The Two Most Important DIY Concrete Mix Recipes

Mixing concrete is a basic skill that all DIY enthusiasts should know how to do. Concrete is one of the most common and inexpensive construction materials on the planet being comprised mostly of sand, gravel and cement.

Mixing concrete is similar to baking in that to achieve consistent results it is best to follow a specific recipe. There are a multitude of different concrete mixes for different applications depending on the strength, workability and application for the concrete.

Mixing concrete is very much a science for professionals, but to the average backyard enthusiast, learning the basics of concrete is enough to get you started.

When mixing concrete you will need to mix aggregates such as sand and gravel along with cement powder and water as a catalyst to begin the chemical process of bonding the ingredients together. Mixing concrete is a function of proportions where you will measure the volume of aggregate used to the volume of cement used.

The most common concrete mix used worldwide is the 3-2-1 mix which uses three parts gravel, two parts sand and one part cement. Water is added with the idea that you should use as little water as possible to make the concrete workable for what you need it for. Concrete viscosity is measured by “slump” which refers to a specific test where the amount that a cone filed with concrete will lose its shape once the cone is removed is measured in inches or mm. A concrete with zero slump would be very rigid and dry and inclined to hold its shape, where a concrete with a slump of six inches or more would be extremely wet and not inclined to hold a shape.

The 3-2-1 mix is so widely used since you can fill large areas with concrete for relatively cheap. You could potentially use only sand and cement, no gravel, to create what is called mortar. In the 3-2-1 mix the gravel serves as a filler taking up a great deal of space while retaining a relatively high overall strength. The disadvantage of the 3-2-1 mix is that the larger gravel aggregate will often float to the surface during finishing, and is unsuitable for thin or detailed concrete applications.

The best overall mix for a DIY enthusiast to memorize and use is a simple 3:1 mortar mix. By using three parts sand and one part mortar you can create the strongest concrete possible as well as concrete that is easy to finish and detail with designs, templates or stamps. By not using the gravel the mortar will have a smoother overall consistency, but will ultimately occupy less volume than concrete made using gravel as well. If you are pouring very large volumes of concrete the gravel could prove to be cost effective however for most DIY projects a 3:1 mortar mix is the way to go.

The sand that you need to use for a 3:1 mortar mix should be sharp sand, or masonry sand or jointing sand. Each place that you purchase sand will use a different term so it can be confusing when shopping. All that you need to remember is to avoid play sand. Play sand is sand that has been washed and sterilized (this is ok) and then tumbled to soften all the edges of the individual sand grains (this is bad).

The sharp edges of the sand help to hold together the concrete mix better than the rounded edges of the tumbled sand. Ideally you would like to find sand from landscape supply stores which will sell to you by the cubic yard. With a strong trailer you can pick up as much sand as you could possibly need for next to nothing – plus the quality of the sand for making cement will be very high.

The applications for a DIY enthusiast to use a 3:1 mortar mix are huge. Everything from fixing broken outdoor steps and stairs, driveways, patios, decks, ponds, waterfalls, artificial rock, statues and much more is possible with a simple mix of sand, cement and water.

Start with small concrete projects to get a better feel and understanding for how to work with concrete. Since concrete is so popular world wide, and is a highly advanced science, you will never run out of interesting concrete applications to learn about or try. Combined with being the most affordable construction material on the planet and readily available everywhere – learning to mix basic concrete recipes is a fundamental DIY project.

Cast Iron Baseboard Radiators – The Future Of Home Heating?

Most people, whether they work in the heating industry or not have heard of cast iron baseboard radiators. A feature of many homes since the 19th Century, they could be about to get a new lease of life as the radiator system of choice for the 21st Century also. Cheap to produce and widely available Worldwide, Iron is the ideal medium from which to construct domestic heating components.

In fact it can be said that the Earth, as well as most of the rest of the Solar System, is basically made of Iron and around 95% of Worldwide metal production is of Iron. In addition to being widely and cheaply available Iron is easy to cast into almost any shape, whilst its heat conducting properties are ideal for domestic heating. Quick to heat up, Iron retains its heat, slowly releasing it as it cools down, avoiding sudden drops in temperature as the system shuts down for the night.

One of the great benefits of a cast iron baseboard radiator system lies in its simplicity and durability. Really nothing more than a series of Iron pipes, the system has proved that it can happily cope with literally centuries of use with little or no maintenance.

This inherent simplicity has led to cast iron baseboard radiators being selected by increasing numbers of homeowners and architects for use in modern homes, using a variety of heat generating systems. Obviously the system can be easily updated by the replacement of an old, inefficient or broken boiler, with a new modern boiler. Most, if not all, of the original 19th Century radiator systems will have gone through several boilers during their lifetime without the need for updating the entire heating system, saving time, money and causing far less disruption to the household during the process.

One of the more exciting developments of late has come with the use of cast iron baseboard radiators with modern forms of ‘green’ energy. The system is ideal for use with a groundwater system. Here a bore hole is sunk into the ground down to a level where the Earth’s internal heat is great enough to heat water to a high temperature. Water is then circulated between the bore hole and the radiator system in the building providing an unlimited supply of heat.

Once the initial cost of the pump and bore hole are recouped the householder will benefit from unlimited, free, heating. Another exciting development suitable for use with a radiator system is the use of hot water provided by solar panels. Solar panels can be situated anywhere there is sufficient sunlight, on the roof or ground, and work by passing water over the surface of the panel. As it passes over the panel the water is heated by the Sun’s rays, providing hot water for a variety of uses. Of course Solar panels are also used to generate electricity for the building, and the technology is rapidly developing to the point where it will be a cheap and valuable source of our energy needs.

Both deep bore and solar panel technologies are ideal for use with a cast iron baseboard radiator system. Another benefit not to be forgotten with the system is the fact that it is already installed in millions of homes. Whether you live in a Victorian brownstone or a more modern, 20th Century home, your existing system will be ideal for updating with the latest heating technologies, now and very likely in the future too.

How To Lose Belly Fat – and Sit-Ups Are Not The Answer

Are you trying to lose that annoying Belly Fat? I’m sure you have heard that sit-ups and crunches are the way to do it, because those exercises make use of the abdominal muscles. However while it is absolutely true that sit-ups will strengthen the abdominal muscles and make you stronger in that area, and you may look thinner because your improved muscles hold in the fat better, this does not actually reduce belly fat in itself.

For a complete and long lasting solution to how to lose belly fat, we need to look at how the body works and how it is able to actually lose weight. The simple fact is that if you are going to lose weight – from any part of your body – you need regular exercise. The fact that the most obvious and visible area of excess fat in your body is your belly does not alter this fact. When you do not exercise enough, or over-eat for a protracted period, one of the areas which naturally shows this excess more than others is the belly. Similarly if you start to exercise and lose weight, it will disappear quickest from the same belly area. So no special “belly exercises” are actually necessary – just healthy exercise!

In addition to exercise, diet plays a critical role in losing or gaining weight. You can exercise but still find you are gaining weight if you are eating very badly or in large quantities. So both exercise and diet are required to get the full effect. You need to adjust your diet so that you are burning more calories than you consume, at this point you start to “burn” the calories stored as fat in your body. Obviously changing your diet to reduce the amount of calories being consumed helps, as does reducing the actual quantities of food you eat if you have been eating excessive amounts.

The key to losing belly fat is actually quite simple, and there really is no secret or special program – exercise, and eat less (and eat well). So the two key action points are firstly to reduce the calories you eat, with smaller amounts of food or lower calorie foods. Secondly every day perform some physical exercise. Do this and you WILL lose that belly fat!

Structural Framing Beams

Let’s start with the beams. They can be Glulam, Parallam, Microlam or even wood beams. What are all of these and why do I need them in my house. The beams are used to hold up parts of the house and are located in your walls, roofs and floors. Beams are used to transfer a load from one point to another.

Structural framing beams allow the architect to create large openings, floors and roofs in your house. The beams are also used to support the weight over the doors, windows and other openings in your home. These beams support massive amounts of weight in some cases and are even made of steel if needed.

Another growing problem is the lack of old growth trees in the forest. If we just used wood beams with out using the new engineered beams we would have to cut down a lot more of the bigger trees. So you can add these guys to your Christmas list. The lumber or wood engineers have come up with all sorts of alternatives for new building products. These new beams are just some of them. Keep up the good work guys…

Glulam is a engineered wood product comprised of wood laminations, or 2 x 4s that are bonded together with strong, waterproof adhesives. If you use a Glulam beam on the buildings exterior you will have to order a exterior Glulam beam. In this case the manufacture will use special exterior rated glues for the beam.

When ordering any wood engineered beams specify to the lumber yard what you are using the beam for. Exterior or Interior of the building. If you use a interior glulam over time there is a good chance of the beam delaminating or cracking apart.

Parallam is made from almost all of the wood on the log using veneer strands that are aligned parallel for maximum strength. The end product is a rectangular beam; which is longer, thicker, and stronger than solid-sawn lumber. They are often used as beams, headers, columns, and posts, among others uses.

Microllam is an engineered wood product that uses multiple layers of thin wood assembled with adhesives. It offers several advantages over typical milled lumber: it is stronger, straighter, and more uniform. It is much less likely than conventional lumber to warp, twist, bow, or shrink due to its composite nature. Made in a factory under controlled specifications, Microllam products allow users to reduce the onsite labor. They are typically used for headers, beams, rim board, and edge-forming material.

These beams come in all sorts of different lengths, widths and heights. They are engineered to hold amazing amounts of weight. They really are great engineering marvels.

Tip: I have had to replace almost all of these types of beams over the years due to some form of damage. Like anything else in your home if it is used improperly there is a good chance your are going to have some sort of failure. I have seen people add weight to these structural beams with no thought of them ever failing.

If you are planning on building a room addition, rebuilding your roof, adding a floor or any other type of construction where you are adding a addition load to your house. You might want to consult with a building contractor or structural engineer.

Thanks Greg For Another Super Article On Home Building. For more great articles visit Greg at http://gregvan.com/

Acetone Vs Other Fuel Additives – Existing Technologies to Reduce Specific Toxicants & Increase MPG

A lot of articles on the net, in particular the Peswiki articles explain the virtues of using Acetone as a fuel additive.

Overall, there are arguments for and against its use as an additive to both gas or diesel. The doping formula most recommended is 2 oz. per 10 gallons, that appear to result in these benefits

1. Slight increases in horsepower or performance.

2. Increases in MPG

3. Cleaning injectors and lower engine parts without affecting lubricity.

4. More stable idling and less “dieseling”.

5. And Quicker startups.

Most of these results were with older engines, and rightfully so. Usually a new car/pickup/truck/motorcycle, construction equipment will not be appreciably helped with any gas/fuel additive.

It is interesting to note that one sentence in the Peswiki article was crossed out. I have copy-pasted it here: No one has yet reported damage to their engine from acetone being added to the fuel. Interesting, wouldn’t you think? It implies that there are now reports that damage has occurred to engines as a result of Acetone being added to fuel.

Among the counter-productive results, there appears to be just as many who have had bad luck with Acetone. For example:

1. Some decreases in horsepower or performance.

2. An actual decrease in MPG

3. Although cleaning of injectors and lower engine parts, quite a few have reported injector damage, and resulting low idle speed fluctuations. And, if your State/County requires Vehicle Emissions Testing as a prerequisite to annual tabbing, this is one of the two major tests. Low idle speed fluctuations are fairly expensive to correct. As such, usually a testing exemption is applied for, and if granted, more visible exhaust and toxic emissions result. If not granted, just the parts, much less the labor is exorbitant. Sometimes the value of this repair on an older car is worth more than the vehicle

4. There is no organized or scientific approach studies that suggest Acetone either reduced or added to air quality (or carbon footprint). Indeed, the cautions include “Acetone is a poisonous substance with dangerous vapors, similar to gasoline.”

5. Further warnings include: “Keep acetone away from painted surfaces. It is the key ingredient in paint remover. Manufacturers, of course do not have nor will they extend to you any warranties as to what damage may be done to your engine, or the paint job of your vehicle should you spill. They do not carry any liability, and rightfully so, if you use Acetone for other than its intended purpose.

6. Further searches for information on Acetone as an effective fuel additive do not reveal whether it is an emulsifier-separating moisture from the fuel.

7. Acetone does not work harmoniously with gasolines or fuels that contain alcohol or alcohol byproducts. By the way, most gasolines do contain a percentage of ethanol.

8. Acetone does not contain Algaecides, particularly for diesel fuel integrity.

9. If your vehicle is under warranty, Acetone is not an EPA registered product under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act for use as a fuel additive. Therefore its use as a fuel additive will void your warranty. Indeed, it would appear that selling or buying Acetone as a fuel additive is a legal no-no.

10. It is doubtful that Acetone is classified as a biodegradable substance.

11. When added to diesel fuels, there is no evidence that Acetone boosts Cetane points, thereby improving ignition quality and reliability.

Overall, when the anecdotal evidence of Acetone are considered, it appears that the jury is split about 50-50.

Other than regular maintenance, and the advent of catalytic oxidation (converters) the real challenge is that, over the past 15 or so years, there has been NO existing technologies that effectively or significantly, reduce specific toxicants, e.g., that our autos are tested for at a Vehicle Emissions Testing Site. And given present infrastructure, the “closest” alternative fuels that would come closer to the objectives of:

1. cleaner air and climate control

2. improved or increased gas and diesel mileage

3. improved performance and increased horsepower

————–appears to be Natural Gas (NG), although this alternative fuel, along with fuels from corns and wheats have their own distribution channels to work out. Hydrogen appears to be a perfect fuel source, although it is not a naturally occurring gas, and the technology is expensive-any commercially, as opposed to homemade devices, do not appear to be forthcoming in the near future.

So, from a technical viewpoint, what should present science look like? First, it should be practical and easy to apply. It should be able to take advantage of present infrastructure and distribution methods. It should be available, NOW. And least, it should be very affordable. Notwithstanding these attributes, the technology would fail-simply due to human nature.

A fuel additive should have these features and benefits or look something like the following:

· EPA registered, a fuel-additive product that should be patented to improve fuel economy, and not to remove paint.

· California CARB approved

· MSDS listed.

· Works with Gasoline or Diesel engines.

· Reduce visible exhaust and toxic exhaust emissions (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and oxides of nitrogen (NO )-by at least 30%

· Lubrication properties that provide “top oil’ lubricity (and not just “without affecting lubricity”, which leads the Acetone claims as a little bit lame. Also see the above crossed out claim) protecting vital engine parts.

· Increase horsepower

· Cetane boosts of 8 points to improve ignition quality and reliability.

· Reduce carbon and EGR soot buildup.

· Emulsifiers to separate moisture from fuel.

· Algaecides to maintain fuel integrity

· Detergents that clean fuel injectors, pumps and fuel systems without damaging them.

· Fuel stabilizers reducing contamination and improve oxidation and thermal stability

· Lower fuel surface tension affecting more complete fuel burn.

· Comprising ingredients environmentally safe-biodegradable petrochemicals

· Guaranteed with a $1,000,000 liability in case of harm to engine parts, fuel lines, storage or fuel tanks.

· Will not, because of EPA testing, and registration, void engine manufacturer’s warranties (see Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act US Code – Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312)

· Works in all engines, gas or diesel, without modification.

· Does not contain alcohol, methanol, isopropyl, MBTE, sulfur or metals.

· EPA, SAE and Field Tested for over 7 years and approximately 400,000,000 miles.

· Will not harm your paint if you spill it while adding to your fuel.

· OH, and it should be about as inexpensive, if not less expensive than the same quantity of Acetone.

With the following specifications:

Lubricity………………………………………(HFRR)380

IBP………………………………………………315-610 Deg F

Vapor Pressure………………………….(mm Hg.) 0.18

PourPoint/ Gel Inhibitor……………to -20 Deg F

Flash Point…………………………………105 Deg F

Derived Cetane…………………………8 points

DOT…………………………………………..Hazard Class 3, Packing II (e.g.,) no storing or transporting prohibitions

And I might add that the manufacturer should put their money where their mouth is. Acetone cannot not do this as a fuel additive. There is also no protection under the Magnuson-Moss Act. However, there are some fuel additive providers that give a 100% “unconditional” money back guarantee if the product does not live up to expectations, and most have liability (some up to $1,000,000 for each claim) coverage that is substantial. You also have the protection of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act US Code – Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312)

As a former owner of a small trucking company, and a family of many children that drives a lot of miles-I did not at first know all of this. But it became fairly important to me.

I realized that in experimenting with products with these attributes I experienced a $12,000 improvement to my bottom-line, with one 18 wheeler, and an almost $21,000 improvement in my older Peterbilt. And, these results were attained without changing my driving habits. Significant to say the least. In trucking, fuel costs are second only to personnel and benefits costs.

Each of the older cars that my family drives (I don’t exactly believe in buying new cars) there was an average of a little over a net $620 per year in fuel savings averaged in 5 cars. Three of the 5 cars we gave up after more than 250,000 miles (another benefit that I believe a good fuel additive should contribute to). We are still exceeding exhaust emissions standards by about 30% at the lowest and 50% at the most, as measured by our Vehicle Emissions Testing for our county.

Modern Architecture

Modern architecture is a style found in the buildings that have simple form without any ornamental structures to them. This style of architecture first came up around 1900. By 1940, modern architecture was identified as an international style and became the dominant way to build for many decades in the 20th century. Modern architects apply scientific and analytical methods to design.

Many historians relate the origins of this style of architecture to the social and political revolution of the time, though others see modern architecture as primarily driven by technological and engineering developments. The availability of new materials such as iron, steel, concrete, and glass brought about new building techniques as part of the industrial revolution. Some regard modern architecture as a reaction against ancient building style. Above all, it is widely accepted as a matter of taste.

For the international style, the most commonly used materials are glass for the facade, steel for exterior support, and concrete for the floors and interior supports. The floor plans are functional and logical. But, many people are not fond of the modern style. They find its stark, uncompromisingly rectangular geometrical designs quite inhumane. They think this universal style is sterile, elitist, and lacks meaning.

Modern architecture challenged traditional ideas about the types of structures suitable for architectural design. Only important civic buildings, aristocratic palaces, churches, and public institutions had long been the mainstay of architectural practices. But, modernist designers argued that architects should design everything that was necessary for society, even the most humble buildings.

Architects began to plan low-cost housing, railroad stations, factories, warehouses, and commercial spaces. In the first half of the 20th century, modern architects produced furniture, textiles, and wallpaper – as well as designing houses – to create a totally designed domestic environment. The aesthetics used by modern architects celebrated function in all forms of design, from household furnishings to massive ocean liners and new flying machines.

Modern architecture originated in the United States and Europe and spread across the rest of the world. The characteristic features that made modern architecture possible were buildings, stylistic movements, technology, and modern materials.

Arch Supports for Plantar Fasciitis – Good or Bad?

Arch supports for plantar fasciitis are a form of aid, designed to reduce the pressure on your heel and fingers, and put the additional pressure on your arch. As a result, the pressure is spaced more uniformly, leading to less pain. This however, is a two-edged sword – you reduce the pain, but in the long run – you increase it, as your feet get used to the less finger pressure. You also do not cure the condition in any way, just mask a symptom. You need to still be following your exercise program, designed to eliminate the fasciitis. Read on to learn more.

Arch supports are usually used when walking, or running. They do reduce the pain, but they create a form of dependence, and you need them more and more. Many people become comfortable with the right type of arch supports, and as a result keep living with the plantar fasciitis condition, although it can be cured relatively easily. Generally speaking, the formula for eliminating plantar fasciitis is the following: do proper stretching, and exercise in order to get your tissues stronger, apply hot and cold in proper intervals, and eat the right type of diet – your body needs the right nutrients, in order to eliminate the tears, and rewire the nerve endings. The arch supports for plantar fasciitis are merely an aid, which you use during this process – not through your whole life.

Many people get confused, or they are wrongly told by doctors that they need to learn to live with this condition, or that it will take years of rehabilitation, before they can be pain-free again. That is simply not true, as there are a lot of newly discovered principles in this area, and you can easily apply them to cure the fasciitis. If you use arch supports for the condition, you may also want to use night braces, which are designed to keep your foot in a certain position, and reduce the pain. Remember though, that ultimately, the goal is to eliminate the condition. These aids are simply a form of pain relief, while the process lasts.

26 Ideas for Construction Safety Meeting Topics

Before starting any construction work in chemical plant, you will want to conduct construction safety meeting which is attended by safety in charges within your company or plant, construction workers and labors. It is usually conducted daily, weekly and or monthly within the construction schedule.

At that time, you should choose appropriate construction safety meeting topics. They are very important in which you communicate any safety-related topics with the construction jobs.

Below here are 26 ideas that you can choose for the construction safety meetings in the plant site. Selection of the topics will depend on hazard level of each construction work that you have assessed through the hazard identification and risk assessment.

  1. Company’s safety regulations
  2. Safety work permit procedure
  3. Hot work permit procedure
  4. Wearing personal protective equipment
  5. Potential hazards at the plant site
  6. Fire safety precautions
  7. Working under confined spaces
  8. Welding, brushing and grinding safety
  9. Hazardous chemicals handling
  10. How to safely handle flammable gas and liquid
  11. Compressed gas safety
  12. Electric tools
  13. Electrical hazards at the construction site
  14. Hard hat usage
  15. Eye goggles usage
  16. When to use hearing protection devices
  17. Scaffolding
  18. Fall protection
  19. Safety of construction ladder
  20. Crane safety
  21. Chain block
  22. Safety checklist for demolition
  23. Chemical cleaning
  24. Hydrostatic pressure safety
  25. Construction communication procedure
  26. Emergency response procedure

Select one of the above construction safety meeting topics according to construction work types. For instance, if the construction works done under confined spaces, you should prioritize confined space as your construction safety meeting topics. Give more weight on that topic. But always bear in mind that to give only topic for each meeting.

Body Building Diet – Vegan

The problem faced by skinny guys and vegetarians is not basically because they are short of meals. But they are faced with this situation of low calories, because their meals are basically high on fiber, what with the huge load of fruits and raw veggies that are rich in fiber and lend a filling effect to one’s appetite, while at the same time being really low on calories.

It is highly important that you consume anywhere between say 15 to 20 calories of food, for every pound of body weight that you are carrying on yourself. So for example, say that you are weighing 180 pounds in terms of your body weight you will need to have a total of 2700 to 3600 calories worth of food in an entire day. This implies that if you are consuming 6 meals per day, you will need to have anywhere between 450 to 600 calories worth of food per meal.

Ideally, it would be a great idea to get started on the lower end of the scale and gradually adjust yourself to reach the higher levels of the scale, as your body gradually gets adjusted to the increasing intake or consumption. However, it is important for you to keep a check on the amount you are eating and the kind of reaction that your body is giving. 

If for instance, you have been steadily putting on weight, but most of it is fat mass instead of lean muscle mass, then you need to gradually reduce your intake, till you see an increase in lean muscle mass, when compared to the gain in fat mass. On the other hand if you see a steady increase in the lean muscle mass of your body, as compared to the fat mass of your body, then you can continue to maintain your current rate of intake of calories. Finally, if you see a steady increase in the lean muscle mass of your body, accompanied by a steady decrease in the fat mass of your body, then its time to increase your intake of calories, until you reach a state of equilibrium, or until you feel that you are happy with the current bulk of your muscles.

Finally, as compared to all the other nutrients that you must consume, it is equally necessary to consume healthy fats as well. It is a recommended best practice that at least 30% of all calories that you consume in a day be derived from healthy fats. An example of healthy fats is the Omega 5 fatty acids. One example source of deriving the Omega 5 healthy fatty acids is through the consumption of dry nuts.

Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to eat the right way, in spite of being a vegetarian or a skinny guy or a hard gainer, and you will be able to see how, you start building up those muscles, with the help of your regular body building work outs, coupled with the diet guidelines, as illustrated in this article.

Dream Interpretation: House

Symbolism of a House in a Dream

The house is a very, very common object in a dream. What does a house mean in a dream? The house has many meanings! Here is a dream I had as a young teen:

House and Tower Dream

I went through a house, climbing higher and higher. A man with a knife chased me the entire way. When I reached the topmost rooms, I realized I had to jump. The man and a gang of demons were pounding on the door to break through to me. As the wood began to splinter, I leapt through the glass, shattering it into hundreds of shards as I exited the room into the air. The man reached for me, but failed.

As I fell, I could see the house- now it was a tower. I fell, fell, fell. Hairy arms ending in sharp animal claws broke the glass to reach for me. They all missed. I was very surprised when I landed comfortably on the sand. I began to walk down a beach. Many people walked past me, or I passed their blanket on the beach. None seemed to know or understand my amazing trial, all the things that happened to me, and my great escape.

The Meaning of the House Dream

That dream was realized. It was my life. The anger of my stepfather, and the violence of my youth ended when my mother divorced him. He did pull a knife once, but, like in the dream, did not cut anyone with it. Later in life, I realized: nobody knows what ordeals other people survived. We are as normal as anyone else.

That home which became a tower represented the years of my youth. At first, I was free and loved. Later, home was like a prisoner’s tower. I did take a lot of beatings. But, my step father did some great things as well. I forgave him long ago!

The beach represents the remainder of my life. “Life is a beach” is a common phrase.

Christian Dream Interpretation of a House

I have heard the interpretation of many dreams from Christians involving a house as well. Interpretation belongs to God, after all. (Ask Daniel and Joseph.) The Christian interpretation of a house in a dream seems to be almost always prayer.

Prayer forms a barrier between the prayer warrior and the will of the enemy of God. I have seen a barbed wire fence in a dream. It was a wall of prayer.

I have seen stone fences which also represented prayer.

The walls of a house can represent the protecting prayers of a Christian.

Houses, Generally

Houses have multiple levels. Each of these represents a different aspect of a person. The ground floor represents daily, conscious life. This is the level of life we can plainly see. The attic represents the subconscious and sometimes it can represent an interaction with spiritual issues.

Basement

The basement stores things out of use, or which will be used at a future time. The basement, for most, was not an active part of the life plan (the ground floor). It is a place of storage, or a place to relax and recline (game room).

A dark, scary basement may represent repressed memories, something difficult to process or accept. Undesirable memories are stored in the basement.

Attic

Attics in a dream often represent the subconscious mind. Items here are stored for later use. They are available when necessary.

Third floor

Some dreamers report breaking through the attic to reach a third floor. This floor represents the spiritual life of the dreamer, not the attic. Note carefully the construction and any instantaneous thoughts about the construction, sturdiness, or strength of the third floor. This represents your spiritual life.

When I was a new Christian, I read many books and learned many things which which were New Age (demonic and broken). I dreamed during that time of finding a door at the edge of the attic. I passed through, climbed some stairs, and found myself in a third floor. The walls were mostly burned out on one side. The floor was new boards, nailed at odd angles. Plywood walls were also new. Everything was built haphazard and the fire damage left the roof and the missing wall completely open.

I could see a bright sun from there. Intense light caused me to turn my head and lift my arm to protect my eyes.

Because I was not responsible with my spiritual life, I had built a rickety, dangerous third floor. But, I could see the Son from there!

Rehash from the Basement up:

Basement: Things you don’t plan to use, or don’t want to use

Ground floor: Daily life, people, and concerns

Attic, things you use somewhat regularly

Third floor: spiritual life

Walls (Christian): Prayer

Remember: These usages are very common. But, the meaning in your dream could be anything. You have to pray about it. Here are some variations:

Dream Meaning New House: Something new is coming into your life. Perhaps your future holds a new life.

Dream Interpretation of a House on Fire: Something in your life requires immediate attention. It is rapidly destroying your life. Could this be less obvious? If there is a fire in your house, immediate action is necessary.

Dream of a Moving House: Your life is going somewhere. Perhaps you will move to a new place- and have a new house there. Some aspect of your life is in transition. Look for other details in the dream that may refine the interpretation and understanding.

Dream Interpretation- Flooding House: This most often represents the Judgment of God. Even Jungian interpreters have to pay close attention to this interpretation. In the history of God and His people, the flood of Noah was God’s judgment on the wickedness of mankind. Many dreams in recent years of tsunamis, or three tsunamis in rapid succession, are about judgment coming on the people of the world. And, judgment starts with the house of God. The symbol of a flood as judgment is now part of the “collective unconscious” in the idea of Jung (who really just translated a book on eastern mysticism- his own words). However, for those who pray, you might just be told by the Holy Spirit that flooding waters are judgment. If the waters are into your own household, what does that mean? It could be for just one member of the home. Or, it could mean the entire neighborhood or nation.

Conclusion:

A house in a dream can mean many things, or be used to convey a wide variety of message. Most often, I expect, a house represents your life. However, sometimes a house is just a house.

Design, the Process and the Management

Design, the definition:

Design can be simply defined as a strategic approach to create a plan or a resolution for the production of an object or a system. Formally; design has been described as the specification of an object, revealed by an agent, intended to achieve targets, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints.

With such a broad definition, there could be no universal code or even a unifying institution for designers of all disciplines. This allowed various philosophies and approaches toward the subject to emerge and develop.

The person designing is called a “designer”. A designer’s sequence of activities performed to achieve a specific objective is called a “design process”.

Design philosophies can be considered as the fundamental and essential guiding principles that dictate and determine how a designer approaches his/her practice. In other words, design philosophies lead to design goals and those goals more likely guide the design process.

The design process: It has been defined earlier as the sequence of activities performed by a designer to achieve an objective.

An approach to a design may rely on various methodologies among which are:

KISS: keep it simple and stupid, which strives to eliminate unnecessary complications.

IMTOWTDI: there is more than one way to do it, an approach that recommends multiple methods to do the same thing.

Interior Design: The Process

Brief:

Follows a systematic and coordinated methodologies; including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.

The 8 Phases Process

• Initial Consultation/Programming/Briefing

A good brief will be as detailed and project specific as possible. It will outline the client’s requirements, needs and aspirations. It will setup a budget for works and the scale in which the project must be realized.

• Design Agreement

An agreement between the client and the designer is to be signed. The agreement indicates and outlines the scope of work, deliverables, milestones, time frame and project duration. It also refers to the design fee, terms of payment and other legitimate issues.

• Measurements/Survey

On-site measurements are taken with high accuracy and any required surveys occur.

• Identification of Key Requirements

Based on the client’s briefing and the given space, the client’s requirements and needs should be clearly identified and prioritized.

• Brainstorming and Design Concept

Reaching a tangible yet preliminary design concept; resolving related existing problems. Presenting a draft for an innovative, creative and yet functional blueprint.

Is a set of 2D/3D drawings, sample photographs and graphics that can easily, simply and successfully display a preliminary design solution resolving related existing problems. Presenting a draft for an innovative, creative and yet functional blueprint that also properly demonstrates an idea in a way that the client can understand, visualize and interact with.

• Design Development/Detailing

Drafting a package of working drawings/shop drawings where all technical details are properly clarified and illustrated. Detailed specifications for materials, finishes, colors, fixtures, fittings, furnishings, etc. are highlighted and documented.

• Visualization/Preview

A presentation of 3D rendered perspectives to visualize or preview in a photo-real quality the various design elements combined together before implementation phase. Also sample boards are submitted to select and approve materials, fittings, fabrics, etc. to be used latterly during the implementation and execution phase

• Budget/Estimate

Bill of quantities, estimated budget, cost analysis; cash flow control, etc. are calculated, filed and documented.

Design Management

Brief:

Is a business discipline that uses project management, design strategy and supply chain technology to control a creative process, support a culture of creativity and build a structure and an organization for design.

Objective:

The objective of design management is to develop and maintain a business environment in which an organization can achieve its strategies and mission goals by establishing and managing an efficient and effective system.

The discipline of design management overlaps with marketing management, operation management and strategic management. Basically design management plays three key roles: align design strategy with corporate strategy, managing quality of design outcome and enhancement of new methods of user experience.

Design management is reactive and responds to current business situation by using specific skills, tools, methods and techniques.

Design management requires design leadership to know where to go, and design leadership requires design management to know how to go there.

Design managers need to speak both the language of business and the language of design.

Interior Design Service:

Service design management deals with organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve the quality of the service and to improve the interaction between the service provider and the customer in what is commonly known as the customer’s experience.

To improve the customer’s experience. The service should be well designed in order to remain competitive and attract more customers.

Make a 5 Pointed Star Out of Wood

If you’ve ever seen a wooden, 5 pointed star and wished you could have one for your own wall, keep reading. Not only will you learn how to make one, you’ll also learn how to make one any size you want, and you won’t even have to be a math whiz to do it.

While not difficult to make, a 5 pointed star does require the use of some basic woodworking tools. The tools listed here are the minimal tools necessary to construct a star. If you have more advanced tools to use, the speed, accuracy and ease of construction will improve. You will need:

  • A jigsaw
  • A miter saw
  • Wood glue
  • Wood

Choose an Angle

We’ll be making a three-dimensional star that has a straight ridge, running from the center of the star to the tips of each point. The angle of this ridge can be anything you like, but I’ve found that a 30 degree angle looks great and gives the star a good amount of depth. Experiment to find the angle you like the best.

Cut the Wood

Begin by cutting 10 rectangular pieces of wood. Long, narrow pieces look the best, and the lengths and widths need to be identical for the points of the star to come together properly. An electric miter saw works well to cut the pieces to length, but you can always make the cuts by hand if necessary.

I would suggest starting with rectangles no bigger than 3″ x 10″. The thickness of the wood should be from ½” to ¾”. Once you get the hang of it, the size of the star is limited only by the woodworking tools you have available.

Bevel the Edge

Once the rectangles are cut, one of the long edges of each piece needs to be cut at a 30 degree angle (or whatever angle you choose). Set the base of the saw for the desired angle of cut and use a straight edge as a guide for the saw to cut along the entire length of the piece of wood. Be sure to start each cut at the same point on each piece so that the width of all pieces is identical after making the cuts. You can hold the beveled edges of two pieces together and see the basic shape of one of the star points.

Sort the Pieces

After all the cuts are made, put 5 rectangles in one pile and 5 in another pile. Mark each in the first pile with an L to signify it will be the left half of the point. The other pile gets marked with an R to show it’s the right half.

Cut the Points

Take a piece from the R pile and lay it down in front of you with the beveled edge on the left side, facing down. Measure down from the upper right corner, 1/5th of the total distance to the lower right corner. For example, if the length of the piece of wood is 5 inches, measure down 1 inch and make a mark. Now, use a pencil to draw a line from that mark, down to the lower left corner. Measure, mark and draw a line on the remaining pieces marked with an R.

All the pieces in the L pile get marked the same way, except the 30 degree bevel will be facing down on the right side, and the measurement will be made 1/5th the distance from the upper left to the lower left. Mark and draw lines on all remaining pieces.

Once all pieces are marked, make a cut along the lines of each of the 10 pieces. Make sure the saw is set to 0 degrees because you don’t want a bevel on this cut. Again, a straight edge may be helpful to make this cut nice and straight.

Glue the L and R Halves Together

With all the cuts made, you can now glue the L and R pieces together. Use good quality wood glue that will make a nice strong bond. When you’re done, you should have what look like five, star points. Set these pieces aside until they have dried completely.

Make 36 Degree Cuts

The last step involves making 2 cuts on each star point that are exactly 36 degrees from the centerline. If you have an electric miter saw, it’s a simple matter to set the angle at 36 degrees.

When making the cuts, line up the center ridge of the point so that it’s perpendicular to the back of the saw. The endpoint of the star should be pointing directly at you. It’s also very important when making the cut that the endpoint of the star is pressed down against the table. This is what assures the compound angle that each center point needs to fit together correctly. One cut will be made from the top, center of the point to the right at 36 degrees, and the other will be a mirror-image cut on the left side.

Glue the Points Together

Since 10 cuts will be made, each at 36 degrees, a complete 360 degree star will be made when you glue all the center points together. If the ends of each point were held down against the table when the cuts were made, each piece should fit together perfectly and the finished star should lie flat on the table.

Once you have the hang of it, vary the widths and lengths of the rectangles and use different types of wood. Use oak, pine, or old barn wood for just look you want. With a little searching and creativity, you’ll be certain to come up with a 5 pointed star that goes with any decor.

Guide to Selling Your Parents House

Tragedy is an unavoidable part of life. Seven years ago, after a mercifully short illness, my beloved mother passed away leaving behind her home of over forty years. Where did I begin?

First, I left it alone. It was not within my DNA to rush from New York City to Philadelphia to immediately begin dismantling the home my mother so lovingly created. It was her nest and she loved it. To touch it was to desecrate her memory. So I just left it alone.

But over the course of the next couple of weeks, the responsibility of owning a house in another state came into focus and the task was clear.

What part of this was easy? None of it.

1. The Personal Stuff: Take It Out

Opening my mother’s bureau drawers and pulling out her jewelry box where her personal treasures were kept felt like a violation. But I did it. Along with the silver service, valuable knick knacks and anything else that fell into the category of family treasure. The keys to this house were going to be made available to Realtors city wide and they were going to be bringing through tours of strangers and this was simply a matter of practicality. Besides, what’s more inviting to burglars than an empty house?

2. It’s Not Yours Anymore: Get It Ready to Sell

The first thing you need to do is depersonalize. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living there; not see you and your family. Those family pictures will have to come down.

3. A Good Thing: You’ve Sold It

Yes, you are going to put a monetary value on a house that is no longer your home. It gets exchanged for money. My mother knew I didn’t need a house in Philadelphia when I lived in New York City and would be happy to know that her investment paid off handsomely for me and my brothers, forty years after she bought it. Keep that in mind.

4. Bite the Bullet: Move the Rest Out

You left the big stuff so the Realtor could show the house to it’s best advantage. Now the house is sold and the new owners want space for their stuff. It’s time to get rid of the rest of it. My siblings and I took what we loved and got rid of the rest..Business decisions were called for and we made them. You never know what you can do until you have to do it.

If things go according to plan, we survive our parents. This is good; it’s what you want for your own children. But nothing can ever prepare you for it. In my situation, turning my childhood home into a house for sale was worse than the lose itself. It was the dismantling of an institution; my life; my memories; losing my mother all over again. In fact it was none of those things. The memories are still alive within me and are remembered and retold to the next generation at every holiday table and family gathering just as my parents told me about their parents and grandparents.

Should I Paint My Front Door Red? The Number One Feng Shui Question

Many people ask us this very question. I am sure you have all met someone that has told you after they painted their door red their life changed!

Painting you front door will actually bring new energy into your home! But Red is not your only option and in some cases not even your best options. Red in Feng Shui is very powerful and brings with it prosperity, abundance and success but it may not be the right choice for you.

With the Flying Star method of Feng Shui – we can determine if you home has any “star combinations” that are unfavourable. If so then painting your door red might actually make them worse! As well there are certain directions each calendar year that are not good to place any red in so you should be extras cautious with these directions.

With Traditional compass directions, colour is associated with each specific direction or aspiration within the Bagua Chart. As well different element strength can determine whether its best to have a wood or metal door. Your choice of colour has a great deal to do with what you are looking to accomplish in your life. Your goals help to determine which direction to take with choice of colours. Your colour choice should also fit within the colour scheme of the rest of the exterior of your home for Feng Shui is about creating balance and living in harmony with your surroundings. Some of the most popular colour choices include:

Black & Dark Blue

Generally associated with North facing doors, black and blue are very good colours for those of use who are seeking new career success, direction or opportunity.

White, Silver, Copper or Gold

Generally associated with the West. & Northwest, White doors are metal energy and great for creative pursuits Green & Blue Generally associated with East and South East facing door, these colours are associate with new growth, new beginnings, and strong vitality and health. The energy here is wood.

Brown & Yellow

Generally associated with the North East or the South West – this earth energy is grounding and quiet, so not the best choice for an active front door, unless the stars look favourably upon instilling additional earth energy here.

Red, Pink & Purple

Generally associated with the South , this fire energy is associated with fame, reputation and prosperity.

If you don’t like your current front door colour it is probably because it is not suited to what you are looking to achieve. Without doing a full consultation, the next best thing is to try the colour you gravitate towards based on what you are trying to achieve and then see what happens! If things begin to change for the better than you chose well! If not, then just change it again to another colour!

© 2008 Fay Chapple

Generally Accepted Accounting Principals – A Primer

Accountants are the keepers of the standards. They are the ones who make sure that when we look at a financial statement, we can be reasonably that it was built using sound accounting practices and that it is comparable to other audited financial statements for other companies.

That sounds like a daunting task, but never fear. The accounting professional is in business to help you through all this.

The accounting profession is self-regulated. They decide the most appropriate way to record company activity on the financial books of record. They do this through an august board of seasoned professionals, the Accounting Practices Board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This group defines what is known as “Generally Accepted Accounting Principals” or GAAP, which all public accountants must adhere to on behalf of all their clients.

The process used to introduce new GAAP or change old GAAP is beyond the scope of this paper, but it is a lengthy process with plenty of review opportunities for all CPAs and business people.

THE PURPOSE OF GAAP

The main purpose of having GAAP is to assure consistency in accounting practices, not only within a company, but across all regulated companies. The SEC requires all publicly held companies to be audited at least annually by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The CPA assures the stockholders that they can count on the financial information from the company, because it is in compliance with GAAP.

By preparing all financial information according to GAAP,

o Management can depend on the records and make course corrections for their individual departments or the company as a whole for the betterment of the company.

o Investors and lenders can make sound decisions based on the financial records of the company.

o Stockholders and prospective stockholders get an accurate picture of the company’s financial health.

o Stock can be valued fairly on the market

o Deceptive, unfair and even criminal practices are minimized.

PRIMARY PRINCIPLES

The following are some of the primary principles upon which GAAP is built. This is, by no means, a complete description of GAAP, which is very detailed and takes much study to become expert at, but it shows the abiding purpose behind all that detail.

1. Historical Cost Principle: In general, the value of a company’s assets is the original cost of those assets less suitable depreciation or amortization. This keeps companies from stating their assets at market value, which is not only difficult to ascertain, but very subjective in nature. Historical cost provides the actual cost which is very objective.

2. Revenue Recognition Principal: This simply states that revenue is recognized when it is earned, which may be a different time than it is received. For example, if your company provides a service at the end of December, but you customer doesn’t pay you until January of the following year, your December revenue total will include that amount. January will not, even though that is the month in which you deposited the payment.

3. Full Disclosure Principle: Any information, whether or not strictly financial, that is relevant to the business and may have a future impact, must be disclosed. All transactions must be posted, of course. But even further, this principle provides for disclosure of contingencies. For example, if your company is being sued, the lawsuit must be analyzed for expected chance of loss. This contingency must be disclosed in a footnote of the financial statements. This is to prevent a loan officer or investor from not knowing this possibly impacting information when making decisions regarding investments in or loans to the company.

4. Matching Principle: Put simply, revenue must be matched to the expenses that helped to create it. This is why you have accruals and deferrals. The expenses associated with earning revenue for this period must also appear in this period.

GAAP ASSUMPTIONS

GAAP assumes the following:

1. Going Concern Assumption: The company or entity is a “going concern” and is not likely to end operations in the current year. It is expected to remain in business for the foreseeable future. Any exceptions to this assumption must be disclosed.

2. Economic Entity Assumption: The company is an independent entity and is separate from it’s owners.

3. Monetary Unit Assumption: The currency used to measure the entity’s financial performance is stable.

4. Periodic Reporting Assumption: Business operations are reported on a regular basis, usually annually. The fiscal year doesn’t have to be the same as the calendar year. This is usually set according to the business cycle for the particular company.

Using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles is necessary for all business entities. But you needn’t become a GAAP expert yourself. Hire a good accountant. A CPA may be necessary if your company is publicly held, or for loan or business venture requirements.