Patio Umbrella Fabrics – Choosing the Right One For Your Needs

As you browsed through the internet for patio umbrellas you may have noticed that there are many different fabric options available. With so many choices, you may ask yourself, “What is the difference between all of these fabrics?” In this article, we will cover the different fabric types in order to help you choose the best option for your outdoor space.

Sunbrella Fabric

Sunbrella is a common name when it comes to fabric. In fact, many people actually use the term “Sunbrella umbrella” when requesting information. However, there is actually no such thing as a Sunbrella Umbrella. Sunbrella is simply a fabric manufactured by Glen Raven mills. But because Glen Raven has been a leader in the manufacture of performance fabrics for forty five years, people assume they also make umbrellas. Sunbrella is a heavy duty solution dyed acrylic fabric made with locked-in colors. The long life of Sunbrella’s fabric colors are one of the main reasons to purchase umbrellas made with this product. Umbrellas and cushions with this durable fabric come with a 5-year fade warranty and typically last longer then any fabric in the industry.

Sunbrella is also well known for its UV-Ray resistance, Sunbrella umbrella fabrics have been tested and proven to give up to 98% UV protection in shade applications and have been awarded the “Seal of Recommendation” by The International Skin Cancer Foundation. Along with UV protection, and color retention Sunbrella has a great water-repellency. This doesn’t mean that it’s water-proof, but because the fibers are woven so tightly there is a high degree of water resistance that allows them to remain outdoors even in light rain.

Suncrylic Fabric

Suncrylic is another solution dyed acrylic fabric you can get on your outdoor umbrella canopy. Slightly less heavy than Sunbrella, Suncrylic also offers a high degree of UV resistance and water repellency. The biggest difference between Suncrylic and Sunbrella, is in the fade resistance ability and the warranty offered. Suncrylic fabrics are warranted not to fade for a period of 1 year from time of purchase.

Olefin Fabric

Another fabric choice for patio umbrellas is Olefin. This is also a solution dyed acrylic fabric that is considered to be high density yet light weight. Olefin is a woven fabric that holds its color well, provides protection from harmful UV rays, and resists staining. It’s durable and easy to clean, with a one year warranty against fading. Texsilk is one brand of Olefin fabric that can be used as an umbrella canopy. While Texsilk is water resistant, it can be machine washed for easy cleaning.

Polyester Fabric

Just like acrylic, polyester is a man made fabric. This fabric is light, breathable and less expensive to manufacturer which is why it is commonly used by both clothing and outdoor furniture manufacturers to manufacture economically suited products. Polyester is not a natural water or fade resistant fabric. For this reason, polyester canopies are sometimes coated with polyurethane or Scotch guard protection to aid in fade resistance. While patio umbrellas with polyester fabrics are economical, there are certain qualities about them that may be undesirable to some consumers. The primary reason for upgrading to an acrylic type fabric is because polyester fabrics typically fade much faster then anything else in the market. Specifically, if you are in a harsh or extreme weather region of the country like Arizona, polyester fabrics may not be the best choice for you unless you are diligent in covering them or storing them when not in use. If do purchase an item with polyester fabrics, it is best recommend to stick to anything above 600 thread count or more to get the best value for your money! Also, here is a quick tip: You will notice much less fade problems with lighter colored polyester fabrics. White, natural and beige seem to last much longer then blues, reds and blacks.

Additionally, it is important to keep polyester fabric umbrellas away from any source of flame, such as torches, candles and patio heaters because it is flammable.

Coolaroo Fabric

Coolaroo is a unique canopy fabric that provides up to 90% UV block while also keeping temperatures cool under the shade. Shading your patio table or chairs with a Coolaroo canopy reduces temperatures up to 30%. This breathable fabric is resistant to mildew, is easy to clean and comes with a 5-year warranty against UV damage.

So there you have it, a wide range of fabrics and colors to choose from whether you buy an aluminum patio umbrella or a wood market umbrella for your next outdoor patio umbrella purchase.

Books Set in France – Five Novels to Read Before You Travel

So you are about to set off on the trip of a lifetime to one of the most-loved countries in the world — France! You have been practicing your ‘bonjours‘ and your ‘mercis‘, and studying maps of Paris to work out how to get around, but there is one more thing you can do to make sure your trip is extra special. And that is to immerse yourself in French life by reading some books set in France.

Reading novels set in Paris or the French countryside will give you an insight into the country which is impossible to get from the guide books. As the characters walk along the Seine or drink their coffee at a table on the Parisian pavement, it will fill you with anticipation to do the same — making the experience so much sweeter when you finally get to do it yourself. If the novel is set in the past, you will have more appreciation for France’s history, bringing many of the places and old buildings alive when you visit them on your trip. And if the novel is set in the present day, there’s nothing more fun than trying to find the streets, bars and restaurants that might be mentioned in the story.

So what books should you read? Here is a selection of five novels which do a great job in bringing France to life, even before you set foot on that plane.

‘Foreign Tongue’ by Vanina Marsot

Nursing a broken heart, Anna moves to Paris from Los Angeles. She begins working as the translator of a cryptic erotic novel and of course, finds herself some romance. The book is a love-letter to the city, with plenty of wanderings through the streets as well as descriptions of French life, food and cafes.

‘The Coral Thief’ by Rebecca Stott

History, mystery, romance and intrigue intertwine in this novel set in post-Napoleonic Paris. It is 1815 and a young Englishman travels to Paris to take up a position at the renowned Jardin des Plantes. But when the collection of rare coral specimens he is carrying is stolen by a beautiful woman, he is drawn into a plot involving revolutionaries, spies and the intelligentsia. Victorian Paris comes alive in this novel, which will surely enhance any present day visit to the Jardin des Plantes, France’s main botanical garden.

‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’ by Susan Vreeland

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s ‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’ is a famous painting depicting a group of Parisians enjoying lunch on the terrace of a restaurant on the Seine. In this novel Vreeland tells the story of those in the painting and how they came to be there. It is a glorious look at Paris at the time of the Impressionists, and you can still eat at the restaurant itself today.

‘Five Quarters of the Orange’ by Joanne Harris

Now we move out of Paris and into the Loire Valley with this novel by Harris that takes us to a village occupied by the Germans in WWII. The book moves between WWII and the present day, giving us an insight into the long-term effects the Nazi occupation had on the French people. And as it is a book by Joanne Harris, there is a of course lots of time spent exploring French food!

‘The Matchmaker of Perigord’ by Julia Stuart

We finish up with something fun and quirky, in a fictional village in France’s south-west. Amour-Sur-Belle might not be a real place, but it gives a taste of some of the declining villages of rural France. Here, the town barber decides to reinvent himself as a match-maker, quite a task when there are only 33 residents to match up. Filled with delightful characters and semi-ridiculous situations, this novel should just leave you giggling and enjoying the French temperament.

So if you have your tickets booked for Charles de Gaulle airport or you just WISH you had a holiday planned for France, try the books above to immerse yourself in a bit of French life and culture. And if you find yourself enjoying them…well, there’s plenty more to explore…Bon Voyage!

Frugal Travel Tips For Prague

Prague is a favorite destination for many backpackers. The youth culture gives the city vitality and the frugal travel deals are plentiful.

The Prague Card

Most European cities offer a city card which for one flat, reasonable fee gives the traveler discounts and free admission to attractions. In Prague, this city card is an especially good deal. For 740 CZK, travelers gain free entrance to over 50 city attractions including Prague Castle attractions. For an additional 220 CZK, travelers can obtain a 3 day unlimited transit pass.

The Prague Card can be purchased at the airport, tourist information booths, and some hotels.

Royal Route

The Royal Route is a picturesque winding street leading from the gates of the old town to Prague Castle. It is clearly marked on the sidewalk with a silver arrow (the silver line). Along the route are sights such as the House Of The Black Madonna, Old Town Square (with its wonderful Astronomical Clock) and Charles   Bridge .

Note: There are quaint though expensive shops lining the Royal Route. For inexpensive souvenirs, one of the many markets would be a better choice. For the classic Prague souvenir, the famous Bohemian Crystal, try stores as far away from the touristy old town as possible.

Charles  Bridge 

The Charles  Bridge  is a beautiful pedestrian  bridge  and ranks as one of the most photographed attractions in the city. The  bridge  truly comes to life at dusk with buskers, artists and musicians lining it.

Changing Of The Guard

There is admission charged to entry Prague Castle but watching the changing of the guards is free. The guards are changed every hour (this attraction can get crowded so try to see it early in the day). Once a day at noon, there is a grander display. Unlike guards at other castles, travelers can stand next to these Royal Guards for great photo opportunities.

Saving money on these experiences will allow the frugal traveler to splurge on the rather pricey but not to be missed Prague Castle and a purchase of the fine Bohemian Crystal and other glassworks.

Dinan Cars Announce Parts Availability for BMW 328

Dinan Cars, an automotive company in the United States known for designing and manufacturing aftermarket performance parts for BMW vehicles, recently announced the availability of new BMW 328 Coupe and Sedan components. The company not only produces aftermarket parts for BMW vehicles but also for the MINI brand. The said company is based in Morgan Hill, California and is also known for designing and building BMW racing engines for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class. Its products are sold through a marketing network composed of different BMW dealerships and other independent auto shops across the United States.

The BMW 328 is under the 3 Series that was redesigned by the German car manufacturer last year. For this car model, Dinan Cars announced the availability of the Ram-Air Intake Assembly although this would only be for the sedan version. The company stated that they used the ram air effect to give the air intake assembly better access to air. The said component scoops up air from the area close to the brake duct. This is in addition to the already existing air duct. The air flow from both of these components gives the engine more air. The use of this component can improve the torque and horsepower output of an engine.

The responsiveness of the engine to the demand of the driver is also increased giving extra power when it is needed. The aftermarket part is composed of an aluminum “air scoop”, a silicone hose, and an air-box duct. Tests have shown that this aftermarket performance part can increase power output by as much as 7 horsepower and 6 lb-ft of torque at 6600 revs per minute.

Another for sedan only aftermarket part that was announced to be available by Dinan Cars is the Free Flow Exhaust. The said component is designed to reduce back pressure. For performance enthusiasts, back pressure is considered a bad thing since it reduces the power output of an engine. It is generated by an exhaust system with many twists and bends. Although laws have been passed to increase back pressure to eliminate loud noise, the Free Flow Exhaust uses design technology which reduces backpressure but at the same time keeps the engine noise to a minimum level.

The exhaust part is made out of 100 percent stainless steel. This means that the component can resist corrosion for a considerably long time. The aftermarket part is also designed to fit the factory hangers and its connection with the exhaust manifold. Dinan Cars announced that this same exhaust will be available for BMW 328 coupes shortly.

Another product available from Dinan Cars is the Strut Tower Brace for both the coupe and the sedan version of the BMW 328. The strut bar is a suspension system component used to complement MacPherson struts. The said component provides better strength to the strut towers. According to Dinan Cars, the new strut tower brace they have designed will “help to maintain the structural integrity of the towers over the life of the vehicle as well as providing sharper handling by reducing flex under harder cornering conditions.” This gives better ride comfort to the already smooth driving BMW 328. The aftermarket part is precision engineered to fit the strut tower reinforcements. This ensures that the aftermarket part will perfectly complement the stock components used on the coupe and sedan.

The strut tower brace is recommended by Dinan to be used with another product they have designed and produced and is now available in the market. The Stage 1 Suspension system for both coupe and sedan is composed of a Dinan Performance Springs, Koni Strut and rear shocks, and bumpstops. The suspension assembly increase road grip of the tires and also reduces body roll. The assembly also lowers the car giving it a truly performance car look.

Dinan Cars is one of the leading manufacturers of BMW aftermarket parts such as BMW belts, body kit, and other accessories. With a long standing agreement with BMW dealers which allows Dinan-modified vehicles to retain the factory warranty. Usually, the warranty that comes along with a vehicle is immediately lost after a modification has been made to the vehicle. This shows how Dinan Cars has created a name for itself in the United States auto industry.

7 Leading Causes of Stress

In 1967, Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe, from the University of Washington, did a study on the connection between significant life events and illness. As part of that study, they compiled a chart of the major causes of stress. That chart, which contained 43 causes of stress in 1967, was updated to 55 causes in 2006. Apparently, society is finding more causes to feel stressed.

If you knew the leading causes of stress in your life, would you take action to eradicate them? Can you eradicate stress – or is it an inoperable condition that will be with you all of your life, possibly causing your eventual death?

Which Is Your Leading Cause of Stress?

1. Finances

Most studies agree that finances are a leading cause of stress. In an online poll conducted in 2005 by LifeCare, Inc., 23 percent of respondents named finances as the leading cause of stress in their lives. Financial stress has led the list in many modern polls.

Some who name finances as the leading cause of stress cite major purchases they have to make, such as a home or car. Others are stressed by a loss of income, or mounting credit card debt. For some, financial stress will eventuate in bankruptcy. While college students stress over paying for an education, Baby Boomers and older senior citizens find that retirement income can be a major cause of stress.

2. Work

Closely tied to finances as a cause of stress is work. Our jobs or careers seem to cause constant stress. In the LifeCare poll, 21 percent of those responding listed this as the leading cause of stress in life.

How is the workplace a cause of stress? We worry about getting and keeping adequate employment. We worry about new types of work or new responsibilities. We struggle to climb a career ladder, overwhelmed by the demands. Work conditions may change, or we may have interpersonal trouble at work. Students, especially teenagers and college age students, cite school work as a cause of stress. Sometimes, work stress is brought on by others. Sometimes, we bring it on ourselves.

3. Family

Family, wonderful though each member may be, is also a leading cause of stress. Arguments erupt with a spouse or other family member. Parents divorce. Children marry. The ebb and flow of family life is filled with stress. A child moves out – an aging parent moves in.

Family health is also a leading cause of stress. A sick family member, a serious injury, pregnancy, miscarriage, or abortion all cause stress. Family changes of other kinds bring stress, too. Adoption, relocation, and job changes for just one family member can cause stress for all.

4. Personal Concerns

Personal concerns that are only indirectly created by others are another top cause of stress. Lack of control tops the list of personal concerns. Every human has a deep-seated desire for control over his or her own life. When control is weak or missing in a given area, we experience stress. To many people, a lack of control over their own time is a leading cause of stress. We want to determine when we do tasks around the home, or at work. Holding a job, participating in the children’s carpool to school, driving family to soccer practices, shopping, and scout meetings while trying to keep the household running can create major stress. You would like to control your time, rather than let others’ demands control it, but that is not always possible.

We may be involved in legal proceedings that cause stress. We may be wrestling with a bad habit. We may be going through changes. Personal change of any kind can be a cause of stress.

5. Personal Health and Safety

Most people find that personal health is a leading cause of stress. For some, the stress is linked to obesity, and a desire to lose weight. For others, the stress is a personal bas habit that affects health and must be changed. For example, smoking, abuse of alcohol or other drugs. Illness or injury, whether less or more serious, can be a leading cause of stress for many people. Incontinence can be an ongoing concern. Personal health is more or less stressful according to the degree of seriousness and our personal outlook on health.

Personal safety is also a leading cause of stress. Women, more than men, tend to stress about their own and others’ safety. Adults tend to stress more than young people, who may act invincible. Crime is a factor, as is

6. Personal Relationships

Whether it is a friendship, dating, separation, marriage, divorce, or re-marriage, a relationship can be a leading cause of stress for many. We all want love, and that is potentially available in relationships, but getting from A to B can be very stressful. Some resort to online relationships that are easier to handle. Others withdraw and become recluses. Either way, the demands on time, finances, and emotions can cause ongoing stress.

7. Death

Probably the most wrenching cause of stress is the death of a loved one or close friend. Even the death of a pet can be stressful. Children are always a source of stress for parents, but when a child dies, the stress is overwhelming. The same is true when a lifetime spouse passes on.

Win or Lose

Causes of stress change as we age. The stressed child who threw tantrums becomes a young student, stressed by the school bully. The young student becomes a teenager, stressed by acne, hormones, and dating. The teenager becomes a young adult trying to handle the stresses of leaving home, adjusting to college life, and managing finances. Life progresses to first jobs, marriage, children, and so on. Even if you move to a secluded cabin in the woods, stress will follow you.

Gaining knowledge of the leading causes of stress is important. Using that knowledge to win over unhealthy stress is vital.

Handy Tools To Have Around The House

As someone who, for most of my adult life, has lived in flats which were maintained by the landlord, in theory at least, it came as something as a shock for me when I moved into my own place. I realized that there were loads of things to be done in and outside the house, and that I didn’t have a single tool with which to begin. I simply had to go out and buy some, and having been a builder in earlier years, I knew the most important thing was to acquire proper ones; something that would hopefully last me for years. I remember once buying a club hammer at a sale–it lasted two days before it splintered, narrowly missing my eye in the process. The old maxim is still true–buy dear, buy cheap.

Screwdrivers should probably be at the top of your list. For most jobs around the house, a medium sized one should do the trick. Actually, you need two–one with one slit in the head, and another one with a cross slit, a Phillips head as it’s called. A fairly small one with an insulated handle is useful as well, for electrical work. Do not use them for opening tins or as a lever, as that will certainly shorten their useful life.

A hammer is probably one of the most essential tools–a claw hammer should suffice at the start, as it’s handy for both knocking nails etc. home, but also for pulling them out.

Although a lot of folk use electric saws nowadays, an ordinary panel saw will suffice for most smaller tasks. A lot of them now are not designed to be sharpened, just to be used a few times, and then discarded. This is reflected in the price, as they are relatively cheap.

Maybe you won’t need one very often, but a chisel can be useful to have in the toolkit. There are many types and sizes, each specially suited to its intended use. Be extra careful when using this tool–a permanent scar on one of my fingers is testimony to the fact that I ignored this piece of advice.

Pliers come in various shapes and sizes as well, but for most jobs around the house, two types should do. There’s the flat or snub nosed ones, which can cut wire as well as pull things, and the needle or long nose ones for getting into small or confined spaces. Pincers, or nippers as I used to call them, are also very handy for pulling out things like nails or pins.

Spanners range in size, and if you feel that you don’t need a whole box of them cluttering up space, the answer is to get an adjustable one, or a shifter, as it’s sometimes called. Different sizes of nuts and bolts can then be handled by the same tool.

I find that a DIY knife is a must, for cutting materials such as thick paper,, fabrics, lino etc. I use one with a retractable blade–I just find it easier. Again, be really careful with this one. After use, make sure that the blade is covered.

For measuring, it’s best to invest in a steel rule. When cutting something, and needing a guide, a wooden rule would be of little use, for obvious reasons. For longer measurements, I keep a steel tape–a three metre one should take care of most things.

For some jobs you might need a drill. Because they’re so cheap nowadays, an electric one would be best, preferably multi-speed, as you can do so much more with them than with a one-speed model.

I’ve just mentioned basic tools above, that could come in useful at any time. Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with any emergency situations, but you might consider the following.

A plunger is definitely worth having, in case of a blocked sink or pipes. If you live in an area where you cannot access a plumber for maybe days, then drain rods should be on your shopping list. It’s also a good idea to have spare fuses and lightbulbs in a cupboard, as they don’t last indefinitely. Tapes are something that I feel I cannot do without either. Even the humble sellotape can hold things for you temporarily, but you should also think about having rolls of insulating and masking tapes.

Try to keep your tools in good condition, in a safe place, especially if there are children in the house.

Black and White Bathroom Tile Fantasies

Chic and cutting edge, bathroom black and white tile has been around since the early 1900’s. Reproductions of the ever popular fad are popping up in bathrooms all across the world.

There are many patterns, and variations that make black and white tile so appealing. The most simplest of all is the checkerboard pattern. It’s an easy alteration of black/white over and over again offsetting the colors with each new row.

In the early 1900’s, a pinwheel pattern was established and is still the fad of today. This pattern, is a single black square surrounded by a white square. Over the years, the pinwheel has changed as well. Turning the black square off angle so to speak inside of the white square, giving it more of a diamond appearance.

Marbling is another fashionable trend for the bathroom. The elegance of marbled black/white tiles lends a more expensive look without a huge cost. In some cases, these marbled tiles are cracked purposefully and then placed over a dark colored grout. This hip new twist can additionally be accented with gold leaflets for a bit of sparkle, making the whole piece look rather unique and eye-catching. It is sure to be a topic of conversation whenever you have visitors over to your home.

One of the most attractive looks is the   mosaic  look. This can be a bit more expensive since finding tile already cut in this pattern is rare. Therefore, you will find yourself creating your own  mosaic  patterns. It requires smaller tiles and a whole lot of patience. You may want to design this look prior to actually doing it since it can be a little complicated laying these unique patterns of tile and you wouldn’t want to ruin the tiles you have and have to pay for new ones. Have the design drawn out on a piece of paper, then try out putting together just one pattern; if all goes well then proceed with the rest of your tiles.

For subtle looks, add a single colored tile to your black/white tiles. The color will easily stand out in the middle of the otherwise neutral color, which makes the color an eye popper and gives a unique and fresh look to your room.

A new and exciting tile is black and white tattoos. They are fun, creative ways to spice up the ever popular look. These tattoos come in many variations of flowers, hearts, paisley’s, and kaleidoscope looks.

Another nifty trick is brickwork for your bathroom tiles. The look is created with larger tile at the top of the wall and smaller rectangle ones beneath. The black and white tile can be alternated or you can have one color more than the other. Whatever your dreams are for your bathroom black and white tile, the possibilities are endless, and the only limit is your imagination. You can create modern, contemporary looks, or make it retro depending on how you want the bathroom to interact and fit-in with the rest of your home.

Repairing Cracks in Concrete

Although this might sound like a tough project in reality it is not as difficult as it might sound. If the cracks are small you can repair them but if they are large or are in the foundation of a building such as your home you should hire concrete contractors to do the repairs. They will also check to see if there is any structural damage that also needs fixing.

These cracks can appear in your sidewalks, patios, and driveways. They can even appear around the home’s foundation. These cracks can be caused by weather conditions and root growth. The most common cause is standing water, which can happen when the water does not drain properly. This water will work its ways between sections of concrete that are weak and as a result a crack will appear. To prevent the crack from reoccurring make sure the water drains properly.

If the cracks are about three millimeters wide you can repair them yourself. You will start by cleaning out the cracks of any debris and then use a screwdriver to chip away any loose concrete or flakes. Using a wire brush, scour the cracks to remove any dirt and rinse the area with the hose. To fill in the cracks you can use either concrete caulk or a concrete patching compound. If the cracks are a little larger than three millimeters you can add a small amount of sand in the cracks before you use the patching compound.

When using the method with sand packing you need to make sure that the concrete patching compound has a latex additive to give it flexibility. First pour in a layer of sand to help fill in the cracks and then using a trowel apply the patching compound on top. Quickly smooth the surface and feather the new area into the existing edges to give it a finished look.

If you choose to use the concrete caulking method you need to use siliconized latex concrete caulk. You can find this type at most hardware and home improvement stores. To force the caulk deep into the cracks you will need to use a caulking gun. Make sure the concrete caulk is deep into the width and length of the crack. It does not need to be too deep as it will expand to fill in the crack. Because of the nature of this type of concrete caulking it allows for the contraction and expansion of the concrete during weather changes so you will not need to do as many repairs in the future. You will not need to smooth it out because it will self-level. With slightly larger cracks you may need apply it multiple times.

How to Find Free Sheet Music fom Internet

We musicians are always looking for sheet music to play. New songs and hits are coming out everyday. Nonetheless, not everyone is blessed with the ability to play songs by ear. I know I don’t, even after almost 20 years of playing the piano. I, like many musicians still rely heavily on the sheet music.

When you hear the song that touches your heart, you almost instantly want to play it. Next you go online to search for the free sheet music, only to find that it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Most of the so called free sheet music websites require you to pay. Then, you decide that it is not possible to find the freebies online, you go ahead and purchase the sheet music. Later you notice that the sheet music is not accurate, or you are simply not happy with the arrangement! Are all these déjà vu to you?

Despite what everyone told you, it is true that you can find free sheet music online. Yes, I mean, full version, downloadable, printable, high quality, no-cost sheet music of different genres, including pop, musicals, classical, jazz etc. Why pay for something that you can get it free? Here I will share with you two methods on how you can locate free sheet music from internet:

1. Search engine (SE): Search engines like Yahoo, MSN and Google are the most important tools that can help you to find free sheet music. The problem is, most people don’t know how to effectively search for the information they need from the SE. Do you just enter 1 or 2 search terms and give up? Note that if your search term is too generic it may not yield good results. Don’t believe? Try typing the term “sheet music” in Google, most of the results point you to paid site! So you have to be very specific with your search term. If I am looking for Kelly Clarkson sheet music, I would search for…

Kelly Clarkson sheet music

Kelly Clarkson free sheet music

Because of you sheet music

Kelly Clarkson because of you sheet music

I hope you get the picture. The more specific your search term is the higher chance that you can find the sheet music. Each search terms would usually give you thousands of listings. At times you have to go pass the first few pages to finally arrive at a website that offer free sheet music. It can be time consuming but I assure you that the result will be worthwhile.

2. Websites partners: With the method described above, you should be able to find few free sheet music websites. On the World Wide Web, websites with common themes are often linked to each other. When you land at a sheet music websites, look for links that says “link page”, “link partners”, “Resource”, “Other websites”, “Other links”. You should be able to find a list of website address which point to other sheet music websites.

3. Forums: Forums are great places where you meet like minded people, exchange opinions and seek for advices. There are literally hundreds thousands forums of different niche on the internet. If you are looking for sheet music, why not join some music forums? You will be surprised by the number of people out there who are friendly and helpful. I’ve also noticed that many musicians post links to various sheet music sites on the forums. Do a search on these forums and you should be able to find those links.

4. Notation software: Notation software really makes finding sheet music easy as pie! There are excellent notation software in the market that do a very good job in transcribing the Midi files into sheet music. The whole process is very simple and easy. You open the Midi files with the software, and it instantly arranged it into sheet music format. The good news is that it is very easy to find Midi files of almost any song from the web. The software that I used and recommend are Midinotate Composer and Noteworthy Composer. You can download 30 day trial version from their website. Best of all, they have friendly and supportive forums for their users.

5. Guitar Tabs: this method is suitable if you are good in improvisation. Guitar tabs give you the lyrics and chords of a song. If you are very familiar with the melody and rhythm, the tab can come in handy. Try to play the chords while playing back the song on the radio. This should give you good feel on how to play the song.

The Benefits of Lino Flooring

When it comes to choosing a floor surface, people will take many issues into account. Cost, appearance, practicality, maybe even the old sense of needing to keep up with the Joneses, even if these days Mr and Mrs Jones have trouble with their credit card bill.

When making a decision, not many would consider vinyl to be the glamorous choice. But the well-informed will know that the material has a great deal going for it.

First of all, it isn’t expensive, something well worth bearing in mind in an age when people have realised that spending beyond one’s means no longer looks clever. What is more, there is value for money in the resilience offered by scratch-resistant, stain-proof and waterproof cheap  lino  flooring.

The last of these attributes could be particularly useful in places where there is plenty of water about, such as the kitchen and bathroom, where spillages, drips and humidity are all inevitable. Here, the advantage over other materials is obvious. There is no chance of mould or mildew as there is if water seeps under cork, no chance of staining as there is with carpets and the threat of warping, supping or crowning that can take place with wood is absent.

But  lino  flooring is not just a hard, front-line soldier in the battle against stains and blemishes. It can also be comfortable, with cushion vinyl offering the “give” that might be associated with a material like cork or carpet, ensuring that busy feet spending plenty of time stood up in the kitchen need not have a hard time of it.

As for the aesthetics, vinyl has come a long way, with wood effect  lino  flooring being one of many designs that can be incorporated into the material, meaning that buyers can choose from a wide range of patterns, colours and shades.

On top of this, vinyl can also be green. While the material itself is synthetic, it can be recycled and some  lino  flooring products now comprise a substantial element of recycled material.

So with toughness, water and stain resistance, a range of designs, low cost and the possibility of re-use, there is a whole range of reasons to choose  lino .

How To Remove Linoleum

When getting that new floor installed removal of the old one yourself can save money but could present an enormous challenge. Depending on the age of the  linoleum  and the type of adhesive used it could be extremely difficult to remove. Sometimes  linoleum  was installed and only glued around the edges and around heat ducts in the floor. If this is the case with your floor, it won’t be easier but will at least be less time consuming.

Most flooring was laid onto the substrate and the entire floor was covered with glue. These types of  linoleum  floors are the toughest to remove. Either way edge glued or completely you will follow pretty much the same steps. Cut the  linoleum  into strips with a razor knife. This will make it easier to start scraping if your floor is completely glued and will make your old  linoleum  easier to handle if it is edge glued.

Once you have cut the strips now it is time to start scraping. Many people use the paint scrapers to scrape but I have found that the scrapers with the razor blades are the best to use. The glue is going to be real hard and will more than likely have to be cut through. Hence , easier with the blade. Once you have scraped all you can you will probably still have some trouble spots on the floor. At these locations you can try heating the glue with a heat gun and scraping. I have even used little electric heaters to sit around the floor and heat the glue. Another trick, if you are on a concrete substrate is to use hot water. This can get very messy not to mention painful if you aren’t careful.

However you choose to heat the floor, be sure to scrape the glue while the floor is still warm. If it cools off it is defeating your purpose in heating. There is another way to try and get those pieces loose. I used a solvent remover once called Krud Kutter. It was easy to use. There are other adhesive removers that are easy to use. As with any chemicals follow the manufacturers guidelines and wear gloves and eye protection.

After you have gotten all up that you can with scraping it may be time to get the sandpaper out. I don’t suggest sanding by hand as that is to time consuming. Get an electric sander or pneumatic one and sand those trouble spots away. You will want to use a very coarse paper on your sander. Nothing finer than 80 grit is acceptable really. Ideally you want to use a 40 grit or coarser.

After you have removed all the vinyl you are ready for your new floor covering. You may need to smooth out any imperfections depending on what type of covering you will use.

Portable Ladder Safety

Portable ladders provide a convenient way of performing work at height and you’d think that after the years they’ve been in use that the relevant safety issues would be pretty well entrenched in people’s minds. But if the number of people injured or killed each year while using portable ladders is any indication it’s anything but the case.

The most common injuries occur when people fall they can range from minor bruising and embarrassment to disablement and even death – even from what would normally be considered low heights.

So let’s have a brief look at some of the things you can do to prevent yourself being hurt the next time you use a portable ladder.

Selection

There are basically two types of portable ladder commonly used – step ladder or “leaning” ladders with the latter being either a single or extending form. Where you intend using the ladder will determine what type is the best. It would be probably impossible to use anything but a step ladder to change a light globe in the middle of a room whereas either type of ladder could be used to change the light globe on a wall mounted light.

The next factor to consider is the height of where you want to access. If the ladder’s too short you won’t be able to reach the job safely and if it’s to long you may not be able to erect it within the space you’re working.

Finally, if you’re intending to do electrical work DO NOT use a metal ladder – you face enough risks working with electricity without adding the risk of working above ground on a conductive ladder.

Selecting the right ladder for the job is the first step (pun unintended) in making sure you’re not injured when doing the job.

Step Ladders

Step ladders are more stable than leaning ladders and can be safely used in a stand alone mode by following these instructions:

  • Inspect the ladder to make sure the rungs, side rails and anti-slip feet are in good condition, clean and not loose (or even missing).
  • Make sure the soles of your footwear are clean and in good condition.
  • Fully extend both sides of the ladder and make sure the spreader bars are locked in the open position to prevent the ladder collapsing on itself.
  • Erect the ladder on a level, firm surface – use timber or similar pads to adjust surface level or provide support on unstable ground making sure both ladder feet are fully supported by a single pad.
  • Don’t erect the ladder in trafficable areas such as of doors unless they’re locked closed.
  • Don’t stand or climb above the second highest step – this makes the ladder unstable.
  • Always work face on to the ladder and not off to the side.
  • Only one person at a time to be on the ladder.
  • If you plan to use tools, get a tool tray fitted to the top-cap of the ladder.
  • Make sure the ladder is rated to support the combined weight of yourself and the equipment being used.

Single Side Ladders

These ladders are less stable than step ladders and while some of the safety requirements are the same there are other things that must be in place to ensure the safety of those using these types of ladders.

  • Inspection of the condition of the rungs sidebars and feet is needed as well as the condition of the extension locks and cams on extension ladders.
  • The angle of the ladder should be 1:4, that is 1 unit away from the supporting structure for every 4 units of height.
  • A portable ladder should not be used at heights greater than 6 metres or about 20 feet.
  • The top of the ladder should be least 3 rungs above the top surface of the support structure and should be securely fastened.
  • The base of the ladder should be fixed to prevent the ladder from slipping away from the supporting structure. This is particularly applies when the top of the ladder is resting against a vertical surface and cannot be securely fastened there.
  • Adjust the feet of the ladder so that it doesn’t lean to the side.
  • Be aware of movement of people or other traffic (cars, forklifts) around the area and block off access if necessary.
  • Face the ladder at all times while working from the ladder.
  • Tools and other equipment should not be carried while climbing the ladder in order to maintain 3 points of contact.
  • Don’t climb above the top supported rung of a ladder that extends beyond the top surface of a support structure or the third lowest rung where the top of the ladder is resting against a vertical surface.
  • Don’t extend your body from the side of the ladder more than half its width.
  • Only one person at a time should be on the ladder.

While there are no guarantees in life, following these basic precautions will significantly reduce the risk of falling from a ladder and being injured.

Different Staircase Materials

Sound Attenuation Properties of Different Materials for Staircase Construction

Sound – Is vibrations in the air which the Human Ear is able to detect frequencies from 500 Hz (low-pitch) – 6,000 Hz (high-pitch). Artificially sound can also be measured and quantified using a Sound Level Meter.

Amplitude is the measurement of the intensity of the sound and it’s movement through the air and is measured in Decibels (dB). The Human Ear can hear ranges from 0 dB – 140 db (painful at 140 dB).

For the purpose of this article sound should be considered as a beautiful sweet melody the individual wishes to hear intently e.g. Susan Boyle singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’.

Noise – Noise is generally considered to be unwanted-sound the individual would rather not be able to detect, e.g. traffic noise, neighbours arguing, or next door’s Dog aggressive, repetitive barking.

Acoustics (Sound) in Construction:

Acoustic Attenuation (Noise Reduction) is concerned with the with the transfer and decrease of sound through materials. With careful planning, knowledge, craftsmanship, expertise and different materials noise can be greatly reduced nowadays and is an important factor governed by Part E Building Regulations in the United Kingdom. Methods of measuring the effectiveness of Acoustic Attenuation is listed in BS EN ISO 16283-1:2014. Unfortunately SRIs, NRCs IICs prove illusive to obtain from credible sources.

Generally sound dissipates at a rate of 6 dB in relatively normal air each time the distance from the sound source is double. In the real world there are more things to consider; such as weather conditions, humidity, screening by buildings and trees, background noise etc.

Sound Absorption is the amount of sound a material can absorb and is measured by it’s Noise Reduction Co-Efficient (NRC).

Material Acoustic Properties:

Noise Reduction Co-Efficient (NRC): Generally soft, textured materials perform best and reduce the unwanted noise and have a rating of 1 (complete absorption). Hard, reflective surfaces reverberate (echo) the sound and have a rating of 0 (complete reflection and no absorption).

Sound Reduction Index (SRI): The effectiveness a material, or construction element such as a door or window, by the amount of airborne-sound detectable once the sound has passed through said material or element. The greater the ability to absorb sound the greater it’s rating. Generally the heavier the material the less the material vibrates, thus reducing the amount of sound passed through it and the better it’s SRI rating and able to absorb loud airborne sound e.g. a double-brick leafed wall with a cavity plastered internally has an SRI rating of 53 (average frequency 100 – 3,150 Hz). If you had a recorded sound at 2,000 Hz you could go outside and play your stereo at 53 dB and you would not be able to hear the sound. If you went to an adjacent room with a window of 10 mm single glazed glass with an SRI of 31 you would be able to hear 53 – 31 = 22 dB.

Obviously the materials perform better and worse at different frequencies. In the UK

SRIs are produced in a laboratory with no flanking sound paths possible. The Americans call this a Sound Transmission Class (STC) and their method of measurement is different.

Impact Insulation Class (IIC): The ability of the material to resist transferring impact noise. A rating of 70 almost completely soundproof and 39 or below loud speech and impact noise audible; so the higher the rating the better it is at resisting you walking up in your stilettos.

Concrete Stairs:

  • SRI: 57 dB (fair-face) “Walls between dwellings: 18cm thick reinforced concrete wall featuring a sound reduction index of 57 dB” taken from Building Acoustics written by Asselineau page 212.
  • IIC: 27 (fair-face)Kinetics Noise Control Test Report AT001049; courtesy of Kinetics Noise Control based upon testing a 152 mm bare concrete slab. It seems ridiculous to compile wall-ratings with slab-ratings though at the time of publishing acoustic data is extremely sparse. Clearly with concrete being one of the densest materials it’s SRI will be naturally quite high, however it’s hard reflective surface will naturally reverberate sound. To mitigate the transfer of impact-sound soft, textured surfaces are greatly beneficial to their IIC rating. Flanking is a concern and this should be considered when choosing a contractor as the workmanship will affect flanking. However it should be noted that the walls supporting the staircase will naturally be of a heavy composition; as they must be able to support the staircase safely. Compared to a timber staircase where the walls will not necessarily comprise of high SRI ratings.

Metallic Stairs:

  • SRI: 36 dB Gathered from Haniso Steel trapezoid section 50/250-0.88 floor with insulation.
  • IIC: Not Available. Again data is sparse and at this moment in time one can only think logically about how a steel staircase would perform. It cannot be argued that the NRC cannot be greatly high. Flanking could be a cause for concern with transmission from the fixings.

Timber Stairs

  • SRI: 25.3 dB (24 mm plywood) Gathered from HOM Loudspeakers Cabinets
  • IIC: Not Available: Again data is sparse and at this moment in time one can only think logically about how a timber staircase would perform. Timber has a great disadvantage where mass is not present compared to concrete and metal and separation from the components would need to be carefully considered to come anywhere near close to concrete and metal.

Summary:

At the time of writing this article there was currently no data relating specifically to the sound performance of staircases and it has proven illusive to gather fair relevant data to each material and the best has been done to gather similar data; though unsuccessfully. It should be noted that contradictions have been noticed upon gathering data and ultimately the reader must come to their own conclusion using practical common sense.

Concrete has the advantage of great mass compared to steel and timber and shares it’s disadvantage of reverberation with steel, though when covered with softer textured finishes it seems unbeatable.

Construction quality is paramount and a mixture of using dense products with the latest technology and diligence will yield the best results.

Building Safe Stairs

As a general rule of thumb in stair building the sum of the tread and riser should equal around 17 1/2 inches. This is a general rule of thumb for a comfortable, easy to walk up and down set of stairs.

For example if your stair tread is 10 inches and the stair riser is 7 1/2 inches you have a comfortable stairway. Walking up and down a stairway using this formula creates a comfortable set of stairs. The next time you walk down any uncomfortable set of stairs measure the stair tread and riser. You will be amazed at what you’ll find.

For public stairs or heavily used stairs this method will become one of your best friends. On public stairs you have liability issues and of course lawyer issues if you are the owner of the building. If you are not building a safe set of stairs that meets your local building codes standards you could be in for a whopping financial nightmare.

Building safe stairs as a contractor is your obligation to society. I don’t know how many times I come across a loose stair tread or a broken hand rail. One of the biggest problems I find is in the poorer neighborhoods you come across some major construction problems and safety hazards. I never have been able to figure out why a building owner would not want to protect himself financially and the people that occupy and use his buildings safety.

Here’s something you need to avoid when using the stair building general rule of thumb. This rule of thumb does not apply to good to an 8 inch tread with a 9 1/2 inch stair rise. You don’t want to be building a latter you want to be building a safe set up stairs.

The maximum stair rise you can use for most building codes is 8 inches. You will not find the stairway to comfortable with a 9 1/2 inch stair tread and an 8 inch riser. If you have no choice and are cramped for space and you can’t redesign this stairway to fit in the house or building then at least make sure you have a nice sturdy grip able stair hand rail.

This formula works great when you are working with exterior landscaping and you have a long run of stairs with a small rise. For example: if you have a 14 inch stair tread and you use a 4 inch riser this will lead to a comfortable step.

Look for stairs in your neighborhood or around some apartment complexes that don’t follow these rules and have 16 inch stair treads with 7 inch risers. You will find yourself taking two steps on the stair tread on every other step and it is not a real comfortable stairway.

Happy stair building and keep this formula in mind for a nice comfortable set of stairs in your building future.

Dropped Objects

It is common knowledge in the construction and marine industries that dropped objects present a very real danger to worker safety. In one case investigated by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a construction worker was standing under a scaffold while a worker and three sections of a ladder were being hoisted above him. One of the ladder sections came loose, falling to the earth and striking the worker on the ground in the head. That worker was not wearing a hard hat and subsequently died from his injuries.

This story probably doesn’t surprise us because we consider the large and heavy pieces of a ladder to always be fatal. But were you aware that something as small as a 90mm bolt could be equally fatal if dropped from a distance of six stories? It’s true. If we plug the numbers into the scientific formula to determine velocity and force, that small bolt dropped from six stories would be travelling at approximately 80 km/h with the force of 49.5 kg. If that bolt struck a man on the head it would probably kill him.

Heavier objects obviously need less distance to cause injury or fatality. A claw hammer can kill a man at a height of just two stories while a sledgehammer only needs one. The point is, given the right distance and weight, just about anything dropped from height could cause injury; most can even cause death as well. That means preventing dropped objects at the work is of utmost importance.

It Begins with Risk Assessment

A safe job site begins with a proper risk assessment by a certified inspector. And in case you didn’t know, risk assessments are required by law for any UK job which involves working at height. Risk assessment takes into consideration the type of work being done, how employees access work at height area, who will be in the vicinity of the job while on the ground, the specific tools being used, how they will be used, the weather conditions, and any other factors that could adversely affect the work environment.

Though it’s impossible for any risk assessment to think of everything, the best inspectors are those that can visualise all of the most common problems as well as many of those that are uncommon. By analysing the potential of as many hazards as possible, the risk assessment is designed to give site planners the proper parameters for designing safety systems. If a risk assessment is done poorly, site planners are ill-equipped to do their jobs.

This makes risk assessment one of the key components to preventing injuries or property damage from dropped objects. The necessity of such assessments should never be underestimated, nor should the findings of the inspector ever be taken lightly. Even site planners who believe the inspectors are being too picky should still heed all warnings and plan appropriately. When it comes to safety it is better to be too cautious than not cautious enough.

Safety System Planning

Safety system planning should utilise as many preventative measures as possible without putting undue burden on workers trying to complete their tasks. Typically there will be four things utilised to maximise safety. The first is a tethering system which keeps all tools and other loose objects firmly affixed to some sort of anchor so that if dropped at height they cannot reach the ground. The second system is to use enclosed workspaces as often as possible rather than simply open air scaffolding. Third, catch systems are placed underneath scaffolding just in case something does make it past the first two barriers.

Finally, one of the most important things that can be done to prevent injury from dropped objects is to prevent individuals from walking around or underneath any working at height area. Unless it’s absolutely necessary for workers to be in close proximity, an area should be cordoned off with some sort of barrier to prevent individuals from getting too close. That way, if all the other systems fail the worst that could happen is property damage to the building. If no one on the ground is walking near the job there is no risk of them being injured or killed.

Worker Implementation

The final piece of the dropped objects puzzle is worker implementation. After inspectors have completed their assessment and planners have developed the safety systems, is up to supervisors and workers to deploy safety systems according to plans. The deployment begins with setting up scaffolding and collective systems properly. Cutting corners in order to speed up the process is always a recipe for disaster. Instead, workers need to be thorough to make sure everything is set up according to standards.

With the work area secured and scaffolding properly erected, workers who will be going up to do the work must ensure their tools are properly tethered to their safety harnesses, their tool belts, to their person or some other fixed anchor point. When a worker requires more tools than he can carry in a tool belt, he will often use a stationary tool bag or box that is permanently affixed to the scaffolding or cherry picker. Tools placed in those bags and boxes are also tethered for safety.

In addition, when a worker needs to retrieve a tool from a stationary bag or box he must practice safe procedures such as hooking his own tether to the tool before he unhooks it from the bag or box. In this way a tool is never left untethered and cannot be dropped to the ground. Tool tethering systems are only as effective as the employees who use them. Those who practice proper tool safety find that tethers work wonders in preventing dropped tools. Workers who are careless are more prone to accidents.

Be Sure You Are Educated

Dropped objects are a source of workplace injuries all over the UK. Fortunately, they don’t need to be. That’s why various Regulations and worker safety advocacy groups are pushing so hard to educate companies and workers about workplace safety issues. The more all of us are educated regarding the facts of dropped objects and worker safety, the more safe we will all be.

If you are company owner conducting any work at height activity, it is your responsibility to make sure both you and your employees are properly educated. The government makes working at height regulations freely available and downloadable from the Internet. Furthermore, there are many worker advocacy groups and safety organisations willing to provide education for you and your employees. Then gather your workers and make sure they are all properly trained before you begin work.

Company owners that fail to educate themselves and their workers will be held responsible if their actions result in an accident. It is not worth the risk; either in terms of physical injury or the financial ruin of your business. Proper education and deployment of safety systems should be a top priority if your company conducts any working at height.