Should You Use Marble Tile Flooring For Your Front Porch?

Marble floor tiles are generally the choice for homeowners who want an elegant, glossy add-on to their home flooring requirements. Marble floor tiles are certainly not a cheap option for homeowners, and they do have a long way to go before they become as common as wood parquet or vinyl floor tiles.

However, one good reason for utilizing marble in exterior or interior home use is that marble has the best all round value for money, design, durability and enduring style, according to interior designers, engineers and home decorators. This type of stone has been a staple for good quality construction and design, and used on opulent homes, front porches and court yards for centuries.

Marble tiles are not just being used on the floors though. Some have installed beautiful cast-iron fireplaces which have a classic style marble mantle, The contrast between the rustic design and nature of a house and the old-world allure of marble floor tiles gives a distinctively elegant feel to it, and adds up to relaxing, formal feel to any home.

Marble floor tiles are not only considered appealing to the senses, but they also have general health benefits. The dense surface of the marble tile does not have pores that allow allergy-inducing irritants to gain a foothold, in contrast with some types of wood, rugs and carpets.

Marble floor tiles are considered easy to clean, they can be quickly washed with a single sweep of a mop. Because of this, marble floors make for a perfect quality flooring both indoor or outdoor and requires basically little maintenance, and still does not fail to show off a constant, natural sheen.

Marble tile surfaces could also be easily treated with disinfectants that work best on hard surfaces. Interior design consultants find it better having sanitary marble floor tiles as opposed to wood flooring in kitchens and bathroom areas. Marble tiles are also advisable fort use in entry ways, since this areas are often filled with dirt and germs as people come and go.

It is unwise to think that marble tiles could just be used indoors. These types could be considered ideal patio coverings and for use in front-porch stoops. One can permanently match the marble tile to precast concrete walking pads to create wonderfully crafted garden stepping stones. However, should one decide to use marbles floor tiles outdoors, it is advisable for one to check if these tiles meet standard slip-resistance requirements, since exterior tiles have surface textures that allow them to be slip- resistant.

Reputable tile providers often produce special outdoor tiles that have a slightly gritty, semi-coarse surfaces, even though the tile is glazed. The invisible grit surface provides excellent traction when the tile becomes wet. In order to be used outdoors,the marble tile must be frost-proof and unglazed for floor use, and the moisture absorption rate should be around 0.5% or less.

It is advisable that slip-resistant tiles be used outside in areas exposed to the elements such as heat, moist and rain, or around swimming pools. Exterior tiles are generally rated to indicate their particular slip-resistance modes. It would be prudent to keep in mind that there would always be a trade-off between slip resistance and maintenance and cleaning, since slip-resistant tiles will accumulate more dirt and will generally need more caring and constant upkeep.

Marble Tile –

Hubby Kayak Foot Pump – Best Choice For Keeping Your Kayak Dry

Kayaking is fun especially if you do it to break free from the routine and usual work of everyday tasks. Yet, it would be much more fun if you use a Hubby Kayak foot Pump. Yes, you and your kayak can stay dry and yet enjoy water.

History of Hubby foot pump:

The discoverer of this foot ump, hubby Sandberg has an extensive knowledge and experience of 30 years in river and sprint paddling. His designs skill goes back as far as 1983 when he designed the first successful South African river kayak, the Tiger. All this has equipped him with the knowledge and feel for developing the complete pump system.

About the Hubby Kayak, foot pump:

There was no pump system available for kayaks that worked satisfactory, Hubby Sandberg has developed after lots of research and testing a self- contained pump system. These pumps are available in two sizes.

1. K1 pump is capable of pumping 4.5 litres of water per minute and the inflation for the K1 measures 120mm.

2. K2 pump is capable of pumping 5 litres of water per minute and inflation for K2 measures 140mm.

Each pump consists of:

1. Two inflation (one under each foot)

2. Have two inlet and two outlet valves.

3. It has tubing suction and outlet grommets.

4. Have stainless steel screws.

5. It has bolt, nuts and instruction sheet.

6. The pumps are mounted on two very sturdy nylon brackets that also support the valves.

7. The pump is lightweight and pumps are guaranteed.

8. The non- return valves are nylon injected with a neoprene ball attached to a high quality stainless steel spring.

9. The valves do not block as they are self cleaning in use.

These are the most efficient kayak pumps on the market as they work continuously with the paddle motion, therefore keeping the kayak dry all the time. This Is indeed the best pump available internationally.

Service Industry Lean Manufacturing – Implementation Guide

Non-manufacturing industries have not embraced lean manufacturing to the same extent as those producing a product. Some service industries have found the same principles apply, although the use of lean manufacturing tools is different.

For example, a value added analysis is just as easily conducted with a worker talking on the telephone as someone using one.

The 5S tool can be used to organize the surroundings in the telemarketing office. All materials the telemarketer uses should be organized and within reach without having leave the area. This 5S organization enables the telemarketer to continuously utilize any material in front of them as well as keep an eye on a computer.

The same SMED tools can be used with a administrative assistant as a machine operator. The process map and movement will show the waste in each. The assistant’s travel shows the motion waste. The waiting waste is often huge in any white collar or service job. For example, the waste from waiting on a colleague, manager, supplier, or anyone else can be eliminated. There are ways to minimize it by removing the root cause as well as finding activities to fill the time. These activities should be of short duration, such as data entry, filing, or printing.

Line balancing is easy in a service environment. The key is flexibility. For example, two tellers at a bank may be required 6 out of 8 hours per day, but the trained lean expert or industrial engineer is required to notice it. The additional two hours of waste comes in buckets of 1-2 minutes throughout the day. Again, this time must be filled with value added activities in a standard work format. If the job isn’t standardized, the two individuals may absorb the time and appear 100% busy. There are many other instances where job combinations are obvious.

The value stream map is an excellent tool for service industries. Rather than the traditional macro level view of the system, the value stream map can be used in a department or area of the business. An example would be the service desk at a department store. Begin with the information flow and trigger for activity, which might be a customer. Break the map into various segments showing the few activities that comprise 90% of the work, such as returned goods, request for information, or complaints. Standardized Operations should be utilized for returned goods to minimize motion and waiting, such as a decision flow diagram. If the manager is called a large percentage of the time, the decision flow diagram needs improved. Obviously the 5S and SMED tools are also relevant, as well as root cause problem solving to eliminate the complaints.

Service industries often use kanbans without knowing it, such as ordering supplies. The same pull systems can be used in service industries as the manufacturing sector. The supply distribution center is one obvious example. Inventory waste can be eliminated using pull systems beginning with the end downstream customer.

When implementing lean manufacturing in a service industry, it is important to tailor the training to the business. Most SMED (single minute exchange of die) training is developed using examples of setup activities for equipment. It is easier for people to understand and see the waste in their processes when the training has obvious applicability.

One of the best long term lean manufacturing tools to apply in a service industry is the kaizen event. Kaizen means “incremental improvement” in Japanese. The kaizen team is comprised of a cross functional team developed to quickly and substantially improve a business issue. For example, a kaizen might be developed to reduce hospital check in time for testing. The team might include the individuals conducting the check-in, a nurse, manager, an IT representative, and a couple customers. If the average check in time is 35 minutes (the elapsed time from walking into the building until seated in a private room), the kaizen objective might be to reduce the check in time to 20 minutes within 5 days.

Cellular manufacturing can be used in many service businesses. Rather than placing individual pieces of equipment such as the postage meter, copier, fax, and file drawer throughout the area for everyone to use (and wait on), consider placing these items together in a U shaped cell to minimize movement.

The “One Piece Flow” concept is a great tool for processing items such as quotes, bills, or mail pieces. For example, if four people must review a quote, and the first person processes 500 prior to moving to the second individual, and so on, the cycle time is going to be very long. Also, if the fourth person notices a mistake the other three missed, all 500 are bad and much labor was spent unnecessarily. Moving the piece in a flow of “one” or in small batches minimizes the error cost and reduces cycle time.

Service industries have a terrific opportunity to reduce waste. Sometimes it is simple and obvious, while other times it takes the same creativity as in the factory.

Why Do Helicopters Hover One Skid Low?

I have been asked a lot times why helicopters hover with one skid low. Helicopters with a counter clockwise rotating rotor system hover left skid low and helicopters with a clockwise rotating rotor system hover right skid low.

Now there are two factors to consider in order to explain this phenomenon. The first one is what we call translating tendency or tail rotor drift. This factor causes a sideways pull on the fuselage of the helicopter and in the case of a counter clockwise rotating rotor system this pull will be to the right. To explain it very briefly it is the result of the tail rotor force acting at the tip of the tail boom counter acting the torque reaction which wants to rotate the fuselage clockwise.

In order to counter this sideways pull results in the second factor this is tail rotor roll. To counter the sideway movement to the right the cyclic needs to be positioned slightly to the left which will tilt the Total Rotor Thrust to the left thereby inducing a horizontal component of Total Rotor Thrust to the left acting on the same level as the plane of rotation.

Now normally in small helicopters the tail rotor which produces a force to the right when viewing the helicopter from the back acts below the plane of rotation. This force which counter act the torque reaction forms a couple with the horizontal force to the left which was the result of tilting the cyclic (Total Rotor Thrust) to the left. To put it a bit simpler imagine a horizontal line with one force acting to the left and above the line and another force acting to the right and below the line. The two forces acting against each other and not on the same line will produce a rolling moment.

As I mentioned this is just a brief explanation for a not so straight forward aerodynamic principle.

One last comment when it comes to tail rotor roll is that it is most prominent during the hover off course because it is related to the amount of torque that the helicopter develops. That is why a counter clockwise rotating helicopter tends to drift to the right as it transitions from forward flight back to the hover because power or torque is slowly applied as the speed decreases.

Caravan TV Brackets – Tips To Install a Caravan TV Bracket

It’s fun to use TV brackets in a motor-home or caravan. It may be little different to mount a TV in a motor-home or caravan. Because they are made of different materials as those of our normal homes.

Motor-homes needs more care to install a mounting bracket. Although all manufacturers provide an installation kit with caravan or motor-home TV mounts, but as a user, following information may be helpful to successfully mount a TV in your caravan.

Motor-homes are manufactured with wooden or polymer walls. So it will become difficult to mount a bracket on these walls with ordinary screws.

Check the surface or place where you want to fix the TV bracket. Using normal screws to mount it will not be safe. A better solution is to mount your TV with nut and bolts. Install a metal plate to hold the nut bolts on either side of the wall.

Another good location to mount your TV bracket in a caravan could be the cupboard. You can use an “under cupboard TV bracket” or “Stowaway TV bracket” to get rid of wall surface/material problems. Under cupboard brackets will enable you to mount and fix the bracket firmly, avoiding any damage or breakage due to vibrations.

There are two types of caravan brackets available in the market. One with a thin fixing plate and other with a thick fixing plate. You can decide either of these fixing plates which better suits your needs.

Caravan or motor-home brackets generally manufactured with high profiles. They can swivel and rotate, have arms which can be extended and folded back to wall. These features will give you more flexibility and entertainment as well as a choice to arrange your TV with other furniture in the caravan.

Check the VESA standard of your TV and choose the right bracket accordingly. Check that a best TV for a caravan, should be, not more then 15 kg of weight. Some manufacturers claim a weight up to 20 kg. Heavy TV sets needs more secure fixtures. So carefully check the maximum weight a caravan TV bracket can hold.

France: Long Stay Visa Planning

We have a gift of time.

My husband and I are both jobless for the first time since the 1980’s (you can do the math). The obvious and logical choice for most people would be to hit the pavement and search for new gainful employment. We are in the fortunate position that we do not need to worry about young dependents, read “children.” We are also lucky to have very healthy parents.

So why not? What are we waiting for? Why are we working? What better way to celebrate by taking some well deserved time off than to travel? These were all used in my heavy negotiating phase. I am lucky enough to have a husband who is willing to try new things and frankly “go along for the ride.” So the planning began back in June and the list was very long. The most important thing was the visa application to allow for an extended stay in the country (anything over 90 days requires a visa).

Several years ago, I worked in France and nothing has changed, if there is one thing the French love it is paperwork. There is no better way to emphasize the national love for bureaucracy than a lengthy visa application. The process for an extended stay (visa de long séjour) is 15 steps long, and is clearly not for the faint of heart. You need to commit to gathering all of the following (and more) in original and photocopy versions; police clearance, finger printing, photos, insurance, copies of your bank balance, promises not to work, seek unemployment insurance or get sick. Unless you are incredibly organized, it is no small feat to gather the documentation. Once you have all the documentation together, you need to physically go to Vancouver (or your closest consulate location) for a face-to-face interview, and to hand over the documents in person.

The documents for the long stay visa application requires all of the following (NOTE: verify exact requirements as the process is constantly flux):

  1. Passport valid at least three months after the expiry date of the visa + 1 set of photocopies of the main pages (photo, validity date, visas…)
  2. Long Stay visa application form duly filled out and signed + 2 recent and identical photos
  3. Per child: 1 Long Stay visa application form duly filled out and signed + 2 recent and identical photos
  4. Office Francaise de L’immigration et L’integration form completed
  5. Any document supporting your status in Canada and allowing your re-entry: Canadian Long Form birth certificate, Canadian citizenship card, permanent resident card (to be photocopied both sides), valid Canadian visa… + 1 photocopy
  6. Proof of means of income for the entire length of your stay in France: last 3 months bank statement showing your name and balance, last Notice of Assessment (NOA)… + 1 photocopy
  7. Letter under oath stating not to engage in any work + 1 photocopy
  8. Documents supporting your socio-professional status in Canada: recent letter of the employer (with position, record of employment, salary, vacation), last 3 pay stubs, Business Registration if you are self employed… + 1 photocopy
  9. RCMP Police clearance + 1 photocopy
  10. Questionnaire (visa long sejour visiteur) completed in French + 1 photocopy
  11. Proof of residency in France such as a lease, a title of property, etc + 1 photocopy.
  12. Proof of enrolment at a French school for children aged 6 to 16.

If the visa is granted:

The travel medical insurance is valid for the entire length of your stay in all the Schengen zone and covers all medical expenses such as medicine, hospitalization, repatriation with a minimum coverage of 50,000 CAD + 1 photocopy

We had to travel to Vancouver to complete our visa process. That included two return flights and a hotel room, to make sure we did not miss the appointed time. We arrived in advance of our scheduled appointment. The entry door is imposing and does cause a moment of reflection before you hit the buzzer and stumble through your greeting in French. After entry you are requested to hand over your precious stack of documents to a security guard. In our case, he rifled through our documents in a very officious manner. He removed paperclips, staples and rearranged the order. Frankly, after months of painstakingly gathering the documents it felt like a violation.

Then we were asked to wait. The next few minutes were painful as you are clearly on CCTV they have all of your most precious documents and at this stage you are not in control. We amused ourselves and passed the time by reading a French/English dictionary. We were called up to the next window and asked for proof related to our documents, this included:

  1. More photos
  2. More fingerprints
  3. The application fee

With that, we had 30 minutes to get to the bank (for updated statements) and the post office (prepaid envelope) before the office 12:30pm closing time. We made it!

I had decided long ago, it took my hubby a bit of time to catch on, that Jade our black lab would also benefit from some French food, and she may be able to pick up the odd word too. So this is proof of the fact that the French love their pets more than people, and certainly more than tourists. Jade’s application process had two steps and does not require a visit to the consular office.

Despite a bit of an onerous process a long stay in France is worth every ounce of effort. We are enjoying the food, the wine, new friends and lots of new adventures. We are making the best of our “gift of time.”

Charles Bridge Is The Heart Of Prague

Charles Bridge is a famous historical bridge that crosses the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic. Charles Bridge is a stone Gothic bridge which is a really at the heart of Prague both physically and mentally. It is the connection between the Castle side of the river and the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. It is a constant hub of activity and except early and late is filled with tourists, vendors, artists, craftsmen, musicians and wonderful statues.
The bridge construction was begun under Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King Charles IV in 1357. It was done under the charge of Petr Paler who also did the St. Vitus Cathedral at the castle. It is said that egg yolks were mixed with the mortar to strengthen the construction. The initial idea was to build a functional construction for knight tournaments, and for many years the only decoration on the bridge was a simple crucifix.

Later, the Catholic desire for ornamentation resulted in 30 statues being erected between 1600 and 1800. The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 m wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side.

As peaceful and romantic it may seem, the Vtlava River has not always been as calm as it looks today. Its fury, combined with the power of heavy rains have many times flooded and destroyed the bridges and Prague hotels people built over it what happened several years ago. Charles Bridge is no exception. It has many times been the victim of floods and natural or human created calamities.

Charles Bridge is on the top of every Prague visitor's must-see list. It is also popular with Czech artists, musicians and souvenir vendors whose stands line both sides of the bridge year-round. You can enjoy seeing Charles bridge from the window of some Prague hotel. A great time of day to come to the bridge is at sunset when one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the fully lit Prague Castle against the evening sky. The bridge is now a pedestrian zone (although both tram and car traffic were allowed there in the past) and is almost constantly filled with people.

Charles Bridge and other fascinating sights have made Prague one of the most beautiful cities in the world and today tourism is a major force. That is why Prague has a vast selection of Prague hotel, hostels and pensions. With modern technology (see Internet bookings) and more and more specialized travel agencies' market, Prague is now able to please any tourist with any budget limit, from the most exigent top business traveler to back-packers.

I think most visitors who have walked on Charles Bridge will agree that this part of Prague's attraction remains their most memorable image of the city. I do not think you need a guided excursion to Charles Bridge. Just go free and easy, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. One good suggestion – Try to be there early in the morning just when the sun rises (the crowd has not flooded in yet), or late afternoon when the sun goes down. It is the best time to play with your camera.

How to Assemble Log Furniture

Many customers or potential customers are fearful of how much work it will be to assemble their log furniture once it is purchased. Hopefully this article will help to clear up some of the questions that naturally arise.

While assembly instructions vary between log furniture manufacturers, there are many similarities as well. Following is an overview that should give you a better idea what is involved:

Dressers, Chests, Night Stands and Armoires

Most rustic cased goods, such as dressers, chests, night stands and armoires require very little assembly at all. As a general rule we take off doors and drawer handles to avoid damage during shipping, as they tend to protrude and be at risk.

There are holes in the drawer fronts or doors, and screws are included, so for these items it is simply a matter of placing the wood furniture handle over the holes, inserting the screws through the door or drawer into the hole, and tightening things up.

Amish Low Post Log Beds

Most of the Amish manufacturers like to assemble the headboards on the log beds themselves. Sometimes we ask them to leave the four corner legs off for ease in shipping, as the beds can be somewhat massive and making them smaller helps save on shipping cost.

All of the Amish furniture makers I know use Gorilla Glue, which is an incredibly strong glue. Once they glue the headboard, you might as well forget trying to take it apart. I know people who have tried to take them apart, and broken a piece of the bed instead.

So as a general rule, Amish headboards and footboards come completely assembled. At the very minimum, the ladder portion that goes across between the two posts is already assembled and glued. If the posts are not attached, you have to plug the two horizontal ladder portions of the bed (headboard and footboard) into the four corner posts.

Amish beds are generally 100% wood.

That means the mattress and box springs are supported by a wood frame. As a general rule, two logs run down the side of each bed, at the base of the box springs. These logs are plugged into the headboard and footboard at each end. The bottom of these two logs has holes drilled for three “cross logs” which go across and support the bed. The middle cross log, on most Amish beds, has a little log piece which goes down to the floor to offer a higher degree of support.

So there you have it. If you’ve never seen an Amish bed frame before, you might have to look at those logs for a minute to figure it out. But once you understand, it’s really pretty straightforward. You will want a screwdriver, as you will want to drive some 2 ½ inch wood screws near where the log ends, or “chucks” as they are called, plug into their appointed holes.

This secures the entire frame, and, together with the heavy dollop of Guerilla glue already administered by the Amish, makes it even stronger. A rubber mallet also comes in pretty handy at times, to tap an ornery piece of wood into place. But you can use a regular hammer, if you protect the wood by putting a book or something in between.

Low Post Log Beds with Metal Frames

Assembly of low post log beds with metal frames is even easier. Generally the ladder portions come pre-assembled, so all you have to do is plug the “chucks” into the four corner posts and drive in the wood screws provided to secure them. Most or our beds with metal frames have pre-installed lag bolts on the headboard and footboard logs. You simply take the metal frame and hook it over the lag bolts on each, then fasten the nuts to secure the bed.

Log beds with metal frames are very sturdy and probably a bit easier to assemble then the 100% log beds. They also take a little less room sideways, as they don’t have the log side rails on the side. You can get decorative log side rails to fasten over the metal bed frame, if having a bed frame showing bothers you. You can also cover up the metal bed frame with a skirt, and it will not show when the bed is made anyway.

Assembly of Canopy Log Beds

Assembling a canopy log bed is a bit more challenging than the others, simply because of the height and size of the logs. This is definitely a two person job – I know some pretty mechanically minded men who tried to do one by themselves and really had quite a time. It doesn’t matter how handy you are, you need someone to hold one post while you are working on another! Other than that it really isn’t too hard.

There are simply logs to plug into the top part as well as the bottom, and actually, it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of people to help hold the parts as you fasten the screws.

If I Can Do It…

I am not known for being mechanical or handy, but I put together a low post log bed with a metal frame in less than ½ hour with the help of my 11-year-old son. So if you are mechanically challenged, it really is not so bad.

But if a log bed is what you have always hoped for but you really are overwhelmed by the thought of putting it together, why not make some chocolate chip cookies for one of your screwdriver-wielding friends and let them give you a hand. In my humble opinion, however, putting a log bed together is not nearly as hard as some other assembly projects I have tackled. So get out your screwdriver and have at it!

Safety First – Mounting Devices to Your Car Windshield

What I am going to discuss is for the most part just common sense. However, some folks might not have considered it. When you jump in your car to travel with your radar laser detector or global positioning system, where you mount it on the windshield with suction cups is very important for safety and functionality. However, I want to concentrate on safety for the most part.

First, is it legal in your state to mount suction cup devices on your windshield? In both California and Minnesota, it's illegal to have any suction cup device mount to your windshield. OK, you do not live in either of those states. To properly mount your device, there are a couple of keys to having it remain mounted and in position. An accident could happen if the device came loose from the windshield while you are driving. It could distract your attention and result in an accident. To get the cups of your Garmin Nuvi GPS or other brand of global positioning system to remain in place, first make sure that the surface is clean. Most windshields if not cleaned regularly can develop a film on the inside, and this is enough to cause the device to come falling down in a short period of time. Next, you want to slightly moisten the contact surface of the suction cups. This will give you a good bound that will last your entire trip if done properly. I have heard that if you take a very small amount of Vaseline and coat the suction cups, and they will remain in place for a very long time. However, I have not tried it.

Secondly, you want to mount your navigator GPS or radar jammer in a proper location on the windshield. The last thing we want is for the device to obstruct our view while driving. Avoid mounting in proximity to the corner posts of your windshield. The corner posts are the vertical metal posts that are on both ends of your windshield and run from the roof to the lower body of your vehicle. If placed near these corner posts, your radar laser detector or global positioning system can create a blind spot. In most vehicles, there already exists a blind spot there, and we do not want to make it worst. SUVs are very prone to this. Mount your device in a position where it will not interfere with your view and be functional. In the case of a navigator GPS, it needs to "see" the sky in order to receive the signals from the satellites. For a laser radar, it needs to be where it has a clear view of both the front and the back views of the road. An ideal position for a detector is to mount it on the visor. However, the only drawback to this is that you need to "hardwire" the power source up to the visor. Most manufacturers of radar laser detectors have these as accessory kits, and they are relatively easy to do if you are handy with tools and wiring.

Please follow this advice when traveling with your global positioning system or radar laser detector for safety and functionality. You'll be safe on the road and your device will work as it was intended to. Have a great safe trip.

Hammer Ons and Pull Offs For Lead Guitar

Your guitar is one of the most amazingly expressive instruments out there because of all the ways we have to ornament our notes. A variety of vibratos, rakes, slides, bends, and other techniques give the guitar a very vocal quality. Here we’ll be talking about two techniques you must have. Hammer ons and pull offs. These very simple techniques form the backbone of every lead guitarists arsenal of tricks.

Hammer On

This entails picking the first note, then “hammering on” a second note on the same string with a new finger, without picking it.

Here’s an example. Place your first finger on the 2nd string at the 7th fret. Pick that note. Then, without picking again, slap your third finger down on the 9th fret of the same string. Your aim is to have both notes be at the same volume. You get a smooth transition (called “legato”) between notes and your right hands gets to take a quick break.

A couple things to keep in mind:

– Hammer down fast and hard. You’re trying to not interrupt the vibration of the string. It’s kind of like pulling the table cloth out from under a table full of dishes. Fast makes it neat. Slow means a big mess.

– Use the tip of your finger rather than the pad. The pads of your fingers are squishier than the tips. That little extra give in the skin there can disrupt the vibration of the string.

– Practice this until the volumes of both notes are the same. Then practice the technique with different combinations of fingers.

Pull Off

This is exactly the opposite of a hammer on. You’ll start with a note higher on the string and “pull off” to the lower one without picking again.

Example: Place your third finger at the 9th fret, 2nd string. Then place your first finger on the 7th fret of the same string. Unlike a hammer on, both fingers have to be in place before the pull off happens. Pick the first note, then pull your finger off the 9th fret so you hear the note at the 7th. As you come off, give the string a little flick with your third finger. Your finger acts like a pick to keep the vibration of the string going. Again, we’re looking to keep the volume consistent.

A couple things to keep in mind:

– Flick your finger hard enough to keep the string moving, but not so hard that you catch the string above it. It takes a little practice to get it just right.

– Using your finger tip rather than the pad will give you better control here as well.

– Work on it until you can keep both notes at the same volume.

Mix them up!

If you take two notes and repeatedly use a hammer on and pull off on them, it’s called a Trill. It’s a technique that goes back hundreds of years in music history and is still used by the greatest players today. It’s also a great way to keep your left hand muscles strong.

Use these techniques and your legato lead guitar skills will be one step closer to Guitar God status!

Mosaic Tabletops: How to Create One

One of the most colorful forms of art around today is that of the mosaic. You can take the most ordinary item – a glass, a clock, a mirror, a birdbath, and by the application of tile or glass or small stones, turn it into an eye-catching piece of art.

Do not be too ambitious to start with!
If you are new to the world of the mosaic, you do not want to start out with a somewhat advanced project like making a table top. Start out with small projects. You can purchase kits to make coasters, mirrors, votivs and more. By doing so, you'll become accustomed to how to use your applicator tools – the trowel, the spreader, the grout sponge, and the craft sticks. You'll be working both with an adhesive and a grout, so you'll want to get practice in that before you move on to more advanced projects.

And after you've had a bit of practice, it's time to make a tabletop for to fit into your table base. (You do not need to stop there, of course. You can also apply the tile or glass to the base and create an all-in-one piece!)

Step One
First, you'll need to purchase a table base and backing especially designed for a mosaic tabletop, with an inlay into which you can set the mosaic.

Your choice of the backing will depend on where you will keep this table. If it is outside, you'll need to choose a backing that will not warp in the rain or snow. Home improvement stores carry such materials as Hardibacker or Wonderboard, which are recommended. The sturdier the backing the better, as mosaic does get heavy.

Step Two
Take a sheet of plain paper, as large as your tabletop, and on it draw the design that you want to use. Create your design on this piece of paper. Work from the middle towards the edges, and of course place the piece of tile or glass with about 1/8 to 1/2 inch space between them, for the grout. Once you've finished your design – let it "sit" for a few hours. Come back to it when you're fresh, and if you still like it, it's time to do the real thing.

Step Three
Trace your design with a pencil on the tabletop backing. Then, slowly, transfer your design, piece-by-piece, from the piece of paper to the tabletop backing, using the adhesive to fix it into place. Depending on the size of your pieces and the design that you're creating, this process can take a long time, so be patient, and careful. Again, work from the middle outwards. Remember to leave those spaces between the tesserae for the grout!

Step Four
Once you've finished the design, allow everything to dry. (Read the directions on the adhesive to see how long it takes to do so. Then give it an extra hour just to be on the safe side!)

Now you're ready to apply the grout. Mix your grout according to the directions and apply it with your trowel. Use your sponge to wipe the grout off the tops of the mosaic pieces. If you wait until the grout dries to do so, it will be much for difficult to remove it, so do not wait!

Do not start using your table right away! Again, read the directions on the container of grout to know how long you should let the tabletop "set" before you start using it. And if it's an outside table, spray it with a sealer to further protect it.

Then sit back with a cold drink set on a mosaic coaster on your mosaic tabletop, and relax!

Drywall Repair Questions Answered by a Professional

Before choosing a drywall contractor here are a few answers to questions I commonly get asked in the drywall industry.

Question: I have water damage to my drywall, is it still good? Does it have to be replaced?

Answer: Water can come from many different sources in your home. Roof leaks, air handlers, dishwashers you name it. Drywall is a surprisingly resilient product when it comes to water and can withstand a great deal of water before total product failure occurs. Once it is dried out damage is usually only cosmetic. Typically a dark stain or hairline crack appears along a joint line where the drywall compound has been dissolved by the water and the tape has let loose. Not to fear, a drywall professional can usually repair the damage in a few hours with little to no mess. Even if the area has gotten wet for months, water will always find the path of least resistance and come out all in one spot. In this case all that is required is cutting out the affected area, usually only a 3′ – 4′ area and patching it in. In either situation cost is typically under $300.

Question: Should I be worried about mold on my drywall?

Answer: The most important thing to remember, without moisture mold cannot survive. So first and foremost remove the water source and the mold is history. Although lawyers and so-called mold removal experts would like you to think otherwise and open up your checkbook, mold is rarely harmful to humans and can be easily eradicated. Spraying a little bleach on it will also do the trick. If it has gotten so bad where the paper on the drywall has been actually eaten away by the mold, then a small patch job to cut out and remove the affected area is in order. Cost likely around $250.

Question: Do I have Chinese drywall in my home?

Answer: Although considerably more serious than mold and definitely in need of complete removal, my advice is to not overreact if your concerned you may have it. It’s unnecessary to spend a great deal of money for another specialist that is trying to profit on someone else’s misfortunes. Trust me; if you have Chinese drywall in your home you will know it, no question about it. The metallic burning sensation in your eyes and throat will quickly give it away. It is obvious within months of installation and unmistakable. My best advice is to call a reputable drywall or building contractor who can steer you in the right direction. Recent legal rulings are very specific in the removal of the product and failure to follow them exactly can lead to future resale problems.

Question: What does it take to remove popcorn texture from my ceiling?

Answer: As long as the ceiling has not been painted, which most have not been, a drywall professional can remove and re-texture an average sized ceiling for as little as $500 – $600. The only catch is what kind of condition the existing ceiling is in. Popcorn (acoustic) texture can hide an amazing amount of flaws, hence the reason for its popularity years ago. Some ceilings may not have been finished to normal standards and may need a complete finish coat before applying a lighter texture. Large dips, sags, or even cracking may be hidden with this texture so care should be taken before removal to fully understand how large a project you are getting yourself into.

Question: What type of texture should I pick?

Answer: I think this is probably one of the biggest issues my customers struggle with and it is probably one of the least important. I’ve found most individuals seldom even notice what texture is on the walls of a home they walk into. The only time it comes up if it’s an extremely bold or heavy texture. These textures are usually trendy and tend to wear out their welcome after only a few years. My advice is to keep it on the lighter side. Be aware of drywall contractors trying to talk you into heavy textures, it’s likely they don’t have the ability to do a high enough quality of work without heavy textures to cover up the flaws.

Question: What textures are available?

Answer: The most common texture and most universal is orange peel. It’s sprayed on with a machine to provide a light, washable, and very patchable finish that few people really notice on the wall. It’s used to bring down the labor and therefore the price of a perfectly smooth finish which can get quite expensive. It appears similar to the texture of a magnified orange peel once painted, hence the name. To dress up ceilings and also provide additional hide, knock down texture is commonly used. It is sprayed on as well, but much thicker, with larger dots. It’s a very cost-effective texture which primarily replaced popcorn texture back in the day. When the spray has tacked a large paddle is used to flatten or knock down the dots which give it its name. This texture will provide an enormous amount of hide on a ceiling or wall and many people feel its dresses up a room, but the downside is it’s extremely hard to patch and difficult to clean.

The last of the common textures is skip trowel. It is a hand texture applied with a trowel with a back and forth motion. It can be applied heavy or light depending on your preference. Because of its labor intensity it is commonly used on the ceilings of higher end homes. It can give an old world or Spanish type of look to a home as well.

Question: How do I pick a drywall contractor I can trust to do a good job?

Answer: This is a very hard question to answer, but here are a few things to watch for that might help steer you in the right direction. The biggest red flag to watch out for is a drywaller who wants money up front before they do the job. In this line of work it typically means the minute they leave your eyesight there gone never to be seen again. It’s sad, but unfortunate. Look at their vehicles, are they kept in a reasonable state. Messy, broken, or untidy vehicles tend to emulate their owners level of craftsmanship. Everyone wants to hear good news, but anyone that tells you everything you want to hear can be someone to watch out for. An example might be a texture like knockdown, which is simply impossible to patch perfect. For nine out of ten people it will look good enough, but not PERFECT. The only way to make it perfect is to skim out the entire ceiling smooth and re-spray it all. More costly, but at least you have that option up front before its painted and before you have shelled out the money to fix it once already. I would rather be honest and let people know there are limitations to what can be done than have an unhappy customer.

Hopefully this article has answered a few of the more commonly asked questions to help better inform you on picking a quality drywall contractor.

How to Get Customers For Your Painting and Decorating Business

There really is no magic to getting good customers who want the work done and who are happy to pay.

No magic at all.

But there’s a right way to do it and a way to mess it up – as usual.

Here’s what you need to do:

• Have a quality handout or flyer which will get people to contact you asking for a quotation. I have an example of a flyer which will work well for you. It is in my manual ‘How to set up and successfully run a painting and decorating business’. All you have to do is to insert your details in the appropriate places and get it printed off or print it yourself on a computer printer. Alternatively, get one good copy and go to your local photocopy shop. You should be able to get 1000 printed off for less than £25.00. Not a bad deal at all. Your first job should pay for this easily.

• Get it distributed reliably and to the right areas. By ‘To the right areas’ I mean through the letterboxes of houses where people live who actually have the money to pay for your services. These people will be: homeowners, In work, Living on streets where other homeowners like to take care of their properties.

• Place an advertisement in your local Thompson’s directory. It’s local, it gets read, and should get you business. You should expect to pay about £150 – £200.00 for a simple box ad. You can check this out with your local Thompson’s Representative. It’s also a lot cheaper than Yellow Pages (where your advertisement may get ‘drowned’ by all the others) and in my opinion, proportionately better value for money.

• In time, you can easily get a small website which promotes your services and contains pictures of work you have completed, contact details etc.

• When people respond to your flyer, or your advertisement make certain they get a good response from you or whoever answers the telephone. Courtesy is important. Take care to get their: Telephone number, Address, Full name, and establish a time to see them which you will of course note down and repeat back to them so you know you’ve got it right.

• When people call you to ask you for a quotation, make an appointment to see them within 48 hours. You want to appear interested, but not desperate. (Even if you are desperate!).

• Turn up at the time agreed.

Modern Chandeliers And Their Versatile Characteristics

Chandeliers have been viewed as must-have lighting fixtures, because of the elegant radiance and appeal they bring to a home’s rooms.

This ornate lighting piece made its big surge in the 19th 20th th centuries, and was a staple in most palaces and mansions in Europe and the United States. These lighting fixtures eventually found their way into some of the more expensive estates and even many private homes in this country and overseas as well today.

In the age of the industrial revolution, mass production of this once exclusive lighting fixture came in full force, and because of that, chandeliers these days can be seen in a lot of homes and rooms. According to home lighting experts, one of the major characteristics of this elegant lighting fixture is that it creates a wonderful glow and appeal that makes a room extra special, and automatically lends a truly regal character and atmosphere to an otherwise drab or plain room.

Versatility Is A Major Characteristic of Chandeliers These Days

One of the defining characteristics of today’s chandeliers is their versatility. A home’s kitchen can be reinvigorated into classy dining area with the installation of this lighting fixture, and a spacious bathroom can be given an radiant glow with the installation of a chandelier. Some homeowners would also even put these in the main bedroom to also give it that wonderful feeling.

Modern chandeliers today are available in different styles, shapes and patterns, and are made from a wide array of materials. Though the most common design pattern of a chandelier is made of crystal, different types like faux candles and other designs are also available. Home lighting experts say that one of the best ways of finding the appropriate style and size to complement your home, would be on the Internet, and shop around for what’s available.

Your Modern Chandelier Should be Able To Draw Your Visitor’s Attention

Homeowners need to take note that chandeliers usually would draw the immediate attention of a visitor, therefore it needs to complement the basic design pattern of your home. Proper sizing is a vital factor, as because a fixture that is too large for the room it occupies would surely make it overpower the room and may even lend an air of claustrophobia to your visitor.

However, a lighting fixture that’s too small for your room would totally look out of place regardless of its style. Although most modern chandelier designs today easily light an entire room, the end result could either be often create a harsher or more raw look. Home decor experts say that matching chandeliers with wall sconces, as well as having dimmers on these will allow you to attain the right balance of light released.

For those who wish to install modern chandeliers themselves, it’s vital that you need to keep some important factors in mind. You should know that most chandeliers offered today are much heavier than the usual lighting piece that they will be replacing. A typical lighting fixture is installed in an electrical box that is anchored on one side to a ceiling joist, which generally provides sufficient support for the fixture’s support base. – Modern Chandeliers

How to Make Your Boyfriend Care? Follow This & Your Boyfriend Will Care More Than Ever Before

Men sometimes can be a little insensitive and self absorbed. They might be in a relationship but it will take them a little time to make the person in their life cared for. If you want to learn how to make your boyfriend care then read on to learn the tricks.

Have a life

Having a life means doing certain activities during the day that do not involve him. Please don’t put going to work in this category. Do a little creative thinking to find out what you would like to do. Could be learning a new sport or a form of dance or going for some theatre workshops? This will make you look like an interesting person, who is not jaded and will make him value you and care for you.

Make him feel special

You need to make him feel like you care for him a lot if you want the feeling reciprocated. So, make him soup when he is not well, offer to do his groceries if he is exceptionally busy with work etc. This will make him see how caring you are and will make him reach out to you.

Be concerned about him

Be interested and concerned about his life. If he has a big presentation coming up help him prepare, leave him an all the best note, be there for him on a day that has gone horribly wrong. All will warm him up to you and will make him care for you.

Be a confident person

Be sure of yourself and learn to value yourself. When you do that, people around you can see your self assurance and maturity. It is this maturity that you will be investing in the relationship and it will make your man care for you.

Make him a little insecure

Making him a little insecure is fair if you want to give him a little shake. Have a friend leave a message on the social networking site that you and your man use stating how beautiful you are looking or how amazing the time spent with you was. This will make him see the perfection in you that he has not been seeing so far.

Always speak your mind

Never be a yes man. A man will care for you only if he can value your opinion so don’t hesitate to call a spade a spade, voice your opinions or concerns. This will make him care for you.

Don’t tamper with his space

You really have to remain within your boundaries and never tamper with his space. Respect his space and he will begin to care for you.