How to Get Out of a Real Estate Contract

Visualize this scenario: After previewing several houses with your real estate agent, you’ve finally found the perfect house. A real estate  contract  has been drawn up and signed by you (the buyer) and the seller. But alas! You encountered a problem – your mortgage application was disapproved. Can you still get out of the real estate  contract ? Worry not. Generally, real estate  contracts  contain contingency provisions which state under what situations the buyer/seller can terminate the  contract .

A real estate  contract  is a legally binding  contract  for the purchase/sale of real estate between two parties. It varies depending on the type of property being purchased or sold, its location and on whether the  contract  is a reprinted form furnished by a realtor or one prepared by a lawyer. While the form may be different, essential information include the names of the parties, legal description of the property, purchase price, down payment, terms of payment if not cash and the closing date. In addition, both parties may insert contingency clauses. A contingency is simply a way in which a buyer/seller can back out of a  contract  within a set period of time if certain conditions specified are not addressed or met satisfactorily.

Most real estate  contracts  contain financing/mortgage contingency which stipulates that the purchase is conditional on the buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage commitment within a prescribed timeframe. Inability to do so gives both parties the legal right to terminate the  contract . In this case, the buyer’s deposit is also refunded.

An inspection contingency allows the buyer to conduct thorough inspection of the property. If the seller is unwilling or unable to repair defects or not agreeable to reduce the asking price to help compensate for the cost of the repairs; then both parties can opt to cancel the  contract  all within the time guidelines set forth in the  contract .

A  contract  can also be contingent on the sale of another property. If the property is not disposed within a specified period of time, the buyer can be relieved of the  contract .

A real estate  contract  usually provides a title and survey review period for the buyer. The buyer gives notice in writing of any fault or flaw noted in the title documents. If the defects cannot be remedied, the buyer has the right to cancel the  contract . In the same way, the buyer can also conduct a property survey. If there are structural problems or if there are encroachments on the property, the buyer may also choose to rescind the  contract .

Some states require sellers to disclose in writing to buyers any known defects of the property. Any late disclosure gives the buyer the option to terminate the  contract  within a prescribed period after receipt of the disclosure.

The above mentioned are some of the standard contingencies written into almost all real estate  contracts . However, both parties can also add other escape clauses such as a  contract  contingent on septic tank inspection, home appraisal or the approval of other family members if the property is part of an estate sale.

In a nutshell, buyers and sellers do not enter into real estate  contracts  with the intention of getting out of them. However, sometimes things do not proceed as expected. Both parties can then turn to the terms and conditions stipulated in the  contract  to terminate the deal. A word of caution: If a contingency date lapses, either party loses the benefit and protection of the contingency.

Growing Container Tomatoes Works Well in Small Courtyards

“There isn’t enough room to grow tomatoes”, you might reply, but if you want to grow tomatoes in a small courtyard or on a patio there is a way to do it. What I am talking about is growing container tomatoes by the espalier method. This means growing plants up a trellis or support system and spreading the branches out along it. In a courtyard a trellis is placed against the wall and the container tomato plant grown up it.

Why grow espalier tomatoes?

Growing espalier tomatoes in courtyards or on patios has several benefits and the most popular is that they can be grown by taking up only a small amount of space that is available. Another benefit of growing this way is that by spreading the branches out the fruit receives maximum sunlight. The warmth from the wall also speeds up the ripening time of the fruit. When using the espalier system it also makes tending the plant easier because all the branches are accessible for control of pests and diseases. As the branches are spread out and the leaves get a better chance to dry, there is less chance of blight and other diseases taking a hold on the plant.

Prepare for growing the container tomato.

The job is to decide on a nice sunny position. Healthy tomato plants need 6 to 8 hours sunlight. Once the location is decided then the next steps can take place:

1. Decide on the trellis style, locate and attach it to the wall

2. Have a pot that is a minimum of 12 inches (preferably 18 inches) across at the top or even bigger

3. Cover the holes on the bottom of the pot with fine mesh and fill the bottom 3 inches with small rocks to help with drainage

4. Prepare the soil so that it is the right mix for tomato plants and it will probably need 8-8-8 fertilizer, organic compost and check for other nutrients as well

5. Plant the tomato seedling in the pot up to the top 4 to 6 leaves (yes, that is right as the stem will grow roots and be a strong plant to support the weight of the tomato tree)

6. During the growth of the plant spread the branches left and right and tie to the trellis (if the pot has been placed at the end of the trellis, train the branches one way along the trellis). When tying to the trellis use 2 inch stips of rage or old nylon stockings as they do not cut through the soft tomato stems.

7. Prune unnecessary branches coming from the V-joints so that the branches that you kept have room to grow.

All other requirements of growing a strong tomato plant apply to one growing in a container, whether espaliered or not. It will need fertilizer, and organic compost. One step not to miss that is very important is to water the plant every day, preferably early morning. So when you have got this all set up, sit back and enjoy the growing process and most of all those delicious tomatoes at the end of the growing season.

Copyright (c) 2010 Kaye Dennan

Air Conditioning Filter: Essential Part of Heating and Air Conditioning

The air conditioning filter is one of the most important air conditioning parts in the air conditioning system. Without it, your air conditioning system would be dirty and the air you breathe would be filled with pollutants. All air conditioning parts, from the ductwork to the air conditioning refrigerant, need the air conditioning filter to be clean and replaced to ensure you’re getting the very best in central air conditioning.

If an air conditioning filter is left dirty, over time, it can lead to higher energy costs and short

equipment life due to all the air conditioning parts relying on each other. One can not work without the other. Overall, your heating and cooling will not be as effective and you will need to invest in more air conditioning repair and air conditioning maintenance.

An air conditioning filter should be changed every month or every two months for home air conditioning systems and every couple of weeks for certain commercial or industrial air conditioning since it’s running almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Doing this as a routine in your monthly chores and not waiting until you see dust matted on the air conditioning filter will ensure you and your family the very best health as well as a smooth running air conditioning system . Dust particles can not always be seen so even if you see a little dust on the air filter , clean it as you normally would.

Since there are a variety of air conditioning filters , how quickly one gets blocked versus another depends on the brand – most air conditioning filters are sized 1 ½ to 2 square feet for each ton of capacity for a home or commercial property.

You can judge a filter’s ability to clean by using MERV ratings – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value – which is a rating of how efficient an air conditioning filter is from 1-12. The higher the rating, the more effective it is at removing particles such as animal dander, pollen, dust, mold and other allergens, and the better the protection for your air conditioning equipment . Most air conditioning filters screen out particles measuring from 3 to 10 microns in size.

The common types of air conditioning filters are:

Conventional fiberglass disposable filters (1″ and 2″): These are common in most homes and small industrial air conditioners and commercial air conditioning systems. Since they are disposable and have an adhesive coating that traps the dust, you should not clean the filters . This may damage the filter’s ability to remove particles by damaging the adhesive coating and/or the underlying mesh work. They are both not as effective as other types of filters even though they are lower in cost.

Pleated fiberglass disposable filters (1″ and 2″): The 1″ are generally used in many residential and commercial settings and are made of materials that can vary in the effectiveness. Usually, they are more densely woven to increase the efficiency of removing dirt. These have a larger surface area to lead to increased trapping of particles as compared to conventional filters. They must be specified for your air conditioning system or this can lead to increased demand on your air conditioning components. Thereby, a mismatch can be counterproductive on the health of the air conditioning system and possibly lead to higher air conditioning maintenance and service cost. You should check with the air conditioning manufacturer as to the appropriate type of pleated filter for your system. A filter spray can also be applied after the cleaning and drying of the air conditioning air filter .

Electrostatic filters: Different in design and performance, since there are so many varieties, it is rather difficult to determine which is the most efficient. They are commonly advertised as allergy-free air conditioning filters. These filters also come in the 1″ and 2″ sizes. Air that moves through the filter creates a static charge that collects any dust in the filter. They may require more cleaning and more blower power.

Electronic filters : Connected to an electrical power source and usually wall mounted, electronic filters come with a pre-filter that can collect larger particles and only need to be cleaned every six months.

Carbon filters : These filters contain carbon that can control any odor problems you might have within the air conditioning system . They can also be useful in homes with pets.

Air Conditioning Filter Installation

When placing the appropriate air conditioning filter in to the system, the filter should be placed in the correct direction as indicated by the arrow located on the side or face of the filter. Air should flow in the proper direction which is in the same direction as the arrows. This allows the filter to work appropriately, as the air exits the filter in the most reinforced part of the filter.

The air conditioning filter should fit tightly. A perfect seal is necessary to prevent unfiltered air from entering and damaging your air conditioning system. Without a perfect seal and appropriate sizing, the filter is useless. Additionally, the non-conventional filters may have a higher efficiency and may not fit your system. This should be checked with an air conditioning company, contractor, or air conditioning supply company.

From the Vikings Bellows To The 12v Air Compressor

Since the industrial revolution, we have continually looked to find solutions to every day problems. One of the very interesting problems has always been how to take the air that we breath, and that surrounds us day to day.

As far back as the Vikings with their rudimentary bellows so that they could forge iron, man has tried to harness better ways of compressing air so that it could be used for useful purposes.

In 1939 the United States Navy brought out the SCUBA system, compressed air for Navy divers to breath while under water, and since that day inventors have steadily moved the methods of using air in compressed form in a myriad of ways.

One of the greatest reasons for the huge attempt to move forward with this function was the bicycle followed by the motor vehicle. In 1888 John Dunlop invented the air filled or pneumatic tire for bicycles.

It was not until 1911 when Philip Strauss invented the first successful combination tire with an air filled inner tube. From that day while we have gone from strength to strength with the ability to compress air to inflate not just bike and car tires, but a whole range of popular life style accessories including blow up beds, swimming pool accessories just to name a few.

In today’s modern world, and with the input of many inventors and large companies, we can now have compressed air at will. Not only that, we can now harness the suns power to actually generate the energy required to work an air compressor.

This technology has now been taken one step further, meaning that in Australia, you can now purchase a solar powered 12v air compressor that will stay charged when not in use, and has enough power to inflate the wheels of the family car or small truck.

Looking back to the early efforts of the Vikings, you can see that as a society, we have come a long way from the initial bellows that were made to push air onto hot metal to assist in it’s shaping and form.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

(excerpted from the Jim Rohn One-Year Success Plan)

Jim Rohn’s Second Pillar of Success: Goal-Setting, Part Three – S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Hi, Jim Rohn here. As you know, we are focused on the Second Pillar of Success this month – Goal-Setting.

We have introduced the four main components of Goal-Setting:

1. Evaluation and Reflection.

The only way we can reasonably decide what we want in the future and how we will get there, is to first know where we are right now and secondly, what our level of satisfaction is for where we are in life. As we focus this month on goal-setting, our first order of business and our topic two weeks ago was evaluation and reflection.

2. Dreams and Goals.

What are your dreams and goals? Not related to the past or what you think you can get, but what you want. Have you ever really sat down and thought through your life values and decided what you really want? This isn’t something that someone else says you should have or what culture tells us successful people do or have. These are the dreams and goals that are born out of your own heart and mind. These are the goals that are unique to you and come from who you were created to be and gifted to become. Last week we showed you exactly how to find out what you want from life.

3. S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

S.M.A.R.T. means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive.

Specific: Don’t be vague. Exactly what do you want?

Measurable: Quantify your goal. How will you know if you’ve achieved it or not?

Attainable: Be honest with yourself about what you can reasonably accomplish at this point in your life – along with taking into consideration your current responsibilities.

Realistic: It’s got to be do-able, real and practical.

Time: Associate a timeframe with each goal. When should you complete the goal?

We will spend time this week looking at how to apply the S.M.A.R.T. test to your goals to make sure they are as powerful as they can be!

4. Accountability.

Think of the word “accountable.” It means to “give an account.” When someone knows what your goals are, they help hold you accountable. Whether it is someone else going through this program with you (have you thought about inviting a friend to join you on this one-year journey?) or just someone you can give the basic idea to, having a person who can hold you accountable will give you another added boost to getting your goals! Next week we will show you how to set up an accountability partner.

This week we will be discussing point 3 – S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

S.M.A.R.T. means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive.

I really like this acronym S.M.A.R.T., because we want to be smart when we set our goals. We want to intelligently decide what our goals will be so that we can actually accomplish them. We want to set the goals that our heart conceives, that our mind believes and that our bodies will carry out. Let’s take a closer look at each of the components of S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Specific: Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.

When we are specific, we harness the power of our dreams and set forces into action that empower us to achieve our goals. We then know exactly what it is we are shooting for. There is no question. As we establish our priorities and manage our time, we do so for a specific goal to achieve the results we expect. There is no wondering or guessing. The future is locked into our minds and we see it – specifically – and that is powerful! Never underestimate just how important it is to have very specific, concrete goals. They act as magnets that draw you toward them! A S.M.A.R.T. goal is specific.

Measurable: Always set goals that are measurable. I would say “specifically measurable” to take into account our principle of being specific as well. Our goals should be such that we know when we are advancing and by how much. Whether it is by hours, pounds, dollars or whatever, we should be able to see exactly how we are measuring up as we proceed through the journey of life using our goals. Could you imagine if you didn’t measure your goals? You would never know which way you were going or even if you were going anywhere! A S.M.A.R.T. goal is measurable.

Attainable: One of the detrimental things that many people do – and they do it with good intentions – is to set goals that are so high they are unattainable. Yes, it is very important to set big goals that cause your heart to soar with excitement, but it is also imperative to make sure that they are attainable. In the next section we talk about being realistic. So what does it mean to be attainable? An attainable goal is one that is both realistic but also attainable in a shorter period of time than what you have to work with. Now when I say attainable, I don’t mean easy. Our goals should be set so they are just out of our reach; so they will challenge us to grow as we reach forward to achieve them. After the next paragraph, I will give you an example of a goal that is both attainable and realistic. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is attainable.

Realistic: The root word of realistic is “real.” A goal has to be something that we can reasonably make “real” or a “reality” in our lives. There are some goals that simply are not realistic. You have to be able to say, even if it is a tremendously stretching goal, that yes, indeed, it is entirely realistic — that you could make it. You may even have to say that it will take x, y, and z to do it, but if those happen, then it can be done. This is in no way to say it shouldn’t be a big goal, but it must be realistic. This is to a great degree, up to the individual. For one person a goal may be realistic, but for another unrealistic. I would encourage you to be very honest with yourself as you do your planning and evaluation. Perhaps it would be good to get a friend to help you (as long as that friend is by nature an optimist and not a pessimist). This can go a long way toward helping you know what is realistic. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is realistic.

Example of Attainable and Realistic: Knowing that perhaps you could use a bit of help differentiating attainable and realistic, here is an example: You are overweight and have 150 pounds to lose to get to your proper weight. Is that goal attainable? Yes, considering that you also make it realistic. For example, it isn’t realistic to think you can do it in 5 months. 18-24 months would be realistic (with hard work). Thus, losing 150 pounds in 2 years is both attainable and realistic, while losing 150 pounds in 5 months is neither attainable nor realistic.

Time: Every goal should have a timeframe attached to it. I think that life itself is much more productive for us as humans because there is a timeframe connected to it. Could you imagine how much procrastination there would be on earth if people never died? We would never get “around to it.” We could always put it off. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end, a time in which you are shooting to accomplish it. You start working on it because you know there is an end. As time goes by you work because you don’t want to get behind. As it approaches, you work diligently because you want to meet the deadline. You may even have to break down a big goal into different measured parts time frames. That is okay. Set smaller goals and work them out in their own time. A S.M.A.R.T. goal has a timeline.

Be sure to spend some reflection time this week to make sure your goals fit the S.M.A.R.T. parameters. Go through the reflection questions below and the action points associated with them. Doing so will put a real engine in your goals and make them charged with power to help you accomplish your dreams.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Jim Rohn

Newspaper Advertising Costs – 8 Factors To Consider

Calculating and comparing newspaper advertising costs can quickly get complicated. Once you’ve tracked down a newspaper advertising rates card, you’re then faced with the delightful challenge of making sense of it all. There’s no “one size fits all” to make our lives easy. Instead, newspaper advertising costs depend on a number of factors, some of which you might find surprising. To answer the question, “How much does it cost?”, the answer would be: “It all depends.”

8 factors that affect newspaper advertising costs (within the one publication) are:

  • type of ad
  • size
  • day of the week
  • section or lift-out
  • page position within a section
  • left hand side VS right hand side
  • colour VS black and white
  • annual spend/expenditure commitment

In this article, I’ll discuss the 8 factors that determine newspaper advertising costs in Australia. I’ll also provide an example of how much it would cost to place a display ad in The Courier Mail (a Queensland newspaper). As you’ll see, newspaper advertising costs can quickly add up. If you’re on a tight budget, as many of us are these days, knowing what most affects the cost, allows you to cut back where you can.

#1 Type of Ad – Display VS Classifieds VS Inserts

The first factor that decides the cost of a newspaper advertisement, is the type of ad. Most Australian newspapers offer a number of different types. Display advertisements appear throughout a newspaper, and may use colours, illustrations, photographs, or fancy lettering to attract the reader’s attention. These provide a great deal of creative control over the content of the ad, without being limited to just text. They also aren’t grouped according to classification, unlike classified ads. Display advertisements are typically charged at a rate per single column centimetre. In other words, the height in centimetres and width in columns determines the cost of the advertising space. On the other hand, classified ads are typically charged based on ‘lineage’ or per line.

Another form of advertising offered by most major newspapers are ‘inserts’ – separate advertisements that are placed inside the newspaper, and can have more than one page. Inserts are usually charged at a rate of per 1000 per number of pages. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to limit our discussion to display advertisements.

#2 Size Matters

The second factor that contributes to the cost of newspaper advertising, is size. As mentioned above, display advertisements costs are calculated based on their height in centimetres, and width in columns. Most newspapers have their own standard sized advertising spaces, which your ad needs to fit into. Some newspapers offer non-standard sized spaces, such as a ‘U’ shaped ad around the edges of an open paper, but be prepared to pay a higher price for irregular sizes and shapes.

Let’s look at the standard sizes available in The Courier Mail, as an example.

  • “Small Page Strip”, 6cm high by 7 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day (based on a Mon-Fri Casual rate of $AU58.51) is $AU2457.42.
  • “Medium Page Strip”, 8cm high by 7 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU3276.56.
  • “Quarter Page Strip”, 10cm high by 7 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU4095.70.
  • “Horizontal Half Page”, 20cm high by 7 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU8191.40.
  • “Full Page”, 38 cm high by 7 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU15563.66.
  • “Vertical Half Page”, 38cm high by 4 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU8893.52.
  • “Vertical Third Page”, 38cm high by 3 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU6670.14.
  • “Vertical Quarter Page”, 38cm high by 2 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU4446.76.
  • “Portrait Half Page”, 28cm high by 5 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU8191.40.
  • “Portrait Third Page”, 20cm high by 4 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU4680.80.
  • “Portrait Quarter Page”, 20cm high by 3 columns wide, the minimum casual cost per day is $AU3510.60.

Here you can see that the cost of a standard size display ad can range from at least $2457.42 per day for a small page strip, and up to at least $15563.66 per day for a full page advertisement. That’s an awful lot of money to invest in a single page, that will only be published on one day. Most of us simply don’t have that kind of cash to throw around, so you’d really need to know what you were doing. This example demonstrates how much the size of a display advertisement affects the price.

#3 Day of the Week

The third factor that contributes to the cost of a newspaper advertisement is the day of the week on which the advertisement is published. Typically, newspaper circulation is greatest on the weekends, and so the advertising rates for major Australian newspapers are adjusted accordingly. In our example of The Courier Mail, the rates are cheaper on a weekday, more expensive on a Saturday, and most expensive on a Sunday. For the most basic display ads, Saturday ads are 25% dearer than Monday – Friday ads, and Sunday ads are almost 90% dearer than Monday – Friday ads.

This pattern may vary though, depending on the circulation of a particular publication. For instance, The Age is most expensive on a Saturday. To illustrate how much of a difference it makes – a small page strip ad in The Courier Mail on a weekday would be at least $2457.42, and the exact same ad run on a Sunday would be at least $4637.64.

#4 Different Sections or Lift-Outs

Most newspapers are divided into different sections and many have lift-outs – and this is the fourth factor that determines newspaper advertising costs. Different sections attract different readers and different volumes of readers, and so the advertising rates are adjusted to reflect this. For example, an advertisement placed in the CareerOne (Employment) lift-out in The Courier Mail, costs 2% more than the general section. The rates for CareerOne, also vary depending on the day of the week, as mentioned above. Some examples of other sections that may have different rates include: Adult Services, Funeral Notices, Real Estate, and Business.

#5 Page Position Within a Section

The next factor that can significantly affect the price of a newspaper ad, is the page number on which the ad appears, within a certain section. The most expensive part of the paper is typically the front section, which might include the first 10 or so pages, and is referred to as the “early general news” or EGN for short. In our example of The Courier Mail, page 2 in the EGN section attracts a 60% loading. Similarly, the first 11 pages have at least a 50% markup. This type of loading is common practice across Australian news publications. Now let’s say we wanted to place a small page strip ad in The Courier Mail on a weekday, on page 3 in EGN, the cost would be at least $4054.74.

The first few pages and back pages of other key sections of the paper, such as Business, also attract a higher loading. For The Courier Mail, the very back page attracts a 65% markup. You can see how the page position of an advertisement can have a substantial influence on the price.

#6 Left Hand Side VS Right Hand Side

The next factor is also related to position of the ad, but relates to which side of an open newspaper the ad appears in. You might be surprised to know that, in some publications, an ad that appears on the right hand side of an open paper, will cost more than one that appears on the left hand side. This is to do with the way readers actually read a newspaper, and where their attention is focused. This factor may also be tied to the page position of an ad, and which section it appears in. For example, in The Courier Mail, for ads on pages 12 to 21, a right-hand side ad costs 5% more than a left-hand side ad.

#7 Colour VS Black and White

Another factor that substantially affects the price of a newspaper advertisement, is whether the ad features colour, and how many colours. Colour ads are more expensive than monochrome or black and white ads. Some newspapers may distinguish between multi-colour advertisements and those that only feature one added colour (called “spot colour”). For example, The Courier Mail charges 30% more for multi-colour display ads, and 20% more for ‘spot’ colour display ads. Remember, that this is combined with any positional loading.

So let’s say we wanted our small page strip ad in full colour in The Courier Mail on a weekday, on page 3, that would be calculated as: $2457.42 + 30% colour loading = $3194.65 + 65% positional loading for page 3 = $5271.17

You can see here how the cost of our ad has more than doubled after we’ve factored in the colour, and position of the ad.

#8 Annual Spend/Expenditure Commitment

Now here’s a factor that also affects the price of your newspaper ad, but this time it’s a decrease, with a catch, of course. If you have the budget, and are prepared to commit to spending a certain amount annually, usually by entering into a 12 month contract, then you may be entitled to a discount. However, the discount depends on how much you’re prepared to spend. For example, to qualify for a 4% discount on The Courier Mail’s advertising rates, you need to spend at least $38500 per year. If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’re not working with this kind of budget, so bye-bye discount.

Just in case you’re curious, businesses that annually spend at least $2.3 million with the Courier Mail, receive a 13% discount. In my opinion, this form of discounting simply highlights how biased mainstream advertising is towards big business. Where’s the discount for all the struggling small businesses? But that’s another story.

Summary:

To sum up, those 8 factors again, and how they’ll affect the cost of your ad:

  • type of ad – display VS classifieds VS inserts – rates based on different measurement units
  • size – pay more for bigger ads
  • day of the week – weekends are more expensive
  • section or lift-out – early general news (EGN) is more expensive
  • page position within a section – front pages and back pages cost more
  • left hand side VS right hand side – RHS is dearer
  • colour VS black and white – pay more for full colour
  • annual spend/expenditure commitment – get a discount if you spend up big

Now that you know what affects the price of a newspaper advertisement, you’re better prepared to decide where and how you want to spend your advertising dollar. If newspaper advertising seems beyond your budget, then it might be worth considering more cost-effective alternatives, such as online advertising.

Bath Mats That Add Safety

Having a beautiful tub or shower is nice. The surface is usually a lovely coated porcelain that when clean will be a bit slippery. For children and adults as well this can cause a safety issue. Fortunately there are ways to maintain a slip free tub and still have the same beauty that you enjoy. A non slip bath mat is just the thing to do this for you and your family.

A non slip tub mat does not mean that the entire decor of the room has to be compromised. There are hundreds of selections to choose from that are pretty and depict just about anything you might want. Some are shaped like a large shell and in several colors. Others are simple, rectangles with suction cups on the bottom to hold them in place. Others are shaped like frogs, ducks, fish, cows and even lady bugs. They are really cute and can add a lot to the bathroom with both color and style.

There are simpler ones that also will not cost as much. They are standard shaped as squares or rectangles that are colored or clear. Some color choices that you can find are pink, teal, green blue or purple. Clear is another option if you prefer not to add any stark colors to the room.

It is possible to find sets of shower accessories in a complete set that will include the shower curtain and non slip bath mat with other items to match as well. There are many designs on the market that will be a perfect match for your bathroom ensemble.

DIY – Tile Flooring in the Living Room

Americans generally reserve tile flooring for the kitchen or the bathroom. But if you’ve ever spent time in a Mexican hacienda, you know the deep, exotic pleasure of walking barefoot across beautiful tiles in a space not meant for dripping dishwater or stepping out of the shower.

My husband and I honeymooned in San Miguel de Allende, in a villa with Saltillo tile flooring. When we bought a house last year with some ratty carpeting in the living room, we started wondering, what’s stopping us from recreating that here?

At first we were looking at terra cotta colored ceramic tiles, with the idea of bringing our honeymoon into our home in as exact a replica as possible. Honestly, I think we would have loved that, too. Those were the most romantic days of our lives, after all.

But we live in Portland, Oregon, where the rain falls and the grass grows green, and it seemed a little out of place. We wanted a tile floor that referenced Mexico, but also honored Portland. You know, Be Here Now.

Then we happened upon natural stone tiles, and we fell in love all over again. We chose a random sized mosaic of sliced pebbles in a shade of green called “Taipei” (after the capital of Taiwan) that reminded us for all the world of creek beds on hikes we take in the Oregon mountains.

Here is a little tutorial on DIY tile flooring, based on our experience. We’ve been walking across our pebbled living room for six months now, and I swear I’ve never felt so much peace in a non-vacation home. Married bliss, or just one fine damn floor? A little of both, if we do say so, ourselves.

1. Make sure the floor is clean. Get on your hands and knees and scrub, basically. Dust, oil, wax or grease will prevent the tile adhesive from working properly.

2. Work from the center as you plan your layout. You want any cut tiles at the wall edges. (Ideally you want the cut tiles at each end of the room to be the same size, but with our pebble mosaics, we didn’t have to worry about this.)

3. Lay all the whole tiles first. When you are ready to do all the cut tile, go and hire a professional tile cutter. Seriously. I won’t name names, but a certain someone I’ve vowed to love through sickness and health, etc. thought he could cut the tiles himself with his circular saw, and basically, long story short, we had to order another batch of tiles. Live and learn!

4. Grouting pebble mosaics is time-consuming, I won’t lie. It’s also a little tricky. This tip is important: SEAL THE PEBBLE TILE BEFORE YOU GROUT. Because the pebbles have a natural finish, they absorb the grout. Insert frowny face here. But if you seal the tiles (once the adhesive dries), voila, no absorption. Insert happy face.

5. Cover the entire tile with grout. Gulp. Wait 20 minutes. Wipe with a damp sponge till it’s pretty again. Hey perfectionist, don’t wipe so hard that the grout between the pebbles disappears!

6. Allow the grouted tile flooring to dry for 24 hours. For the first few of those hours, go out for a drink, you two. You deserve it.

7. Seal it.

8. Hi, honey, I’m home? You can leave your hat on, but please, leave your shoes by the door.

Horse Riding Equipment – Things You Need

Saddle

When you buy a saddle, what you need to look for is: whether it fits your horse, whether it matches the kind of riding you want and whether it is comfortable for the rider. Saddles come in different types meant for different purposes like dressage, polo, racing, showing, etc. There are saddles that are meant for a rider who intends to do all kinds of riding and there are saddles that can fit a horse of any shape.

Bridle

Bridles are usually made in leather, which makes them long lasting and comfortable to use. They are made in synthetic materials also, designed to make them easier to clean and maintain. The size of the bridle depends on the type of horse and the size of its head. Normally, bridles come in four different types: snaffle, double, western and endurance. A snaffle bridle is easy to handle and modify to suit the type of horse and the way it rides. A double bridle gives the rider a high degree of control over the horse. A western bridle is minimal in appearance and is designed for a hot climate to allow the horse’s skin to breathe. It is also easier to repair, if away from home. An endurance bridle is flexible enough to be changed to a head collar, which is suitable for long distance travel.

Bits

Bits are the part of horse riding equipment that help the rider to communicate with the horse regarding its speed and pace and gives some control over the horse. There are five different types of bit, and all five affect the different areas of the horse’s head. A bit should fit tightly into the horse’s mouth and should leave a little space free on both side of the mouth. Bit sizes are measured by taking the distance between the two bit rings in either centimetres or inches. Bits are made in different materials like stainless steel, copper, iron, etc.

Horse harness

The part of horse riding equipment that allows the horse to pull vehicles like a carriage, a sleigh or a wagon is the horse harness. It is also used to latch the animal to other loads like a plough or canal boat. The two main parts of a harness are a breast collar and a head collar, either one being used. There are different kinds of harnesses suitable for different purposes like shows, pulling a carriage or van, pulling a cart or wagon, racing or ploughing.

Horse rugs

Horse rugs are meant to protect the horse from sun, rain, snow, wind and flies. It gives the horse warmth and protection while it is in the field or stable. It helps the horse to remain healthy, hygienic and safe while travelling, as well as after exercise. Rug sizes range from 3 ft for a colt to 7 ft 3 inch for a big horse. Depending on the purpose, rugs are of different kinds like stable rugs, travel rugs, cooler rugs, blanket, summer sheet, turnout rugs, sweat rugs, fly rugs.

Riding whips

Horse riding equipment would not be complete without riding whips and boots. Riding whips are used to lead the horse on. They should be carried on the inside hand and used just behind the rider’s leg. Whips are of different kinds like a short whip, dressage whip, hunting whip, polar whip, show cane and lunge whip. Whips are used for various purposes like show jumping, dressage, cross-country, hacking, schooling and polo. Always remember that whips are not meant to be used on the horse often.

Riding boots

Boots for horses are worn on its front and back legs. They protect the horse from injury while travelling or participating in a competition. There are different kinds of boots for different purposes and protect the different areas of the horse’s legs. They are normally made of synthetic material, leather or rubber with either Velcro fastenings or leather buckles.

Decorating Your Tiki Bar

The tiki  bar  is a wonderful place to hang out, relax, or go all out and party. There’s nothing quite like a tiki  bar  to take you away from the everyday mundane life, transferring you to a tropical vacation atmosphere, all without the need to travel to expensive resorts. Providing that unique island charm that feels like something straight from the Caribbean, tiki  bars  can recreate the setting of island paradise just about anywhere.

Those interested in the wonders of tiki culture should considering owning their own tiki  bar . Whether for commercial or for private use, building and owning a tiki  bar  can be a fun and rewarding experience. It can also fill one with a great sense of pride and is a wonderful conversation topic.

Tiki  bars  can come in different shapes and sizes. The traditional tiki  bar  is based on the tiki hut which are found on islands. They are usually made of wood or bamboo, and the trademark thatched grass roofing. A full sized tiki  bar  can be quite an affair, emulating an environment of an island getaway resort.

Private tiki  bars  can be more variable depending on the requirements and budget of the owner. Poolside tiki  bars  are very popular, as well as backyard patio  bars . Tiki  bars  can even be built indoors such as basement tiki  bars – a pretty good source of awe and amusement for visiting relatives.

Wherever one wants to build their tiki  bar , whatever size it is- the secret to having an exceptional and authentic tiki  bar  is in the décor one chooses to adorn their home-away-from home with. Nothing can better encapsulate the magic of the tropics quite like a well decorated tiki  bar .

There are many types of tiki  bar  décor. They can range from the small to the enormous, the simple to the outrageous, and the cute to the downright freaky!

A good tiki  bar  should have some tiki totems, tiki masks and other such decorative items to give that distinctive native atmosphere. There are so many varieties of tiki décor to choose from. One can include anything they want. It’s all good as long as it adds to the mood and party atmosphere.

One of the staples of a good tiki  bar  are funky tiki signs. There’s no better way to declare your presence than a huge, flamboyant tiki sign hovering over the  bar  entrance to welcome your patrons. Tiki signs aren’t limited to the  bar  entrance though, and should be placed anywhere and everywhere, including the restrooms, to mark restricted areas, or just to let people know how proud you are of your cool, vintage surfboard.

Even better is to have your tiki sign actually be your cool, vintage surfboard. Tiki signs can be made from a variety of different materials such as driftwood, surfboards or even canoe paddles. Carvings of fish or other aquatic life also make wonderful signs and ooze style. Just be sure to hang a “gone surfing” sign to let people know when your away.

A hallmark of the tiki culture is the moai. Moai are the famous monolithic statues found on Easter Island. These moai take the shape of giant heads, and according to legend, are said to hold the mystic powers of deceased clan chiefs.

They can also make really cool decorative items! Some people might find some difficulty finding space for a 50 foot monolith moai in their tiki  bars ; though thankfully moai decorations come in many different shapes and sizes to work with.

Miniature moai carvings are very popular. They work nicely as wall hangings or table pieces. You can even put them in the restrooms for a unique decoration.

One of the most important items in a tiki  bar  are the special tiki mugs to serve those groovy drinks in. Serve your wicked concoctions in mugs shaped like totem poles of ancient gods or with the somewhat less creepy glasses printed with dancing hula girls in grass skirts.

These are just a few examples of tiki  bar  décor. There are many more special tiki items available. The best thing about starting a tiki  bar  now is that these, sometimes difficult to find specialty items can be easily acquired via the internet!

Just remember that the proper decorations can really make or brake a tiki  bar . So don’t be afraid to go all out. Be creative and remember to have fun!

Cockatiels and Bird Shows

Why not try entering your cockatiel in a bird show. This can be a great experience for both you and your bird.

The first thing that you will need to do is contact your local bird club and see what is on offer. Do they have someone on hand to show someone new the ropes when showing their cockatiels? You should visit a bird show first and see what types of birds get first prizes. Ask for advice on training your cockatiel for these types of events.

To find out what is happening in your area, you should find plenty of information at your local pet shops or vets. Your best bet would be to contact the organizers of the show and ask them for a catalogue. You may need accommodation details if you are an out of towner. When looking through the catalogue make a special note of the time that the categories that you want to enter start, as late entries are not usually accepted.

The show catalogue also lets you know what the classes are that will be judged and what the rewards will be. Make sure that you fill in the forms correctly and enter your cockatiel in the right category, or you could be disqualified.

There are various standards that are expected when showing your bird. The most common standards used today are ACS Standards and NCS Standards. The judges judge against these standards, so it is a good idea to know what they are looking for. Both standards have a point system and a visual system that are marked.

Once you know what the judges expect, you can start grooming and training your cockatiel. You need to have a cockatiel that shows grace under pressure. Your cockatiel must be able to withstand the pressure of lots of people around and adjust to lots of strangers tapping on his cage. A good show cage will be needed in order to showcase your cockatiel. The show cage must be in imaculate condition and most importantly, clean. Let your cockatiel get used to the cage before the day of the show, and encourage it to sit on the perch and be as still as possible. This type of training can prove challenging with active cockatiels. Try having some friends over for a fake bird show to get your bird used to lots of strangers.

Before entering your cockatiel in a show, make sure he is fully feathered. Your cockatiel should have no pin feathers visible. Wings and nails must be trimmed and feet and beak cleaned. If you regularly mist your cockatiel with clean warm water, it will encourage him to preen himself more often, which will make his feathers look wonderful.

Most importantly, when entering your cockatiel in a bird show, learn to be a good winner as well as a good loser.

For more cockatiel food, visit http://cockatielsaspets.com.

Exploring the Diverse Applications of PTFE Tubes

PTFE, which is also known by the name of Teflon is considered the most versatile polymer available in the global market today, the reason is simple; the Teflon tubes actually possesses a good number of exclusive characteristics that make them superior compared to other polymers. PTFE tubes can clearly be stated as one of the materials that are highly resistant to chemicals, which improve its prospects of use in the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

Wondering about the application of the tubes? Here is a quick look at some of the common applications that speak in favor of the chemically resistant property of the tube.

Application of the Tube in Laboratories

PTFE boasts of a continuous and good use in laboratories for a number of years. The tube becomes a popular choice in dealing with chemicals at extreme temperature for a number of reasons. Here is a look:

1. The Teflon tube is known to be chemically inert except to some specific alkalis at high temperatures.

2. PTFE is resistant to breakage. It would maximum deform under heavy burden or load, but would rarely break. This particular quality makes its quite useful for applications dealing with extreme centrifugal forces.

3. The polymer also boasts of a stable nature against temperature fluctuations. It cools down in no time from high temperature without cracking.

4. Teflon also comes across as a wonderful sealing material and is useful for stopcock application, as it seals gap & provides chemical resistance at the same time, better than glass.

5. The polymer is also known to be very flexible and can be extensively used as an alternative to glass and be curved to match the requirements of the apparatus layout.

Pharmaceutical Applications of the Tube

Due to their thermal and chemical resistance, the Teflon tube comes across as an ideal choice for biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical processing equipment. The tubing is usually characterized by a non-reactive surface, which makes it highly compatible with all kinds of solvents and chemicals. The non-reactive nature of the polymer also makes it resistant to corrosion that might arise during the transmission of fluids. Additionally, the polymer is also resistant to chemical absorption.

Electrical Application of PTFE Tubing

When it comes to electrical application in terms of high voltage cable insulation, PTFE tubing stands as an ideal choice. The reasons are simple; this particular kind of Polymer is characterized by exclusive properties like high dielectric strength and resistance to high temperature and chemical application. Additionally, the non-corrosive, water resistance, and self-extinguishing characteristics of the tubing add to its value in respect to electrical applications. It can be also extensively used for other purposes like component covering, wire harnesses, and protection of electrical appliances.

The exclusive characteristics of the tube that includes non-stick properties, high resistance to temperature, reduced friction coefficient, and high chemical resistivity add to its worth in the world today. Such unique features of extends the application areas of PTFE tubes making it an ideal choice among industrial sectors and manufacturing companies catering to a diverse range of business requirements and interest at ease.

Replacing Roof Shingles is a Great Money Saver

Replacing roof shingles just needs a little good old fashioned know how and it can be one of those DIY projects perfect for the weekend warrior. If you have water damage showing up or worse, when it rains outside it rains inside too, then it is time to replace your roof shingles. It may not be necessary to replace the entire roof, which is a very costly situation, but replacing roof shingles that are missing or damaged will make a world of difference. You want to replace these shingles as quickly as possible to avoid inevitable water damage.

To replace missing or damaged shingles you will need to gather together some basic tools. You will need shingles of course, roof cement, chalk and glue guns, nail bar, hammers with claw head, extension ladders, roof common nails, and putty knives. All of these tools will need to be added to your job cost if you do not already own them.

Finding roof leaks is your first order of business. Once you have located the damaged shingles you need to remove them. It may be necessary to pry up some of the surrounding shingles that overlap the damaged or missing shingle area. Loosen the surrounding shingles using the pry bar just part of the way. This may mean you will need to replace some of these or at least use new nails. Remove the nails that are still securing the shingle that is damaged. The new shingle slides into the old spot replacing roof shingles you have removed or that were missing. Then new roofing nails are driven into place to hold all the shingles. When the shingles were installed they were nailed into wood bars in rows so you will need to follow the pattern that was established.

Shingles may not need to be replaced if they are only torn or cracked from age. These can be easily repaired by applying some roofing sealant in a thick bead underneath the cracked area. Put pressure on the shingle to hold it down and use another bead of the roof sealant over the top of the crack. Use your putty knife to spread this out. You can camouflage the repaired area by sprinkling some colored granules that have collected in the gutter so that everything will match.

There are a few precautions you should keep in mind before attempting your do it yourself roof repair. Repairing or replacing roof shingles that are damaged will extend the life of your roof for years and save the cost of a new roof which is very expensive. Before you begin a project for replacing roof shingles the roof needs to be very dry and to reach the roof you need to be sure the ladder is very well secured and study. When you go to purchase you replacement shingles you can get assistance from the clerk if you know the number that needs to be replaced. Also, bring one of the damaged shingles with you when you make your purchase so that you can match the new shingles to the old ones.

Industrial Shelving

There are different types of industrial shelving to choose from: wire shelving, mobile shelving systems, double rivet shelving, open style metal clip shelving, closed style metal clip shelving, steel shelving with modular drawer storage, circular shelving, and more. Additional accessories can be acquired to help in organizing the items.

Comparison of industrial shelving

Wire shelving systems are durable and modular. They are strong and sturdy and easily adjustable to cater to different items. Given the wire architecture, dust build-up is at a minimal, making it very easy to maintain and clean. Additional shelving units can be acquired to hold more items.

Mobile shelving systems are designed to occupy a vast space, but allow you to double the space of the existing facility. The system cuts down on the space utilized in traditional shelves, allowing you to save time in moving from one shelf to another, and cuts down on the inventory costs in consolidating materials and retrieval of the objects.

Double rivet shelving, open style metal clip shelving and closed metal clip shelving all provide great weight capacity. Since they are easy to assemble and disassemble, they are great for make-shift workspaces and storage areas. Similar to other industrial shelving, these are modular and you can easily add more shelves along with your existing ones.

Circular shelving allows you to utilize spaces that traditional shelving may not provide access to. They are applicable for production areas, maintenance rooms, warehouses, parts counters, hardware stores or home centers.

Additional accessories such as drawers, plastic bins, dividers or additional modular shelves can be acquired to add on to the existing shelving to provide better organization.

Fencing Drills – Tutorial Drills

How do you increase learning in drills in a large fencing class at the beginner or intermediate level? There are too many students for a single coach, or even several coaches, to instruct on a one-on-one basis. How do you multiply your teaching staff? One approach is through the use of tutorial drills.

Tutorial drills are designed to provide the student an opportunity to practice multiple repetitions to develop a skill taught in the preparatory group drill. The process is:

(1) the class is separated into two groups, students and tutors.

(2) fencers are paired in tutor/student pairs. The tutor dons a protective plastron.

(3) the coach explains the drill and emphasizes the specific actions the tutor will execute.

(4) the tutor presents the conditions and the cues for the student’s actions at a slow to medium speed.

(5) the student executes the fencing action being taught.

(6) the tutor provides no feedback or instruction.

(7) after a set number of repetitions, the two fencers switch roles. Bradford suggests a switch after 10 repetitions. A longer number may be more appropriate, such as 15 touches or four sets of 5 with a very short rest between each set, simply because of the equipment change required.

The fencer acting as tutor acts in much the same way as a qualified coach would act in presenting the drill. He or she uses a more upright body position with the arm at a level that correctly simulates the blade presentation in combat. The attack is carried forward with a step rather than a lunge. For beginners the chest can be turned more to the front to provide a larger target. And the actions are purely mechanical cues: open the line and get hit by a straight thrust, press on the blade and get hit by a disengage, move forward with the attack and get hit by the riposte after a successful parry, etc. These cues should be large and obvious.

The tutors require supervision. Inevitably one or more tutors will get the action and the cues wrong, leading their students into a series of incorrect actions. The coach cannot relax, but must circulate and correct tutor performance as needed.

The tutor should be equipped with a coaching plastron (a number of vendors offer a simple bib type plastron that will meet this need) and, in epee or sabre, with a sleeve to prevent discomfort or injury (vendors offer inexpensive cloth sleeves). At epee, a protective leg is advisable if hits will be delivered to the thigh or foot. Although the number of hits the tutor will receive is fewer than a working coach would, hard hits or hits delivered from too short a distance have the potential to cause the tutor to flinch, introducing an unrealistic element into the drill.

At one level the tutor’s role allows the fencer to rest while still performing fencing actions. The pupil does the hard work with repeated actions. However, the tutor does automate certain hand actions and gains useful experience in creating invitations, and the coach should highlight that experience so that tutors realize that their role in providing cues is actually developing a useful fencing skill.

The use of tutors increases the effectiveness of the early stages of learning correct execution of a fencing skill. There is a secondary benefit, especially to the intermediate level program. Individuals who do a good job as a tutor are logical candidates to enroll in training to become Assistant Moniteurs (a preprofessional certification offered by the United States Fencing Coaches Association), providing a cadre of certified assistants to work under the coach’s direction. Explore this type of drill, improve your fencers’ skills, and start training your next generation of assistants.