3 Basic Rules of Lean Bulking

When looking to increase the size and strength of muscles, most people rely heavily on creating a calorie surplus. This is basically where you consume more calories than you use, put simply and without going into detail on individual macro-nutrients. Thus, your body “fuel” enough for your muscles to repair and grow back. Unfortunately increasing muscle mass in this way often comes with the addition of unwanted body fat.

Another way to increase lean muscle mass without significantly increasing your percentage of body fat would be lean bulking. However, this requires your nutrition and supplementation to be more precise and is often more complicated.

To make things a little simpler, you need a supplement. But to make it sense, you have to read the three basic rules of lean bulking below.

Rule #1. Eat carbohydrates wisely

When lean bulking, you do not need to completely cut carbohydrates, rather eat carbs wisely. The best times to eat carbs when you are lean bulking would be the first thing in the morning because you fasted for 7 hours (during sleep) and therefore sugar levels in the blood are low and muscle glycogen levels are depleted.

Therefore, any carbohydrates you eat will be used to restore muscle glycogen levels which will then in turn be used to fuel your workouts (rather than being stored as fat). This same principle applies to after your workout when you actually need carbohydrates to create a peak insulin to shuttle while the protein content of your post workout shake your muscles. Also because you have worked your muscles are so exhausted, muscle glycogen and carbohydrates will only be used to restore it rather than being stored as fat.

Rule #2. Take leucine as your supplement

Try adding a tiny teaspoon (about 3 g) of leucine, an essential amino acid to your shake since studies show the higher levels of leucine in the blood, the higher the protein synthesis rate in your muscles.

In fact, other studies show leucine can help the absorption of all the other nutrients and proteins, so having this in your shake can help your body absorb all the other nutrients inside.

Rule #3. Manipulate your anabolic hormones naturally

One of the most effective ways to increase lean muscle mass without relying on a calorie surplus would be to manipulate your anabolic hormones naturally. This can be done by filling your diet with a natural testosterone booster as supplement that contains ingredients scientifically proven as D-aspartic acid, an amino acid that is formed mainly in the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and testis.

D-aspartic acid plays an important role in the production of compounds associated with libido, tissue growth and the production of luteinizing hormone. It stimulates the production of signal molecules which in turn enhance the activity in your testes as well as your pituitary gland. From an athletic point of view, this allows your body to produce the compounds that help increase lean growth, strength, power and energy.

In one specific study, the researchers provided a group of men (aged 27-37) a daily dose of 3.12 grams of D-aspartic acid for twelve consecutive days. The level of compound growth in subjects who received the supplement increased 33% after the twelve days!

The results of this study have huge implications for those seeking to improve their athletic potential and also to improve the shape of their body with lean tissue.

Composing a Portrait

This article merely aims to highlight the key “rules” of composition, and focuses primarily on a head and shoulders portrait of a single sitter.

Principle point of interest

Any image requires a principal point of interest, and in a portrait this is usually the subject’s eyes.

The principal point of interest should not be dead centre in the frame: this is too static and symmetrical. Imagine a line running through the subject’s eyes, and another at 90° running through their nose and chin to form a cross. The best position for this cross is slightly above the horizontal middle of the frame, and slightly to the left or right of the vertical middle.

Whether the cross is slightly to the left or right depends on which direction the subject is looking. If they are looking to the left, there should be more background to the left, so the cross is placed the right of centre. Conversely, if they are looking to the right, the cross should be placed to the left. This helps prevent the viewer’s eye from being drawn out of the picture when it follows the subjects sight line.

When the subject is facing directly towards the camera, consider the direction of the shoulders. They should not be square on, but slightly turned either left or right. Here the aim should be to have a little more space in front of the subject rather than behind them. So, if the right shoulder is nearest the camera, frame the shot so their eyes are also right of centre.

Returning to our imagined cross on a face, if this is upright, the portrait will appear very formal. This is often a good option for more mature subjects. Tilting the cross to either side creates a diagonal axis to the features, which suggests movement an vitality, and is often best for younger subjects.


Composition is always improved by the creation of triangles. When composing a portrait, try to visualize the outline of the subject fitting into a triangle.

Tall triangles in an upright format suggest height and dignity. In a landscape format they hint at confinement or struggle. Low triangles in a landscape format imply stability. In an upright format they give an impression of weakness. Triangles tilted forward suggest movement, and titled backwards they imply liveliness. Tilt too far in any direction, and stability will be lost unless a second stabilizing element is introduced (e.g. A head tilted greatly to one side may need a hand to support it. Introducing an arm bent at the elbow creates another triangle and so restores stability). If someone looks like they are about to fall over, it should tell you that the composition of the shot is wrong.

Lines can be broken so long as the eye can easily skip them. Lines can also be imaginary, or implied. For example, a viewers eye will always tend to follow the subject’s line of sight.


Our eyes are always more attracted to light tones than dark tones. Directional tendencies can be created by tones, so for example, if there are two or more adjacent light areas, the eye will travel from one to the other.

In a portrait, the face should be the principal attraction, and therefore lighter. Any other light area (clothing, hands) need to be subdued in tone, Avoid strong patterns (e.g. clothing), as these can compete with the face for attention.

A portrait needs to be tonally balanced. This means not having all the dark tones on one side, and all the light tones on the other (Unfortunately, this is what we see in a typical wedding photo of the Bride and Groom!).


Working as a portrait artist, I rarely reproduce the background in a reference photo, for good reasons, and choosing the background for a portrait is probably worthy of a dedicated article (see Backgrounds).

All I am going to say here is that the simplest consideration is either a light or dark background. Dark backgrounds are commonly seen in classic portraits. Light backgrounds are currently trendy in modern photography. For my purposes, a light background works best, because it is makes the outline of the subject easier to see.


Colour harmony and behaviors are an important element of composition. Colours convey mood and depth. Cool colours appear to recede (blue-greens, blues, purples), while warm colours appear to advance (yellows. oranges, reds). Cool or neutral colours work best for backgrounds, while warm colours in clothing help give a portrait depth.

Colour choices depend on the subject. Blondes and brunets have differing requirements; blue works well with the former, while blue-greens/greens better suits the latter. Somber colours suit older subjects, while vibrant colours go well with young subjects.

The key aim should be to choose colours that compliment, and are sympathetic to, the subject’s colouring.

Footnote: There are circumstances when these “rules” may be broken, but the intention of this article is to convey simple guidelines applicable to most situations.

The Importance Of The BBSA In The Blinds And Shutter Industry

As discussed before in a previous article of ours, the BBSA is an important group to be a member of, for any company who is in the blinds and shutter industry. When you are purchasing a product from a supplier, if they are a member of this association, this suggests that they are a legit and reputable establishment to be dealing with. So what is the BBSA and why is it so essential in the industry?

The British Blinds and Shutter Association

Buyers are becoming more weary and skeptical of businesses who do work for them. This is because not all tradesman and businesses have good intentions, and the fear of being ‘ripped off’ is more prominent than ever. If a customer deals with a disreputable business it can leave them financially and even emotionally wounded. So whether a buyer is a homeowner or a commercial company, they often want something more than words to assure them that their services are honourable.

National endorsement of a company whom a customer chooses to work on their premises is the best way to reassure a customer that the business is legit. In fact, being a member of an association like the BBSA is commonly a requirement for businesses to obtain work. This means that if you are considering to purchase a blind or shutter from a company, ensuring that they are a member of the BBSA is the best indication of their legitimacy.

Any company who is a member of the association has to meet standards which are declared in the Code of Conduct. The BBSA expects the highest standards of its members and therefore any company who displays the BBSA logo shows that they are abiding by the code of practice.

How to check or find a BBSA member

In theory, anyone could copy the BBSA logo, and claim that they are a member, so it may be worth doing some additional checks on the company. It is therefore suggested that you go directly to the association’s website (http://www.bbsa.org.uk). Here you can use the search tool to find members by your location, or by their trademark/ name. This is the best and safest way to ensure that your supplier is not only who they say they are, but an honest and reputable company in the industry. This is the type of company that you should trust to supply you with blinds and shutters.

Buy Coolaroo Shade Sails

Fabric sails are an excellent way to cover an outside patio deck or even an outdoor restaurant setting. You, your family and customers will keep protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The sun is most brutal at peak times of the day. Usually between the hours of 4 PM and 6 PM the sun is at its most powerful. The sun can also be very strong in the morning as well. Especially, when there are not many clouds around.

Gale Pacific, an Australian company, has been around for many years providing sun sails, window shades and raw shade cloth for both the commercial and residential markets. Coolaroo sun sails are considered to be some of the best made shade sails in the industry. Most of their shade sails are constructed from heavy-duty shade cloth that is guaranteed for 10 years. These sails are hemmed along the edges as well. At the corner of each sail is a d-ring that is sewn onto the sun sail. This d-ring can be used to attach to your fixing points. Coolaroo even includes in many of its shade sail kits, hardware. They provide you with the basic hardware you will need to attach to any tree, fixing post or even the side of a house.

The advantage of Coolaroo fabric sails is that they block out 95% of the sun’s harmful ultra violet rays. These are the same UV rays that can cause skin cancer. Coolaroo sun sails are very attractive and provide protection at the same time. They can be used for just about any application that you can think. Coolaroo shade cloth is used in many large commercial shade structure projects as well. This fabric is known in the industry for its longevity as well as durability.

Coolaroo shade sails start at around $92 with shipping. Be careful when purchasing online. Many online retailers will show a very inexpensive retail price, but then turn around and sock it to you with the shipping charges. Look for websites where shipping prices are included.

RV Spring Preparation Checklist

Your RV has been sitting idle over the winter. Now the early signs of spring are here and it’s time to take it out of storage and prepare the coach and chassis for this years camping season. If you’re like me, you want to have some type of logical sequence to follow rather then haphazardly checking the unit out. I made a simple checklist to use so that nothing is overlooked. I prefer to do the majority of spring preparation myself. If you’re more comfortable having someone else do it you can schedule an appointment with a reputable RV service center to have it done.

* Depending on how your unit was winterized it will need to be de-winterized. If you used non-toxic RV antifreeze you need to run fresh water through the entire system until all traces of antifreeze are gone. To remove it from the 12-volt water pump add water to the fresh water-holding tank, turn the pump on and open all water faucets. When the antifreeze is out of the system turn the pump off and take the water heater out of the by-pass mode (if applicable). Re-install any water filter cartridges you removed for storage.

* At this point I like to sanitize the water system. Make sure all of the drains are closed and drain plugs are installed. Take a quarter cup of household bleach for every fifteen gallons of water your fresh water tank holds. Mix the bleach with water into a one-gallon container and pour it into the fresh water holding tank. Fill the fresh water holding tank completely full of water. Turn the water pump on and open all faucets, run water until you smell the bleach. Close the faucets and let it sit for at least twelve hours. Drain all of the water and re-fill the tank with fresh water. Turn the pump on and open all faucets until you no longer smell bleach. It may be necessary to repeat this process to eliminate all signs of the bleach.

* With the water system under pressure inspect for water leaks. Check the operation of the toilet.

* Wash the unit thoroughly. This is a good time to inspect the roof and body seams, and window sealants for cracking that would allow water to get in. Consult a dealer for sealants compatible with these materials.

* Inspect the operation of the awning and clean the awning fabric as required.

* Inspect the tires for signs of dry rot. Inflate all tires to the recommended COLD tire pressure.

* Lubricate all hinges and locks with spray lubricant.

* Remove any tape or protective covering you may have put over LP gas vents to keep insects and rodents out. Check any mousetraps you may have put out. Open all doors and compartments and check for rodent intrusion and water damage.

* Inspect and clean the interior.

* Plug in any appliances that you unplugged for storage and replace any dry cell batteries you may have removed. This is a good time to put new batteries in items like smoke alarms.

* Test the operation of the carbon monoxide alarm, LP gas leak detector and smoke alarm.

* Check the fire extinguisher. Be sure it is fully charged.

* Reset any breakers you may have turned off. If you removed any fuses for storage re-install them.

* Clean or replace air conditioner filters if it wasn’t done prior to storage and remove any covers that were put over air conditioners.

* Open vents and windows and air the unit out.

* If you removed the coach and chassis batteries for storage install them. Whether they were removed or not check the electrolyte levels, clean the terminals and clamps, and check the charge level in all batteries. Recharge batteries as necessary.

* Check the operation of the electric steps if applicable. Lubricate step mechanism.

* Test the operation of the hydraulic jacks if applicable. Check hydraulic fluid level.

* Test the operation of the back up camera and monitor if applicable.

* If you didn’t change the oil and filters in the generator prior to storage this is a good time to do it. Inspect the generator exhaust system for damage prior to starting. Start and run the generator for two hours with at least a half rated load on it. Consult the generators owner manual for load ratings.

* Turn the generator off and plug the unit into shore power. Turn the refrigerator on in the electric mode. Allow sufficient time to cool and check for proper operation.

* Check all 12-volt interior lights and accessories.

* Test the monitor panel for proper operation.

* Check the operation of slide outs if applicable.

* Check the remaining 120-volt appliances for proper operation.

* Test the Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) for proper operation.

* Turn the refrigerator off, leave the doors open and allow sufficient time for it to get to room temperature so it can be checked in the gas mode.

* Before I use the LP gas system I have a leak test and gas operating pressure test preformed. A qualified technician with the proper equipment should do these tests.

* After this is accomplished turn the LP gas valve on and check the operation of all LP gas appliances. Be sure the water heater is full of water before testing the water heater. If a gas appliance is not operating properly have it inspected by a qualified technician. Insects are attracted to the odorant added to LP gas and build nests that can affect the appliance from operating properly.

* If your unit was in long-term storage and you didn’t change the engine oil and filter prior to storage this would be a good time to do it.

* Check all fluid levels in transmission, power steering, engine coolant, engine oil, windshield washer and brakes. Consult vehicle owners manual.

* Start the engine and check for proper readings on all gauges. Check for proper operation of dash air conditioner.

* Perform a complete chassis lubrication if it wasn’t done prior to storage.

* Check the condition of windshield wiper blades and replace them if necessary.

* Check the operation of all chassis lights.

* Make sure the vehicle emissions/inspection sticker is up to date.

* In addition to this if you have a pop-up or travel trailer the wheel bearings and brakes (if equipped) should be inspected at least once annually. Inspect any canvas for dry rot and tears; inspect all hitch work and the coupler for damage. Inspect the breakaway switch and pigtail for proper operation.

Happy Camping ,


Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101

Do It Right: Estimate Your Roofing

A roofing estimate is such an important initial step to simply start any type of roofing work. As estimating a part of a big roofing job, it is a task as crucial as the actual application of the materials needed. It can commence into a good relationship with a homeowner to the roofing contractor.

There are common steps on Estimating Roofing.

Select the material that you will be roofing with. Selecting the materials could be somewhat crucial at times as you have to carefully choose each material. Think about the price and the quality of each and reduce cost replacement.

Measure the length and the width of the roof. It comes in different sizes so you will need to use such proper measurements for each of the material types. Don’t forget to include overhangs in your measurements.

Here are certain dimensions for a specific type of roofing material:

a.) For pavement shingles, change over the estimations of the top range to square feet. Reproduce length by width to get square feet. A top that is 20 feet wide by 20 feet long is 400 square feet. Three clusters of shingles blanket 100 square feet, so you will require 12 clusters for 400 square feet of top surface. You will dependably buy shingles by the cluster.

b.) For a top made with metal sheets, change over the estimations of the top region to crawls (20 feet long by 20 feet wide is changed over to 240 inches in length by 240 inches wide). Duplicate 240 by 240 to get 57,600 square inches. At that point, take the 10-foot length of metal sheet and duplicate by 12 (inches). The sheet of metal is then 120 inches in length and 42 inches wide, so one sheet of metal is equivalent to 5,040 square inches. Presently, partition 57,600 (zone of top in square creeps) by 5,040 (zone of one sheet of metal), and you get 11.4285 bits of 10-foot metal that is 42 inches wide. Adjust that number to 12 pieces on the grounds that metal material comes in full sheets just.

But always remember, durability comes first before affordability. A good roof can endure any obstacles coming so start looking for a good roofing contractor and save yourself from the hassle of spending twice as much as your first ever roof replacement service.

Happy Roofing to you all!

Difference Between Open and Closed Bridging Loans

Bridging finance are usually used to cover any shortfalls that come up when you are buying one of your properties and selling off another. They can also be used when you want to cover your business between funding periods. When you decide to use bridging finance, you can choose between open and closed bridging loans. There are several differences between these two options.

The open bridging loans allow you to take out a loan even if the sale of an existing property is not in the plan. It is a type of short-term loan that you can use if the sale of your house or commercial building is delayed and you need money to complete the process. This is a good option if you are looking for something that will offer you money within a short period of time. The payback is short and in most cases, it is between 6 and 9 months. It is very important to take note of this time period because you will be required to pay back the money in full once the term expires.

With open bridging loans, the amount that you borrow will be secured by your property. This means that in case of a default on the payments, your property may be repossessed. Even if there is no sale pending, you are required to sell the property within the term of the loan. Most lenders will require you to provide an appraisal on the property. They also require information about the house value and how much similar properties are going for in the area.

Open bridging loans usually take a long time to complete compared to other kinds of loans. It can take about a week or more before the loan is approved but this will depend on the details that the lenders require from you. If you want to use this option, it is important to ensure all your documents are in order before you approach a lender. Closed bridging loans are used when you have just bought a new home and sold off your old one but the proceeds have not been sent in time. The loans help you to get the home and repay the amount as soon as you get the proceeds from selling the old house. This is a good option if you do not have credit because the new property will be used as collateral. It is a form of mortgage that is secured on the house.

Unlike the open bridging loans, the closed ones can be taken for various reasons including when you need money for a business, wedding or holiday. For the closed bridging loans, you are expected to pay back the money in about six months. You will be required to set a specific period of time within which you will pay back the money. It is important to make sure the term is reasonable. Unlike the open ones, you will face penalties for late payments instead of losing your property. It takes a short time to complete the closed bridging loans therefore you can get funds quickly.

Assemble Products at Home – Easy Work, Great Pay

Have you ever considered assembling products from home as a way to make a good income? You’ve probably seen the ads in newspapers and tabloids and thought they were all scams. The truth is, you really can earn a very good living by simply putting products together!

While this type of work isn’t for everyone, there are people who would love to assemble products at home and work on their own schedule. This type of work is perfect for anyone who is home bound, disabled or simply wants to earn money from their own home.

What types of items would you be assembling? Here are just a few examples of the hundreds of products that are available:

Baby Bibs

CD Cases




Picture Frames

Wooden Crafts

This is just a SHORT list! If you decide that home assembly work is something you would be interested in, there is no prior experience necessary. The only requirement is that you can meet deadlines – that’s it. Hundreds of companies are looking for people to put their products together.

Why would companies pay you to assemble products at home? That’s simple. It saves them TONS of money. They don’t have to add an assembly line to their business, they don’t have to provide employee benefits or vacations. It’s the perfect choice for these companies!

Are you ready to work a few hours per day from your own home, and leave the 9 to 5 behind? Think of the gas you will save, and the time you will get to spend with your family. Want to learn more about how easy it is to assemble products at home and make good money? Visit the links below!

HP Wall Mount – TouchSmart Mount and Complete Wall Mount Kit

From informational kiosks in public areas, patient rooms and nursing stations in hospitals, interactive games for children at fast food restaurants to the home kitchen, the HP TouchSmart all-in-one computer is used for its touch-enabled technology and unique interaction experience. With many applications, it is desired to mount this computer to correctly position the touch screen for the user’s comfort and enjoyment. Mounting also provides additional benefits, such as saving space and providing a level of anti-theft security. Unlike a mounted television or computer monitor, the TouchSmart’s screen is constantly pushed on by users. It is critical that the computer is properly supported when mounted.

When looking at how the HP TouchSmart has been designed to sit on the desk top, you will see that the weight of the computer rests on 3 points; the 2 legs directly under the monitor and the “kickstand” attached to the back of the computer. When mounting and suspending the computer, it is important to maintain its design by supporting these 3 points.

Other considerations when mounting the HP TouchSmart:

1. Make sure the mount is VESA compliant. “VESA” stands for “Video Electronics Standards Association”. VESA promotes and develops relevant, open standards for display manufacturers and the display mounting industry. Using a VESA compliant mount will help to ensure that your computer is mounted correctly.

2. To mount the HP TouchSmart, a VESA Mount Adapter Kit, or the like, is needed to attach the computer to a VESA mount. Make sure the mount adapter does not require any modifications to be made to the computer as this could void warranty.

3. The HP TouchSmart has an external power supply, or “power brick”, like that of a printer. Consider how this will be supported when the computer is mounted.

4. Do you want to mount your HP TouchSmart to the wall? Look for bundled or complete wall mount kits. Purchasing a complete wall mount kit will potentially save you time and money, and also ensure you have everything you need to mount your computer properly.

HP Wall Mount – Complete Wall Mount System

The ideal mounting kit for the HP TouchSmart will include a mount adapter bracket that is VESA compliant and attaches to the back of the computer without modifying the computer’s case. The mount adapter bracket will have arms that reach down to support the computer from underneath as well. Also included, is a device for holding the external power pack behind the display, up and out of sight.

The VESA adapter and mounting kit will have everything needed for properly attaching the HP TouchSmart to an existing HP wall mount, VESA compliant wall mount or desk mount arm. In addition, the mount kit will include a flush wall mount bracket for customers who simply want to mount their computer to the wall like a tv, providing a complete wall mounting system.

Bosch 24v Hammer Drill – Drilling Through Concrete

While most Do-it-yourselfers primarily need an occasional hole in wood or vinyl, any serious homeowner will eventually want to get a bigger hole in much more difficult material.


For example, maybe you’re installing a new electrical line for a fountain in the back yard – and you’ve got to go through an 8-inch block wall. You’re not going to pound through that concrete with a conventional drill. What you need is a Bosch 24v  hammer  drill.

A Bosch 24v  hammer  drill, as well as other  hammer  drills, utilize an additional feature to get through hard surfaces like concrete. Not only do they rotate a drill bit, but they also have a pounding  hammer  that uses the bit as a chisel.

This double-action of rotating and pounding chips away at hard, brittle material like concrete and stone.

It’s important to note that you don’t want to use a Bosch 24v  hammer  drill with a regular drill bit. In fact, some  hammer  drills don’t even accept normal drill bits. The chucks don’t function the same way. The reason you don’t want to use a regular drill bit is because the masonry bit (as they are commonly called) has a hardened tip designed to bare the impact of the  hammer  action, as well as being used on extremely hard material, like concrete and stone.

It’s important to note that with today’s advances in battery and motor technology, what was not possible years ago is now common practice. I’m referring to a battery powered  hammer  drill. The Bosch 24v  hammer  drill, the Brute Tough 1/2″ model, is small enough to handle easily, but strong enough to get the job done.


If, however, you’re going to be drilling a lot of holes in concrete, or very large holes, the Bosch 24v  hammer  drill is probably not the best option. In that case, you would want to look at something like a Bosch SDS-Plus which is a corded drill.

Hidden Karnak – Excavations in Front of the Temple

Karnak temple, huge, inspiring, magnificent That is inside but on the outside there is a huge excavation going on which most people just don’t notice. You actually walk over it as you exit the temple. There is a small wooden bridge that is part of the exit and most people just walk over it. But it is actually over a huge embankment, this is changing our view of the temple. In later times the Nile has moved leaving this embankment and the area in front of Karnak free for building. It seems to have been considered special in some way and baths for cleansing/healing or similar were built. Discoveries are still being made, (2011).

The first discovery was some Ptolemaic baths. With 16 seats there are two circles where the user would have sat in the cubicle with his feet on a granite stopper. Behind him was a shelf with his towel. In the centre is a lovely mosaic of fish and at the edge of the seats there are dolphins. The mosaics are actually outlined in lead. This is just in front of the first pylon to the left as you face it.

The latest thinking that the small lake shown in the tomb of Neferhotep, TT49 was actually under the hyperstyle hall and that this embankment shows how far the Nile has shifted. So the pylon shown in that tomb is actually the third pylon.

Further north there is another set of baths, this time Roman, at a much higher level and, built centuries later. There have been several finds in this area, including a hoard of rare coins. Also the Useramun stele,. He is the uncle of Rekhmire and what on earth his stele is doing on the East bank is anyone’s guess. This has been published on the website of Dr Zahi Hawass.

The embankment is being traced along its route towards Luxor temple, there is still lots of excavation to be done and it is unknown how far this extends. It could be it goes all the way and could be used as part of the Opet festival celebrations.

In other articles in this series Hidden Karnak I explore white chapel of Senusret I in the Open Air Museum, priests houses, botanical room, Khonsu temple, Ptah temple and the block yard.

Building Your Own Summer Backyard Shuffleboard Court

Enjoyed for many years all over the world, shuffleboard offers fun for the whole family due to its low fitness and physicality demands. This means that it is perfect for old and young players, and is a quick game for beginners to pick up and learn in a small amount of time. Therefore, with the glorious summer sun raining down on us all across the nation, shuffleboard is the perfect recreational outdoor pastime to play before the daily barbecue dinner ritual takes place!

If you want to play this popular game in your own backyard, you can use the following straightforward method to build your own garden-based shuffleboard court. It involves four simple instructional steps, and will not take long to carry out if you already possess the tools and materials needed.


1. When deciding on the location for your shuffleboard court, the specific spot should be both long and narrow. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to allocate extra room around the edges of the court so that other players (and sporting spectators!) can watch and relax: A four foot standing area at each end is sufficient. A standard court is 52 feet long and 77 inches wide although, if you suffer from space restrictions, you can create a smaller playable court measuring 28 feet by 36 wide instead. The concrete needs to be roughly three or four inches deep.

2. Slowly pour an equal amount of concrete over the court space. Use a steel trowel to smooth down the entire surface, producing an even finish. Once dried, coat it with an acrylic sealer that seals concrete and other masonry surfaces. This will offer a more flush and level playing area.

3. After it has dried, it’s up to you if you want the court painted, with green being the customary color. Afterwards, remember to add the court lines! You can buy ready-made shuffleboard court templates that are sold specifically for this purpose or you can obviously do it yourself. Ensure that the markings are easily discernible by making the lines a different shade from the base color.

4. Finally, buy a shuffleboard wax and coat the entire court so that the discs can slide effortlessly. Keep in mind that, as time passes, the wax needs to be totally stripped and then applied again. Waxing should be carried out on a regular basis to guarantee a high quality of continuous play. When the court is completed, bring together your shuffleboard cues and discs, make sure that each player is familiar with the rules, and enjoy!

Creating your own homemade shuffleboard court will require a bit of space but it’s nothing you can’t do yourself. However, if you would instead like to purchase a portable all-weather shuffleboard court, they are available in a diverse range of colors, designs and sizes alongside other multi-game courts.

Tips on Choosing Exterior House Colors and Materials

Choosing exterior house colors can be quite a challenge. It often takes years of experience to learn what colors and materials will work together. The average person has never done this before and certainly dooesn’t have training or professional experience. And choosing the wrong color paint or material can be a very expensive mistake that you’ll likely have to accept for many years (or spend a lot of money to fix). Here are some tips to help you make the right choices.

Choosing the Right Paint Colors

The most common error I see in choosing exterior house color is that the color is too light. The sun will wash out colors outside, so choosing a light color will end up looking like white. When choosing colors, keep in mind that they usually need to be more grey or brown than you think. For example, a grey with a tint of green in it will read more green than you usually think when painted on the entire house. If you choose a color and can say ‘now that’s green’, you’ve probably chosen too ‘green of a green’. The primary exception to this rule would be in more tropical locations such as Florida or other locations where a lighter more reflective color is desired to keep a house cool. Here pastel and brighter colors can work very well.

If you are having trouble choosing siding and trim colors, keep them related to each other, like a cream trim and a darker beige on the same paint chip strip. Then add an accent color like a deep eggplant color.

Tips on Choosing Window Colors

Many homes have vinyl windows which will usually be white. Painting white vinyl with a dark paint can be disastrous because of the expansion of the vinyl in sunlight. The dark color will cause the vinyl to expand even more than normal, leading to paint and possibly window failure. If you have trim around a white vinyl window, it often works best to paint that trim white too. That will tend to make the vinyl windows blend in more, and look more like a traditional wood window.

If you are choosing new windows and you want to paint your house a darker color, consider choosing a window that is cream or almond color. A bright white window on a very dark house color will generally have too much contrast. If you choose cream or almond windows, and paint the trim a coordinating color, it will work better with the darker paint scheme. There are a few manufacturers that product a grey vinyl which can work well with a more modern house or a house with metal siding, or even brick. Generally I don’t care for white vinyl on brick homes, unless the house is very traditional. Choosing a grey or almond window will almost always look better. If you have the budget for wood or metal clad windows, then you’ll have many more color choices, and the mid-tone to darker colors often look better with brick.

Painting Brick:

Just because you have a brick house, don’t automatically rule out painting the brick. You will still have the texture of the brick, but you won’t be stuck to the same color, which date many, many homes. Of course, if you have a Frank Lloyd Wright mission style brick home, don’t paint it! But most of our homes are not so inspired. Painting the brick can really freshen up a dark and dreary house. Consult a good paint store when painting brick to be sure to get compatible products.

How to Choose the Right Accent Colors

This is a place where you can afford to be a little riskier because generally accent colors are limited to a smaller area. I compare this to a woman who puts on makeup: the accent color is like putting on mascara and lipstick. But keep it classy! You know what too much makeup does to a woman. The same goes for a house.

How to Choose Roof Colors

When the roof of a house is visible, it can be a very prominent element. Choosing the wrong color roof is a very expensive mistake so it’s important to understand some general rules. When choosing the roof, consider what color the house is going to be painted (or if it is brick or stone, consider the general tone of the material). If the house is being painted warmer colors, then a brown roof will be the right choice. If the house will be cooler colors (like greys, blues or greens), then a dark grey roof will work better. If you have to decide on a roof color first, one of the most common and versitile choices is a dark grey color. If your house used to have wood shake shingles and you are replacing it with a composition shingle, most manufacturers make a dark brown color that is similar to shake colors. If you are installing a metal roof, consider colors other than the traditional green, which works well on buildings with log siding, but not too much else. Again, choose a color that will allow you some flexibility in your house paint color choices.

Choosing colors can be really challenging. Remember, don’t choose from a little paint chip! Even trained professionals have large sample boards painted (or paint directly on the house). Purchase a quart of a few colors of paint and look at your samples in different light and on different sides of your house. Color can change dramatically in different light, so put in the time to choose the right colors. When you do the results can be an amazing transformation.

Painting Walls – Paint Roller Tips & Tricks

The paint roller is our best friend when it comes to painting walls. Able to apply paint very quickly and uniformly, we owe a lot of gratitude to our friend the paint roller. Available in a multitude of sizes and in a variety of different materials generally if something needs to be painted there is a roller that can do the job. This article will discuss some basic tips that I don’t read about very often.

First a brief explanation of the terminology. ‘Paint cage’ this is the tool that you put the actual roller sleeve on. The tube bit that applies the paint is called a ‘sleeve’ or ‘roller sleeve’ etc. Sometimes I’ve used ‘roller’ or ‘paint roller’ to describe the cage and the sleeve together.

Loading your roller properly is an important step, the amount of paint you’ll want on your roller depends on the surface that you are painting and what sort of roller sleeve you’ve got but generally the motion is the same. You want to roll the roller down the pan until the just the roller sleeve touches the paint, let it get saturated for a moment before lifting your paint roller up, moving it towards the top of the pan and rolling it back down into the paint. Doing this a few times will load up the paint tray as well and super saturate your roller, you generally want your paint roller to be on the verge of over-saturation as this allows a consistent thickness of paint as well as full paint coverage on the wall. It’s also important to try not to smother the entire roller in paint, you only need it on the sleeve so try to keep it there.

Once you’ve got some paint on the roller and on the tray loading your roller, it’s extremely easy and doesn’t require a lot of time in the pan. A quick dab of paint on the roller from the pan, lift it back to the top, roll it down twice and you’re usually ready to keep on painting.

When applying the paint to the wall the best method is to use long motions going from the top of the wall to the bottom of the wall working in areas 2 to 4 feet wide depending on how tall your wall is and your roller sleeves paint holding capacity. This spreads the paint consistently and gives the best finish.

Once you’ve got your paint roller loaded with paint, it’s time to start painting. When using the paint roller you want to apply just enough pressure to get the paint onto the wall, in most cases and unless you’re painting a very rough surface like old brick there shouldn’t be any need to overly press or force the roller into the wall this is probably more work than necessary and can leave unsightly roller marks. Start near the middle of the wall, roll the roller up the wall to the top and then come back down to the bottom of the wall re-rolling through the area where you started. Now you should have something like a big straight patch on the wall, on your roll up you want to move in either direction left or right and don’t make it too far off, you want part of your roller to still reside in the previous area of paint you applied. On your way back down you continue to move in the direction and now your rolling motion is beginning to take on the shape of a very large V or W. Make sure you go back through your original area of paint to spread the paint out on the wall and give it a consistent thickness. For optimal results, after you’ve spread the paint onto the wall, finish your patch up by gently rolling downwards over the entire area you’ve painted, this will give a consistent finish.

Typical problems when rolling walls are over applying the paint, not spreading the paint evenly, under applying the paint, inconsistent finishes and roller lines or marks. Most of these problems are easy to fix if caught before the paint has had a time to dry or set, though with some modern day paints it can be only 5-10 minutes before fixing it is a problem so it’s best to check your work as soon as you are finished. If the paint is either over applied and/or not spread evenly the build up of paint can begin to drip or sag, this is usually pretty obvious and easy to fix if caught quickly by just re-rolling the area. If the paint has been under applied/not spread evenly you can see what is referred to as ‘holidays’, this is typically where an area was rolled only once or twice and you can see that the paint did not fully cover. When roller marks are present this is usually a sign that too much pressure was used when applying the paint, causing it to squeeze out of the roller unnaturally at the edges of the roller sleeve. Most of these problems are easy to detect my looking at the wall from an acute angle. Overall these problems are usually caused by one of the following: poor quality roller sleeves, poor quality roller cage, poor quality/old paint tray that loads the roller poorly or sloppily and simply an in-experienced painter.

I hope you find this piece informative and have learnt a thing or two you didn’t know about using a roller, good luck to all of your painting endeavours!

Ensure Safety During Tower Crane Operation to Avoid Accidents

A crane is a machine that used to lift heavy loads, most often to move heavy materials on a construction site. A fixed crane has a greater weight capacity and can lift loads much higher because it does not have the mobility of other types of cranes. One type of fixed crane is the tower crane. A tower crane is basically a balance crane in its modern form. Tower cranes typically provide the most usefulness due to their combination of lifting capacity and height, thus making them a must have when constructing tall buildings.

However, with this great power of the tower crane also comes a great potential danger. When using such a crane on a construction site, or any other type of site, and a load drops from it, it is almost impossible to stop the load from hitting the ground or anyone in its path. It’s also quite difficult to issue a warning to workers below to move out of the way. Such an accident can lead to very serious injury or death. Approximately 90% of accidents involving cranes are the result of human error. As such, it is essential to fully and properly train all crane operators and institute on site safety regulations and preparation. Simply by ensuring that workers who are operating cranes on the job are fully educated in their safe operation, most potential crane accidents can be avoided.

Before even commencing the operation of a tower crane, it is important that the operator fully assess its characteristics, such as the weight of the crane, the host rope’s rating for the load, how is the load being attached and is it being done properly. These are examples are the many different assessments an operator must take into consideration to make sure the crane is safe for operation.

The operation of a tower crane does not solely involve the one who is at the controls of this machine. There is also a “rigger” or “swamper”, who is, in essence, a signaler to the operator. The operator and the rigger stay in contact through a radio and also use hand signals. The rigger assists in the hooking and unhooking of loads. This person is in charge of the schedule for lifting of the crane as well as the safety of rigging and the loads. It is important that the rigger and the operator work well together to ensure the safety of all workers on the site. If one or the other are not paying close attention, disaster could strike leading to a potentially catastrophic accident.

Because a tower crane related accident could result in serious bodily injury or even death, human error must be eliminated as much as possible. Most of these accents happen due to poor judgment, overconfidence, or simply lack of attention. Before operating this machinery, you must be physically as well as mentally prepared to take on this task. If you are on any medication, make sure that it is safe for you to operate the crane while taking it. It is also important to wear protective clothing and safety gear, such as safety glasses, a hard hat, and steel-toed shoes. Remove all distractions and if you need to address something, take a break and address it at that time.