Choosing Gardening Tools

There are many tools that are available to gardeners. Indeed the range can be quite confusing to the newcomer to the hobby who may be uncertain about which tools are needed to perform given tasks. Hand tools are very important for both garden creation and subsequent maintenance. However, the   spade , fork, hoe and rake are the most important. Few gardens can function successfully without all of these.

 Spades  are essential for digging, for planting and for removing various materials such as soil and sand around the garden. They are available in varying lengths and weights, some being lightweight and especially designed for ladies. There are two main kinds of  spade , the digging  spade  and the border variety. The latter is narrow-bladed, light in weight and used for general maintenance and planting purposes, while the digging  spade  is a robust tool which is intended for turning over raw garden soil during fall and winter.

Garden forks come in similar variety, there being both border and digging kinds. The border fork is mostly used for pricking over the soil amongst plants. The digging variety can perform a similar function to the digging  spade  except that it provides only a complete inversion of the soil, whereas the  spade  can be used for both trenching and double digging as well.

Hoes come in a number of configurations and are used to knock down the lumpy soils created by the  spade  and fork. They are also used for cultivating between plants and rows of plants as well as for taking out seed drills. The Dutch hoe is a flat-bladed tool that is used solely for cultivating while the swan neck hoe is excellent for taking out seed drills as well as mounding-up potatoes.

Rakes are usually solid tined and made of metal. They put the finishing touches to soil preparation before seed sowing. Spring-tined rakes and wooden landscape rakes are mostly used for raking up cut grass and fallen leaves, although the spring-tined variety is tough enough to be used as a scarifier. A dummy rake, which consists of a flat board on edge that replaces the tines of a wooden landscape rake is used for grading soil, especially during lawn preparation.

Apart from  spades , forks, rakes and hoes, most gardeners require a number of smaller complementary hand tools. For planting small plants a trowel is necessary. This is like a much-reduced version of a  spade  but with a blade, which is curved and bowed. While the trowel may be regarded as the diminutive version of the border  spade , the hand fork is the equivalent of the border fork. It is used in confined spaces, such as the rock garden, for pricking over the soil amongst plants.

Onion hoes are like large swan-neck hoes in shape but much reduced and with very short handles. They originated in Europe and were first intended, as the name suggests, for using amongst commercial onion crops, not only cleaning the rows of weeds, but also removing crowded plants. Now they are utilized for all hoeing tasks where a larger hoe is difficult to manoeuvre.

Secateurs and loppers are essential in the majority of gardens. Secateurs are well-balanced hand cutters which are used in pruning and for cutting back herbaceous plants. It is always worthwhile buying a high quality pair so that they not only last for a long time, but also do a good clean job of cutting. For left-handed people it is possible to buy left-handed secateurs and there is also a design with rolling handles, which are easier for gardeners who have a weak grip to use.

Loppers are enlarged versions of secateurs used two-handed. They do all the same things that secateurs do, but on larger branches. They are usually straight bladed, but there are versions with curved blades that are popularly referred to as parrot bills. To complete the array of tools necessary for pruning, there are special small hand saws with narrow blades and coarse teeth that are especially designed for pruning.

There are many mechanically operated tools for the garden, but the lawnmower and rotavator are probably the most commonly used. Hedge trimmers are also important along with shredders and chippers.

Lawn mowers are available in two basic kinds, the cylinder mower and the rotary type. Both are well suited to specific jobs. Cylinder lawnmowers are used on fine decorative lawns. The more blades the cylinder has, the finer the cut, those mowers used for very fine lawns having as many as sixteen blades. Rotary mowers on the other hand can do a good job of cutting a domestic lawn in a backyard, but with adjustment can be used for much longer grass than might be thought conventional. They are available both electrically and petrol driven.

Rotavators cultivate the soil with a series of fast rotating slashing blades, sometimes on a spindle, occasionally on a drum. They are very effective at creating a tilth on sandy or medium loam soils, but on clay soils can often produce a polished pan beneath the surface at a  spade’s  depth, thereby creating drainage and rooting problems. Most models are driven by petrol engines. With both mowers and rotavators it is wise to have a demonstration in the garden before purchasing. Not all are as good as they at first might appear and they really should be tested under realistic conditions.

Hedge trimmers are available powered by a small petrol engine or by electricity. Most of the modern brands are excellent value being of very light weight and in the case of electrical models having built in safety cut-out facilities. They have various cutter bar lengths, the size chosen depending very much upon the configuration of the hedge or topiary to be trimmed. Shredders are available as both petrol and electrical models. These shred garden waste prior to composting. Chippers on the other hand pulverize woody material and are best hired in rather than purchased.

Finally we have the most useful and probably most used tool in the garden – the wheelbarrow. A builder’s wheelbarrow is far better than any garden wheelbarrow, unless you are not strong enough to wheel it when fully laden. Modern garden wheelbarrows are fine for pushing a few weeds around in, but the builder’s wheelbarrow is what is necessary for moving soil, rocks or paving.

If you decide upon a standard garden wheelbarrow, then choose one of the models with two wheels. These are more stable and resilient than the traditional one wheeled kind. Generally avoid the kind of wheelbarrow where a ball replaces the wheel, unless you garden on very wet, heavy clay soil. They are not very efficient and most gardeners find them quite tiring to use.

Snow Clearing: Don’t Injure Yourself

Clearing snow with a shovel is hard physical work. It can burn an impressive number of calories yet the risks of physical injury should not be under-estimated. Warming up, cooling down and using the right snow-clearing equipment, like rock salt and a lightweight snow shovel, can make all the difference.

Having to clear snow and ice from around your home and sometimes even your business premises is a fact of winter. While it is a common activity – who hasn’t had to do it at some point? – it should never be under-estimated: snow clearing is a physical activity and everyone needs to take steps to avoid injuries by warming up, wearing warm clothing and appropriate footwear, and using the correct snow clearing equipment.

How Physical Is Clearing Snow?

Fat-burning and nutrition experts vary in their estimates, but shovelling snow from your driveway could burn between 300 and 600 calories an hour, depending on how much a person weighs and with how much vigour they approach this activity.

Think about the muscle groups used to clear snow: bending, stretching, lifting, throwing, repeat. If there has been very heavy snowfall, or if snow is compacted, this will affect the amount of energy you need to expend. As with any other physical activity, experts suggest warming up your body first to avoid pulling injuries.

Check out YouTube for some appropriate five-to-ten minute warm-ups to get the blood pumping to your muscles. This is especially important if you are clearing snow first thing in the morning, with a body that is sleepy.

Another important thing to remember when clearing snow is not to over-do it – avoid overloading your snow shovel and do not shovel snow for long periods: just do enough to get your vehicle off the driveway, clear a safe pedestrian path or clear the access road (with which you will hopefully have some help from neighbours). There are no prizes, unfortunately, for the neatest or most thoroughly-cleared driveway! There are, however, safety implications if you do not do it at all.

What Is The Right Equipment For Clearing Snow?

It really helps to have the right equipment on hand. A lightweight, strong plastic snow shovel with the dimensions of a garden space might help you resist the temptation to overload, and because this tool is made from a robust yet wieldy material it should help, not hinder, your efforts.

A snow shovel of this type is also handy because it will double up for rock salt distribution once you have cleared a path. It makes complete sense to have rock salt on hand for use after snow clearance. Clearing an accessible path but not using rock salt could render the surface slippery and unsafe, especially if temperatures remain low: ice may form and compacted snow is extremely perilous underfoot and tyre.

Traditional brown rock salt provides traction and has very good ice-melting properties. It will prevent ice from forming and its distinctive dark colour will let drivers and pedestrians know that the area has been treated.

De-icing salt can also be distributed via a push-along pedestrian salt spreader. These wheeled devices can really take the back-pain out of de-icing and give an even coverage of rock salt on garden paths, driveways, pavements and roads. After an hour of clearing snow, they can seem like a real blessing!

Lift Chairs – An Overview

Youth eventually gives way to old age sooner or later, and you’ll soon have to face certain challenges that can make your later life extremely tough. At an advanced age, you may be facing some limitations with regards to your movements. Aging can bring about infirmity and disabilities of various types and having varying impacts on your life. But it is important that you do not let these problems get you down and out. In order to retain your mobility, you should try out lift chairs. Read on to know more about how lift chairs and how they can help you.

Functions

The basic function of a lift chair is to allow you to easily stand up from a sitting posture, thanks to a power-lifting mechanism that pushes the entire chair from its base. Even if you suffer from arthritis, this can be really helpful. Other than this, lift chairs can usually perform all other functions of a motorized recliner.

Types

Usually, a lift recliner can work with a weight between 375 and 450 lbs. There are some models which can handle weights up to 700 lbs. These chairs can also be classified according to their degree of flexibility and number of reclining positions available. So you have:

  • 2-position chairs, which, as the name suggests, allows you two reclining positions. You can either keep the chair straight for sitting upright or switch to the “TV recline” mode, for reading or watching television.
  • 3-position chairs give you the capacity to recline to about 135 degrees, which should be enough for you to attain the right posture for a nap. They also allow you to sit upright or maintain the TV-recline posture.
  • “Infinite” recline chairs can go fully flat (like a bed) and have independent back and leg positions. So you actually have countless reclining positions between the upright and the flat-bed positions. Some of these lift chairs come with mattresses for added comfort.

Risks

Like all motorized gadgets, a lift recliner should also be used carefully. There have been instances when children have been trapped between the upholstered section of the chair and the frame, while playing with the lifting mechanism. To eliminate such risks, a power chair must be kept out of the reach of children when you are not using it.

The best lift chairs can be a might expensive, but they also provide you great comfort and ease of mobility. Your medical insurance should a cover a portion of, if not the entire cost of purchasing a lift chair.

Residential Elevators

If you would like to give a futuristic look to your stylish homes, residential elevators from Federal Elevator are ideal and elegant options. Moreover, these elevators prove to be valuable assets to all types of residences.

Federal Elevator is an established accessibility equipment provider offering unique residential lifts to suit any application. To have safe and comfortable access to all parts of your home, Panorama or Renaissance elevators from Federal Elevator are practical choices; moreover, these offer energy efficient operation. These feature quiet operation, and ensure a velvet-smooth ride for the users. These passenger lifts of varying capacities and speeds bring a touch of affordable elegance to your modern or traditional multi-storied building. Understand the uses and limitations of residential elevators provided by Federal Elevator, and then select the product that meets your needs.

Improve your living lifestyle with Panorama elevator model, which is designed to transport passengers as well as groceries from floor-to-floor. The Panorama elevators are hydraulic, and offer smooth vertical transportation with a maximum of 8 stops. These have a battery backup emergency lowering system, emergency lighting and alarm to support the unit in the event of power failure.

This product:

o Handles a payload up to 750 lbs

o Has a manual and automatic swing entrance with accordion or scissor style car gates

o Runs at a maximum speed of 50 fpm over a height of 50 ft

o Utilizes a hydraulic drive system

o Has a car control station with emergency alarm and stop button

o Has the capacity to fit into a limited space

For the residential elevator industry, Federal Elevator offers another option, the Renaissance elevator. This is one of the finest residential elevators available in the market used to meet the practical needs of the elderly and disabled. It comes with landing entrances with extruded aluminum sills, strut angles and flush design door panels; hydraulic power unit; emergency power unit; standard platform size car enclosure; an emergency stop button and alarm and a number of more basic and safety features. When negative pressure is sensed by the hydraulic control valve, it suddenly stops from descending as it is a pressure sensitive check valve. The car enclosure’s standard features include telephone cabinet, photoelectric eyes, arrival gongs and lights, various interior cab panel finishes and motion activated cab lights.

Over the past few years, the demand for residential elevators from Federal Elevator has been on the increase as this elevator maintains high quality at affordable price tag.

Number Plate Frames – Personalise Yours Today

Every time you ride in your vehicle, you may not think about it, but you spend a good deal of time looking at the number plate of the car in front of you. This is why many people choose to customise their number plate to say creative words or phrases. As you view the license plate, you also inadvertently look at the frame, often displaying the name of the car dealership the car was purchased at.

You can customise your very own plate frames to say anything you want. Having a unique number plate frame on your car can serve many purposes. The first and most obvious reason to personalise your own number plate frames is to do what the dealerships do and transform the otherwise meaningless frame into an advertisement for a business or service you perform for the public. Place a brief description or teaser and even a phone number right on the plate frame! This is an extremely affordable form of advertising that is non-intrusive. It serves as an exceptional alternative to having script all over your car and windows and can be just as effective.

Advertising is not the only purpose of personalised number plate frames. Be unique and get others around you thinking with a playful phrase that says something about you. If you have a great passion for one side of a political debate or current event, get your words heard in a creative way. Give a personal gift to someone important to you that tells them just how you feel about them. “World’s Greatest Dad” is a phrase you could give to a loving father who has always been supportive to you.

The versatility of unique number plate frames makes it popular in many instances. They are perfect as a simple, low cost way to advertise every time you drive while not destroying the paint on your car. Advertising is not the only way to utilise personalised number plate frames. You may have seen some frames that say something to get you thinking or simply make you laugh and brighten your day. At a very reasonable price, you can say something profound about yourself while lifting others spirits around you and assist in getting more business. If you cannot think of a phrase on your own, there are ideas you can view to get you started.

Buying a Wood Stove

There’s little better than the comfort of a wood  stove . Wood  stoves  have been around for centuries, and they are proving to be just as popular today as they were a hundred years ago. One reason for this is the advances in technology.

Wood  stoves  of today produce less smoke than wood  stoves  of old, and they produce less mess as well. Another reason why they continue to be popular today is that they come in such a wide variety of styles that finding one to fit into the décor of your home is easier than ever.

Before you buy a wood  stove , however, there are a few things to keep king mind. The first one is where you plan to put the  stove . Remember that they can produce quite a lot of heat, and so you will want to install it where you need it most. Many people opt to put their  stoves  in a centralized location in the house so that the heat radiates equally to all parts.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can actually cook on your  stove . Of course they did that in the past, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t do that today as well. If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen anyway, why not kill two birds with one stone and use it for both heating and cooking purposes? If you love a lively kitchen, the  stove  will also be a natural magnet for anyone in the house looking for comfort and warmth.

The variety of styles available these days is astonishing. Of course some will want the old-fashioned look, and you will have no problem finding  stoves  with that type of design. Perhaps you would like to recreate the times you remembered from you own home as a kid, or maybe even your grandparents’ house.

But in addition to the old wood  stoves  that nearly all of us remember and love, wood  stoves  also come in more modern designs. Although just as practical as the traditional design, these newer designs are meant to fit right in with more modern décor. You will find these sleek and modern pieces can even add a lot of style to your home.

The last major aspect to consider when buying a  stove  is the size. As with designs, there are a number of different choices to choose from. One thing you will want to be sure of is that you find a  stove  that will allow ample space around it for walking. The heat that a  stove  can generate isn’t something that you want to constantly be avoiding. If you have children, you might also want to purchase a guard to go around the  stove .

No matter what you’re looking for in a  stove , these days there’s surely something out on the market that meets your needs perfectly – large or small, old-fashioned or modern, you will be happy to cozy up to your  stove  on a cold winter night, possibly just like your ancestors did even centuries ago.

Slow Cooker – What Is It?

A slow cooker or crockpot is a small kitchen appliance designed to cook food slowly over an extended period of time. It is a stand alone appliance and sits on the kitchen counter or table.

Currently, slow cookers are electric and must be plugged in during the entire cooking time. This is good because it frees up your stove top and oven, but you’ll need a place where the crock pot can be plugged in and left undisturbed for many hours. In one of my small apartments, this meant that the crock pot had to be somewhere other than my teeny tiny kitchen.  I usually placed it around the corner on our dining table…. did I mention that this kitchen was teensy?

The crock pot consists of a removable round or oval cooking pot made of glazed ceramic or porcelain. The cooking pot has a close fitting lid, sometimes fitted with a steam vent. The removable crock is surrounded by a housing, usually metal, containing an electric heating element which is controlled by a thermostat. As mentioned earlier, the cooking pot is separate from the housing and can be removed for adding ingredients, serving the meal, and or cleaning.

The ceramic pot, or ‘crock’, acts as both a cooking container and a heat reservoir. There is a wide range of sizes for slow cookers varying from 16 ounces (2 cups) on up to about 7 quarts.

It is important to read the directions included with any slow cooker. Often, due to the placement of the heating elements, there will be a minimum recommended liquid level that should be used to avoid uncontrolled local heating.

Many crock pots have two or more temperature settings (e.g., low, medium, high, and sometimes a “keep warm” setting); others may have continuously variable temperature options. As a general rule of thumb, a slow cooker is designed to heat food to 170°F (77°C) on low and up to perhaps 190-200°F (88-93°C) on high.

Some crock pots automatically switch from cooking to warming (maintaining the temperature at 160°F-165°F ) after a fixed time or after the internal temperature of the food, as determined by a probe, reaches a specified value.

Basic cookers, which have only high, medium, low, or keep warm settings, have to be manually turned on and off.

Others have settings for high and low (e.g., four hours high, eight hours low) which allow the cook to choose a cooking time after which the cooker automatically switches to “keep warm” mode.

The most advanced cookers are programmable, allowing the cooker to be programmed to perform multiple operations (e.g., two hours high, followed by two hours low, followed by warm), and also to delay the start of cooking.

Crock pots cook using a combination of heat, slow cooking time, and steam, resulting in savory tender meats. They are suitable for many single dish recipes including but not limited to: stews, chili, soup, pot roast, roasted poultry, sauces, beverages, and more.

For best results use recipes that are specified for crock pots. Recipe conversions can be a challenge, so if you decide to experiment, don’t try a new conversion recipe without testing it first!

All in all, a crock pot is a convenient addition to any cook’s kitchen.

Plastic Latches

A mechanical or hinged fastener used to allow movement between two surfaces, like opening and shutting, is known as a latch. They can be simple mechanical devices or a complex system of several latches combining to form a more complicated latching format. They can be worked with spring action, by the movement of plastic or metal springs or when the door or locking surface shuts. The rotary latch is operated by a key which turns the latch into the open or shut position. There are several other variations of these simple latches, like crossbars, etc which are used in various other applications.

Latches were traditionally made of metal but contemporary latches are made of other light weight materials such as plastics which, in combination with metallic parts, makes the latch sturdy, functional and less heavy and cumbersome.

One type of commonly-used plastic latch is the automobile door latch. Automobile doors are constantly opened and shut and the latch is the snap-shut type, which undergoes extensive wear and tear. The door has to snap shut and remain securely latched to prevent the door from opening by itself and posing a hazard to life. The latch must be durable, hardy and lightweight enough to withstand cracking from repeated impact, very high and low temperature variations, hence these latches are made of tough, yet flexible plastic compounds and shaped by injection molding process. One-way latches are commonly used in office automation equipment like copy machines, projection machines, etc and these small, yet useful latches keep the equipment covered and free of dust and debris.

Plastic with metal insert latches are also used in refrigerators, where the plastic latch has a metal strike and catch with magnetic qualities to allow the door to be closed automatically.

Washing machines and dryers also have plastic latches which are molded and may have small metal inserts to catch and snap shut, to make the washing and drying operation safe while the machine is running. These latches may also have child-proof locking systems for additional safety.

Another common plastic latch is the non-locking type which can be used for interior doors, screen doors, baths and office cabins. The locking mechanism may be separate from the latch. Trailers or campers may also have plastic door latches with locks on their entrance doors.

Hinged, flip-type plastic latches are commonly found on baggage-doors inside aircraft, buses, trains etc where the hinged door needs to snap shut and stay securely in place. These doors are usually light-weight, but they may be subject to strain by the movement of the vehicle, hence the latch must be very strong and sturdy.

Depending on the functional aspects, plastic latches can be purchased from your local hardware dealer or they can be ordered on-line directly from manufacturers after consulting their catalogs and brochures.

Wide Plank Hardwood Floors

Old houses usually have wide  plank  hardwood floors. It was the practice during the colonial times to cut through the tree to the center. The boards produced varied in width as they moved closer to the core.

The bark was removed from around the edges. The boards were then smoothened and straightened. The end results were floors featuring boards in different sizes.

Hardwoods for Floors

Different kinds woods are suitable as material for floors. The most common, although most expensive, are oak, chestnut, and maple. There are also other exotic kinds of wood from different parts of the world. But before you order, make sure that they come from sustainable forests.

Hand scraping, a process that gives new floors an antique look is popular among manufacturers who customize hardwoods. People just love the rustic charm that comes with floors that display a bit of history; of it being part of some exciting and interesting past. Wood gives that added elegance to any room.

A ballroom for example will look good with a floor made from wide  planks  of hardwood. Or a lobby will look all the more imposing and grand with richly textured and colored wide wooden  planks .

The Wider The Better

Depending on the size and importance of the room, the width of the hardwood  planks  varies. Some people, however, believe that the wider the  planks , the more elegant the hardwood floor looks.

Nowadays, production of hardwood floorboards undergoes strict quality control. They come in prefabricated sizes and specifications. This new breed of flooring is oftentimes engineered to allow easy installation. And these materials are easy to care for and maintain.

Wider  planks  create a look of elegance and style. The patterns on the wood are more visible. The whole floor looks decadent and rich with texture.

You may encounter a bit of a problem with wider  planks . When they become damaged beyond restoration, you many have to replace the whole thing. This can be very expensive. Or when the  planks  expand due to moisture, you may have to do some major renovations. Despite all these consideration, wider  planks  evoke their own level of elegance and class.

Wedding Photography Business Plan – Marketing Planning

When you plan a wedding photography business, you are joining not just the photography industry, but the huge American wedding industry. There are multiple potential channels for marketing your services in this industry, and your marketing plan should detail how you will take advantage of them to spend you precious marketing dollars.

Print Advertising

Unlike consumers looking for certain products, brides do still look to magazines as a significant source of information about weddings and wedding services. Purchasing advertising in bridal magazines can be a good marketing spend. However, running a public relations campaign which targets these magazines with article ideas featuring your business may be an even better way to pursue this channel, assuming there are specific remarkable stories you can push.

Internet Advertising

Wedding websites, such as theknot.com, weddingchannel.com, and brides.com, are another source of information and services for brides and wedding planners. Pay-per-click advertising with Google AdWords or other search engines is another valuable way to advertise. The upside of internet advertising is the ability to track the number of hits your website receives directly from these sources and the rate of converting these hits to those who request more information or even call. The AdWords campaign manager or free tools such as Google Analytics can supply this information.

Industry Associations

To seek the higher end of the wedding market, you will need to work with event planners who tend to manage the planning process for bridal clients. Join industry associations where wedding and event planners take part, both to gain mailing lists and to learn about events and conferences to attend. Use these events to network and build your reputation with wedding planners one at a time. Many will be interested in a commission relationship, whereby they earn 10% or more of your fees to wedding clients they refer to you. Be prepared for whether you will be happy with this kind of relationship or if it will effectively obliterate your profit.

Protect Metal Handrails and Railings From Rust

Hand rails, railings and fencings are commonly made or iron. Sometimes wrought iron is used instead of pure iron or steel. Hand rails, fencing or railings can be found in commercial and residential premises. These parts of buildings are very much prone to rust.

It is difficult to keep them away from moisture. Iron fencing and railings in garden are exposed to rain, snow and dew all over the year. You can’t help it. Rust on railings, hand rails and fences make them look ugly; the exterior of your house degrades. The edges of rusting metals get marred and hence they are risky – they often lead to small to serious injuries if not handled with full attention.

Top of all, risks of getting clothes torn and stained while passing by the rusted railings are almost unavoidable. Rusting for a long period of time makes metals weak and compels you to replace the railings.

Stop this malicious cycle of rusting on metal hand rails and railings forever. Practice proper rust treatment to protect your metal railings and add to its longevity.

A series of conditions is basically responsible for rust on metal hand rails, railings and fencings.

Most people apply protective coat of paints, primers or varnish to protect metal railings and hand rails from moisture. With time, paint dries out. As a result the surface of the coating cracks and the layer starts to peel off. Moisture starts attacking the metal through these small openings.

Scratches are quite common on railings and hand rails. Scratches damage the protective coat of paints and let moisture enter in and corrode the metal. Even a small scratch can lead to serious corrosion in the long run.

Sometimes rusting begins during construction. Once metal railings and hand rails are fitted, there should not be any delay in painting. If rusting begins before you apply the protective paint, you won’t be able to save the metal. Rust will spread silently below the paint layer and force the paint to peel off eventually.

Before painting, make sure the metal is rubbed with sandpaper and brush to remove rust. You can use rust remover for metal to clean the metal.

In past, people used to apply several layers of protective coatings to make sure that moisture cannot attack the original metal. First layer of paint, than a coat of primer, then the second and final coating of waterproof paint used to be applied on metal railings and hand rails.

The process was time consuming. And once moisture could make it to the metal body, rusting used to begin underneath.

Today’s organic rust cleaning products are good from all perspectives. Unlike mechanical abrasion method, spray based rust cleaners are easy to use. Being natural, the solution has no side effects. Healthy.

If you spray rust cleaning products on the bare metal before applying the paint, you ensure lifelong rust protection to the metal railings and  handrails . The solution remains inside and keeps protecting the metal for the days to come. If somehow, the surface cracks letting moisture in, the pre-applied rust cleaning solution prevents rusting. And you get enough time to repair the cracks.

So follow this technique to protect your metal railings from rust. Use natural cleaning products to protect metal products – save money, save earth!

The Local Stair Builder Is Your Friend

Landing newell, knee wall, baluster; these terms are not in the usual vernacular of our everyday person, but probably more common to a stair builder. They refer to something we use daily; stairs. If you’re unsure about adding stairs to your home and how to do it there are many options to consider. We can break the decision down into two parts: why you should have stairs in your home and deciding to hire a stair builder.

Why should you add a staircase? The answer is aesthetic. Your house has an overall feeling, whether that be warm, cozy, open, closed. Stairs add to this aura in an important way and will add to the essence you are hoping to achieve in your house.

The stairs and banister alone leave you with many choices; from straight, curve or spiral to partial open, full open – the possibilities are endless. You’ll also have to decide what type of wood you want to use. Options such as Red Oak, Hickory, or Brazilian Cherry are only scratching the surface.

The final artistic decision you must make is on one of the most structurally important pieces; the balusters. These are the middle pieces of your staircase that hold up the bannister and run along the edge of your stairs.

You’ll have to ask yourself, what shape and size you prefer? Do you want a hammered metal look or a sleek finished wood design? Pairing deep mahogany wood stairs and banister with a specially designed iron baluster will make a strong, beautiful statement. Asking friends or a stair builder for creative ideas is a good idea.

Now, the most important part of this process is to discuss why it is critical to hire a stair builder. The reason is that decorative options such as balusters actually have great bearing on whether or not your stairs will be safe. A stair builder will know this and therefore make sure that the installation is done properly.

Also, depending on the location of your home there are certain codes and requirements for building. It’s best to hire a stair builder who will be prepared with this information and waste none of the time you might if you had to do your own research.

I know it may seem more economical to do them yourself, but if you breech a building code, or make a mistake it will end up costing you to fix the problem. Hiring a stair builder will ensure that the work will be done error free.

Building stairs, as you can see, is a lot to take on. Though most of the creative decisions will be made by yourself, the rest should be placed in the hands of a stair builder to not only save your wallet, but make sure you and your family can run up and down those stairs safely, and without worry for many years to come.

A Stainless Steel Handrail Set Can Last You a Long Time With Proper Care

While balustrades are aesthetically pleasing to look at, their main purpose is to serve as a safety and support device for stairways and balconies. They come in different designs that vary depending on the environment in which they are used in and also on the builder’s budget. If you are renovating your home, or are in the process of building one from scratch, it is important to understand the benefits of a stainless steel handrail. Glass, for the longest time, was a popular material used in the construction of these. Today, there are many advantages that steel offers. Let us examine some of these.

A stainless steel handrail is the most durable choice in the balustrades market. Because it is extremely strong and durable, you can be assured that your handrail will give you the support and the safety it is meant to. Most steel handrails are finished with a galvanized coating that will not corrode and a powder coating for an attractive finish that will last for years.

The cleaning process of your stainless steel handrail set should be scheduled. If you have young children or pets in your home, you will want to make sure that someone will be around to care for them. This will save you from any possible delay and accident that are caused when you have children and pets running around your home. If your balustrades are located outside the house, check your local weather forecast. The last thing you want to experience is getting drenched in the rain with all your equipment ready.

What materials are needed to keep your brand new stainless steel handrail set in prime condition? A simple microfiber cloth and vinegar solution will do. An older set of handrails that is showing signs of rust will require the use of a foam brush, spray bottle, anti-rust agents, dishwashing liquid, and some clear coat paint. These materials will help not only in cleaning the surfaces but also in preventing and removing rust. Have some cotton rags handy in case any of these liquids spill while you are cleaning your balustrades.

In order to get started cleaning your stainless steel handrail set, dampen your microfiber cloth with the vinegar solution and wipe the entire surface area clean. Once you have done this, apply the clear coat paint as a protection against fingerprint marks. For handrails that already have signs of rust setting in, use the spray bottle with vinegar to loosen up the rusted areas. After you have done this, scrub the rusted areas with a foam brush to remove the corrosion. The rusted areas should be then wiped dry with the microfiber cloth immediately afterwards. As a last tip, make sure you use gloves and a facemask whenever cleaning balustrades so you do not inhale the liquids in the process.

Inventive designers and builder prefer using a stainless steel handrail set because the design is sturdy yet elegant and eye-catching at the same time. If you are on a mission to beautify your home or office, you can choose to order a pre-made set or have one custom-built through a reputable manufacturer. Not only will you improve the inner and outer appearance of your home, you will also increase its safety features once these are installed.

Hip Hop and Rap Software Explosion

Hip Hop as a Music Art form has really taken off as a massive worldwide phenomenon. Artists are making Millions of Dollars and more in no time at all and a complete sub industry is being created around it.

But Hip Hop as a Business is still in its early stages of growth. And in my opinion has seen nothing yet compared to what is to come.

With the exponential growth of Hip Hop and Rap music, there has been the closely linked growth in Hip Hop and Rap related software products. Software to help facilitate this success is everywhere and currently the Market is awash with numerous products, from the Spectacularly Brilliant down to the useless waste of time products that many of us have been suckered into buying on a whim.

Some of the products cost astronomical sums of money, and you would have to make it as a star just to make it worthwhile buying them. And other brilliant products and some not so great ones are completely FREE.

From software for making your own beats; or Chopping other peoples Beats, to Guides on Starting your own Record Label and Guides to Learning the latest Hip Hop Dance Moves.

Shows such as American Idol and The X Factor have shown that completely unheard of acts can suddenly explode onto the scene and make it really big in no time at all.

The use of the Internet as a means of accelerating the growth of your Public Image has also become increasingly popular. Several New Stars have launched their careers from You Tube in the recent past. The average person now has access to a worldwide audience from the comfort of their office or bedroom with the click of a few keys. This means the bars of entry into the game have been relaxed for the well informed.

Armed with a collection of the right software and a bit of talent, hard work and luck, it could now be possible for anyone to break into this industry.

Who knows, this time next year it could be You!

Baby Proofing your Home – Baby Safety Tips for Effective Babyproofing

Unfortunately, more than four million children end up in the emergency room each year as a result of home accidents. The good news is 90% of these accidents could have been avoided. While there is no replacement for vigilant supervision, proactive childproofing can go along way towards preventing needless accidents. As your child explores, teach him what is safe and what is off-limits.

Drawing on the knowledge of child safety expert Kimberlee Mitchell, experienced mother of two toddlers and owner of Boo Boo Busters Professional Babyproofing Service, below is a list of recommended childproofing tips for every home.

How To Create A Baby Safe Home Environment

The cheapest and quickest way to babyproof is to limit access to certain parts of the home that are neither safe nor appropriate for babies. The garage, laundry room, loft, terrace, office, gym, utility room, craft room, rooms under construction, etc. should be “off limits” for babies and should be secured with door locks. The front door and interior garage door should have flip locks so child does not have access to outdoors.

Common Hazards in Every Home

Some household dangers are obvious yet others can be more elusive. Albeit there are hundreds of dangers common to every household, they are easily rectified once recognized.

Electrical:

· Cover all outlets, power strips and old exposed wires. Engaged outlets with a cord plugged in and play areas (nursery, play room, living room) should have sliding plate covers or a big box outlet cover for oversized plugs on every exposed outlet. Push plugs can be used in less accessible areas only if the plugs are very difficult for an adult to remove. A determined child and/or a set of twins, can remove the push plugs given enough time.

· Use cord control kits to organize and house all wires.

Tipping:

· Anchor all armoires, shelving units, dressers, etc. or appliances (i.e. TV, VCR, computer, etc.) that can topple onto child as a result of climbing or pulling. When drawers are open simultaneously the unit, however sturdy, becomes front heavy and tips easily with weight of toddler on open drawer.

· Earthquakes are another good reason to secure heavy furniture to wall stud.

Falls:

· Install window guards with emergency release latches on all windows on second level. Screens are not babyproofing devices. Beware of toy stacking. Children will pile up anything to get a view outside. Move furniture away from half walls where child can climb up and fall over. Consider having Plexiglas installed to extend dangerous pony walls.

· Mount safety gate at stair top and bottom. Professional babyproofers offer top quality gates, extensions, custom mount kits for wood and wrought iron   banisters . Pressure gates are not recommended. If  banister  posts are more than 3″ apart, install a barrier.

· Install custom cut Plexiglas on stair  banisters  and decks that are no to code (2 1/2 inches wide) or if there are decorative embellishments on  banister  that will act as a foothold for a climbing child.

· Be sure all area rugs and mats have non-skid bottoms to avoid slipping.

· Never leave infant unattended on changing table or bed

· Never let child play on stairs unattended.

Chemical:

· Move all chemicals (including cleaning supplies, various beauty and childcare accessories and alcohol) to a high locked cabinet.

· Install magnetic child safety locks (Tot Loks) on all accessible drawers and cabinets that contain these toxic items. These are 100% kid proof.

· No unsupervised entry into garage and laundry room.

· CO detectors should be installed on each level of home near sleeping quarters.

Plants:

· Find out which plants in your home and yard are poisonous. Landscapers commonly use White Oleander, which is highly toxic. If there is a plant in question, cut off a sprig, put it in a zip lock bag and bring it to local plant nursery for their input.

Pets:

· Keep all pet doors closed off when child is present.

· Pets run through door and knock over child and/or child can escape to the outside via the door, which is at their eye level and quite inviting.

· Never allow your child access to an animal you don’t know is good with children. Don’t allow child to hug dog or kiss its face. Don’t bring small children to dog parks. Keep child away from pack of fast running dogs.

Choking/Strangulation:

· Anything that will fit inside an empty cardboard toilet paper roll is a choking hazard.

· Replace all old door stops that have removable rubber tips with one piece door stops as the small rubber tip is a choking hazard.

· Do a visual safety sweep of home every day before child wakes to make sure all small objects are picked up off floor.

· Beware of older children’s toys that can be choking hazards. Use locked storage bins for small pieces.

· Install a peg rack on wall to hang purses, coats, bags, backpacks, etc. to keep out of reach.

· Install blind cord cleats and wrap all dangling cords to disallow strangulation.

Water:

· Avoid the most common drowning hazard and have a pool fence, cover or net installed over all pools and spas.

· When swimming with baby or small child always make sure they are within arm’s distance and PAY ATTENTION. Being engrossed in a conversation with someone while “watching your child” is very dangerous.

· Babies can fall into toilet head first and not be able to get out so be sure to install toilet locks.

· After it rains do a visual safety sweep of the yard to look for planters, buckets or water tables with pooled water and dump it out.

· Never leave the child unattended in or around water.

· Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid risk of scalding.

Humans:

· Use back burners in kitchen and turn pot handles in.

· Parents make habit of holding handrail when using stairs when carrying child.

· Keep doors to “off limits” rooms pulled closed.

· Beware of elderly or older children’s non-safe habits about household. They will unintentionally leave medicines out, drop pills, leave doors/cabinets/drawers open, etc. You can educate your family members to be mindful of their unsafe habits but at the end of the day the baby’s safety is still your responsibility.

· Be vigilant about supervising your child. You can babyproof your home like a safety fortress but there is no replacement for your constant attention.

· Turn off the TV if you are not watching it with your child. The program may be child-safe but the commercials might not. There are some pretty terrifying things on TV that will not physically harm a baby but can cause damage. See your pediatrician about this topic for more information.

A VIRTUAL HOME SAFETY EVALUATION:

The following is a room-by-room walk through of an average family home. Keep in mind that our homes were not designed for the safety of a baby or child in mind. Each residence has special features that are unique as well as common safety challenges. Below is a list of solutions to common safety hazards found in most homes:

Kitchen

· Install magnetic child safety locks (Tot Loks) on all accessible drawers and cabinets that contain toxic items (i.e. cleaning supplies, alcohol, vitamins, plastic bags, etc.)

· Gate off kitchen area.

· Keep child in high chair or pack and play during meal preparation.

· Latch all other drawers and cabinets. We recommend babyproofing for safety first and foremost, however it’s also a matter of convenience. If you choose, keep one cupboard with Tupperware lids unlocked for child to access but be sure they can not use this open cabinet or drawer as a step to climb up onto counter. Your child may not be able to reach certain drawers now but he surely will in no time.

· Never let child play with pots or pans as it sends the wrong message to child that these are toys. When child sees the same pots/pan on stove top he will want to grab his familiar “toy.”

· Consider latching all appliances child can access like the refrigerator, dishwasher, trash compactor, dumbwaiter and oven.

· Keep all appliances on counter unplugged and hide electrical cords.

· Do not hang dish towels on oven door as baby can pull towel and bring the door down into the bridge of his nose.

· Use back burners on stove and install stove guard and knob covers if child has access to them.

· Do not use small or breakable refrigerator magnets as they are choking hazards.

· Beware of leaving knives, scissors, coffee mug, etc. out on counter as child will grab at whatever they can get a handle on from their vantage.

Bathrooms

· No unsupervised entry into bathroom.

· Use safety locks on door at all times.

· Install toilet locks to prevent child from drowning and throwing objects in.

· Latch all cabinets.

· Move wastebasket under sink behind a latched cabinet door or use a covered receptacle.

· Turn water heater down to 120 degrees to prevent scalding.

· Always check water temperature on your inner wrist prior to putting baby into it.

· Never leave a child in bath unattended.

· Never leave filled tub unattended and drain tub immediately after use. Children can wander in and drown.

· Use no-slip mat to prevent slipping and a spout cover to prevent scalding and cuts.

· Remove all electrical appliances from bathroom where child bathes.

Living Room/Family Room

· Eliminate baby’s access to fireplaces, wood stoves and hot tubs using gates developed for this purpose. If gates will not work on fireplace use specially designed fireplace lock on glass accordion doors and install hearth padding around edges of hearth to prevent child from falling onto it.

· Remove gas key from fireplace gas gauge and store in high place.

· Anchor all items that are tipping hazards.

· Anchor TVs.

· Remove all items (torchiere lamps, freestanding coat racks, statues, etc.) from home until child is older.

· Cover end tables, coffee tables, countertops, and low dressers furniture corners and edges with cushioning created for this purpose.

Decks

· No unsupervised access to decks. Beware of you child stacking toys/object to see over railing.

· Install a Plexiglas or net barrier if there is more than 2 ½ inches between railing posts.

· Put decals on sliding glass doors at baby’s eye level, so he or she doesn’t run into them.

· Always keep baby away when from the grill. Hearthgates work well for this purpose.

· Do not use deck furniture to eliminate risk of climbing.

· Always lock all doors leading to decks.

Nursery

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Safety Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics have the following helpful safety suggestions for your child’s nursery.

· ALWAYS place your baby to sleep on his or her back. This greatly reduces the risk from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or suffocation. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended back-sleeping five years ago, SIDS deaths in the USA have declined by 38%.

· Remove all soft bedding-pillows, comforters, blankets and stuffed animals-from the crib to further reduce risk of suffocation. Instead of a blanket, dress baby in a sleep sack or sleeper.

· Make sure the crib itself meets current safety standards. This means:

1. The slats are no wider than 2 3/8″ apart

2. The mattress is firm-not soft (foam or coil – your preference)

3. There is no gap between mattress and crib walls. Two fingers worth of space is too much.

4. Corner posts are level with the height of the end panels (just 1/16″ higher at most)

5. There are no decorative cut-outs in the headboard or footboard.

6. Top rails, when raised, are at least 26″ above the mattress support in its lowest position.

7. Hardware is secure-no loose or broken screws or pieces. Recheck periodically.

8. Drop sides cannot be accidentally released by a child. (According to the National Safety Council, the crib sides should require two separate steps to release. If this is a one step process, it should require a minimum force of 10 pounds to release.)

9. Look for a JPMA safety certification seal on newly manufactured cribs.

10. Top rails should be covered by teething guards.

· Keep blind cords, curtain pulls, décor, electrical cords and mobiles out of baby’s reach.

· Maintain a cool room temperature give a recommended range to prevent overheating.

· Place baby’s crib away from any source of draft.

· Make sure baby’s fitted sheet is secured to the mattress and will not pop loose.

· Place a baby monitor in the nursery far from child’s reach.

· Consider purchasing a special crib mattress that circulates air around baby. This helps prevent the “rebreathing” of carbon dioxide, which is believed to be a leading cause of SIDS.

· If you use bumper pads, make sure they are tightly secured to the sides of the cribs. Trim excess ties or straps. Straps should be loose, easy to push down to mattress and not hung up on any hardware. You don’t want your child to get a foothold on bumper to be able to climb out.

· When child is sitting up remove bumper pads and all other animals or pillows and lower crib mattress to lowest position.

· Once the top of the crib rails are less than three-fourths your child’s height or they are 36 inches tall, it’s time to move to a toddler bed.

· If you have a child who climbs out of the crib before the above point, seriously consider using a crib tent. Some parent’s don’t like it but the potential alternatives are far worse.

· Install finger guards on fast-closing doors.

· Anchor all furniture, cover all outlets (even ones behind crib), and install locks or window guards on all windows.

· When baby is sitting up remove all mobiles and any type of canopy over bed as they can pose choking or strangulation hazards.

· Do not place heavy object on shelves or hang pictures above crib.

· Use earthquake putty on all objects placed on shelving. Use Velcro the secure base of pictures on walls – stick to wall and back of frame and it will prevent it from falling and breaking during quake.

· Use locks on sliding closet doors until baby can open and close without pinching fingers or slamming causing glass doors to crack.

· Pick up room every night before bed so in the event of an emergency you can get to your child quickly without incident.

· When child is in toddler bed, use pressure gate in doorway to prevent child from walking around house unsupervised during the night. Instruct child to call for you when he is awake in the morning.

Fire & Health Safety

· Store fire escape ladders in every bedroom on second level and above.

· Place working fire alarms in every bedroom and on every story and remember to check them regularly. Day light savings time is a good marker to use check your alarms bi-annually

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· Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of home near sleeping areas.

· Install natural gas detectors on each level of home near sleeping areas.

· Create and practice a disaster plans. (ie. fire escape plan, earthquake plan, disaster plan.)

· Purchase disaster preparedness kits.

· Make sure all fire/smoke alarms are in working order.

· Place the phone number of the poison control center near the telephone. You will need to know your child’s weight to treating a poisoning. Never use ipecac unless instructed by a professional to do so.

· Learn first aid and CPR and keep your skills up-to-date.