The Characteristics of a Lean Enterprise

While Lean can be beneficially applied to any process within an organization, its greatest benefit comes when it is applied across the enterprise. In The Machine That Changed the Worldin 1990, Jim Womack, et al., emphasized “that Lean thinking can be applied by any company anywhere in the world but that the full power of the system is only realized when it is applied to all elements of the enterprise.”

Over time, it can be said that an organization that implements Lean becomes a Lean Enterprise. While there is no precise definition of a Lean Enterprise, I believe those organizations share common characteristics. A Lean Enterprise can be defined by these 15 characteristics:

  1. Customer Focus – The external customer is both the starting point and ending point. Maximize value to the customer. Optimize not around internal operations, but around the customer. Seek to understand not only the customer’s requirements but also their expectations of quality, delivery, and price.
  2. Purpose – The purpose of an organization encompasses your vision (where you want to go), your mission (what you do), and your strategies (how you do it). Focus on purpose, not tools.
  3. Organizational Alignment – You want people to understand their purpose, not just their job description or the tasks that are assigned to them. All the people involved need to have a common understanding of the organization’s purpose, and practical understanding of the consequences of failure and the benefits of success.
  4. Knowledge – People are the engine of the company, so it is vital to build knowledge and share it. This includes explicit knowledge (like that from books) as well as tacit knowledge, involving soft skills. Knowledge is built through the scientific method of PDCA.
  5. Questioning – Encourage a questioning culture. Ask why several times to try to get to the root cause. Encourage everyone to question. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” said Stephen Covey.
  6. Humility – The more you strive for Lean, the more you realize how little you know, and how much there is yet to learn. Learning begins with humility
  7. Trust – Build confidence in your promises and commitments. Building trust takes time.
  8. Empowered employees – Give frontline employees the first opportunity to solve problems. All employees should share in the responsibility for success and failure.
  9. Flexible workforce – As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said “The only constant is change.” Flexibility is the ability to react to changes in customer demand. The key to success is to maintain redundancy and hence flexibility within the core competency.
  10. Partnership – Use teams, not individuals, internally between functions and externally with suppliers. Employees are partners too. As Covey says, “You must find a win-win, never win-loose, solution and if you can’t you should walk away.”
  11. Simplicity – Lean is not simple, but simplicity pervades. Simplicity is best achieved through the avoidance of complexity, than by ‘rationalization’ exercises.
  12. Process – Organize and think by end-to-end process. Think horizontal, not vertical. Concentrate on the way the product moves, not on the way the machines, people, or customers move.
  13. Improvement – Continuous improvement is everyone’s concern. Improvement should go beyond incremental waste reduction to include innovation breakthrough.
  14. Prevention – Seek to prevent problems and waste, rather than to inspect and fix. Shift the emphasis from failure and appraisal to prevention. Inspecting the process, not the product, is prevention. Use poka yoke to mistake proof process errors.
  15. Visualization – Visuals translate performance of every process into expected versus actual, throughout the management systems. It is regular, frequent, and factual data driven. Visuals provide the opportunity to quickly spot and take action at the earliest point that performance has not met what was expected.

A Lean Enterprise is not created quickly. When a business applies lean thinking, culture, and methods throughout the entire organization and beyond its four walls to customers and suppliers a Lean Enterprise is formed.

Can Online Poker Algorithms Be Cracked?

The online poker phenomenon has inspired many players to learn more than just how to play poker, but how to win using advanced strategies and techniques. Online poker differs a great deal from live poker in that the online games are chiefly controlled by a set of sophisticated algorithms and programs.

These poker algorithms can control many aspects of the game including the cards you are dealt, the probability of your poker hand winning and how often you can win a pot. Although it is generally accepted that online poker is fair there are still many that believe the full tilt rigged and PokerStars rigged arguments. Mostly these arguments arise from the poker bad beats experienced so often by good players losing to donkey plays.

In order for the pokersites to appear fair they have taken many measures to simulate a fair game through the use of advanced poker algorithms. For example, PokerStars claims to use a complex formula in their shuffling algorithm to prevent anyone from easily learning how to crack the PokerStars RNG. Likewise the full tilt poker random number generator uses similar measures.

Nevertheless, many players will look for ways to exploit the software that poker sites use in controlling poker hands dealt to players. One of the most common ‘crack poker’ claims is that you are able to see your opponent’s hole cards. This is virtually impossible since the hole card data can only be sent to the recipient computer that is logged in under that account. In other words, unless you are logged into your opponents account and can intercept the data packet; it is impossible to view any of your opponent’s hole cards.

The real answer behind the question to crack poker online is in these secret poker algorithms and understanding how they work. A quick study of what is going on behind the program will allow any player, novice or experienced to easily understand why bad beats occur, how the poker software determines winners, and how you can consistently win with this knowledge.

The bottom line is: understand the poker software and you will understand how to win and crack poker online.

GMC Sierra Pickup Truck – Aftermarket Protection Accessories

Protecting the interior and exterior of your new or pre-owned pickup truck with aftermarket accessories is the right thing to do, considering the cost of the truck. It is essential to keep your GMC Sierra pickup truck in excellent state; this includes preserving the internal and external components of your pickup truck to circumvent scratches, dents, paint wear and exposure to other elements. Spend some money now to preserve long term investment. Below are aftermarket protection accessories for you to consider.

Backup Camera/Sensor: A backup camera will protect you when backing up while a sensor will warn you when you are too close to an object. Installing a backup camera will offer you a clear view when backing up your truck, which in turn can help you avoid costly collision.

Bed Protection: Avoid scratches to your bed with aftermarket bed protection accessories. The bed of your truck takes a lot of pounding from day to day loading and un-loading. Shield the bed with aftermarket offerings including rugged bed mats, drop-in bed liners or spray on bed liners.

Bull Bar/Grille Guard: Besides enhancing the exterior appearance of your pickup truck, installing a bull bar or grille guard will help protect your front end from incidental accidents.

Driving/Fog Light: If you are lucky to have a driving light installed on your vehicle from factory, happy motoring to you. If your vehicle doesn’t have a fog or driving light, consider having one installed. This auxiliary light fixture will help your driving experience during adverse weather conditions.

Fender Protection: The fenders of your pickup take a lot of dings and knacks all day. Add fender trims, fender flares to protect the wheel opening of truck fenders.

Floor Protection: Whether you drive your truck for family function or for work, you will agree with me that the factory carpet takes tremendous beatings daily. Safeguard the interior floor carpet with aftermarket floor mats and molded floor liners.

Hood Protection: Paint protection film and molded hood deflectors or protectors offer maximum protection for the hood of your vehicle. Additionally, a molded hood deflector can fend off stones, bugs and other road debris to your windshield.

Mud Flaps/Splash Guards: Keep debris off of your vehicle and contained in your wheel locale. Paint finishes and body panels endure exterior damage over time from water, mud, tar and other road debris due to harsh driving conditions.

Paint Protection: Protecting your truck is almost incomplete without a regimen of accessories like car wash detergents and car wax to protect the paint from oxidation. Also, it is recommended that you scotch-guard all interior fabrics for long term defense.

Seat Protection: With seat savers and seat covers, you can maximize protection to your factory seat from daily driving, kids and pets.

Sunshade: Don’t have a garage for your pickup at home or work? Don’t worry! A sunshade will help keep your vehicle cool.

Tail Light Guard: Safeguard your factory tail light with tail light guards. ABS plastic and stainless steel style is available to protect and enhance your pickup truck.

Theft: If you are lucky to have factory alarm installed on your vehicle, you are definitely in good hands. If you don’t have alarm, safeguard it now! Even if you have alarm, adding tracking devices or pager alarm system, in addition to your stock alarm, are some of the latest accessories to consider in protecting your truck.

Tonneau Cover: Soft top, Tri-fold or Solid hard Tonneau covers are the top 3 styles crafted to protect your valuables.

Wheel Locks: Whether you have factory stock wheels or aftermarket wheels, consider adding wheel locks to protect your wheels and tires from theft.

Window Visor: Reduce sunlight glare and allow fresh air to enter your Sierra during inclement weather. With side window deflectors you can leave your windows partially open to let fresh air in, while keeping rain, sleet and snow out.

Window Tint: A legal window tint will help keep your pickup truck and help protect your valuables from unwanted onlookers. If you are not comfortable tinting the windows or if you are driving a leased truck, perhaps you might consider a window blind.

There are additional ways to protecting the interior and exterior of your vehicles. Keep your vehicle looking new and enhance its resale value. Do not wait for accident or incident to happen before you embark on protecting it. The GMC Sierra aftermarket accessories outlined above are just some of the simple, installer friendly and affordable ways to protect your pickup truck. Remember, spend wisely now to protect your vehicles inside and outside or you will pay a lot later.

How To Deter Birds From Making Nests In Your Awnings

Whilst you might be an animal lover and don’t have a problem with birds making themselves at home in your awnings, you must keep in mind that this can cause a number of problems. Their droppings are very corrosive and are known to carry disease; they can become aggressive in protecting their nests; and nests can even cause the covering to collapse under their weight.

  • Attach ‘bird spikes’ to the awning in a bid to prevent birds from landing on its surface. The spikes are actually pointed pieces of metal that make landing difficult.
  • You can even apply a nondrying, sticky repellent to the surface of the covering. A non-toxic substance, the tacky nature of the repellent will irritate the birds and encourage them to stay away.
  • Attach a ‘scare device’ to the awning, such as rubber snakes, plastic owls and even balloons. Make sure that the rotate the device’s position to trick the birds into thinking that they are real.
  • Place a motion-activated sprinkler close by to the covering. The sprinkler will release a burst of water when it detects a bird getting too close, which should scare them away.

As you can see, you have a choice between both obvious and hidden ways of preventing birds from making nests in your awnings. Most of the bird deterrents outlined above will be available at your local garden centres or in your hardware stores; if you are having trouble finding them, ask a sales assistant to show you where they are kept.

Tips for Cleaning Pavers and Sealing Pavers

Pavers add to the beauty of your landscape. A well maintained pavement reflects on the beauty of your house. Therefore, it is essential that you maintain it well. Cleaning pavers would be easy once you know about pavers. Choosing wrong cleaning materials and faulty cleaning methods spoil the look of pavements. Therefore it is important that you learn about pavers before venturing into cleaning.

Understand Pavers

Concrete or limestone is generally used in making pavers. Often bricks and natural stones are also used. You should ensure that pavers are sealed as soon as they are laid in your backyard, driveways or patio. If you do not seal it, stains and cracks on the surface of the pavers can damage your pavements soon. Sealing pavers will enhance the color of the pavers giving a new look. Once applied a sealant, the surface will remain stain free and it will also be easy to clean it.

Cleaning of bricks

Bricks absorb oil and stains fast, making your pavement dirty and slippery. High pressure cleaning is not recommended for brick pavers as it can damage the bricks. Always clean it using a low pressure cleaner.

Cleaning concrete pavers

Color pigments are often used in concrete pavers. Rampant usage of chemicals can cause fading or discoloration of the pavers. Consult a professional before start cleaning concrete pavers. After cleaning you can apply a sealant so that the color remains protected for a long time.

Use simple methods

Your job does not end with sealing pavers. You have to clean pavers regularly because damp weather makes pavers absorb moisture from the environment along with dust and can spoil the show of your pavement. So, clean them and mop them regularly. Avoid using any highly concentrated chemicals that damage the environment. Always look for natural formulae for cleaning. You can use a high pressure cleaner and spray the pavers with salt water. For cleaning stains that are lighter, a solution of detergent and warm water would be advisable. However, stains of petrol or oil will not dissolve in water or soap. You can use a commercial product available in the market under the guidance of a professional. Another way of cleaning oil or petrol stains is the use of kitty litter on pavers on the previous night and sweep off the next day.

Use of chemicals

A solution of bleach powder and water in a proportion of 1:10 can also be used for cleaning pavers. Apply the solution over the pavers with a brush and then scrub. Remember that bleach can cause discoloration. Therefore try it on one of the pavers in a corner and see the result before you start cleaning. For removing paint from pavers, paint thinner can be applied on the pavers and then scrape it out with a rag carefully. The most difficult job is to remove rust stains from pavers. When the normal methods do not work, use an appropriate chemical with the help of a professional. After cleaning pavers allow it to dry.

Safety

You should take adequate safety precautions before starting cleaning pavers. Always wear hand gear and safety goggles if you are doing the cleaning yourself using a chemical agent.

Selecting the Perfect Garden Bridge

Small garden bridges have become a popular way to ornament your backyard. They add a fanciful touch to any garden, and instantly change an average yard into a spectacular one.

Bridges have been used for thousands of year for crossing rugged terrain and bodies of water, dating to ancient times.  There are many different names by which bridges are known, including foot bridges, landscape bridges, ornamental bridges, oriental bridges, Japanese bridges, timber bridges, and garden bridges, to name a few.

Small garden bridges are usually slightly arched and most range between 5 and 20 feet long. A standard width is about 3 feet.

The most basic type of garden bridge is an arched or flat plank structure that does not have hand rails or side rails. Many ornamental bridges also have guard rails which are both decorative and functional. Some of these rails are made to prevent children from falling off the bridge, while others are purely for decoration.

Choosing the right bridge for your garden does not have to be a difficult task. First, think about the space you have in your yard and pick out where you think a bridge could best fit. Be sure to choose several areas, and then decide on which one is your favorite.

Next, you need to measure the distance you want your bridge to span. While measuring, be sure to measure the distance you want the bridge to traverse, not the arch length. It is much simpler to take an accurate measure of this length, and most companies will sell bridges based off the span, not the arch.

When picking out a bridge, it is important to choose one that is made of weather and water-resistant wood that is also sealed or stained wood. According to Robert Crosse, most small garden bridges are made of cedar, pressure-treated pine, redwood, teak, spruce or birch.

Some bridges have a steel frame with wooden planks. If you purchase a bridge like this, make sure that it only uses galvanized hardware and stainless steel.

If you are inexperienced at building, you should look for a bridge kit that is easily assembled and does not need many tools. Pick a set where the manufacturer numbers and labels each board, post and rail. Then, all you need to do to assemble it is match up the numbers and tighten the screws.

However, if you are a master Do-It-Yourselfer, you can always build the entire bridge by yourself. Most home improvement stores will sell garden bridge plans as well as bridge kits. Simply buy the materials you need according to the plan and follow the directions. This is a great way to add an attractive bridge to your backyard while enjoying a hobby at the same time.

 A small garden bridge can make your backyard infinitely more quaint and lovely. It also is functional for crossing rough terrain, streams, and small ponds. By following these few simple steps, you can ensure that you purchase the right bridge for your backyard.

Furniture Assembly and Moving Companies

One of the most important components of any room in the house is furniture. It makes things a lot more convenient and adds design to the room it is placed in. But when moving out of your old home to a new one, transporting the furniture can be quite a task. This is why most people are now going in for Ready to Assemble (RTA) furniture which is a lot easier to transport as well as setup. RTA furniture is stylish, affordable and is a lot easier to deal with, but it's not useful until assembled. If you are planning to move or renovate your house with new furniture and fittings you should consider ready to use furniture.

Furniture not only supports certain human activities such as eating, sleeping, reading, to hold objects at a height which is convenient for work, or to store things, but now it has become a form of decorative art. Furniture is used in houses all over to create a warm and comfortable feeling to the room it is placed in. But at times furniture can be a big problem if you have to move or want to redesign your house interiors. This is why it is better to go in for ready to assemble furniture and hire the services of an assembly company that will help you get your furniture assembled and in place.

Whether you are planning to move your house furniture or your office furniture, you will most probably want to get it done as quick as possible and without much trouble. This is why it is better to hire the services of a furniture assembly and moving company. Arranging everything neatly by yourself will take up a lot of your time and will require you to put in a lot of effort. An assembly and moving company can save your time and effort and they will get the job done a lot faster and assemble the furniture in a more organized manner since they are the ones who are experienced in all this.

If you are moving to a new house, hire a furniture moving company to move your furniture instead of a regular moving company. Since they know all about furniture moving and assembly, they will be the best at disassembling the furniture to move it out and they will transport it safer than a regular moving company. Another advantage of hiring a furniture moving and assembling company over a regular moving company is that the assembling company will not just drop off the furniture to the new house, but will also assemble it for you. This will save you a lot of time and effort.

If you are planning to set up office furniture you most probably want to get it done as soon as possible. An assembling and moving company will get that done for you in no time at all. But it is advisable that you use Sauder office furniture is the most ideal and easy to setup. The if you want Even exercise equipment assembly color : such color : as your Proform treadmill , you can do the find companies WHO COMPLETE That. You are able to find assembling companies who also cover kitchens, playground and swing set assembly. You will find your moving or assembling experience effortless and quick.

Mounting the Hard Drive (s) – Step 12 in Building Your Own PC

Before we get started consider where in the case you want the hard drive. Keep in mind that hard drives generate heat simply by operating normally. Something spinning at 7200 RPM is going to get warm. It is better to place them away from other hardware components as much as the physical constraints of the case will allow. If you want additional piece of mind then consider installing a drive cooler. And NEVER install the hard drive near the power supply. The power supply acts like a magnet and you know what magnets can do to data storage devices.

With that in mind let us proceed:

Slide the hard drive into an available drive rail of the case. All cases have a space or two for a hard drive that is below the floppy drive bay and has no access from the front of the case. Screw the drive into place, making sure not to force anything. The power connectors face the back or accessible side.

In some older cases, tightening down screws on the far side of the hard drive can be a problem, because the screws are not highly visible and thus it is hard to get to them with a screwdriver. It can test your patience to get at them. It is a major pain but doable. Today's newer cases have removable sides that make installation a snap.

Repeat these steps for any additional drives you might be installing.

SATA Drives.

If you are opting for a SATA drive, then things have just gotten easier.
Connecting SATA drives is easier as each drive connects to the motherboard using an individual cable; the host PC treats all drives as master devices, eliminating the jumper settings, which have frustrated users for years. This greatly eases installation and configuration.

SATA is software-compatible with ATA, so you do not need any special drivers or OS upgrades to support the new drives; the SATA controller does the conversion between the drive and host PC. This also means that SATA drives can coexist on the same system with parallel ATA devices.

The physical installation of SATA drives differs from case to case. With some cases, the drive rack is simply part of the case. With this setup, you simply push the drive into the case and screw it in. In other cases, the drive rack may be removable. Some have many separate racks, and some have one removable rack that can hold many drives. With this setup, remove the drive rack. This is usually done by squeezing two metal tabs together to release it, or you might need to use a screwdriver. Then slide the rack out. Screw the drive into the rack per above. Then, slide the rack back into place where it was.

When you are done, you should have a hard drive properly screwed into the case and the ribbon cable attaching it to the IDE controller and the power cable attached. At this point you are ready to move on to the next step in building your own PC.

Woodworking Hammers

Regardless of the type, virtually all hammers are similar in construction. This simple tool consists of a handle and head, and depending on the type of handle, one or more wedges to keep the head secured. Wood handles typically have three wedges: one wood and two metals. The wood wedge spreads the sides of the tenon to grip the head, and the metal wedges help distribute the pressure evenly.

Metal handles are often forged along with the head and therefore will never loosen. Composite handles (fiberglass or other plastic composition) are usually secured to the head with high-grade epoxy. Although these have much less chance of loosening compared to a wood handle, they can break free from the head under heavy use.

Claw Hammers

When most folks envision a hammer, they think of a claw hammer. And many believe a claw hammer is a claw hammer, right? Not true. There many different kinds of claws hammers available. For the most part, they can be divided into two types: those with curved claws, and those with straight claws. Curved-claw hammers are by far the most common, and they are particularly adept at removing nails. Straight-claw hammers are more common in construction work, where the straighter claws are commonly used to pry parts apart. What a straight-claw hammer gains in demolition work, it loses in nail-pulling efficiency.

But there’s more to claw hammers than the curve of the claw. The weight and handle will also have a huge impact on how well the hammer performs. Weights range from a delicate 7 ounces up to a beefy 28 ounces; the most common is 16 ounces. Heavier hammers are mostly used in construction by experienced framers, who can drive a 16d nail into a 2-by in two or three strokes. A heavy hammer will drive nails faster, but it will also wear you out faster; these industrial-strength tools are best left to professionals.

Even experienced woodworkers tend to hold a hammer with a weak grip. The most common mistake is to choke up on the handle as if it were a baseball bat. And just as with a baseball bat, this will rob the hammer of any power, greatly reducing its ability to drive a nail. Some might say that this affords better control; but without power, the hammer is useless. It’s better to learn to control the hammer with the proper grip.

Handshake grip

To get the maximum mechanical advantage from a hammer, you need to grip the handle near the end. Place the end of the handle in the meaty part of your palm, and wrap your fingers around the handle. Stay away from a white-knuckle grip, as this will only tire your hand. For less power and a bit more control, position the handle just below the palm, and grip. This takes the hammer out of alignment with your arm and shoulder, but you may find it more comfortable.

Warrington Hammers

I have a couple of different sizes of Warrington hammers in my tool chest. These lighter-weight hammers are ideal for driving in finish nails and small brads. Instead of a claw, a Warrington hammer has a small, wedge-shaped cross peen that makes it especially useful for driving in brads. The cross peen is a real finger-saver when working with short, small brads. Why? Because the cross peen will actually fit between my fingers to start the brad. Once it’s started, I flip the hammer to use the flat face to drive in the brad. Another unique feature of this tool is the faces called “side strikes” on the sides of the hammer that let you drive nails in tight spaces.

Warrington hammers are available in four different weights: 31/2, 6, 10, and 12 ounces. I have a 6- and a 10-ounce hammer, and with these I can comfortably handle most tasks. There’s something odd about these hammers: The end of the cross peen is either ground or cast to come to a point instead of being flat. This actually makes it difficult to start a brad, as the point will glance off the head of the brad. Try filing the point flat to make the tool a lot more usable.

Ball-Peen Hammers

Even though most of the work I do is in wood, I often find use for a ball-peen hammer. A ball-peen hammer is handy when I do need to work with metal – a material I often incorporates into jigs and fixtures. I also use a ball-peen hammer – when I work with the metal hardware I install in many projects. A ball-peen hammer (sometimes called an engineer’s hammer) has a standard flat face on one end and some type of peen on the other.

Japanese Hammers

The first time I picked up a Japanese hammer, I knew I had to have one. Its compact head and sturdy handle gave it balance I’d never found in a Western hammer. The types of Japanese hammers you’ll most likely find useful in your shop are the chisel hammers and the plane-adjusting hammers.

Chisel hammers

Chisel hammers may have one of two head styles: barrel or flat. The flat type are more common and are usually made of high-quality tool steel and then tempered to produce a tough, durable head. Since both faces are identical, the balance is near perfect. Some woodworkers prefer the barrel head-style chisel hammer; they feel that this more-compact design centers the weight closer to the handle, so they have greater control.

These stubby heads are usually tempered so they’re soft on the inside and hard on the inside. The theory is that this type of tempering reduces head “bounce.”

Plane-adjusting hammers

Plane-adjusting hammers can be identified by their thin, slender heads and brightly polished finish. Because of the degree of finish, these hammers are intended for use only on planes to adjust the cutters. Granted, you could use a different hammer for this task, but the face will probably be dinged or dented; these marks will transfer to the wood body of the plane – not a good way to treat a valuable tool.

Decorating With Mosaic Art

Certain parameters are in existence for the purpose of judging the quality as well as the worth of both animate and inanimate objects. For example, a good person should possess both morality and ethics, and a high-quality book should provide beneficial information, be easy to comprehend and well-written. Likewise, any building, including a house, and workplace is judged based upon its visual appearance as well as the construction material's quality.

Using Mosaic Art to Decorate

In addition to using brightly colored paints in varied color combination and marble floors and tiles, there is another idea that will great enhance the appearance of any room – installing mosaic art. With mosaic art, you intermix different colors of stone, glass, and other items in order to form pictures or patterns.

History of Mosaic Art

Mosaic has been in existence since ancient times. It began many centuries ago. In the 3rd and 4th century BC, the Mesopotamians developed a type of mosaic art using baked clay formed into thin cones whose ends were painted in different colors. In a similar fashion, Greeks used pebbles made into a mosaic fashion to decorate their floors while Macedonians decorated buildings and other structures with mosaics made of polychrome pebble. More than the ingredients were varied – the images created were even different among the various civilizations. For example, in 300 and 500 BC, Christian mosaic usually depicted scenes of hunting, depictions of birds, and scenes of animals while 7th Islamic mosaics of the 7th century were usually pictures or scenes of flowers. The technique employed to create mosaic artwork has remained the same over the centuries, though the art itself has experienced a number of changes and been greatly refined.

Mosaic Art Industry

Phoenician Arts is a third generation mosaic arts company whose name is well known in the industry. Thanks to the efforts of this company, there is a new depth to this ancient art form. Phoenician Arts produces hand-made mosaic designs that they carve from genuine marble and other varieties of stones in the semi-precious category. They have also managed to revive and reproduce traditional Greek, Roman, and Byzantine elite mosaics. The Phoenician Arts' mosaics are excellent paradigms of life during primitive as well as contemporary times. It is little wonder that mosaic art has replaced most other forms of art that are in existence today. Currently mosaics are more requested than any other way to augment the visual quality of any place or building.

Phoenician Arts creates mosaic arts for different themes including medallions, pictures of animals, figures and scenes, themes from the kitchen, religious themes, geometric figures, and much more, most of which are used to decorate the indoors and outdoors. In a house and workplace, you can install mosaics in dining areas, living room floor area, above the fireplace, in and archway, and much more. Outdoor mosaics uses include mosaic tables, pools, gardens, and building and home entrances.

Garden Tools to Transform Your Garden This Spring and Summer

We have worked with lots of gardeners, including everyone from the guy who just wants to cut the grass, and do some light tidying in the garden to keep the peace with the wife, to aspirational gardeners who have the time and patience to seek to create something beautiful.

Getting down to basics, we always recommend starting with a simple three piece garden tool set, comprising a strong garden trowel, a transplantor/ cultivator type tool, particularly useful if it has been marked with measurements for replanting, and a garden fork or rake for breaking up and separating the soil around your plants.

Now, in case you hadn’t gathered, what we’re getting into here is planting flowerbeds, and as we have witnessed first hand many times, a few hours every now and then really can turn into something beautiful for you and the rest of your family, neighbours and friends to enjoy, and can really brighten up a dull day, or bring a smile to the face of a grumpy neighbour.

The garden trowel is the classic gardener’s tool, and performs functions like digging up and redistributing the soil in your flowerbed, planting bushes and plants and basically any other sort of activity where a small hand spade type tool is required.

The cultivator or transplantor tool is a more specialised piece of equipment. It is typically narrower than a garden trowel, and is usually notched with measurements to make it easy to create the correct hole size when planting and replanting shrubs and flowers in your garden.

A small hand garden fork, or small garden hand rake is another essential tool that we recommend to all gardeners and is perfect for weeding around your plants, and in your flowerbeds. The tools that we are discussing are all small garden hand tools that make them perfect for accurate, close up work in and around your flower beds.

Gardening is experiencing a transition back to cool, as people are once again learning to appreciate that spending time in nature in your garden, is not something to be avoided at all costs, but rather something to be enjoyed.

A few hours in your garden will get some fresh air into your lungs, burn some calories, increase your range of motion, get your off the couch, sofa or the laptop, and give you greater energy, and a sense of achievement, as you stuff gets done that you may have turning a blind eye to.

5 Common Mistakes in Hiring a House Painter

Here are 5 common mistakes in hiring a house painter:

1. Not getting a detailed quote

It is important that you’ll get a detailed quotation before you hire house painters. A lot of painters operate on a “time and materials” basis. You’ll be surprised about your bill and would catch you off guard with your budget. You can get an accurately estimated quotation in advance. This would save you from headache and conflict later.

2. Don’t hire people with passable work on house painting

If you want quality work in painting your house, it is no brainer that hiring jacks-of-all-trade is not advisable. House painting needs a special “commitment” to detail. This is one of the reasons why you should choose someone who runs a company 100% committed to house painting, a company that has established its name through many years.

Tip: Ask feedbacks about the house painters you’re going to hire from previous customers.

3. Hiring the biggest company

Big companies spend a lot of money in advertising but the question is, “Can they actually paint?” The problem in hiring the biggest company is that you become “just another number”. They aren’t afraid to lose unsatisfied customers. There is a big possibility that you’ll not receive a personalized service and experience that a local company can offer. Often, these companies hire uncompetitive painters, use low quality paints and don’t go the extra mile to make you satisfied.

PS. This is not always applicable. A lot of big companies can actually paint as well as local painters. They have competitive and professional painters; use high quality paints, and willing to go the extra mile to make you satisfied. They are also afraid to lose customers. These companies have built their credibility for years and would stain their reputation if they don’t meet your standards.

4. Working with “under the table” companies

Working with this kind of company may save you money, but in the long run, you may end up losing much more money than saving. For example, if you painter does not have liability insurance, it would be hard to receive any compensation if damages are done during the work frame. Also, some of them use paints that are not lead-safe paints. Your family will be at risk of lead-poisoning.

Tip: Check if the company has liability insurance and if they use lead-safe paints.

5. Getting a company based on price rather than personality

Painting contractors will provide quotes within 10% of each other. This is not a significant margin so you have the full power to choose the company that suits you. Contact your local company and ask them to provide you a detailed quote of the painting job to be done. Your contractor should communicate clearly with you and is more than willing to answer your questions.

Crystorama Chandelier

The crystorama chandeliers are a very popular brand of light fixtures. The company is from Dallas, TX and has been around for about 40 years. The crystorama chandeliers come in a variety of prices. Some are only a couple of hundred dollars (which is pretty reasonable) and then there are some that are a few thousand dollars (similar to purchasing a used vehicle which is a bit pricey). However, you cannot really put a price tag on a one of a kind chandelier made with unique and exquisite beauty. The price is really up to you though. Depending on the quality of the Crystorama chandeliers, the price will fluctuate. Obviously the higher quality Crystorama chandeliers will be more expensive then the lower quality Crystorama chandeliers which is the same for any other product there is out there.

The Crystorama Company lives and breathes by their 5 C’s system. The 5 C’s consist of cutting, color, collection, circumference, and confidence. When purchasing crystal chandeliers, Crystorama wants you to consider those 5 things very heavily. The crystal chandeliers can come in many different cuts. The crystal chandeliers can come in Swarovski Silver Shade Strass Crystal, Swarovski Golden Teak Strass Crystal, Swarovski Strass Crystal, Swarovski Spectra Crystal, Hand Cut Crystal, and the Golden Teak Hand Cut Crystal. The color you choose for your crystal chandeliers should fit in your room and embrace your character and personality. When looking at the circumference, you want to make sure you look at how big of a table and how big the room is, that you’re putting this light fixture in. The collection is all about style and again you want to pick a piece that reflects who you and your family are. I suggest picking something that is timeless, one that will never really go out of style. That way, you will definitely get your money’s worth out of the purchase.

When you are picking out your crystal chandelier, the company wants you to also have confidence. You should not walk away from a purchase and feel only satisfied about your crystal chandelier. Crystorama wants you to be super happy and giddy about your brand new crystal chandelier. All in all, the company offers many unique styles with a wide variety of crystals in just about every color and shape you can think of. If you happen to be on a strict budget, as some of us are, you can always go to a website where they have bids and auction items off. You never know you might find exactly what you were looking for at a far cheaper price.

Also if you want another tip on how to save money, you should join their preferred customer program that they have. They offer preferred customers numerous benefits and discounted prices on their products. If you visit their website and join that program they fill you in on more information if you are interested. Also if you have any other questions, there website is the place to go to for that as well.

Wedding Catering: Buffet Or Service

Another conundrum for soon-to-be married couples is the dilemma of having servers versus having a buffet for the reception. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so let's look at both sides before you make your decision.

At the buffet table

The first and most obvious upshot of having a buffet style dinner at the wedding is the opportunity for all of the guests to choose what they want to eat. This way everyone is happy and they can have as much or as little as they want. There can be multiple things for various dietary restrictions as well as a multitude of side dishes for the vegetarian that hates getting pasta at every wedding.

But the downside of the buffet table is that things that are popular will run out. If you do not plan ahead for shortages, then you may have guests that did not get what they really wanted to eat. In terms of movement, the buffet table can be tricky. The bride may have troubles moving up there and might be afraid to spill anything on her dress, as other may be as well. Trying to find ways to serve items without having a large opportunity for spillage will help to avoid any dry cleaning bills.

The service is excellent

Having servers for the reception is a classy and easy way to keep everyone happy during the reception. Not only will no one have to move until the dance, but the servers can also attend to any problems without the couple even knowing about them. Drinks can also be served, which is wonderful for everyone – no more needing to get up and down during dinner.

On the other hand, this excellent service does come with a price tag. It will be costlier to have staff waiting on the guests, especially with more guests. You will also take the chance of the staff being nice to the head table and not to the rest of the guests. The best advice is to interview each staff member as well before the reception.

Both buffets and service are great options for reception dinners. If you're looking for something a little more casual, then the buffet will be great, but for the more formal occasion, service is best. You may want to stop and consider your guests at this point. If they're older and do not move around well, service is a great way to keep them comfortable.

Tools For Fossil Hunting

Tools for fossil hunting are an absolute must whether you are a professional or amateur fossil hunter. You just can not go out and start digging without the right tools. As it is fossil hunting is difficult and you do not want to go without having the tools to ease some of that difficulty. So, here is a list of some of the tools for fossil hunting.

Tools for Fossil Hunting:

The tools mentioned here are just for finding and digging out fossils, especially fossilized teeth, from the soil. However, many of them can be used in marine archeological sites.

o Shovel: One of the most important tools to find fossils is a shovel. A short shovel is ideal because when you are trying to dig out fossils, you will be spending a lot of your time kneeling or sitting and using a short one will reduce the strain on your back. However, even a long-handled shovel is just as good.
o Gloves: Make sure you have a good sturdy pair of gloves handy to avoid getting blisters when using a shovel.
o Sifter: Having a sifter is a must for the spots that are too deep to collect. For instance when you are in a ditch or a stream. A sifter will sift out all those unique pieces of fossilized teeth without you worrying about tossing them out with the dirt.
o Mattock: A mattock comes handy when you want to remove more dirt than your shovel can handle. In addition, it also has a sharp side that is used for cutting roots that come in your way. You can get one made from wood or fiberglass or a combination of two depending on what you would like.
o Sledge Hammer: Although you mind not think of this when hunting for fossils but a sledge hammer is perfect for bringing out vertical walls of earth, especially those where the earth is hard as ever. Once the sledge hammer does its work, your shovel takes over.

o Prying Bar: Just when your fossil is few inches from the surface, use the prying bar to expose it completely. This way you can lift out the fossil without causing any damage to it.
o Machete: Imagine trying to get the shovel in when the earth is full of vines and roots? A machete you help you make a clearing so that a shovel can be used.
o Chisel: A chisel works just like a sledge hammer and helps to get the fossil out of the earth.