Hanging Artwork

Hanging art has been and still remains an integral part of adorning our modern day man caves. We have always had an urge to make art an important element of our interiors dating as far back as the prehistoric wall cave paintings and base relief of the Egyptian tombs. Anthropologists have said ancient people thought art was magic that transported you from the mundane to the transcendent. I have to agree, because surprisingly, what we take in visually stays with us unconsciously, capturing us, and magically whisk us away to another place and time.

There are clues that will help you zero in on the type of artwork that compliments the scale and color of the room. Keep in mind the room’s scheme and try to match or contrast it. Is the room neutral, pastel, or vibrantly decorated? Don’t be intimidated when choosing art. It is nothing more than finding images that you like, ones that speak to you, perhaps stimulates reflection, relaxes your mind and uplifts your spirit framing your memories.

Art can be an anchor for a room’s theme; it relays a story of the occupant’s depth, style, humor and even their intellect. While hunting for the ideal pieces, keep in mind these images you are choosing will greet you on a daily basis. Others will be viewing it also, and the substance of your art has impact. If the impact is too much, it will drown out you theme but if it is too little, it will be lost. Discovering the art that reflects you and speaks to you can take some time to find, but once you have found the ideal pieces, how do you hang them and where?

Now that you found the coveted pieces of art, we need to find a way to properly display your artscape. This will involve identifying wall color, location, and framing/matting the artwork and then finally, highlighting each piece if needed with some accent lighting.

Wall Color:

-Consider a suitable backdrop against which to display your work.

-The wall color should not compete with your art.

-The color should either be neutral or in some way play off the colors in the art.

-Repaint the wall to compliment/accent the piece if needs be.

-Ensure back drop is smooth with unobtrusive textures.


-Allow generous amount of wall space around each work.

– Relate art to wall size-

(Choose smaller pictures for narrow walls and larger works for big wall spaces.)

-Relate Art to Furniture Size

(In general, when hanging art over a piece of

furniture it should not be longer than the width of the furniture- a general principle being about 75% of the table’s/sofa width.)

-Standard hanging height would be at eye level.

-Hang It Low-When hanging a large picture over a table for instance, the bottom of the frame should sit within 4-8″ of the tabletop

-Play with size for dramatic effects-try hanging large art pieces in small spaces such as a powder room.

Hanging art in groups to make a pattern:

-Stripes- symmetrically hung in a row to create a vertical or horizontal line of art

-Plaids- a square or checkered layout

-Herringbone/diagonal- an ascending slope/stepping rows up a stairwell adds excitement to the composition.

-Mosaic- a large cluster of works together serves to display many works in a limited space.

-Artful Grid- Use of the majority of the wall with pictures that are monochromatic, same in color, same frames (if not frameless), and of the same size this will create a dramatic wall of poetry.

-One vertically hung and one horizontal being aligned at the base of the frames.

-Oversized and hung low

-Horizontal lines tend to elongate, widen, and emphasize a casual decorating scheme.

-Vertical lines tend to be more formal giving the illusion of height; it can seem more elegant and refined.

-Avoid hanging matching pictures in a perfect line whenever you’d like to emphasize a casual atmosphere.

-Symmetrical Arrangements adds balance and formality to an arrangement and is generally pleasing and calming to the observer.

– Asymmetrical Arrangements create a very eye-catching grouping and is a casual fun look for informal settings.

-Juxtapose two artworks from different periods that have a common element (color, subject matter, etc.)

-Create a collage by grouping many small artworks together linking them visually in form, theme, or color. This will allow them to play off each other creating a harmonious single graphic effect.


-Don’t choose frames/mattes that will overwhelm a piece or fails to set it off.

-Mix frames that differ stylistically and in color giving them a sense of this is a “collection”.

-Try framing several items in one mat and frame.

-Varying frame shapes add interest to a picture grouping by hanging pictures with differently shaped frames.

-Pictures will have greater impact if matted in a contrasting color to the wall. Choose a dark mat for a light wall and vice versa.

-A group of pictures framed alike and hung together can have big impact.

Shelves and Alternative Wall Hangings

-Place art on a shelf creating a more dimensional effect and allows you to exhibit framed work along with other collected art, figures/pots.

-Look for objects to hang on the wall that give the impression of art such as architectural features

-Iron art is very popular and adds a great deal of interest with its 3-dimensional effect.

Accent Lighting:

Note: Beautiful artwork can be lost unless it is well lit. Illuminating the work it gives it more importance.

-The entire surface of a painting should be should be evenly lit without glare

-To light an individual piece and direct light evenly mount a picture light that has a long arm from the back of the artwork as to not damage the piece.

-Use a color correct, ultra violet-free, low wattage bulb.

-Light sculptures to enhance their forms to create a dramatic effect that cast shadows onto walls or floors.

-Use uplights and downlights of various sizes that suits each piece.

-Using track lighting above a series of pieces that perhaps run down the length of a hallway will dramatically highlight the art and light the hallway simultaneously.

-Light bookshelves and cabinets with mounted lights or clip ons

Alas, you are now armed with a holster full of new hanging art arsenal and now are officially equipped to tackle any room with your new artscaping design guidelines. Stick to your theme by supporting it with art that’s repeating in colors, motifs, and style of the room’s interior. Use the art as inspiration, search for pictures that move you and use their themes and colors as the foundation for other room elements. Allow the art to be humorous, fun, unexpected and whimsical. Look for themes that fit your decorating style by bringing out the colors in other elements of the room. Just remember that art endures because it releases us from repetition of habitual thought and allows us a fresh perspective; so be sure to display your work respectfully and artfully by putting some extra thought into it.

Swiftlock Laminate Flooring

Once you’ve decided that the wooden look is right for your home, and that buying wood laminate flooring is the best option for you, you’re probably thinking that you’re done with the hardest part. Think again. The most difficult part in choosing laminate floors will probably be deciding on a brand. This determines the difficulty of install, the price, the durability, and, of course, the look. If you’ve elected not to buy from the limited selection of the hardware store, where all of the laminate floor options will fit on one wall, you’ll definitely need help deciding which brand to look at first. With that in mind, let’s take a look at Swiftlock Laminate Flooring.

Lots Of Options

You’re probably got a pretty decent idea of what you want your home’s laminate wood floors to look like upon completion, so your first step should be finding a brand who makes it. It’s a good bet that Swiftlock Laminate Flooring at least has something very similar to whatever it is you’re looking for. They have more than 160 laminated flooring varieties listed on their site right this very moment. They don’t split them all into various collections like Quick Step Laminate Flooring, but they do list the thickness right by the name of the selection, and that’s probably even better. Since most people know nothing about what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to a laminate floor, I’d suggest taking the time to check a few different websites so that you can get a good idea of what features you want.


While shopping around for Swiftlock Laminate Flooring, you’re likely to notice the words durable and affordable are nearly omnipresent. To my surprise, Amazon does not stock Swiftlock, which meant I had to look elsewhere to compare prices. Armstrong is the parent company of Swiftlock, and Swiftlock is generally their cheap laminate flooring. In fact, where Swiftlock is sold, they’re usually the lowest priced laminated floors.

Difficulty Of Installation

To anyone that is new at installing flooring, laminate is definitely a good option. It’s lighter than either solid or engineered, and can often last just as long, if not longer. Installing laminate flooring of any kind is likely to be one of the easiest, if not one of the quickest, home improvement projects that you could tackle. Swiftlock makes laminate flooring installation even easier by offering comprehensive install instructions on their website. As it’s a very well known and well used brand, any quirks you may encounter should be easily conquerable using the web alone.


Once you have your wood laminate floor installed, the only thing you have to worry about is durability. When it comes to your typical floor traffic, Swiftlock flooring holds up pretty well. There are quite a few reports about warping, even without standing water, and chipping when sharp or heavy objects are dropped on it. Unlike engineered or solid, you cannot buff a laminated floor, so, although it should be dent and scratch resistant, anything that manages to damage it will require you to change boards. Swiftlock products do seem to have quite a few complaints aimed at it, but that may just be a symptom of its popularity. Most resellers list Swiftlock Laminate Flooring among their top sellers.

Evenflo Breast Pump Gets Good Reviews

This is the modern era of technology and the business. No one sounds to be free enough to go with the basic responsibilities as there are a lot of things to be done within a short span of time. Everyone has to work for the livelihood. The current global economic slum has really devastated the situation. The mothers are really influenced with the same. As most of the today’s mothers are the working professionals so they really find it quite problematic while reinforcing their domestic responsibilities. The situation gets more severe when she is expecting a baby and bitter when she delivers the same. The babies are innocent and they don’t ask for the best. One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that they deserve the best. As for the nutrition is concerned thee the best thing that can be added to the basket is the breast milk. It is the prime right of every baby to be breastfed.

Problems are there when a mother needs to choose among the so many advertised breast pumps. A good amount of attention and care is required while going for placing an order so that the result is the best quality and hygienic selection of the breast pump. You can’t come up with the hygiene and quality till you do not put an extensive effort in searching out for the breast pump having the best reviews. There are some products that are just unanimously the best and an Evenflo Breast Pump is one of these products.

The Evenflo Breast pump is one of the most welcomed and the trusted brands. This breastfeeding aid product is something that works both of the ways. It helps the mothers in producing the more amounts of milk when a mother lacks the lactation capabilities. On the other hand it also goes a long way in carving out the path for the overflowing and excessive breast milk production. The mothers can easily express their extra breast milk with the help of this pump.

When we talk about the types of the Evenflo Breast Pump, we come up with two product types. The first one deals with the manual mil expression and the second one to deal with electric or automatic milk expression. The mothers have both of the options to avail. The manual pump is called the Comfort Select and the automatic pump is called the Comfort Select Performance. The automatic pumps are further categorized into the single and the double auto-cycling.

Every Evenflo Breast Pump has very good reviews that are fully compatible with the requirements of the mothers. You can choose as per you own.

DIY Lean to Shed – Your Practical Option

For people who wish to make use of extra space on the yard for storage or a work area, a DIY lean to shed will surely give them exactly what they need without having to overspend. If you have construction skills, all you need is a detailed shed plan, some hand tools, and a reasonable amount of time to build a garden shed that is uniquely yours. You will be rewarded with a sense of fulfillment and a long-lasting structure after the work is done.

A lean to shed is easier to build than stand-alone structures. It makes a good addition especially if you have limited yard space for building an outdoor storage facility. DIY lean to sheds are attached to a wall of your house with three wall panels. They serve your intended purpose and can withstand the harshest weather conditions if constructed meticulously.

Decide on the type of material you are going to build your shed with. DIY sheds can be constructed using metal, wood, plastic, or a combination of any of these materials. Take into consideration the climate your area is exposed to, your budget, and your experience in carpentry in making a decision. One easy way to choose is matching with the type of material the lean to shed is going to be attached to.

Materials used for DIY lean to sheds can of course be entirely different from the main structure. You can easily make the shed blend with the wall or house by painting it in a similar or complementary color. You can also apply siding to match the wall or the main structure to which the shed is leaning on to.

With DIY lean to sheds, it is important that the roof is pitched correctly. It should be positioned in such a way that rainwater or snow does not pool over the shed, which may cause it to collapse in the long run or damage equipment and other items stored within. A roof not pitched correctly can also bring problems to the main structure.

You may buy a plan for DIY lean to sheds in many places online. There are practically thousands of shed plans for sale to suit your specifications and capabilities. They come at reasonable prices and with detailed guides on how to go about building a lean to shed. Start by levelling the foundation of your shed. You can lay out a concrete platform or use timbers as skids on which the floor of your shed will stand on.

The process of constructing DIY lean to sheds can be tricky so you have to remember a few things. Before you start, all the tools and materials should be at hand. This helps you save time. Understand the shed plan you purchased thoroughly. If you made the blueprint yourself, review it as many times as possible to make sure you did not miss anything.

Note changes before you start building and not as you go. Start with the end product in mind. Diverting from the original plan halfway through the process is bound to cause mistakes. Also, do not forget to check with your city government for any laws or restrictions on constructing DIY lean to sheds. Get the necessary permit if needed.

Canon 3ti DSLR Camera

Now that the Canon 3ti has been out a few months and people have had a while to use it, I thought I would summarise a few of points that are being discussed by people who now own the camera.


There are conflicting opinions on the weight of the T3i. Some people are complaining (perhaps complaining is too strong a word) about the weight. While other folk are saying that it is light. I guess it all depends on what you have been used to using previously. The camera body is 18.2 oz / 515g. The 18-55mm lens is 71 oz / 200 g. So in total you have 25.3 oz / 715g. By no means what I would call heavy, but I guess it could be heavier or lighter than what you have previously used. Maybe with a bigger lens and wandering around taking snaps for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, it might seem heavy. I’m think I would endure! Sure beats working. Something most agree on is that it feels right in your hands. It is easy to hold and the grip is comfortable.

LCD Screen

The tilt and swivel capability of the LCD screen seems to be a winner. Many people love the ability to easily see the shots being taken with the camera at unusual angles. All kinds of shooting has been talked about. Leaning out over balconies, lifting the camera up high to shoot over peoples heads. Getting low to the ground without having to be directly behind the camera. (saves on the back and knees!) Even shooting from a tripod its great to just tilt the screen up so you don’t have to stoop down to check the shot each time. The tilt swivel screen is also proving great for video shooting. To take some of these shots without the tilt swivel screen would have been near impossible or completely shooting blind and hoping for a bunch of good luck. While it has been a feather on video cameras for years, there are not many DSLR cameras that have it. Each quality DSLR that is released draws closer and closer for les need for a separate camcorder.

Image Quality

Some people are truly excited by the picture quality. Many old point and shoot camera users now have a 3ti and are blown away with the image quality, clarity and balance of the photo. Some more seasoned DSLR users are enjoying the ISO range (100 – 6400) and are impressed by the low light shooting capabilities. Some photos taken without a flash at low light levels were very impressive. The 1080p resolution of the video has others excited and I’m sure there will be some great post image capturing from the video with great results. Just be careful with your choice of memory card. A Class 10 (10 MBps) or higher is reports as the best for the video recording.

In all the Canon 3ti EOS Rebel DSLR looks like another winner. It is A great camera at a reasonable price offering excellent value for money. It can be as simple or a complex to use as one wants. Its just fantastic the ability and quality of technology we have available in our world. Too often this is taken for granted perhaps.

Bugaboo Chameleon Review

As soon as I clapped my eyes on the Bugaboo (it was a bit hard to avoid as every time I opened a glossy magazine, there was invariably some celebrity walking their little bundle along the streets of NY, LA, London) I knew it was the pram I wanted. Sure, its status as a ‘must-have’ baby item was a factor but more than that, the Bugaboo just looked so damn cool.

My husband needed more convincing but on the first day of my maternity leave when I was exactly 34 weeks pregnant, we trundled off the UK department store John Lewis (we were living in London at the time) to buy our baby essentials, including the pram.

We tried various prams, including the Bugaboo, and one of the crucial facts in winning him over was that the Bugaboo Chameleon actually fit well in the back of our tiny little hatchback car. This was very important as we were living in a one bedroom flat on the second floor. Also, the Chameleon had an adjustable handle bar; we are both tall so this was another feature that we found lacking in the other models.

The ability to choose your own colour combinations with the Bugaboo Chameleon was a big hit with me as well; we chose a dark grey base with orange fleece and we also ended up buying the red fleece about five months after our baby daughter was born (Orange for summer and spring and red for winter and autumn).

Developed by Dutch designer Max Barenburg and his physician brother-in-law Eduard Zanen, in an

attempt to create a stroller that was both fashionable and functional, the Bugaboo first hit the pavements in 1999 in Holland with the Frog model. It became popular with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker and its status as a ‘must-have’ item for parents was born. To offer more choices, Bugaboo introduced the Gecko, Chameleon and Bugaboo By range to offer rabid parent consumers a wider choice.

More recently, Bugaboo now offers the hood, seat and apron in the same canvas material that the base is made from. Personally, I think I would have preferred this to the fleece. However, I have washed my fleece hood and seat several times and they come up very well. There is also a Bugaboo Chameleon Denim model available now, which will appeal to funky urbanites who love the hard-wearing and classic material.

The Bugaboo is a pram that draws admiring (and sometimes envious) glances from people. It is expensive but I figure that it is probably the biggest equipment purchase you will make and something that you will be using daily. The Bugaboo is also a fashion accessory; it is chic, sleek and functional. Just like the fashion sense I am aspiring to, although sometimes it is hard when you are sleep-deprived and don’t have time to do your hair.

I have purchased additional accessories for my Bugaboo – footmuff, UV sunshade and travel bag. There is also a Bugaboo Breezy canopy hood, which offers extra ventilation on hot days.

Interestingly, as Bugaboo brand awareness has grown, so too has the incidence of Bugaboo thefts! We were advised to always have it well concealed in the car as Bugaboos have a high resale value on places like eBay.


Streamlined and easy to manoeuvre. Adjustable tension settings on wheels.

Adjustable handle bar that changes direction so that you can have baby facing you. Great for tall people!

Pick and mix your own colour combos.


Looks great!


You have to buy extras like travel bag, foot muff and UV sunshade, which can make it even more expensive.

This is an urban pram. It isn’t so great along dirt tracks or country walks. It is not suitable for jogging. If you are an avid jogger or want to get your pre-baby body back fast, you’ll be better to buy a pram appropriate for running with.

Taking the Motor Home Route

If you are a motorhome owner or are contemplating purchasing one in the near future there a few things you need to think about. You may be yearning for days of the past when you enjoyed being under canvas and travelling around the country stopping when and where you felt like. Being able to take your motor home is a more comfortable way of still seeing the country but in living conditions that are more comfortable than those old days under canvas.

If you enjoyed going to festivals around the country in your youth then having a motor home instead of a tent provides you with all the fun and being part of the atmosphere the festival provides without the basic living of camping. In your motor home you can shower and make your early morning tea in comfort.

Obviously you will need to think about insurance cover and the type of policy you need to have. Many motor home owners rent out their vehicles for festivals and the like and are often not aware that the standard insurance policy does not cover them for hiring out purposes.

Although you may feel that renting out your motor home for a short time will not be a problem things can often occur that are unexpected. One case heard of recently was with a motor home at a famous UK festival where the awning had been left up after enjoying breakfast only to find that later in the day a heavy downpour happened and the awning had filled with water, split and twisted the frame. The cost of replacing the awning was about £1000 and was uninsured as the policy the owners had did not cover the hiring out of the vehicle.

It therefore always pays to check exactly what the policy you have chosen covers and to check that it includes the items that could be important to you.

If you are not using your motor home yourself then it is a very nice and kind act to let family or friends use it but it is very advisable to check with your insurance broker to confirm the exact cover you have. To add other peoples names to the policy is not a problem and gives you the reassurance that you are adequately insured. You are then able to relax in the knowledge that although your motor home is with some one else you have the appropriate insurance cover for all eventualities.

The Different Types of Motocross Racing

Motocross and dirt bike racing is as popular as ever, all over the world. Let’s take a look at the many different types of motocross racing that are popular these days:


Freestyle motocross is sometimes also known as FMX. The main difference between freestyle and regular motocross is that riders try to gain points from judges based upon tricks that they perform. Tricks may include the 360, backflip, underflip, frontflip, carolla, scorpion, tsunami and sidewinder, among dozens of other tricks. There’s also different types of landings and take-offs. One handed, no handed, side saddle, you name it. Famous freestyle motocross riders include Carey Hart and Mike Metzger.


This type of motocross racing began in the 1970’s as a fun side project for motocross racers. Supermoto is a type of race where motocross bikes that are meant to ride on dirt are modified so that they can compete on pavement, as well as dirt. The track for a Supermoto race consists of both dirt and pavement. The bikes must have special tires with specific types of grooves that can handle both pavement and dirt tracks during the same race.


Enduro is a type of off-road race with different challenges and obstacles included. There’s often several stages and the bikers race against the clock in a timed trial as well.

Trials Motocross

This is a more straightforward type of time trial race. Motocross bikers race on a dirt track and they are timed. So instead of tricks or jumps, the focus of the race is purely to get the best time or to beat the best time.

Hill Climb

A hill climb motocross event is exactly as it sounds. Riders must go up a hill and try to get the fastest time. In some cases, the race may be to see who gets the farthest up the hill in a certain amount of time. Hill climb motocross is also called hillclimbing.


Generally, supercross is a term used to describe an event, usually taking place in a large stadium, fairgrounds or arena that has installed an artificial and temporary dirt track. The track would consist of jumps as well as obstacles. The type of motorcycle used is a very high performance, specially outfitted bike made specifically to handle the high jumps and sharp turns that are typical of the event. Recently, there have been events that used temporary tracks that were modified to take place in smaller arenas such as basketball and hockey arenas.

ATV Quad Motocross

This type of motocross is not for motorcycles but for ATV’s or Quads, also called All Terrain Vehicles. The bike has four wheels and special frames and tires that are built for dirt racing.


This sport with a funny name is also called sidecar motocross. A sidecar is attached to the bike where a passenger will stand. The passengers job during the race is to provide a counterweight. The sport has declined in popularity in recent years, however.

Building A Foot Bridge

There is more than one way to go about foot  bridge 

construction. If you have decided to add a foot  bridge  or

two to your property you will want to know something about

foot  bridge  construction.

A foot  bridge  makes a nice addition to a garden area and

also looks lovely when constructed over a pond or Japanese

style dry river bed. There are several places to look when

you are ready for foot  bridge  construction.

There are foot  bridge  construction ideas in magazines and

books that are available online or at bookstores or

libraries. Home improvement centers may also have ideas or

plans for foot  bridge  construction.

If this is a first-time building project you may want to

consider a foot  bridge  construction kit. These kits can be

purchased online and many are easy to construct and come

with everything needed to complete the project.

Foot  bridge  construction kits will come with the materials

for many different sizes and styles of  bridges . The foot

 bridges  may be constructed from pine, cedar or redwood.

Pine is attractive in its natural color or it can be

stained or painted. Make sure that that the pine has been

pressure-treated. Cedar resists mold and decay and it also

repels insects. It ages well and does not splinter easily.

Redwood resists rotting and holds up well in most weather


If you want to pay less you may want to build the foot

 bridge  from plans instead of from a kit. This will decrease

the foot  bridge  construction costs. Once again, check for

foot  bridge  construction plans online where you will have a

nice variety of choices.

Foot  bridge  construction need not be difficult or


How to Disassemble a Pool Table

Disassembling a pool table can be rather easy, providing you have the right tools and manpower. The instructions listed here are for a standard wood frame home pool table with a slate bed and leather drop pockets. Coin operated tables and non slate tables have different instructions when disassembling.

Tools Needed: 9/16″ socket, socket wrench, Philips screwdriver. Marked sandwich baggies to place screws and bolts.


Rail Assembly: Contains the wooden rail, the cushion or bumpers to which the apron attaches to.

Bumpers: The rubber part of the rail. They are covered with felt.

Aprons: The wooded segments that attach to the rail assembly. Can be a permanent part of the rail assembly or can be screwed depending on manufacturer of table.

Felt: The cloth that covers the playing surface and the rail bumpers. Usually it is a 75% woolen 25% nylon blend.

Slate: The playing surface of the pool table. Usually comes in (3) pieces. Can either be wood backed or unbacked.

Frame: The base of the pool table which the slate sits on.

  1. First start off by detaching the pockets from the table itself. Usually the straps of the pockets are attached to the table itself with either screws, staples, nails or glue.
  2. Next using your 9/16″ socket and wrench; remove the rail bolts (12) located underneath each rail. Place the rail bolts in a marked baggie for storage.
  3. Take one section of the rail assembly (2 sides and top/bottom) and flip them over onto the covered bed of the pool table. Unscrew the pocket screws.
  4. Remove pockets from rail assembly and place to side.
  5. Place rails to the side. Some tables you will have to remove the aprons at this point.
  6. Remove felt from slate bed. The felt is usually either glued down or stapled to the wood backing of the slate. If it is stapled, remove each staple carefully, as not to rip the felt itself.
  7. Remove the slate screws and place in marked baggie. Sometimes all the slate screws will be filled in with either beeswax, Bondo or spackling putty. Carefully remove the product from each hole.
  8. Pull the slates apart and lift each one and place to the side.These are very heavy so please be careful.
  9. Disassemble the frame. Generally, most of the time if you are just moving the table a short distance all that will be required is removing the legs.
  10. Removed the bolt from each leg. Pick table up and remove legs and place to side.

Want To Save Money on Re-Stringing Your Tennis Racquet?

Do you play tennis? Do you want to save money? Perhaps you should consider buying your own tennis stringing machine.

It is quite easy to learn to string a tennis racquet. Once you are familiar with your own stringing machine you will be surprised how fast you can re-string. There is, of course, a huge advantage in not having to take your racquet to the pro shop and wait a day and then go back to pick it up. This waste of time can be frustrating and inconvenient.

If you buy your own tennis stringing machine you can re-string your racquet at night and have it ready for playing the next day.

Another advantage of owning your own machine is that you can try a lot of different types of strings as well as different tensions without costing you too much.

Many people who string for themselves or their family cover the cost of the machine in fewer than the first 12 months of owning it. They last many years with only minimal maintenance so it is worth doing your research to find out which one will suit you best.

Other than the tensioning mechanism there are many other factors to consider when buying. These factors include the types of clamps used on the stringing machine – usually either floating clamps or fixed clamps. The fixed clamps also have variations such as the type of base and whether the top of the clamp which holds the string acts independently of the base or not. The method by which the clamp holds the string is also another factor to consider.

In addition to the type of clamps available there is also the type of gripper which is attached to the tensioning mechanism. This will vary depending on whether you are using a drop weight stringing machine where the weight needs to be brought parallel in order to achieve accurate tension in the string bed or whether you are using a spring tension winder with a rotational gripper or whether the gripper is on an electronic machine.

The number of mounting points which attach to the racquet head is also a feature which varies on each tennis stringing machine. The most common number of points are either the 2 point mounting system or the 6 point mounting system. There are also variations within each of these systems which provide either greater support for the racquet head and shoulders or faster stringing due to easier access.

When choosing an option it usually comes down to personal preference as long as you are comparing quality stringing machines when comparing each of the racquet mounting options. Obviously a tennis stringing machine which is made of inferior metal will not provide good support for your racquet when it is under tension while stringing, especially if you are using a 2 point mounting system (in comparison to a 6 point mounting system).

Sure, a tennis stringing machine can save you money but there lots of other reasons why you should buy one. The reasons include: greater consistency in tension, improvements to your game, experiencing different strings and the list goes on.

There are many features to consider so do your research before you buy. Once you become the owner of a tennis stringing machine I know you will enjoy the savings as well the convenience of being able to string your own racquet.

Hammered Copper Sheet: A Buying Guide

Not long ago, achieving textured finishes on copper and brass sheets required a considerable amount of hand hammering. For better or worse, the days of a Coppersmith coating his planishing hammer in pure goose grease before taking it to copper sheet, have gone by the wayside. Today, embossing rolls provide texture to copper sheet, with many finishes closely resembling the hand hammered look on copper sheet of days past.

These textured copper sheets are ideal for high traffic areas because of resistance to damage. Moreover, the texturing process increases the strength to weight ratio of the copper sheet and makes it more rigid. The real benefit of these features is to reduce maintenance costs while enhancing the overall appearance of the installation.

These textured and hammered copper sheets are being used in applications previously reserved for flat metal. Elevators, store fronts, doors, countertops, range hoods, light fixtures, sinks and bar tops, are just a few of the applications for this product. The warmth of the finish and the ability of the embossed surface to conceal scratches, open a world of interesting and novel applications. Currently, there are seven different textured finishes available, with one finish offered only on brass sheet.

These panels are produced from 16 oz. copper sheet (approximately .0216″ thick and weigh 1.00/lb. per square foot). It is important to note, over time, copper will darken with exposure to air. The oxygen in the air will actually corrode the metal. Over a number of years, a greenish patina will form on the metal. Most people find the character gained by copper through this corrosion process to be quite attractive. However, if you prefer the bright shinny look, sealers can be used to preserve the bright metal finish of newly rolled copper.

Another great feature of these hammered and textured copper sheets, is that the material can be offered in a variety of sizes. This allows a consumer to purchase only what is needed and it also allows most cut sizes to be shipped via UPS. In the past, you had to purchase a 3′ x 8′ sheet. This meant shipping the copper sheets palletized on a truck. Many times the freight expense would exceed the cost of the copper itself. Now, you can get almost any size you need, delivered to your doorstep, very cost effectively.

Artists Ask Questions About Art Marketing

Artists of all levels have similar questions. These are answers I wrote for an interview in author Barney Davey’s Blog.

How is it different for artists these days from a decade ago?

The quantum change has been the impact of technology. It’s a double-edged sword. On the plus side, you can reach more people without leaving your studio. On the other hand, there is more competition and more complexity. Artists need to be able to navigate cyberspace as easily as the bricks and mortar world.

Technology has changed the way people find art. Now there are thousands of web sites to browse and comparison-shop without leaving home.

Technology has changed the way artists, art professionals and galleries promote. A web presence and involvement in social media are no longer optional.

Technology has changed the way artists offer art. It’s now easy to create digital versions of originals on various substrates, in various sizes, on demand without resorting to upfront expense for production or dealing with storage.

Technology has changed the way we communicate. We live in a nano second world where speed can supplant quality.

I remind artists that technology is a tool to spread the word, not a replacement for communication person-to-person.

What things have not changed, i.e., need for an artist’s statement, a résumé, and so forth?

The more things change, the more they remain the same. The human element is still the core of making, appreciating and marketing fine art. Even art mediated by technology starts with an idea in the artist’s mind.

Artists still need a solid body of signature work as the core of their business. They are still in charge of their brand and the audience is still in charge of sales. Exposure is still fundamental to success so the work is seen by the right audience. Consistent marketing is still the key to a sustainable art business. Relationships and trust are still the bedrock of sales.

Are artists having success using social media?

First, you have to define success. If you measure success by numbers, connect with anyone and everyone. The great promise of social media is relationship building. If you want to build relationships, you have to be more selective. Decide what you have to offer and what you want to know. Limit yourself to people who want the same things. It’s Pareto’s Law: 80% of the possibilities come from direct contact with about 20% of the people. Success for me and artists I work with has come from actually having extended conversations with people online and talking by telephone or meeting them in person. I know – it’s shocking.

How can artists maintain balance between creative, business and personal activities?

There are three categories here. Artists often think only about two at a time, which turns life into a teeter-totter. I define balance as a dynamic equilibrium of all the things that matter in your life. It’s dynamic because life is always in flux. There is no such thing as finding the perfect still point if you want to fully live your life. You know things are in balance when your stress level goes down and you get the results you want, most of the time, in all areas that are important to you.

There are no hard and fast guidelines for creating this delicate balance. Like balancing a mobile sculpture, it is a matter of experimenting with different configurations until you find the one that works. Many of the artists I work with have health issues, are caregivers for elders or children or have jobs other than making art.

For some artists, it works better to have certain days for production that are “sacred” – no matter what. If this fits with the rest of your life, that’s great! But not every life is so orderly – and on principle, many artists resist a schedule that is too rigid. In the end, it doesn’t matter what method you use to get it all done. Just make sure that balancing is one of your goals.

Has the internet forever changed the artist-gallery dynamic?

Galleries were never the whole art market but artists can now easily represent themselves if they are willing to do all the work. Online galleries come in various flavors and artists need to do their due diligence to make sure that they know who they are dealing with. There are many reputable galleries with an online presence, but there are always a few that artists need to look out for. My money is still on the gallerists who limit the number of artists they show and have direct contact with each artist.

What is the future for visual artists? Will the digital age overtake traditional forms of marketing art? Have new marketing paradigms changed how artists get their work to market?

Art has survived since the cave days and I don’t think demand for it will disappear in my lifetime. Creativity is hardwired into all of us. We live in a visual and graphic world, so there is always a future for image-makers.

  • The drive to create is timeless.
  • The need to see and interact is human nature.
  • There are more ways than ever to create and communicate.

The challenge remains making the best work and the best choices of marketing. New channels and speed have changed how artists market and how fast we need to respond, but the buying process is still in the same.

What is the most common misperception artists have about a formal mentoring or coaching program, and how do you overcome them?

The most common misperception is that there is a quick fix for every art business. Books, programs and recordings are a great source of information – but you have to apply them for things to change. It takes personal reflection and/or discussion to turn that information into knowledge. Knowledge without application goes nowhere. You have to apply knowledge to see what works for you and what doesn’t. That experience – along with successes and failures becomes wisdom you can take to the bank.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” Winston Churchill.

Bottom line:

Find the spark that makes you and your work something only you can do. Make lots and lots of art. Make lots of connections. Build a handful of great relationships and nurture them. Art marketing is not as mysterious as it seems – it is simply a series of conversations designed to build abridge between you, your art, and your audience.

Specialized Construction Areas For Industry Builders

A common definition for the word ‘builder’ is a construction worker. As a construction industry builder working primarily in construction sites, this artisan or laborer take part and could possibly specialize in any of the various construction occupations:

  • A bricklayer or alternatively called mason, is a tradesman who sets bricks to assemble brickwork. A colloquial term ‘brickie’ is also used to refer to a bricklayer who utilizes blocks to perform masonry jobs.
  • A carpenter performs a wide range of carpentry tasks and woodworking including construction of buildings, furniture and other objects made from wood. This occupation encompasses majority of manual labors. Different types of a carpenter exist, a finish carpenter, a trim carpenter, a cabinetmaker, a ship’s carpenter, a scenic carpenter, a luthier or a formwork carpenter.
  • The job of a Carpet Layer is all about laying of carpets and floorings.
  • The Concrete Finisher or Cement Mason is a builder who toils with concrete (placement, finishes, protection and repair) in engineering and building projects. Essential tools used by a cement mason are shovels, rakes, masonry trowel, wagon chute, concrete pump, concrete skip and wheelbarrow.
  • Heavy equipment necessary to execute engineering and construction tasks are steered and operated by a Heavy Equipment Operator.
  • A trained laborer who specialize in electrical wiring of buildings or other associated equipment is called an Electrician. Electrical installations of new buildings and infrastructure or repair and maintenance of existing electrical systems are performed by an electrician. This profession is also required in the assembly and production of ships, airplanes and other vehicles.
  • A Fencer is employed in the building of fences.
  • The Laborer basically provides assistance to other builders or construction workers and may perform various tasks such as concreting, paving, piping, drilling, blasting and landscaping. A laborer is known to be efficient in handling or using air tools, hand tools, blasting, small heavy equipment.
  • A Painter and Decorator is usually hired to perform painting projects to make a house or infrastructure look better or to protect them from damage which may be caused by water, rust, corrosion, insects or mould.
  • The Plasterer performs plastering (the process of creating plasterwork). His task is to form a layer of plaster on an interior wall or to create plaster decorative moldings on ceilings or walls.
  • A Plumber’s occupation which started since ancient periods, is about installation and maintenance of respective structures utilized for plumbing, heating, drainage, potable (drinking) water or small-sized industrial process plant piping.
  • A Steamfitter or Pipefitter’s job is to lay out, assemble, fabricate, maintain and repair large sizes of piping systems mainly used for industrial processes. Such systems are generally applied with high pressure and composed of metal materials like carbon steel and stainless steel welded together.
  • The Steel fixer arranges and fastens reinforcing bars and meshes to support concrete in building.
  • The task performed by a Steel erector is to install the structural steel frames of buildings and infrastructure during construction.
  • A Tiler is the one to call if there are required services on installation and assembly of tiles in people’s homes as well as commercial establishments.
  • A Welder welds materials together such as metals or varieties of plastic and polymer.

Slate Roofing Material

Slate roofing has identified itself in the mainstream for quite some time now. Furthermore, a greater number of the roofs you may see on a regular basis, contingent on where you live, will be a slate roof. Customarily, these roofs have been considered one of the top quality and longest lasting residential roofing material on the market. Although slate is markedly durable, some homeowners choose to get them installed for various other reasons.

What precisely is slate? Slate is actually a type of stone. What numerous people may not be aware of, is that you can classify a lot of slate roofs simply when the light hits it from a particular angle. This is because of the mica component that is found in slate, that can be up to 40% in many forms of slate.

Slate is a beautiful, elegant looking product that looks fantastic on any design of roof. Even though the material itself holds a gorgeous color, many customers don’t even recognize how many choices they actually have when choosing a slate roof. Slate roofs supply people with the possibility to search from various thicknesses and sizes to assure that it is an accurate fit for the material that is represented on your home. They also permit you to customize how they are installed, providing a range of patterns for installation. Other than simply circumference, slate roofs also come in a collection of colors, including: red, black, gray, green, and purple. There is also such a slate choice as “mottled” tiles that display as if they are a composite of all the colors to choose from.

While this type of roof brings wonderful customization, it is also one of the longest lasting roofs on the market. While similar in style, you have to repair roof shingles frequently because of typical wear and tear. Slate roofs are estimated to last up to a century, with rarely any maintenance along the way. Of course drastic weather can result in minor costs, nevertheless, with a strong and comprehensive installation, you are sure to keep your cash in your pocket and get the most out of your investment.

You may be wondering how long it takes to install slate on your roof. Typically with one person, most people will install 100 square feet of slate a day. You are likely going to pay around 10 to 30 dollars per slate. This can be quite a purchase, but you will likely never have to do any repairs on your roof for the rest of the time that you live in the house! It is definitely a high quality investment to think of when selecting the material you want to apply on your roof.