Kitchen Back-Splash Ideas – How to Make a Simple Kitchen Back-Splash – Ideas For Your Home

Simple Kitchen Back-splash ideas are a way to add interest to a kitchen without breaking the bank. While Back-splash can easily exceed several hundred dollars, there are many inexpensive ways to create an elegant finish of your kitchen.

Using simple kitchen Back-splash Tile Ideas

Most homeowners prefer simple kitchen Back-splash ideas that can be performed with tiles. In most cases, cheaper tile Back-splash available.

* Ceramic tiles: This is the simplest and least expensive for most owners. Ceramic tiles are available in different colors, styles, sizes and finishes. Home care can help to install Back-splash.

* Mosaic Tiles: Mosaic is a popular choice for many types of housing. Available in metal, ceramics and glass, among other materials, can be incredibly beautiful and very expensive. However, some tiles are available at affordable prices. Sometimes more expensive tiles are combined with other large tiles to reduce costs.

* Kitchen Mural: These tiles, usually less than twenty years, are combined and painted to create a single image. The food and animal motifs were common.

* Texas in stainless steel stainless: steel not only be considered for industrial applications. Stainless steel tiles are easy to install and can complement the wood and stone.

* Stone Kitchen Back-splash: this is often a large number of tiles that are installed or not with thin grout lines. If you have stone counter tops, is an excellent option to consider.

Other materials

If a tile kitchen Back-splash is common, there are other materials that can be used for simple kitchen Back-splash ideas. Some owners prefer Back-splash glass or steel, because they are easier to clean than other tile grout lines.

Start a Portrait Painting Business For Fun, Profit, and Romance

What is the most romantic thing you can do? Start a portrait painting business – that’s what! You will grow fond of your sitter, have fun painting, and fall in love with the portrait you painted. After all, the portrait will be your “baby” and you will not want to let it go. Once you have painted your first portrait, you will see what I mean.

People love to have their portrait painted and you can make a substantial income with your exquisite paintings.

How much money can you make? A good, as yet unknown portrait artist, can expect to be paid anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 for a head and shoulders portrait. At this rate just 6 to 7 portraits can earn you a living. If you become known as a painter, you will be able to double and triple that income.

Portrait painting takes determination and skill. But it is also amazing fun. If you want to start a portrait painting business but feel you need more training or education, think about taking classes at a local art school. Most give evening classes as well as day classes.

You can get a jump your training by taking private classes or small group classes. Many portrait teachers or advanced students hold private classes you can join. Often teachers hold “painting vacations” in the summer where you can get in-depth training.

It also helps to study the work of master portrait painters. Visit museums as often as possible. Study portraits by Rembrandt and Murillo as well as those by Sir Thomas Lawrence, Alfred Stevens, André Derain, Gilbert Stuart, and John Singer Sargent.

Here are some tips to help you start a portrait painting business:

1) Painting portraits is all about seeing. Study people’s faces in all types of lighting. Try to see the big planes in faces – not the details.

2) Keep stepping back as you paint in order to observe the sitter and your canvas from a distance. You should be able to freely step back about eight feet.

3) Paint loosely with big brushes called “flats.”

4) Light your sitter with only one light source from a 150 watt bulb. The light should fall on one side of the sitter, slightly above the head.

5) Take a few dozen Polaroid pictures of the sitter so you can study them when the sitter is not there.

6) Keep the background simple so as not to distract from the sitter’s face.

7) The sitter should sit with his or her body turned slightly to the side and his or her head facing you. The eyes should be on a level with yours.

8) Schedule four to five sittings with the sitter.

9) Use a toned canvas. A medium earth tone or a medium grey-blue is excellent. It helps tie the painting together.

10) The easiest way to check proportions is to turn the portrait upside down. You will notice immediately if the features are right. Turn it right side up and make corrections.

11) There are certain standard sizes for portraits. Here are three of the most popular canvas sizes:

20″ x 24″ for a head and shoulders portrait

25″ x 30″ for a head, shoulders, and hands portrait

30″ x 30″ for a portrait that takes in the head, shoulders, and hands and goes nearly to the waist

When you are ready to “go public,” it is time to make money from your portrait painting business. The Internet is an inexpensive and effective way to get excellent advertising. Put up a Web site and include pictures of your portraits on the home page and subsequent pages.

Have a few hundred color brochures printed. Include a variety of portraits from babies and children to teenagers, and from middle aged to mature people. Include a pet, where possible as paintings of pets are a big draw.

Also, design business cards with a small picture of one of your portraits. Send your brochure and business card with a cover letter to embassies.

Here are a few other marketing ideas:

* Send out a press release with a picture of one of your portraits.

* Auction off a portrait session as a prize for a high-profile charity event and have the local newspapers cover it.

* Teach an adult education class about portrait painting.

* Finally, if you can afford it, place a small ad in an upscale magazine.

Be prepared to travel. Your clients will be located around the world. Some may want you to paint from a photograph only. Others will want you on site. The client pays your travel and on-site expenses.

If you decide to start a portrait painting business, you will never forget your first commission. This exciting home based business gives you more satisfaction than almost any other business on earth. You will give the world a stunning work of art that will live forever – along with your name.

Why You Should Choose Battery Powered LED Fairy Lights For Your Home Decorations

Come Christmas time, a lot of people will be rushing to stores to buy Christmas lights and other decorations to add a festive touch to their homes, both indoors and outdoors. There are also people who may be in search of or need lights for weddings and other gatherings and celebrations. Lighting is probably one of the decorations that is most often taken for granted and receives very little thought or effort, but is one of the best ways to instantly add and achieve the right ambiance.

When choosing lights for your needs, you should be aware that there are different kinds of lights available, particularly battery operated lights as well as led fairy lights and led curtain lights. Choosing the right lighting for your needs will ensure that you have a fun and festive ambiance. This is where battery powered lights come in. Let us take a closer look at what battery powered lights are and what its advantages are compared to using the traditional ones.

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, nothing beats battery powered lights. This is because unlike the traditional ones which need to be plugged into a wall outlet whenever it is in use, battery powered lights simply require the right size and number of batteries to work. Since you do not have to worry about plugging it in a wall outlet, you can decorate as freely as you want. This kind of lighting is great for wreaths, as well as the centre piece for tables since there will be no extension cords hanging around which can cause your guests to trip over. Simply arrange the lights in the manner you prefer, plug in batteries, and you are all set.

Flexibility of Decorating Options

What makes battery operated lights a great choice for your home decoration is that you can do a lot of things with it, especially since you do not have to worry about plugging it in a power outlet. You can decorate in any manner you like, instead of decorating around how far your extension cord can reach, or how far your power outlet is. These battery powered lights also give a nice, clean look since there are no cords hanging around which often gives a cluttered look. With battery powered lights, you can decorate curtains, the trees and shrubs in your garden, tables, etc. What you can do with battery powered lights is only limited by your imagination.

An Energy Saver

For parties and other social gatherings, battery powered LED fairy lights are the best choice for decorations. This is because you can save on electricity by using battery operated ones. This is also especially true for occasions which require the lights for a relatively longer time, like occasions and gatherings held during the evenings. By investing in heavy duty batteries, you can leave the lights on for a long period of time or even overnight and not have to worry about their electrical consumption at all.

A Great Money Saver

If you want to save on decorations but do not want to give your home a look that reflects just how much you are willing to spend, choose battery operated lights. This is one smart way to decorate your home for Christmas, as well as for parties, weddings, and other events you may need to celebrate in your home. These lights allow you to save money on decorations not only because of their energy consumption on batteries, but also because they can be used and reused for a long period of time. Floral decorations will wilt and die, ice sculptures will melt, and balloons will eventually deflate, but battery operated lights can be stored away and reused for the next event. Simply dust them off and place a fresh set of batteries and they are good to go like the first day you purchased them. Plus, this kind of lights never goes out of style and can be used for many other purposes.

When decorating your home for Christmas or for other fun and social gatherings which will be held in your home, choose battery powered lights. You can also choose battery powered LED fairy lights and led curtain lights to spice up your home. If placed correctly, they can easily create and give the perfect ambiance and help set the right mood for your celebration.

Scope of Gardening – Grow Your Own Vegetables and Fruits

You can grow your own Vegetables and Fruits in your garden for this you no need to own a big garden to cultivate your favourite vegetables and fruits. With the availability of small area were good sunlight and rainfall shower exist you can grow your vegetables and fruits. No need for dedicated land even you can grow them in bags,hanging baskets and containers. Choose a place which is close to your sight may be close to your window or door so that you can take good care of your garden. If you choose to grow a specific vegetable are a fruit try to know the growing condition and normally for vegetables it takes 6 hours of sunlight exposure to maintain its moisture content inside. The same condition level is not applied for other types of fruits or vegetables as it sometime grows under partially shaded site. So decided on which one to grow is also depends on the place you select.

Once you decide where to cultivate your fruits and vegetables you need to check out the strength of your soil and this can be done by soil testing. It will give you the information on soil pH i.e.how much alkaline and acid present in the soil. Plants require acceptable pH range which helps them to take nutrients well and some plants are more specific soil pH range. You should also try to know the information on how much nutrients and minerals contained in the soil, which can be known by seeing the texture of the soil. The texture of the soil means whether it is rocky, sandy, sandy loam or heavy clay and if the soils losses its texture you can improve it by adding a organic materials such as compost.

Before you start your gardening work the planting area should be cleared off without any grass or weeds which can be effectively removed by sharp flat-edged spade. This should be carefully done without losing good top soil while removing sod. If you likes to grow vegetables for the first time then try to cultivate which can be grown easily and available fresh locally. Corn takes lot of space and long time to cultivate and tomatoes, beans and lettuce takes small garden and gives longer harvest. Find 3 to 5 best combination of plants which you plan to grow and make sure that all those plants have the same requirements of water, sun and pH level.

If you have limited space then limit the variety of plants you grow. The suitable time to plant is at overcast day and water the pot where you want to plant the previous day so as to make the place available with enough moisture before planting. If the root is densely packed and grows without spreading around the soil then you must spread the roots across the soil. You need to plant the root deep in to the soil to avoid the drying of the root. As soon as you plant the root in to the soil water the plant and make sure it has enough one inch of water per week.It needs water more often in the hot summer days.

Cooking Tips and Substitutions for Corn Flour, Corn Meal, Cornstarch and About That Johnny Cake

Several different types of cooking ingredients come from corn. Corn bread, stews and even fried catfish recipes call for some form of corn. If you are missing an ingredient knowing its equivalent or substitution can save grandma’s recipe from oblivion. If you know the use of an ingredient, it is easier to come up with a substitution. Today Mom explains corn starch, corn flour, cornmeal and that Johnny Cake.

Corn Starch: Made from the endosperm of the corn kernel. Cornstarch is used to thicken sauces, soups and stews. Substitutions for cornstarch are as follows: 1 tablespoon cornstarch = 2/3 tablespoon arrowroot OR 2 tablespoons all purpose flour OR 1 tablespoon potato starch OR 2 tablespoons quick-cooking (instant) tapioca.

Corn Flour: Made by grinding whole corn kernels into a fine powder. It is used in combination with other flours to make breads, or for breading items for frying. Corn flour contains less gluten than wheat flour. When baking, substituting corn flour instead of wheat flour will result in a heavier bread. If you just need corn flour for breading, you can use regular flour instead.

Corn Flour can also be used to thicken sauces. If you don’t have corn flour, substitute with corn meal ground to a powder in a food processor. You can also thicken sauces by substituting regular wheat flours in the same measurements.

Sauce Cooking Tip: Before adding any powdered thickener to a sauce it is a good idea to dissolve it first. Use a little liquid from your sauce, or some broth, juice or water (about 1/2 cup or less). When your thickener is dissolved in liquid, carefully stir it into your sauce with a fork or whisk. This helps cook up a smooth sauce with no lumps.

Cornmeal: Made from ground corn, usually without the corn skin or germ and has a coarse texture. Cornmeal doesn’t contain gluten so it is generally used to make quick breads or breads with a cake-like texture. If you don’t have one cup of cornmeal substitute one cup of grits or polenta.

Cornmeal is sometimes called for in bread recipes for dusting a greased pan. Dusting a pan helps keep the bread from sticking to the pan. It also gives the bread crust an extra little crunch and a hint of flavor. If you don’t have cornmeal you can substitute corn flour, regular wheat flour or any other flour to keep bread from sticking. If you still want that crunchy texture try pulverizing some corn flakes instead. Or try using another thinly ground grain like steel cut oats or cracked wheat.

Johnny Cake: Johnny Cake or Journey Cake is a simple quick bread made with corn and water plus sugar. Hoecake technically, is a corn cake cooked over the fire on the back of a hoe (or shovel). The method still works – but don’t forget to grease your shovel first, or the hoecake will stick! Over the years we have added salt and leavening agents to our corn cake recipes for variations on the same corny theme. Here’s a great old-fashioned recipe for Corn Cake using molasses as a sweetener.

Molasses Corn Cake

1 cup corn meal

3⁄4 cup flour

3 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 cup molasses

3⁄4 cup milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon melted butter (or margarine)

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add milk with molasses, egg well beaten, and butter. Bake in shallow buttered pan (roughly 9×9 or 8×8) in 425 degree oven for twenty minutes.

Easy Measuring Tip: The easiest way to measure the molasses for this recipe is to use the same measuring cup as the milk. First, pour the milk up to the 3/4 cup line. Then add the molasses until it measures 1 cup. If you still have room in the cup, add the egg and mix everything together before adding it to the dry ingredients. For more of Mom’s cooking tips and apron humor visit her on the web at http://www.MomsRetro.com. Good luck and happy cooking!

Pros and Cons of the Vampire Facelift

Did you see Kim Kardashian’s vampire facelift? It looked horrendous and frightening as she cried out with obvious discomfort. In the end, she indicated that it was all worth it. Would you go through anything like this if you knew more about the procedure? Why do they call it vampire face lift anyway? I guess, it probably is because of all the blood involved. This type of facelift is a bit misleading because it uses facial fillers like Restylane and Juverderm does.

The result of the Vampire Facelift is a thicker collagen that fills out the face; expunging wrinkles and reducing thinness. Many cosmetic surgeons believe that human plasma injections stimulate new growth of the cells to develop a more youthful appearance, virtually in no time!

Pros

Experts will tell you that the vampire facelift is a very safe technique. It is not life threatening. Upon completing the preparation process, the surgeon will get rid of the red blood cells and inject the remaining yellow serum along with the platelets. New blood vessels will be created, which is good for the skin.

Over a period of time after the injection, volume and glow will be added to the patient’s facial features. It may take as much as eight weeks to visibly see results. You will have healthier skin and eliminate much of your facial blemishes. Sephyl is your own tissue, so the procedure removes any allergic reaction that you may have previously had with other cosmetic procedures.

Cons

There are a wide range of methods that you can use to improve your facial features. In fact, there are many beauty products on the market that have already been proven to work. So if something is already working for you, why try something different?

Even though, surgical facelifts have their place, such processes are not essentially a remedy or solution to the trepidations of an aged face.

Cosmetic surgery, when necessary can get rid of excess skin and create a whole younger YOU. Nevertheless, a surgical facelift can be a contributory factor to a face flop as the skin expands snugly against the bone, making the individual appear skeletonized.

Although experts believe that these fillers shouldn’t be used around the eye area, many are still doing so – pushing the gun! The injections can also cause the person to look like he or she is from a different planet. Moreover, it does not improve the skin tone or the texture of the skin.

Conclusion

The Vampire facelift should be a personal decision; depending on what you are trying to accomplish. If you want to rejuvenate your facial features and look young again, there is a price to pay. The procedure when done can be painful, but you may get the look you want afterwards.

The Extra Step – Focus and Dedication – The Difference Between Greatness and Mediocrity

In today’s competitive world, races are no longer won by minutes but by milliseconds. The winner and the looser at election time are separated by slim margins. The odds are narrowing down, the competitions getting more fierce and the difference between success and failure in the business, professional and entrepreneurial world are getting smaller and smaller.

If we want to win and succeed we must have that winner’s edge, that little but significant distinction that separates the winners from those who will be lost in the crowd. It’s what will distinguish the ones who will be noticed from those who will stay in the shadows.

That small distinction is what will make the difference between the person who is awarded the contract and the one who will be thanked for sending a submission. The difference between the guy who will climb the ladder of success and the guy who will be thanked for his services.

In today’s world, being good is not enough. We are expected to be good. Being excellent will get us nothing but a passing grade. If we want to get ahead and succeed, we must be outstanding. That’s where the money is, that’s how we get the prize, that where the elevator goes to the top.

If being outstanding is so important, the subject needs further consideration and the question that begs to be asked is, “How do we get to be outstanding?”

Two simple words could answer that question. Focus and dedication. These two words may be closely related subjects but each deserve a special consideration.

Focus implies a specificity of purpose. The final objective must be specific and very well defined. That is just as true in the entrepreneurial field as it is in the corporate world. We no longer live in the world of jacks-of-all-trades. The competition is too fierce. The area of expertise and interest must be narrowed down to its acceptable limit.

Specificity of purpose does not exclude general culture. Its a must in affluent and well to do circles. But it does mean that conscious and judicious choices be exercised in time management. Priority must be given to the object of our focus.

Dedication means discipline, efforts and concentration. You don’t get to be a world class athlete by being interested in your discipline, you get there by being totally dedicated to it. The same applies to anyone who desire to become outstanding and succeed in a specific area of expertise.

The prize, the honors and the pure satisfaction go those who are truly on focus and exercise total dedication. That’s where being outstanding which is the winner’s edge is found. And that’s what is needed if there is to be any hope of achieving outstanding success. It’s the key to the brass ring. Focus and dedication equals outstanding success. Go for it.

Hard Armor Plates: Metal, Ceramic, or Dyneema

Hard body armor provides the most protection from the widest range of firearms. While soft body armor can protect against a range of handguns, hard armor plates are the most effective defense against high-powered rifles and armor-piercing rounds. Hard armor plates are available from many manufacturers, in both metal and ceramic. Which is right for your needs, though? Should you choose metal or ceramic hard armor plates?

The most significant benefit is that they are effective against all handgun rounds and many high-powered rifle rounds. Some are even effective against military caliber weapons. This offers the utmost in protection for corrections officers, police, military and security personnel. In addition, these plates can also withstand blades, which many soft body armor types cannot.

Metal Armor Plates

Metal plates are the original form of modern body armor, and trace their lineage back to the Middle Ages. Metal was long the only option for those who needed protection from high-velocity and armor-piercing rounds. Metal hard armor plates are strong, durable and widely available, but that does not mean they are without their drawbacks.

The most significant drawback to metal plates is their weight. A suit of body armor made with metal can hamper movement and flexibility significantly. Even adding metal plates to a soft cloth bullet proof vest can create problems with additional weight. Thankfully, there is an answer to the weight problem.

Ceramic Hard Armor Plates

Ceramic has been used for centuries for its strength, resilience and durability. Today, it’s also used in the creation of body armor. Ceramic offers significant advantages over metal plates in that they are far, far lighter, but do not sacrifice stopping power, durability or strength. This allows police officers, security personnel and military personnel to enjoy the best possible protection without adding extra weight from metal hard armor plates that would impede their movements otherwise.

Dyneema Hard Armor Plates

Dyneema plates are the lightest plate between the ceramic and metal and weigh in at close to two pounds lighter that their ceramic and metal counterparts. The dyneema plates are a welcomed addition for someone who has to wear a vest of this protection rating for an extended period of time. Dyneema plates have a ballistic level III rating which will protect you against 7.62mm FMJ,.30 carbines,.223 Remington, 5.56mm FMJ round and grenade shrapnel. However to stop.30 caliber armor piercing rounds, you have to increase your ballistic protection to a level IV ceramic plate.

Metal, Ceramic or Dyneema

While metal plates have long been dominant in the industry, things are changing. As ceramic and dyneema becomes more widely available and more people become aware of the strength, stopping power and lightweight nature of these solutions, they are quickly becoming the preferred choice, even over metals like titanium.

Ceramic and dyneema hard armor plates are widely available today, both in full armor solutions and as add-on plates that can help augment bullet proof vests by adding protection to vital areas.

Cedar Shake Shingles – The Fatal Flaw

Don’t spend a dime on cedar shake shingles until you understand the “fatal flaw” inherent in wood roofing…

Wood shingles and shakes go back to colonial times when they were the roofing system of choice. They are typically made from Red Cedar. The shingles are sawn uniformly, in a few standard sizes. Shakes are split, creating a more rustic appearance, but that does require an additional course of roofing felt between each layer to help prevent leaks. Wood roofing can be installed on roofs that are 3:12 and over. They are also light weight, so they can be installed on virtually any structure.

The benefits of cedar shake shingles:

The big benefit these systems offer is their visual appeal. Few things are more attractive than their rustic appearance. They are especially beautiful when they are still fairly new, but have weathered into a natural gray. The look is so attractive that all the asphalt roofing manufacturers have architectural shingles made to look like “weathered wood”.

The problems with cedar shake shingles:

The main disadvantage with wood roofing is the inherent fire hazard. I saw an aerial photo of a neighborhood in California that had been struck by a brush fire. Every home had burnt to the ground except one. They all had wood roofs except for the one left standing, which had a tile roof. Brush fires aren’t the only fire hazard for wood roofs… Sparks from a wood-burning stove or fireplace have started many wood roofs on fire.

Insurance companies hate wood roofs, as they have been burnt so many times insuring them. Now days, they either won’t provide coverage at all, or want enormous premiums to do so. The fire risk is so great that many areas have outright banned wood roofing, despite manufacturer’s attempts to make it more fire resistant. I’m a tad dubious on how fire-resistant it actually is. Here’s why I say that…

The owner of a roofing company I used to work for liked to save dump fees by burning trash that accumulated around his warehouse and office. Almost every day he had a bonfire, burning up old pallets and such. I had just returned from cleaning up my first wood roofing project and had some scraps of the “fire-resistant” material in the back of my truck. It occurred to me to test their fire-resistance by throwing them on the bonfire. I was amazed at how fast they burst into flames.

Other disadvantages of cedar shake shingles include:

They can be extremely hazardous to walk on when wet, which they might just be when you are chasing a leak.

Wood requires periodic cleaning and treatment to keep it free of fungus.

Wood tends to curl and split, creating leaks. This is a particular problem in places like Florida, which has lots of rain, followed by lots of sun.

Cedar shake shingles are expensive. On top of a labor intensive manufacturing process, is the shipping expense. The last ones I bought here in Florida were trucked all the way down from Canada.

Installing wood shakes and shingles is labor intensive. Each one covers a fairly small area and has to be individually positioned and installed with two nails. And great care must be taken to select or cut each piece to avoid exposing nails in the course below. I once replaced a wood roof that was only three years old because the roofer screwed this up. He left exposed nails (and leaks) all over the place.

This work is somewhat of an art and is not a good do-it-yourself friendly project. I like roofing systems that are simple enough for a homeowner to successfully install himself if need be. These roofing systems also have a fairly short life span… typically 15 years or less depending on the climate. Combine that with high repair and maintenance expense, and you have huge lifecycle costs.

My opinion of cedar shake shingles:

They may have been the best choice a century or two ago, but their time has come and gone. I love the look, but the fire hazard alone is a “fatal flaw” that rules them out in my book. You can do better… for less money.

But if you choose cedar shake shingles anyway, go with a contractor who specializes in them. The correct flashing details and nail placement are critical with this system. You want a guy who does it all the time. And be sure to get the type treated with fire retardant, for whatever that’s worth. At one time I think they just sprayed it on, but the kind to get is the type where fire retardant is pressure treated deep into the wood.

You are better off going with wood shingles than shakes as they are easier to flash effectively. Also, inquire about a premium underlayment. That will help the system be more forgiving to any water that gets under the wood roofing.

How to Cook Frozen Lobster Tail

Frozen lobster has some definite benefits over fresh live Lobster.

  • Frozen lobster can be bought and stored until you are ready to use it.
  • Frozen lobster will be less expensive.
  • Frozen Lobster tail is easier to obtain.
  • A big benefit is that the frozen lobster has already been prepared so you don’t have to deal with the dilemma of cooking a live lobster.

It is true that fresh live Lobster will generally taste better but that comes at a considerably higher cost. This is because fresh lobster is usually bought for the meat in the tail and claws. Frozen Lobsters tails can come from any of dozens of other different varieties of claw-less species which makes them more available and less costly.

Sources Of Frozen Lobster Tail

In general, there are two distinct sources for frozen Lobster tails. Some are harvested from warm waters and some come from cold waters. Most chefs consider the warm water varieties to be the least desirable. This is because by the time that they are harvested and get to you the meat is of poor quality in a large percentage of the tail.

You should always try to buy your frozen tail from the cold waters of southern countries and avoid the central American variety. Sometimes the information is on the package though often it is not. Then you have to rely on the information the vendor can give you or guess based on the price. The warm water tails will always be the least expensive.

Cooking the Lobster

To get the best flavor and texture from frozen lobster tails they should be thawed prior to cooking. It is possible to cook frozen tails but doing so will produce a tough less tasty meat.

To thaw frozen lobster tails let them sit in their unopened packaging in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. You can thaw them faster by immersing the package in water, then letting that sit in the fridge.

In a rush you can use a microwave with a defrost setting to thaw the tails. Just be careful so that you don’t start cooking the Lobster tails this way.

Once thawed, the Lobster Tails should be cooked in a timely manner. After thawing they can be boiled, steamed, baked, broiled or grilled. It’s up to you.

Here are the two most popular and easiest ways to cook Lobster, boiling and steaming.

Boiling thawed frozen Lobster is really easy.

  • Fill a pot with enough water to cover the Lobsters you are cooking,
  • Add about one tbsp salt per quart of water
  • Heat the water to a rolling boil
  • Drop the Lobsters into the boiling water
  • Cook for about 1 minute per ounce of Lobster

Steaming is similar except you will use less water. You will need a steaming basket that can hang into the pot but not reach into the water and a tight lid.

  • Put 1 to 1 ½ inches of water into pot.
  • Add salt (1 tbsp per quart of water)
  • Heat the water to boiling
  • Hang the steaming basket into the pot
  • Cover with heavy Lid (If you don’t have a heavy lid sit a brick or rock on top to hold the lid down)
  • Cook them for 7 to 8 minutes

Just remember, be careful and watch out for the hot steam when you open the pot and remember that the pot, lid, strainer and Lobsters will all be extremely hot.

Serve the Lobster on a platter with some hot clarified butter and you are ready to feast.

How to Waterproof an Upper Level Deck to Make a Dry Storage Area Underneath

A common problem faced by many homeowners with a second level deck is how to effectively waterproof the deck so that they can gain a dry storage area underneath. There are several alternatives that could be considered, although the majority of these are not exactly DIY tasks, but need to be undertaken by professional contractors.

Roll out vinyl membranes

Probably one of the most common methods of waterproofing an upper level deck, is to lay down some sort of waterproof membrane over the existing surface. Possibly the longest established membrane system has been roll out vinyl sheeting which may typically have a core of a heavy duty polyester fabric to provide protection against puncture and tearing. Such products are supplied by Duradek, Weatherdek, DeckRite, DecTec and others. These products are normally installed by professional contractors, but it’s possible for a homeowner to install the membrane themselves if they have some experience. Such products typically come with a patterned surface and in different colours and textures.

Of course with this type of membrane, you cannot retain the original natural wood appearance of the deck.

Specialized deck coatings

A number of high-tech coating systems are available which generally involve applying series of different coats and are thus normally applied by professional applicators. Examples of such coatings include the Versa-Deck range of reinforced fibreglass and acrylic resin coatings and the Metacrylics range of acrylic and polyester fabric coatings. Such coatings are again available in different colours. However these coatings can only be applied over a continuous solid surface such as marine grade plywood, so if you don’t already have a deck with a plywood surface, then you have the extra expense of installing this surface as well.

Aluminum decking

In this case, lengths of a special interlocking aluminum decking profile are installed over the top of the deck. Normally this type of decking would replace the original wood planks on your deck, so requires some extra cost and work to demolish part of the existing structure. Channels on the underside of the profile drain the water away to the edge of the deck. Such products are available from e.g. Lock Dry. Various colour options are available. One point to note with aluminum decking is that it can get very hot underfoot in mid-summer and can be somewhat noisier when walked on than e.g. you wood or vinyl.

Vinyl Decking

Similar in may ways to the above aluminum products, specially profiled vinyl decking planks with an interlocking system such as the Gorilla Deck range are available which are claimed to provide a virtually watertight surface under the decking. Again this type of decking would normally replace the original wood planks on your deck. Typically the vinyl material comes in a number of different colours and textured finish. Compared with aluminum, vinyl decking tends to stay relatively cool under foot even in the hottest weather.

Under deck waterproofing systems

This is a novel way of waterproofing a deck but retaining the existing natural wood surface. In this system such as that supplied by UnderDeck, a special “ceiling” is installed underneath the deck attached to the bearers or joists which drains away any water to gutters situated at the corners of the deck. Again this system is normally installed by special contractors.

Interlocking wood decking tiles with EPDM membrane

As mentioned above, with most of the commonly available methods of waterproofing an upper level deck, with the exception of the UnderDeck system, you will no longer be able to enjoy a natural wood surface on your deck. If you like the look of natural wood, then probably the most effective, simple to install, and economical option is to firstly lay down a continuous EPDM sheet over the top of the existing wood deck, and then install interlocking wood decking tiles over the top of this sheet. EPDM sheeting can be obtained from e.g. pond supply shops or some roofing material suppliers for as little as about $0.60 per square foot.

The wood decking tiles such as those supplied by HandyDeck are made with a special plastic mesh base which not only allows the tiles to be locked together to form a continuous deck surface, but allows water to flow away freely underneath the wood slats and over the top of the EPDM membrane. So there’s no problems with puddles of water or slippery surfaces like there can be with the alternative membrane options.

Many interlocking tile manufacturers supply tiles in different designs and also different wood species, so you can create a special design on your deck which could be just a simple border or a special feature panel. Clip on edging strips are also available from selected manufacturers which provide a neat and professional edge to the outer row of the deck. With these modular decking tiles, there are no nail holes or screw holes on the surface of the deck, as the wood slats are screwed securely to the plastic base from underneath. And as there are no nails, screws, glues or special coating materials required, installation is a simple and quick job that can be accomplished by almost anyone without requiring any particular handyman skills. And with decking tiles, you don’t have the expense of ripping up the original decking planks, or having to lay down a special plywood surface to apply any of the specialised coatings.

3 Ways to Overcome Public Speaking Fear

Do you get a lump in your throat when you hear the term public speaking? Palms get sweaty, your heart races, and your mouth gets dry? First, hear these words and never forget them:

Great speakers were not born great speakers.

I hope that makes you feel better! It’s the truth- public speaking is something you need to work your way up to becoming fluid, natural and stress-free. Here are a few great tips that helped me want to be in front of audiences, not fear being in front of audiences:

1. Own your content. Being comfortable in a public speaking scenario means being able to speak your content, not recite it. Imagine this: You stand in front of a group and have to speak your name, your birth date, your favorite color, your favorite hobby, and your favorite singer. WOW! How simple. Why? Because you know that information already, you have it committed to memory, and you don’t fear forgetting something. I’ve noticed that most people actually fear forgetting part of their speech more than the actual part of speaking to a group. Again, know your content and be able to talk it…. not recite it. Good luck, you can do it!

2. Don’t walk a plank. Public speaking means doing your own thing, being YOU! Don’t feel you need to follow a detailed layout. Be YOU. Be YOU. Be YOU. I can’t stress that enough! Stand up, tell them who you are, why you are here, and then tell them all about why you are here, then tell them why you were here! Thank them for listening. If being you means starting with humor, do so. Beware: don’t start with humor if you aren’t funny- that is the worst, and it sets tension between you and the audience right off the get-go! Personally, I start with a great story from my Secret Service days in order to grab the attention of the audience.

3. Have Fun! This sounds silly but I promise it’s critical to feeling confident and delivering an outstanding presentation. Deep breaths before you begin, have water handy, look into the eyes of your guests, and put on a genuine smile. Let them know you want to be there and you enjoy being there. It will do wonders for cutting any tension you think may exist.

Important Functions of a Business Plan

Today all entrepreneurs or small business owners know and respect the importance of a business plan. But to most of them the benefit it has for their company after it has been used for an investment remains hidden. Therefore, it is important as it plays an important part in the growth and development of your business.

Business plans are documents that clearly describe the goals of the company along with all major and minor details regarding it. It is almost like a blue print of how you plan to build your company or organization. At the same time it plays the role of a medium to communicate through for investors and banks.

Not only does it guide your company towards its goals and accordingly the strategies are thought of, but even the management of your business relies on the business plan. Before you have written a plan you only have faint idea about what you plan to achieve and the milestones you wish to conquer. After the plan is written, the aims are clarified and you set up a plan of action. It describes everything about your organization.

Its position in the market and your products or services , a brief background story, your target customers, your budgets, your finances, strategies etc. it contains all details regarding the amount of money you need for starting up or carrying on. It is a financial tool.

The final, ready business plan can provide guidance to entrepreneurs for organizing and creating ideas to move forward. It would also contain details of where your company stands now, where it is going and where it plans to go. You can break down the goals into milestones to be achieved in a year.

If you haven’t upgraded your Company’s business plan, now is the time, a lot depends on it.

You may wish to read more at: You may wish to read more at: Writing a Simple Business Plan and Sample and Example Business Plans for You

Challenges While Migrating From AutoCAD to Revit

Many firms in the AEC industry have made the switch to Revit from AutoCAD, either fully or for specific projects. However, many firms haven’t yet made the jump. The points mentioned here are to help those who haven’t ventured down the building information modelling (BIM) road yet, or who possess the software but don’t know what to do next.

The Need to Switch

The answer to the question ‘Why Switch?’ can differ from one firm to another. However, generally speaking, most building design firms can, or will be able to benefit from Revit. The following points given highlight some of the major reasons for making the switch from AutoCAD to Revit:

• Several clients require BIM and even those who require AutoCAD files can still be accommodated when using Revit (except when they require particular AutoCAD blocks to be used). When businesses begin losing work because they are not utilising BIM in their practice they must seriously start to consider the switch.

• Document coordination and precision is enhanced, particularly when all disciplines are using Revit, i.e. Arch, Struct, MEP

• High quality presentation graphics become a by-product of the construction documents. In the AutoCAD workflow, the construction documents are one effort and the renderings another. Frequently, the project budget doesn’t account for the extra effort needed for rendering. In Revit, it’s simple to create a rendering or walkthrough animation of the model, which was created primarily for construction.

• Efficiencies in design and documentation can be enhanced when appropriate preparations have been made to switch to Revit. Several ordinary drafting steps are automated when using Revit.

Appropriate Time to Migrate

There are some challenges that you will face once the decision to switch to Revit has been made. The next question that needs to be considered is ‘When?’

Business Consideration: If an organisation hasn’t been selected for a project due to the client citing BIM as one of the deciding factors, then in this instance it may be too late to switch. Some firms might work in a niche market and can comfortably wait a few years. Whilst others that don’t currently use Revit fall somewhere between these two. Likewise, consulting firms that typically work with other design firms might need to jump into Revit if they wish to continue collaborating with those who have made a commitment to BIM already. Though Revit can link in AutoCAD files, doing so invalidates several of Revit’s benefits and features, such as beams showing up in section or an outlet in an interior elevation.

Software Considerations: As per many online CAD training institutes in Mumbai every year it becomes easier to make the switch from AutoCAD to Revit. However, only a few years ago, most organisation had to learn Revit on their own, right from the beginning. Today, it’s fairly easy to hire someone, such as professionals from online Revit training institutes who have years of experience in the software, so that it benefits your organization immensely.

For a professional with previous experience with AutoCAD, the paradigm shift is the biggest challenge. The initial project particularly is frustrating as there will be times when you just want to draw and get on with it and Revit keeps telling you to do it in a certain way. However, the fact also remains that experienced and well trained users have learnt to work with the Revit workflow and reap the benefits.

Beekeeping Suit – To Understand How It Works

Understanding the beekeeping suit and how it works is very important for an apiarist. It is his uniform, his personal protection suit that helps him to avoid harm. A beekeeping suit is composed of either a single or combination of the following: full suit, jacket, gloves, hat, veil, leather work boots and other miscellaneous items. Understanding the beekeeping suit requires description of each accessory and on how it will protect the wearer.

A beekeeping suit must be sting resistant, made from polyester-cotton in white color so that it is less sting-attractive for the bees. Understanding the beekeeping suit requires proper fitting. In beekeeping, loose-fit protective suits are more effective. So it is better to buy or order a bee suit next size up and make sure it is baggy and not too tight.

A beekeeping suit must be effective to stop the bees from entering inside it. In beekeeping, exposure to swarm is normal. Understanding the suit needs a keen eye to check the suit’s elastic cuffs at the wrists and ankles, zipper at the collar, torso and ankles, and the Velcro seals at the frontal area and back area of the integrated hood.

Instead of using a suit, visitors of an apiary can use a cheap observer smock. It is a jacket intended to worn by guests when they are being offered a glimpse of beekeeping. Understanding the suit is not only confined to adult sizes but for children as well. Children’s protective clothing is identical to an adult full suit that provides the same protective function.

A beekeeping suit often called full suit is well-designed clothing that protects the wearer from top to bottom. It must sustain various beekeeping chores like colony removal, killer bee extermination, commercial pest control and other utility maintenance. It must not be heavy and not too tight. The same is true with the jacket it must not require the use of straps, rubber bands or strings. The wearer’s wrists and ankles must be sealed with elastic cuffs.

The suit is not complete without a leather gloves. It prevents bees from stinging the hands or forearms extending up to the biceps. It must overlap with the full suit or jacket. It is made of thick leather enough to repel bee sting. Some beekeeping gloves are made of canvas and cotton. Some gloves manufacturer offers “guaranteed” sting protection. There are some disputed reasons for this:

1. Sting can sometimes penetrate even leather materials, and

2. only expensive Kevlar and aluminum fabric can guarantee full protection.

Proper beekeeping suit is also include a beekeeper’s hat to protect eyes from the sun. Sometimes it is used in combination of a ring veil with 360 degrees screen protection that extends the loop up to arm’s length. A veil must be integrated into the suit that is fully detachable and collapsible. It eliminates the use of hat. It is also recommended the use of high-top leather work to protect your ankles and feet.

Suits can be machine washable and dryable under normal weather condition. Beekeeping hoods and veils must be hand washed with soaps. The use of bleach is prohibited for bees dislike the bleach’s residual odor. If you are allergic to bee sting that can cause anaphylactic shock, understanding the beekeeping suit and how it works will save you from serious harm.