Bridge the Generation Gap With a Family History Video

Most elder family members are great sources of family stories and family history, but have little interest or experience with video technology. Many younger family members know little family history but are aces when it comes to computers and video. What can bring them together? Try a family history video project.

There I was, at a local Rotary Club, in the middle of a talk about creating family history videos, when one of the older members, a fellow in his mid-seventies, piped up. “This digital stuff seems like a lot of bother to me,” he said. “There’s tape, there’s discs – I really don’t know what’s what. Technology keeps changing and I can’t be bothered transferring from one format to another. I’ve locked all my family films in a cabinet, along with a projector, and when a family historian wants to watch them, that’s where they’ll be.”

I congratulated him for safely storing his family films and I had to admit he had a point when it came to technology. Rapid advances in computer and video hardware and software have been dizzying and sometimes confusing. BUT, when the choice is between preserving a precious video record of your family stories and history or losing them for all time, I don’t think the fear of a little technology should be allowed to get in the way.

So what do you do if you view technology as a hindrance rather than a help?

Look for the nearest teenager or preteen. Grandkids, grandnieces and grandnephews grew up with this computer stuff. To them it’s second nature. Why not enlist their help in creating a family history video they’ll treasure in years to come (kids being kids, they might not see the value in it now – but when they get older, they will). So butter them up a bit. Play to their pride in their computer and video expertise. And if that doesn’t work, have their parents make them help you. Once you get some momentum going, a family history video project is sure to spark their interest and creativity. You may find them getting just as excited about it as you.

Of course, collaborating with a younger family member on a family history video is much more than just a means to an end. It provides a great bonding experience, a chance to share quality time, to laugh and learn together and to create something of which you’ll both be proud. You’ll end up with a living legacy your family will love and with wonderful new memories that will last a lifetime.

Cable Harnesses

A cable harness can also be known as a cable assembly, wire harness, wiring loom or a wiring assembly, and is best described as a string of wires or cables that are capable of transmitting informational signals or operating currents. These wires in the cable harness are then bound together with electrical tape, cable ties, conduit or clamps.

Very commonly used in motor cars and construction machinery, cable harnesses provide many advantages compared to loose cables or wires. Aircraft for example can contain many kilometers of wires/cables when extended, and by binding them together into a cable harness, they can improve safety and be made more secure. Other advantages are, wires in cable harnesses are less likely to short and installation is made easier.

Cable harnesses are generally made and designed for electrical purposes, and a diagram is used for the assembly and preparation.

Using a special machine, the wires are first cut to length. The ends of the wires are then stripped which exposes the metal wires or the core, and these stripped down ends are then fitted with any connectors or terminals that may be required. The cables are then brought together by assembling and clamping them on a workbench, which has been designed specifically for this purpose. They may also be assembled on a pin-board or assembly board, according to the specific design of the cable harness. After applying any required protective sleeves or conduit, the harness can be fitted directly into the required application or shipped.

Even though manufacturing processes throughout many industries are automated, cable harness assembly continues to be manufactured by hand, and this is partly due to the numerous processes involved, which are:

o    Inserting one sleeve into another

o    Crimping terminals onto wires

o    Routing wires through sleeves

o    Taping with fabric tape

o    Fastening strands with tape

These types of individual processes would be very difficult to automate, but they can be learned quite quickly, even without qualifications.

Pre- production can be automated, and some of these processes may include:

o    Crimping terminals onto one or both sides of the wire

o    Twisting wires

o    Soldering wire ends

o    Cutting individual wires

The finished cable harness may be tested by using a test board. Data is programmed into the test board and the harnesses may be tested in multiple numbers or individually.

Computer Rack Making Guidelines for Do-It-Yourselfers

Designing a computer rack is one of the most popular past time of all do-it-yourselfers. In this article, we would deal with the various things that are to be considered to get the best rack while designing one at home.

Cable Management:

Always look out for proper cable management so that power is distributed safely to your computers. Always make high capacity connections so that they are able to meet the power needs of the whole rack. You may use rackmount powerstrips for the purpose.

Proper   Mounting  Holes:

Computer racks also differ from each other as per the  mounting  holes present in them. Usually there are three holes, but there are differences in their makeup. So, be very careful when you design one at home. See that the  mounting  holes are done in either a universal or EIA standard. Your computer rack should also be made to prevent tipping. Depending on the depth and center of gravity, you may need to bolt it to a surface to prevent tipping.

Proper Space for Accessories:

Designating proper space for computer accessories in your computer rack is very important. So, please keep this in mind while designing a computer rack at home. There should be proper space for the keyboard, mouse, and video display in your rack. Additionally, there should also be space for placing tape drives or tape libraries in accessible positions.

Cooling Options:

If you are putting sides and doors on your computer rack, it is important that you consider the airflow needs of your hardware. Some considerations of a self-designed rack incluce proper cooling elements such as vents and fans to take away the excess heat. While fixing these cooling options keep in mind factors like amount of air passing across the device’s surface, differential between the air temperature and the temperature of the device and so on.

Keep these things in mind when you design a rack and you will have a low cost yet efficient way to house your hardware.

Accepting Autism to Become an Effective Advocate

Did you sense how your identity changed when you became a parent? At the moment of birth or adoption, our lives are never the same because once a parent, always a parent.

Despite the fact that our self-identity shifted once Mother Nature inaugurated us as mom or dad, this new role is not necessarily a fixed one because our children will always impact it.

As a mom or dad we may go from being a working parent to a stay at home parent (or vice versa), from a girl scout parent to a hockey mom, from an elated parent to a stressed parent and back again, but ‘being a parent’ will remain constant.

Some of the roles we take on as parents are chosen by us but there are times when roles are given to us that we may not like and can do nothing about. We cannot go to the store and exchange our position of night time soother when our infant is up all night with an ear infection for something else and we can’t decide we don’t want to be parents anymore.

If we are given the role of being a parent of a special needs child, a child with Autism, we can’t refuse to take that role. We can kick and scream and pretend it is not happening, we can wallow in self-pity for a while but the sooner we accept our call to action, the sooner we will be able to consciously mold this role into something more effective and easy to take on.

To make the best of any situation our goal as parents is to transform a negative energy into a positive one. True acceptance of the role we have been assigned and the child we have been given is one of the most powerful positive energies to take hold of.

The most important motivator for any human being is to feel accepted. When we feel unconditionally accepted, by others, and ourselves it frees us from the need to justify and qualify our existence. It gives us the ultimate freedom to be real and authentic and secure enough in our skin to explore the possibilities of what we can become next.

Once we accept the reality of autism and whatever our child’s challenges are, we open the door for a positive transformation to occur – for our child and for us. When we find ourselves at this threshold we are better able to envision an amazing potential and with that in our mind we are better able to advocate for our child.

Getting to the role of advocacy as a parent may not be an easy one when you have a child on the Autism spectrum but it is one that is extremely worthwhile and much more fulfilling than thinking or feeling that you are powerless and stuck in a role you didn’t ask for and didn’t want. True acceptance will lead anyone to uncover surprising abilities that will change attitudes and open up limitless possibilities.

I encourage you to fully embrace your role as parent of a child with special needs so you can progress to the position of unwavering advocate. Always be vigilant about limiting your expectations because doing so can unconsciously create a self-fulfilling prophecy that will constrain your child’s potential. You never know what your child is capable of or how far he or she can go, so advocate, advocate, advocate, and reach for the stars!

Marquetry Wooden Picture Frames

Wood has a whole range of decorative possibilities, explored by creative minds across thousands of years of woodworking – and today marquetry wooden picture frames are one of the more attractive results. Ancient wood art techniques provide some of the inspiration for these designs. At the same time, cutting edge technologies make them affordable enough for anyone to display their pictures in these striking frames.

Marquetry involves fitting pieces of different colored wood together to form a pattern or mosaic on the surface of a wooden object. Wooden picture frames with marquetry designs – or the related “intarsia”, where entire chunks of wood are fitted together like a puzzle, rather than surface slivers of veneer – can incorporate many different designs, from simple geometric patterns to illustrations to abstract modern patterns.

How Marquetry Is Used In Wooden Picture Frames

Most wooden picture frames made in a marquetry style are fairly small. In fact, most are photo frames specifically, with an opening designed for the typical photo sizes of 5″ by 7″, 4″ by 6″, and 8″ by 10″, with the “eight by tens” representing the largest size usually available.

Since wood comes in many different tones – and can easily be stained to feature colors that do not occur readily in nature, such as blues, greens, or yellows – marquetry allows the creation of everything from highly detailed geometric designs and elegant Celtic knot work to big, bold, slightly garish patterns of checkers or stripes.

As with all other wooden picture frames, there is a large range of quality and prices for them. Because of this range, you get what you pay for, but even the cheapest frames are sure to be eye-catching and stand out from the ordinary. This, of course, does not mean that marquetry frames are suitable for every kind of picture. Simple checkerboard, marbled, or herringbone frames may cost as little as $12 to $15, while sleek designer frames from Italy can cost $50 to $100 or more.

Intarsia Wooden Picture Frames

Among the many thousands of ways that people have thought of to craft wood decoratively, intarsia is closely related to marquetry and is sometimes used to make wooden picture frames, too. Intarsia work usually costs more but is well worth the extra price for those who want extra durability. Instead of thin pieces of veneer being glued onto a plain wooden backing to form a pattern or mosaic, the design goes all the way through the thickness of the wood.

Intarsia is often made by gluing together many thin rods and other shapes of wood so that their ends form a pattern or picture. The block of wood produced in this way is then sliced into layers to make multiple copies of the same pattern. Simpler intarsia is a wooden “puzzle” cut out of various kinds of wood and glued together. This produces a blockier look but is quicker and cheaper than the extremely painstaking design work used in the other method.

Some intarsia wooden picture frames have intarsia pictures already inserted in them – in effect, they are framed wooden tapestries to hang on your wall. There are plenty of frames, however, with an open space in the middle and a rabbet cut to house the glass, art, and backing that you choose to display in your home – providing an artistic flourish to your wall or mantelpiece when you set up your favorite pictures there.

If you choose intarsia or marquetry wooden picture frames, you’ll find that the detailing these processes add to the frame will provide a special touch to that favorite photograph. These approaches are especially appropriate when an event such as a wedding, birth, or graduation is involved.

Do It Yourself Concrete Staining: Things to Know Before You Begin

Do it yourself concrete staining is the cheapest and easiest way to enhance the appearance of your concrete surfaces. The alternatives, tearing out existing concrete and replacing with new or decorative overlays, are not recommended for do-it-yourselfers and can be very expensive. But before you begin your staining project there are a few things you need to know.

There are two types of concrete stains to choose from, acid stains and acrylic stains. Acid stains work by chemically reacting with free lime in the surface to produce a natural looking, translucent color. They create a mottled, variegated, multi-hued coloring. Every concrete surface reacts differently to acids stains making each job unique. Acrylic stains are waterborne and have pigments that seep into the pores and adhere to the concrete, therefore creating a more consistent, semi translucent color like that of a dye. Acrylic stains will help mask imperfections and discolorations whereas acid stains actually accentuate them.

For many surfaces, acid and acrylic stains will work equally as well, but which one you choose depends on the look you want. However, there are situations where one type will work better than the other. For older, exterior concrete (more than 15-20 yrs old) acid stains may not work because much of the free lime has leeched away. Acrylic stains are great for old concrete because of its increased porosity over time. Acid stains work well with newer concrete because of the availability of free lime. If repairs need to be made such as patching pop outs or scaling, then acrylics may be the better choice to help disguise the repairs. Any patching materials will stand out with acid stains. For smooth   trowelled  interior surfaces with less porosity, acid stains are usually better because they don’t require as much penetration to color the concrete.

Before beginning it’s also important to have realistic expectations. Staining can turn dull, gray concrete into a beautiful and colorful finish, but it’s impossible to know exactly how the finished product will look, especially with acid stains. Every concrete surface is different and so will accept stains differently. The exact same stain will have two different appearances with two different slabs. Even seasoned pros can’t predict the exact outcome of a staining job. For this reason, it’s not a good idea to try to exactly match the color of concrete to anything else such as brick or siding. There’s a very good chance you won’t be successful. Instead, choose a complimentary color or shade for your concrete. For instance, if you have light brown siding, then choose a dark brown stain.

The most critical part of staining is preparation. Take time in deciding how you want your concrete to look and getting the surface ready to apply the stain. You get one shot at getting it right unless you want to do a major overhaul to the surface. Do it yourself concrete staining is not a difficult process but does require an honest effort to be satisfied your finished product.

Laminate Flooring Has Many Advantages

Did you recently drop a heavy object or drop glass which had shattered on your kitchen tiled floor? Did parts of the tile chip away after the accident? Did you spill water on the wooden parquet floor in your den? Did parts of the wood come apart as a result? When you are ready to replace your flooring, you may want to consider purchasing laminate flooring because it has many advantages over other types of flooring.

One advantage of laminate flooring is that it is quite durable. It is made of a tough wear layer and is a lot more durable than vinyl and hardwood flooring. Scratches from accidents and heavy foot traffic will not affect laminate flooring. In fact, it is resistant to scratches. If you have a child that is constantly dropping toys on the floor, and you have accidentally shattered glass repeatedly on this flooring, no one will ever know by looking at it. A good quality one will appear new for many years.

A second advantage of this kind of flooring is that it is not only very easy to clean, but is extremely resistant to fading, moisture and stains. In order to clean this flooring, use a little bit of soap and water, and wipe down dirt or spills. There will be no trace of any of it. Warranty protection is offered by any reputable manufacturers for a long time, ranging from 10 to 25 years on average.

The third advantage of this type of flooring is that it is extremely easy to install. Many top brands of laminate flooring have created a glueless floating floor installation method and process. All that is involved in the installation is cutting the floor, clicking it together, and that is it. Professional installers can complete the simple task in a few days, but if you want to do it yourself, it will take much longer.

Once the flooring has been installed, heavy objects such as furniture can placed on it right after.

A huge advantage of this flooring is that it is highly economical. Carpeting usually needs to be replaced at least twice, especially if there is a lot of traffic. Hardwood flooring needs to be refinished at least four to five times. Laminate flooring does not need to be replaced or refinished at all. Once it is installed, it is in great shape for good.

Last but not least, this floor covering is cleaner and provides a healthy living environment. Carpets and other floorings are not as clean as it accumulates allergens, dust and pet dander. Laminate flooring does not, and it does not hold old stain contaminants on the surface. People who have allergies are not recommended to have carpeting in their homes, and should replace their carpeting with laminate flooring for that reason.

Before purchasing laminate flooring, or any kind of flooring if you decide to go that route, you need to do your research and find out the reputable flooring companies that will offer you not just the best quality flooring but the best service. If you are looking into purchasing flooring, and have a young family, pets and a lot of friends coming over often, it is recommended to get laminate flooring for reasons mentioned above.

Contemporary and Traditional Chinese Furniture – What to Expect

Contemporary Chinese furniture is simple and graceful in design with sleek, clean lines and elegant proportions. Chinese furniture has risen in popularity in the west because its subtle sophistication and timeless designs fit perfectly in either traditional or contemporary style homes.

With contemporary Chinese furniture, even small pieces are not only beautiful to look at but are highly functional. In many homes with space at a premium, contemporary Chinese furniture can serve a dual purpose, such as a wooden trunk which can double up as a side table with storage.

Traditional Chinese furniture designs and antique Chinese furniture can be highly ornate with exquisite craftsmanship. Some have elaborate woodcarvings or are painted with colourful scenes of rural life, ancient battles, dragon myths or mountain top monasteries.

A room decorated in a Chinese style should be kept simple and uncluttered to bring peace, harmony and balance to the space. Colours typically used in Chinese furniture include bold red, black and flashes of gold. Traditional influences such as robust shiny lacquered surfaces, stressed edging and brass hinges and handles can also been found in contemporary style furniture.

Chinese style designs are simple, attractive and timeless. Whether you choose to decorate your home in a contemporary Chinese or traditional style, Chinese furniture makes a bold statement. With each piece a work of art in its own right, Chinese furniture is a wonderful way to show off your creativity and give added wow factor to your home.

Black Lacquered Furniture

Black lacquered furniture designs have a classic, yet contemporary look, which suits all types of homes from traditional to more modern. Oriental black lacquered furniture is created by painstakingly sealing the wood in several thin layers of high gloss varnish resulting in a robust and gleaming finish, which can withstand the rigours of everyday household use.

With black lacquered furniture, the chosen wood such as pine or solid ash is lacquered seven times to produce the unmistakable black lacquered furniture of the Orient. Many designs today feature antiquated yet contemporary brass handles and wooden edging detail so you can choose just how contemporary or traditional you want your black lacquered furniture to be. From coffee tables, to console and dressing tables, dining tables, TV display units and sideboards, black lacquered furniture is available in all sizes and styles to suit every room in the home.

Origins of Black Lacquer Furniture

Oriental black lacquered furniture was commonly found in the temples and palaces and homes of the wealthy upper classes. Four basic styles of lacquered furniture design were used throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties which lasted from 1368 – 1911. These styles included carving the lacquer, using black lacquer to fill in a design engraved into the wood and rubbing it flat, outlining the black lacquer and inlaying mother-of-pearl into the lacquer.

White Lacquered Furniture

White lacquered furniture can be made from a variety of woods, such as reclaimed pine, which is hand finished with a gleaming white lacquer finish. White lacquered furniture has a fresh, clean, contemporary look, and includes beds, side tables, coffee tables, trunks, console tables, mirrors and large sideboards all elegantly hand brushed in a linen finish. This style of furniture has increased in popularity in recent times and can come with attractive and elegant features such as antiquated yet contemporary brass flip up handles and sanded edges which subtly reveal the warm waxed wood underneath.

White lacquer furniture in particular has a lovely calm and tranquil feel which is perfect for the bedroom. Think of your bedroom with a double bed, chest of drawers, night stands and a wardrobe, all with a peaceful white finish, with details such as rectangular brass handles and stressed edging. White bedroom furniture can be accessorised by colourful artwork or bed throws. Crisp white living room furniture too can be enhanced by rugs, paintings or vases containing large flower displays to add a burst of colour.

This style of furniture works wonderfully in large airy spaces with bold or natural wall coverings and decorative lighting. It also works well in smaller rooms too. Here elegant white furniture can create a sense of increased space and light, in comparison to dark furniture which can tend to make a room feel smaller.

Whether you choose to contrast your lighter decor with the bold, clean lines of traditional Chinese-style black lacquered furniture, or prefer to off-set bold artwork or decoration with the more subtle linen white tones, Chinese furniture will really enhance your home. By choosing lacquered furniture you can create a wonderful environment where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of your interior design efforts for years to come.

Traditional Chinese Furniture

Traditional Chinese furniture demonstrates superb craftsmanship developed over centuries. Lacquer is prominent in traditional Chinese furniture with wood treated to a dark brown or shiny black finish and with hand carved or painted scenery, gold leaf overlay or mother of pearl inlays. Colours used are varied but include red which represents good luck and happiness and yellow or gold which represents health and long life.

The peak of Chinese traditional furniture manufacture was the period between the Ming and Qing dynasties. Ming furniture represented simple structure, wonderful craftsmanship and minimal decoration which revealed the natural beauty of the wood. Qing furniture was larger in size and elaborate engravings were popular. Handcrafted traditional Chinese furniture makes a fascinating centre-piece for your home. From wedding cabinets to decorative chests, ornamental stools, two door storage cabinets, side tables and oriental screens, Chinese furniture makes a wonderful addition to any setting and is a work of art in its own right.

Information About Mixed Martial Arts Training Routines, Drills

The form of MMA is unlike any other martial art like boxing where you blindly follow rules. No doubt, MMA has its restrictions but they are not as serious as other forms. This style has more to do with skill than with technique. It is known as a no-hold-barred fighting sport where fighters are free to do as they please.

MMA is soon becoming a very popular sport all over. A lot of people are watching this form on television and noticing that it is way different from any other style of fighting. The training, the techniques, the drills are all different and unique.

The training and drills are the two main constituents of MMA and it is mandatory fro every fighter to be well versed with these in order to excel at this fighting style. A thorough knowledge of these skills will not only enhance the physical strength of the fighter but also improve his mental conditioning. One such important way of strengthening the fighter’s body and increasing the impact of his attacks is by core training.

One of the important techniques of core training is power wheel and hand walking. In this exercise, the fighter extends his body and adds a load to it. This process helps in strengthening the abdominal muscles. Hand walking with the power wheel is also an effective way of improving the power and endurance of the muscles in the abdominal region.

This exercise is way more complex and difficult than it sounds. However, it is the most commonly popular complex exercise that the fighters indulge in. it is very important to take care of little details while doing this exercise. The correct way of doing this is by hand walking without letting your body sway. This will create tension in your torso and feet.

Another well known way of core training is by doing sandbag get-ups. These are similar to dumbbell or kettle bell Turkish get-ups. The only difference being that here, the exercise is not restricted to the enhancement of shoulder girdle strength or stability. Conducting leg staging with the ground helps in training not only the core but the entire body.

  Sledgehammer  strikes are yet another type of core training and drills that are taught to the MMA fighters. The long arm of the sledge hammer provides for a lot of leverage against the core region of the fighter’s body. The constant change in the gravitational center makes it mandatory for the fighter to strain his core muscles as to prevent him from falling.

The final exercise when it comes to core training is the lateral band drills. Band resistance is applied to the body on the sides, which puts a lot of pressure on the core muscles. The resistance pulls the fighter’s body in a different direction and he is expected to resist it while in motion on a different plane.

Cardio training is also crucial for fighters training for MMA. A lot of other training and drills are also taught at MMA training classes. Learning the important drills and performing them to the satisfaction of the trainers is the only way to ensure mental and physical power of a fighter.

Raising Roof Trusses With A Crane

Often times you learn truss raising the hard way. Fingers between trusses, backs strained from the heavy lifting and long strung out days. You live and you learn to just call a crane company for a day when you are installing large trusses.

Before the roofing materials and trusses are dropped at the job site, we encourage you to think about where the crane will be positioned to easily have access to the materials and so the space is cleared. Before the trusses are lifted to the roof, the crane should hoist the sheathing, shingles and any interior building materials to the second floor. You should not have to move the crane to reach all areas of the house. Make sure you keep your scrap pile way behind the other side of the house so it is way out of the way on raising day.

When the trusses arrive, we land them on top of blocks as they come off the truck to keep them as flat as possible and out of the dirt. Sometimes trusses arrive a few days early and a warped truss is much harder to install than a flat one.

Laying out your Trusses

It is important to mark your trusses while they are on the ground. You should mark three different sets of lines. The first set is for positioning, the second is for drywall screw lines and the third is for the roof sheathing. You can also mark the front of the trusses near the tail of the top chord to avoid getting them spun in reverse when they’re lifted. Before you mark these lines, the trusses should be aligned on top of one another as close as possible. Once they are stacked, it is much easier to create your lines.

Complete your Gable Trusses before Raising

Another way to save time is sheathing, siding and trimming the gable-end trusses before raising with the crane. This saves time and energy working up high and requires just a little planning. To help setting the gable truss, nails are started along the bottom chord. When the truss is in position, a crew member will drive the nails into the top plate of the gable end wall.

When you let a crane do the heavy lifting, you can lift the first three or four trusses at once. When you have a few trusses on the top, you do not have to have major braces set for the first truss. You can have the crane hold the place and weight of the first truss and nail in place.

It is also important to give your crew specific jobs while lifting your trusses. Make sure all tools are laid out and in reach so you can save as much time as you can while you have the crane on location. We need a guy to be in charge of signaling the crane driver, two guys on the ground to help strap and launch loads, two guys inside the house to un-strap the loads. Once the trusses are all launched you can reposition your two guys on the ground inside the house to secure the trusses in position.

Various Roofing Materials Provided by Roofing Contractors

It is the roof of your house that provides you with shelter from the environmental severities, thereby withstanding all the damaging effects of the outer elements. It is therefore obvious for them to be prone to wear and tear that needs to be repaired efficiently and on an immediate basis. It is extremely important to hire the right roofing contractors to get the necessary assistance and guidance in choosing the most appropriate material, color and design for your house roof.

Roofing contractors provide a wide range of materials for roofing services that need to be chosen from based on your requirements and budget. Each material has their own set of pros and cons, which need to be evaluated properly in order to choose the one that would be best suited for your roofing needs. A reliable contractor can guide you efficiently through the entire project and choose the most appropriate products. Let us discuss the various types of roofing materials provided by these contractors:

Metal: Metal is one of the most significant material used for roofing that is known to exhibit greater levels of durability and longevity. Besides being highly long-lasting, metal is also known to add substantially to the beauty of your house. Owing to its durability, metal involves low maintenance costs. Metal roofing is considerably fire resistant and can effectively fight against the damaging effects of moisture when coated with zinc or other moisture preventing elements. Due to the availability of a wide range of colors, designs and finishes, metal roofing is one of the most stylish and contemporary solution you can have for your roofing needs.

Tile: Tile is another popular material provided by roofing contractors for residential roofing. Tile roofing is available in a wide variety of colors and designs, and is considered to be the most long-lasting among all the available materials. Owing to the ample range of designs and colors they are available, they can successfully contribute to the appearance of your house. Tile roofs are highly resistant to fire and rotting and any kind of harm caused by insects. However, despite their exceptional levels of durability, clay tiles themselves are nevertheless fragile, and it requires professional skill to walk on them without damaging them. But it must be mentioned that no matter how fragile they are, they are highly resistant to ultraviolet rays and can efficiently keep the interiors of your house cool, thereby saving you energy costs considerably.

Asphalt: Though in most cases, asphalt or bitumen is a more appropriate choice for the construction of roads rather than roofs, they are modified to become efficient roofing materials by the addition of polymers, thereby enhancing its strength, durability and making it water resistant.

EPDM: EPDM is synthetically made by the combination of polymers or propylene, ethylene and certain other elements. EPDM has an excellent ability to resist extreme levels of ultraviolet rays and ozone, thereby being capable of tolerating abrupt changes in the environment and the effects of harmful chemicals without getting damaged.

Apart from the above mentioned materials, some of the other roofing materials are PIC or polyisocyanurate, polyvinyl chloride or PVC, slate and asphalt shingles. A reputed roofing contractor can efficiently help you in choosing the right material for your roofing requirements.

How to Paint Without a Mess

 Painting  without a mess? No way you say there is always a mess. Many people love to  paint , while others seem to hate it. If your considering having some rooms  painted  get several prices from reputable contractors. Do not under any circumstances hire “Jim’s friend” who  paints  on the side. You will usually get exactly what you paid for in the end.

 Painting  is not rocket science but does require some degree of planning and careful workmanship. Not a pro? You do not need to be a pro to produce a nice  paint  job. I will try to cover here the basics and the tools you need to  paint  an average room in your home..

Your tool list should comprised of several inexpensive disposable drop cloths. Painters tape in wide and narrow sizes, several disposable  paint  buckets, a 2 inch sash brush and a 3 inch brush as well as a roller  paint  set. A hammer and one large10 penny nail. Buy good brushes please. You will be able to clean them over and over for years without them falling apart. There are brushes for both oil and latex  paint  but oil has almost disappeared from the markets today. Keep  paint  brushes separate from brushes you would use on stains or varnish finishes.You will also need at least a six foot step ladder for the average eight foot ceiling height room in your home. High ceilings and walls may require the use of a painters scaffold which is available at most rental stores.

The first item of business is of course choosing your  paint . There are so many colors available today the list is endless. Measure your room wall sand ceiling to determine the amount of square footage you are going to  paint  (length times width equals square footage) Each gallon of  paint  has a typical square footage amount that a gallon of that  paint  will cover. They are not all the same. Read the labels carefully. Get all you  painting  supplies and head home. Do not forget to get some painters hats to cover your head. These throw away covers will keep you hair clean while your rolling  paint  on the ceiling.

The second item of business is to remove all items of furniture from the room. Pictures, lamps, drapes, everything goes. Aside from the fact they may get  paint  on them, they are a hazard if you trip and fall over them. If you have wood floors now cover them with the drop cloths you bought. Tape them in place tightly against the baseboards. Tape over anything you do not want  paint  on. Remove all switch and outlet plates. This will all take some time but. clean up will be much faster later.

Carpet is much harder to protect. Use your drop cloths but in this case you will have to work at keeping them as neat as possible as you work. They will tend to bunch up and leave exposed carpet. Spilled  paint  in a carpet can ruin a room. Cloth drop cloths work better on carpet but are far more expensive.

With everything protected in the room, start by filling and patching any holes or imperfections on the ceiling with painters spackle. It dries in minutes and can be lightly sanded. Next start your  painting  by “cutting in” or  painting  all the wall to ceiling joints. If the ceiling is white and the walls are to be a color,  paint  onto the wall a short way, 1″ +-, to make the wall  painting  easier. When your rolling the wall  paint , you will not have to  paint  exactly up to that joint where wall and ceiling meet. A slight variation between the two will never be seen. As soon as you open the gallon of  paint , take the hammer and nail and punch several (6+) holes in the bottom of the lip where the lid seals itself. Any  paint  that gets in the lip from pouring or using your brush will drip back inside the can and not down the outside of the can. It will also keep the lip clean for when you reinstall the lid. Putting your roller pan an a stable surface, pour a small amount of  paint  into the tray.

Hopefully by now you figured out that fuzzy round tube that came in the painters kit goes on the roller itself. By slowly rolling the  paint  roller back and forth in the tray you will get  paint  all the way around the tube. Make sure it is fully covered but not dripping wet. With an even coat of  paint  on the roller start in one corner of the ceiling and apply your  paint . in even strokes until your roller is almost dry. Re-apply more  paint  and starting where you left off add more  paint . When rolling your second application of  paint , roll your new  paint  edge into the last section you just  painted  to achieve a smooth even coverage. Do NOT roll the roller until it is dry or you will get streaks and uneven coverage if you do. Very quickly you will learn that  painting  ceilings is an actual pain in the neck. Straining your neck to look up for long periods of time can actually cause a stiff neck. Your  paint  roller handle will allow a wooden broom handle to be screwed into the end of the roller handle. There are threads inside for this use. There are available telescoping aluminum poles for this but unless your doing a whole bunch of rooms, a wood one works fine for one room. Another benefit is of course you will not need a ladder.. Your legs and neck will love you. Depending on the quality and condition of the ceiling before you started, a second coat may be needed. Check your  paint  can to see the drying time required before adding another coat.

With the ceiling completed and while it is drying, the walls may need some touch up spackle in picture hanger holes and so on. Take care of these and sand lightly. If one wall is to be an accent color different from the other three walls and is darker in color, leave it until last. If it is a lighter color,  paint  it now. The theory here is the darker color will cover the lighter color. If you are doing an accent wall and depending on which is the lighter color, cut in the same as you did on the ceiling. Lighter color behind darker. If all four walls are the same color it is a little easier. Using your 3″ brush or edger if you bought one, cut in the walls to the ceiling, windows, baseboards and all other items in the room. With the cut-in work done you may return to the  paint  roller and start covering the main areas. Take your time. Being sloppy doing the cut-in work will require a great deal more cleanup later. A good habit is to clean your brushes each time you use them as quickly as possible. Do not let them dry out with  paint  in them. Also after washing them, hang the brushes up to dry. Do not lay them down or stand them on the bristles. They will dry with bent bristles and become useless.  Paint  roller sleeves are disposable unless you buy Pro quality rollers. They can be quite expensive..Many stores today have 99 cent sleeves so it is not really worth cleaning them. Buy six or so and just dispose of the used sleeves.

If your base boards and trims are to be a different color now is the time to get out the sash brush. The slanted edge will make  painting  along the floor or carpet edges much easier.  Painting  windows also requires a good sash brush. Many people apply tape to all the glass edges but it is really just a waste of tape and time. Using your sash brush carefully will get minimal  paint  on the glass and it can be removed quickly with a razor scraper. A really useful tool is a painters knife. They are a couple of dollars and provide means to open  paint  can lids, scrape along edges of old  paint , remove caulking and in pairing with a painters towel you can quickly swipe an entire glass door edge to remove any excess  paint  quickly and easily and provide a real sharp  paint  edge. A geed tip here is as you  paint  the inside corners of the windows, when your brush dries a little, place the brush directly in the corner and “pull” any excess  paint  out into the sash or mutton bar.  Paint  tends to run into the corners and becomes unsightly.

Once you applied the required number of coats of  paint  to get a smooth even finish, it is time to clean up. Put all the  paint  and  paint  tools away before you pick up the drop cloths. Fold the cloths and store with all your  paint  tools. One of the larger plastic tubs does a great job storing these tools. Put all the pictures and furniture back and now take a good look at your work. Your beautifully  painted  room just saved you a bundle.


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5 Things You Can Do to Advocate Mutual Respect in the Workplace or at Home

The funny thing about mutual respect is that you can’t control it. Sure, you can control whether or not you exercise on a regular basis, whether you control your temper, or whether or not you express respect to others, but mutual respect implies that two or more persons have respect for each other, and as unfortunate as it may seem at times, you can never control when and where others decide to show you respect. So, perhaps the question should be: “How can I encourage mutual respect?”

Read the five tips below and learn what you can do to create an environment that is more conducive to manifestations of mutual respect.

1) Encourage Mutual Respect with Time

It’s painfully obvious that we simply don’t get along with some personalities, but it is also fairly obvious that the more you get to know someone the more you begin to understand them and in turn, respect them. After those primary bad impressions “sizzle off” you might even make some surprising friendships.

If you truly want to foster mutual respect with people who may be hard to get along with, you are going to have to “buckle down” and set aside time to be with that person, work with that person, talk with that person and even play with that person. You might have to grit your teeth now and again but in the end you will gradually start to realize that his or her personality or point of view aren’t that hard to get along with after all.

2) Encourage Mutual Respect with Patience

Patience, in my opinion, is a combination of empathy and selflessness. In other words, patience is about other people, which is why patience is such a hard virtue to master. After all, who wants to spend time thinking about other people when we are so busy plowing through our own agendas? The truth is that the best people, the smartest people and the most successful people take a good long look at other people and express empathy and selflessness towards the people they associate with. Sincerity of action is also very important. A person who is simply going through the motions of being selfless (i.e. taking more time to talk with someone) will simply appear to be a fake if he or she doesn’t show sincerity.

3) Encourage Mutual Respect by Listening

Listening is one of the greatest manifestations of respect. Even if you think the ideas of a co-worker or acquantaince are way “off the mark,” listen carefully to what he or she is saying and then ask questions that truly make you curious. For instance, if your co-worker wants to raise the marketing budget and you think that is the stupidest idea you have heard during your entire career, don’t express your feelings, or your own thoughts regarding the supposed stupidity of the suggestion. Instead, start asking questions like “How will the company have enough to pay for the new hires in two months?” or “What do you think about our current marketing strategies? Do you think we should improve those first? You might find that he or she has some great ideas that were being poorly expressed because no one took the time to analyze them more fully.

4) Encourage Mutual Respect by Laughing

If you laugh with others, you can relax, and when you relax and help others to relax as well, more effective communication takes place every second. Take time to analyze your “opponent’s” sense of humor and be patient with him or her. Try to find common interests, or laugh about experiences that you’ve already had together without using humor that he or she might find offensive.

5) Maintain Mutual Respect with Honesty

Once a person trusts you and starts to show you respect, it doesn’t mean you will have his or her respect for a lifetime. In order to maintain mutual respect you have to be honest with that person even when it is extremely uncomfortable to do so, and you have to be honest every day–not just on the days that are convenient for you. A dishonest businessman or professional is truly no businessman or professional at all. If you are honest, you will become better at everything you do and others will crave your mutual respect.

10 Classic Clothing Pieces

You hear about “classic” cars and “classic” movies, but what, exactly, are “classic” clothes? Old styles from long ago that were hot in their heyday but that no one wears anymore?


Classic clothes are styles that look good on just about everyone and that have been popular for years. Like the humble chicken that can be batter dipped and fried for a casual occasion or simmered with vegetables into Coq Au Vin for formal guests, classic clothes can be dressed up or dressed down for any occasion. With classic pieces, a little can go a l-o-n-g way, so invest in these wardrobe staples so you can wear them for years to come. Classics include:

A Crisp White Shirt

A crisp, white, button down shirt can be worn under suit jackets, with a skirt or pants, under a vest, over a tank top whatever you want. Dress it up with a silk scarf or a strand of pearls for work, or tuck it into jeans for a more laid-back look.

A Form-Fitting T-Shirt

A simple style, form-fitting t-shirt can take you to meetings when worn under a jacket, to a picnic when worn with jeans, and help keep you warm when layered under a shirt or sweater. Forget the logos, cute sayings, or goofy details – just stick with white and fitted for maximum versatility.

Straight Leg Dark Pants

Dark, straight-legged pants in a simple style can take you to work during the day, to evening events at night, and to casual events on weekends, depending on what you pair with them. Dress them up with a beaded top and sandals for night, dress them down with a sweater and flats for errands.

Straight Leg Jeans

A simple style, straight-leg dark denim jean can see you through LOTS of casual activities. Pair them with a silk top and heels for something a little dressier, a t-shirt and tennis shoes for something a little more casual.

A Dark, Fitted, Single-Breasted Jacket

Want to command respect and immediately set a more formal tone? Put on a dark, fitted, single-breasted jacket. It’s appropriate for meetings, funerals, church – you name it – and will immediately upgrade any outfit you wear, including jeans. If you can only afford one jacket, make sure it’s this style.

A Knee Length Skirt

Whether your lower half looks best encased in a straight, A-line, or wrap style, strive for a dark or neutral color with a hem to the knees. Knee-length tends to flatter most women, whereas thigh high or calf length tend to work for very few.

A Day Dress

A day dress in a simple style can take you just about anywhere, from church and teas to funerals and work. You can dress it up with heels and jewelry, dress it down with flats and a trendy jacket.

A Cocktail Dress

This can be the traditional LBD (little black dress) or another color in an evening style and fabric. Wear it for cocktail parties, semi-formal dinners, drinks with friends, or the theater.

A Trench Coat

A classic, belted trench with a zip-out liner can take you anywhere in the world three seasons a year. It will repel rain, sleet, and snow in style, and fold up compactly when not in use. Originally designed as an all-weather coat by Thomas Burberry for use by British soldiers “in the trenches” during World War I, the trench does exactly as intended – keeps you warm in all sorts of weather.

Walking Shorts

A dark or neutral-colored, flat front, straight-leg walking short is a summer staple. It should fit you properly without gaping, pinching, or riding up, and the hem should hit just a few inches above the knee. Wear them with tennis shoes for a very casual look, or upgrade a bit with strappy sandals or cute flats.

Now I have to admit that if I’d seen this list at the height of my clothing consumption (“fashionista”) days in my 20’s, I would have shouted, “boring!” and immediately dismissed it.

But take a closer look at these clothes. They look great all by themselves, but they also offer an elegant background to more interesting pieces. Have a stunning top you want everyone to see? Pair it with your black pants or dark skirt. Have a gorgeous new necklace? Put it with your classic day dress and show it off properly.

It’s like the difference between walking into a white room with light blue carpet and being asked to set it for an elegant dinner party on a $500 budget, and walking into a lime green room with orange carpet and being asked to do the same. The first one allows you to focus on the table; the other forces you to cover up the backdrop before taxing your imagination (and what’s left of your budget) on the table. See the difference?

Yes, trends are fun and certainly have their place, but classics are VERSATILE and allow you to do more with less. Dress them up, dress them down, wear them out – and still look good. That’s the power of classic pieces, and that’s why you should have plenty of them in your wardrobe.

Backhoe Attachments – Select the Right One According to Purpose

The general purpose bucket is used for digging and scooping sand, gravel and soil. This is the attachment that you see most often at construction sites. Rock buckets are kind of backhoe attachments that are used to scoop larger rocks, dig ditches and excavating below the frost line. The cemetery bucket is used in cemeteries because it is able to cut 90-degree corners, and is available in many widths.

High capacity sand buckets are also backhoe attachments that are used most specifically in gravel, sand, light soil, ash, loam, and anywhere light materials need to be moved. The lightweight, yet strong, alloy steel makes it easier for the backhoe operator to use all the power of the machine. Then there is the pavement removal bucket. These are the only backhoe attachments that are specifically designed to demolish and destroy asphalt and concrete. The design allows for easier cradling and loading heavy, uneven materials.

A ‘V’ ditching backhoe attachments are able to cut ditches with just one pass. Different slope angles and bottom sizes are available. The rock/frost ripper attachment is equipped with single or triple rippers. This is the best and most efficient attachment for breaking up shale, limestone, rock, frost, and caliche. The teeth are replaceable when they get worn.

A bucket ripper attachment mounts instantly to the front of an existing bucket and is used to tear through hard surfaces. An asphalt cutter is just about the strongest cutter in the construction industry. It can cut to a depth of 6 ½ inches and can give a clean, straight cut to the asphalt before digging commences. A backhoe coupler attachment will allow the bucket to follow the geometric curve it was designed for, and it allows for the quick attaching of different kinds of buckets as needed.

A ditch and leveling bucket is available as backhoe attachments, and is the ideal attachment for digging, sloping, and precision leveling. The back fill blade is a great leveling attachment that makes quick work of any construction job. The cribbing bucket is a heavy-duty backhoe attachment that is excellent for narrow trenching jobs and digging in tight spaces.

Barrel handling backhoe attachments enable the operator to handle toxic waste, chemicals, oil and more. The pole handler attachment can lift and move poles weighing up to one thousand pounds and 40 feet in length. The heavy-duty construction grapple attachment is excellent for clearing the land, raking the ground, and handling loose or demolished scrap.

The severe service thumb attachment is great for gripping materials with the serrated teeth. It has superior strength and is usually made from high standard alloy steel. There are numerous other backhoe attachments available from various companies. Online research is the best way to locate the backhoe attachment you are in need of. The company who manufactures the backhoe you are now using will also have all the attachments you need in your line of work. A simple phone call is all it takes to locate and purchase the attachments you want.