle with opposing team colors sounds to chaotic? That may be so, but decorating need not be difficult. Decorating with a sports themes make choosing colors easy! Simply pick your favorite teams colors and use them on the walls, pillows, covers for bar stools or drapes! Now if you have a spouse who is bold enough to root for that ‘other’ team maybe a neutral color will be in order and simple highlights of favorite team colors will be quite enough.

Autographed sports art can be a good investment as well as being great image of a beloved player. Even for a child’s room a fine art print or canvas giclee will last them a lifetime and be a possible investment for the future. An autographed fine art print is not a sports collectible that mom can inadvertently toss out either! We all have heard the stories of autographs that go for big money years down the road, no guarantees but there is that possibility. If you are purchasing for the investment sake, make sure your autograph is the real thing! Professional sports artists prints and canvas giclees should come with a certificate of authenticity and a photograph or video of the athlete signing the piece and be licensed by the NFL or MLB if football and baseball are your sports of choice. An autograph while a player is young or before he is traded can often be worth more in the secondary market in the years to come. Some players severely limit their autograph sessions or price themselves out of the market with outlandish signing fees when they become the next superstar.

A professionally framed fine art sports piece will give your room that final finished look. A fine art sports print can give the room an air of sophistication while keeping the sports theme both fun and elegant. If you have chosen to keep your room more neutral in color you can still bring in colors of the favorite team with matting choices when framing. A double mat can give you many options even for those who are a bit more timid with color. Using the second or inside mat can give a ‘reveal’ of the team color for a more subdued look. Though canvas prints are usually more expensive, canvas giclees that are gallery wrapped do not necessarily need to be framed and there can be a cost savings by not framing a canvas print.

It depends on the look you are after when deciding on a print or canvas giclee. Framed and matted art is more traditional but often a canvas giclee can look like an original painting without the price tag of an original. Have fun decorating your sports room or man cave! You have a lot of future seasons and memories with family and friends in that room! Make it special with fine art sports prints on your wall.

Home Staging – Allow the House to Sell Itself

Do you want to make more of the place where you live? Are you planning on selling your own home or perhaps helping others to sell their home? Have you considered ‘redesigning’ or ‘home staging’ your property? If you can believe what you read, ‘home staging’ or ‘redesigning’ a property will assist in the sale of the property more quickly and for more money.

Home Staging is not a new phenomenon, but has become a recognized and proven essential tool for marketing homes for sale. In other words, home staging services which will maximize the value of your property. There are many articles available that one should explore as a way of discovering new home staging strategies to help you prepare your home for a quick and profitable sale without spending more more money than is necessary.

Utilizing a little design psychology, you can profile the prospective buyers and make changes to the property to attract a specific market. Buyers can be quickly deterred by spaces that are empty and without life or rooms that are cluttered. By changing wall colors, making repairs, removing the clutter, re-arranging furniture, art and accessories, home staging could be the answer you need as it will transform your house into a home which will sell itself and which prospective buyers will be unable to resist.

Interior redesign is the instant transformation of a room by artfully rearranging the furniture, the artwork and possibly any personal accessories. The redesigning of a home is good for clients wanting to update their humble abode for their own enjoyment rather than for selling. If you plan to redesign your home, you will need to reinterpret the living spaces and your existing furnishings in your home in order to take advantage of what you already have in front of you. It requires a deep introspection into your individual needs.

Decorating is accomplished mainly from repositioning the existing furniture, revamping certain pieces, rearranging the decor, replacing or adding art and maybe incorporating other more personal accessories. Again there are many articles and good books available to inspire you and offer you advice on how to develop your home decorating ideas and if you feel the need, to restyle every room of your home.

The redesign phase of a home may include painting a few rooms and installing new carpeting. When you are ready to start with the redesign you may need to find goods or services to help you create your perfect interior. You may find that professional home decorating services typically charge less than interior designers, although some home staging professionals may also be trained interior designers.

There are many new businesses springing up for redesign and home staging. The job of professionals who specialize in home staging may be simply to assist sellers reorganize the existing furnishings. They may need to encourage them to pack those extra personal “things”, and add a few carefully selected props that suggest pleasant activities, happiness, peace and security in the home.

Sometimes all a place needs are suggestions from a professional third party. They see little things that the home owner cannot see. Nowadays there are accredited home staging specialist courses available and there are professionals who specialize in interior redesign and home staging in cities throughout the world.

Installation of Garage Tile Flooring

Few years back garages were not considered as place that need to look beautiful. People left them ignored during home remodeling and decoration. But now trends have been changed and people have realized that garage renovation is necessary to generate lively atmosphere. Garage tile flooring is very beneficial and easy idea to improve appearance of garage. Tiles are available in various colors and patterns. One major advantage of garage tile flooring is its easy installation. Even you can do it on your own. On the other hand covering garage floor with different coating materials such as Epoxy, Polyurethane, Acrylic Sealer / Stain and Latex are difficult to do it on your own rather you need professional contractor to get the job done. This will add up labor charges and contractor fee in project cost that may not suitable for every one's budget.

Important Guideline for Installation of Garage Tile Flooring

A good type of flooring not only gives stunning look to your garage rather it also allow you to clean it in easy way. If you spend lot of time in your garage due to your personal interests you will definitely want to make your garage beautiful, spacious and easily manageable. Suitable garage tile flooring will help you a lot in this regard.

One can hire a professional to get it done. But if you properly plan and organize the things you can do garage tile flooring on your own. Following are some important guidelines that will help you if you are interested in installation of garage tile flooring on your own.

• The first step is to decide that what style and color you like for your garage. Flooring tiles are available in number of different colors and textures. You can design your own pattern with different colors.

• At second stage you need to get familiar with basic tools and materials related to this project. For example you need a mallet, utility knife, tape measure, chalk line and pair of knee pads.

• Self confidence is also necessary to accomplish the project. You must be confident enough and think that installation is simple.

• Start working at the centre of your floor and move outwards. Continue installation in circular pattern.

• Mallet will help you to support proper fixing of tiles if they do not fix properly.

• While working your pattern and when you reach on the edge you must need smaller tiles. For this purpose utility knife will help you to cut the tiles according to required space.

• Floor coatings can be damaged with moisture. But tiles do not get affected by moisture. Tiles are installed on the top of existing floors they do not stick on the floor. Due to this no glue bubbling occurs.

• Tiles floor must be cleaned on regular basis with light chemicals. Avoid infrequent cleaning with strong chemicals. This will increase life of garage tile floors.

Conversations With A Brick

"It seemed rather incongruous that in a society of supersophisticated communication, we often suffer from a shortage of listeners." – Erma Bombeck

You have many conversations under a variety of circumstances. Some are pleasant and others are challenging, some are easy and others are frustrating. The latter are just like Kurt Vonnegut said, "People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order, so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say;" but what if there was at least one situation where you could be assured that the conversation would always be pleasant and easy, never challenging or frustrating?

Terrific news! A friend has discovered just such a situation. He has a brick on his desk that is the perfect conversationalist. Now, his brick is not merely a run-of-the-mill brick and you will need to go to considerable effort to find one like it for your desk.

It's a brick with bumps on it that is made specially for sidewalk curbs so blind people can "feel" when they are near the corner. As you can tell, this is a very special brick that was made to help.

Here's what my friend discovered. His special brick is even more helpful than its creators envisioned. He learned this after one of those challenging, frustrating conversations with an associate. Once the person left his office, he was reminded of something his father said about him when he was about twelve. His father said, "I swear, sometimes talking to you is like talking to a brick." He does not recall what the conversation was about but does remember that insightful observation.

Back to the brick. When he was at last alone in his office, he thought he would see if talking to a brick was as productive as the conversation he had just had with his associate. Anyway, here's what he learned.

Talking to a brick can be most satisfying. These are the top ten reasons why a conversation with a brick is at least as pleasant as talking with some folks. – You know who they are, do not you?

1. A brick does not get agitated and never yells.

2. A brick does not interrupt you.

3. A brick does not disagree or argue.

4. A brick does not think it's smarter than you are.

5. A brick does not roll its eyes and look at the ceiling.

6. A brick is trying to be helpful or at least to not screw things up.

7. A brick is not in a hurry and trying to rush you.

8. A brick does not care if you interrupt your conversation to take a phone call.

9. A brick is always there when you need to talk.

10. A brick is not trying to get you to do anything.

What do you think? Does talking to a brick beat conversations you have to have with a few of "those" people who happen to walk into your office? If so, all you need to do is find your own special brick, with bumps on it, and converse at your leisure.

Austin Apartment Locators

Austin apartments are available in a wide range depending on the area, the size of the apartment, the rent/price, and the facilities available with the apartment. Finding an ideal apartment is an onerous task and it is a great relief to have someone else do it for you. Some such services are provided by the apartment locating/finding service companies. These companies, also known as “locators”, match the requirements of the customer with the database of apartments that are available for rent or for sale and find an ideal match. Usually, these locators’ services are offered free of cost as the apartment communities pay the locators for advertising their apartments.

There are many reasons why people prefer to use a locator when searching for an apartment. Locators save a lot of time and money, as well as mental stress. They are also a perfect choice if the requirements are too specific: like having a pet, having special needs like a wheelchair, wanting special amenities, wanting to live in a specific area, or being new to the city.

Before choosing a locator for Austin apartments, there are some things to be taken into consideration. They are how long the locator has been in business, whether the locator use an online database, the number of apartment communities the locator works with, whether the locator provides other services like utility hook-up, discounts, referrals to moving services, how familiar the locator is with the area, and the speed of the service and the response.

Austin apartment locators should be contacted 30-60 days from the date of actual moving. Most apartment locators do a credit check so it is better to submit a clear credit history to the locator before the actual search, as this will help the locator to find an ideal apartment community. Also provide a list of names and addresses of references- both credit as well as personal. It is better to know exactly how much rent you can afford, as this will make it easier for the locator to find an apartment.