Church Design Tidbits: Balconies and Landscaping

In this article, we will be giving some design tidbits for two unrelated, but important, features of your church project: balcony seating and landscaping.

Balcony Seating

When properly designed, balcony seating has some benefits worth considering. Balconies can solve the problem of future expansion as the congregation grows and can enable a church with limited land to expand “up” rather than “out”. In fan-shaped sanctuaries a balcony can increase the seating by almost 50%. A future balcony should be master-planned from the start with the major structure completed during the sanctuary construction. A removable wall can temporarily hide this unfinished space.

Many people assume that a balcony is always an inexpensive and smart way to expand. However, the floor system, structural framing, riser framing, handrails and multiple stairways are an additional expense not incurred when seating on the main level. The primary problem with balcony seating, however, is often not related to construction costs. Many people complain of feeling like spectators when sitting in a balcony, and balconies often do not provide good visibility of, or easy access to, the altar area. Furthermore, it’s simply difficult to see someone’s face beyond about 65 feet. Since the sight-line is downward, balcony handrails and the person in the row ahead often block the view as well. Problems related to the seats under the balcony may include columns, low ceilings and poor sound or lighting.

Some elements of good design include stairs or stadium seating on the sides with easy access to the main floor, two steps per row for added visibility, high-back pews to alleviate the fear of falling forward, glass or narrow rails in the upper half of balcony walls, and large-screen video monitors or projection screens.


While landscaping can add immensely to the value, beauty and comfort of a church site, most architectural firms do not provide detailed landscaping design in their scope of services unless specifically requested by the owner. Many jurisdictions will require a rudimentary landscaping plan consisting of a site plan indicating the location, type and size of new and existing trees and shrubs, areas of sod and mulch, as well as an erosion control plan. It is now common for permit authorities to require landscaping islands in the parking areas based upon the amount of pavement. These islands are usually located at the ends of parking rows. Landscaping islands, however, can become an impediment to snow removal. In transition yards (a green area separating the church parking lot or buildings from adjoining residential or commercial property) a screen of trees and shrubs is also often required by permit authorities.

Deciduous trees on the south and west of the building will shade and cool the church in summer yet let warming sunlight through the bare branches in winter. The church should select hardy plant types that require little maintenance. Keep in mind that the little shrubs being planted may quickly grow too large for their placement near parking spaces, sidewalks, and buildings.

The church should consider the benefits of good landscaping design. A knowledgeable landscape architect can be hired to develop a master plan for landscaping that can be developed over time as funds become available.

Neck Pain – Lower Back Pain – Role Of Latissimus Dorsi (The Bridge)

Latissimus dorsi is the most powerful muscle of the back and pain and spasm in this muscle can cause significant lower back pain and aggravation of neck pain.

It is a very large, triangular muscle that extends from the arm pit to the lower back. It arises from the lower six thoracic vertebrae, lumbosacral fascia, the crest of the pelvic bone called the iliac bone and also from the lower three to four ribs. It inserts into the floor of the groove on the upper front of the arm bone (humerus) known as the bicipital groove and is very close to the shoulder joint.

Its action is to bring the arm closer to the body (adduction), rolling the arm inward as in placing the hand on the back of the body (internal rotation) and to bring the arm backward (extension). The nerve supply to this muscle is the thoracodorsal nerve which carries the spinal nerve root fibers of the C6, C7 and C8 nerve roots.

This very powerful muscle can lift the body of the ground as in crutch walking, climbing up a pole and chinning the body on the horizontal bar. In these activities, it works together with the pectoralis major and the abdominal muscles. It is used in swimming especially in the down stroke of a crawl and most swimmers have very over developed latissimus dorsi muscles giving them a V-shape with wide shoulders narrowing down to a small waist.

Rowing type activities is primarily the function of the latissimus dorsi muscle. In pitching of baseball, it contracts very strongly in the late cocking phase. Acceleration of the arm as in throwing type activities involve lengthening contraction of the latissimus dorsi muscle which makes this muscle prone to injury.

Overhead activities, especially that against resistance as in climbing are conditions that require lengthening contractions that injure this muscle. Pulling down and chin up activities require tremendous shortening contraction of the latissimus dorsi.

This muscle also raises the lower ribs and assists in respiration. Many patients with pain and spasm of the latissimus dorsi muscle will complain of pain on deep breathing and pain in the sides of the chest wall.

The latissimus dorsi muscle is the bridge between the lower back and the neck. Therefore, the neck and the entire middle and lower back have to be treated in order to treat this muscle properly. Without latissimus dorsi muscle functioning properly, lifting type activities will be performed by shoulder shrugging. Therefore, pain along the slope of the shoulders which is primarily from pain in the trapezius muscles cannot be treated by local treatment only to the trapezius muscle. Pain in the trapezius muscle area will thus recur unless the latissimus dorsi muscle is first treated.

Similarly, low back pain treatment must always involve treating the latissimus dorsi muscle. Because of their insertions into the thoracolumbar fascia, latissimus dorsi muscle can never be properly treated until the gluteus maximus muscle is included in the treatment.

Any symptom of pain and discomfort involving the back must therefore involve the “trio treatment” that involves the gluteus maximus, latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles.

Since the latissimus dorsi muscle is constantly exposed to lengthening contractions with activities of daily living, most people have chronic tightness and shortening of this muscle. This leads to significant limitation of range of motion of the shoulder for internal rotation and extension.

Therefore, further injury to the commonly injured C6 and C7 nerve roots will further tighten and shorten the latissimus dorsi muscle making it very difficult to treat.

© 2007 copyright

10 Things You Can Take Apart With a Tri Wing Screwdriver

Have you ever wondered what in the world you would need a screwdriver with a Y-shaped tip for? It seems that almost everything these days uses Phillips screws for its assembly. Believe it or not, there are many things that you wouldn’t be able to open with a Phillips screwdriver no matter how hard you tried.

This is a list of ten things that use tri tipped screws instead of Phillips. You probably have some of these in your very own home. Let’s check it out.

1. You need it to take apart the Nintendo Wii. This is probably the most common thing people buy this screwdriver for. This game console uses a mixture of tri wing screws and tiny Phillips screws.

2. You also need this screwdriver to take apart the Wii-U. It is pretty much the same screw set up as its predecessor.

3. Nintendo controllers use these screws too. This seems to be a repeating trend with Nintendo products, don’t you think?

4. Microsoft has joined the club with their Zune products. However, some of the Zune’s do not use these screws.

5. Here comes the Apple Macbook Pro! If you take a look at the screws on this laptop you will surely find that they have tri wing heads.

6. Nikon also uses these types of screws occasionally. For example, they have used it on a flash attachment for cameras called the SB 700 Flash.

7. Number 7 on our list comes from Nintendo yet again and is the Nintendo Gamecube. This was one of Nintendo’s earlier game consoles that was quite popular when it came out.

8. The handheld gaming system called the Nintendo DS also uses this type of screw for its assembly.

9. Samsung has made a tablet called the Galaxy Tab and they used screws with tri wing heads to put it all together.

10. The last item on our list that uses these not so common screws is the Nintendo Gameboy. It is not much of a surprise that this also comes from the Nintendo company.

Although you might not need one for taking apart a desk or putting in closet doors, you will most likely need a tri wing screwdriver for taking apart electronics. This is especially true if you need to get inside of any Nintendo products. Who knows, the tri wing screw might even rise in popularity in the near future.

Which is the Right Basketball Hoop for Your Home

A basketball hoop in the driveway, on the garage, or above a poured slab of concrete in the back yard is a must for hoops junkies. The new basketball goal is the perfect place to shoot some hoops with your kids, sharpen your own game, or get in a game of two on two with the gang from the neighborhood. However, before you go to put your basketball hoop up, there are things to consider. Where should you put it, how should it be attached, and what type do you want to get?

First and foremost, you will need to decide what kind of basketball hoop ou need. The three main types to consider are portable basketball goals, in-ground basketball goals, and wall mounted basketball goals. Only by considering the pros and cons of each kind will you be able to determine the best type of hoop for you and your home.

A portable basketball hoop is going to be best if you are someone who wants to be able to move your goal inside at the end of the day. It is also going to be your best bet if you don’t want to go to the trouble of installing an in-ground goal. It is also perfect if your family moves frequently or lives somewhere that will just not work for a regulation court. The base that holds the hoop system in place is generally filled with water or sand, but is still easily moveable because of a set of wheels on the front of the base.

The more traditional basketball hoop is the in-ground goal. This hoop is actually anchored in the ground. In-ground goals work best for people or families that have a space where such a goal can be installed. This is usually ground just next to a driveway or a concrete pad that has been poured expressly for the purpose of basketball. If you are thinking of buying an in-ground hoop, take into consideration that it is a fairly permanent fixture and probably not for you if you plan to move in the near future.

The in-ground hoops can really be divided into inexpensive and heavy duty. The inexpensive are the type you would buy for younger children. They are not as sturdy and do not last as long, but they are fantastic for giving children a place to shoot hoops at home. The second type, the heavy duty in-ground basketball hoop, is great for both children and adults. Generally they have break-away rims to accommodate dunking and to give a truer bounce. The heavy-duty cost more, but will last longer and will withstand heavy use much better than the inexpensive brands. The heavy duty goals are generally best for those that are more serious about basketball.

Wall mounted hoops are also popular. Wall mounted goals are ideal for those who are have only limited space, but want to put up a more permanent basketball hoop. The wall mounted hoops come with brackets so that they can be mounted on an already existing area. They can be put on garage roofs, against walls, or even off of the side of your home if you so desire. These permanent basketball hoops [] are commonly found above garage doors for great driveway play. The installation on them is a bit easier than in-ground, but offers you the challenge of having to get on top of your garage or a ladder.

No matter which system of mounting your basketball goal you use, just make sure it is the best one for you. Find the right one and you will be giving you and your family a chance to play a great sport right outside your front door.

Cleaning Tips For Smelly Houses

Stinky smells can arise from a variety of sources: pets, mildew, smoke, trash… The worst part is, even if you clean every day and your home is spotless, a random smell can make buyers and visitors think your home is unclean or worn out.

When staging a home, I try to think with all 5 senses, and smell tends to be the easiest for homeowners to miss. After a while, our noses become immune to certain smells, and the stink can take over. Having a clean smelling house goes a long way in first impressions with buyers.

However, the old adage of baking cookies or using potpourri is lacking. What about the unplanned visit? You don’t always have time to throw a dozen cookies in the oven. Or what about the buyers who are sensitive to smells? Potpourri can make the experience of being in your home a nightmare.

Rather than covering up smells, I always suggest cleaning them or neutralizing them. If you just cover up a smell, it will come back. If you clean it, you have a better chance of eliminating it, or at least lessening it so you can cover it up.

As the first in the three part series on eliminating smells from your home, we will discuss flooring surfaces because it is the first place to attack when trying to eliminate smells. Daily traffic brings in mud, pets use floors as bathrooms, and typical cleaning isn’t enough to get all the smell causing grime out.

I have used all of the products below and find them to be very effective. I tried to include both inexpensive solutions and name brand products. Although the brands tend to work a little better as they have more active ingredients, the cheaper solutions are remarkably effective and great for those on a budget. As a disclaimer: Please always do a test area before using any product on any surface.

Cleaning Hard Floors

Homeowners often overlook hard floors as sources of smells because they assume hard surfaces cannot absorb odor. However, all flooring surfaces are porous, and those tiny holes will soak in anything that lands on them, just like carpet. The three basic cleaning techniques for hard floors are:

1. Sweep with Baking Soda: Sweep all floors. Spread baking soda all over the floor. Let it sit overnight and then sweep in the morning again.

2. Mop with Vinegar and Water (Okay for hardwoods, tile, linoleum, etc): Whip up a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 30 ounces of warm water. Put in a recycled spray bottle, and then spray on a cotton rag or towel until lightly damp. Then mop your floors, scrubbing away any grime.

3. Mop with Bleach and Water (Tile and linoleum ONLY): An effective sanitizer is a weak bleach/water solution. Put on some gloves to protect your hands-you don’t want any bleach to come in contact with your body. Work in a well-ventilated area because the fumes should not be inhaled. Mix: ¼ teaspoon bleach with 4 cups cold water.

Best Hard Floor Odor Absorbers

-Baking Soda

-Arm and Hammer Pet Fresh Carpet Deodorizer ($5): Works great on hard floors, also!

-Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover, 1 Gal ($25): You can mop with this as a final clean to neutralize any remaining pet odors.

Vacuuming Carpets

Vacuuming is a chore no one likes to do, and as a result we often rush through it. When trying to get odors out, it is important to follow these steps:

Step One: Vacuum slowly and deliberately. Imagine you are driving a Zamboni at a hockey rink, taking deliberately slow steps. Pay particular attention to corners and where the wall meets the floor and doorways. You are trying to get as much hair, dirt, dander, and allergens up as possible. Don’t forget to vacuum under your furniture.

Step Two: Spread an odor absorbing powder on the carpet and let it sit overnight.

Step Three: In the morning, vacuum slowly and deliberately again. The powder will absorb any scents the vacuum missed.

Best Vacuuming Odor Absorbers

-Baking Soda

-Arm and Hammer Pet Fresh Carpet Deodorizer ($5)

Steam Cleaning Carpets

Before steam cleaning, always vacuum first. I like to take deep cleaning a step at a time, going from the most basic to the most involved because homeowners are busy enough as it is. Although steam cleaners can cost between $20 and $50 to rent, it may be a worthy investment to get rid of difficult odors, especially if stains are present. The directions vary, but typically you should expect it to work like a vacuum with three steps:

Step One: Use the steam cleaner to apply the solution to the carpet, making it wet but not soaking.

Step Two: Vacuum up the wet solution with the steam cleaner.

Step Three: Let it dry over night, making sure not to allow anyone or anything to walk on the carpet.

Best Steam Cleaning Solutions

-Vinegar Only Option: The vinegar only smells while wet, and as an added bonus, it doesn’t leave behind a residue. Use in a 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water ratio.

-OxiClean ($6) + Vinegar Option: Use one scoop of OxiClean Stain Remover ($6), one cup of Febreze Extra Strength ($5) OR one cup of vinegar, and the recommended hot water. The outcome is not only clean, but it also kills all odors.

-Bissell 2X Pet Stain and Odor Advanced Formula ($15): Works great for all stains, not just pets. If you do have pet stains, it helps remove the making scent and discourages pets from resoling the area.

In the second of the three part series on eliminating odors from homes, we will focus on soft surfaces, walls, kitchens and bathrooms – the trickiest parts of a home to clean. We’ve all been there: something smells irritably awful in our home. We walk around, using our nose like a bloodhound, trying to hunt down the source of the offending odor only to find it hiding in something we’re just not sure how to clean. Carpets and floors are easy – but things like sofas, curtains, and walls can be daunting.

Upholstery Cleaning Solutions

Mist upholstery with any of the following products to make upholstery smell fresher. You can also use the products on draperies. Products are listed from least expensive to most expensive.

-Vinegar: The vinegar only smells while wet, and as an added bonus, it doesn’t leave behind a residue. Use in a 1 vinegar to 10 water ratio.

-Febreze Linen and Sky ($6 each): I know their marketing comes on a little strong, but Febreze really does work! PLEASE be careful which Febreze scent you chose. I always suggest scents with “cotton” or “linen” in the title, as those are the lightest and least offensive to picky noses.

-Febreze Extra Strength ($5): Although it goes against my scent selection rule, I find this helps permanently remove tricky odors better than regular Febreze. The downside: the scent isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so it’s best to use it when you have a few days to let the smell fade.

-Nature’s Miracle ($11): One of my all time favorites for removing tough pet odors. You can use it just like Febreze, but it is specially formulated to work on pet odors. It even has a fresh, clean scent!

Wash Curtains, Drapes, and Bed Linens

Curtains, drapes, and bed linens like bedspreads are items homeowners rarely clean. They tend to hang out in the background, and we forget how many odors they are capable of absorbing. I like to clean my fabrics once yearly to remove all the dust and grime, but if you are noticing a persistent odor and you aren’t sure where it is coming from, curtains, drapes, and bed linens are often the culprit. Sometimes you have to dry clean them, but often you can place them in the laundry with your regular detergent, following the care instructions on the tags.

Wash the Walls

Cleaning walls not only works, but it’s a lot cheaper than repainting! If you don’t have time to wash all of your walls, you can use this process to spot clean particularly dirty area. Remember: Only wash walls that are wall-papered or painted in satin, semi-gloss or glass finishes (NEVER flat paint, and only sometimes eggshell). For cleaning textured walls, use nylon socks instead of a sponge or cloth to avoid leaving material chunks behind. And because walls are more sensitive to liquid, ALWAYS test a small area first.

Step One: Move all furniture, pictures, etc… away from the walls.

Step Two: Find a starting corner, and work your way around the room, top to bottom using a mop or damp cloth.

Step Three: Wipe with clean water.

Step Four: Dry cleaned walls with a towel.

Wall Cleaning Formulas

-Ammonia Formula: Use clear ammonia, which is generally sold in janitorial supply stores. Because of its strong odor, only use it in well-ventilated areas. Mix 1 to 2 cups of ammonia per gallon of water. Using cool water is best as it creates fewer fumes.

-Ammonia, Vinegar, and Baking Soda Formula: If you are worried about pets soiling the walls (ammonia is the main ingredient in urine), this formula works best. Mix ½ cup ammonia, ¼ cup white vinegar, and ¼ cup baking soda to 1 gallon warm water.

-Woolite for All Delicates ($6): This is the simplest to make and the gentlest cleaner. Use a capful of Woolite in a bucket of water.

-Mr. Clean Extra Power Magic Eraser ($10 for 8): Use a Mr. Clean Magic Sponge on any tough spots or to spot clean. This will keep your walls looking great, and eliminate painting as often.

Bathroom and Kitchen Cleaning

There are a million bathroom cleaning products on the market, but I’ve found a few that work better than others at getting bathrooms and kitchens clean AND smelling great. Also note, the bathroom and kitchen are the only room in the house where I would use citrus scented products for a freshly cleaned smell.

Lysol Basin, Tub, and Tile Cleaner with Citrus Scent ($5): I use this on all my surfaces as it is effective, gentle, and removes germs.

-Formula 409 Natural Stone Cleaner ($5): If you have granite, marble, or travertine surfaces in your kitchen or bath, this product is both cost effective and cleaning effective.

-Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner, Lemon Scent ($8 each): I have a glass enclosed shower, and nothing removes the water spots and stains like Scrubbing Bubbles, a sponge, and a squeegee. It’s the only thing that works for me, and there is no elbow grease involved. The scent is always fresh and clean.

-Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner ($3 each): Keep one under every bathroom sink in your house for easy access and cleaning! It removes all the stains, and in my experience, it helps PREVENT odors from forming.

-Windex Glass Cleaner ($5): No bathroom is clean without a sparkling mirror, and Windex is a great old standby. Generics work just as well, but can leave more streaks if you aren’t careful. You can use this on polished nickel surfaces, also.

In the final part of our cleaning series, we will discuss how to maintain a freshly-cleaned scent now that you have fully cleaned your home. Long term odor control solutions deal with absorbing offending odors before they have a chance to penetrate the floors, walls, fabrics, and other surfaces of your home. Air freshening solutions are great for quick pick-me-ups. Used in conjunction, these solutions will help keep your home smelling as fresh as it was when you first cleaned it.

Odor Controlling Solutions

-FRIDGE IT Carbon Odor Absorbers ($3.95 each): These don’t have a scent themselves, but they help to eliminate odor by absorbing it the same way baking soda works in a refrigerator. You can hide them in decorative vases, baskets, or bowls in extra-stinky areas of your home like the kitchen, bathroom, mud room, pet area, or kids’ playroom.

-Holmes® True HEPA Allergen Remover ($100): Most air purifiers don’t work, and some are even bad for you. The ionizers create ozone, which actually harms your lungs. The Holmes line with carbon Arm & Hammer®-enhanced filters work amazingly well. There are 4 speeds to allow for a quiet run, and they even control the odor from my cats’ litter box!

Air Freshening Solutions

Try to keep the air in your home as fresh as possible. If you use air fresheners, I suggest scents with “linen” or “cotton” in the title as they tend to be lighter and less offensive to people with sensitive noses.

-Fresh Air: Keep windows open as much as possible, letting in fresh air.

-Febreze NOTICEables Alternating Scent Oil Warmer, Clothesline Breeze & Meadow Songs ($9 each): I prefer the Febreze NOTICEable line because the scents are light and they last longer than most plug-in style fresheners.

-Febreze Air Effects ($9.99 for 3 pack): Great for quick touch-ups, but not for consistent use.

-Glade Sense and Spray Clean Linen Scent ($9.99 each): I love this product as it works like typical scent sprayers, but it’s automatic and doesn’t use more than necessary. DO NOT put it where it will spray on people, and always put it away before a showing.

Using Granite Remnants Outside of the Bath and Kitchen

Granite isn’t just for countertops anymore. With the recent popularity of granite and granite remnants, more people are utilizing this beautiful, durable stone in other places, not just the kitchen and bath. With granite’s rigid composition and quartz flecks, remnants can add depth and dimension to any home design. So put on your thinking caps. It’s time to get creative with granite remnants.

First, What is a Granite Remnant?

A granite remnant is just as it sounds: leftover pieces of stone cut down from a larger granite slab. These leftovers are odd shaped and most times cannot be used for large countertop projects that require a seamless piece of granite. Instead, these leftovers are pushed to the side and are virtually forgotten about, but creative designers see potential in the repurposing of these remnants.

Repurposing Remnants

Since granite is a natural stone, you can’t just throw it away. It does not decay down like organic materials, and often choke landfills with its presence. Repurposing granite remnants allows for the recycling of these pieces and can give you a unique design element.

Remnants can be used for smaller projects, like smaller side tabletops, or even be used for a patchwork pattern on a larger tabletop. There are no rules to using remnants. You can mix and match colors and texture to create original designs for tabletops or bar countertops.

In the bath, you can create a mosaic effect on an accent wall by patterning thinner portions of granite remnants to give the room a warm, rustic feel. Choose a focal wall to place your remnant patchwork on. You can even find ceramic or glass tiles to offset the look and create more drama in your design. This is a look you can take anywhere in your home as well. Why not create a unique patchwork pattern around your fireplace, to create an inviting space for those colder nights of winter?

Remnants can be also be used outside. You can patchwork patio settings to give your backyard a rich, dynamic look. Add more durable elements, like glass tiles or blocks, to break up the pattern and create a wholly unique to your patio. You can also create a focal wall on the exterior with different granite pieces to give your home a rustic, natural look.

Be Creative, It’s Only Granite!

With remnants, you can play around with the design elements without the stress of ruining a large piece. Like puzzle pieces, you can piece together a look through multiple styles, colors and textures of granite, or you can use one piece to create a small desktop or tabletop. Granite’s strength and versatility allows homeowners and designer to think outside the box and add granite where it once was thought impossible. Don’t be sold on the thought that granite is only for countertops. Remnants give you a range of possibilities that granite slabs cannot. With design, there are no rules. Be creative; it’s only granite remnants.

5 Examples of The Subliminal Evocation in an Edward Hopper Painting

This article is a treatment of five Edward Hopper paintings, the famous American realist of whom the art critic Clement Greenberg has said: “Hopper is just a bad painter. But if he had been a better painter, he probably would not have been such a great artist“.

Chop Suey

The window-panes in this Edward Hopper painting seem to resemble the interfaces that emphasize the interior of the restaurant. Geometrical color fields define the window in the background. The window on the right side only allows a limited view. Visible is a facade, a fire escape, a patch of sky and the neon sign of the Chop Suey restaurant. Due to their art nouveau style-like head-gear and their heavily made up faces, the women seem to have a doll-like and rigid impression. This concerns the posture of the woman in the foreground, facing the beholder, but is especially visible on the woman in the background, who has even a more rigid impression. We see her face in profile, like she is a figurehead. The man who is sitting at her table seems self-absorbed, his facial expressions disappear in the shadow.

The heavy made-up faces of the women also suggest temptation. The billboard of the Chop Suey-restaurant reminiscents an entertainment district, the powerful red of the board corresponds with the accentuated mouths of the women and the half-covered letters of the word ‘suey’ are easily associated with the word ‘sex’. The symbols for temptation, desolation and rigidity are directly linked; and just like almost any another Edward Hopper painting, this canvas requires a double vision.

Western Motel

In this Edward Hopper painting entitled Western Motel, the unusually large windows in the composition extend a typical Western scenery. The woman sitting on the bed is not watching the landscape, but in the direction of the viewer. In the whole of the composition she resembles a portrait for a background which seems to be fossilized into a painting. But strangely enough this motel scene connects elements of rigidness and movement. It is true that its signs, the car and street, due to the motionless posture of the woman who is the centre of the painting, have lost their dynamics at first sight. But as a reaction to this, the falling light into the room brings the warm colors as much to life as the landscape, in front of the window, fossilizes them.

While the interior suggests movement, the view on the American landscape changes into a view on a scenery. It recalls a lost domain, a vision on America in days gone by and to the memory of a direct encounter of nature and civilisation. It is the far-reaching experience of the technical civilisation in the New World.

Compartment C

An Edward Hopper painting, that reverts to his earlier designs and at the same time evokes a new effect and a certain surprise on the beholder. On the one side, through the window of the coupé a landscape is visible with the river, the bridge and the dark wood on the horizon showing a boundary of the civilisation within the natural landscape. On the other side, the painting gets his special dynamic through the oblique perspective.

Compartment C also remains ambiguous because of its theme of enclosure, that takes place in relative peace. The play of colors doesn’t intersect the relations between inside and outside completely, but creates contexts; the engrossed reading of the woman is determined by peaceful relaxation and concentration.

New York Movie

The New York Movie-painting has a parallel with the previous Edward Hopper painting Compartment C. Instead of the view through the window in Compartment C the focus here is on a movie screen: together with the audience in the room the admirer of the painting looks at a Alpine landscape. This sight determines only a part of the painting; it is almost lost in the monumentality of the interior which is divided in stage, gradually ceiling layered formations and lamps, columns, curtains, corridor and stairs.

The usherette has the same deepened impression of the train traveler in Compartment C. But apparently this woman is neither interested in the view nor the illusion of the cinema.


This late and most famous Edward Hopper painting is his only painting that depicts convex glass and makes the glass visible: the space of the bar surrounds the people like a hermetically sealed container. Besides we see a separation of both the urban environment as nature. The night in town is only illuminated by the light in the bar. Because the light enters obliquely, the composition obtains a suggestive dynamic, in which the light becomes the centre of the painting.

Although Hopper points out that he unconsciously had painted “the loneliness of the big city”, at the same time he emphasized the simplicity of the painting, in which he only tried to depict “a restaurant at Greenwich Avenue”, where two streets come together. The canvas is characterized by a psychological tension. To the desolation in the cities and the loneliness of the third bar visitor, the gathering of the couple is added, and on that, the psychological effect is based. Although this Edward Hopper painting emphasizes, by contrasting the bar and the shop in the background, the social environment, it is above all things a projection plane for various fantasies.

Home Decorating Ideas to Soften a Black and White Scheme

A black and white interior decor scheme can appear severe and sterile or warm and inviting – it truly depends on how you use your own fresh home decorating ideas to soften a harsh monochromatic palette. Neutral design needs not be boring, it can be just as exciting as any other color scheme and twice as sophisticated!

Plenty of Prints

Standard black and white rooms without any patterns or decorations often end up looking like a showroom floor. Unless you want to feel like you’re living in an IKEA advertisement, consider getting a little funky with bold prints. Many designers choose to go with striking patterned wallpaper to tie every element together, but sometimes that’s just not achievable. Instead, try throwing down a large area rug that features organic shapes, like zebra stripes or floral prints.

Apply these home decorating ideas for patterns judiciously, though. Too much chaos can make the room look even more uninviting than an empty one. Instead of choosing bold upholstery for all pieces of furniture, try to limit your use of patterns to one chair or table – or use throw pillows or blankets with fun prints on simple furnishings. A large wall print can serve the same purpose while reducing the shock of a pure white or black wall.

Tone it Down or Pump it Up

A dash of colorful home decorating ideas can make all of the difference in a room filled with stark white and rich black. Neutrals beige and tan can work wonders when softening a monochromatic scheme. Grey is a popular and versatile choice – dark shades increase visual stability, while light grey seems to be open and carefree.

Limit yourself to just one or two accent colors. Too many hues cause the eyes to jump around the room leaving an impression of disorganization. Stick with the same tones – if you choose pastel, stick with pastel; if you decide on bright and vivid, make sure that you do not introduce a tone that is dull or faded!

Textures and Shapes

You can easily soften your black and white room by adding, you guessed it, soft textures. Light, billowy window curtains can make a world of difference – but not as much as a huge fluffy area rug. Get playful when you layer textures, there are no wrong answers! Introduce organic shapes wherever possible – sculptures, pieces of driftwood, a chandelier. If you have a garden or access to a nearby park, make sure to always have a vase of fresh flowers on hand for an instant room makeover. Wild flowers are the cheapest home decorating ideas to work with.

Your black and white room does not have to look like a laboratory! Monochromatic schemes can be just as interesting and playful as any other design – it just takes a little experimentation. One thing is for certain: your boring room will not brighten itself up! Use these home decorating ideas and make up some of your own to turn your black and white room into an oasis of personal expression.

Steinway Piano Bench Buyers Guide and Helpful Tips

The most popular, elegant and well known pianos in the world are made by Steinway & Sons, who have a tradition of making their top-of-the-line instruments for over 150 years. Steinway however, is solely a piano bench manufacturer, and do not make their own piano benches to go along with their pianos. They in fact contract out to Jansen & Son exclusively to make benches for their products. Thus, if you are looking for a Steinway piano bench, you are in fact looking for a Jansen piano bench.

A brief history about Jansen: they are an American piano bench manufacturer in Wisconsin, who have been in business for over 50 years. They are known across the globe for making the highest quality benches available, using superior maple hardwood (from the East Coast of the United States or Canada), and thick, furniture quality vinyl. Jansen is best known for their artist benches, which features their heavy-duty, silent “micro-adjustable” raising mechanism (which is the best adjustable mechanism on the market).

Taking this into account, if you are looking for a piano bench to go with your Steinway piano, the two most common options are either a wood top bench, or the above mentioned artist bench (the other option would be an upholstered top bench, which while more comfortable, does not highlight the elegance of the Steinway piano as much as a finished wood top bench does, and thus is less popular).

Of the two choices, the most popular is the Jansen artist bench, for both its design and usability. If you’ve seen a Steinway piano in a concert hall, the adjustable artist bench with it is a Jansen (and its quality is such that it is perfect for performance halls, teaching studios, and home use).

A Jansen artist bench is the Cadillac of benches, and it is reflected in the price. Compared to other benches however, even those made by other American manufacturers, it is definitely worth the price, and like everything else is life, you get what you pay for. Take into account, that their benches are meant to last for many years, if not decades (they do use a thick, heavy duty polyester foam which will not break down), and that you are placing the piano bench next to a multi-thousand dollar instrument. When the piano is the focal point of your room, you do not want to put something cheap next to it, and putting a cheap bench next to a Steinway piano, it will definitely stick out.

All of this being said, given these economic times, buying a Jansen artist bench can still be a significant financial commitment for a lot of people. And while Jansen piano benches are sold online, for those who have never seen one of their benches in person, it’s not uncommon for a person to want to examine one up-close before buying something over the internet. The best way of doing this would be contact your local Steinway dealer, and ask if they have any Jansen artist benches in their storeroom next to their pianos. That way, you can do to your dealer, sit on the bench yourself, and see the actual quality of the bench.

A Few Simple Ways to Make 50 Dollars in 24 Hours

So you are strapped for cash and need to make some money right away. Well there are a few simple ways to make money in 24 hours or less. Some of these ideas are seasonal and some take quite a bit of work. Decide which ones are right for you and start earning the money that you need.

Simple Way to Make Money: eBay

Everyone knows what eBay is. Just set up a seller’s account and start selling your household stuff on Ebay. Do a completed auction search to get an idea what your items would go for. Write an informative listing making sure you include the condition of your item, the size, the color and anything else that might seem pertinent.

You must list your item with a picture. People won’t buy site unseen so the clearer the picture the better. I tend to photograph my items outside because natural light is always better. If you have a hot item that you think would sell, list it with a buy it now option. I have done this and made as much as $250 in one half hour!

Simple Way to Make Money: Resume Writing

Pick up a good resume software program and put up flyers at the unemployment agencies, local colleges, libraries and other public places, advertising your resume writing service. Charge $25 for a simple student resume and $75 dollars for a more advanced professional resume or CV. The software program walks you through the process and tells where to plug in the information.

Be sure to have a list of questions to ask your customer when he calls you. You need to know full name, address, contact information and work experience. Print the resume out on good paper stock, preferably an off white to make if look more professional.

Simple Way to Make Money: Freelance Writing

If you can write, bid on some writing projects on sites such as Elance or RentACoder. You get paid through PayPal once the writing project is complete.

Get on some active internet marketing forums and offer to do research or writing for the members. Get the payment upfront and give them an idea of delivery time.

Simple Way to Make Money: Physical Labor

If you are into physical labor and it is summer time, you could always mow lawns. A lot of elderly people can’t mow their own lawns anymore so you would be offering a much needed service to help them out.

In the winter, you could go house to house and offer to shovel snow. Charge $10 bucks to clear a sidewalk or walkway.

In the fall, you can offer to clean gutters and flowerbeds to get them ready for winter.

Simple Way to Make Money: Wrap Up

These are just a few ideas of how to raise $50 in 24 hours. Another good idea spinner is to think of things that nobody wants to do and do it for them; for money of course. For example, most people hate to clean their garage so offer a garage cleaning service.

With a little work and ingenuity you can make that $50 in 24 hours or less!

Power Recliners – What is a Power Recliner Lift Chair?

Power recliners are just another name for lift chair recliners. They are designed for those needing assistance getting in and out of the seated position. Power recliners are made to look like a typical mechanical recliner but use electric motors to recline the chair back and lift a person up to a standing position. All this is done with the click of a button. Regardless of the word or term used to define this medical device, the fact is they are perfect for people with back, knee, hip and/or joint problems; someone who just had surgery; or for people that just do not have the strength to work a manual recliner. This article focuses on explaining the difference between the three available power recliner positions, so that readers are better educated in the purchasing process.

Depending on a user’s needs, power recliners come in many variations. The first type is the two position chair. Depending on the manufacture, most two position recliners are the lower costing entry point into the market. Costing less than three position and infinite position recliners, the goal is to provide the necessary requirements to lift a person in and out of a chair at the lowest price possible. They typically recline to a 45 degree position suitable for watching TV. Sleeping in a two position power recliner may be difficult for a person if they require a more flat sleeping surface.

If a person needs more flexibility with their power recliner, one can opt for a three position lift chair. These lift chair recliners have all the options and features of a two position recliner but lay further back and more suitable for occasional naps than the two position recliner. Like the two position recliner, the back and legs move into position at the same time. Meaning there is one motor that moves the legs up and reclines the chair back at the same time. Either way, both a two position and three position power recliner will safely provide support for getting in and out of a chair.

If three position power recliners lack flexibility, one can step up to the more versatile and expensive infinite position recliner. Gaining more bells and whistles, the primary difference is the number of motors. Two and three position lift chairs have one motor to do everything limiting flexibility and precise position selecting. An infinite position recliner has two motors, one to raise the foot section and another to recline and lift the recliner. An example why one would want an infinite position recliner over others types of lift chairs would be someone needing to operate the feet section independently of the back. This allows one to raise the feet leaving the chair seated in the upright position more suitable for eating and reading.

Understanding the difference between these three power recliner position types and at the same time knowing the users requirements, one will have a better experience purchasing the best power lift chair and enjoy it for many years to come. To learn more about the technical details and position descriptions of a power recliner, and how to choose the chair that is right for you, please read more at power recliner positions.

Military Trains Its Leaders to Lead by Example – Are You Leading by Example?

There are many ways to lead and as many variations and proportional combinations of those ways as there are leaders themselves. Perhaps of all the ways to lead people and maybe the strongest way for a leader to lead is to “Lead by Example!”

In fact, this tried and true method is one that the military uses and why do you suppose that is? Because it works, and because a leader that leads by example is respected by his or her subordinates.


Let’s face it, if you are going to ask someone to do something that is indeed, not so pleasant, whether it is running into the heat of battle with swords drawn or shoveling manure, well, chances are those who would follow are much more likely to do it, if the leader gets in and gets dirty too.


Think about the times when you have had a teacher, coach, manager, or leader and how you were willing to do your job, because you knew that the leader in charge was right there with you in spirit, in person or had gone through the same circumstances the prior.


When an employee sees the CEO taking out the trash at night, recycling his trash or talking with the doorman, elevator operator, valet, mailroom attendant or security guards, it makes a world of difference to the other employees. It raises the level of camaraderie of the team, gets people talking, and brings the company together.


When a military chief is seen eyeing something to perfection, he projects a sense of urgency for quality, safety, discipline. Those ribbons, medals and rank markings he wears are to remind the soldiers, seamen, airmen and marines under him that he was once where they were and he knows a thing or two. He knows how to do things, has done them himself and demands excellence. So, please think on this.

Is That Really Antique Bone China You Are Drinking From? Antique Marks and What They Mean

Do you have rare antique bone china hiding and collecting dust at the back of your cupboards?

Everyone has plates and dishes they have owned forever and only used on occasions like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving – never knowing where they come from – or what they are worth.

Whether it’s tucked away in the attic or at the back of a display cabinet because that’s where your mother always kept it – are you interested in knowing if your plate is worth more than sentimental family value?

Show Me Your Bottom

The decorative side of the plate may be delicately hand painted, heavily detailed in gold and even dated but the very first thing to do is flip your plate over so you can see the bottom.

It was and still is customary for famous makers to stamp their unique symbol or mark on the bottom of their pieces. This symbol presents a date range of when the piece as manufactured and even the factory and location.

What you are interested in is finding a mark. Not grime or a manufacturing fault – no, the mark you are looking for is a stamp, a short hand signature that offers clues as to the maker of the piece.

If you simply see a number often called a ‘registration number’ – this has the same information and easily found in a collector’s reference guide.

It’s vital to date the piece. This depends on the registration mark.

Here is a short list of clues to help you.

  • Antique bone china dating from 1842 to 1883 has a diamond shaped mark with the letters ‘R’ and ‘D’ next to it.
  • Other letters positioned at each corner tell you the day, month, and year of manufacture. Printed marks appear on china made after 1800.
  • Royal arms and the pattern name can appear on British-made pieces after 1810.
  • “Bone China” was not used until after 1844.
  • “Royal” was introduced after 1850.
  • “Limited” or “Ltd.” Came into use after 1861.
  • “Trademark” appeared on items manufactured after 1862.

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words

The pattern used on your piece can tell you a lot about it. Countless books in your local library and even on line will list patterns used by famous producers like Belleek, Bow, Wedgwood, Beswick, Bow, Carlton, Chelsea, Sylvac, Claris Cliff, Denby, Derby, Doulton, Spode and Worcester and when they were first used.

If you discover that you have been using antique bone china every day, throwing it about like a cast off, don’t despair.

There is quite a market for used antique bone china and vintage dinnerware

Spode, Wedgewood, Doulton and Worcester are well known, never go out of style and only go up in value. These companies created pieces that today are considered some of the best classic antique bone china that we know so well.

But what about other pieces such as Fiestaware, bright terracotta pottery all the rage around the 1930’s, is hunted down by highly devoted collectors, often used on a daily basis by families and not necessarily on special occasions.

Salemware is very popular with mid-century modern enthusiasts owing to the “atomic age” graphics and original sculptural elements found from the modest salt and pepper shaker to more grand pieces.

These may not fall into the antique bone china category yet but they will before too long.

Go into your kitchen, display cabinet and even your shed or garage because your most inconspicuous objects may be worth untold dollars in today’s competitive collectibles market.

A quick trip to the library or online will keep you well informed, and help you learn about those hidden treasures you’ve been living with all these years.

If you love collecting, buying or selling antiques then you need to build you knowledge about antique bone china because the more you learn – the more you will know exactly what you like and why you enjoy them so much.

There are so many different styles, periods and fashions you can collect. To learn more please visit for more information on the wonderful antique world.

Gas Flame

The flame from the gasoline burner represents the ultimate challenge: to mix gas and oxygen in just the right amounts to create combustion, giving us controlled heat with minimum light. The simplest, most effective example of this may be the old-fashioned Bunsen burner. This type of burner premixes air and gas prior to reaching the flame, resulting in a highly efficient flame that burns intensely, but with a clean, smokeless flame. The shape and size of the burner are the two factors that place the flame exactly where direct heat is needed most.

In a toaster or broiler, for instance, the gasoline flame is directed at a molded ceramic or metal screen, which is heated to a deep red color and emits infrared heat rays that penetrate the food being cooked. The latest innovation within the industry, may be the high-input gasoline burner, which burns twice the amount of gasoline (for greater intensity of heat) as a conventional burner of the same size. Amazingly, the natural-gas-air combination can produce a stove temperature of up to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit.

One of the functions of the gas-fired appliance is to limit and distribute the available heat, to reach the accurate temperature to cook foods correctly. You’ll discover a gas burner sometimes lets out a whoosh or roaring sound as it lights. This is known as flashback, and it occurs because the burning speed is faster than the gas flow. This type of flashback occurs a lot more often with fast-burning gases such as propane.

An additional type of flashback happens when the burner is turned off, creating a popping sound that is known as the extinction pop. Occasionally it’s so pronounced that it blows out the pilot light flame. You generally can correct both kinds of flashback by reducing primary air input to the burner. If you’re unsure about how to do it yourself, remember that burner adjustment is a free service of numerous gasoline companies. Flashback isn’t hazardous, but it is annoying.

It creates soot and carbon monoxide and often means you have to relight your pilot. Inside the burner, repeated flashback occurrences might cause it to warp or crack. It makes a lot more sense to obtain the burner adjusted than to live with flashback. A number of other conditions might need professional attention and adjustment. You may notice that the flames seem to lift and then drop on some parts of the burner head at irregular intervals, as if some unseen hand were playing with the control knob.

This burner may seem a bit noisier than the others, making a roaring sound whenever the flames improve. Flame lift, as this really is sometimes known, is not a stable, normal burner situation and should be corrected instantly. Incomplete combustion might also cause floating flames which are lazy looking and are not shaped as well-defined cones. This is a dangerous situation, and you’ll usually notice it in the first minute or two that a burner has been turned on, prior to it achieves the correct airflow.

If the flames do not assume their typical, conical shapes quickly, have the burner checked. Finally, the most serious condition is flame rollout. When the burner is turned on, flames shoot out from the combustion chamber opening instead of the top from the burner. Flame rollout is really a serious fire hazard and must be repaired immediately. The burner might not be correctly positioned or something might have obstructed its inner workings. Either way, call the service person-fast.

Suadero Taco Recipe


Tacos were around even before the Europeans arrived in Mexican. Early inhabitants of the Valley of Mexico are known to have stuffed Tacos with small, easily caught fish, and mix them with a variety of spices. Legend has it that the Spanish conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo shared the taco recipe with his soldiers when he arrived in Mexico, and they loved it.


Tacos are famous the world over, though they originally come from Mexico. Though most people refer to Tacos as the hard shells, this is just one type – they can also refer to those made with soft flour tortillas. The beauty of tacos is that you can really add anything you like, meat or vegetables – though of course there some traditional recipes that are popular in Mexico – like “Tacos de Cabeza” which is stuffed with the insides of a cow’s head – or “Tacos de Asador” which means “grilled” or “spit”, and generally comes with salsa and guacamole to dip. Today, I’d like to teach you how to make a traditional Suadero taco. Suadero is simply a word for the cut of beef we will be using, in this case from the breast of the cow. It tends to be smoother in texture than other beef. This is quite a big recipe as I generally make them for family parties and such, but you can easily scale it down if you’d just like to try. They do make great party food though!


30 corn tortillas.

4.5 lbs of washed suadero.

4 cups of milk.

2 bay leaves.

5 peppercorns.

2 cloves of garlic.

1/2 onion.

4 cups of oil.

Pepper to taste.

Salt to taste.


First, marinade the beef with the milk, 4 cups of water, some salt and pepper. A few hours should do the trick. When you’re ready to cook, heat the oil in a pressure cooker, drain the suadero and let it fry a little. If you don’t want to fry the meat like this because it’s too much hassle, just go ahead and fry it in a little oil in your fry pan instead. Then transfer everything to a frying pan. Add the onion, some water, peppercorns, garlic and other flavours and cook it covered for around 35 minutes, until the meat is soft. Remove it from the flame, let the pot cool and drain the beef. Chop the beef and serve it in the hot tortillas to form tacos. Now you can add your own twist to the recipe too, with your favorite salad leaves and peppers.

Check out this site if you’d like to try another traditional taco recipe.