Baby Nursery Area Rugs – Some Great Design Ideas

One of many joys you have, when having a baby, is designing the baby’s room. Often, people looks at the furniture, the baby’s crib models as well as the wall coverings once they consider decorating, however the flooring and carpeting choice is just as important and also fun. For those who have laminated flooring or hard wood flooring, an area rug is an excellent solution to soften up the room. Although many people have regular carpets in the baby room, many also prefer to add in a rug brighten up the look or pull the complete look together. To assist you to plan the look of your baby nursery, I have listed 5 baby nursery area rugs or carpet design ideas.

Train Style

Here, you are able to kill 2 birds with a single stone. It is possible to go with a train style that features a train rug otherwise you may choose to go with a Thomas The Tank motif using a matching area rug. The blues are simple to complement from the rug and alllow for easy as well as fun decorating.

Airplane Style

This really is fascinating inside a boy’s room, from company logos like Delta and United Airlines to jet fighters along with a more military look. The carpets could be the standard rectangular shape or cut in the shape of an aircraft. They will add depth to the room and tend to be a talking point.

Sports Style

Every dad, almost, hopes for his boy growing up to play ball together with him. Why not get him started with an area rug that shows the sport of your selecting. From massive baseball formed rugs that fit nicely in any dimension of the room to a carpet that is detailed with every kind of ball you can possibly imagine. Sporting activities rule greatest when it pertains to decorating your kid’s room.

Jungle Style

There are 2 distinct ways you’ll be able to go with this look. You may choose a cartoonish throw area rug which has a monkey or jungle style on it to complement the jungle design you might have planning in the room. This is particularly adorable for baby boys in their youth. A jungle style blended with Curious George things or assorted other designs will be a good baby theme.

Fire Engine Style

This style is always preferred by small boys, the vivid initial colours make it easy to decorate around. Carpets and rugs are both offered with huge engines on them or even fire hydrants. Mix with this dalmatians and you will make a uncomplicated and amazing look for your little one’s room for many years.

Crested Gecko Care Sheet: Housing

Housing Crested Geckos:

Baby crested Geckos tend to do well in smaller enclosures as they can struggle to find their food in a larger environment. Medium plastic or glass faunariums of around 18x18x12cm can easily hold 1 or 2 young crested geckos up to around 5 or 6 months old, once at 6 months or around 15g a larger enclosure will be needed to ensure that the gecko gets the required exercise from climbing and exploring.

For a single adult or pair of juveniles a 30x30x45cm sized Tall exo-terra is OK, but Crested geckos will make use of any space given to them so bigger is always better. A pair of adult cresties can be housed in a 60x45x60. Be aware that male cresties should not be housed together as they are territorial and will fight with often fatal consequences. It is recommended if you want to house multiple adults together, a small harem of 1 male to 2 or 3 females is advised. Permanently housing a male with only 1 female can often cause stress to the female as she would constantly be being pursued by the male to mate. If you are housing male and female geckos together, you will need to provide a suitable lay-box for the female/s as without one the female can retain the eggs and become egg-bound which has major complications and can lead to death.

The contents of the crested gecko enclosure can be very simple or very elaborate. Many people have had success with a simplistic set-up, using only cardboard egg crates for climbing and hides, however this set-up looks quite clinical and is not very pleasing to the eye. On the other hand people also utilise very elaborate natural set-ups. Natural set-ups often contain live plants such as Bromeliads in a natural substrate, suitable natural branches and logs, live moss and often a water feature such as a waterfall. These set-ups are amazing to look at and also provide a great enclosure for your geckos to explore, however they are more difficult to clean and maintain. Personally I prefer my enclosures to be somewhere in between these 2 extremes. I provide suitable wooden poles for the geckos to climb and plastic and silk plants for hiding in. I use a plastic Tupperware tub to a hold natural substrate such as moss, which helps to hold humidity in the enclosure and also doubles up as a lay-box for breeding females.

Crested geckos are an arboreal species, meaning they require vertically oriented climbing space. I house young crested geckos in much the same way as adults, I use a layer of kitchen towel as a substrate as young crested geckos can easily ingest a substrate such as peat moss when hunting live food. I then use smaller versions of the adult accessories; baby crested geckos are just as active as adults and will need lots of climbing apparatus to enable them to develop properly. The gecko enclosure will periodically need a thorough clean when it becomes dirty.

I find it easiest to spot-clean the enclosures every day or two, removing uneaten food and excrement and wiping the sides of the enclosure with damp paper towel, and once per month I do a complete clean of the tank and all of the accessories. There are numerous reptile-safe disinfectants available now and these can be diluted with water to ensure a safe environment for your gecko after cleaning. With regular cleaning and upkeep your crested gecko enclosure should not create an unwanted odour or create mould/bacteria.


One of the great things about Crested Geckos – and likely a factor which has made them so popular -i s that they thrive at temperatures between 20 and 26C. These temperatures are easily maintained in the average home without any additional heating requirements. Temperatures above 28 Deres C are detrimental to Crested geckos and should be avoided at all costs. It is better to provide a more constant temperature at the low end of the range which you can maintain than to risk over exposure to higher end temperatures if a sudden fluctuation should happen.

Also be aware that long periods kept at below 16C Degrees C can also be detrimental to Crested geckos as they do not go into a complete hibernation, only a cooling period which would naturally occur in the wild during the colder months of the year. It is recommended that a cooling period is offered to your pet gecko in order for its body to recuperate, this is especially important in breeding animals that often lose vital nutrients during the breeding season.


Although crested geckos do enjoy a relatively high humidity level, overly excessive humidity is very bad for their health. An overly humid environment is a breeding ground for moulds and bacteria and can cause respiratory problems and problems with shedding. Misting the enclosure during the early evening seems to work best, as this is when the geckos are just beginning to become active and will readily drink the water droplets from the plants in the enclosure. As a guide, moderately spray the enclosure around 6-7pm nightly, the enclosure should be almost completely dry by the morning, with only the moist hide/lay-box retaining any noticeable moisture.

After misting it is common for the enclosure to be become clouded for a while due to condensation this is nothing to worry about. If crested geckos are kept at very low humidity they will find it difficult to shed their skin. Crested geckos shed numerous times a year, especially when young. Not being able to properly shed will cause the unshed skin to stick to the gecko especially at its extremities such as the fingers and tail. This can cut off circulation and result in the loss of toes/limbs/tail.

I put together this guide to crested gecko housing from the knowledge I have gained in keeping Crested Geckos over the last few years.

Carbon Cast Concrete

Carbon Cast concrete is an innovative technology that uses conventional steel for primary reinforcing and C-GRID epoxy-coated carbon fiber composite grid for secondary reinforcing and shear transfer. This allows the material to be very lightweight compared to normal reinforced concrete.

It has greater long-term durability, increased insulating properties and greater sustainability on top of the benefits of other concretes. This technology is the first advancement in precast concrete in over 50 years. These precast panels can weigh up to 66% less than the normal precast.

Advantages of using Carbon Cast Concrete panels

· Energy efficient · They are light weight as a lot of the concrete mass in traditional precast panels is not needed · The panels are dry and mould free · Superior compared to ordinary precast concrete panels at load bearing · Non-combustible · The panels are quickly erected as they are light · The heating costs in the finished structure are reduced due to the insulation used in the panels · Carbon fibre will not corrode

The development Habitat for Humanity in New York City was constructed using Carbon Cast concrete panels. The houses could be erected very quickly as the panels are very light and much smaller machinery could be used to manoeuvre them into place. This meant that the project could be completed in a short space of time and families had homes a lot earlier than they would have had otherwise. Carbon Cast panels will last longer than the usual framed structures that are used. Carbon fibre reinforcement is used in the face of the panels instead of welded wire mess.

This allowed 50% of the concrete content to be removed as it is usually used to protect the steel mess from corroding and this will not occur with carbon fibre. As a lot of the mass has been removed EPS insulation could be incorporated in the panels. This will reduce the energy costs for the occupant significantly. As there is still concrete in the panels noise levels in the houses will be reduced. Concrete helps to keep internal noise inside and street noise on the outside. This improves the living conditions in the houses compared to conventional frame construction or brick dwellings.

These panels are resistant to insects, pests, mould and fire. This gives the occupier piece of mind that their home is safe. The external surface of the Carbon Cast panels can be made to look like most materials. This gives the designer the freedom to make their building attractive without compromising the structural properties.

Boat Gelcoat Repairs

If you have a used Powerboat or Sailboat, boat gelcoat repairs are really easy to do, especially if your hull color is white. There are small tubes of gelcoat repair for those small cracks which you just spread over. But if you have a bigger/deeper crack, scrape, or gouge some from possibly bringing up that anchor on your yacht or boat, this may be the way for a quick repair.

1) Clean the area of any loose material and use some acetone to strip away any wax residue by adding it to a clean rag. If you have a sizeable crack, make sure the ends of the cracks are rounded out so they don’t keep going. Tape off the area with blue masking tape.

2) On a deep crack, scrape, or gouge, pick up some body putty (bondo) on Yacht Marine Supply or your local marine store. I would get a white colored one so another color does not bleed through.

3) Follow the instructions on the mixing of the hardener and when ready apply to the crack, scrape, or gouge making sure you push it in good, so not to leave an air bubble underneath. For big or long areas, you may want to use a putty knife to get it on evenly. Clean off any excess around the repair…(you can always retape)

4) After the putty hardens (20 minutes or so if mixed right) take some light sandpaper (220-320) and lightly sand off the putty so it is just below the original gelcoat surface…just a touch! It should look pretty juicy (good) at this point. The crack/scrape/gouge is gone and you see just a color difference where the putty is…but all looks even.

5) You can pick up some white gel coat here on Yacht Marine Supply or at a marine store, make sure you get the hardener. You can also pick up a spray set-up about $10.00…comes with a spray top and a jar it screws on to. Get a couple of brushes just large enough to cover the area. If you have a real wide area, you may want to spray the gelcoat on.

6) Now wipe your repair clean and use a lightly moistened rag with acetone. Re-tape as necessary. Mix the hardener with the gelcoat as per instructions on the can and apply with the brush. Don’t worry if there is a little too much. Just make sure it looks pretty smooth. Don’t like what you did, wipe it off and use the moistened rag with acetone and start again. You’ll get it right…you probably have a few areas to repair, and you’ll get better as you go.

7) If spraying, have your blue tape further away and of course paper it off for overspray. Put your gelcoat mix in the jar and add some acetone to thin it out a little so it comes through the spray nozzle. Apply with a back and forth motion, stopping the spray and starting it again on each stroke. Put a nice few coats on for good coverage.

8) Once good and dry, use wet and dry sand paper (220-320-400 grit) and lightly sand. Take your time…there’s no rush. First smooth out the high spots and always keeping the sandpaper wet. You’ll feel when you’re taking off a lot. Do a little and look. If it looks good enough, it is. Your powerboat or sailboat will look so much better. As you become better and more relaxed at it, you’ll find your work coming out mint…or really juicy (really good). The spray jobs will need much less sanding to look good.

9) As you sand, use lighter and lighter sandpaper till you get to 400 grit. At this grit the gel coat will be smooth where you just have to wax or use a little bit of white compound first then wax it up!

There are some variables, like using a tint to match the color of your used boat or used yacht closer from the standard white out of the can. Hint; A touch of blue makes the white whiter…gray, black, yellow, tints gets you the darker/faded whites. Make sure you read all instructions and cautions of the different products. You can do so many repairs with what you purchased because you’re using so little of it to do the repair…and Why Knot?

Best Architectural Schools

An architectural career is both, demanding and challenging and involves a creative as well as a technical education. To be a top, professional architect one needs to learn the skills, techniques and computer aided software by attaining an education of the highest quality. Listed below are some of the best architectural school in America today.

Westwood College

Westwood College of Technology is committed to ensuring success in the career that you pursue. The Computer-Aided Design Program (CAD) is one of the best in the country and will help you to acquire the skills needed for a profitable architectural career. One of the top architectural schools, it boasts of rewarding hands-on-experience with training of the recently released AutoCad, combined with interesting lecture sessions and a rich laboratory environment. The programs offered are Associate CAD and Architectural Drafting.

Lincoln Tech

Lincoln Tech’s Architectural Drafting Design and CAD Technology program is one of the best in the country where you are taught the essentials needed to function as a draftsperson. It emphasizes on developing specific drafting skills and helps you to build a solid foundation on which to begin your architectural drafting career. The Diploma program focuses on a full range of technologies to prepare you to work as an entry-level drafting technician. With hands-on traditional table techniques along with up-to-date computer aided drafting (CAD) techniques for designing residential and commercial buildings, you will soon not only be designing but will see your dreams to fruition with an education at Lincoln Tech. The programs offered at this top architectural school are…

Associate Degree in Architectural Drafting Design & CAD technology

Diploma Program in Architectural Drafting Design & CAD technology

NewSchool of Architecture & Design

The NewSchool of Architecture & Design located in San Diego, California offers a holistic view of teaching and will make you change the way you view the world. NewSchool known as one of the most innovative and best architectural schools in the country strives to meet the ever evolving dynamics of the architecture profession by providing an instructional program that explores a student’s artistic passion and transforms it into professional excellence. NewSchool is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) as well as the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and grants Bachelors and Masters degrees. The programs offered are

Bachelor of Architecture

Bachelor of Arts in Architecture

Executive Master

Master of Architecture

Master of Science in Architecture

Pennsylvania Institute of Technology

There are two main programs offered at the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology.

Associate – Architectural/Civil Engineering – teaches the students the basics of building design and construction as well as the unique and complex elements that are a part of this field. The courses offered are Architecture Design, Structural Design and Construction Technology with an emphasis on Computer-Aided Design, materials and methods of construction and building codes. While Mathematics, physical and applied sciences, project management, and basic communication skills are fundamental elements in the program, advanced courses present opportunities to solve complex technical problems.

The degree program in Computer-Aided Design Technology (CAD) was developed especially for students planning to start their careers with CAD software. This program provides comprehensive skills and knowledge necessary for the development of accurate computer-aided graphics, design and drafting applications. It also focuses on the use of several CAD applications such as AutoCAD, Architectural Desktop and Microstation coupled with graphic theory and the related fundamentals of technical design.

Cornell University

The architecture department at Cornell is regarded as one of the most prestigious in the world today and offers some excellent programs in undergraduate and masters of architecture. Cornell University has one of the oldest and most respected schools of architecture in the United States. With a tradition of more than 130 years, they not only strive to offer the best architectural education available but also continue to evolve, to meet current and future challenges.

The Mosaic Skin Rejuvenating System

The science of beauty has improved far and wide over the years. From merely relying on herbal concoctions, to creams, astringents and now the advent of machines that help us get the clear and younger looking skin. We are now set with numerous skin care options. Today, one of the new technologies introduced to give us that flawless skin is Mosaic.

Mosaic is not a piece of artwork but rather a fractional ablative technology that provides skin rejuvenation. It is an advance laser technology developed by a company named Lutronic. This machine aims to provide those individuals who want to have an improved skin condition a less painful way and effective way to attain it.

With Mosaic the skin, specifically on the face, is treated to a mosaic of microscopic wounds made by the laser. The wounds are made underneath the skin as the laser penetrates through the epidermal portion to the layers beneath. This action immediately stimulates the healing process which rejuvenates the skin as collagen and elastin are produced as a reaction. With a good amount of these elements on your skin you’ll have a skin that looks and feels young.

The makers of Mosaic also give its customers the advantage of having good skin without having to worry about scars after the treatment. This is because the microscopic wounds are made on the inside ensuring that there are no signs of damage or scarring on the outer layer. With this the patient can resume to daily activities right after the procedure.

In addition to the scar less treatment another feature that made Mosaic total skin rejuvenation is that it uses the treatment delivery called Controlled Chaos Technology. This means that there is a precise control of the treatment parameters. The ‘wounds’ that we mentioned earlier, which is also called micro necrotic columns, are randomly made and spaced apart resulting to a uniformity in treatment. With this approach only a small portion of the patient’s skin is affected for every session creating better comfort for the patient, while at the same time producing a more natural result. This is also called the Fractional laser technique or the dotting technique where 5-20% of the total skin area is targeted to ensure that there is a good amount of uninjured skin that will respond to the rejuvenation.

Mosaic also provides a thorough treatment that is guaranteed to be effective for all skin types. Other benefits include multiple treatment modes and speeds which helps the doctor to customize the treatment according to the client’s specific needs. With Mosaic you will be able to eliminate fine lines, frown lines, wrinkles, sunspots, acne scars, lined lips, and pigmentation caused by aging minus the invasiveness.

Mosaic’s Stamp and Scan system with the dual operation modes makes it possible to have a fast but accurate treatment. Consistency of treatment is also measured with the machine’s Automatic Density Counter.

For those who want immediate youthful looking skin but safe results, Mosaic skin rejuvenation is definitely the perfect procedure for you. It is efficient, immediately effective, scar less and safe. This technology also received good reviews and it effectively gives you an improved and younger looking appearance after several sessions.

Death of a Hero by Richard Aldington

Death of a Hero was published in 1929 but despite the time lag is very much a product of the First World War, in which Aldington fought, was wounded, and became recognised as a war poet. Incidentally, the distinction of becoming acknowledged both as a novelist and as a poet is a rare one. One thinks of Emily Bronte, Thomas Hardy and Lawrence Durrell (with whom Aldington would conduct a famous literary correspondence later in life), but the list is a short one.

Death of a Hero was highly commended many years after its publication by Durrell, and while one has to be careful about this, since Durrell was being sycophantic and could lay flattery on with a   trowel  when he felt like it, his judgement is sound. It has a fair claim to being the first truly modernist novel of the twentieth century, though To The Lighthouse was published in 1927, Women in Love was written during the First World War itself, and The Longest Journey as early as 1907. Despite the chronological order of these novels, however, there is a quality that sets Aldington apart from either Woolf, Lawrence or Forster.

Woolf was concerned with the technical aspects of novel writing, most famously her use of the stream of consciousness technique, and with dissecting the psychological motivations of her characters. She was apt to forget Forster’s famous reminder that “the novel, oh dear yes, the novel tells a story”, and perhaps this had something to do with the decline in her popularity. Am I alone in finding her unnecessarily “difficult” to read? Aldington tells his story in direct, straightforward prose, and I use the word “story” deliberately since there is that unfashionable combination of elements: a beginning, a middle and an end (almost literally since the book is divided into three sequential sections).

Lawrence was concerned, at least partly, with portraying the sexual aspects of human relationships, both actual and repressed. Aldington does not bother with these niceties but dives straight into describing sexual relationships as they actually occur, and leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions. There is not the same analysis between the characters as occurs in The Rainbow and Women in Love. Here, the story is told and that is that. Aldington would probably never have come up with such memorable prose as describing someone as “not a coherent human being but a roomful of old echoes”, yet much of Lawrence’s conversation seems stilted and artificial to a modern reader, whereas Aldington’s does not. Incidentally, the lack of sexual analysis did not save Death of a Hero from the attentions of the censor, and substantial cuts had to be made before publication.

Forster was of course a completely different sort of writer, one who liked to make his points by wry observation much in the way of Jane Austen or E.F. Benson, and it is probably no coincidence that both he and Benson were gay; there is the same deliciously camp flavour about both their prose styles. While some might take issue with this, one could argue that what he wrote were essentially novels of manners. Again, Aldington had little time for this. He tells us bluntly what happens and leaves the question of any judgement of the characters to the reader.

It is this gift of ruthlessly honest observation, simply told, that distinguishes Aldington’s work and provides him with a distinctive voice, and it for this reason that I venture to call him a truly “modernist” writer. He is not playing around with technical fireworks, or trying to impress with florid prose, but telling a story acted out by deftly crafted characters.

The story such as it is may be quickly told, though I am deliberately not going to give away the ending of the book save to say that it foreshadows a novel of the second war by Sartre. Had he read Aldington, I wonder? George Winterbourne is brought up in a seemingly conventional middle class family, though his mother has a string of affairs. Moving to London, he begins a thoroughly modern relationship with Elizabeth; both agree that they should be free to take other lovers. Eventually marriage results, again with the same agreement as to an open relationship. Things go awry, however, when Elizabeth discovers that on the nights she is spending with her lover of the moment, George is making love to her best friend. What is sauce for the goose, it transpires, is not sauce for the gander. The final section of the book can best be described by saying simply that the First World War intervenes and George goes off to fight in France.

Though Aldington never stoops to judgmental passages, we are clearly meant to see Elizabeth as an unattractive character. She reminded me of various characters drawn by a similarly neglected English novelist, Patrick Hamilton, some of whose women are almost unbearably awful (and some of the men, in fairness, almost unbearably weak). I think the clue to the real meaning of the book lies in its title, however. For me, Aldington is saying that after the horrors of the war it is no longer possible even to keep up a pretence of the possibility of any sort of heroic existence. There are clear auto-biographical elements here as Aldington was not only wounded physically during the war but also suffered for many years from the after effects of shell shock; perhaps that is why it took him so long to write this book, which he openly admitted was based partly on his own experiences of a decade before.

George, the “hero” of the book, takes what people say at face value, and is disillusioned by the meaningless destruction of the war, and his fellow officers’ cynical reaction to it. A more complex character would probably have quickly worked out that this was no more than a defence mechanism to the horrors being witnessed on a daily basis, but George is not a complex character; he is one who says what he feels and expects others to do the same. Elizabeth is almost exactly the opposite so it is perhaps inevitable that their relationship is doomed from the outset. She speaks in euphemisms and expects others to understand what she only hints at. She espouses sexual freedom but does not expect her husband actually to practise it, and certainly not with her best friend.

Aldington would write other novels, most notably Rejected Guest in 1939, but none would have the directness and freshness of Death of a Hero. He was a prolific writer of non-fiction, especially biographies and criticism, and achieved notoriety as the author of a hugely controversial revisionist biography of Lawrence of Arabia in 1954, the vitriolic reaction to which greatly upset him. By this time he was living in France, having left England for good in 1928, and in 1957 he began the literary correspondence with his near neighbour and fellow exile Lawrence Durrell that lasted until his death in 1962 and which has been published under the title Literary Lifelines.

Aldington is well overdue a re-evaluation. In his early life he was married to the American poet Hilda Doolittle, usually referred to, especially by herself, as “H.D.”. According to no less an authority than Ezra Pound, it was Aldington and H.D. who together founded the Imagist school of poetry. As well as his friendship with Pound, he was also to have close relationships with Ford Maddox Ford (alias Hueffer) – both he and H.D. took dictation of passages that became The Good Soldier – and T.S. Eliot. That he was a fine writer there can be no doubt; his biography of Wellington won the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Yet in all his writings (or all of them that I have read, at any rate), and particularly when he is being at his most intimate such as in the later letters to Durrell, there is a melancholic nostalgia for a world which probably never existed, or at least not as he would have liked it to. There is the sense of someone who very much wanted to be part of the literary establishment but felt himself a perpetual outsider gazing in through the window like Cathy and Heathcliffe at the Lintons’ dance. Reading between the lines, much of this may be laid at his own door; he seems to have found it difficult to sustain friendly relationships with other writers, or to come to terms with the lack of success which some of his books encountered, though much of this may well be the enduring after effects of shell shock, which was not in those days recognised as a disease requiring treatment, except in extreme cases, and certainly not on an ongoing basis.

It is precisely this quality of slight detachment, however, that makes Death of Hero such an excellent novel. It is told as if by one standing passively on the sidelines and watching events unfold that, while they are part of one’s life, somehow have an air of unreality and unimportance. Lawrence Durrell was undeniably a great novelist, and maybe it takes one to know one.

Manduka Mat – An In-Depth Review

Manduka Mats are the most expensive, highest quality mats available on the market today. In addition to being the most expensive, they are also the heaviest and bulkiest mats ever made. Is the manduka product worth its price? Is it a good idea to haul this chunky piece of natural rubber that weighs like a small tire to class?

We performed a detailed analysis of the BlackMat Pro (the top of the line Manduka product) to assist people who are hesitant to part with almost $90 for a yoga mat.

Setting for our review:

During our review we tested the Manduka Mat during regular beginners practice, during an advanced ashtanga secondary series and in a hot and steamy Bikram yoga class. Our reviewers are mostly yoga practitioners with years of experience. In order to stay as objective as possible we surveyed a few beginners (though owners of manduka mats were hard to find among regular beginners).

The review and testing were conducted over a relatively long period of time. We were fortunate enough to find an owner who invested into Manduka Mats for her studio – not only did she let us practice on several different Manduka products, we were also able to ask other users about their experience with the Manduka Mat.

The review:

The short version reads – yes, this mat is worth every penny, but it’s not for everyone.

The longer version is as follows-


The Manduka Mat is made from high-quality natural rubber blend, that is extremely durable and sticky enough for 99% of surfaces. Most mats are double-sided – this means they can’t be too sticky, otherwise they would stick to your skin and make your practice really uncomfortable. The Manduka Mats have two distinct surfaces – one for practice and one for the floor. The floor part is extremely sticky and attaches to the floor firmly, the other side’s grip is more relaxed making your practice more enjoyable. We weren’t able to get this mat to bunch up under any circumstances, making it the most stable mat we’ve ever tried.


This mat is heavy, the 71″ version weighs almost 7 pounds. Weight is an important factor in durability – the material is very dense and will not wear out, and in stability – the mat stays on the floor no matter what you do. While the mat is extremely stable, the extra weight can be a factor when you carry it to the class. We think this mat is perfect for keeping at home or at a studio, but not for hauling around. Manduka people listened to this complain and created lighter travel versions, which are less expensive and definitely less durable.


The Manduka mat is 1/4″ thick, which is perfect for almost anybody. This thickness is considered to be above average, adding to the weight. Some people, however, may prefer a thicker mat for extra cushioning. Those who are just getting started and those used to pilates may need some time to adjust to this thickness. To us, a 1/4″ thick mat is perfectly fine.


Most regular mats on the market today suffer from one fatal flaw – once they get wet they loose surface traction. This is especially noticeable in hot yoga classes where people sweat excessively. There is a number of solutions – wiping your mat, using a special yoga towel that absorbs moisture, or finding a mat that has a natural fabric surface. The manduka mat almost does not suffer from this problem, the material is porous enough to absorb most of the moisture. During a hot yoga class we found that the sponge-like surface of the mat has an absorption limit, and once it’s reached moisture will start accumulating on the mat’s surface, creating an uncomfortable situation for heavy sweaters. To this day we don’t know of any mats that are completely sweat-proof. The Manduka products do a pretty good job, but they are also not 100% absorbent. We also found a small problem with the mat’ material – it absorbs moisture, and if not cleaned regularly, it will eventually start harboring bacteria in it’s pores. This mat needs maintenance, at least once a month.

Appearance, other issues.

As its name implies the BlackMat Pro is black like a tire. The look is classic, but may not attract many customers. On the other hand, we don’t know any other mats in this category that have the same appearance, so your mat is guaranteed to stand out.

The Company have recently released a limited edition Cherry version of their popular Manduka Mat at the same price. We would stick to a classic black.

The mat is made of natural rubber, which has a natural smell that most people find quite unpleasant. After washing the mat as the manual suggested we still found to be rather smelly. This is a problem with all rubber mats tested by YogaMatReviews, and it is something a customer has to live with for the first few weeks of practice. The smell eventually goes away and does not come back.


The Manduka Mat is a indeed a Rolls-Royce of yoga mats – it’s heavy, long, thick and extremely durable. If you are serious about your practice, you will need something like this mat, it is a worthy investment that will last years. The cushioning, slip resistance and floor grip are all well above average if not perfect. The only downsides of this mat are its weight and size. It’s perfect for home practice or to keep in a studio locker but not for carrying around, especially in public transportation.

Best Method to Take Care of New Carpeting

Carpeted floors that carry a worn-out appearance showcase an impression of neglect and shabbiness to visitors. This cannot be avoided, despite the rest of the home being extremely well kept. It is not an easy financial decision to replace the  carpeting  on the floor and so, it is worth the extra effort to maintain it as long as possible.

Seek Professional Help

Newly carpeted floors must only be handled by professionals. Cleaning the carpet on an annual basis tends to increase the life of the caret. Professional carpet cleaners are able to use specialized vacuum cleaners to remove any bit of dirt and grime from the households which are usually missed by regular vacuums. They even help remove oily residues and stains. The carpeted floors will continue to look as good as new as long as they are cleaned regularly. In case there is the matter of a small budget involved, the carpet cleaners generally possess expert cleaning equipment they are able to rent.

Vacuuming Process

Even the tiniest spot on the surface of the carpet can cause it to wear and age quickly, which finally results in tearing. But, unfortunately, not every type of vacuum cleaner has been created as equals. The ideal vacuum cleaners happen to be those that possess a suction strong enough to gather small debris that remain nestled within the carpet floor tufts. They need to be portable enough with strong suction power.

Carpet Padding Importance

Carpet padding makes carpet floors a great deal more comfortable to sit or walk on. They can absorb a considerable amount of abuse that is subjected on the carpet on a regular basis. If the carpet lacks padding, its life is cut short by a significant amount. Therefore, it is necessary to buy good padding for the carpet.

Quick Stain Removal

Stains tend to increase in size and become harder to remove with the passage of time. Owners of new carpets must ask the suppliers for a guide to remove stains from a specific kind of  carpeting . In case common commercial cleaning agents are used on carpets, it is better to follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Owners of newly carpeted floors should consider the use of a domestic carpet shampooer for the treatment of minor stains.

Carpet Runners – are they any good?

In order to add a hint of elegance to the carpeted floors, owners can purchase carpet runners from the market at a cheap price. Runners that can be cleaned easily make it simpler to isolate the dust as it enters the home environment. Runners can even be replaced easily compared to carpets.

Hot Water Extraction

If the newly carpeted surface starts to look tired, the best method to remedy the situation is hot water extraction. The process is used to effectively eliminate dirt particles and restore the carpet to its original appearance.

Summing up

Most carpet suppliers believe that the way in which people handle their  carpeting  establishes the frequency with which they will require to invest in a new carpet. To enhance the lifespan of carpeted floors, it is necessary to rely on some recommended practices for maintenance.

How to Cut a Rug and Carpet Pad

Rug and carpet pads sometimes arrive larger than your rug and require trimming. This could be done a few ways depending on the type of pad you have. For thinner, non slip pads, usually a pair of household scissors works. If your rug pad is a thicker, more dense one, then a carpet knife or heavy duty scissors are usually needed.

Before I start explaining what to use to cut the different types of rug pads, three important points are involved here. First, so as to not damage the floor underneath, be sure to have some protective layer on the floor to avoid any damage from the scissors or knife. Secondly, whether you have experience in this or not, it is a good idea to wear heavy duty gloves to avoid getting cut. Lastly, for those of you who prefer to lay the rug on the pad and then cut, take care not to cut the rug!

In all instances, I prefer you to measure the length and width of your rug and then cut the pad aside from the rug, as opposed to it being under your rug while you are cutting. From your rug measurements, deduct a total of two inches from each dimension and this will be the final pad size. If the rug measures 8’9″x11’9″, then the pad should be 8’7″x11’7″. When you have the size measured and marked on your pad, try to find something to connect the markings so that you can draw a straight cutting line.

For thinner non slip pads, a simple pair of household scissors should cut just fine. Cut on the straight line that you marked on the pad and then you are done. If your pad is a solid and thicker, more dense pad, try using a heavy duty pair of scissors. In some instances, this may work and in others, this may prove to just create an uneven cut if the pad is too dense. If this is the case, then a carpet knife is best. For carpet knife cutting, take extra care with the cutting surface. I advise taking the rug pad outside in your driveway or to a concrete floor, such as a basement or garage. Now, carefully cut the pad on the straight line. Depending on the material and density of some pads, you may have to follow your knife cut with a pair of scissors to get a clean cut. While a sharp knife will cut through a jute pad, following with a scissor cut afterwards will result in a cleaner cut as the scissors will trim any jute fibers that were not completely cut with the knife.

Of course it is best to find a place that actually cuts the rug pad to size. There are a few available and this is something I always provide for my customers at no extra charge. In the case that you have no choice but to cut it yourself, take the correct steps and with a little time, you can do it.

Japanese Housing Conditions

In Japan, land price is expensive and housing conditions regarding its rent and size are not good compared to other countries. Accommodation is a very serious problem even for the Japanese particularly in urban areas, which lack spacious and low cost housing.

1. Japanese rental housing

In Japan there is both public housing and private housing. Apartments make up the majority of rental housing.

a) Public housing

Public housing is provided by official organizations such as prefectural, city, and town governments, and housing supply corporations. Any non-Japanese who has an alien registration can apply for this kind of housing regardless of nationality. There are two types of housing: Koei Jutaku (public housing) is for people who have a low income; and Tokutei Yuryo Chintai Jutaku (delux family housing) and Kosha/Kodan Jutaku (Public Corporation housing) for those with a middle-class income.

These apartments provide a certain level of facilities at relatively low rent. It is necessary to pay two to three months’ rent as a deposit (guarantee money) at your tenanc y, but key money which is necessary for private housing is not required.

However, qualifications such as income are precisely determined, and only those who satisfy these qualifications can apply. As there are many applicants, the tenants are determined by lottery. After moving in, the tenants must comply with the regulations for use (i.e. nobody is allowed to live together with the tenants without permission). This type of housing is mainly apartments, which generally include kitchen, bath, and oshiire (closet), with one to four rooms.

b) Private rental housing

Private rental housing is owned by individuals and private companies. The type varies in rent and size.

1. Aparto (Apartment)

These are mainly two-story buildings constructed from light-weight steel, wood, or mortar, and house 4 to 8 households. Some of them share a toilet and/or have no bath.

2. Mansion (Apartment)

In Japan, housing which is bigger than an Aparto and built with reinforced concrete is called a Mansion. The insulation is better than an Aparto, and privacy is better. Some have a custodian living on the first floor or others have an underground parking lot.

3. Detached house

Detached houses have recently been designed using a mixture of Japanese and Western styles. Some of them have a garden. There are several rental houses designed especially for non-Japanese’ but not many.

2. Typical housing size and floor plan

The area is indicated in square meters (m2) as well as original Japanese units, “jo” and “tsubo.” One jo means one tatami mat, and is roughly 180 cm x 90 cm. (“Tatami” is a unique Japanese floor covering). One tsubo is 182 cm x 182 cm or about 3.3m2 and equals approximately two jo. There are Japanese-style and Western-style rooms. A Japanese-style room has tatami mats and a Western-style room has flooring or a carpeted floor. Below is a typical Japanese housing floor plan.

• K, DK, LDK – K means kitchen, D means dining room and L means living room. K means only a kitchen and DK means a dining room plus kitchen, and LDK means a room which has the function of a living room as well as dining room and kitchen. Therefore, 2DK means a house which has two rooms in addition to a room having the function of kitchen and dining room.

• UB – UB means unit bath (unified formation bathroom), which includes bathtub, toilet and washbowl.

• Oshiire (closet) – This means a storage space in a Japanese-style room.

• PS – This means a pipe space containing drainpipes and wiring conduits.

• MB – This means the meter box for water and gas.

Floor plan for One-room Mansions (one-room apartments)

(Example) Facilities are compact and there is one room which can be used as a living room. The kitchenette is very small, so that elaborate cooking is not possible. Some of them don’t have any space for a washing machine inside the room.

Floor plan for detached houses


• Most detached houses in modern Japan have both Japanese and Western-style rooms.

• Some of them have a garden and a parking space.

3. Customs regarding Japanese housing

a) Shoes In Japanese housing, there is an area for removing shoes before stepping up into the main entrance. Japanese people sit on the floor and sleep on a futon on the tatami, the Japanese traditional floor mats, so stepping on them with shoes on is not allowed. If you enter a room wearing shoes and dirt the mats, you might have to pay repair costs.

b) BathroomIn Japan bathing is not only washing the body but also a chance to relax while soaking in the bathtub. Recently bathrooms consisting of a Western-style bath with toilet have become popular, but the Japanese traditional bathroom is separate from the toilet and has a space to wash the body outside the bathtub. Bathtubs are mainly made of plastic or stainless steel. If you live with a Japanese family, you must keep the water in the bathtub as clean as possible because the rest of the family will take turns to use the water after you. Do not use soap in a Japanese-style bathtub. The water is heated mainly by gas.

c) Tatami matsTatami mats are a traditional floor covering of straw sewn to make a mat about 5.5 cm thick and bound by woven rush. One tatami mat (jo) is also the unit used to indicate the size of a room. New tatami is green and the tatami mats are changed every few years or whenever moving house.

d) Futon (thick bedquilt), bed and oshiire (closet)In a Japanese house, generally the futon is rolled out every night and folded away in the oshiire every morning. During the daytime, the futon is kept inside the oshiire. In this way, a single room can be used for various purposes. If a bed is placed on the tatami mats, they are dented and damaged, so it is recommended to put boards under the legs of the bed.

e) City gas and propane gasElectricity or gas is provided for the stove and bath. There are two types of gas: city gas (coal gas), led to each household from gas company tanks, and propane gas, provided by dealers in the form of cylinders. City gas is managed by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and propane gas is managed by individual dealers. Gas cookers etc. should be supplied by tenants.

f) Water supply and drainageAlmost all areas of Kanagawa Prefecture have water supply facilities. You candrink the tap water. In most cases there is a drainage or a water purification tank. The drainage system is not suitable for a disposer.

g) ToiletThe Japanese-style toilet has a cover (dome) at the front. When the toilet is shared with other tenants, separate toilet slippers should be used.

I) Air conditioning / heatingSome housing has air conditioning/heating but in most cases, tenants have to buy their own. Fuel for heating includes electricity, gas, and kerosene. Sometimes the use of kerosene is prohibited.

h) Fusuma and shojiThese are unique Japanese sliding doors to separate rooms. Fusuma is a wooden frame with fusuma paper pasted on both sides. Shoji is a latticed wooden frame with shoji paper windows. It is possible to make a room bigger by removing fusuma to connect the rooms. Fusuma pasting should be done by a specialist but when shoji paper is torn, you can buy shoji paper and repair it yourself.

4. Common problems and how to troubleshoot

a) Remove footwearDo not enter a house with shoes on. Be sure to remove shoes at the entrance.

b) Deposit – Most of the problems related to renting involve the deposit. In Japan when you rent a house, you have to pay a deposit to the house owner. This deposit is given to the house owner and returned without any interest when the lease is cancelled. However, repair costs are deducted, so the deposit is usually not returned in full. As the specific agreement of the rent is contained in the rental housing contract, please check the contract thoroughly and don’t break it. As for the other expenses when making a contract, please refer to page 39.

c) Number of residentsThe number of residents is confirmed when the contract is made. Additional residents are not allowed.

d) NoiseDo not make loud noises late at night. In apartments, the sound echoes more than you think. As the sound of running a large amount of water also bothers neighbors, try not to run a bath or do washing late at night.

e) PetsThere are almost no apartments allowing pets other than small birds and goldfish. If you do find one where you can keep pets, please follow the rules.

f) KitchenIf you cook with a large amount of oil, clean the area soon after by wiping the sink and cooking area. The ventilation fan should also be cleaned regularly.

g) Putting out the garbageGarbage is collected by the municipal government. The collection point, date, and method are determined in each area. There are areas where flammable garbage and nonflammable garbage should be separated. As for large garbage items, there are areas where the collection date is already determined, or you can sometimes arrange to have them picked up. Please consult your neighbors or the municipal government.

h) Long-term absenceWhen you are not at home for a long time, you should notify the house owner. Rent must be paid even when you are away.

I) Remodeling of the roomIf you want to remodel a room, such as by putting a nail into a pole or attaching a hook to the wall for holding clothes, you should first consult owner. It is assumed that you will leave the room in the condition it was in when you rented it. If you remodel the room and it cannot be returned to its original state, your deposit will not be returned, or additional payments may be required.

GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete) for the Newbie

I had been hearing a lot about this product, GFRC (Glass Fiber  Reinforced   Concrete ) which is an application for exterior finishes for homes and businesses. I thought it was new to the building industry but apparently it was only new to me. It has actually been around for decades and I can’t believe I haven’t heard about it until now. In California it is the rage, but it has finally reached Michigan and we are able to put this product to use.

After seeing the glass fiber  reinforced   concrete  online and hearing all the amazing things about it I was curious to inspect it for myself. I found a builder and made arrangements to see it in person. I could not believe how many different designs and colors that it came in. It matches any product we already have plus the GFRC is stronger and more durable. The strength is superior to cement which is amazing in itself. It is also flexible so you don’t have to worry about it cracking. That has been a major problem with the materials we have been using up to this point.

I could not believe how good this product really is. Being able to save so much on utility bills alone is such a great advantage. This product could literally pay for itself. I know this will be a great selling point for this product.

I knew that when people just told me about GFRC I was a skeptic right from the start. I thought they were just blowing their own horn. If it is their product naturally they are going to say only the glowing things about it. But upon inspecting it for myself, I realize that they were just telling the plain truth.

They did not exaggerate because the product actually is that good. To date, I have not ever heard of a product being stronger and more flexible than cement. I love it.

GFRC will revolutionize the industry. We have been waiting for a product like this. It is so superior to the other methods available for exterior finishes for homes and businesses that it is unlikely that anyone will continue to use them.

You literally have to see GFRC to believe it. I know I did. For everyone out there. Check it out, it really is worth it. You can offer your clients guarantees that no one else can as GFRC is stronger and more durable than any of them. There are no cracks for wind to get in and no openings for water to get in.

It is amazing and I am sure you will use it once you see how superior it is. Once you have built one of these homes and people see it everyone will want one. It sells itself as it is so unique and cost saving.

GFRC has other uses such as molding pots, outdoor tables and benches and even ornaments. There is nothing this product can’t do. So if you want to hear more about this amazing product check out:

Hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Gelish V Shellac Gel Nail Polish

Gelish vs Shellac

So you’ve probably heard all about Shellac, so what about Gelish? Gelish is also a gel-polish made by Hand and Nail Harmony. Both Shellac and Gelish are applied like polish from polish bottles and are cured under a UV Lamp. Neither requires filing the nails surface before application and both are removed by soaking in acetone. Both Shellac and Gelish are Formaldehyde, toluene and DBP free so contain no nasty chemicals.

Which is safest, Gelish or Shellac?

There is an common line of thought that Shellac is better because you don’t buff the natural nail before hand, therefore you aren’t damaging the natural nail. This is not correct! Gelish only advises a light buffing off the nail surface not filing, which doesn’t harm your natural nail whatsoever as long as it is done properly! If anything this is of benefit to the nail as it smoothes over the nail base, preventing it from flaking. Most UV gel products require a minimum of filing/buffind as it is removed by chemical acetone. When used properly acetone will not damge or dry out your nails or fingers.

Best colour range, Gelish or Shellac?

Gelish currently offers 112 gel polish colours while Shellac is offering 40. Gelish colour range includes plain, glitter, matt, gloss and other special affects. Each colour has a numeric ID as well as a descriptive name such as “Diva”, “Go Girl”, “Hot Rod Red” and “ShowStopping”. The glitter polishes give a fantastic deep glitter effect which is really eye catching.

Both Gelish and Shellac manicures are able have nail art added to the finish, there is a wide range of diamontes, gems & transfers that can be applied to the nail to give it a unique finish.

Which lasts longer?

Gelish advises a three week manicure, while Shellac claims two weeks plus in their marketing. However this is just a rough guide, UV gel producuts can last different times for different people, it also depends on how skilled the nail technician is that is applying them.


With these products, I don’t think it’s a matter of one being better than the other. Currently, Shellac is better known due to CND’s superior marketing. However, I do believe Gelish is more durable and better for people who are harder on their nails, the slightly longer last and the wider range of colours available is the reason I choose to use the Gelish product over Shellac.

Venetian Architecture and Interior Design

The City of Venice, Italy

Venetian architecture comes from Venice, a city in northeastern Italy which is made up of 118 small islands separated by canals and all linked by a series of bridges. Venice was named for the ancient Veneti people who inhabited this region in the 10th century BC. The city itself was founded between the 5th and 6th century by wealthy inhabitants from the mainland who were fleeing the barbarian invasions.

History of Venetian Design

Venice was the birthplace of unique architectural styles due to the necessity of building homes above the many canals. The buildings were set on closely spaced wooden piles made from the trunks of alder trees. Venetian architecture was influenced by the Gothic style along with Byzantine and Ottoman influences. Some of the more famous Venetian architects were Baldassarre Longhena, who designed many churches in the Baroque style during the 17th century and Carlo Scarpa, a 20th century architect who created many designs of landscapes, gardens and buildings not only in Italy but throughout the world.

Venetian Architecture

Venetian architecture is lighter in structure and more graceful than the heavier buildings in other European cities. Every inch of land was considered valuable so architects never added any more weight or size than was necessary to support the building. The most famous design element of Venetian design is the Gothic lancet arch, where the top of the arch is tall and pointed, like a lance. Another design used in the 14th and 15th centuries is a central hall, called a portego, which is a long passageway usually opened with a loggia with Gothic arches.

Colors That Support the Style

Venetian colors were mostly rich colors like dark reds, muted yellows and bright blues. Many colors were muted in tone and during the Renaissance, they were gradually softened to duplicate natural colors. Of course, you cannot talk about Venetian style without mentioning Venetian plaster. The plaster was mixed with marble dust and applied in thin, multiple layers, then polished to a smooth surface. This gives the illusion of depth and texture. Venetian plaster can also be left unpolished which leaves a matte finish that is rough and stone-like.

Venetian Design Elements

The Venetian style was also used to create beautiful interior designs. In fact, some of the best examples of rich, extravagant Rococo designs were found in Venice. Draperies and curtains were made from materials like damask, velvet and silk. Other elements found in Venetian homes were girandole mirrors, colorful chandeliers using Murano glass and precious stones, polished terrazzo flooring, arches with broken pediments over windows and doorways, porcelain figurines and oriental rugs.

Examples of Venetian Architecture

In order to explore the world of Venetian architecture, we will look at some historical examples.

Doge’s Palace – This structure was originally built in 810 in the Venetian Gothic style, was rebuilt and partially reconstructed a number of times. It is now a museum and is a landmark of Venice.

Ca’ d’Ora (golden house) – Also known as Palazzo Santa Sofia, it got its original name from the gilt and polychrome decorations on the outside walls. The architects were a father and son team – Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon, who also, by the way, worked on the Doge’s Palace.

From My Heart

My dream is to travel and learn about culture, history and design. I hope some day to visit the romantic city of Venice, Italy; to see the things I write about, experience the culture and the warmth of its people. I would love to travel through the tiny canals in a gondola while viewing its beauty, architecture and arts.

If you would like to learn more and see photos of Venetian architecture and design, please visit my blog.

Copyright 2012 Katy Hahn Designs

This article may be reprinted with the following conditions: Must be reprinted in full with no changes, author information in the article must be included and any embedded links must be active.

Art Mosaic Artists

We’re all familiar with the mosaic tile that decorates our bathrooms and kitchens. You’ll find mosaic art in the design of pools, too. Aside from these familiar spaces, there are many other unconventional uses and art forms that incorporate mosaic artistry. For instance, in Barcelona, architect Antonio Gaudi used mosaic tiles to articulate the undulating forms found in Parc Guell. Modern artists have developed mosaic techniques and patterns using unusual materials, such as pebbles and buttons.

Patricia Rockwood, a mosaic artist working in Sarasota, FL, embellishes mirror frames with glass beads and crafts fish scales from pennies. She has created a window valence from mosaic tiles, and fashioned a mosaic “runner” spilling over the edge of a mosaic tiled occasional table.

In Naples, FL, Judith Auclair collects unique shells from all over the world and then combines them into eccentric home decor such as mirror frames, lamp bases, and tables. Her shop, Maison Auclair, is so filled with furniture and accessories, that it’s hard to imagine she’s the creator of all those pieces. Her work is called “Shell Art”, and it’s much more sophisticated than much of the kitchy shell-encrusted work you’ll find at arts and craft shows.

Molly B. Right paints her designs onto sheet metal. Then she applies bottle caps over the image to create Bottle Cap mosaics. The resulting images have an almost photographic realism to them, which adds to the viewer’s surprise when they realize the medium is reclaimed bottle caps.

Jeffrey Bale found a use for his lifetime collection of pebbles, when he learned how to create mosaic art with them. For an article in FineGardening ezin, he made a Pebble Mosaic “rug” inspired by Persian carpet design. Once he’s satisfied with his design, he sets the pebbles in mortar.

NJ Transit commissioned mosaic artist Yakov Hanansen to design mosaic illustrations for a new entrance structure at New York City’s Penn Station. He made eleven panels, and each was set into the marble surface on either side of the escalator that takes commuters down to the train station below.

The New York City subway system has hired mosaic artists to create station-specific mosaic art for many years. There’s even a Web site that lets you search for specific subway stations and view photos of the mosaics created for each station.

MetroNorth Commuter Railroad, which serves Westchester and Connecticut destinations, also has an environmental art program. For example, the train station at Dobbs Ferry NY, on the Hudson Line, welcomes travelers home with a large scale mosaic mural of stylized flowers in bright colors.