Craft Projects With Glass Blocks and Lights

When it comes to craft projects, glass blocks are amazingly versatile. There are so many fun and interesting ways to decorate with them in every room of the house.

Once you could only find glass or art deco blocks at home improvement centers. There were solid and in order to put lights or objects inside, you had to use a large drill bit and a complicated process to get them “open” – if you choose to do this – consider hiring this out to a professional. Now you can find glass bricks conveniently at your local crafts store with one side left open. You can even use these wonderful finds as vases. They are generally available in two sizes and I’ve seen them available all year.

Take a look at these top 10 ways to use lighted glass bricks to bring soft illumination, charm, and beauty to your home.

  1. Faux gifts – Fill two bricks with Christmas lights. One should be smaller than the other. Stack them and then tie a large ribbon around the stack, completing the look with a bow on top. Voila, you have “gift boxes” for decorating during the holidays or simply for every day. (Or how cool for a baby shower or wedding!) Place the lit glass bricks under the tree, next to potted plants, on a windowsill or mantel, or decorate the foyer with them to welcome your guests.
  2. Paint the outside of a block with a design that will fit into your decorating scheme for that room. Put lights inside and you have added charm to the space!
  3. Nightlight – wonderful idea for a child’s room. Add decals, stickers, or a painted scene on one side of the glass brick. Insert Christmas lights inside. Place on a shelf or dresser and turn on at night for your child. They’ll love it!
  4. Create a lighted village display – glass blocks can easily be transformed into a little village display. Paint each as a building – the post office, library, church, house, etc. Add fabric and other accents to make the glass squares look like the building it depicts. Fill each “building” with a string of Christmas lights and you have a lighted village display! This is a fun project to complete with your kids.
  5. Decorative paperweights – another way to decorate with glass bricks is to turn a small one into a decorative paperweight. Add your favorite embellishments or paint the block to match your office decor. The weight of your creation is perfect for keeping papers in place.
  6. Wedding decor – glass bricks with lights, tulle, and ribbon look absolutely stunning at a wedding reception. Fill the glass brick with lights. Attach gorgeous organza or wired ribbon around the edge of the brick. Nestle the bricks into mounds of “billowing” tulle and you have a beautiful decoration for your gift table, foyer, food table, cake table, or any other space you like.
  7. Window decor – instead of the traditional candles, place one lighted block into your window. It will illuminate the room softly and will look beautiful from the outside as well.
  8. Welcome sign – spell out the word “welcome” with glass bricks. These would be a perfect addition to a foyer or nursery. Or spell out other messages like “believe”, “faith”, “joy”, etc.
  9. Lighted stand/base – decorate with blocks in any room of the house by using one as a stand or base for a display. Place a glass brick filled with a Christmas light string on a flat surface. Put small items on top of it such as small collectibles, candles (in another container), a vase of flowers, a small lamp, or anything else that would look pretty sitting a bit higher and illuminated.
  10. Ambiance – add a bit of romantic lighting to the master bedroom with a few lighted glass bricks strategically placed around the room. Decorate with ribbon to match your decor.
  11. As you can see, there are many possibilities when it comes to projects involving glass bricks. Let these ideas just be a starting off point for your home decoration and gift giving list.

Lighting Techniques For Studio Portraiture

If you have ever wanted to know how to capture beautiful portraits in a photographic studio then you will not want to overlook these tips and tricks. Recently I did a shoot of a friend in the studio. She wanted a simple portrait for her site. I used a few techniques and tricks to not only pose her well, but light the photo in a pleasing way.

Studio portrait techniques are not hard to become skilled at. They simply need an understanding of how much light you must use, and, where it is coming from. Studio light is so uncomplicated and can be understood with some preparation. It’s important not to hurry these things as you complete an understanding of studio lighting.

Studio portrait lighting techniques depend heavily what quantity of light falls on the subject. Nearly all studio lighting is equipped with quite a few lights including softboxes. Softboxes are pretty easy to utilise. They are lights that have a uninterrupted mode to them, but fire with a wireless trigger. This will mean that that the lights stay on until you connect a wireless remote trigger to them.

This little device sits on your camera. Its counterpart attaches at the rear of the light. When you press the shutter button that light shoots out a burst of light, similar to the light from the flash. The reason for this is that we want to shoot a well lit portrait. We cannot always do this with diffused lighting. The light has the softbox fastened to it so that you can light your portrait well, but still have the strong light you need. Its the same principle as using a huge diffuser on top of your flash. Its ideal lighting for studio portraits.

The angle and output of light are two considerations when creating lovely studio portraits. You need precisely the right quantity of light on the subject’s face. Too much angle and you can create too many hard shadows under the nose, chin and darken the eyes. This doesn’t work for standard studio portraits. Its crucial to fill out any possible shadow areas on the subject’s face. We do this by ensuring the persons face has the correct amount of light.

Next we must examine the angle of light. Typically studio portraiture relies on front on lighting. This is for exactly the same reason as the first example. If you have an individual light to the side of the persons head you will create deep shadowed areas across their face. This is great for a dramatic effect but it will not work for a happy, family studio shot of your friend or family member.

You can light the person from the face with one light or two. If you use two lights they must be placed at like distances on either side of the subject’s face. For example, you can place one light two meters away from the persons right side of the face. After that, you can place a light at exactly the same distance on the other side.

That will give you an even lighting style across their face, eradicating any shadows completely.

What about the backdrop? You can keep the background basic if you want the key focus to be on the face. On the other hand you can bring in a few studio props. These may be belongings that the person loves, such as flowers, a push bike and even a favourite old chair.

At all times keep the lighting simple. Think about what you want to illuminate and place the lights in that spot. I know it sounds a lot easier than it really is, but with some practice you will become good at the studio in no time.

Incombustible Insulation – Information

The incombustible insulation is created from an element that resists flame. It can be utilized in construction elements, clothing and at other places where the flame resistance is required. The incombustible insulation can be created from particular elements that are not utilized for any other purpose or can be regular insulating elements covered with a fire resistant sheet.

This kind of insulation is normally created from few elements that have got their own advantages, its functions and restrictions as well. The elements comprise of wool, poly mixtures, fiberglass and other natural materials that can be reacted with other elements.

One general use of the incombustible insulation is in garrets and sides of different kinds of constructions that comprise of houses and commercial buildings. You must note that majority of the insulation is not actually incombustible, but somewhat flame opposing. At times the element may catch fire if the quantity of flame is huge.

One more function of this insulation is in fabric by the people who work near the flame. This actually comprise of the jobs like fighting against the fire and other industrial occupation where you getting close to the flame is usual and every day job. In such a scenario the insulation initial task is to secure against the hotness but if the fabric is directly in touch with the fire than the incombustible insulation has a inferior function that is not at all significant.

When taking into consideration the incombustible insulation, it is significant to think about what the insulation will require to oppose and survive. When you have decided that then it is likely to select the elements and their kinds. In case of construction, the incombustible insulation is available in the shape of spray boards or free spray solution that is sprinkled into a place like garret.

Everything You Need To Know About Fireplace Insulation Material

In order to reduce waste and save as much money on your home’s energy system as you can, one of the best things you can do is to check your fireplace’s insulation system. Just by adding insulation to your fireplace, you will be able to drastically control the heat levels in your home.

Your goal with fireplace insulation materials is to adequately insulate your fireplace. This will make your fireplace more heat efficient. Start by sealing the gaps between your fireplace opening and the insert. By not doing so, you’re losing a lot of heat.

Closing the Gap

– Closing the gap in your fireplace dampers will be a two person job, so have a dependable coworker to help you. Begin by removing the cover plates, and then pulling the insert out far enough for enough space to stuff insulation into the gaps.

– Next, stuff fireproof insulation into the fireplace. The insulation should be fire resistant for up to two hundred and twelve degrees Fahrenheit, with a self-adhesive side of wrapped insulation.

– You can then slide the insert back into its former place, and reinstall the cover plates. If there is any loose insulation, it should be stuffed into any remaining gaps. If you need any additional help with this process, you can always seek the assistance of a chimney professional.


– Each type of insulation has its pros and cons. For example, loose fibers can easily be pressed with an adhesive to make them more beneficial. In contrast, fibers that are chopped can be easily placed into tight places. Foam insulations are most often used because they can also be applied as insulation for a number of outside surfaces. Without any further ado, here are some types of fireproof insulation materials:

– Fiberglass is melted glass that can be spun out into glass fibers. Fiberglass does not burn, however, it is often covered in paper or foil that will burn, so be careful about what you buy. Almost all fiberglass is officially rated as being fireproof, but as a general rule of thumb, they should not be used in temperatures in excess of twelve hundred and twenty degrees. This makes fiberglass a very versatile choice for many fireplaces commonly seen in homes today.

– Mineral wool is recycled from iron ore blast surface, but it can also be produced from natural rocks. Due to its very high melting temperature, mineral role is almost noncombustible. Being able to withstand more thermal applications, mineral wool is a very robust and durable type of fireproof insulation.

– Glass wool is produced from recycled glass. It traps air to practically block out the heat. Glass wool is very lightweight and also incredibly flexible, but the greatest benefit to it is the ease of installation.

– Fibrous mats are composed of many different kinds of minerals that when put together are called asbestos. Asbestos is well known for its strength and resistance to heat, but the most notable benefit of it is how it doesn’t conduct electricity. Asbestos is well used as insulation in many fireplaces today, and it’s also affordable in comparison to some of the other alternatives.

Decorating With Pillows

It is so easy to add springtime color and comfort to your home with pillows. You can sew them yourself or purchase the pillow forms from craft, hobby or department stores and then decorate them yourself. From little bitty pillows that can be used to decorate doorknobs to giant pillows that can be used as extra seating, pillows can transform the look of the room in an instant!

If you are looking for super fast and inexpensive ways to redecorate your home, don’t overlook the pillow. In hundreds of shapes and sizes and every color under the sun, pillows are a wonderful way to add color to a dull room. They are so completely versatile you will want to get plenty of pillow forms to cover. Old pillows can be refurbished with new fabrics and colors, and there are even some very quick fixes for the sewing challenged!

Making pillows: squares, circles, rectangles, ovals, and bolsters are all the most obvious pillow shapes. You don’t need to stop there; you can make any shape you want. There are even pillows that store blankets! There are so many possibilities; it’s a good thing that you don’t have to pick just one! You can even choose to have pillows in the shape of Sponge Bob, Dora, Monsters or any of your other favorite characters.

Perhaps, you already have plenty of pillows but you want to breathe new life into them. It’s very easy thing to do even if you aren’t super crafty. If you don’t want to spend hours on a complex makeover project, consider these simple ideas: make two granny squares to fit the existing pillow, turn them at an angle and secure the corners of the granny squares. This idea also works using two bandanas and tying them together at the corners. You can even cover pillows with your old scarves and you can make pillows from old blankets or quilts and they are wonderful on a particularly chilly night. Why stop there; you can even make pillows from old sweat shirts or T-shirts. The possibilities are endless.

Some not so ordinary uses for pillows may be as simple as making giant pillows to use as extra seating for a large gathering. Large square or rectangle pillows are perfect for children and teens to sit on the floor and that will free up precious sofa space for older guests. Smaller pillows can be used for comfortable padding on metal chairs or unpadded barstools. Pillows made from old flannel backed table cloths and stuffed with plastic grocery store bags are perfect for the patio or deck.

You can also make pillows for use as decorations for your home. “Do Not Disturb” is a great pillow for a bedroom door and “sleeping” is perfect for a new baby’s bedroom door. These little pillows can be made from felt scraps, cotton print fabrics or from fun fur, which can be found in the remnant table at your local fabric store.

You can make wonderful pillows for Fido and Fluffy. Using a Scotch guarded fabric that when doubled will be the right size for your dog, simply stitch up the sides and stuff with grocery bags. You can do the same thing for a cat, but toss in a little cat nip to attract the cat. Cats love the pillow even more if you stuff it with plastic bags so it will crinkle when they touch it. Tossing in a fabric softener sheet will help eliminate odors!

Advantages of Hardwood Flooring

Floors in house reflect the image of a homeowner and one should consider professional experts to install floors in the house. Nowadays, there are numerous floor types available in the market from which a buyer can purchase according to their choice. Good flooring can be a hefty deal but it will give a new face and appearance to the house. One of the latest and good flooring which most customers are considering for their houses is Hardwood Flooring. Hardwood flooring is the first preference of people who own a new house. The maintenance and purchasing of hardwood flooring is a pricey deal and it needs special instructions for maintenance.

Advantages of Hardwood Flooring

Painless maintenance – Hardwood floors are the most durable and strong floors and it can take any challenge to check its durability. There are several homes which are approximately 100 years old and they have still shining hardwood floors. It just needs to be vacuumed and maintained properly so as to keep up for a prolonged period. Occasional cleaning can be good for this floor, but only wood floor cleaner should be used for this purpose. Bamboo flooring is also a good idea, but majority of people go in for hardwood flooring only.

Value – Various buyers who know the advantage and cost of hardwood floors can pay any amount for the deal. Moreover, homes where hardwood floors are being installed can be sold easily as compared to other floors. Builders always reflect the advantage to the sellers when this flooring is installed in the homes. With the increasing demand of hardwood floors, it is becoming a worth investment option for the home owners.

Great Styles – Hardwood floors come in different styles and one can choose from the great assortments. It comes in traditional as well as in modern formats. It is available in various textures and shades like oak, walnut and cherry. All these floors can be sanded according to the taste of owner, but one should know the process of cleaning the hardwood floors so as to get the best results.

Cleaning Methods

o Clean the floors with soft bristles for the retention of these floors. Vacuuming can be a good idea for removing dust particles. Use of soft brush can be useful in minimizing scratches on the floors.

o Water is the biggest rival of hardwood floors, so always take precautions and keep water away from the floors. These are some mistakes that usually people do, often due to lack of knowledge. So, vacuuming is again an advantage in this case to make the floor fully dry.

o One should use carpet runners in case if there are chances of more dust and dirt.

o It can protect the floor from any damage. People should avoid high heels or heavy shoes on these floors as it can lead to any damage and can reduce the quality.

o One should not drag furniture or any other thing so as to avoid any types of scratches. Floor mats are the best example to keep dust and dirt away from home.

So, hardwood flooring is the best way to enhance sophistication and elegance in homes.

10 Useful Facts About Swimming Pool Pumps

Most of us are completely oblivious to the hard working swimming pool  pump  as we are splashing around and enjoying ourselves on holiday or down at the local leisure centre but it is good to be aware of how important a factor the  pump  is in the maintaining of a healthy, hygienic pool.

What follows, are 10 facts about the water  pumps  that power our swimming pools, providing a little information about how they work and what they achieve.

1. As mentioned in the introduction, the pool  pump  is a vital part of the whole system and ensures that the water is as free of bacteria as possible and helps to give it the inviting appearance that makes us want to jump in!

2. Water  pumps  circulate water around the pool.

3. They force the water through a filtration system which enables the chemicals to be evenly distributed and dispersed and also makes sure that the water doesn’t become stagnant with constant movement.

4. It is also possible to use heat  pumps  which raise the level of the water temperature. A simple mechanism which just requires you to set a temperature, absorbing energy from the air and returning it to the pool water.

5. Water  pumps  can be used with sea water, bromine, chlorine and an Iodine & Bromine combination.

6. They filter any debris and detritus from the water, once again allowing all the users of the pool a fun and healthy time.

7. How much water can be  pumped  in an hour rather than the amount of horsepower a  pump  has is how  pump  quality is usually determined.

8. A typical pool  pump  uses around 500 watts to 2000 watts of energy.

9. Commercial and public swimming pool  pumps  often run 24 hours a day whereas a residential pool  pump  might only run for 4 hours a day in the winter months but constantly during the warm summer months when the water is likely to be used more frequently.

10. Usefully, some water  pumps  will have two motor speeds in order to save energy and power when most needed.

There are plenty of different manufacturers who make swimming pool and more general water  pumps ‘, so shopping around for the right one at the right price is always a good idea. Use the internet to help you make decisions and read about the different options available before you commit to buy.

Decisive Force Using Lean Six Sigma

While reading Words that Work by Dr. Frank Luntz, I stumbled over his discussion of Colin Powell’s doctrine of military success. Powell called the strategy of military success a decisive force that “ends wars quickly and in the long run save lives.” What Powell this strategy requires force that is precise, clean and surgical. The media misquoted him as saying overwhelming force. The media misquoted him as saying overwhelming force. While overwhelming force sounds more exciting than decisive force, overwhelming force is about people and process; decisive force is about results.

Decisive Force in Lean Six Sigma

What does Colin Powell’s doctrine of military success have to do with Lean Six Sigma? Everything.

A few months ago, I played a round of golf with guy from Honeywell who had been trained as a green belt as part of Honeywell’s “train everyone in Six Sigma program”. He admitted that he hadn’t done an improvement project yet. I’m still stunned by the number of companies that track how many belts they’ve trained, as if that really matters. It’s like measuring the success of a war by keeping a body count.

Success with Lean Six Sigma is not how many troops you put in the field (i.e., Black Belts, Green Belts, etc.). Success with Lean Six Sigma is about how many profit-enhancing, delay-reducing, defect-reducing, variation-eliminating, customer-delighting improvements you put in place and keep in place.

Another downside of the universal training program is that teams are started on marginal projects which takes time away from customers.

Success with Lean Six Sigma is not about how many platoons are in the field (i.e., Six Sigma projects). It’s about how many teams capture meaningful objectives. Too many teams end up majoring in minor things. They move water coolers, not mountains. Too much of the emphasis of Six Sigma involves brainstorming. Letting teams choose their own projects is like turning troops loose in a country and saying: capture whatever you want.

Let’s revisit Powell’s strategy: precise, clean, surgical. Using data about operational problems, you should be able to narrow your focus down to precise, clean problems that can be dealt with surgically by a small team of experts.

Remember the 4-50 rule:

• 4% of the steps cause 50% of the defects.

• 4% of the gaps between steps cause 50% of the delay.

Remember the Dark Side of Pareto’s Rule:

80% of the effort will be spent on 20% of the benefit.

Here’s My Point

Overwhelming force makes it seem like we’re doing everything possible to implement Lean Six Sigma. If it’s not going well, then we get the urge to put more troops in the field. Training more people and starting more teams to brainstorm more problems to solve is an invitation to disaster.

Decisive force focuses your Lean Six Sigma effort on mission-critical problems that can dramatically reduce delay, defects and deviation while delighting customers and boosting profits.

It’s up to you, but I’d like you to consider that Colin Powell’s doctrine of decisive force will make a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of your Lean Six Sigma efforts. Isn’t it time to start majoring in major things?

Flat Panel TV Mounts

Clean integration is made easy for flat panel mounting. This mount is an all in one mount which includes shelving for a clean looking system. Having it manufactured as one unit, makes it easier to install and secure your TV, cable boxes or DVD players. A tempered glass shelf is sturdy and will support the TV equipment as well as cable set top boxes. This mount will hold up to a 58 Inch Flat Screen TV up to 120 lbs.


-Complete wire management

-Integrated TV mount up to 58 Inches and the Mount up to 120 lbs TV

-Single or double stud mounting

-For VESA Patterns 200×100 mm to 600×400 mm

-There are versatile articulating mounts for a 37- 70-in. Flat-panel TVs. These are usually pre-assembled with heavy-duty dual wishbone arms. It allows the mount to extend the unit over 20 in” from the wall. It allows 15 degree of   tilt . This mount is perfect for hanging TVs allowing for a wide range of viewing positions

Tips for Installing a TV Wall Mount

-Once you have purchased the mount that you need for your TV and you have all the hardware available, you are ready to start. A good idea is to have a friend or relative to help with the installation. A couple of hints.

-Find where the studs are in the wall and mark accordingly. Mark the spot and measure between the ceiling and the floor for the center of the wall. Once you are satisfied on the location, you can also mark where the screw holes are going to be.

-If you are using a flat TV wall mount, you may have to purchase the screws for the installation. Make sure they are long screws, they make the mount much more secure.

If you want to hide all the cables and wiring, but don’t have a cable connector in the wall, you can position a bookcase or something similar to hide them. The best way that I have heard is to buy a rounded piece of crown molding. You paint the molding the same color as your wall. You just gather the wires together, put the molding over top, and put a few nails in the top, middle and bottom. If you need to move the TV, it will be easy to take down and will not leave the wall looking damaged.-Always check and be sure everything feels tight and sturdy. It is well worth your time and money to make sure the TV doesn’t fall off the wall.

This is a FYI that, there is a voluntary association that you should be aware of when buy a TV. VESA (which stands for The Video Electronics Standards Association) has set up an industry-wide standards for electronics, which includes TV mounts. The regulation is quite easy to understand, TV and TV mounts marked “VESA mounting compliant” will fit together. If you have purchased a Non-compliant TV and a non compliant wall mount, you will have to purchase a separate adapter plate.

Are You Looking For Window Blinds?

Sometimes when you are in your house all the time, your surroundings start to feel a bit tired. It therefore comes to the point that your decoration needs updating. One way of modernising the look of your home is by installing window blinds. They can completely transform and enhance the look and feel of your home, and are available in a variety of different colours, styles and types. This means that you are sure to find one that will suit what you are looking for. The desire to buy curtains is becoming outdated and old fashioned. Instead, blinds are now much more popular, showing that consumers are making the swap and ditching the curtains.

Why are people switching to window blinds?

  • Although trends come and go all the time, blinds are consistently keeping rooms looking fresh
  • Different types of blinds have different advantages to them, for example in tropical conditions Holland blinds are preferred because they are more efficient at controlling the light and heat from the Sun
  • On all types of blinds you can control the amount of light that you let in as well as keeping your home private
  • They look stylish and therefore people are installing them to modernise their home

Which type of blind will suit you?

If you are wanting something classic and sleek, a roller blind may be what you are looking for. These are a very popular type of blind and you can get them in different colours to suit your decoration.

If you are looking for a cheap and affordable blind, the best type for you will be a panel track blind. They not only enhance the look of your home but they offer the user a high amount of control over how much sunlight enters the room.

Alternatively, you may be interested in bamboo or vertical blinds which are also very popular types.

What should you consider when you purchase new blinds?

There is no point walking into a shop and buying blinds without careful consideration. First of all you need to measure the size of your window which will give you the size of blinds that you require.

It is important that you get the measurements and decide the most suitable style of blinds right from the beginning because nothing is more frustrating than bringing home blinds which are too big or small for your window. Likewise, blinds that do not suit your window.

Overall if you plan effectively from the beginning, purchasing blinds will be a great decision and it will completely transform the feel of your house.

Baby Trend Expedition Double Jogging Stroller Review

Imagine your kids love to ride in the double jogging stroller especially when you run over bumps? The Baby Trend Expedition Double Jogging Stroller with front swivel wheel is one of the double jogging strollers you and your kids will enjoy.

For a high quality double jogging strollers, normally you can expect to pay much higher price than the single stroller. So, you definitely want to make sure you compare and find the best double jogging stroller before spending money on it. The Baby Trend Double Jogging Stroller offers a very reasonable price with top quality.

Features and Specifications

  • Front swivel wheel
  • Quick release tires for storage and travel
  • Pneumatic bicycle tires
  • Ratcheting shade canopy
  • Parent organizer with two cup holders

The Review

When we were doing the research, we found there were plenty reviews with mixed opinions on Baby Trend Expedition Double Jogging Stroller. While most of the reviews showed their satisfaction with their purchase, there were some complaints about this product as well.

The Pros:

  • It’s so simple to put together.  With quick release the back wheels can come off really easy and stroller can be folded easily as well.
  • This stroller pushes just like a breeze.  It fits through the standard doorway.
  • If you have twins, it even has the ability to hold two car seats at a time.
    The front wheel has a metal swivel lock pin, not a plastic clip. And the back axle is metal, not plastic either.
  • Lots of the toe space to the back axle, so you won’t kick it while jogging.
    The canopy has a flap for you to see the kids while pushing, which a lot of the strollers don’t have.
  • Unlike other sun shade, because it is separate sun shade, it’s completely adjustable to block the sun.  So, you can move it to keep the sun out of your kids’ eyes.
  • The seats are wide and adjustable from a slight recline to full recline with lots of room and head room too!
  • The seats are nicely padded and with mesh side pockets for toys or snacks.
  • The seat belts are easy to clip and you can use either the lap belt or the whole harness and then a one click release makes it easy for adults to unbuckle.

The Cons:

  • The center divider in the underseat storage makes it difficult for storing larger items.
  • Some reviewers commented about the front wheel being wobbly – some shaking when the front wheel is in the swivel position while running, but the shaking stops when the wheel is in the locked position.Another drawback is safety wrist strap a bit too short.
  • If you are buying this double jogging stroller pacifically for the built-in speaker, you will be disappointed. It’s not loud enough.

Bottom line…

Despite some of the complaints mentioned above, the Baby Trend Expedition Double Jogging Stroller is still a great buy for the features it offers.

Analysis of The Night Cafe – Vincent van Gogh

Vincent’s Two Cafes

“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh’s two ultra-famous café scenes comprise a study in opposites. Though both paintings employ Vincent’s famous bold and furious brushstrokes and striking colors, the two pictures feel entirely different. One, “Café Terrace at Night,” is lovely and full of a frothy light, a night scene with stars outside the café on the Place de Forum. The other, “Night Café,” is, in the artist’s own words, “…one of the ugliest I have ever done,” a collection of clashing colors in the dreariest atmosphere.

Both paintings were made in Arles after van Gogh had lived and studied in Paris, and met various French impressionists. His own style became much lighter, less moralistic and more rife with color.

“Night Café” depicts the interior of a pool in Arles’ Place Lamartine. A more striking van Gogh canvas would be difficult to find, but no one could call this particular picture beautiful. It was the artist’s intention to show the lowest edge of humanity, without adornment, with as much impact and sincerity as possible.

There is no doubt he succeeded. Upon first glance, the viewer almost tends to glance away, as if burned. Fully two-thirds of the painting is the floor of the café, executed in sulphuric yellow with exaggerated lines of perspective that yank the eye into the painting. Next, a green billiard table, outlined in heavy black, stops us cold. Beside the table stands a figure in a light-colored coat, staring out at us without expression.

“I have tried to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green,” van Gogh wrote. Yellow walls give on to blood-red walls that lead to an obtrusive green ceiling, and lining the walls are the locals at the bar tables, hunched over in late-night stupor. Lamps hang from the ceiling, surrounded by Vincent’s wheels of curving yellow strokes.

A stark black and white clock depends in the background, impossible to miss. It is almost a quarter past midnight in this desolate scene. “Night Café” is one of Vincent’s most powerful communications through art of the human condition and human emotions.

The other van Gogh café painting, “Café Terrace at Night,” shows the exterior of a café which still stands in Arles, though it was renamed The van Gogh Café and remodeled to closely resemble the painting which immortalized it. He painted this work in a flurry, using many of the same techniques he employed in his drawings. This is one of his most beautiful paintings, full of the light and peace he sought, but never found.

Perspective and warm complementary colors draw the viewer into the painting and beyond. The graphic texture of the street’s cobblestones invite the eye toward the little café itself, with its tiny white tables on the street, repeating the spheres of Vincent’s stars hung in the Prussian blue sky. The awning and walls of the café, warm yellow, cut into the sky to enhance both colors and form the main composition.

Van Gogh loved the night. He writes, “I have a terrible need of–dare I say–religion…then I go outside at night and paint the stars.” He painted this night scene on the spot, at night, using no blacks. His father was a preacher and Vincent went into the ministry for a while. It was later that this artist, now a star himself posthumously, decided his ministry would be to find a way to give hope and consolation to humanity through his art.

Anti Gravity Shoes

Anti gravity shoes are the newest innovation in footwear today.

Have you heard of them? Some people also call them “jump shoes.” These shoes have been designed to help us walk more comfortably, with less fatigue, and even tone muscles!

What’s special about these shoes is that they have springs built inside the heels, which allow the shoe to absorb the impact of your heel hitting the pavement when you walk. The springs then propel you forward as your foot rocks onto your toes to take the next step.

This technology provides action much like a trampoline, lessening the impact shock of each step. Think of jumping on the trampoline: the bounce action propels you up, which is exactly the idea with anti gravity shoes.

Benefits include instant comfort, less fatigue, less pain. People who have experienced pain in their heels, knees and back claim to feel a noticeable improvement. These shoes are advertised to lessen back and spine pressure as well as to help you look taller (when you feel good, you naturally do stand up straighter.)

Many people claim they notice a significant increase in their energy levels which allows them to be more active.

But, you may ask, do they look good?

As a matter of fact, anti gravity shoes come in a variety of styles and colors. Sports and athletic styles (think tennis shoes), men’s and women’s dress styles, even casual run-around-town styles are now available, and in any imaginable color.

The action of these shoes is amazing, and feels a lot like your feet are on rockers. The little “boost” as you step off your heel is fun, and makes walking feel energizing. An added plus is that these shoes will actually tone your hamstring muscles. Some people state they have lost weight wearing these shoes! (I’m pretty sure this is just because the shoes are so comfortable that they encourage people to walk more.)

Whatever the reason, many people are becoming advocates of this new “jump shoes” technology, and telling their friends and neighbors about their positive experiences.

Many doctors and health organizations are endorsing anti gravity shoes for their patients, not only for the pain-alleviating qualities of these shoes, but also because this footwear stimulates people to become more active.

Cost for these shoes can range from as little as $65 to as much as $200 and more. Also, don’t confuse these type of shoes with “Jump soles”, which are spring-type platform shoes designed for athletes who want to train so they can jump higher. Be aware that there is a brand name “Jump” shoe, which has nothing to do with the type of anti gravity shoe we’re talking about here.

These new shoes are becoming widely available, and you should be able to find them at department stores, discount stores, specialty shoe stores, and of course, online. Try on a pair and see for yourself – aren’t they the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever worn?

Bridging the Generation Gap

We had the privilege yesterday of celebrating the 90th birthday of a dear, sweet lady in our congregation. There are many things about her that inspire so many people. One in particular is that every week you will see her with the Worship Team as she passionately plays her violin. She is very talented and I am amazed at her musical versatility. She loves and plays well the old hymns of the church, but she also can play a mean fiddle and has a great feel for Hillsong, Chris Tomlin and Paul Baloche. I love the fact that she loves all styles of music. I don’t think musical “style” is part of her vocabulary. If a song brings glory to God and moves people to worship Him, that’s all that matters to her. We could learn a lot from her, both young and old.

Another thing about her amazes me. We also have two high school boys that play bass and percussion. One of them happens to be my son, Chris. These young men share that same passion for worship and music and bring an incredible amount of energy into the room. Sometimes this is a challenge for the rest of us who do not possess that much energy. It is a challenge as the leader at times as I attempt to channel that energy in a focused direction. I have noticed that our 90-year old violinist makes a point to connect with these two young men. She mentors them and encourages them in their gifts. I have heard her tell them how proud she is of them. She genuinely values them. This has had a profound impact on these boys. They help her up the steps and carry her violin for her. My son even walked her to her car with an umbrella after rehearsal so she wouldn’t get wet in a sudden downpour.

Something profound has taken place on our platform that has caught my attention. This dear senior saint has taken the time to embrace two teenagers. She has taken an interest in them and their music. As a result, I have seen these two young men embrace this lady who is old enough to be their great grandmother. They have begun to appreciate the older hymns and worship songs. Generational walls have been torn down and I am beginning to see that those same walls are beginning to fall out in the congregation. Worship can be trans-generational, and it should be. We are all better when it is. It forces our worship to not be about us, our preferences, or preferred styles. I believe that if we are not striving to  bridge  the generation gap in our worship, then we are not doing it right. Worship can, is, and should be relevant to all generations. I am watching it happen right before my eyes and we are better worshipers because of it. Somehow in all of it, God seems much bigger too!

Choosing the Right Work Bench Or Table For Your Job Task

No worker wants to do any tedious or labor-intensive job on an unstable or insufficient work surface. The wrong work surface could slow down productivity and even cause harm to the worker.

Professionals who work in laboratories, work shops and other industrial or manufacturing environments know important it is to a work surface that is comfortable, safe, and designed specifically for the task at hand.

The right workstation is an invaluable asset.

They are constructed of durable materials ranging from steel, aluminum, wood, and industrial grade plastic. Any work bench worth having will offer some storage, shelves or the ability to expand to create a versatile and efficient work area.

Having the Right Tool for the Job

Having materials close at hand is always an important thing to look for in a workbench. When the work flow is kept organized and close, it allows the worker to be more productive, while preventing muscle pain and fatigue.

Quality work benches have features like bins, shelves, cabinets, drawers, and other accessories to allow easy access to parts or tools. Some also have the added benefit of having adjustable legs, this allows workers or jobs of different heights to elevate or lower to a comfortable work position, and this can help muscle and back strain. These are ideal for jobs that require sitting or standing for extended periods of time

Workbenches come in a variety of sizes and should be selected based on the type of work they are being used for.

In a Laboratory, Kitchen, or Food Prep Area

Stainless Steel Work benches and work tables are a perfect choice

For applications in laboratories or food service areas, easy-to-clean Stainless Steel work benches provide added durability and cleanliness. The stainless steel tops with heavy gauge channel supports provide unbeatable stability. Some stainless steel benches also feature a back splash for spill or splash containment. The adjustable lower shelves provide plenty of space for storage and the adjustable legs accommodate the heights of multiple users.

On the Assembly Line or Packing Area

If you are in a work environment that handles large packing or heavy-duty assembly operations, extra Long work benches and work tables are ideal. Extra long benches can help reduce congestion on work surfaces for jobs that are performed in teams. Height adjustable legs provide a comfortable work position based on the task or user. For an even bigger work surface you can combine work tables. Some assembly and packing workbenches have built in accessories to make production easier such as shelving, bin rails, paper spool holders, lighting, and power strips. They are quipped with all the amenities needed to boost your packing efficiency.

Mobile Workstation and Mobile Security Cabinets.

Easily transport your work bench where you need it. Mobile work stations make ideal portable work surfaces for maximum flexibility of work area (repairs, maintenance or assembly). A good option is a mobile repair cart; these carts are a mobile workstation with drawers and heavy-duty casters. Mobile work benches are designed for various applications in any location. Mobile tool carts are also another great option; durable utility carts with racks for tool / small parts bins

Many of the work benches are ideal in the warehouse

Heavy-duty, steel frame work benches are perfect for warehouses, shipping areas, or any place where a heavy-duty workstation is needed!

If height or bending is an issue then you may want to consider a bench top tilters or efficiency master tilt table. Tilt Tables have the ability to tilt pallets, crates, boxes or baskets 45 degrees to facilitate easy container loading or unloading. Tables have all welded steel construction for years of durability. Unique design minimizes pinch points to meet OSHA requirements. Many lift tables are used as work surfaces, in addition to lifting a load

Making Your Workbench “Yours”.

Customization or fabrication of your work bench is a great way to ensure that important materials are always close at hand. Deciding on a specific work bench material can help guarantee that tasks with specific provisions, such as those involving chemicals, food, electronic equipment, or apparel are done on a suitable work surface. Some are more customizable then others.

Can’t Surpass Configurable Packaging Workstations for Versatility We’ve found that with several different Work bench configurations to choose from, some companies can customize a workbench to meet the needs of just about any work environment.

• These benches accommodate Plastic tops with a high-pressure laminate that is great for daily, multi-purpose use.

• They can also be used with ESD bench tops for protection against static electricity when working with sensitive computer items.

• For unbeatable chemical resistance in work environments such as laboratories, choose the Phenolic resin top.

• The durable Stainless Steel tops have a 1-1/2″ thick particle board core with phenolic backer wrapped with 16-gauge, type 304 stainless steel for strength.

• Add a Stackable Drawer or Cabinet for additional storage space.

• Add an Upright Kit for shelf space and easy accessory attachment. Or add the Light Kit for greater visibility in poorly lit environments.

It all adds up to a more efficient workbench.

There are thousands of types of benches to choose from in different variations and materials, so that can lead to a hard decision when it comes to making a good purchase. It is best to consult a professional; such as Ted Thorsen Material Handling they have 60 years experience in material handling and guide you so you make the right purchase decision. A work station can be very worthwhile investment if you get the right one for the job at hand.