Glass Mosaic Tile Art – Color and Contrast

Making wonderful glass mosaic tile art is easy! Let me show you how.

Working with color in mosaics is much more challenging than most other art media, such as paint and colored pencils. The painter's color palette is limited only by the painter's imagination in mixing any number of colors until the desired hue is achieved. In contrast, the mosaic artist's color palette is constrained by the limited colors that glass manufacturers decide to produce, which are typically determined by what sells best.

As an example, let's compare the mosaic artist's choices for the color blue to the painter's choices. One of my favorite online mosaic tile stores offers 14 various colors of blue vitreous glass tiles; whereas, a popular online artist's paint store offers only 13 colors of blue paint. However, the paint store also offers 91 various shades of reds, yellows, oranges, greens, purples, pinks, browns, grays, whites, and more. The painter can choose to blend any one of the 13 blue colors with any number of the other 91 colors. Unlike a painter, the mosaic artist can not blend various colors to create a new one. So, while the mosaic artist is limited to only 14 colors of blue, the painter has an almost limitless palette.

If we, as mosaic artists, can not mix colors to create new ones, are we stuck with what the glass manufacturers give us? Certainly not. This is where the artist's imagination and creativity are tested. Unlike the painter who mixes colors to create new ones, we blend different colors and shades by placing them next to each other to give the illusion of color change. For example, by alternating small pieces of dark blue and light blue tesserae, the result is that our eyes interpret the pattern as medium blue when viewed from a distance. If we view the pattern from only 12 inches, then our eyes can distinguish the pattern and we see an obvious checkerboard. However, when viewed from 12 feet, we must focus more to distinguish the checkerboard because our eyes interpret the blend as a single color (ie, we see medium blue instead of a bunch of small pieces of dark blue and light blue).

Color is equally as important to your mosaic's look as andamento (ie, the visual movement of your mosaic created by placing tesserae in specific patterns). Artists choose colors to stir emotions or simply because they like how the colors look. The brain is sensitive to certain color schemes, so whatever motivates your color choices, you must ensure the combinations do not irritate or bore the viewer.

Be aware of how the eyes see varying color characteristics when colors are juxtaposed. Plan your desired look before cutting and gluing any tesserae. Do you want contrast or do you want an intentional blended look where the colors are barely discernable? When you determine the overall look, mood, and feel that you want your mosaic to represent, you'll know how to achieve it by combining color with andamento.

Experiment with different hues, tones, and intensities to create texture and shading. Browse the Internet for mosaic artists of different styles to see how they use color. Note the feelings that each piece evokes in you, then think about how the artist's use of color contributes to creating those feelings.

The best way to learn how to use color in mosaics is to start cutting and gluing your own glass. Yes, you'll probably make a few mistakes along the way, but learn from them and do not repeat them. Maybe someday, I'll be in a museum marveling at the incredible use of color in one of your mosaics!

Remember, making mosaic art is easy. You can do it. Yes, you can!

Gutter Scoops, Gutter Rakes, and Other Useful Gutter Cleaning Tools

Depending on the type of gutter and the amount and type of build-up, there are several gutter cleaning tools available. Some tools can be purchased, some may already be hanging around your house, and others can be made in a few easy steps.

A gutter rake is useful for gutters filled mostly with leaves and other lightweight debris. It is also most useful if your gutters are less than half full. The gutter rake is 4 to 5 feet long and allows you to scrape out your gutters while standing on a ladder. Each end of the rake is shaped differently, allowing you to perform two different functions. On one end is a straight piece that can be used to pull debris toward you. On the other end is a curved piece that ends in an L shape. This tool allows you to push debris under gutter joints and other tight spots so that you can then remove the debris by hand. Both ends of the gutter rake can be used with either wet or dry debris. Many gutter rakes come with a threaded end that can be attached to a broom handle or extension pole, extending your reach even further for very long gutters or hard to reach areas. Although a pole or hoe will work in place of a gutter rake, both tools take longer and have less leverage than a gutter rake.

Another useful tool is a gutter scoop. To make a gutter scoop, simply find a recycled plastic jug with a handle and cut out the bottom at a slight angle. Milk jugs work fine, but heavier plastics, such as those found on bleach bottles or fabric soften bottles will stand up better. Though you can make your own, a purchased gutter scoop is specifically designed to fit your gutters, will likely last longer and usually works better for lifting out heavy debris. In place of purchasing a gutter scoop, you can also use a small hand trowel. Gutter Scoops work with all types of debris, both dry and wet, lightweight and heavy.

If your gutter debris is dry and fairly lightweight, then a leaf blower may be your fastest, easiest option. Simply walk along the roof next to your gutters and blow out the debris. Be sure to move any patio furniture before using this method. Though you can use either a gas or electric leaf blower, the gas model is far superior as it has more power and is cordless, allowing you more flexibility.

Finally, for light to medium debris, you can try using a shopvac to simply suck up the debris. And extra long hose will help with this method.

Painting With Innate Passion: All Artist’s Are Born, Not Made

Painting is a form of expression which involves the use of paint brushes to create an image on a canvass. An artist has the option of choosing which paints to use; the most popular though are watercolors and oil paints.

It is impossible for an artist to produce a masterpiece without feeling passionate about his work. It is important that the painter is able to clearly visualize what he wishes to express through his painting, and then be able to bring forth his imaginations with accuracy and vivacity. The ability to express oneself in such a way does not involve skill, but talent. One may argue that art can be learned through practice. However, the truth is that individuals, who do not possess an innate talent of drawing and painting, cannot become exceptional artists no matter how hard they try to learn this medium of expression.

The primary talent of a born artist is the ability to imagine. If one evaluates a number of young children on their imagination skills, it will be quite obvious that while some of them have very vivid and creative imaginations, others lack the originality and the panache that a naturally creative individual has. If one were to reevaluate the children after training the less creative kids to be more imaginative; even after a complete and rigorous training the results will prove that training cannot enable less imaginative kids to compete with those who are gifted.

Being able to visualize creative scenarios is just half the job of an artist. The crucial task is to be able to express what one sees with their mind’s eye on paper. This requires the ability to make the right strokes and use the right colors to create a visually appealing painting. Mixing colors with precision so as to get the right shades is also part of an artist’s skill set. Additionally, an artist needs to be able to keep in mind the aspect of perspective. Perspective is the skill of being able to give the right impression of a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface, such that the height, width, depth, and position are proportionate in relation to each other. These are some of the basic skills of a talented artist, which one may attempt to learn, but will never master unless he has a natural flair and aptitude for painting.

It may seem rather unfair to say that all artists are born, not made. It is not that a person cannot become an artist if he doesn’t have a natural tendency towards art and painting; but the fact is that one cannot produce masterpieces and become a famous painter just by enrolling themselves at an art school. There has to be significant innate talent in order to make a name from painting.

Contemporary Lighting Fixtures for the Home

Lighting has many functions in a home. They can be used to create drama, mood, and serenity and also enhance productivity. When you want good lighting, you have to embrace both strategy and design incorporated with the right fixtures. In case you prefer having a contemporary look in your house, there are different strategies that you can consider. Most of the places that have these strategies have at least two to three of them incorporated in one setting so as to achieve that modern look that the house requires.

* Accent lighting

This type of lighting is also called directional lighting. This fixture when used in a house is meant to highlight a specific feature in the room. This can either be architectural features like a fireplace or can also be a decorative feature like a sculpture or some sort of painting. These lights that are also dubbed to be dramatic hence can suit special occasions such as when hosting some guests or certain events. The general rule of this light in the modern world is that it has to be at least three time stronger compared to surrounding lights.

* Recessed lighting

When it comes to contemporary lighting schemes, recessed lighting is most common. This is applicable in that when the fixture is recessed, it disappears and leaves the ceiling less cluttered which offers a contemporary look. This type of lighting is best used in spaces that have a low ceiling which do not offer enough clearance especially for traditional fixtures. This light that is supplied by this fixture is even distributed in the entire room making it have appropriate lighting.

* Pendant lighting

This is a contemporary fixture that can be used as a crucial point of space. This is any type of light that hangs from a chain or wire like a chandelier. This fixture is best when used in a foyer or above a dining table. In some cases, it is also used as a counter lighting in current kitchens. You need to know that these lights are in most cases made of glass and incorporate brushed aluminum or nickel as well as drums that have been wrapped in fabric and have bright prints that look very trendy and classy. In case you want the light to be the focus in the space, you need to choose the pendant on your own. This therefore requires that you get acquainted with ways in which you can choose pendants

The Depth of an Evergreen Tree’s Roots

The evergreen tree is one of the most popular trees that are used in home landscaping. An evergreen tree is a symbol of beauty and simplicity. The evergreen tree provides the winter landscape with color even during the coldest of months. Many homeowners love to have evergreens as part of their landscaping. This is because the evergreen tree is not only beautiful but the shrub that is part of the species of evergreen is a perfect privacy hedge. This is a gorgeous way to ensure privacy while in your yard. There are many practical and decorative purposes of the evergreen tree.

Species of the evergreen tree include white fir, techny, smaragd, blue dwarf, and rocky mountain fir, Douglas fir, rocky mountain juniper and many more. Each separate type of evergreen tree requires different environmental factors in order to grow healthy and strong. When each the environmental factors is ideal such as soil, sunlight, climate and temperature then the evergreen tree will plant deep roots and grow relatively fast. The lifespan of a healthy evergreen tree can range from two to seventeen years depending on the species of evergreen tree.

Before an evergreen tree is planted it is very important that one calls the utility companies in order to mark the exact location of any underground lines. This will avoid damaging the lines when planting an evergreen tree. One wants to prepare the soil before planting the soil. To prepare the soil add organic materials such as peat moss, aged manure, compost, shredded leaves and sphagnum. The organic materials should be a one to three inch layer around the planting area.

The home gardener may want to extend the planting area of the evergreen tree by several feet in each direction from the planting spot. Rototill or spade the organic materials into the soil. After this last step has been completed make sure to dig ten to twelve inches deep before planting. A variety of evergreen tree can be planted together as long as there is adequate space. After all of these steps have been completed the evergreen tree can be planted. As the evergreen tree grows the root structure will become deeper and more complex.

The evergreen tree is most commonly found in the eastern part of the United States but there are certain types of evergreen species that are native to the western United States. If you wish to invest in evergreen trees you want to make sure that you choose an evergreen species that is appropriate for the environment. For example a western evergreen tree would have trouble in the east.

Many people do not know that most Christmas trees are a type of evergreen species. This is just one fun fact of evergreen trees. The evergreen tree is a wonderful addition to any home. If you want more privacy and want to increase the value of your backyard you may want to consider investing in evergreen trees. Evergreen trees are a terrific investment that adds beauty and grace to a home.

Akedema Equipment and How it Compares to Worth and Nokona Softball Gloves

Akadema is company established in 1998 by two brothers Joseph and Lawrence Gilligan. Lawrence Gilligan, ex professional baseball player, noticed that there had been little or no innovation in baseball gloves for decades. Thus, he decided to do something about it. Akadema with its innovation in mitts brought “A Game” to the field and achieve a higher level of play.

Akadema has revolutionized the industry by making innovative gloves for infielders, outfielders, catchers and pitchers. Since the each position is unique, they decided to incorporate unique patented technologies into their gloves to enhance a player’s performance on the field. Their most distinguished feature is that all of them are made of high-quality leather.

Their Reptilian glove, is patented near fingerless design creates a natural air pocket which acts as a shock observer for initial ball impact, and in that way it’s making glove to hand transfer smoother and quicker. Moreover, when the ball initially hits the glove, it makes a depression that allows the ball to sit longer in the glove. This approach in design also acts as a shovel for easier ground ball scooping.

When “Stress Wedge” technology is patented between the index finger and thumb, Akadema’s Praying Mantis came out with shock-absorbing protection for the hand against injury and sting when receiving the ball.

Then, they made the innovation in infielders’ glove with the Funnel. They made an open glove by inverting the thumb and pinky finger.

Further, they raised the level of play in outfield with the Claw. The Claw offers three wider finger stalls that are much larger than a regular glove.

At last, they made certain products for maintaining their gloves. They offer mitt masher, glove conditioner and glove lace. Besides gloves, they offer wood and metal bats, footwear, batting gloves, apparel, eye wear, equipment and travel bags.

However, how does Akadema compare with some of the other brands such as Nokona and Worth? When we compare Akadema with Nokona the thing that stands out is the long standing of Nokona products. They have been around for three-quarters of a century and therefore are a company with a long time reputation. The special features of Nokona products are their gloves which use special leather. There is the choice between kangaroo, buffalo and cowhide and the gloves are all handmade by craftsmen. These handmade gloves give that extra special feel when worn. Apart from gloves a range of Nokona products also include gear bags, lotions, bats and mallets. Though the gloves are handmade they are still reasonably priced when compared to a brand like Akadema. Therefore a comparison of the Akadema baseball gear with Nokona and Worth is very difficult. All have their highlights with Nokona having the special feature that their gloves are handmade and are stitched with leather that the customer can choose from.

On the other hand, Worth Sport Equipment has their products being used by many collegiate teams. They offer a wide range of bats with some accessories. The prices of Worth compare well with Akadema.

There are many manufacturers of baseball and softball equipment. While going in for purchase of any equipment it is best to understand your needs for the purchase. Then, when shopping your softball equipment the price is very important especially if you shop at budget. However, if you are serious sports player you will probably ask for quality and therefore you will go for famous brands.

Wheel Chair Lifts in History

Wheel chair lifts have been one of the most significant advances in disabled mobility since the wheel chair itself was invented. They play a supporting role. Certain kinds extend the range handicapped people can move about directly, by transporting them across the stairs that would otherwise hinder them. 

Wheel chair lifts are designed to lift a person who needs to utilize such a device for mobility in an area where a person without one would ordinarily go by negotiating stairs or some other route that is difficult, hazardous, or impossible in a wheelchair. To safely and reliably lift both a person and the wheelchair he or she sits in, the lift must be quite powerful. Generally, these lifts consist of a platform that can be wheeled onto and a motor that raises the platform up or down to one or more different levels.

Before the invention of wheel chair lifts, buildings could only provide handicapped access through ramp systems. In some cases, ramps work perfectly well, and they are widely used to this day. Sometimes, however, a ramp is impractical for one reason or another, and in these cases, the lifts are employed instead. The most common reason for using a lift instead of a ramp is architectural. Sometimes there isn’t room to build a large ramp anywhere conveniently. Wheel chair lifts take up far less room than ramps, because they don’t entail any horizontal movement. In most cases, they move in a direct, vertical direction, just like an elevator. Ramps are also often impractical where stairs are prolonged or steep, because a gradual ramp would need to be dangerously steep or inconveniently large.

When wheel chair lifts were first implemented, they were often found in the private homes of those who were handicapped or who wished to accommodate handicapped guests. Houses rarely have room for ramps, especially if they were designed without this accommodation in mind. Since the staircases in houses rarely see heavy traffic, wheel chair lifts in private residences are often built directly over the stairs. In this case, they follow the path of the stairs, which means moving horizontally as well as vertically. The advantage of this system is that it saves space. The disadvantage is that when wheel chair lifts of this sort are in operation, it usually keeps others from using the staircase.

These lifts are important, not just for handicapped Americans, but for all Americans. The handicapped are better able to make their contributions to society when they have uninhibited access to all areas. In addition, providing equal access with ramps and wheel chair lifts supports the values that the United States was founded upon.

We believe in inalienable rights and dignity. We believe in opportunity, rather than privilege. We also believe in self-reliance. Rather than believing that certain people deserve or garner power over others, Americans believe that individuals naturally carry power and responsibility for themselves. Wheel chair lifts allow handicapped people to be independent, rather than reliant on others.

Wheel chair lifts have been important to disabled people and to supporters of equality since their invention decades ago and have gradually found service in more and more locations worldwide. Today, they are woven into the everyday lives of those who use wheel chairs. They have facilitated disabled people in ascending, literally and figuratively, to the stage and to the highest places in society. Upward mobility has never so gracefully emblemized itself.

How to Write and Say a 30-60 Second Introduction

Have you attended a meeting or have been at a social gathering and someone asks: “What do you do?” One of the best ways to introduce yourself and let people get to know you, and your business is by having a unique message or self-introduction that is short and memorable.

Your self-introduction is sometimes called an “elevator speech- – a 30-60-second introduction of you. The reason is it called “an elevator speech” is that is the approximate time you have riding between floors on an elevator to talk with someone. It you met someone on an elevator who wanted to know who you are, and what you do, you only have about 30- 60 seconds until the elevator stops at the next floor to introduce yourself and let them know who you work with, or what you do, and the services/product you offer.

Your self-introduction needs to be stated in your words, that you feel comfortable telling someone who you are, whether you’re on the elevator, attending a social gathering, or attending a meeting. Your introduction lets people learn who you are and decide if they have something in common with you, as well as if they might need or know someone who needs the service/product you offer.

Your introduction should be tailored to the specific people you are meeting.

Your self-introduction is usually a couple sentences that describe a concise summary of:

1 Who you are, and what you do – -and perhaps the service or product you offer

2 why that person may need what you offer, and

3 what distinguishes you and your service or product over others that provides the same service/product.

How To Develop a Self Introduction

Keep your introduction brief. It’s an opener, not a complete description of everything you do.

Your 30-60 Second Introduction should be:

1 short

2 concise

3 relevant

4 attention grabbing

5 persuasive

6 a call to action

Your introduction may not appeal to everyone – but that’s the point. It’s a narrowly targeted message. It’s a way of “lasering” who you are and not trying to appeal to everyone you meet. This introduction when stated at networking or business meetings and social events, lets others know who you are, what you do, and decide if they want to learn more about you, and or do business with you.

Five- Step Formula for a Writing Your 30-60-Second Introduction for Business or Networking Meetings

Here is a process to develop your self introduction when attending business or networking meetings. It describes who you serve and what you help them do:

(See the example of what to say typed in blue font below each step.)

1) Name your target market. Start by stating specifically who you work with – who you serve, or what you do.

“I work with empty nesters and baby boomers and professional

2) Describe the main problem, challenge, frustration or need that they have. Describe emotions that your client experiences, by tapping into a deeper need or issue that is of real concern for them.

…who are exhausted and overwhelmed with daily routines, who are in a toxic relationship with a spouse, family, co-worker, and are feeling stressed out with their job.career….

3) Describe your solution that will reduce or solve that problem in terms that person can understand. Describe the result s/he can expect to get from working with you. Clearly define how your service or product leads to a long-lasting result or ‘bottom line’ dollar impact for your client. Use words that will be meaningful to them. State something that will help the person save time, money or solve a particular problem.

I help clients identify what personal or professional goals they want to achieve that will eliminate a problem they have.

4) Add something that is unique about your services or products – something that would differentiate your and make you stand out from your competitors. This is where you help them understand why they would choose you over others who provide a similar service. It might be a method, process, assessment or model you have developed, or specific results you have helped clients achieve.

We work together to get through this as a team and solve these problems.

5) State a call to action – Say a short sentence that requests the listener to

take action now.

Waiter Training: How to Set Up a Table – The Equipment

How to set up a table?

Here you can read what you need to set up a table, what you need to watch out for and how it is done correctly. It has very detailed information and I want to show you the procedure for a fully set table in a fine dining environment.

Setting up the tables in your restaurant fully and completely is one of the essentials and really important procedures. How do you want to welcome, seat and provide a pleasant dining experience for your guests, if the tables are not set up correctly? Without that you cannot start your service!

What do you need?

Here is the list of items you need to set up a table:

  • Proper sized table cloth, ensure it is washed, ironed and has no holes or stains
  • Fitting underlay (molton) to make the table feel soft and to avoid noises when placing anything on the table like plates, glasses, etc. Many times, restaurants are using two different kinds of table cloth (big & small) to create a nicer atmosphere, avoid noises and it can make it faster to change the table clothes, because often just the small overlay needs to be changed.
  • Iron or steamer
  • Show plate or charger
  • Cutlery, depending on the style of pre-setting. Here I like to use starter and main course cutlery to be set up. This makes it easier to adjust to your restaurant. So you need main course (meat) fork and knife as well as starter fork and knife.
  • Bread & butter plate (B&B)
  • B&B knife
  • Dessert fork or any other small fork to be used to eat the Amuse bouche (a small delicacy created by the Chef, served complimentary for guests at the very beginning of the meal). Sometimes a small spoon (coffee spoon) might be necessary instead.
  • Napkin folded accordingly to the restaurant standards, theme or style
  • Glassware, again accordingly to the restaurant set up style. In this case I like to set up a water glass/ goblet, red- and white wine glass.
  • Fresh flower or any other decoration for the table accordingly to the restaurant theme
  • Candle stand with a new candle, set by the restaurant standards

All glassware, cutlery and chinaware mentioned needs to be spotlessly clean, polished and free of watermarks. That also means, especially glassware, has to be odor free!

In addition, all equipment has to be free of any damages, chips, marks and/ or fingerprints!

How many items of each you need depends, of course, on the number of person you want to set up for. Now, we want to set up a table for two guests, sitting opposite each other, a individual free standing table with 4 chairs.

I am assuming that this table will be set up for dinner, because in that case, we need the most equipment and the service will be more sophisticated (but again, depending on the restaurant).

How to do it?

After all the equipment has been collected we can start now to set up the table. This table will be set up for 2 guests for dinner, sitting opposite each other and on a free standing table with 4 chairs.

  1. Check the table and make sure it stands stable, does not wobble (i.e. adjust the screws under the legs of the table, put a cork slice under the leg, etc, if it does wobble) and there is enough space to the next seating arrangement as well as there are no splints, holes, broken edges or other unevenness’s on the tabletop.
  2. Place the underlay (table cloth or thin rubber mat) on the tabletop. If you use a tablecloth: Handle it with care and hold it only on the edges with your finger tips. Avoid wrinkling and staining at all times. Ensure the cloth is placed centered with the same length hanging down on all sides. For the thin rubber mat: Place it centered and ensure that it lays flat without waves and wrinkles and the entire table top is covered to avoid glasses or other equipment from tipping. Also, the crease around the edges of the cloth need to face down.
  3. Put down the overlay as set by the restaurant standards. There are different styles to do that, but you need to make sure to handle the cloth carefully and touch it as less as possible to avoid here again, wrinkles and stains. It needs to be centered and hanging in equal length on all sides
  4. Iron or steam the tablecloths thoroughly to remove all remaining wrinkles on top and on the sides. Ensure the iron has a clean surface! Maybe you need to iron the cloth before putting on the table.
  5. Set the show plate (or charger) in the middle of the table, a thumbnail length away from the edge. In case you are using a second plate on top of the show plate, place it in the center of the first one. Make sure the plates are polished, shiny, clean, not damaged, chipped or broken.
  6. Setting up the cutlery is the next step. Place the main course knife on the right side of the show plate, a thumbnail away of the edge of the table and just 2-3 mm away from the show plate. The blade facing the show plate on the left side. Next to it to the right side goes the appetizer knife. The distance between both knives should not exceed 2-3 mm as well, but not touching each other. The main course fork goes on the left side of the show plate in the same way like the main course knife, just 2-3 mm away from the show plate and a thumbnail length from the table edge. The appetizer fork goes to the left of the main course fork, 2-3 mm away from each other (measured at the boldest part, the fork rakes). Both, forks and knives are set up in an exact 90 degree angle to the table edge.
  7. Placing B&B plate and knife: The plate is to be set on the left side of the appetizer fork and 5 cm away from the edge of the table (here are plenty of opinions out there of where the plate should be placed. Ask your superior, how it is done in your restaurant.) Put the B&B knife on the right side of the B&B plate (in the middle of the right half of the plate), resting on the rim and parallel to the appetizer fork.
  8. The napkin could go in the center of the show plate. Napkin placements are always depending on the form, style, folding, restaurant environment and atmosphere, but always ensure that you touch the napkins as less as possible, since your guests are most likely using it for or around their mouth.
  9. Add the glasses to the set up. There we have three glasses, one red wine glass, one white wine glass and one water glass (water goblet). The first glass you set on the table is the red wine glass, since this is the one, which will be most likely used for the main course. Put it on top of the main course knife, whereby the center of the stem is in line with the knife. How high above the knife varies with the style of the glass set up. It can be a line or a cluster. Let’s do it in a line. Adjust the distance to the main course knife so that the white wine glass can fit under it without touching any cutlery. The white wine glass goes on the right side of the red wine glass in a 45-degree angle under it. The distance between the two glasses should be as close as possible, but they should not touch each other. The thickness of a postcard is just perfect. Now, the water glass goes again in a 45-degree angle under and to the right side of the white wine glass. Most likely, this glass will be off the appetizer knife. Again, the distance between water- and white wine glass should not exceed the thickness of a postcard. In case, the set up should be a cluster. Just move the water glass on top of the wine glasses, so that it is building a triangle. The same rules for distances are applying as well.
  10. Glassware handling: Always handle glassware with care. It is better to carry less then dropping and/ or breaking them. Hold wine glasses at the stem and carry the on a try or hanging between your fingers. Never touch the glass itself, because it will leave fingerprints on it.
  11. Flowers and candles and table decoration are usually on every table. Salt & pepper are set depending on the restaurant as well as other equipment and condiments. Flower vases are either way placed in the middle or on one side of the table. It applies for candles and other deco items too. Ensure the flowers and all other equipment and condiments are fresh, clean and not damaged, chipped or broken. Also, flowers need to checked for spider webs and other bugs.

In order get a fully symmetric, clean and organized impression of the table when guests are arriving and getting seated, here some tips of how you can achieve that:

  1. Set the show plates exactly opposite each other and in the middle of the table on each side.
  2. Align the cutlery in a way, so that they are set exactly opposite as well, whereby the main course knife is aligned with the main course fork and the appetizer knife with the appetizer fork
  3. The glasses should look parallel to each other, if they are set in a line.
  4. The chairs are rounding up the entire picture. These need to be absolutely clean (sometimes they have gaps between the seat, the arm rests and the back rest; check in between!), stable and not wobbling.Adjust them in a way, so that they are in front and center of the show plates and the tablecloth is not touching the chair. Meaning the chair should not be moved under the table, but this also depends on the restaurant.
  5. At the end, have a good glance over the entire set up and ensure that all items are set properly, are clean, undamaged and in a perfect condition.

The same procedure can be applied to seating arrangements of four and more guests. Very important is always the alignment of the cutleries, show plates and glassware.

That is it for the beginning. Try it and you will see after a few times that it is not that difficult!Practice it!

Serve others and make a difference!

Your Martin

History Of Fireplace Stoves

The origin of the modern heating stove is intertwined with the history of domestic heating and cooking. From the Iron Age onwards humans, sought to cook food and heat their homes with a fire source contained within their dwelling. For ten thousand years or more the designs slowly matured to the point in the 18th century where it became obvious that the differing requirements for cooking and heating would result in the creation of appliances designed specifically with each function in mind.

A number of factors had led to this desire for ‘stand alone’ heating devices. The middle class were becoming more affluent and demanded houses that separated kitchen, sitting room and dining room. Their upwardly mobile aspirations found cooking and eating in one room unacceptable. These same ‘consumers’ also began demanding heat sources, which did not waste 80 – 90% of fuel up the chimney – they did not have the limitless budgets of the landowners. Finally, the Industrial Revolution had generated a material ideal for the construction of heating stoves – cast iron. First perfected by Abraham Darby at Coalbrookdale in the early 1700s, cast iron was the Georgian’s great construction material with all its attributes of easy manufacture, easy moulding and good thermal qualities.

In the 17th century, country gentlemen had begun to experiment with stove like designs. In fact Prince Rupert, notably the nephew of Charles I, was probably responsible for the first convector fire. However, it took another 100 years or so before we saw the work of the two real pioneers of today’s stove designs – American patriot, Benjamin Franklin and British aristocrat turned ‘Yankee rebel’ – Count Rumford. Franklin, whose scientific experiments included the dangerous habit of flying kites in thunderstorms, realised that a fuel burning unchecked in a grate imparted little heat to the room. His design employed a convection chamber, much like today’s convector fires, to ring more efficiency out of the fire. Air for this chamber was often taken from the basement adding a degree of fresh air to the room. Rumford’s contribution was less to stoves than to fires in general. He first suggested the chimney throat to control and increase flue pull. He also used a variable metal damper in the flue throat to add further control and stop down draughts when the flue was not operating.

Whilst James Bodley patented the first stove design in 1802, his design was more of a cooking stove. In fact, during much of the nineteenth century, the love showed by the British for open fires limited the demand for stoves in the UK while their demand blossomed throughout colder Continental Europe and the USA. Many also saw stoves as responsible for the serious air pollution that London suffered for 150 years from the early 1800s onwards. The early stove designs did not burn their coal with any real efficiency. They produced foul smelling and irritating fumes, which caused, it was said, ‘stove malaria’ and ‘iron cough’. Edinburgh’s nickname of ‘Auld Reekie’ dates from this era and refers to the foul smell of smoke from its myriads of open and closed coal fires.

Stoves were altogether more popular in the colder climes of Continental Europe and the newly freed American states. Scotland, with its harsh winters and readily available supplies of coal and iron proved an ideal spot for stove manufacture. The first third of the 19th century saw a number of innovators introduce stoves to the market. In 1830 Charles Portway designed and hand built his first Tortoise stove in Halstead, Essex. Charles ran an ironmongery store and when neighbouring shops saw how effective his stove was, they all wanted one. Mr Portway started a small foundry, which, by the start of the twentieth century, had produced over 100,000 stoves. Meanwhile in Norway Adelsten Onsum founded the forerunner to today’s Jtul Company, Kverner Brug, in 1853. Onsum, an entrepreneur in true Victorian style started a number of industrial companies but it was not until after he had lost control of Kverner Brug in Norway’s financial crisis of the 1880s that the name Jtul was adopted. As today the stoves were made in the newly popular cast iron and offered the previously shivering inhabitants of Norway, the chance to keep warm during the long winters at a reasonably acceptable cost. American designs tended to be less ornate and many believe that the ‘West was won’ on the back of the pot-bellied stove which heated the saloon bar and cowboy ranch alike. Many were portable and were moved west as new frontiers were opened up or from battle to battle as the Civil War took over the majority of the US land mass.

In the Black Country The Cannon Hollowware Company, later to become Cannon Industries, produced a number of stoves heated by the now-popular towns gas. The most popular was probably the Grosvenor introduced in 1895, the Grosvenor was all the rage partly because, as the advertising blurb of the day informed potential purchasers, it “comes complete with internal chambers for utilising waste heat after it (leaves) the fire”. This popular stove sold extensively in urban areas, came in two sizes and may be viewed as the forerunner of Cannon’s one hundred year involvement in gas fire production.

As the twentieth century dawned stoves were not a popular means of heating the nations living rooms. The ‘working class’ could not afford the coal to heat themselves properly, let alone ‘expensive’ stoves to improve the way the fuel burnt. The middle class within cities used gas fires while country dwellers did not like the aesthetics of these heavily decorated appliances that looked out of place in their demure houses. Among the landed gentry and new enriched, stoves were popular but not as a heating source for public rooms. Large kitchens, servant’s halls or nurseries might boast a stove but the rooms seen by visitors would include an open fire which was fed and cleaned by servants who represented 10% of the UK population in pre World War I Britain.

Throughout the first sixty years of the twentieth century stoves sold primarily to the commercial sector – to the growing numbers of offices, shops, railway waiting rooms and public buildings – together with a buoyant export trade to the Empire. Smith & Wellstood’s 1912 catalogue boasted over 200 designs (cooking ‘Kitcheners’ as well as heating stoves) with names like the Indess, The Moariess and the Sultana. Prices ranged from around 10s (50p!) and demand kept Smith & Wellstood in business right through to the 1980s. Possibly the Company’s greatest claim to fame was their cooking stoves. Captain Scott famously took some on his ill-fated trip to reach the South Pole. One was found by an American expedition in 1953. They cleaned out the ash relit it and found that it worked perfectly.

One opening for stoves came with the discovery of large deposits of anthracite in South Wales and Scotland. Immediately after World War I mine owners approached Smith & Wellstood to make a stove, which could burn anthracite. The aftermath of the war, with over one million men dead, meant that better-off households had difficulty in finding servants, and anthracite with its all-night burning and clean products of combustion required far less work than traditional designs. Smith & Wellstood produced a whole range of designs like the Jeunesse, Artesse and Francesse, which were the forerunners of modern solid fuel room heaters. In recognition the mine owners called their fuel ‘Stovesse’ – the suffix…esse being the origin of Ouzledale foundry’s well-known brand name.

Clean air legislation in 1955/56 followed the month-long smoke-induced smogs of the early 50s and curtailed any market that had existed for the solid fuel stove. For fifteen years or so there was little UK market until the quadrupling of oil prices following the Six-day Arab Israeli War of 1973. Owners of large houses had installed oil boilers during the 1960s and now could not afford to heat their properties. Primarily country dwellers, they desperately looked around for another source of heating and realised that many of them had supplies of wood available on their land. Stoves became popular and have remained so to the present day.

Induction Cooking – What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages?

While induction cooking has been popular in Europe and Australia for a number of years, this technology is just beginning to become popular in the United States. What is induction cooking? It is often referred to as heatless cooking because it does not require an open gas flame or red-hot electric coils. Instead, heat is generated by electromagnetic currents in the burners that respond to metal cooking pots and pans. When you cook on an induction cooktop, only the pan and food contained within it become hot. As soon as the pot or pan is removed from the burner, the cooktop surface becomes almost cool to the touch.

Advantages of Induction Cooking

Efficiency. The biggest difference between induction cooking and other methods is where the heat is actually generated. Gas and electric stovetops produce heat on a burner. This heat is then transferred to a cooking pan and then its contents. In contrast, induction stove tops generate heat in the vessel. There is no transfer from the burner to the pan. Thus there is virtually no wasted heat. According to studies, induction cooking is about 90% efficient, compared to electric and gas cooking that have 47% and 40% energy efficiency rating respectively.

Safety. Safety is a major selling point. With induction cooking, the burners stay cool (room temperature), eliminating the worry of burning your hands, using hot pads, or dangerous fumes being admitted into the air.

Time-saving. Induction cooktops achieve extremely high temperatures in a short period of time. During the cooking process, any adjustments to the heat are precise and almost instantaneous. Gas heat is fairly precise as well, but it takes longer for the burners to heat the pan to the initial temperature.

Comfort. Induction burners won’t heat up your kitchen. This appeals to chefs, caterers, and even home cooks.

Convenience. Food spills and boil-overs aren’t burned on to the stove and are easily wiped off. Most stove-tops are either easy-to-clean glass or ceramic. In addition, you can leave the pot on the burner after cooking without having to worry about excess heat burning your food.

Drawbacks of Induction Cooking

Cost. Typically, induction cookware is more expensive than gas or electric ranges, often starting at about $1,500. If you cooked with gas prior to switching to induction, you may need to rewire your kitchen to accommodate the 240 volts required for most induction cooktops.

Special cookware. For your pan to conduct energy, it must be magnetic. Induction can heat food only through pans made of steel or iron. You can test your cookware to see if it is compatible by passing a magnet across the pan. If the magnet sticks to the pan, the pan will work. Not all stainless steel cookware is compatible with induction cooking.

Availability. Induction cooking in the United States is still a relatively new concept. Therefore, induction ranges are not as widely available as their gas and electric counterparts. As the demand for induction cooktops increases, prices should begin to fall.

Waterless Induction Cookware

World’s Finest 7-Ply Steam Control KT17ULTRA Waterless Stainless Steel Cookware Set by Maxam offers inexperienced cooks and novices alike the best of all worlds. The waterless aspect makes it possible to cook healthy, nutritional meals for your family. Secondly, this set also allows you to experience the convenience of induction cooking. The KT17ULTRA set is constructed of 304 surgical stainless steel and carbon steel. Carbon steel is a metal manufactured from the elements iron and carbon. Carbon provides hardness and strength. This heavy-duty set was constructed specifically for induction cooktops and is guaranteed to last a lifetime. Its composition makes it slightly heavier than our other waterless sets. The 7-ply construction (including a layer of carbon steel sandwiched between layers of stainless steel) spreads the heat quickly and evenly. The steam control valve makes “waterless” cooking easy and healthier because it eliminates the need for grease or oil in cooking. This 17 piece set includes several saucepans, and lids, a roaster, skillet, double boiler, and even egg poaching cups.

If you are looking for the perfect set to combine the benefits of waterless and induction cooking, this set is ideal. Consider the purchase of waterless cookware an investment in your family’s health. If you have more questions about waterless cookware, induction cookware or waterless cooking or you are just looking for healthy recipes to prepare for your family, check out our site– The Gourmets Cookware.

Graphite and Its Effects on the Human Body and Tool Room Equipment

The health and welfare of toolmakers that use graphite to make electrodes for use the EDM machining of molds should be a high priority for management. In addition to the health issues for the workers, the very expensive machinery, such as the EDM machines and milling machines, must be protected from the damaging effects of graphite dust. EDM and injection molding are inseparably linked in the manufacturing process of plastic products.

Anyone who has worked with graphite in the manufacturing of EDM electrodes is keenly aware of the need for proper dust removal during the machining process. Many ill-equipped shops have very little equipment to handle the dust generated during milling and grinding operations.

Safety

The MSDS (material safety data sheet) for the synthetic graphite used in EDM show that there are no carcinogenic properties associated with graphite. It is a chemically inert material and contains no volatile components. It is also used for medical purposes, such as implants and heart valves in the human body.

This is not to say that graphite is totally harmless though. It can be very irritating to the skin, eyes, and nasal passages. It can cause stinging, redness and watering of the eyes, and itching of the skin. This can be a very annoying experience when a toolmaker is expected to produce a close-tolerance electrode with a fine finish.

Controlling the Dust

The simple but very ineffective solution is to wear particle masks. Experience shows that this stop-gap measure is a failure. The mask soon is clogged with the fine dust and the operator is left breathing a disgusting blend of bad-breath and graphite dust!

Portable vacuums are the next best solution, but this also has many drawbacks. Often the filter in the portable shop vacuum is not fine enough to trap the microscopic sized particles, and they are simply blown back into the air. Also, because the vacuum hose is often cumbersome to manipulate, operators fail to properly align the hose to capture the most dust.

Many shops use a centralized vacuum system designed for the removal of fine dust particles, such as graphite. It is important to have enough air velocity in the vacuum system to be effective. It is recommended to have an air velocity of 500 ft. per minute and the air in the lines should travel at a rate of 2,000 ft. per minute in order to prevent the dust from settling inside the duct work.

With a centralized system it is much easier to efficiently manage the dust from the various machine tools because the system is more efficient and the hoses can be strategically placed. Special wheel guards are available for surface grinders that act as a turbo to remove the dust into the vacuum system.

Newer milling machines which are more or less dedicated to electrode machining are equipped with extremely effective dust removal systems. The sealed chamber around the work area enables the vacuum to capture a high percentage of the dust. This development has dramatically reduced the amount of graphite dust in the shop environment.

An additional method of dust removal is the use of a curtain of coolant surrounding the milling cutter. This prevents the dust from ever escaping and is very efficient. This feature is available on some milling machines as well as an accessory that is easily installed.

A Clean Shop Environment

Graphite dust is highly conductive and has been responsible for the damage of many expensive tools and machines. Glass scales can give false measurements due to the settling of dust. Electronic equipment can be short-circuited by the dust as well. The grimy nature of graphite makes it especially annoying if it accumulates on work-benches and desks.

It is in the best interest of everyone to make every effort of maintain a clean and pleasant atmosphere in a moldmaking or EDM shop. The toolmakers will be happier, the work will be better and the machinery will perform as it should. It is also very impressive to visitors to see a clean, dust-free shop.

Top 10 Ways to Gauge Your Fitness

It may be difficult to measure your fitness level if you wish to understand how healthy you are, or if you are starting a new workout regimen. Everyone’s fitness level is different, and are personally based on factors in a few different categories including aerobic fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility and body composition. Fitness is more than how fast or long you can run, how much weight you can lift or what your body looks like in a bathing suit. If you want to know how healthy and fit your body is, try assessing your fitness level with these tests:

Resting Heart Rate (RHR)– Your resting heart rate can be a good, simple indication of your overall fitness level. The number of times your heart beats each minute, asses your aerobic fitness capacity. When your body is at rest and relaxed, count the number of heart beats you feel in a 60 second time period. A lower RHR corresponds to a stronger cardiovascular system and higher aerobic fitness level.

1 Mile Run (or brisk walk)– This test indicates the level your cardiovascular fitness is at. Using a flat and measurable route, see how long it takes you to complete 1 mile running, or if you have to, walking quickly. If you don’t get winded or dizzy you are in a good fitness position; if you do, you need to work on improving your cardiovascular fitness. Ideally, you should be able to complete one mile in 9 minutes or less.

Push Ups– Push ups are a great exercise for overall fitness, and can be a good indicator of upper body strength and endurance levels. There are many people that have trouble performing even one proper push-up. This exercise involves the shoulders, chest, triceps, abdominals and some legs, and are a great way to asses your upper body fitness. See how many you can do in row; women should aim for 12 and men should aim for 20.

Wall Sit– This exercise is used to asses lower body and leg strength and endurance. “Sitting” in an invisible chair with your back up against a wall for as long as possible, is a good way to gauge your lower body fitness, as well as the endurance in your leg muscles. With your knees at a right angle, breathe freely while seeing how long you can hold the position.

Flexibility– Fitness is also a measure of how flexible your body is. To asses flexibility, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out, and then try to reach and touch your toes. If you can’t touch your toes this does not mean you are not fit, many people can’t reach this far. However, you definitely need to work on this area of fitness if you can’t reach much further than your knees. Flexibility is important to overall health, so work on stretching each day to improve flexibility and fitness.

Balance– Like flexibility, balance is also an important factor in good fitness. An overall healthy body relies heavily on being well balanced, and the risk or injury and broken bones from falls increases drastically with age. To asses your fitness level in this area, try standing on one foot with your arms at your sides for a period of one minute. If you feel as if you may fall, stand close to a wall, table or chair. Work on improving fitness levels in balance, try practicing exercises that focus on and promote good balance like yoga or Pilates.

Plank– This is a great exercise to asses your core strength and stability. Your fitness level relies on those deep, stabilizing muscles that are in the trunk of your body. Your core strength and fitness can be assessed by practicing holding the plank position for as long as you can. Proper planks are held with the forearms on the floor, toes curled under, and your back straight and parallel to the floor. Doing this exercise each day will increase core muscles and overall fitness.

Vertical Jump– As kids, this part of our fitness level was certainly up to par, and used often. However, when you get older it is a much looked over part of overall health that can indicate the power exertion your body possesses as well as the power in your muscle fibers. See how high you can jump with markings on a wall or a 2-foot tall box.

Waist to Hip Ratio– This fitness test is used to asses body fat distribution. The waist to hip ratio indicates the proportion of fat stored around the waist compared to hip girth. Those who hold more weight in their midsection as belly fat, are more likely to experience health problems like heart disease and diabetes, as well as a lower fitness level. To calculate your waist to hip ratio, measure the circumference of the widest part of your hips, and smallest part of your waist. Then divide the waist measurement by the measurement of your hips. For women, a healthy ratio is less than .8, and for men it’s less than .9.

Burpees– This full body exercise is a good way to indicate your fitness level if you can do even a few in a row. A burpee is an intense workout that challenges your muscular fitness, cardiovascular fitness, endurance and body power. Perform as many as possible in one minute to really test and push your fitness level.

Five Step Plan For Solving Math Word Problems

One of most dreaded assignments students have in math is solving word problems. If ever a student leaves out a question on an exam, you can be sure it would be a word problem. Part of the reason for this is the student often has difficulty in deciding what steps to take to analyze and understand what the problem is about.

No matter what level of math, I have found the following method to be very successful when solving word problems. I call it the Five Step Plan. As a teacher of high school math, I insisted my students use this Five Step Plan to solve word problems. When grading their homework or marking an exam paper, I would assign five marks for a word problem. If students just gave me the correct answer without following the Five Step Plan, they would only receive one point for their answer. Students who followed the Five Step Plan could get up to four points out of five, even if they got the wrong answer to the problem.

What is this plan for solving math word problems? Here is a chart I would put on the board when teaching this strategy to my students.

Five Step Plan

a)? b) X = c) Equation d) Find x. e) Answer part a).

Part a): The students have to write down what they are asking you to find in the word problem. Usually this could be found in the sentence containing the question mark. If the question was stated as a command, for example, ‘Find the number.’ That would become the question to be written in part a).

Part b): In part b) the students had to list what information they were given and assign a variable to the items that were unknown. Included in this section would be a list of items and one of them would be equal to x.

Part c): Part c) is the algebraic equation that is needed to solve for x. Writing the correct equation was often the hardest part of this exercise, but with practice, students became better at identifying the equation to be used. Often it only required the student to translate an English sentence into a math sentence. The verb in an English sentence is equivalent to the equal sign in an equation. The left hand side of the equation comes from all the words in the sentence that appear before the verb. I would instruct the students to write that information down first and then put the equal sign. All the words in the sentence after the verb were transcribed into an algebraic expression and placed on the right hand side of the equation.

Part d): Students would then use the equation that they constructed in part c) and solve the equation for x. This part of the plan requires students to know how to solve various types of equations.

Part e): Using the value for x that they found in part d), students then used that information to answer the question asked in part a). Often finding the value of x is not the answer to the word problem. Students need to check with part b) to see what the x stood for and then use it to answer the question. Students were required to write part e) in a full sentence.

Here is an example of a pre-algebra level word problem using the Five Step Plan.

Example: A number multiplied by six is four more than four times the number. Find the number.

Answer: a) Find the number. b) Let x = the number c) 6x = 4x + 4 d) 2x = 4

x = 2 e) The number is 2.

Here is another example.

The sum of three consecutive even numbers is 36. What is the second number?

Answer: a) What is the second even consecutive number? b) 1st number = x

2nd number = x + 2

3rd number = x + 4 c) x + x + 2 + x + 4 = 36 d) 3x + 6 = 36

3x = 30

x = 10 e) The second number is 12.

No matter what level of math – pre- algebra, algebra I, algebra II, pre-calculus, calculus, trigonometry, or statistics, using the Five Step Plan helps students to discover exactly what information is given and what they need to find in order to answer a word problem. Often using a diagram can help to identify the variables needed in part b). Once part b) is down on paper, then writing the equation becomes much easier and students can use their equation solving skills to find the answer to the word problem.

A Closer Look at Two Chefman Coffee Maker Models

Chefman produces a variety of kitchen appliances, including toasters, hand mixers, and several models of coffee makers. The Chefman product line of coffee makers is not a particularly large one however. Their latest models, the ones you are most apt to find in the stores, are the Chefman 4 Cup Switch Coffee Machine and the Chefman My Barista Single Serve Coffee Maker. Both have their pros and cons, and it both instances it is fair to say you will get what you pay for.

The Chefman 4 Cup Switch Coffee Machine

If you are looking for an inexpensive coffee maker, Chefman’s 4 Cup Switch model can be a decent choice. It cannot be said to produce great coffee, which would be asking a lot for a product selling for just under $30, and it is therefore not an appliance you would want to give as a gift to a true coffee aficionado. It does brew up to 4 cups of good-tasting coffee however.

This particular model runs the gamut from one to five stars in the ratings game, with the cons slightly outnumbering the pros. The primary reason is threefold, the water takes longer to heat up than is the case with most comparable coffee makers, the water is not as hot as some would like it to be to bring out the best flavor, and the carafe has a tendency to drip and spill.

It is probably worth noting that there are a number of brands and models on the market that produce an excellent brew, but the carafe is poorly designed or has a tendency to spill. In other words, the Chefman 4 Cup model has some company.

What this coffee maker definitely has going for it is the price. The Keep-Hot warming plate is a nice feature too, as is the reusable filter. If you should have a problem with the machine itself, it is backed up by a 3-year warranty and Chefman’s customer service has a good reputation. In this price range however, Black and Decker or Mr. Coffee might be better choices.

Chefman My Barista Single Serve Coffee Maker

If more coffee making companies could put the same quality into their multi-cup machines as they manage put into their single cup machines, this would be a happier coffee-drinking world. Some do of course, but the simple fact is, most single serve coffee makers make better tasting coffee than do their multi-cup cousins. This is definitely true with Chefman’s My Barista model.

First of all, My Barista is attractive, if not downright cute! It is fast. It could well be the fastest single cup server on the market, as it takes only about 15 or 20 seconds to start filling your cup or mug. It is also a very quiet little appliance.

The My Barista can brew a cup of coffee from grounds or from a K-Cup. The Q-cup is recommended if you want to get the very best taste. The K-cup holder is removable for brewing a cup from grounds. The My Barista will accept both 8 oz. and 10 oz. cups, but not all mugs will fit. Tea can be brewed as well.

The single-serve My Barista is on an equal footing with its Keurig and Bunn counterparts as far as the brew it produces is concerned, and since it sells at about half the price, it can be a better choice. Curiously, this single serve maker has only a 1-year warranty, whereas the 4-cup model, which more cheaply made and more trouble prone, has a 3-year warranty. Perhaps its small size and extreme portability has something to do with it.

The Chefman single-serve My Barista is a great buy, but as far as the Chefman 4-cup model is concerned, look to Mr. Coffee or Cuisinart.