Instruction Of Plaster Walls

Preparing Walls for Plaster

Installing rock lath, the base to which wall plaster is applied, is not a difficult job and requires only a few tools. If you can swing a hammer or cut wire with tin snips or read a carpenter’s level, you can do your own lathing. For speed and convenience, invest in a lathing hatchet. If you prefer to use your own hammer, you’ll have to score and cut the lath with a knife, which takes longer.

First calculate the square yardage on all surfaces to be covered and order lath accordingly. Buy metal corner stripping by the linear foot for openings and corners. Ten pounds of lathing nails will be needed for each 100 square yards of rock lath.

The next step is to set up baseboard grounds – 3/4″ wood strips which allow for some foundation settling and prevent plaster cracks. Nail these along all walls to be plastered. Then proceed as outlined in the photographs. Remember to keep all lathing work neat and the corners square. The final job will be just as good – or bad – as this essential base job.

How to Plaster a Wall

There’s an art to making a good plaster wall, and the use of the proper tools is essential. These include a plasterer’s trowel, a corner-shaping tool, a hawk, a darby, a screeding rod, a heavy brush and a bucket. To order the materials you will need, figure the square feet of the area to be covered. The undercoat is a mixture of sand, pre-pared gypsum plaster and water. You will need – for each 10 square feet of undercoat – 90 pounds of plasterer’s sand, cleaned and screeded, and 30 pounds of gypsum plaster.

TOOLS

1. Trowel: a plasterer’s trowel is a must. This has a long brace bar on the top side in contrast with the shorter bar on a mason’s steel float. It costs several dollars more and is worth the price.

2. Hawk: this is the classic mortarboard device. Use one made of aluminum and save wear and tear on yourself. The wooden type weighs a good deal more. Load with plaster and hold in the left hand while the right does the work.

3. Darby: a two-handled smoothing tool to level large flat areas. It is held flat against the wall as it is moved along and levels out raised spots.

4. Screeding Rod: a straight-edged wood or metal stick to level off rough plaster applications. One end is usually held against guides as the upper end scrapes excess plaster back onto board for reapplication.

5. Water Brush: this, and a bucket of clear water, must be kept on hand for finish plaster coating. The brush spreads as well as dashes water over the surface being troweled smooth.

To mix, use either a wheelbarrow or shallow wood box and mix the sand and plaster, dry, in one end. Tilt the mixing box with the dry mixture in the upper end and put water in the low end. Then draw the mixed sand and plaster into the water a little at a time, mixing constantly. If water is added into the dry mix, or all of it is pulled into the water at once, lumps are formed which can’t be easily broken up. Mix to a heavy creamlike consistency. Add more of the dry mix or water, as necessary.

Apply the base coat as shown in the photographs. The final coat of finishing plaster is mixed with water without sand and applied as illustrated. Troweling technique is quickly mastered. Plaster is applied from a full trowel on upward strokes, using light pressure only. The trowel, in finishing, is held at an angle of about 30° to the wall. If pressed fiat against the wall, the trowel is held by suction and will pull the plaster off. If the angle is too great, the edge of the trowel will leave wavy lines in the surface.

Repair of Plaster Walls

Sooner or later, almost every plaster wall and ceiling develops cracks – if not in the broader expanses, then at least where flat surfaces join one another. Wind pressure on the house, structural expansion and shrinkage, traffic vibration, and household activities all contribute toward weakened plaster. Before any redecoration can take place, the inevitable patching must always be done.

First, clean away all material that appears loose in and around the crack. If it’s a fair-sized crack, use a putty knife and a beer can opener and open the crack to its deepest part, then undercut it so that it’s wider underneath than on the outer surface. Little cracks can simply be brushed clean. With a spray, a sponge or a wet rag, thoroughly dampen all surfaces of the crack. If this is overlooked, moisture from the new plaster will be absorbed into the wall, leaving the patch powdery and weak. Mix patching plaster to a thick paste and pack it into the crack with a putty knife, preferably a flexible one. (For thin, hairline cracks, use a paint brush.) Press the mix into the bottom of the crack, build up slightly more than necessary, smooth off the excess, and let it dry for 2 to 4 hours. Then use medium-grit sandpaper on a flat block to smooth off the excess. If you are going to paint later, a few strokes with fine-grit sandpaper will finish it off nicely. Before your paper or paint over this patchwork, brush on one coat or more of thinned shellac as a size coat. If there is no “glazed” look to the size coat when dry, apply a second coat.

One word of caution – when the job is finished, don’t pour excess plaster down the sink, for it will solidly block the drain pipe. If you mixed the material in a china or plastic bowl, it’s easy to clean out for the next batch. Each quantity mixed should be just what you can apply in 10 minutes. After that, it starts to harden and has little holding strength left.

The general procedure for patching holes where plaster has fallen from the wall is the same as for patching cracks: undercutting, cleaning, dampening and applying new plaster. Before applying the patch, however, make sure that the lath or other plaster base has not come loose from the framing members behind. If it has, nail it back into place.

In the case of wooden lath that is broken, you will have to enlarge the hole in the plaster until two adjacent studs or joists are exposed. Then remove the broken laths and replace them with short lengths of lath nailed to the studs. If the hole is more than an inch or so in diameter, apply the patching plaster in two coats. First put on a fairly thick under-coat and, before it has quite dried, score its surface with an old comb so that the next coat will bond to it. After the undercoat has dried and set, dampen the surface and apply the thin finish coat. If the area of the hole to be patched is larger than approximately one square foot, you will find difficulty in doing an adequate repair job with patching plaster alone. One way of repairing such large holes is to apply two coats of gypsum plaster as is done in ordinary plastering and then a third coat of finishing plaster. Another way, perhaps easier, is to cut a piece of plasterboard to fit the hole, nail it in place to the lath and apply a finish coat of patching plaster.

To repair a bulge, first create a hole where the bulge appears. Do this by rapping the bulge with a hammer until the loosened plaster falls out. Be sure to knock or pry away any loose plaster around the hole so as to have sound plaster at the edges of the patch.

Gypsum Board – The Unique Building Material

Gypsum board which is also known as drywall is a unique building material. It is made of mineral gypsum and then turned into plaster by mixing it with fibreglass or paper. It is then laid between two sheets of paper. This board is then heated in a flame and then dried to form a strong board. A drywall can be cut using drywall cutters or saws. The drywalls can be cut into any desired size for building purposes.

Common Benefits of Using Gypsum Board

In the early days, the gypsum board was used for constructing walls in majority of the houses. There are many benefits of using these drywall boards. Unlike the plaster walls, the drywalls seldom require professional application and can be laid easily and quickly.

Comparatively inexpensive: Compared to the other building materials, the gypsum board is inexpensive and easy to manufacture. Therefore it is widely used in huge buildings and homes to reduce construction costs.

Light in weight: The drywall boards are relatively light in weight but still rigid. The surface is quiet smooth and continuous which makes it very easy to paint. The walls of the buildings remain beautiful and smooth when drywalls are installed.

Available in different sizes: The gypsum board can be cut into different sizes and shapes to suit the building purposes of homes and apartments. These boards are also available in various sizes in the form of sheets which can be used as ceilings and walls.

Easy to install: The drywall boards are easy to install and require no plaster to install. The boards neither require any professional skill for application.

Noise reduction: The application of gypsum board helps to reduce noise to a great level. The gypsum board can be installed in two or three levels to reduce unwanted noise.

Easy remodelling: Large building areas can be remodelled easily using the drywall boards as it is relatively easier to install and involves lesser cost.

Quick completion of interiors: With the use of gypsum board, interiors of homes and offices can be completed quickly and easily. The possibility of cracks in the walls is completely negated. There is no requirement of plaster for the installation of these walls. It can be installed by the owners of the home without any professional assistance.

Sound insulation: Another added advantage of the drywall boards includes its ability to prevent the spread of fire. The thickness of the board varies according to specific requirements. For fire and sound proof boards, the board requires around 5/8 inches of thickness.

It is easy to identify the drywall boards which include two thick paper sheets. These paper sheets are similar to the construction paper but are thick and strong. This false ceiling is available with tapes that are adhesive. The seams can be covered using a compound that appears like clay or mud which gives a complete appearance to the walls.

The gypsum board is used worldwide and there are endless number of manufacturers and suppliers of this distinctive and exclusive building material. It can also be bought from many of the online stores at affordable prices.

Pool Finishes – Why Plaster Pool Finish Never Goes Out of Style

The site of a swimming pool just gives you the feeling of a holiday. Having it in your own place gives you a better option of relaxing. Every time you take a dip, it seems like all your worries gets washed off as you get out of the water. By merely sitting on its edges or just by wading on it, you can feel very relaxed as if you had just a taste of what paradise is like.

Of course, the water in it has a major role in giving you the pleasure of relaxation. People go to the pool to swim, to lounge and just to get the heat off their bodies especially on a warm sunny day. Nevertheless, there is more to that of a pool other than providing a venue for swimming. Its radiating beauty brought about by the water, the landscapes and its finishes that make it even more like a holiday. The blue color of the water is just very soothing to the eyes. What more if it is combined with the green landscaping, the contrasting colors of the deck, the enhancements brought about the light and other things that make your yard the envy of every neighbor.

Another thing is that its beauty also lies on the kinds of pool finishes that you use. Moreover, one of the most popular and economical methods is what we call plastering.

So what is this all about? Plastering is one of the most classical ways to apply the final touches on any concrete or guanite pool. Normally the color is white. When your pool is filled with water, the effect of plastering gives your pool a light blue color and it makes it look extremely neat. It is as if, you can see everything down under.

Are there issues when it comes to its usage? Definitely there are. Though it is the cheapest alternative in giving the best look for your pools, it is more prone to wear and tear. Because of being constantly submerged in the water and with the exposure to chemical treatments, they are prone to mottling, staining or scaling. However, despite the known issues, several manufacturers have found a solution to improve its performance. They do this by improving the additives to be mixed with the plaster. You will still get the classic white smooth finish of your pool, only this time they are far better. Some say using this kind of additives for your plaster pool finishes may not be a guarantee but at any right, it has extended its life.

There is also some innovation added to make the use of plaster more enticing. As we are all used to the white classic look, some manufacturers have developed colored plasters. Indeed, they have been very effective in making some pools extremely beautiful. However, some of the experts have noted that common concerns about plasters are more evident in their colored version. Hopefully, with the use of those additives, there will also be an improvement to their performance.

Gas Welding 101 – Details to Help You Become a Successful Gas Welder

Gas Welding is alive and well!

* If you want to create artistic projects, many people will choose gas welding exclusively.

* At some point, most arc welders will want to, or NEED to use gas welding. I’ll help you get started. Then YOU need lots of practice!

Seriously, practice is CRITICAL for running great beads.

* If you’re doing artistic stuff, you’ll want it to LOOK great.

* Eye-hand coordination gets tougher because you’re doing more multi-tasking then arc welding.

Being able to DIRECTLY be shown details about how to do special jobs like gas welding is the BEST way to get started.

Here’s the “scoop” for this article:

1) I’ll give you a brief introduction to the gas welding world…

2) Then I’ll hit on some safety tips…

3) Next the equipment itself…

4) Getting started:

* The flame.

* Adjustments.

* Angles.

5) Filler rod, tacking, the puddle, problem solving.

6) Brazing Tips.

INTRO:

* Gas welding in this page refers to oxygen-acetylene welding of metals.

* Your are actually WELDING two pieces of metal together, whereas brazing doesn’t melt the parent material, just the material used to join the pieces.

* The torch itself needs to be able to melt the metals being used: filler rod, & “parent metals”.

* Having an oxygen-acetylene torch around enables you to not only WELD, but also to cut the materials, heat & bend materials, & loosen tight-fitting materials via heating.

* Safety is paramount! You are working with extremely hot & potentially explosive materials!

SAFETY STUFF:

SERIOUSLY gas welding can really be fun, interesting, & profitable!

BUT:

* The tuned gas flame can exceed 6,000 F.

* Un-protected eyes can be fatigued & permanently harmed in a short time.

* The acetylene tank could explode under certain conditions: dropping, in a fire, from an arc or torch flame penetrating the casing, etc.

* The oxygen tank starts with 2000 PSI & can literally go like a rocket if the top valve assembly breaks off.

* Hitting something already burning with the high pressure torch valve can really accelerate the fire.

So, be careful!

GETTING STARTED:

The Flame:

* Set the gas and oxygen pressures MUCH lower than for cutting.

* Some gas setting charts call for the 02 & gas pressures to be the same as the tip size being used: tip size 1 = 1 PSI for gas & O2.

* Tip size 5 = 5 PSI for gas & O2, etc.

* I simplify things even farther! I just set both pressures at 10 PSI then crack the valves open at the torch handle to where I need them to be. Just start EASY & work them up to the capabilities of the tip. (or just do it as above).

* Also, tip sizes vary for the size metal being welded: Tip size 1 = 1/16″ metal and tip size 5 = 1/4″ as examples.

* It really isn’t hard to figure out if the tip your using is too small or too big for the job. (Too small won’t get everything hot enough, & too large will tend to blow everything away).

* Crack open the gas & light it right away.

* Crank up the gas till it separates from the tip then back it off.

* Hit the O2 until the blue flame first gets short & bright. This is a “neutral flame”, used for most jobs.

Note that the torch tip & the filler rod should be about at a 45 degree angle.

*Too steep can make the penetration too deep & not pre-heat / too shallow can cause too little penetration.

Let’s do it:

* Starting out, it can give you good practice to just put the flame on metal without a filler rod. This helps you get used to the process without worrying about the filler rod too.

* Heat the metal till there’s a puddle, then begin moving the flame to create a bead.

* Get the blue part of the flame nearly touching the metal.

* Move in a circular or semi-circular fashion to make it into a bead.

* Aim the flame in the direction you’re trying to make the bead. (forehand welding).

* Don’t get ahead of the bead or it can make it not hot enough at the puddle.

* Do this for a few times before using a filler rod.

Introduce a filler rod: (usually the same diameter as the pieces that are being welded).

* start the same way as above and keep the rod at a 45 degree angle also.

* Dip the rod in the puddle frequently, but try not to heat the rod with the flame. (heat the puddle, not the rod).

* Practice running straight beads then work up to following curved paths. (some schools have you write your name with a gas welding bead).

THEN PRACTICE till you can run decent looking beads.

Note that you should be tacking pieces together at least at both ends of where you’re welding, to prevent moving of the gap.

Problem solving:

* Your flame is fluctuating: gas pressure or supply may be low.

* Popping sound: Hot tip, plugged tip, pressure too high.

* Flame stops: 02 pressure high.

* Whistling noise & the flame backs up into the torch: (backfire), 02 or gas too low, the tip is clogged or dirty, or the tip touched the puddle.

BRAZING:

* Many things are similar about gas welding and brazing: but remember that with brazing you aren’t melting the parent metal, just the brazing material (such as brass).

* The brass and the parent metal MUST be clean and hot enough for there to be a good joint. (Use flux! In a can, or coated rods).

* Think of soldering, if you don’t get everything hot enough, it might come apart (or not be a good electrical connection).

Now GET BUSY PRACTICING!

This was a just a BRIEF description of the gas welding process.

Good luck to all you ladies & gents!

Parker Majestic Manual Surface Grinders – Inspection Steps to Evaluate Refurbishment Needed

Many high precision manufacturing facilities have been “home” to Parker Majestic manual surface grinders since the World War II era. The reputation connected with these machines is one of ruggedness and high precision. As with any machine tool, various components wear over time, and hence refurbishment is necessary in order to keep these machines grinding with the precision and accuracy necessary to meet demanding tolerance requirements. This article briefly discusses the inspection steps that need to be taken by a trained technician in order to ascertain the degree of refurbishment that should be performed on a used Parker Majestic manual surface grinder. After the inspection has been completed, the appropriate refurbishment can be recommended in order to restore the surface grinder to a condition similar to its original OEM specifications.

Some of the key operations performed in a typical inspection of a Parker Majestic manual surface grinder include the following:

1. Level the machine using a high precision level.

2. Inspect flatness of the table and cross feed motions with an electronic level.

3. Measure the backlash of the cross feed screw and nut and also the elevating screw and nut.

4. Should the backlash readings exceed specification, replacement of the nut and screw as a set is strongly recommended.

5. Measure the runout of the spindle. Also, the condition of the spindle bearings will be evaluated using a series of sensors.

6. After removing the table, the way surfaces and oil pockets will be cleaned.

7. After removing the saddle, the way surfaces and oil pockets will be cleaned.

8. Inspect roller springs.

9. Inspect rollers for flat spots.

10. Inspect the table tape drives for creases or buckles, which would indicate that replacement is recommended.

11. Inspect the lubrication system. If oil lines are in poor condition, replacement will be recommended. If oil meters are not working, it will be recommended that these be replaced.

12. Inspect the bearings for the cross feed and elevating hand wheels.

13. Inspect the elevation assembly, including oil meters.

As a result of the above inspection steps, various options can be presented to the owner of the surface grinder. These options can include a custom “rebuild”, where the owner can pick and choose the options he/she desires to be refurbished. Alternatively, the owner may choose the route of a complete “remanufacture” of the surface grinder, which essentially includes replacement of all major components, restoring the surface grinder to original OEM specifications.

Nuts

Since the earliest of time and even before agriculture was used by the Greeks to have better food resources, `Nuts’ were a stable food and nutritional source in the diet of manhood in the dark ages. During those times, nuts were plentiful, as there were much more forests as today, and well liked for their easy storage, which enabled people to keep them for times in which food was hard to find. (Winter, rainy season, etc)

There is evidence that as far back as the second century B.C., the Romans distributed sugar almonds on special occasions such as marriages and births.

Nuts have their place in all cultures and through almost all cuisine around the world. Nuts are liked by people of all ages for their subtle taste and high fat and carbohydrate content. It is this subtle taste that Chefs like when creating new dishes and variations.

DESCRIPTION & SPECIES

Under the category nuts, we understand anything from a seed to a legume or tuber. The peanut, as an example, is a legume, the Brazil nut and macadamia nut are seeds and almonds are the seed of a fruit similar to a peach.

Botanically nuts are single seeded fruits with a hard or leathery shell that contain a edible kernel, which is enclosed in a soft inner skin.

Generally, all nut trees grow slowly but live long. Trees of walnut, chestnut or pecan continue to produce nuts, often more than hundred years after planting.

Nut trees of any species are found all over the world. Almonds for example are found in California, Spain, Morocco, Italy and even Australia, where as the walnut can be found anywhere from North America to the Andes and Persia to Australia. Asia also has a great variety of nuts. Ginkgo nuts in China, candle nuts in Indonesia and Malaysia, coconut in throughout southern Asia, cashew nuts in India and Malaysia and the Philippines, chestnuts in China and Japan, and the water chestnut which is found in China, Japan, Korea and the East Indies.

SOME OF THE BETTER KNOWN NUTS:

ALMOND

Scientist consider the almond as a stone fruit, much like cherries, peaches and prunes.

Because most people only know the seed (stone) of this fruit, it is generally accepted as a nut.

Almond on the tree, look like small green peaches. When ripe the shell will open and reveal the nut in its shell.

There are various varieties of almonds.

The bitter almond is in fact the kernel of the apricot, which was found growing wild in China as far back as the late Tang Dynasty (AD 619-907).

This same apricot was taken to Europe and became the apricot fruit, which is now enjoyed all over the world. The bitter almond kernel is toxic in its raw state and must be boiled quickly and poached in a oven before being further used. It is primarily used in Chinese desserts like the almond bean curd.

The sweet almond is generally confined for fresh consumption. In 1986, California alone produced 70,000 tons of almonds, which is half of the world’s production. The almond has been cultivated around the Mediterranean since ancient times and can still be found wild in Algeria and around the black sea. Sweet almonds can be bought whole, shelled, cut in 1/2 with skin, without skin, flaked, blanched, slivered ground roasted or salted. they are used for snacks, marzipan, confectionery, and desserts as well as for the production of liqueur essence, oil and cosmetic products.

BUNYA BUNYA PINE NUT

The bunya bunya tree is a member of the pine family and grows almost everywhere in Australia. Originally the trees originated in the area of Brisbane and Rockhampton in Queensland Australia. Only the female trees are producing a 2cm x 2.5cm nut in the pinecone.

In the old days, the bunya bunya pine nuts were stable food for the aborigines and also used in ceremonials. These days, the nuts gain in popularity through the trend of native food in Australia (bush food) in recent years.

The nut is rich is carbohydrate, similar to the chestnut, and therefore used more like a potato than a nut. the bunya bunya nuts can be eaten raw but are usually boiled for easy removing of the skin. Shelled nuts are then butter fried and flavored with pepper or sugar, or added to stews and soups.

RED BOPPLE NUT

The red bopple nuts are a relative of the macadamia nut, and native to the tropical rain forest of the East Coast of Australia.

The nut is about the same size as a hazelnut and has a thick (0.5cm 0 1cm), woody husk with a bright red outer skin, which only appears if the nut is fully ripe.

In contrary to most other nuts, the red bopple nut is very low on fat, but very high in calcium and potassium. the low fat content make this nut very easy digestible. The nuts are eaten raw or toasted.

COCONUT

“He who plants a coconut tree”, the saying goes, “plants food and drink, vessels and clothing, a habitation for himself and a heritage for his children”. Indeed every part of the coconut is used, but only the coconut milk and the coconut meat are foods. The shell is used as charcoal, the husk is used to make ropes, clothing and brushes, and the trunk of the tree and leaves are used for roofs of houses and building material respectively.

The fruit of the palm `cocos nucifera’ has an edible kernel and therefore qualifies as a nut. The palm tree is native to the Philippines, Malaysia, Brazil and Indonesia, and can produce 50 – 100 nuts a year, over a life span of 70 years. Coconut palms grow best close to the seaside but have been proven to withstand high altitude, although the production rate is diminishing as further away from the sea the tree grows.

The large thick green pod encloses a brown fibrous husk around a brown shell , which contains a layer of soft white flesh and the clear water in the center. Sub-species found only on one island of the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, produces a nut often weighing more than 20 kg, which needs 10 years to ripen.

Coconuts are the worlds most commercially used nuts. Especially the meat, or copra, as it is called after sun drying, is vital for the export industries, in coconut growing countries. The coconut is a important food source especially in South East Asia, India, Brazil and the South Pacific Islands.

The copra can be brought shredded or desiccated and is used in confectioneries, ice creams and to coat chicken or fish for frying. However much of it is pressed for its oil also called coconut butter as it is white and fatty at room temperature. Not only is it used for cooking and to make margarine, but it also goes into soaps, detergents, shampoos, face cream, perfumes and candles.

It is also a major ingredient in glycerin, synthetic rubber, safety glass and hydraulic brake fluid. Coconut juice or milk is the natural juice of the nut, but not the water inside the coconut. It is won by shredding the raw coconut meat, then adding water and straining the mixture through a cotton cloth. The coconut milk has then the consistency and color of skim milk and is available canned or frozen.

CANDLE NUT

The candle nut gets her name, from when threaded tightly on the midrib of a palm leaf it has been used a primitive candle. More recently, the nuts were grounded to a paste, mixed with copra (grated coconut meat) and ten formed into a candle.

Candlenuts are the seed of the candle berry tree native to Indonesia and Malaysia but widely spread throughout south East Asia, the South Pacific and Sri Lanka.

The nut has a very high content on fat and is valued for the extracted oil for lighting as well as cooking. The nut is colored gray to black, about 5cm in diameter, with a thin, papery husk containing one or two nuts.

Candlenut oil for lighting purposes is extracted by roasting the nuts when they are only half ripe as oil for cooking is extracted by roasting the nuts when they are fully ripe. For human consumption, the nuts have to be roasted as raw once have been causing sicknesses.

Ripe candle nuts are roasted, then pounded into a meal and mixed with salt, chilies or shrimp paste for usage in curries or as a spicy condiment to curries. Traditionally, the Javanese have roasted the nuts for eating in the whole.

PALM NUT

The palmyra palm native to most South East Asian Countries produces a hard, shiny nut, from which a sweetish sap or gel is extracted. While this sap is used in the Indonesian cuisine for soups and desserts, it is on other well known product that is begin produced out of the palmyra palm – The Palm Sugar (gula melacca).

There are not reliable data available on the nutritional value of the palm nut, but it is widely known that the fat is saturated.

MACADAMIA NUT

Native to Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, the macadamia nut takes its name from Dr John McAdam, a scientist and early promoter of the cultivation Australia.

The macadamia trees are evergreen and reach a height of up to 20 meters. The edible seed of the silk oat tree has a very hard, light brown shell, 2 – 3cm in diameter.

In 1888, macadamia trees have been planted in Hawaii where through careful cloning and hybridization, it became an important commercial product.

Today, macadamia nuts are also cultivated in South Africa, Zimbabwe, California and parts of South and Central America.

It is very difficult to crack the macadamia nut as it’s shell is very hard and so tight to the kernel that when cracked the nut is smashed. In Hawaii, American scientist developed a way of separating the kernel from the shell by shrinking them in drying bins. They then developed the first commercial cracker. It was through these two developments that the macadamia nut could be formed to the commercial importance it has today.

This is also the reason why macadamia nuts are only available already de-shelled. Macadamia nuts also are valued for their oil and the macadamia nut butter.

They are available roasted and salted. When buying macadamia nuts, give care that they are packed in a air tight or vacuum bags, as they become easily rancid once opened.

Macadamia nuts are used for confectioneries or as snacks, but also gain in popularity in the kitchen as they have a very mild and subtle taste and add texture to salads, and hot dishes. It’s oil makes excellent vinaigrette and cold sauces.

WATER CHESTNUTS

The name refers to a nut like tuber of a aquatic plant called Trapa. The plants are common to several parts of the world, but are mainly used in Japan, China and Thailand where it is also a sought after ingredient in it’s cuisines.

The trapa plant roots in ponds and lakes and sends, its’ leaves to the surface, similar to a water lily. The water chestnut grows on the roots underneath the water surface. Water chestnuts are flat and round with a diameter of 5 – 7cm. They have a soft black skin and white flesh similar to the flesh of a coconut. Once peeled, they can be eaten raw, or dried and are a well liked ingredient because its crunchy texture, and sweet subtle taste. Water chestnuts are also boiled and made into flour, which is used for thickening of sauces and dishes, much like cornstarch.

CHESTNUT

Chestnuts are thought to have originated in Southern Europe and Persia even though they are also found in China, Japan and Northern America.

The nuts of the chestnut tree have a brown shiny color and leathery shell. they can be eaten raw, but mostly are consume boiled, baked or roasted or as a chestnut puree sweetened or unsweetened. They are also sold in syrup as marron glaces.

Chestnuts are the only nuts, which are treated like a vegetable because they contain more starch (30%) and less fat 3%.

Chestnuts are also made into a flour high on fiber and starch.

CASHEW NUT

Originating in the West Indies and native to the north of Brazil, Portuguese explorers introduced the nut to India and Malaysia as well as parts of Africa.

The hard-shelled nut grows inside the cashew apple. When mature the cashew nut appears at the end of the red or yellow apple. The cashew tree is a member of the poison ivy family and farmers must take great precautions when extracting the nuts. The hard shell contains an oil, which irritates the skin, so the nuts are heated to extract the kernel. The smoke and steam, which occurs however may still be harmful to skin and eyes. When heated the cashew nuts are harmless and may be extracted.

GINKGO NUT

The ginkgo is the prehistoric maidenhair tree, which survives as a wild tree only in China.

The fruit looks like a tiny plum but has a foul and bitter shell. the Chinese wait for the smelly hull to full off, then paint the nuts and use them for festive decorations, before they crack them open to eat the nut. In Japan and Korea, ginkgo nuts are skewered and then grilled, which turns the nuts color from yellow to green. In China, the ginkgo nut is a popular ingredient to vegetarian dishes. The nuts can be obtained fresh or canned.

HAZELNUT/FILBERTS

The nut of the hazel bush is native to Europe and North America and was mentioned in writings as far back as 2838 B.C., and was credited of currying many human ills as well as being considered excellent for Boldness and use as a hair tonic. Some say that the name filbert comes from Saint Philibert, a French abbot whose feast day on 22 August coincides with the ripening of the first nuts in the Northern hemisphere.

Hazelnuts have a very hard shell, which has to be cracked by a nutcracker before getting to the kernel. Hazelnuts are available, raw, blanched, or toasted, chopped, ground, cooking as well as hazelnut liquor.

PEANUT

The peanut is not a true nut. It is the seed of a leguminous plant with a soft, brownish colored brittle shell and belong to the Botanical family of beans and peas. But they are usually considered along with the nuts because of they’re physical characteristics and nutritional value. The nuts grow on the long roots of the plant and below the ground. The peanut is native to Brazil and has been found there ever since the first recording in 950 B.C..

Today, peanuts are cultivated throughout the tropics all over the world (India, China, West Africa, Australia and the USA are the largest peanut growing countries). Peanuts produce excellent oil, which is used for salads and cold dishes as well as for frying. Peanuts also produce peanut butter, margarine, and also used in canning of sardines. Peanuts are available whole, de-shelled and de-skinned and raw or toasted. Peanuts are used in all different varieties in everything from salads to main courses and desserts.

PINENUT

These are the edible seed of the pine tree and grow in the cone. Pine trees are found in the Southern USA, Mexico and around the Mediterranean sea. It is very difficult to establish a pinenut industry as the trees are growing very slow and don’t carry a lot of fruits until they’re 75 years old.

Pine nuts are mostly obtained raw and then toasted, fried or grilled. Pine nut oil is used for the cosmetic industry. Pine nut flour is used in confectionery.

PISTACHIO NUT

The pistachio nut is a small green kernel, which grows on the pistachio tree originating in Syria, Palestine and Persia.

The natural color of the shell is grayish white, but some times the nuts are dyed red to cover up some of the staining.

The pistachio nut is now cultivated in India, Europe, North Africa, Mexico, the USA and the Far East. Pistachios are usually sold in their shell or shelled and blanched.

The greenish seed is used as flavoring in cooking, candies and ice cream.

WALNUT

The walnut is related to the hickory and pecan tree and grows anywhere from North America to the Andes and Europe to China. English walnuts, butternuts and hickory nuts are all walnuts, botanical speaking. All those walnuts have different shells and kernels but the English walnut with it’s rough, rippled shell and yellow brown kernel is the most popular and popularly referred to as `The Walnut’.

Walnuts are bought in the shell or de-shelled and are sought after for their oil, which is used for cooking as well as for salads and dressing.

OTHER COMMONLY USED NUTS INCLUDE:


Macadamia Nuts )
Bunya Bunya Pine Nuts ) Australia
Red Bobble Nut )


Candle Nut ) Malaysia
Palm Nut ) Philippines,
Brazil


Coconut ) Indonesia,China
Water Chestnut )


Brazil Nuts ) South America


Beech Nuts ) USA
Pecan Nuts ) North America

NUTRITIONAL VALUE AND INFORMATION

Nuts are rich in fat (40-60%) and dietary fiber (5-15%) with moderate amount of protein (2-25%) and small amounts of starch (up to 10%). As mentioned above chestnuts are an exemption to this general rule.

The fats in nuts are mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and contain no cholesterol as nuts are harvested from plants. Only the coconut and palm nut contain saturated fats.

Significant amounts of minerals can be found in nuts, including zinc, calcium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium.

They also contain some provitamins and vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin E & C.

Nuts contain very little natural sodium and have a high amount of potassium, which in this constellation is recommended for the control of blood pressure.

Unfortunately nuts are often sold salted as snacks, which upsets this natural balance, and by a over consummation of salted nuts people take in a lot of fat and salt.

Nuts are also a great source of energy and often used in diets for athletes.

Used in moderate amounts, nuts in unsalted forms are nutritionally valuable food.

USAGE OF NUTS FOR THE PROFESSIONAL CHEF

One does not know where to start where to compile information about the usage of nuts and nut related product in today’s hospitality. In the kitchens, there is no limit on the amount of dishes and creations a Chef can use nuts or nut products for. From appetizers to salads, soups and desserts, with cheese, fish, pasta, meats and vegetables, nuts are very versatile and do not have a over powering flavor, and its subtle taste and crunchy texture adopt early to almost all given products as a supplement.

Nut oils are also widely used for dressings, frying and flavoring of hot and cold dishes. Nut liqueurs can be a welcome supplement to savory sauces as well as pastry sauces and creams, marzipan and other nut pastes are often used to produced chocolates and confectionery items. In the Indian cuisine, a cashew nut paste is often used for the thickening of curries and sauces. Through the wide spread of different nuts around the world, nuts are used in almost all cuisines known and its nutritional value make it an asset to so many diets since the ancient days.

In the beverage outlets, nuts are used in form of lacquers (Hazelnut, Almond) and liquid (coconut Milk), and as snacks served with drinks (Salted Nuts)

Build Your Own Pet Gate Or Japanese Screen

If you have a very large hallway opening, you may not be able to find a pet gate that is wide enough to fit that open space. If you have a large room and that ‘corner’ needs a little something to help tie in all your colors, then have you thought about a Japanese Screen?

Listed below are steps to create your own pet gate with a few simple items from a home and garden store plus one item from a fabric store. The Japanese Screen is a variation and you can find that information at the bottom of this article.

What you will need:

3 wood garden trellises

1″ hinges – amount needed will depend on the trellis style – one hinge per ‘arm’ on the trellis

2 wooden hangers for the feet

screen door replacement screening sold by the roll – amount needed will vary based on contents of the package and the measurements you have taken

staple gun and staples

Stain and polyurethane

Or you can paint

1 quart primer paint – oil or latex

1 gallon semi-gloss, high gloss or enamel paint for topcoat

Note if you use a latex primer you must use a latex paint. If you use an oil primer you may use latex OR oil based paint.

2 paint brushes – one for primer and one for topcoat or one for stain and one for polyurethane

1/2″ to 1″ decorative fabric binding to finish off the rough edges of the screening – amount needed will vary based on contents of the package and the measurements you have taken

1 tube clear silicone and caulking gun

2 1″ L brackets

wood screws – one or two 2″ length for each hanger – to go through the hanger and into the trellis and four 1/2″ length – for the ‘L’ Brackets

drill

saw

sand paper

scissors

tape measure

an old rag

Garden trellises vary in size. When shopping for your garden trellises, take along a tape measure so you can measure and figure out how much screening and fabric binding you will need.

Begin by sawing off the legs of the trellis that would go into the ground making them even with the decorative portions of the trellis. These ‘legs’ are usually 1 foot longer than the trellis.

Using sand paper, go over the surface where you removed the trellis ‘legs’ and lightly sand down the remaining surfaces of the trellises. Be sure to remove any dust particles before you start painting or staining.

Always paint or stain in a well ventilated area.

Prime all surfaces of the trellises and the wooden hangers then let them dry completely. Usually 24 hours to let the paint cure is best.

Once the primer has dried, begin applying your first coat of paint making sure to cover all surfaces of the trellises and hangers. Let it dry completely or overnight then apply a second coat. Tip – use plastic wrap to keep the brush safe from drying out and place the wrapped brush into a plastic zipper bag. When you are ready for the next coat just unzip and unwrap and you are ready to go.

If you are staining, apply a coat of stain with a brush and then use an old rag to wipe off any excess stain. Let the stain dry for at least 24 hours before you put a coat of polyurethane on. When disposing of any rags or brushes, remember that some of these products are combustible and you should dispose of them properly.

Assembling the Pet Gate

On a clean dry flat surface, lay one trellis down so that you are looking at the back side. Roll the screening over the surface of the trellis to measure the amount you need and cut wish scissors. Repeat two more times or use the first cut screen as a template for the remaining two. *Note: leave enough overhang of screening so that you can use the staple gun to attach the screening to the trellis. In addition, if this gate is for a ‘small animal’ make sure that you carry the screen all the way down to the very bottom so they cannot sneak through any ‘holes.’

Position the screen evenly over the open areas of the trellis and begin anchoring the screen down using the staple gun. Try to keep the screen pulled tight so you do not create ‘wrinkles’. Each staple should be about 6-8″ apart.

Putting it all together

Lay two trellis panel’s side-by-side and screen side down so that you can begin to attach the hinges on the front of your new gate. You will be installing one hinge on each ‘arm’ of these panels. Repeat this step with the remaining hinges. Lay your last trellis panel down and repeat the whole process until all three trellises are attached.

To install the ‘feet’ you may need to have someone help you. Stand the 3 hinged panels upright. The wooden hangers will be anchored to the middle panel. Using a drill and wood screws, attach the hanger to the panel on a 45 degree angle. This will help avoid splitting the wood on the trellis or having the screw come popping out the other side. Secure the hanger to the trellis with an ‘L Bracket’ on the outside of the hanger. One on each side should be sufficient.

Final Touches

Measure the length and width where the screen rests. Measure out the length of your fabric binding, you will have four strips of fabric binding for each panel. You will be using the fabric binding as an overlay to hide the staples and finish off the edges. Place one long bead of silicone over the staples and screening. Place your first strip of fabric binding over the silicone and press down smoothing out the silicone underneath. Repeat this step on all the panels then let the silicone dry completely.

Your pet gate is complete and ready to use. The hinges will allow the outside trellis panels to function as a door which will allow people to ‘get to the other side’. Having the screen will allow air flow and will still let your pet see you when you need to leave the room.

This homemade pet gate should not be used as a safety gate for infants and toddlers. Depending on what type of pet you own will depend on how you position the gate so that the animal can not get out.

Variations

If you want to create your own ‘Japanese Screen’, then instead of using ‘screening’ use fabrics of your choice to compliment your room décor. Stretch the fabric over each opening of the trellis in a random pattern of fixed if that is what you like. Follow the same steps above to anchor the fabric to the trellises as well as the fabric binding complete your Japanese Screen.

Gutter Helmet – Does Gutter Helmet Work Or Is It All Hype?

For those of us who cringe at the thought of having to clean gutters every year, a product called Gutter Helmet is supposed to eliminate this chore forever. But, does it really work?

I recently had a close friend who had the Gutter Helmet system installed on his home, so I was able to find out a little more about this new concept.

Most everyone understands how important it is to have free-flowing rain gutters on our home. A clogged gutter does no good, other than creating drainage issues and possible roof damage.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has gone as far as saying clogged gutters and downspouts contribute to furthering the spread of the West Nile virus. It makes sense, mosquitoes love standing water.

The Gutter Helmet is designed in a way that it sits under the shingles and then attaches over your existing gutter.

Rainwater comes down the roof and into a 3/8″ opening in the gutter Helmet. That may not seem like a very big slot to handle a big storm, but it is said to be good for over 20 inches of rain per hour. If we ever seen that much rain in an hour the gutter would be the least of our problems!

Gutter Helmet is not low cost. Expect prices in the $15-$20 a foot range. This includes installation since Gutter Helmet is not for the do-it-yourselfer. It needs professional installation.

While this cost is more than double the rate for a standard gutter install, the system is guaranteed for life and that even includes a transferable warranty.

Does it really work? Well, from judging what my friend has went through, I’d say it does. Here in the Midwest we have been through several storms and his gutters have been fine.

If gutter cleaning is not for you, I would suggest looking at the Gutter Helmet system as a possible solution.

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Skylight – A Simple Do It Yourself Flat-Surface New or Replacement Model

Uninstalled square or rectangular skylights, whether dome or flat-surface types, can cost up to $2000 each if they have venting and shading capabilities. Some of the newer models also have special inner channels for catching condensation, not to mention having motor-driven vents and shades (these are very expensive). Thus, for certain home owners who want at least one plain skylight, it is more practical for them to make their own new or replacement ones.

Since this article if for do-it-yourself (DYI) people, it gives only the basic materials and processes for making and installing a two-foot square flat-surface model, leaving any size modifications, the tools used, and other details to their own expertise.

Materials and cost (assuming a ceiling-to-roof skylight chute is already in place).

  • one 96-inch 2×4-inch pressure-treated board (for making a 3.5-inch high curb frame, $4); note: the so-called 2×4-inch board is really 1.5×3.5-inches
  • two square pieces of 0.22-inch thick clear or frosted Plexiglas: (1) the topside one, 24.5-inches square; and (2) the underside one, 20.75-inches (about $25 each depending on availability)
  • twelve or more #8×1-inch wide-head drywall screws (for attaching the topside Plexiglas to the curb frame)
  • one 96-inch long piece of quarter-inch square molding or similar ($3)
  • thin-metal aluminum counter or step-flashing strips if wanted ($10-20); note: a high-quality caulk can be used instead
  • one standard gun-size tube of long-lasting acrylic caulk similar in color to the roof ($4)
  • sufficient nails or screws for attaching the molding to the curb and for attaching the curb to roof sheeting or underlayment
  • one quart of paint of selected color

Construction and placement.

1. Cut the 2×4-inch board into four pieces: two 24-inch long ones and two 21-inch ones.

2. Assemble these pieces into a 24-inch (outside to outside) upright square curb frame with eight 2.5 to 3-inch screws, two at each corner.

3. Cut and attach the quarter-inch molding flush to the inside bottom of the curb all the way around its 21-inch inner square. This molding will hold the bottom-side 20.75-inch square piece of Plexiglas which will act as a condensation shield on the underside of the curb frame.

4. Paint the frame inside and out, matching the colors as desired similar to the chute walls and/or to the shingles. Let dry.

5. Clear a 24-inch square area over the open chute by cutting back any shingles and tar paper to this size.

6. Place the dry frame center over the chute, letting the shingles fit fairly snugly around the outside of the curb.

7. Slant nail or screw the frame to the wood sheeting of the roof.

8. Clean and place the 20.75-inch Plexiglas into the bottom portion of the curb frame where it will lie on the molding.

9. If wanted, flash or step-flash the outside of the frame (these strips are woven under or within the shingles starting at the lower end of the tilted curb frame). Let the strips cover the outside of the curb up to its top surface where it is snipped flush to that surface. Otherwise, caulk the shingles to the outside of the curb to prevent rain leakage around it.

10. Clean and place the 24.5-inch Plexiglas centered over the curb top. A small lip will hang over the outer edge of the curb.

11. Drill 12 evenly spaced screw slightly oversized holes around the edge of the Plexiglas over the curb itself, but not into it.

12. Screw 12 wide-head drywall screws through these holes into the curb, snug, but not overly tight.

13. Seal the top Plexiglas to the curb and/or its flashing (under the lip) with long-lasting caulk.

14. If needed, paint the flashing.

The thin-metal flashing of vent pipes, chimneys, and other items protruding through roof tops is the professional way to seal the roof around them. This procedure also eliminates the need to paint the outside of the skylight curb. However, today’s long-lasting caulks are dependable sealing materials. They can be used instead of or in combination with the flashing used. This caulking also saves on construction time and materials cost.

Also, if the thick topside Plexiglas cracks for any reason, like, from large hail or flying debris, it can easily be replaced with another piece from a nearby hardware outlet. This replacement cost is about one-tenth of that for a new skylight top. For more information on the DYI making and flashing of a skylight, see these sites.

Workbench Plans – Build a Workbench Or Buy?

Who Needs Workbench Plans?

Today my knees are really killing me, again. Even after promising myself that I would never try to build something on the floor, last night I was in the basement, back down on the concrete trying to replace the belt on a vacuum cleaner. I tried to make the job more tolerable by tossing down one of those foam pads you see for working in the garden. I even tried throwing down some old pillows and blankets, but nothing seemed to really work. Then I started thinking about those professional-style knee pads I always see at Lowes – which I always walk past because I think I’ll only use them once.

So today I decided that what I really need is a way to get my work up off the floor and keep it at a reasonable height… something that my back will appreciate. That’s an easy one. But where do I get one? I’m not even sure what “get” means at this point. I suppose I’ve seen a couple of workbench kits at places like Home Depot and Lowes, but I didn’t see much of a selection really. I could buy one of those bright-red, metal frame workbenches that have the particle board top and a pegboard back. Those workbenches would probably be easy enough to set up without too much trouble. That is, if I’m willing to pay the $100 bucks or so to buy it… and, also if I have a way to get those huge boxes into my car.

Build a Workbench or Buy One?

I guess I’m thinking that a simple workbench should be a fairly easy thing to build myself. And doesn’t it make sense to build my own… especially if I’m going to use that workbench to build more stuff? That makes sense. Besides, a lot of the workbenches I’ve seen in other people’s basements look fairly simple… like they’re put together with 2x4s. I could handle that. If only I could remember (or even understand) how everything went together. That’s kind of the problem. Even with my rough sketches of the kind of workbench I think I’d like to build, I’m still a little fuzzy about what kind of joinery I should use in the corners where the legs come together. I’m not an engineer after all, and I don’t want this thing to be wobbling all over the place after I get it set up.

A Little Help with a Plan

What I’m looking for is just a little help with the overall design of the workbench. So with a quick search on Google for “workbench design” and “workbench plans” I’m seeing lots of websites that say they can help me out with a plan… and most of these I can get for free. At first I’m pretty excited that there’s so much to pick from.

Woodworking or Just Work?

First thing I notice with my Web search for workbench plans is that the word “workbench” is mostly about woodworking… which might not be what I’m looking for exactly. Here’s the test: If you have no idea what a mortise and a tenon joint is, then most of the workbench plans that come up in a Google search are probably not what you’re looking for. Nothing against woodworking, really. In fact, I hope someday I can delve into the fine craft of building fine furniture. That would be wonderful. Maybe build a baby crib for a grandkid. If this is something you are leaning towards, then by all means you should consider taking the leap into building (or buying) a nice woodworking bench.

A workbench can be a beautiful pieces of shop furniture, actually. And experienced woodworkers take no greater pride in having a beautiful workbench to show off to their friends. It’s a very passionate kind of hobby, where serious woodworkers get all perky and excited from just a little whiff of sawdust in the air. That kind of thing. But believe me, serious woodworkers pay out the wallet for their woodworking passion. Most really nice woodworking benches (made from hardwoods like oak or maple) will cost you no less than about $500 for a kit (like at Rockler.com) or at least several hundred dollars in wood and materials just to build it yourself. Not to mention that you’ll also need some fairly sophisticated shop tools to build the really nice woodworking benches… like a planer, drill press, router table, that sort of thing.

Something Simple

But back to my original problem, what I need is simply something to get my work up off the floor and at a reasonable height – and not spend a lot of money doing it. The kind of bench I’m talking about goes together with really simple materials… like 2x4s and wood screws that you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes. And this is stuff I might even be able to fit in the back of my hatchback (and save $50 on a delivery charge). Heck, you can even slide 2x4s in the back trunk with some cars (if you have an open panel behind the back seats).

But I’m not ready to head off to the lumber store just yet. I still need to have a rough idea how the 2x4s should go together, and then how many of the boards I’ll need to buy once I get there. This is where at least some type of workbench plan can come in handy, especially if you want to get started right away on the project. Believe me, starting off with someone else’s design can remove a lot (and I mean a lot ) of the guesswork you’d otherwise be facing if you design your bench from scratch.

Finding a Simple Workbench Plan

If you haven’t already noticed, there are tons of websites on the topic of building a workbench. However, be ready to do some digging to find the kind of simple workbench design I’ve been talking about so far. Remember, most “workbench” plans you’ll find on the Web are designed for some pretty serious woodworking. They might look nice, but be prepared for instructions that want you to do work on a planer, a drill press, a router table, and some other tools I’ve never heard of.

Free Plans?

The next thing you’ll notice with your online search is that a lot of the listings advertise free plans. Believe me, I’ve meticulously gone through these “free workbench plans” websites and I can tell you without hesitation that this stuff is mostly junk. Like a lot of stuff on the Web, it’s simply a ploy to get you interested in looking at something else… like a new cell phone or a free credit report.

A Better Plan… under $10

My opinion in regard to workbench plans overall is that you’re better off to spend the $5-$10 and get something that more resembles what a real workbench plan should be-step-by-step instructions with nice illustrations, cutting diagrams, and shop tips and techniques. What I’m talking about here are plans that have at least five pages of content (unlike the photo-copied isometric drawings that some free sites have) and some reasonably good-quality photos of the finished product. The photos alone can be real life savers when you’re trying to put everything together the way it should go together.

Planning a One-Day Art Gallery Event

Most artists hang their art in galleries for a period of time. However, there may be a time that you need to plan a gallery for one day only. You may compare this type of exhibition to setting up and tearing down for an arts & craft show, but you may want it to be in high-end, professional venue, such as an arts council or organization. Because a one-day gallery is unusual, it’s important to plan extensively for effective execution of your event.

1. Think about the theme of your collection- Why do you want to have a gallery? What is your motivation or inspiration behind it? What will the theme of your gallery be? And why have it for one day? Examples of one-day galleries could be to raise money for charity, take part in an organizations art event, or simply to gain some experience.

2. Contact a venue- decide where you want to hold your gallery and what kind of venue you’re seeking. Think about your market, or demographic, when choosing a venue. If your art is very modern and abstract, a college campus may be an option. If your art is more realistic- landscapes, portraits, still life- a traditional art gallery may be an option. Think about the type of people who typically go to the venue, then think about what type of people your art attracts.

3. Book the venue- Often times, venues fill up months in advance. Think about what date you would like to hold your gallery. Visit the space you’re looking at displaying your work, take measurements, look at what type of hanging devices the venue utilizes, draw a diagram and ask questions.

4. Develop a timeline and stick to it- Take a look at your calendar and develop deadlines. Space out your deadlines so you’re not completely overwhelmed. Have a visual schedule will help you manage your time while in the planning process.

5. Market- Depending on when your one-day gallery will be, you can market right away, or closer to the event. You want to market far enough in advance that it gives people time to schedule around your event, but not so far from the event that people forget.

6. Plan- Numbers 4 and 5 can go hand-in-hand. It’s important to plan preliminary details of the event so that you can effectively market it, but there is much more to planning a one-day gallery than just that. Remember those diagrams in number 3? Take a look at them. Figure out how many pieces you will need to have in order to fill the space you booked. Are you going to have a reception table with a guest book, coffee/wine, handouts, etc? Other items to think about are:

• Hardware on the back of your frames

• Labels for your pieces and pricing information

• Invitation list

• “About the Artist” write-up

• Having a guestbook

7. Work on your Collection- While there are tons of nuts and bolts to plan related to finances, business and marketing, don’t forget to work on your collection, because this is the most important part of the event.

8. Contact PR Avenues- Since it’s a one-day event, you probably want a decent turnout. It’s up to you to make that happen. Send out a press release to local newspapers, radio stations and magazines. Writing a press release can be daunting, so do some research and look for templates to help you along if you’re not used to writing.

9. Create a Checklist- Write down everything you need to take with you the day of the event, down to the smallest detail like pens, notepads and glue dots. Don’t leave anything out. Use the checklist when you pack the night before the event.

10. Dress the Part- Plan to look like you’ve got your act together, even if you don’t. Having a one-day gallery event can be stressful and frustrating, but rewarding. It’s like being in a wedding- many things can go wrong, but as long as the bride, groom and officiant are there, everything else can go by the wayside. While you want everything to go off without a hitch, as long as you and your art are there and look presentable, that is what is important.

11. Reap the Benefits- After all your hard work, it’s time to stand back, socialize and look at your awesomely professional one-day gallery. People will be amazed that you pulled it all together in one day when it looks as though it should be hanging for weeks.

Don’t forget to take pictures of your gallery for your Facebook page and website. It’s important to document your events.

5 Gallon Buckets in the Garden

Continuing the discussion of how important the often underestimated 5 gallon buckets at home, we are now revealing how we can make the best use of these pails in the garden.

As pots

Although the appearance of the 5 gallon pails may not look as charming as the real gardening pots, they are highly functional and cheaper. Good quality 5 gallon buckets cost between $ 3 and $ 6; which is nothing compared to gardening pots’ price. With some little preparation, the pails can be turned into flower pots instantly.

All you have to do is to drill the bottom of the 5 gallon buckets with ½ or ¼-inch holes to allow water drainage. 10 to 15 holes are enough for 5 gallon pails. Next is to fill in the buckets with good quality potting soil and fertilizer. It is now ready to be planted.

If you care about upgrading the look of the modest 5 gallon pails, you may want to put more time before filling in with soil. Get some paint with the color you like, paint the pails, give some accents with different colors of paint, and dry it completely. Remember to paint only on the outer side for vegetables and herbs gardening. You don’t want the vegetables you grow to take the chemical substance of the paint since you will be eating them later.

Another advantage of having 5 gallon buckets garden is that it is extremely practical. You can move the pots wherever and whenever you want. If the growing season is over, you can pile them up and store the soil for the next gardening season, or you can just move them indoor if the plant thrives to survive there. The 5 gallon buckets also make it more difficult for animals like rabbits to destroy your plants.

Now you have not only a cheap way to grow your herbs and plants, but also creative and practical ways too.

As compost containers

Compost plays an important role in the life of a plant. Good homemade compost even plays more important role in the environment. Oddly enough, your plastic 5 gallon pails can help make this happen. As the container of compost making.

First of all, you should drill ¼-inch holes around the sides of the bucket. This will allow air circulation and water drainage. Line the bottom of the pail with dry leaves and soil. After that, dump your table scraps like vegetables, napkins, eggshells, coffee grounds or tea bags inside the bucket. Avoid milk and meaty stuff since this could attract vermin. Cover again with dry plant debris and soil. Do one dry layer after the wet one continuously and wait until the 5 gallon pail is filled up. Have a lid to close the pail and let the microorganisms work the compost. Check it out from time to time whether it is too dry or too wet. If it is too dry, add some water and move it to a shadier place. If it is too wet, place it under the sun to dry a little bit. This process takes from several weeks to months to complete.

The better pails to use for homemade composting are the ones in dark colors. Black will be the best. It will absorb more heat for the microorganisms to live under the shade.

If you use 5 gallon buckets in your garden for those purposes mentioned above, you will definitely promote an environment friendly gardening and at the same time save money for a better use at home.

Happy gardening!

Bulldozer Personalities in the Workplace

D type personalities (“D” referring to the DISC personality profile system) are the bulldozers among us that concentrate on completing tasks, often times at the expense of the people around them.

These are the General Pattons of this world, the Jack Welchs, the Stormin’ Normans (Norman Schwarzkopf) the Mr T’s. These are the individuals that drive hard towards their goal and stop for nothing on their way to achieving this goal! I have a confession to make…..I am a D type personality. I am often guilty of being way to task focused and not enough people focused. So far this sounds rather negative, however, without D type people who stay focused on task completion there are some things in this world (including some things in your business and maybe in your family) that might not ever get done.

D’s, like any of the personality traits, have strengths and weaknesses. I have summarized these traits below;

Tendencies;

  • Wants immediate results – impatient
  • Loves challenge
  • Very competitive
  • Initiates action
  • Confident
  • Risk taker
  • Makes snap decisions but can change a decision when new data comes in
  • Questions popular thinking
  • Takes authority
  • Solves problems
  • Manages trouble
  • Task oriented

Required Work Environment:

  • Independence
  • Authority
  • Power
  • Frequent and new challenges
  • Individual accomplishment
  • Wide scope of operations
  • Direct answers
  • Freedom from controls or supervision
  • Ability to advance or be promoted
  • Varied activities

Needs People Who:

  • Review pros and cons of decisions
  • Are cautious in decision making and calculate risks
  • Have empathy towards others

To be more effective:

  • Must have challenging work
  • Must pace themselves and relax
  • Must understand that they need others
  • Must take the time required for decisions and must try to have enough data to make the proper decision.

Major Strengths:

  • Efficient organizers
  • Focused
  • Results oriented
  • Responsible for actions and decisions

Major Limitations:

  • Lack of people skills
  • Making decisions without all of the information required

Dealing with Ds:

  • Start with the bottom line
  • Look for mutual areas of agreement (mutual wins)
  • Don’t lead up to the task at hand with small talk. Get to the point.
  • Ask “What” questions not “How” questions.
  • Stick to facts, not opinion.
  • Don’t over-dominate.
  • Don’t patronize.
  • Be prepared and organized.
  • Be clear and direct.

If you are a D type personality, I’m speaking from personal experience here, your biggest challenge is to ensure that you pay attention to the people issues around you and not just focus on the task(s) at hand. You need to patiently consider information from multiple sources and multiple biases before making decisions. Don’t make a major decision today based on one source of information and change your mind tomorrow when you get another piece of information. You need to take time to genuinely listen to others and socially interact. Don’t make the mistake that I did early in my marriage when I asked my wife to cut the chit-chat and get to the point……a very bad mistake which I have never repeated!

If you are managing a D, be aware of these things and provide a challenging environment with as much autonomy as possible. When interacting with a D, make sure you get to the point, stick to the facts and don’t waste time with idle chit-chat.

If you follow these basic guidelines your interaction with D type personalities will be less antagonistic and substantially more productive!

Use Pavers Over Concrete to Cover Your Concrete Patio

Sometimes there comes the need to cover your concrete patio and the best way I found is to use pavers over concrete. These pavers seem to do the best job of it. If you like to deal with DIY stuff around the home, then this task might be just for you. It is not rocket science but it needs some attention to details and patience as well as a fatter wallet for upfront costs.

One reason why you’d want to use pavers over concrete is because you will really transform any concrete patio into a unique and beautiful sight that all your guests and friends will admire to no end. Your entire patio will really look the part once the job is done.

First of all you need to clean your concrete slab with some detergent mixed with water. Simply use the liquid on the slab surface and really scrub it in. Then use a hose to rinse it well.

Next you need to etch the top surface of your slab of concrete and you can use a commercial concrete cleaner for it. All you need is read the guidelines that are on the back of the pack to know exactly what you’re doing during cleaning.

Once the etching job is done, you need to prepare your mortar in something big. Use a wide container for it, such as a 5 gallon bucket. One reason for this is that it’s not something expensive and you can easily dump it away once the job is done. Use the directions on the package to make a good mixture of your mortar.

Once it is all mixed well, take a thicker layer of the mixture and lay it on the surface of the concrete slab. The layer should not be thicker than 1 inch though. When you have the mortar layer down nicely on the surface, it’s time to add your pavers over concrete. Just space them around half an inch apart from each other. Don’t forget to keep checking every few feet that what you laid down is even and level. You don’t want a patio that is not pleasing to the eyes. Believe me the eyes can spot any mismatching brick right away.

When the bricks are all laid on the concrete, leave the whole thing be for around 2 days, to give enough time for the mortar to actually set and become solid and durable for your patio.

As a last step you need to fill the tiny cracks that are between the pavers. You can use polymeric sand for this. Go slowly over the surface with a broom and make sure that the sand enters each little space between the pavers. The final result should not have any empty spaces as it will cause the actual pavers to move later on and cause you drainage.

Apple Crisp vs Crumble vs Cobbler

What’s the Difference?

The question has been asked since the creation of these desserts. Many have been confused as to what actually sets them apart, as the differences can be quite subtle. The truth is, they are all really just variations of the beloved, but time-consuming, apple pie.

Apple Crisp

Let’s start off by describing an apple crisp, and what exactly it consists of. It can basically be described as a deep-dish fruit dessert topped with a crispy crust. The topping usually consists of oats, butter and sugar. The crisp is a relatively new invention. In fact, the earliest reference can be traced back to 1924.

Apple Crumble

The only major difference is that it is referred to as an Apple Crumble in the you UK, while in North America, it is called an Apple Crisp. A crumble is nothing more than a crisp, but with a smoother (breadcrumb texture), less chunky topping. Some references also state that a crumble is just like a crisp, except not as rich. A crumble in the UK consists of apples baked with a topping of flour, butter and sugar.

Apple Cobbler

An apple cobbler is quite similar to an apple pie, but lacking the bottom crust. The main differences arrive in the topping once again. It holds a cake or biscuit-like topping. Usually, the biscuit dough is just spooned on and not rolled out. It is thought to be called a cobbler because the spooned out dough looks like cobblestones.

Verdict

Crisp – Same as a Crumble, except with a chunkier and more coarse topping

Crumble- Same as a Crisp, except with a smoother, more breadcrumb-like topping

Cobbler – Similar to an Apple pie, but without a bottom crust. Has a biscuit-like topping. Biscuit dough looks like cobblestones

There you have it folks! This should finally put an end to generations of bickering and arguments over these fruit-filled desserts…hopefully…