Ladder Inspection – How to Assess Safety

Ladders are responsible for hundreds of injuries each year. Most of them would have been preventable if proper guidance and usage was followed and many others could also have been prevented if the ladders were inspected before they were used.

Faulty, damaged or bent ladders are responsible for a large proportion of the accidents that occur when working at height. And ensuring that equipment is checked before use is not only sensible it is now part of European guidance and proper risk assessment procedures.

Choosing the Right Ladder

The first consideration when inspecting any piece of equipment is to ask yourself if it is the right tool for the job. Often the wrong ladder is one of the reasons for accident and injury and it is important to use the correct one when you have to work at height.

Here are some of the different types of ladder:

* Leaning ladders – used against a wall of other vertical surface. Often extendible, these extension ladders are commonly used outdoors and can extend to several times their original length.

* Step-ladders – more commonly used indoors these are often used for working on ceilings. The step can provide a good platform for tools and for working on.

* Roof ladder – Suspended from roofs these ladders are for working down to a height rather than up.


The next thing to assess is the structural integrity of the ladder. Ensure there are no bends, buckling or misshapen rungs. Then check for any cracks or splinters in the metal. Pay particular attention to where the rungs are attached to the uprights. Check the rungs are all secure and don;t move.

Next check the base of the ladder. If there are rubber feet, ensure they are not worn and they are flat. Often when a ladder has been used in an uneven surface the feet can wear on one side causing it to be unstable so it is time to replace it.


If any damage or faults are found on the ladder it is important that you ensure that the ladder is not used. Not only by yourself but also by anyone else. It should be clearly signed and taped and the damage should be reported as soon as possible and under any circumstances – Never use a damaged ladder.

A Variety of Indoor Staircases

An old house can be given a new look by just replacing indoor stair railings. According to the space available you can design your indoor stairs. When remodeling your old house, just consider redoing the indoor stairs according to the home new decor. Large indoor staircases can be replaced with spiral staircases, giving more space. Even you can have a new indoor staircase where there was none previously, for example a new attic staircase.

The house can get a different look by just replacing angular staircase with a circular one. To give natural look to your house, the railings can be made curve shaped. There are Home improvement stores that provide different railings with various styles. There are online sites that help you to find out places to get different interesting railings. If you are not satisfied with the available railings then you can always go ahead to get it done according to your taste.

Safety is one important aspect to be considered when choosing railings for your house. Make sure that it will not collapse under pressure. The city codes have some norms regarding the width between railings. So ensure that the railings you have opted for is within the city code norms. If the width between the railings is more, there are chances of small children getting their head stuck in between the railings.

If you are planning to remodel the indoor stair to get more space, then first step is to replace the conventional one into a spiral staircase. Generally large indoor stairs occupy more space so it can be made into spiral. There are many ways to make these spiral stairs look elegant and synch with your home decor. Spiral stairs can be made differently using various styles and materials available. Spiral stairs are also called circular stairs. It can be made either in wood or in metal. These stairs are sure to compliment your traditional or contemporary decor. When choosing circular stairs go for a sturdy and safe one. People are advised to hold the handrails of the circular stairs, as it is difficult to climb when compare to straight steps. There are kits available in the market to build your own spiral stairs.

Spiral staircase can be used to reach attics. But there are pull down stairs for attics, which will unfold like a retractable ladder. Make sure it has sufficient head space while climbing and withstand the weight of a fully-grown up adult. You can get stairs built for your attic or can assemble a compact modular stairs.

Ensure that whatever stairs design you choose it abides with all safety rules and building regulations.

Changing Carpet Stairs To Wood – Do I Rebuild Or Reface?

Carpeted stairs are passé. Hardwood stairs are the way to go, but is it possible to replace carpet on stairs with wood, without destroying the house, living under the mess of a construction site for months on end or selling your only child to the bank? Absolutely, as long as you can answer yes to two questions!

Tearing the house apart to redo your stairs just doesn’t make sense. Besides to build a standard set of hardwood stairs probably costs four times more that taking your existing stairs and changing carpet stairs to hardwood steps, in a wood species to compliment the balance of your home decorating. It is not unusual to save thousand of dollars. So what do you need to answer first?

Question number one: Are your existing stairs structurally sound? In other words if I were to remove the carpet and add a few (or a lot) of screws to the existing structure would they meet the existing building code and NOT squeak in daily use. If this isn’t the case then give up and start from scratch before you waste any more money!

Question number two: Are you happy with the overall layout of your steps? Are they a suitable size, rising enough on each step to be safe and offering enough depth for you to comfortably plant your foot? Many do-it-yourselfer’s and even those in the trade, have trouble with the math used in constructing steps. They often think that when you get to the point of wanting to replace carpet on stairs with wood, that you can also play with the overall layout by adding width to an existing set of treads. They think that if they build up the front of the stair under the nosing it will give them a longer run. They forget that if you do this to every step it kind of cancels each other out, so your layout must be acceptable as is.

Thus, if you are happy with your existing “rise and run,” then you are in the ideal position to recover these stairs. Hardwood of any species can be used for the job, thus here is a list of steps for changing carpet stairs to wood.

Step #1: Remove the carpet, tacker strips and/or any residual glue. Don’t worry if the wood gets gouged in the process.

Step #2: Cut off the existing nosing of the construction stairs on both the front and if you have an open end, there too.

Step #3: Remove and store any spindles that may be drilled into the stairs. Leave the newel posts in place. You can work around them, unless of course your intent is to have a new railing as well.

Step #4: Use a matching hardwood veneered plywood to face the back riser and stringer. No point in using solid hardwood here as it doesn’t take any wear in this location and solids are much harder to work with.

Step #5: Glue down solid hardwood plank stairs to the face of your old treads, using construction glue. Glue that is in a caulking tube is the easiest to apply, otherwise use a small notched trowel to spread, especially when applying it to the ¼” plywood or bulges will be obvious.

Step #6: Replace your spindles and trim any corners with appropriate mouldings to hide seams between the plywood used for the riser and that used for the stringer.

Further: It is best to pre-finish all the plywood and treads before you install. Polyurethanes typically take 48 hours to come to full strength so it can tie up your steps for a bit of time if you chose to do the finishing on site. Besides it is easier to avoid runs if everything can be finished while on the flat.

For further information on replacing stair treads, changing carpet stairs to wood visit our website: Lots of information on how to order custom made hardwood steps in the size, shape and wood species that you really want plus all the tips on how to install like a seasoned pro. After all precision woodworking is all in the details.

Tuckpointing a 4 Story Building

In today’s post we are going to talk about how to tuckpoint a large building. Tuckpointing a large structure can be a daunting task and should only be attempted by people who have no fear of heights, because you can end up in some scary places especially along the lake where there are strong winds constantly.

For starters lets go over the equipment you will need, pending job size of course. You will need a lot of scaffolding, a cherry picker type elevator system or a large jig lift. Of the three a Jig lift is ideal because you can drive it to where yo need it raise up and down quickly and no set up is required like you would need with the other two systems. You can rent jig lifts that go up 60 ft boom which is typically what you would need for most 4 story buildings, any more than that you will need to set up an exterior elevator system that attaches to roof and is then movable from the the roof, which can be very difficult at times if there is a lot of roof penetrations and the roof must be flat to set up off of. The third option is scaffolding but this requires a large investment in equipment and a lot of labor to set it up and tear it down.

Lets assume your building is 4 stories or less so you will use the Jig Lift to get your work done, other equipment you will need is a mixer, heavy duty grinders with 3/8 diamond wheels, grout bags, tuckpointers and a striker or rake. be sure to be well trained in the use of the lift and wear a safety harness so you don’t fall out of the basket.

Start by grinding out the joints as deep as you can with your grinder. After you get a good size section ground out maybe a 10 foot square area mix up your mortar and get ready to fill your joints. If you are using a grout bag mix your batch so it is a little on the runny side so it flows through your grout bag easily. If you are not comfortable using a grout bag you can just use your tuckpointer and trowel. If you use this method it will take much longer and make sure that your mortar is stiff and not runny at all. Inject or push the mortar evenly into all the joints till they are all filled in the area that you are working, then after they set up a bit follow through with your striker or rake depending on the look you desire. After you finish your joints follow through with a brush to remove any excess mortar and strike the joints one more time to finish them. But just so you know striking is much better than raking because it seals the brick better and gives the face of your brick a flatter finish.

Repeat this process over and over till you complete the job. Be sure to grind all the joints because if not they will fail much sooner than area that you did grind and fill. Tuckpointing can be a very long time consuming process but it must be done to maintain the integrity of your masonry walls. If you are still unsure of what to do hire a mason tuckpointing contractor to complete the work for you.

Carpet, Laminate, Tile, or Wood Flooring: Which Is Best for You?

Whether you’re building a brand-new home or are interested in hiring a remodeling contractor to give your current home a new look, it is important to make informed decisions about the type of products you choose. After all, these materials will be incorporated into your daily existence for as long as they are present in your home. Therefore, it is essential to be sure that you are going to be able and willing to commit to all of the demands that correspond with your particular choice. The correct flooring installation should not only add personalized beauty to your home–you must also choose a style that best matches your daily needs, habits, and lifestyle. When you’re trying to decide which type of flooring is best for your family and your home, consider the following key points:


It’s not particularly wise to install carpet in a kitchen or wood flooring in a bathroom. The same logic applies elsewhere in the home. While you might have a great idea in mind for a tile flooring design in your living room, stop to think about the practicality of placing that material in the location in question. Will anyone want to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie on a hard tile floor? Likely not. Sure, wood flooring might look nice just as you come in through the front door, but then you’ll be faced with the dings and scratches that will inevitably result from frequent foot traffic from the outdoors. It is important not to get caught up in how pretty your flooring choice looks in the sample book but think about how practical this choice will be when actually installed in your home instead.


When it comes to choosing a flooring style, your options are practically limitless. Tiles can be arranged in myriad designs. Wood flooring is versatile enough to create a classic upscale atmosphere, a rustic ranch vibe, and everything in between. Carpets come in all colors and textures. To be sure that you’re fully informed about what’s out there before you commit to a purchase, consult a flooring contractor–or two–to see samples of their work. This not only lets you decide who to use for your installation project but also gives you a broader sense of your options. It may also be a good idea to look at home decor publications. When you know what you’re looking for, you can be sure to select the choice that best matches your tastes and your current home furnishings.


There are two aspects of cost when it comes to flooring: the initial purchase and installation cost, and the potential costs of future repairs and upkeep. It’s simply a fact that certain materials, such as hardwood and tile, are more expensive to obtain than other options and will require more time, skill, and effort for your flooring contractor to install. Things get even more confusing when you break down your options into sub-categories: some woods cost more than others, as do different types of tile material. Luckily, if you’re afraid of spending too much money, you have options. If you’re looking for the sleek appearance of a wood floor but just can’t swing the cost of this option, perhaps wood laminate flooring would be a less expensive substitute.The second aspect of cost, ongoing maintenance, is also important if you want your floors to maintain the same form and function in 10 years as they had on the day you first walked on them. Hardwood refinishing and repair, tile resetting and replacement, and carpet spot-dyeing and stretching all fall into this wide category. The exact cost will vary depending on the size and nature of the job, the floor contractor you choose, and other factors. The overall longevity and aesthetic preservation of your floors also depends on your commitment to daily care, so also stop to consider if you’re willing to sweep, polish, or vacuum regularly, and factor that into your decision. Some materials require diligent care, while others are stronger and more durable.


Health is not something that many people think about when considering flooring, but the fact is that carpets can actually trap allergens such as dust and pollen. Unless you’re willing to stay on top of your vacuuming and routine carpet cleaning, these health hazards can build up over time. This means that although the carpets may appear clean, they are actually sending up an invisible puff of impurities that can exacerbate allergies and asthma with every step. Flooring types that are easier to maintain generally can be cleaned with the stroke of a broom and do not harbor any hidden threats.

The perfect flooring choice is different for everyone. Some families prefer carpeting for its welcoming feel and kid-friendly qualities. Some are willing to put a lot of work into maintaining their floor’s appearance and promoting its longevity, while others are looking for pure functionality. If you’re in the market for a new floor and want to select a type that will fulfill all your requirements and provide the strength to last for years to come, consider the factors above. You’ll find that when you take your overall needs into account before you make a selection, you’ll come out with a flooring installation that will best match your lifestyle.

Penlac Nail Laquer- Does It Treat Nail Fungus?

Are you tired of keeping your hands or feet covered for fear of people thinking you are unclean? Tired of having spotted, thickened, streaked, discolored, yellow, or cracked nails? If your answer is ‘Yes’ for this questions- doesn’t worry you’re not alone- you are among thousands of people, who lead their life with nail fungus infection.

Ciclopirox, is the potent topical solution available as Penlac nail lacquer in the brick and mortar shops for curing nail fungus infections. This product- Penlac nail lacquer is a solution that is available in a glass bottle with a mini-paint brush, like nail polish. This can be used much a same way as like that of nail polish.

Have an appointment with the physician regularly in spite of your application of this nail lacquer. This product should be applied daily on the affected nail, and the nail may be required to clean with alcohol once in a week. Do remember to file away loose nail material during this day. Take utmost care to avoid contact with skin other than skin immediately around the treated nail.

Most of the clients accredited the penlac nail lacquer as an attractive substitution to Lamisil (terbinafine), the oral drug. But it is having its own limitation of not being used when the fungus has invades the lunula (the crescent-shaped lighter area near the nail base).

Penlac nail lacquer can be called as successful substitution for Lamisil as there is no ossiblity of liver damage or other unpleasant side effects. If you experience any side effect with Phenelac generally only involve the nail area if they occur at all.

If you have the problem of nail fungus- I know how you feel about the condition. Why don’t you try Penlac? Penlac not only helps to control fungal infection but also recurrence of the same.

Penlac is not the over-the-counter medicine. Your GP might prescribe you for getting this solution.

If you want to use a product that is available in the over-the-counter medication for your nail fungus, the perfect alternative is Leucatin. The Leucatin is a natural topical and oral application. It is completely free from side effects as it is made up of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients.

You may be in little bit confusion to choose between the drugs- Phenlac and Lamisil. If you’re bothered about side effects of Lamisil, and you can go for continuous application of Penlac nail lacquer for a quite long period- say 11 months, you can opt for Phenlac than lamisil.

You should consult your physician before opting this nail laquer and also reveal the following points to your physician before getting prescribed with CICLOPIROX NAIL SOLUTION: –

* Breast-feeding

* Pregnant or trying to get pregnant

* Peripheral vascular disease or poor circulation.

* Large areas of burned or damaged skin.

* Immunosuppression or organ transplant

* HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection

* History of seizures

If you forget to apply the medicine at least on single day, use it as soon as you can. Don’t use double or extra doses without consulting your physician. It is better to use the same dose.

MTX Jackhammer, the LARGEST Subwoofer Known to Man

How large do you think the largest automotive subwoofer ever made is?  How about 22″ wide, and…get this….369lbs!  The sound this thing produces is bone-rattling, teeth-chattering, and heart pounding!  Everyone on your block will hear you coming a mile away.  Here’s what MTX says about it:

“Designed from the ground up to be the most massive subwoofer ever, JackHammer incorporates radical new technologies. It is even manufactured in MTX’s custom facility with a magnetizer constructed just for this woofer-a magnetizer that wipes out any credit card that dares come within 25 feet! JackHammer is the Biggest, Baddest, Boldest subwoofer…ever!” 

Billed as the subwoofer that “other woofers have nightmares about,” the MTX JackHammer is a 2-foot tall, 369-pound behemoth that makes you proud to be an American. This 22″ subwoofer handles 5,000 watts RMS (up to 10,000 watts peak), and features a 900-ounce (that’s a little over 56 pounds, folks) magnet and a 6.5″ voice coil. The JackHammer is set up for high SPL (Sound Pressure Level), but you can purchase an replacement cone assembly that allows you to switch quickly to Sound Quality performance (and you don’t have to remove the speaker from its enclosure to make the switch). There was a constant crowd around this woofer throughout the show, jaws open, staring in awe as the woofer cone moved in and out. Sometimes excess is a good thing!

The MTX Jackhammer is often used in sound pressure level competitions where the only objective is sheer loudness. In fact, one Jackhammer is capable of high enough sound pressure levels that people who are nearby are often wearing ear protection.  The Jackhammer is able to create sound pressure levels high enough to easily damage human hearing. It has been measured at well over 150 decibels, which is 30 decibels more than an airplane at takeoff.  The Jackhammer consumes much more power than the average electrical system of a car can provide, adding to its impracticality. It usually requires multiple powerful bridged amplifiers to drive it, and high quality wires are needed to carry the current to the speaker. Multiple large capacitors are also generally used. About four lead automobile batteries are required to power the amplifiers.  Between the subwoofer and everything needed to power it, the system weighs well over 500 pounds (230 kg).

From Business Week’s report from the Consumer Electronics Show: “Tricked-out cars are a growing phenomena, thanks in part to Pimp My Ride. The popular MTV’s reality show gives twenty-somethings a makeover for their old beaters, getting as much as $30,000 of new supersonic audio and video gear on a rigs worth less than $1,000. So it’s no surprise that a star of the show, Mad Mike, is signing autographs at the booth of MTX Audio, which makes car speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers.

Mike is helping MTX push its JackHammer subwoofer, a 369-pound, 22-inch high throbbing hunk of sonic goodness. One recent Pimp My Ride episode featured Mike and crew putting the JackHammer in a 1986 Buick Regal. The crew added a flashing caution light on the center panel of the car that reads “Warning: Ridiculous Bass” whenever the stereo plays.

So does anyone really need that much bass? “Absolutely,” says MTX’s ever-dutiful spokeswoman Hilary Moore. “Everyone needs a JackHammer.” Since the $7,500 unit pumps out the equivalent of a dozen 12-inch subwoofers, Moore rationalizes that the JackHammer actually saves space

The Jackhammer is actually the name of a line of MTX subwoofers of common sizes, such as 10, 12 and 15 inches, as well as the 22 inch “monster.” However, even though the smaller models may be more common, MTX Jackhamer usually refers to the 22 inch model. For less confusion, “The Jackhammer” is often used to refer to the 22 inch model.  So, are you looking for something a little more…uh…reasonable?  Maybe a bit more practical? The MTX Jackhammer line includes a variety of top-quality speakers for your car.  MTX’s line of products can’t be beat.

Beautiful Thatch Roof Substitutes

Traditional thatch roofing is arguably the most beautiful and natural looking roofing material available. You might well be surprised by the availability of alternative similar products that can be very innovatively used to create a specific look or be used at locations where this material might not be as readily available.


Makuti is a perfectly natural & ecological product. It is consists of coco palm leaves , knitted on the stem of the plant, which tastefully combine with the natural environment, due to their earthly color and their discreet natural perfume.

Makuti leaves come from Africa and they are used in constructions with techniques that have been used for centuries in many countries for ordinary thatching.

These leaves, as a raw material, is not considered to be a construction material although it has been tested for a long time against all weather conditions, presenting a great resistance towards rain, snow, strong winds and other weather phenomena. Except for the above qualities, as with ordinary thatching, makuti leaf constructions offer excellent insulation and sound absorbance.

When applied especially in rural environments, makuti leaves creates a unique result with constructions such as ecological roofs, umbrellas, pergolas, kiosks etc.

Unfortunately these leaves most of the time only has a 10 year life duration opposed to ordinary thatching which can easily last for 25 years, but the main reason for application would be its’ incomparable aesthetics in rustic or other specific environments where it can be very innovatively incorporated with the natural surroundings.


In the past few years architects & designers have become much more environmentally aware, and lately words like ‘sustainability’ ‘green architecture’ & ‘strawbale construction’ is used very often. It is not very common to have straw bale blocks as a roofing material but can be very innovatively used as can be seen in the pictures above (see below for website details).

Like wood, straw is produced by photosynthesis, a natural, non-polluting process which is fuelled by solar energy. Unlike wood, straw is annually renewable. Being a non-nutritious by-product of cereal grain farming, straw is often laid to waste and sometimes burnt, causing air pollution.

Straw bale construction is much faster and less labour intensive than conventional thatching. The battens are spaced further apart and thus less roof timber is used as well. Unlike conventional thatching, straw bale roof construction techniques are uncomplicated and easy to learn by unskilled people and do not require expensive tools.

Straw bales also do not pose a fire hazard as, having been compressed, they lack sufficient oxygen to support combustion.

Straw bale roof construction might well be an innovative substitute to ordinary thatching, in some places where aesthetics is not of that much importance and where a cheaper, faster and perhaps temporary solution is needed.

Soffit Colours On Natural Wood Grain

Many people tend to shy away from wood fascias and soffit simply because it is not as durable as the aluminium and vinyl ones sold in the market today. They tend to chip off or the wooden material tends to rot if they get soaked in rain for days. Sometimes, they can also be a breeding ground for termites.

However, natural wood & wood effect fascias and soffits can make the exterior of your home look elegant and charming. These are great compared to aluminium fascias and soffits, which do not really blend well with the exterior of a house unless of course it looks very modern on the outside.

If your main concern is the external wear and tear that the soffit might be exposed to, you can solve that by colouring or painting it. There are also pre painted soffits and fascias available so you will not have to do a lot of work. Then there are the plastic or UPVC types which do not need this kind of care at all.

What is great about having colours on soffit natural wood grain is that it can accentuate the house. It instantly adds brightness to a room. It is like painting the ceiling but only in the external part of your house. In addition to that, it provides protection to the wood. The coloured coating makes the wood waterproof. It prevents it from turning musty or mouldy. It also protects it from the sun and other harsh external elements.

This project is quite small and should not a lot of money. If you want to give the exterior of your home a little oomph, you can always have the soffits coloured. No need to spend a lot of money on expensive roof renovations or similar projects.

Choosing the right colour is also fun and exciting. You can be bold and find a colour that is in contrast to the exterior colour of your home. If not, you can match it with the accents of the windows, doors or sides of your home. Talk to an expert about the right colour that you can pick for you home. Decide which particular shade is more ideal for the natural wood grain that you have used as your soffits and fascias.

How To Find Coloured Soffits

If this is your first time incorporating coloured soffits in your home, you might feel inadequate about choosing the right colour. The safest colour would be the same colour you have used for your gutters, siding, window trim or even your fascia boards. Complementing the accents of these parts of the house can make the exterior of your home look well designed. You can also match the same colour for your soffits with that of your colour siding and opt for a different colour for your gutters and fascia. A complete contrast of colours can draw attention to the lines of your home so the exterior design will look more defined.

Many people also consider the benefits of staining. If you have used high quality wood for the soffit board, you might feel bad about hiding the natural lines and curves of the wood with paint. A sound option would be to stain it. You can still keep the grainy texture of the wood but still make the wood pop out. The only downside to this is that it does not match with the rest of your colour scheme unless you are really going for the natural wood look.

When painting, it is important to take into account the amount of lighting the soffits will get. Because of the UV rays it is exposed to on a daily basis, the colour will fade away fast. You might want to opt for something darker.

There are many benefits of adding colour to your soffit. I highly recommend this project as it really boosts the all over elegance of a house. If you think the soffit board is not noticeable, think again. Many people actually appreciate a home with every nook and cranny properly painted and designed. You can make your home a lot more pleasing to your guests this way if you have inviting fascia boards colours too.

Painting a Beach Scene – Some Very Helpful Tips

One of the most popular subjects at art classes are beach scenes to paint. Learning how to paint a beach scene can be done in several ways. The easiest of course is painting a calm day at the beach. For the more adventurous artist, a rough storm beach may be the task at hand. Here are some basic tips to help you learn how to paint a beach scene.

Painting the Sky

In general, you should start any landscape or seascape painting with the sky. Examine various pictures or other paintings to determine how you would like your sky to appear. The sky and water can meet anywhere on the canvas. If the horizon line is lower on the canvas, the sky will be the emphasis, likewise, if the horizon line is high on the canvas, there will be more water, and this will be the emphasis. I like to keep the top portion of the sky the darkest and lighten as I worked downward. As you paint, bring the sky colors down beneath where the horizon line or ocean will start. And tiny touches of reds, yellows, dark blues, or oranges to add interest and drama to the sky. Sometimes simply allowing streaks of color to show will appear as if they are the distant clouds. If you don’t know how to paint white fluffy clouds than just let the sky remain plain. Many people try to blend their colors so that no lines or variation shows. This is a mistake. A viewer will look at the painting because it interests them. So be aware that you should not try to blend and smooth your sky colors too much. Remember that the more colors and “movement” in the sky, the more turbulent the weather will appear.

Painting the Water

Now it is time to paint the water in your beach scene. Always use the same colors in the water as you used in the sky. You will want to darken the colors however. Starting at the horizon line, paint in a straight horizontal horizon. The straighter this top edge of water, the more distant it will appear. Now work your water forward, adding and varying the colors. Mix in some greens, browns and even touches of reds. Use the same combination of sky colors, just use more of them. Remember not to over blend the colors. Also for the perception of depth, remember that objects, even waves, will appear smaller and more horizontal in the distance. Therefore any roughness or waves will be smaller in the background and enlarge as you work forward. For the appearance of shallow water lighten the colors by adding yellows.

Painting the Beach

The easiest way to begin a beach is to add browns to the water area as you approach where the land begins. Remember that water is transparent so begin to add the sand color while decreasing the blue water color. Now you should be almost to the bottom or front of the canvas. If you start adding white to the sand color it will appear that the sand is moist. I like to use loose long vertical “z” strokes with some white as I complete my final areas of the beach. Work this beach color right to the bottom of the canvas.

Waves, Rocks and Final Touches

Waves can be indicated by adding small choppy strokes of dark and or light colors. Variety is the key when it comes to indicating that water is in motion. If you want to create some dramatic movement of waves, you might want to add some white wave tops by dabbing spots of white in wave shapes near the front of the painting where the water would be hitting land or rocks. To add rocks, paint some dark “rock” forms near the front of the canvas. Keep the bottom of the rocks nice and horizontal. Lighten the dark rock color and highlight each rock, but be careful not to paint over all of the base color. If you need to highlight that color even more, touch on some final bright highlights wherever the light might be the brightest on the rock. Gently dab white here and there around the rock bases or where water would be splashing. Straight lines of white at the base of the rocks give the indication of water and help to “set” the rock nicely into the painting.

If you keep practicing using these tips you are sure to be able to paint a beach scene in no time. In the beginning, keep it simple and paint a calm day beach scene. As you become more experienced, add drama by using more color and stroke variety. Have fun practicing these beach scenes to paint.

Advantages of an Overhead Bridge Crane

Overhead bridge cranes are one of the most widely used pieces of material handling equipment. To safely move material from point A to point B there is not a piece of equipment as versatile. Bridge cranes take many forms and are highly adaptable to many environments. Following is a list of reasons why this piece of equipment is invaluable.

1. No need to clear aisles. Overhead cranes can move places where no other piece of equipment can reach. Have you ever had your fork trucks’ path blocked and you had to divert manpower to clear an aisle. Well an overhead bridge crane can make it around the obstruction with ease. If an independent running pushbutton station (a pushbutton station on it’s own track so it can be controlled anywhere along the bridge) or radio remote control is provided as the control method, your operator can be in guide himself around the obstructions and still control the crane. You can arrange your plant floor around how you do business and not worry as much about obstructions on your factory floor.

2. Clean Floor space. Your floor space is cleared up because your supports for the crane are out of the way. Typically your crane provider can come up with a column design that is freestanding and can be aligned with your building columns or along walls. You can choose a ceiling mounted crane (typically on new building designed for the loadings) or you can support the crane from the floor. Sometimes a combination of the two can be used with some supports from the floor and some from the ceiling of your building.

3. Safety. The crane operator can put himself into the optimum location to safely move the load. The fork lift creates blind spots which are inherent with the structure around the operator. The fork lift can be prone to overturning (which is the leading cause of death with a forklift), Pedestrian can be struck by a forklift, driver or employee can be crushed by a forklift, or the driver can fall from the forklift. Overhead bridge cranes can also be outfitted with anti-collision devices to keep them from colliding with cranes in the same bay or end stops.

4. Customizable and adaptable. Overhead bridge cranes are very versatile when it comes to below the hook accessories. The types available are limitless. Below the hook accessories include spreader bars, c-hooks, weight scales, custom designed lifting tooling, manipulators, and vacuum lifts to name a few. Many cranes have several different below the hook tools which are changed out for the particular job.

5. Heavier payloads. Heavier loads can be handled while keeping your plant personnel away from the load. Forklifts require your operator to be within close proximity to the load. With an overhead bridge crane the operator can rig the load and then move away from danger when using the above referenced radio or independent traveling pushbutton station.

6. Complete coverage. Your entire plant can be covered with no dead spots of coverage. A crane can travel right over the load, even without a clear path or aisle. This allows the most flexibility when setting up your plant design.

7. Inexpensive operating costs. Operating costs are very inexpensive with a bridge crane. From no energy requirements for a completely manual system, to a very economical three phase system. There is no need to charge batteries or have tanks filled. The bridge crane is always ready to work!

8. Ergonomically friendly. A recent trend is to help the worker in their work cell. Small ergonomic work cell bridge cranes have replaced the worker moving the product manually and allowing them to pick up the product with a lift assist. A typical 50 pound load can now be picked up with the crane and the operator will only see one half of a pound of push pull force at the hook. When a work station crane is equipped with custom lifting tools the job can be done with higher productivity and less product damage.

9. Increased productivity. Whether it is handling larger loads or taking the load off of your workers, they will be more productive with an overhead crane. In high cycle applications with lighter loads a work station crane is easily justified with ROI in a very short time.

10. More diverse work force. With an overhead bridge crane your work force can include both sexes, as well as smaller workers who might not be able to do the job of manually handling the load. As our work force ages, and includes more females this is an even more important consideration.

The Black Full Length Trench Coat

The full length black trench coat is one of the most popular styles of trench coats. Countless people choose this trench coat to wear. It can be stylish or menacing or something in between, depending on how it is worn. It is an excellent choice for remaining inconspicuous. The full length covers the entire body and doesn’t allow other people to see or learn anything about the person who is wearing it.

The color black is seen as serious and conventional. It can also be sophisticated, sexy and mysterious. Those who choose to wear this color are sometimes trying to hide their moods. Others choose it because it is very slimming and makes anyone look skinnier. It is also a great color on clothes since it tends to hide curves or stomachs or hips or thighs. It also makes the wearer look sleeker. Whether trying to be mysterious or sophisticated, the color black is great understated color. On a trench coat, the person wearing the coat is immediately hidden behind it leaving the observer to guess at what is underneath.

For men, the black trench coat is an excellent choice to match all items. Whether the man is going to work or running errands, the black full length trench coat provides the perfect cover. Underneath the man could be wearing a brand new Brioni suit or a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Either way, the man is fully covered up by the coat. The black trench also makes it easy for men to blend in. For those that want something simple and assuming, consider the black trench coat.

For women, the coat is less conspicuous. A brighter color coat like a red or yellow or green screams attention and allows the women to stand out. The darker coat allows women to hide amongst the crowds. This is great for protection, especially if you don’t want to be an easy target. Finally, the black full length coat looks very sleek. Therefore, it will look great over any outfit a woman chooses to wear.

In movies and on TV, you will see many people wearing the black full length trench coat. This serves to distinguish them and also to hide them at the same time. These characters usually play a larger role in the second half of the movie, while in the first half, they are seen as observing. The most famous black full length trench coats were worn by the characters in the movie, The Matrix. Almost all of them wore the leather black trench coats and used them to hide their weapons. The coats were symbols of defiance and strength and showed a more sparse and run down world. Wardrobe stylists used these coats to help style all of the characters and show how they were a team.

The full length black trench coat is a very interesting item to add to your wardrobe. It can signal many things to people. For yourself, it can be the perfect item for a rainy day or to cover up your office clothes. Regardless of the purpose, consider one of these full length trench coats to add to your closet.

How To Quilt – Stitch In The Ditch Quilting

Stitch in the ditch quilting is the name given to stitching along the seam lines of the pieced quilt blocks. As with free motion machine quilting, this is done from the top of the quilt with the pattern of the quilting showing up on the quilt backing.

You will need a walking foot machine foot, a pair of quilting gloves and loads of patience.

There are a few things that you need to think about before you begin quilting:

  • Do you want the stitch in the ditch quilting to stand out or blend in? It is more usual to use a blending colour thread for the top, but you may wish to use a colour that stands out on the quilt backing to showcase the quilt design. It is fine to use a different colour thread in the bobbin.
  • Before you begin quilting, be clear about the pattern that you are going to use: do you want to stitch in the ditch along every seam, just outline a particular pattern in the quilt blocks, or even just outline the quilt block itself?
  • Check your stitch length. The norm is 12 stitches per inch, a little longer than everyday sewing stitch length.
  • Adjust the sewing machine tension. This is probably the single most important factor in helping to achieve good machine quilting results. Because of the thickness of two layers of fabric plus batting, the auto tension on your machine is unlikely to give the best results. Make up a practice block of the three layers used in your quilt and sew a line of stitching. Look at the back of this sample block. Chances are you won’t like what you see as the stitching will be too tight, so loosen the tension and try again. Keep experimenting until you feel that the look of the stitches on your quilt top and backing are giving the look that you want for your quilt.

Machine Quilting with stitch in the ditch

Now you can begin quilting with stitch in the ditch on the quilt itself. Put on your quilting gloves: they really do help to stop your fingers sliding on the fabric. Begin in the middle of the quilt. This will involve rolling the quilt to the right of the middle so that it fits neatly into the space on your sewing machine. Place the quilt so that the needle will come down on the seam line. Begin machine quilting, trying to keep your eye on the seam feeding into the machine rather than on the needle itself. It’s amazing how your eye is drawn to watch the needle going up and down, which doesn’t really help you maintain a straight line at all.

After a few inches of sewing, stop the machine and reach round for the trailing end of thread. Pull gently on the thread so that the bobbin thread begins to pull through to the quilt top. Using a pin, pull the bobbin thread right through and tie a double knot with the top thread. This will secure the threads without having to use back stitching. Do this at the beginning of each line of stitch in the ditch or you will end up with trailing threads all over the place, getting caught up in the next line of stitching.

Continue sewing along the seam lines until you reach the edge of the quilt. Take your quilt out of the machine and tie off the ends of the threads.

Returning to the middle of the quilt, repeat the process with a new line of stitch in the ditch quilting going from the middle to the edge. Try to quilt in the same direction as previous lines to avoid your quilt backing puckering slightly.

Quilting with stitch in the ditch is a marvellous method of quilting in its own right but also a great confidence booster before you attempt free motion machine quilting.

What Makes For a Quality Business Agreement – Or a Contract?

The contract is the foundation of doing business. Does that sound too formal to you? Is a handshake agreement good enough for many? Well, even though it may not be as air tight as, say, a contractor agreement, a handshake deal is still a contract. The moment two people agree to terms when it comes to the exchange of goods and services for a price, they have entered into a legal contract. It’s why knowledge of contracts and the issues involved should be important to all people in business, and why knowing the difference between a good and bad contract can protect your interests.

In fact, knowing more about contracts is like knowing more about life and history in general. Contract law is certainly not the creation of a few thoughtful individuals, nor is it part of any kind of grand design. Indeed, contract law has much of its roots in the common law foundation of American society.

That is, contract law is somewhat a textbook example of how common law developed in Britain and the United States. People engage in business transactions. Eventually, some of these become sources of disputes between various parties. Some laws already on the books may cover the dispute. Very often, they don’t. So that’s where a court needs to step in to cover so-called tricky cases and establish new laws. These are called precedents, which are then carried over to similar cases in the future.

It’s the establishment of these precedents alongside legislated law that forms the foundation of common law in general, and contract law specifically. Although it’s certainly not necessary to do extensive research in case law to gain a better understanding of things like legal contracts and the contractor agreement; contacting those specialists who do might be wise. They’re called lawyers. Alternatively, just knowing that contract law isn’t always written in stone should perhaps make it more imperative that good contracts can cover your interests in as many situations as possible.

It is the desire to avoid grey areas and matters of interpretation that creates the need to form contracts to protect your interests. In other words, a handshake can get you in trouble, since the specifics of such a contract can be a matter open to interpretation. What is less open to interpretation is a legal contract or contractor agreement that specifically states the obligations of all parties of a contract. The more the contract clearly outlines these obligations, the better off all parties will be, especially if there ends up being a dispute.

It’s not just the simple exchange of goods and services for a fee that are subject to contractual arrangements, of course. There are numerous components of business and related activities that come under the umbrella of contracts.

If you want to outsource your activities to someone else, that’s a contract. You hire people for a period of time, that’s a contract. You hire people to fix something in your office, that’s a contract. Almost any decision to form an arrangement with someone else, especially when money is involved, can form the basis of a contractual arrangement carrying with it all the duties and obligations of a legal contract.

Another way of putting it is this: If you’re doing business with anyone to any degree, there’s a contract involved there somewhere. And if it could potentially impact you and your business, you better get it down on paper. Some contracts may not need to be as formal as a contractor agreement, but the more specific a legal contract it is, the better position you can be in to protect your interests and that of your business.

Indeed, laying out as much specificity in the contract, while keeping it simple, goes a long way towards creating the good legal contract. It should lay out things like the parties obligated to the contract, the financial arrangements agreed upon, what circumstances would lead to the termination of the contract, what mechanisms can be used to resolve disputes, and what jurisdiction applies to the terms of the contract. The more that’s outlined in the contract, while making it easy to understand for all parties involved, the less of a chance that a court will even be needed to sort it all out.

After all, one of the benefits of a good legal contract is that it discourages people to resort to the courts to try and settle disputes in their favor. If most applicable terms are laid out in a good contract, the temptation to try and score through a lawsuit will be mitigated. No one wants to waste time and resources disputing an air tight contract. If the terms are laid out properly, and each party knows specifically what their obligations are, then further difficulties down the road are that much more unlikely.

Perhaps nowhere is this more true than with respect to the contractor agreement. Companies are hired to do projects of all sorts for all kinds of clients. While it’s great to answer the phone, learn that someone wants to contract for your services, and pay you a lot to do it, it really doesn’t hurt if you already have prepared a contractor agreement that covers both your interests before getting started. It lets the client know what kind of people they’re hiring, while also protecting you from somebody who plays loose with the notion of what a business contract is.

Apartment Gardening – Tips For Growing Vegetables In Containers

Can you have your own vegetable garden if you live in an apartment with tight spaces? Absolutely! Growing vegetables in containers is the answer for gardening enthusiasts who do not have space for a garden in their home. Think of your balcony, window sill, patio or even a bright, sunny corner in your living room. All these are potential locations for creating your indoor vegetable garden..

Container vegetable gardening is becoming popular not simply because it has made it possible for apartment dwellers to have their own piece of green sanctuary. Even gardeners who have an outdoor garden are also getting into container gardening for the following reasons:

a) Portability makes it easy to arrange the plants

b) Effective control over the spread of diseases across different plants.

c) Ability to personalize your little garden with a variety of containers

d) No need to repair the lawn if the plants don’t work out

These are just some of the reasons that encourage garden owners to get into container gardening. It doesn’t matter if you are having your container vegetable garden indoors or outdoors, there are some golden rules of growing vegetables in containers that will help improve your success rate in vegetable gardening.

Golden Rules for Growing Vegetables in Containers

1. Choosing a container

Before you embark on your shopping spree to purchase gardening supplies, ask yourself – what kind of vegetables do I want to plant? Being clear about what you want to plant will give you a better idea of the type of containers you should be buying. If you are going for big plants, you will need bigger, deeper containers that provide space for the development of strong roots.

Generally, it is recommended to use bigger containers for vegetable gardening. You should take both the diameter and depth of the container into consideration. For vegetable plants to be robust and healthy, deep containers are needed as it has more room for roots to develop a strong foundation. The material which the pots and containers are made of is not as important. Plastic, terra cotta and timber planters are all suitable for growing vegetables. Just note that size and depth are more important.

If you plan to grow vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, lettuce and cucumbers, a 3-5 gallon container will be sufficient. Larger containers of 15 gallon will be needed for the bigger plants.

2. Location of your container

The availability of sunlight is a main consideration when it comes to positioning your container vegetable plants. Ensure that your vegetable plants get sufficient sunlight if you want to have healthy plants and a good harvest. Majority of vegetable plants, particularly beans, peppers and tomatoes need a good 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily.

The location of your containers plays an important part to the survival of your vegetable plants. Apart from sunlight, you also have to consider if the location is windy. Strong winds tend to dry up plants; hence you should avoid positioning your container plants at windy areas. If you are unable to avoid the strong winds, you can construct a windbreaker around your vegetable plants to shield them.

Catering ample space between the containers is just as crucial as it provides good air circulation for your plants. When positioning your containers, ensure that the taller plants do not shade out the shorter ones. In this way, all of your plants will have an equal chance of exposure to sunlight.

3. Choosing soil type

Using the right kind of soil will provide your vegetable plants with a good foundation for strong growth. Heavy potting soil or garden soil is not suitable for growing vegetables in containers. A better choice would be container mix that has better moisture retention capability and can resist compaction. You can also consider creating your own compost with manure added. This is probably a better option than buying ready made garden soil from the nursery.

Do take note of the vegetable type as well when you are selecting the soil. Potatoes prefer rich, loamy soil while carrots prefer sandier, more free-draining compost.

4. Watering

Container plants tend to absorb more heat, hence they often take in quite a bit of water. It is crucial that you water your container vegetable plants frequently to prevent them from drying up. Take this into consideration when positioning your containers. Easy access to water points will make it more convenient for frequent watering.

How do you know if your plant has enough water? First and foremost, you have to determine the moisture level of the soil. Your container plants should not have soaking wet soil as it can result in rotting roots. Use the finger test to determine the moisture level of the soil. Dip your index finger into the soil. If the soil feels hard and dry, you got to water your plants. If the surface, or just below the surface of the soil feels moist, you can water your plants the next day.

If you don’t want to use the finger test, get a soil moisture meter to do the job. In fact, this is a more precise approach than the finger test to measure soil moisture level.

5. Adding fertilizers

Since container plants require frequent watering, the fertilizer will get diluted faster too. You should feed your container vegetable plants with fertilizers twice as often. Doing so will ensure your plants of a healthy supply of fertilizers for strong and healthy growth.

Growing vegetables in containers at home allows you to enjoy fresh home-grown vegetables at any time. Nothing beats the satisfaction of being able to savor the fruits of your labor and to share it with your loved ones. Indoor vegetable gardening is such a pleasure when you have the know-how and tips to grow a bountiful harvest.