Tools For Woodwork – 5 Must Have Tools

Tools for Woodwork can be found in any household. The question is…”Do you have the most important and basic tools for around the house repairs?” I picked a small number for a reason. If I was permitted to write as much as I wanted in this EzineArticle…the number would have been five hundred.

So let us get started with the most useful and needed tool for your home. Right…It is the multi-bit screwdriver. This little beauty can have anywhere from 2 to 12 assorted bits. You should be able to drive or extract anything from the traditional slotted to a spline head. Now comes the woodworking tool you thought would be number one. The claw   hammer  is second on my list because usually in a clinch I can find something else to pry or  hammer  in a nail. But I would never be without a good  hammer . The minimum size anyone should have is the 16 ounce finishing  hammer . This will serve almost anything you need pounded in or pulled out.

A good utility knife around the house saves hubby from grabbing your nice kitchen knives for a quick handyman job. This is where you must remind your love that Mother gave you them to eat with and not part of his tools for woodwork. My best choice is the Olfa ratchet lock cutter because of the long blade that can be broken of as it gets dull. This without a doubt the nicest feature of this type of knife.

A good set of pliers comes in at number four. Usually a set of three or four are sufficient enough to take care of any twisting or turning you will have to do. This set of four must include a good pipe wrench for any quick plumbing jobs, a good channelock, visegrip and a traditional set of pliers. You can easily throw in a set of side cutters for clipping a wire or the quick nip of a stubborn nail. Last but not least. A good level is a must today. Think about it. When was the last time you tried putting up a picture or shelf just to told it needed to go up just a hair on the left…no wait…now down just a little. I knew you would see things my way. A tape measure is always a good alternative to the level and is also an important stand alone tool.

Rules for Writing Poetry

You’ve been writing poetry since that first assignment in your high school writing class. You know the rules about writing poetry, right? Are there rules? Well, if you frequent the poetry forums across the Internet as much as I do, you’d find that there are a lot of amateur poets who adamantly declare that there are no rules for writing poetry and if someone even suggests reading poetry or books on poetry, many of the amateur poets will throw up a defensive front. My opinion seems to swing fervently toward the opposition. You have to know the rules before you break them; at least that’s what I always say.

I know that writing a sonnet in iambic pentameter is an art that has been buried in the tombs of the renaissance, but understanding it, along with the numerous other dying closed forms of poetry, is a powerful tool when writing that prosy contemporary piece. Being a great poet demands an intricate understanding of the way in which language works its edges into a reader’s conscience. A poem is a mosaic of sounds, syncopations, and images. All of the little fragments of a poem must work together in a unified fashion to culminate in something refreshing and new.

Refreshing and new? Well, you might wonder how understanding such archaic attributes of poetry such as meter and rhyme might help a contemporary poet craft a refreshing new poem. It is all about the sound and the innovation of it. Even scientists stand on the shoulders of those before them. You don’t have to manage a perfect rhyme or a measured foot in a poem to be jumping from the inspiration of Shakespeare’s sonnets, but having those rhythms and rhymes teetering in and out of the wrinkles in your brain will send a very subtle vibration of sound through your very own pieces.

In summary, read, read, read, know the rules, and then break the rules. Goodness help you, please break them.

Here are some references to help you along the way:

-Books:

The Practice of Poetry: by Robin Behn

Writing Poems: by Robert Wallace and Michelle Boisseau

A Poetry Handbook: by Mary Oliver

-Websites:

http://www.poetrylessons.org

Poetry Magic

http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/poetry-explication.html

http://www.poetry-portal.com/poetry.html

-And don’t forget to read some contemporary poetry:

http://www.poems.com

http://www.pedestalmagazine.com/

Drywall Finish – Tips to Get it Right

Getting a perfect drywall finish is not as easy as it might seem. You can, however, avoid the common pitfalls by following a few guidelines.

Have all the necessary tools at hand. You will need joint compound and joint tape, an application knife, taping knife spreader, corner taping tool, and a bread pan. Running around because of the wrong tools, could complicate things.

Ensure (literally) there are no loose ends. Your measurements must be accurate, and the panels fastened securely. Use nails (or screws) that are long enough to hold everything in place: this is a permanent fixture. You also have the option of using adhesive to hold it in place, only needing screws (or nails) for the edges.

When mixing your cement, or “mud” as it is more commonly called, try to get it to a consistency similar to that of cake icing. Ideally, when you add some to a   trowel  and turn it upside down, it should stick, yet be soft enough to apply easily.

Consider using mesh tape rather than paper tape. Mesh tape allows the “mud” to seep into it, and this allows you a much smoother drywall finish than you would achieve using paper tape. It just makes it easier the first time around.

Keep in mind, when applying your joint compound, not to apply too much, wanting to sand it off later. It’s much more difficult than it seems. Rather use a wide taping knife to level it off, and leave as little as possible to sand off afterwards.

As long as you keep to these basic rules, you should be able to achieve a good drywall finish. The first attempt might be perfect, but it needn’t look horrible. Just keep your mind on the task at hand.  

Using Google Chrome For Anonymous Browsing

Google Chrome is the relatively new browser from Google that competes with Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. If you’ve got it downloaded and installed you’ll find that there’s a feature on it that let’s you browse “incognito” as they call it. Be careful though, because it’s not as private as they make it seem with the masked thief character at the top of the browser window.

To access the feature go to the toolbar icon at the top right of the browser window. Select “New incognito window” and a new browser window will appear on your screen. You’ll also be given a welcome message that goes over what is protected and what isn’t while you’re browsing this way. Let’s see just how anonymous it is.

It won’t log the pages you visit in the search history or the browser history. Well that’s good, but doesn’t quite provide anonymous browsing. It also won’t store any cookies from pages you’ve visited after you close the window. This means that if a site you’re using uses cookies – and most sites these days do – they won’t be stored in your computer once you close that browser. Someone searching your cookies can get a pretty good idea of the sites you were at, so this is a good feature.

It flat-out tells you that it will store all of the files you download and bookmarks you make, which if you forget to delete these can leave a pretty giant trail behind. Next it gives you tips that you should be aware of, and specifically warns you of keystroke loggers that your employer might use, the fact that your ISP probably tracks which pages you go to, or even just the information collected by the websites you visit.

Then Google gets clever and also warns you of secret agents and people standing behind you as if there’s anything you can do about secret agents, or that you wouldn’t be aware of someone standing behind you while you’re on a computer. They always try to throw a bit of humor into their products. It’s one of their trademarks that makes them unique.

If you’re looking for anonymous browsing Google Chrome’s incognito feature is cute, but doesn’t get the job done. As long as you’re using your IP address there’s nothing anonymous about your browsing. Everything you view online can be traced back through your Internet Service Provider which can narrow it down to the specific household, as well as the time of day.

Very little of what you do online is truly anonymous. Those searching for a way to have privacy while they browse will have to find a better way than using Google Chrome.

Linoleum Flooring: The Truth about Today’s Linoleum

If you’re someone who loves to go barefoot around the house, think about adding  linoleum  to your kitchen floors. There are a number of reasons, but in a nutshell,  linoleum  is warmer on bare feet, easier on ankle and knee joints than tile, comes in a huge variety of patterns and colors, is cost-effective, water-tolerant, and is a natural product.

I know, your grandmother’s house had  linoleum , and it was dull, cold, lifeless, and hard to keep clean. But that’s all a thing of the past. The new  linoleum  has a great deal to offer. Let’s look at some of  linoleum’s  advantages.

First, let’s examine the composition of  linoleum  as opposed to vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring is made of chlorinated petrochemical materials, while  linoleum  is made from linseed oil combined with wood flour or cork dust, ground limestone, and color pigments, over a burlap, jute, or canvas backing. In fact, the very name  linoleum  is derived from the Latin names for two natural materials: flax (linum) and oil (oleum).

Given their difference in composition, vinyl flooring will melt if someone accidentally drops a cigarette or a match on it, but  linoleum  won’t. The pattern on vinyl flooring is imprinted onto the top surface of the material, but a  linoleum  pattern goes all the way through. That means that as a vinyl floor wears down, the pattern gradually disappears. However, the same amount of wear to  linoleum  only reveals new color, since the color goes all the way to the bottom.

 Linoleum  is also very durable and can last up to forty years, even in tough, high-traffic commercial situations. Ironically, it was that very durability that led to the decline of  linoleum  use in homes. People simply got tired of it long before it had outlived its usefulness.

Over time, vinyl flooring, which came in many more patterns and colors, made serious inroads into replacing  linoleum  as America’s favorite kitchen flooring material. But that didn’t mean it was superior to  linoleum . Since it had a cork backing,  linoleum  was quieter, provided insulation that made it warmer on bare feet, was more forgiving if someone dropped a dish or coffee cup, was easier on the legs and backs of women who spent lots of time in the kitchen, and was easy to keep clean.

If you’re an environmentalist,  linoleum  wins over vinyl, hands down. It’s made of completely renewable natural materials, and no toxins are released into the environment during its manufacture. That’s one major reason why  linoleum  is making a strong comeback in new construction and remodeling projects.

It’s not the same stuff your grandmother had on her kitchen floor. It’s vibrant, dust-resistant, environmentally friendly, and will probably outlive the people who install it. What could be better than that?

Various Types and Uses of an Extension Ladder

Ladders are considered as one of the most important tools that you can have in your house. Whether you’re a mother taking care of the household chores or a businessman trying to get your work done, ladders are really important. An extension ladder enables one to have access to spaces and places that they normally could not reach for. But what is exactly an extension ladder? What does it look like? How are they used? And what are the advantages of using one?

Extension ladders are separated into two or three pieces, that you can pull-up and slide together for easy storage. It can be easily extended to its maximum length by sliding the pieces apart either manually or with a pulley system.

When choosing the ladder length, make sure to select the length that is longer than the highest part of the place that you need reach. An Extension ladder is available in cumulative lengths. Available lengths are: 4 feet, 16 feet, 20 feet and 24 feet. A 24-foot ladder is usually divided into 12-foot sections. But a 24-feet ladder doesn’t exactly measure 24-feet because it is divided into two 12-foot sections that overlap, for extra strength when fully extended.

To find the right length, keep in mind that you cannot stand on the topmost of the ladder. It is recommended that a person must stand at least two steps from the top and the average person must reach four feet.

An Extension ladder is ideal for outside work on buildings, homes, trees and other long-reaching places. Extension ladders provide convenience for it can be folded to transport or store in places like a garage or basement. Extension ladders are also used for cleaning gutters, making tree houses, painting walls, washing windows, and so much more. Extension ladders are also practical for it gives you multiple lengths in just one ladder. So instead of opting for a limited height ladder, extension ladders are the most efficient option. The ladder can be used for any height below it. All you have to do is adjust the length and viola! You’re good to go.

Safety tips:

  • As suggested by the manufacturer of the ladder, never stand above the ‘highest standing level of safety’ (i.e. above top two rungs)
  • Do not overreach. The center of your body’s torso must not go beyond the either side rail of the ladder
  • When working, maintain at least three points of contact
  • When moving either up or down, always remember to face the ladder
  • Always use a cleaner tool belt or a certain belt that is made to carry tools to maintain safety
  • Wear the appropriate footwear that has non-slip soles
  • The erected ladder must not be left unattended

Amongst the individuals who uses ladders are painters, construction workers and general contractors. The fire engine is equipped with a large ladder with a motor-operated extender. Painters like using extension ladders because they can be easily adjusted for indoor wall painting to outdoor house painting.

When working on any project that requires extended reach that a typical ladder cannot achieve, an extension ladder for sure is the best choice.

How to Fix Staircase Handrails

A  staircase  banister that is loose and moving while you hold onto it is not a safe banister. If you are a do-it-yourselfer you probably want to be able to fix that yourself.

First, the anatomy of a  staircase  should be clear. Its basic parts are the tread that you step on, the riser, which is the vertical part between treads, and the banister, the part that is on the side offering support when going up and down. The banister has three components: the handrail, which you actually grasp when using the stairs, the balusters, posts that support the handrail, and a newel post, a larger vertical support at the bottom of the  staircase .

A handrail will usually shake if the balusters loosen in the mortises where they meet the handrail. A mortise is a hole cut into a piece of material in which another piece, the tenon, will be inserted. For the first solution you should prepare: a hammer, wood shims, carpenter’s glue, a small block of wood and an utility knife. You will coat a shim in glue and hammer it into the joint between the handrail and the baluster. Use the small wood block to drive the shim in, keeping it between the shim and the hammer. Your purpose is to fill the gap and not to drive the pieces that join apart, so hammer with care. Trim the part of the shim that is left outside of the hole.

A second solution asks for: safety goggles, electric drill, screwdriver matching the screw head, combination bit corresponding to the used screw, flathead wood screws, 220 grit sandpaper, wood putty and wood finish or paint. Drill a pilot hole upwards through the baluster and into the handrail using the combination bit. You will drill under a 45 degree angle. Drive the screw in, countersink it and tighten it. Fill the hole that is left with wood putty, allow it to dry and then sand the repair spot and cover it with wood finish or paint for the aesthetics part.

If the baluster got loose in its bottom mortise where it meets the tread, you will need the same tools and expendables like in the second solution. You will drill a pilot hole down through the baluster into the tread at an angle. Drive in the screw, countersink it and tighten it. Just like in the previous case, you will then fill the hole with wood putty, let it dry, use the sandpaper to sand the area and then finish.

Proper Stair Parts For a Good Stairway

If you grew up in a home that has stairs you will most probably have the memory of playing in the railings of the stairs and sliding down the handrail.

This memory might not be possible if your staircase is not sturdy enough to support your weight. With this, you know that you will have to be careful in finding the right stair parts that you will use to create the proper staircase in your home.

If you have a home and it has two or more floors, then you should start considering the stair parts that you will need for your stairs. The stairs are present in your home for practical reasons. You will have to use the stairs to go to one floor to the other. For other homeowners, they use the stairs to add décor in their home. This is also an important aspect especially if your staircase is big and visible in your home. If this is the case, then you will have to ensure that your staircase is not only safe but it should also be pleasing to the eyes of your visitors. In achieving this, you will have to ensure that you will get the right pieces that will help you get a sturdy staircase and also one that has interesting designs to match the look of your home.

The stair parts that you need are easy to find but this does not mean that you will already stop searching once you find one that you like. It is possible that you can easily find one type that you think fits your home but it will be better if you will continue searching and compare the pieces that you see in the market. If you are able to compare the stair parts, you will have a bigger chance of getting the one that you will really like. This will also be a good way to avoid future problems.

You can start thinking of the design that you like and get a professional help when it comes to constructing it. The carpenters will do their job this time but you can instruct them on the kind of outcome that you want from your own staircase.

Now, your home will only get the right staircase if you will invest on the stair parts that you will use. It would be best to start the search now and continue with it so that you can cover more types in the market and really get the kind that you can enjoy having. You should remember that the staircase is not only important because you want to play with its railings. The safety of your family will depend on it and it will also have a big impact in the look of your home.

Giving Clear Instructions Set Everyone Up For Success

Whether you teach children or adults, you know how important clear instructions are. Whether you teach a subject (e.g. 3rd grade, high school literature, or college algebra), or you train adults (e.g. training workshops, seminars, and classes), you’ve learned that the success of an activity is all in the instructions.

Giving clear instructions can be challenging not matter who the audience is. Here are 7 key steps any instructor or presenter can follow to minimize confusion and maximize success.

As you read this scaffolded process, notice how the students/participants are being step-by-step from “huh?” to “ahh!

  1. Break things down. If the activity has several parts, give the instructions part by part. Once students complete one segment, stop the class and get them going on the second part. This helps students focus on each section piece by piece. Key Question: How do I break the activity down into chunks?
  2. Explain the activity. Telling students what they are doing and why helps students connect with the task. We don’t need to go into great detail; an overview is fine. Providing students with the purpose behind the activity, invites them into the activity. Key Question: How do I tell them succinctly what they should do and why?
  3. Create a step by step outline. Having the instructions clearly and succinctly written on the board not only keeps the teacher focused when explaining the activity, but also gives students an anchor when they are doing the activity. At any point, they can refer to the steps and redirect themselves. Key Question: How do I simply the instructions?
  4. Let students see what the activity looks like. Modeling for the class first shows students what it will look like. Showing and telling is an effective way to reach all types of students. It’s also the first step in scaffolding students into being successful. Key Question: How can I show them what it should look like?
  5. Experiment with a student. Modeling the activity with a student is the next step in scaffolding. They have just see the teacher do the activity; doing a piece of the activity with a student, increases confidence and understanding how to complete the task. Key Question: How do I model this with a student to boost success?
  6. Assess their understanding. Having the students tell and show you what they are supposed to do is the best way to take the pulse of the class. When two students model the activity without the support of the instructor, the entire class gets a chance to clarify their understanding. Key Question: How do get the audience to show me they are ready?
  7. Repair misunderstandings. If the students seem confused, stop the class, repair the confusion, and restart the activity. Students will get more out of the activity that you have prepared. You’ll work less by not having to go from group to group retelling the instructions. Key Question: How do I redirect the class effectively and efficiently?

Giving clear instructions is paramount to getting the most out of any classroom activity. As teachers, trainers, and presenters, we spend a large amount of time planning engaging and meaningful lessons and presentations.

Spending a little time on scaffolding the audience into the activity, sets everyone up for success.

Laminate Flooring Throughout the House

What It Is

The advent of laminate flooring has changed the way designers view floors in a house. It has enabled the creation of living spaces with a base restricted only by the designer’s imagination.

Laminate flooring, in its simplest form, is a photographic image imposed upon a number of base layers, and then cut into a number of regular sized boards which lock together, either with or without the use of adhesive.

Why Use It?

Firstly, laminate flooring is an economically sound proposition. Although it can be manufactured to look like expensive wood, tiling, marble etc., it is a fraction of the cost.

It is easy to install, doing away with the need for expensive contractors. The only requisite for a fabulous finish is a level sub-floor for it to be attached to.

Finally, it is relatively maintenance-free. It will not stain or scratch easily, and it is usually UV treated so that fading is not an issue. In the worst case scenario, if a board needs to be replaced, the procedure is easy and cheap. The life of the average floor ranges between fifteen and twenty years.

Where can You Use It?

Laminate flooring is suitable for use throughout the home, but some care is needed in the selection of the correct grade for the area concerned.

Light Traffic Areas

These areas, which would include such rooms as bedrooms, are the ones where the designer can let their imagination run free. All types of laminate are suitable for these areas, from the conventional ‘wood -grain’ effect, to the ultra-modern Disney themed photographic print floors for children’s nurseries. As the floor is subject to minimal foot traffic, durability of the floor is not really an issue, and there are no restrictions on what can be used.

Heavy Traffic Areas

These would include areas such as lounges or hallways, and more consideration needs to be given to the durability of the backing boards, perhaps selecting a thicker board to ensure an economic life span for the floor. As detailed above, the whole range of designs is usually readily available, once again making laminate a sound choice.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

These areas would normally present a challenge to the designer, due to the presence of moisture in the atmosphere, and the possibility of water being spilled on the floor.

Once again, laminate can provide the ideal solution for kitchen flooring, but you would have to use boards which are certified water resistant. This would rule out the cheaper ‘click together’ flooring, as the joints would allow the ingress of water, eventually destroying the floor. For this application you need to use a more expensive floor that is either glued together when laid, or has wax in the joints, forming a water-tight seal when the boards are pressed together. These floors are also available in a wide range of designs, providing a viable solution in an area where wood or carpet would be seriously inappropriate, and tiling seriously expensive.

The Myriad of Art Forms in Russia

Reminded of Russia by snowy environments, fur coats, hats and chapkas, ancient history, uniquely structured places of worship, long-legged women and a toast of vodka are you? But it is different for me, who has had the pleasure to travel around the world, including Russia and Belarus. I would say that there are certain things that inspire and remind me of the vast country and its people. Whilst in Russia, I was mighty impressed by the Russian hospitality and Russian culture. Not to forget the local customs and traditions that I progressively fell in love with. Oh and the activity I loved to do the most was shopping. Russia is known for its handicrafts, viz.; lacquer boxes, Russian dolls, icon painting, the list is endless.

These lacquer boxes are indeed deeply dipped in Russian flavor and are a major influence to the culture and gained prominence during the communist era. However, skilled artisans who used to handcraft these had to face tough times during the communist regime as they were not allowed to depict religious symbols.

Today among other influences, the lacquer miniature paintings are inspired by popular towns and villages north of Moscow like Fedoskino, Palekh, Kholui, and Mstera. Every image on these boxes and miniatures are thematic representations of Russian lifestyle, people, history, fairy tales and folk tales. In fact the handmade ones are so unique that that each one is different from the other.

Basically, these boxes are nothing but objects made up of paper-mache and are popularly used as bead boxes, treasure boxes, caskets and powder boxes. Fine lines of gold and silver; ornament the immaculate paintings on these boxes. I have personally purchased a dozen of lacquer boxes myself and currently use them as my jewelry boxes and pen boxes. Some are so beautiful that I have preserved them away in showcases as a souvenir of my visit to this culturally blessed nation.

Another art form that is an immediate eye-catcher and is no news to most of us is the Russian nesting doll. Traditionally known as the Matryoshka, these dolls symbolize eternal motherhood. Figurines representing the Russian peasant woman are made in perfect symmetry and fit one inside the other.

It is interesting these days the way artisans try and bring innovation in the designs. In fact today these dolls are representative of everything from politicians and pop artists to even cartoon characters. A collection of these heavenly looking Russian dolls jewels my home d├ęcor and never seems to cease to be the center of attraction during in-house parties and events.

Three Factors That Make a Difference in Forearm Exercises

There are four forearm exercises that provide balanced forearm strength. They take a total of about 5 minutes, and in addition to increasing your forearm strength, will help protect your wrist and forearm from injury. The four exercises are usually done with a sledgehammer, but can be done with anything that fits comfortably in the hand and that has some weight at a distance from the hand, such as a baseball bat or a broomstick (with a weight tied to the end if needed). The exercises are: radial deviations, ulnar deviations, pronations, and supinations.

Once you decide to strengthen your forearms with these four forearm exercises, the question then is how to go about it. There are 3 factors involved with how to perform a repetition —

1. the speed of performing each motion, fast or slow,

2. whether to perform partial range of motion or full range of motion,

3. how much weight to use.

1. Slow repetitions will have slightly different effects than faster. Full range of motion repetitions also will have a slightly different effect than partial range of motion. Generally for someone starting out, a comfortable, natural pace is best — not excessively slow or abnormally fast. At first a slow pace is okay, but as you develop forearm strength, you may end up limiting the amount of work the forearm muscles do, and thus hit a strength plateau too soon. Too fast a pace may develop too much momentum, reducing the workload for the muscle, but increasing the risk of injury.

2. Full range of motion repetitions also will have a slightly different effect than partial range of motion. Full range of motion will not allow as many repetitions as a limited range of motion, and may be more prone to injury than the limited range. As you become more accustomed to the exercises, you can try different speed and range of motion to provide the variety that helps stimulate growth.

3. The amount of weight to start with should be light. The number of pounds or the distance of the grip down the handle of the sledgehammer will be different for different individuals. Light will be very different for a lumberjack than for a 100 pound secretary who has never done any heavy manual work. “Light” should always be considered relative. When I say “light,” it means light for you — you can easily use and control it. At the end of the exercise, you should feel a mild tiredness in the muscle, but no pain in the muscle or joints (during or after the exercise).

Besides these factors, other factors that have to be considered are how many repetitions and how many sets to perform, when to do them in a routine involving other exercises, and how many times a week to do the exercises. If you are doing other activities or sports using your grip, such as tennis, golf, typing, or carpentry – you also have to figure out how to integrate the forearm exercises with the other activities.

Roofing Options

When most people think of a metal  roof  or aluminum  roof  they think of the shiny silver  roof  on top of a barn or an old house that you can hear every drop of rain. As with everything else in this world the leaders in the  roofing  industry are developing beyond those tin  roofs  we’ve heard about in songs and the benefits of these  roofs  are in abundance.

If you’re in the market for a new  roof  or are deciding to build your home there are a lot of options available to you and everyone wants to tell you why they’re the best. Most people don’t really know what’s out there for them. When they think of a  roof  they think of plywood with asphalt shingles on top, but while composition  roofs  are great there is much more out there that can add more curb appeal to your home and save you some money.

Manufacturers are making metal  roof  shingles out of aluminum that add more curb appeal to your home than composition, clay or even wood shingles and don’t break or ware as easy. If you are looking to purchase a composition, clay or wood shingled  roof  think about in the future if you have any repairs that need to be done on say your fireplace or if someone has to get on your  roof  to hang Christmas lights, or clean the gutters or maybe you have a 16 year-old son who likes to climb up there with his friends when he thinks you’re not looking. Well if should any reason someone walks on your  roof  it could possibly void your warranty. With steel  roofs  someone walking on it could dent or scratch your  roof . If you are a savvy buyer who does their research you can find aluminum metal  roofs  that will not have these problems but still look as great or even better than composition, clay or wood shingled  roofs . Aluminum metal  roofs  are coming in a wide variety of colors and textures that resemble the look that you want.

Some also think that having a metal  roof  might make your house hotter but the reverse is actually true. Metal reflects the heat causing less hot air to get into your attic. Which in turn allows less hot air into your home making life a little easier for your air conditioner and for you. So metal  roofs  can actually make your home cooler which will save you money every month on your electric bill and who doesn’t like to save money? Plus you’ll be utilizing a “green”  roof  which will help to lower your carbon footprint and save our natural resources.

Some companies have even developed ways to make aluminum metal  roofs  that are less likely to leak than other  roof  types which is great for you as a home owner, one less thing you have to worry about. The best thing you can do as a homeowner who is in the market for a new  roof  is to do your research. Look at what’s out there and focus on which  roof  is going to give you the most benefits. Also, keep up with leaders in the industry who are developing new material and techniques. Good luck!

Boots For the Family

There are so many options when it comes to boots, it can be hard to choose what to buy for the family. When winter weather sets in, the one thing mothers think about is keeping their children warm. This can be done by layering socks and making them wear uncomfortable shoes that feel too small due to the layers of socks, or you can buy them winter boots.

Boots for children are much easier to choose than those for teens or adults. Children’s boots have a much wider variety of colors, materials and designs than any other boot. From faux fur linings to sheepskin or leather uppers, the options are endless. For small children that would have a hard time walking in bulky shoes, try giving them sheepskin or even plastic winter boots. These materials are known for being comfortable on little feet, and are lightweight enough not to cause problems walking. If the child will be wearing the boots for an extended period of time, it is best to go with a material that will allow the feet to breathe. This would include canvas, sheepskin and leather with ports on the side or the top that allow air to flow in. The ports could make for a less than waterproof boot, so it is best to find a style that includes these ports on the upper section of the boot instead of on the foot.

For teens that need boots, many will opt for more fashion friendly boots than those that are more useful. Guiding your teens to wear boots that are comfortable and weather appropriate is the most important aspect of buying the boots. If your teen wants a pair of 4 inch heel boots, but you live in an area that sees an average of 18 inches of snow in the first month of winter, these are not weather appropriate. Your teen would only get a few weeks worth of use from the boots and you would then be forced to buy a more useful pair. There are designer boots that offer both a fashion statement as well as the versatility to be worn in cold and slick weather.

For the men in the family, be them young or older, winter boots can be a simple pair of cowboy boots. Many men will opt for work boots in the winter, as they offer non-slip soles and heavy leather uppers to protect feet from the cold. Avoid buying boots for young men that have steel toe, as the steel will get cold and can create issues due to the feet staying cold. For the more refined tastes, there are designer men’s boots that offer leather uppers along with trendy designs that are still acceptable to wear with suits, or under jeans. These boots are mostly found only through online retailers and outlet stores, and not at the local shoe store for the most part. This is due to the fact that they are much more expensive, and are made of a higher quality leather, thus requiring the higher price tag.

Acrylic Painting – Color Palette Basics

Today I am going to be talking about choosing your palette of colors, color mixing, and how I choose to apply my acrylics to my painting surface of choice.

I don’t have a very extensive array of acrylic paints, but I think it is a lot of fun mixing colors. I think the color wheel is a good tool and starting off place for me (as well as for most artists, whether a beginner or professional), and experimentation is great fun and as artistic expression. I also read a lot of books and talk to a lot of artists to get hints and suggestions about everything from all directions. I think that is helpful to us all and I highly recommend it!

For starters, as a “color basis 101”, I have been told to use black very sparingly, and I do. If I do use anything close to that, if is “Payne’s Gray”, but usually I like to mix complimentary colors for the darker areas and try to put lots of colors in my shadows. This really adds a lot of interest and beauty to your painting. Besides, if you are a true observer of nature you will notice that shadows are not black at all, but are made up of multiple and varied colors, values, and hues. Try to be a great observer!

I choose to paint with a pretty limited palette and mix my paints to achieve the effects that I want to achieve. This accomplishes several things. This will save you money (if that is a concern of yours) by limiting the number of tubes of paint you are required to purchase. This will teach you a lot about mixing paint to achieve the colors you require ( by referring to the color wheel). I feel that your colors are much more stunning and true to life by painting this way than using colors straight from the tube, anyway. I never use any colors directly from the tube anymore. And, by mixing your own colors, you will have a continuity through out your painting that can only be achieved in this way.

When working with a painting that will have a large amount of green in it, I like to first start out by placing a wash of red over the entire canvas (surface). Red being the complement of green “greys” down the green making it a more natural color in the end. This is a great tip to use when painting landscapes, etc. that will require a lot of greens, but that you don’t want to have a harsh, or “kelly” green look to them. Another thing that I would definitely suggest is to mix your own greens (using blues and yellows) instead of a tube green – unless you go to a sap green or one of the already “greyed down” greens. Even those greens I mix with something else, I as said, previously.

I almost always like to do a wash on the surface before starting the painting as this does give a nice sense of cohesion to the painting. I have been told by a lot of artists that they feel the same way. Many times this is a complimentary color that will come shining through the subsequent layers of paint.

I usually start at the back of the painting and work toward the foreground saving the greater detail and stronger colors for the main subject and the aforementioned foreground area. When painting masses, such as muscles on an animal for example, these are usually darker areas and I start with these first when starting the subject. Then I work in many, many layers until finally reaching the lighter areas and highlights. My paintings always consist of multiple layers of glazes and/or washes – many times in the double digits – in order to achieve the effect that I wish to achieve.

Most importantly when working with colors, as with any aspect of painting, is to have fun with it! I think that if you do that it really comes through in your work. For examples of my acrylic paintings please visit http://www.hughbanksart.com I hope you can see that I have a passion about my work and that the “fun” I spoke of is coming through in my own pieces!