World’s Top 5 Most Famous Paintings

Paintings are the expressions of one’s heart that get displayed in the form of art on canvas. Although there are many art portraits and oil paintings that have astounded us with their beauty over the years, there are some of them which leave an impression on our hearts and souls and these are the ones that become so renowned over the years, that they succeed in finding their place amongst the ‘World’s Top 5 Most Famous Paintings’.

The Last Supper: This painting is an acclaimed masterwork of the renowned painter Leonardo Da Vinci. This painting can be found showcased at the Santa Maria della Grazie church of Milan. This painting exhibits the crucial moment when Lord Jesus was having his last supper with his disciples. The true emotions of innocence and despair are exactly the ones that are displayed by the painting’s art.

Monalisa: This is yet another masterpiece of the same genius – Leonardo Da Vinci. This painting can be found showcased at the Musee du Louvre Museum of Paris. This famous oil painting was painted in the 16th century. The intent of the painter to reflect the true beauty of Monalisa is an attribute of this painting that is exhibited by the eyes of Monalisa that follow you no matter from which angle you look at it.

The Kiss: This painting is an acclaimed masterwork of the renowned painter Gustav Klimt. This painting can be seen at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum, Austria. The intent of this famed painting can be estimated from its title. The painting showcases the intimate desires of a man and woman in a flawless manner. Many artists of the yesteryears have affirmed the fact that this art portrait was a picturisation of the real life of the painter.

Café Terrace at Night: Though the title of this painting may seem ordinary but the panting is not. The way in which the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh has introduced the effects of night skies enclosing the brightly lit Café Terrace at Night is amazing. This oil painting can be found exhibited at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Hambletonian: You would be amazed to know that this is the only horse painting that has made it to the list of top 5 world famous paintings. George Stubbs the painter who painted this painting has been always known for painting some really good horse paintings. The painting tries to depict the feelings of a horse towards his master as the horse in the painting has been shown to be standing on just 2 left legs that portray its enthusiasm quotient.

These are some of the renowned artworks of well-known artists that are remembered to this date. Though the list of brilliant artworks is endless, this article intends to narrow down the list and enlist the famous art portraits and oil paintings that are have been always known for their uniqueness. Nevertheless, with many new artists coming up in the field of painting the list would surely expand in the future.

Cleaning Crystal Chandeliers The Proper Way

Crystal chandeliers are elegant and ornate lighting fixture; however they are also complex accessories that need extra care especially when cleaning and handling, because when its crystals start to lose their luster and may look dull and grayish one day.

When this happens, your once-elegant lighting piece will now totally look lost in whatever room you hang it, and would be of no use to your home’s ambiance. In keeping you classy lighting fixture constantly clean, you need to regularly dust it gently every two or three months, or depending on your regular cleaning routines, and use a feather or wool duster.

Make sure that you know how to remove and assemble the parts together again before you start cleaning, so you wouldn’t have any problems putting them all in one piece again.

Readying Your Tools For Regular Maintenance

When you’ve prepared all the necessary materials and tools for cleaning your chandelier, you may now commence the cleaning and maintenance process. Start by spraying a small amount of the cleaning detergent or mixture on a cloth, and carefully wipe the crystals or glass, then dry it immediately with another dry cloth or glove.

If you still wish to continue the process, carefully remove all the glass or crystals one by one and individually wipe them. Through this manner, it would be much easier for you to clean the lighting fixture’s frames. You could also hand-wash the fixture’s crystal or glass in lukewarm water mixed with an applicable detergent. Carefully rinse the parts immediately in clean water and dry afterwards with a clean, soft cloth.

Frequency In Cleaning Chandeliers

As recommended by lighting experts, you need to thoroughly deep-clean your crystal chandelier at least once a year. In deep cleaning this fixture, you will ensure that the crystal fixture is cleaned thoroughly. Deep cleaning requires the scrubbing and disassembly of your lighting fixture.

How To Clean Modern Chandelier Designs

If you have a much modern crystal lighting fixture, you can clean it without removing the pendants from the frame. Home lighting experts suggest that while handling the pendants, use white cotton gloves. Next, mix a cleaning solution of one part isopropyl alcohol and three parts distilled water. Put this in a spray bottle. Then put on your cotton gloves and spray one glove with the solution. The other glove should be kept dry. Carefully caress the crystal with the damp glove and wipe it afterwards with the dry glove or cloth.

Safety Advice When Removing Crystals

To be on the safe side, do not remove the crystals all at the same time, since you may not remember the exact location of each crystal when you have to put them back in place, so it would be best to remove each one at a time. In addition, never twirl or rotate your chandelier when cleaning or disassembling them. When cleaning, move your ladder or chair around your fixture, and better start cleaning in sections.

If you rotate the chandelier, this may cause it or some of its parts to fall. Lastly, do not handle the crystals with your bare hands, because they could break and cut your hands. Remember to wear white cotton gloves always, as the crystals picks up fingerprints easily, and these are truly delicate and fragile materials. – Crystal Chandeliers

Serving Cake on the Cake Plates

The cake plates as the name suggests is mainly used for the purpose of serving the cakes. The cakes may be of any birthday party or for any anniversaries. You can purchase different varieties of cake platters in the market, but there are some considerations that have to be made while purchasing them so that you can buy the best among the different types. It is not so difficult in selecting the best cake platters; the only important thing that you have to remember is that you should choose the one according to the size and shape of the cake.

The other important consideration that has to be made while buying it is the material out of which the cake plate is made. There are varieties of plates made of different materials. You can buy either the one made of the glass material, plastic or the platters made of porcelain material. The selection of the material totally depends on your choice and your need. It is not mandatory that you have to keep only cakes in these plates as you can also place any other type of desert items on it.

The cake plates made of different material are used for different purposes. There are varieties of sizes in which these platters are available. If you want to place varieties of cookies in the platter, then the best option for you is the plates that come in small size. When you serve the cakes in the cake platters, you will find that the guests who are attending the party will surely get attracted towards it. With the different kinds of cake platters, if you use the varieties of stands, then party area will look more attractive. These stands are also available in different styles and shapes. These stands are used to place the cakes.

Antique Wood Burning Stoves – Why Are They Highly Sought After?

Before the eighteenth century open fireplaces were the popular means of heating the various rooms. The first use of wood burning stoves has been reported from as far back as the early eighteenth century. These stoves offered many advantages over the open fireplace such as increased efficiency, more reliability and less emission of smoke and related chemicals. For these reasons the wood stove began to become a very popular fixture in the home and remained popular until the twentieth century. There are various models of wood stoves that can often be discovered in the various antique shops such as the Box, Cylinder, Parlor or the Pot Belly wood stoves. These varieties represent some of the more popular collectible stoves that most people desire today.

The Franklin stove is actually one of the most famous wood stoves ever created. These stoves were constructed of cast iron for several important reasons. Cast iron is extremely strong and it can sustain very high temperatures without being damaged. In addition it is a very good conductor of heat.

Even today, antique wood burning stoves are highly sought after among American consumers not so much for any practical purpose but rather for the decorative aspect of the piece. These units are readily kept in homes or hotels merely for their looks. The second reason is that if they are actually used they are very cost effective.

Wood stoves come in all shapes and sizes. They are quite beautiful in design and elegant in style. An old wood burning stove is quite valuable and is high on the collector’s list of valuable items. They are ideal for hotels which feature a historic theme, museums or in older restored homes. They make a perfect choice if you wish to give an old-fashioned or a Victorian look to your house.

Despite being old many antique wood stoves are in a good working order. They have been gaining in popularity among those people who have chosen to use them for heating their homes and cooking their food. During the last century one can notice no major changes within the design of the wood stoves or even for the way wood stoves function. These old stoves are quite sturdy and many have lasted for well over one hundred years. Many of these old stoves that were discovered in a none working condition have been carefully restored and are currently being used today. With the proper cleaning and maintenance they will continue to be used for many more years to come.

The Best Corned Beef Pressure Cooker Recipe: 1 Hour VS 7!

Tender, savory Corned Beef with baby potatoes, carrots and cabbage…yummmm!

With St. Patty’s Day fast approaching, I have had a few people asking me how to use their pre-programmed electric pressure cookers to make corned beef. Quite honestly, there is no button for that. You must set the timer, just like you would with a cooktop model. However, unlike boiling the beef 1 hour per pound in a traditional pot, your 7 pound corned beef will be ready in 1 hour when pressure cooked!

The salted/brined meat we call Corned Beef actually has nothing to do with corn. The term came about because the salt pellets historically used to brine the meat were the size of a kernel of “corn”! Traditionally the large cut of beef was brined for 3 weeks in a mixture of water, salt, sugar, pickling spice, sodium nitrate and garlic. Since most of us do not have 3 weeks to wait…we’ll use the store-bought pre-corned variety!

Corned Beef has a tendency to shrink by about 1/3 during the pressure cooking processing, so keep that in mind as you select your size; size matters with corned beef:-). Most pressure cookers can handle at least 7 pounds of meat but be sure to check your manual for size restrictions and keep in mind the additional room you will need for vegetables. There should be at least a 4-inch airspace between the food and the lid.


The amount of the ingredients below varies widely. You decide on what serving size you desire and adjust your quantities accordingly. By using a pressure cooker, the timing is the same, it will just take longer to come to pressure.

1 corned beef with seasoning packet; 3-7 lbs

1 tsp onion salt

1 tsp celery salt

1 Tbs coarse ground mustard

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1 bottle of beer; darker is better but it’s up to you

small red potatoes; 6-15

peeled baby carrots; not the tiny snack-size (or 1-inch rings of large carrots);.5-1 lb.

cabbage; up to 1 medium head

Prepare the meat by removing the corned beef from the package and rinsing off the surface brine. Lay the corned beef onto a cutting board and sprinkle the onion salt, celery salt, brown sugar and mustard over the meat. Use your hands and massage the seasonings into the meat.

Looking at the pot of your pressure cooker, decide if the meat must be cut down to fit inside. Ideally you will leave the meat whole and either stand it on end “curling” it along the inside edge (fat side out) or just laying it inside the pot flat or arched (fat side up). However, if it is just too large, cut the meat in half or however is necessary to fit!

When the meat is in the pan, sprinkle in the seasoning packet and add the bottle of beer. Fill the pot with cool water until the meat is submerged by 1 inch. Place the pot onto the stove, or into the electric base, attach the lid and set it to air tight.

Set the timer on the electric pressure cooker for 1 hour or for stovetop models, set a timer for 1 hour after pressure has been reached.

Prepare the veggies by washing and peeling the potatoes (if desired), washing, peeling and cutting large carrots into 1-inch rings or just washing the the pre-peeled baby carrots. For the cabbage, pull off and discard any spotted or wilted outer leaves and the cut the cabbage in half lengthwise. Use a sharp knife and cut a “V” shape removing the hard core from the end and extending up into the cabbage. Chop the desired amount of cabbage into large bite-size pieces; do not shred or finely chop! Place all of the veggies into a bowl and cover with a wet paper towel; place into the fridge.

When the hour is up, turn the pressure cooker off and/or remove from heat. Let sit 10 minutes and then carefully release the remaining pressure. Carefully open the lid and remove the meat to a cutting board. Let the liquid remain untouched in the pot.

When cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife and slice away the majority of the fat on the meat; discard.

Using a measuring cup or turkey baster, carefully remove as much fatty oil from the top of the liquid as you can. You want to leave some to season the vegetables so do not use a separator.

Reload the pot first with the potatoes and carrots, then with the meat and top with the cabbage. If you find that you now have too much liquid, use a measuring cup and remove however much you need to have a 4-inch space at the top of the pot. If it is still to full, you will have to remove some of the potatoes!

Replace the lid and reset the electric cooker to 10 minutes. For stovetop models, set your timer for 10 minutes after pressure is reached.

When the time has elapsed, turn the pressure cooker off and let the pressure release naturally.

Carefully open the lid and remove the meat to a cutting board. To serve, cut against the grain and serve with the vegetables and a side of stone ground mustard or prepared horseradish.

Enjoy – Alison – The Kitchen Authority!

The Different Varieties of Menards Vinyl Fencing

Menards vinyl fencing is one of the products of an organization named Menards which is a renowned and reputed home improvement store in the mid-western part of USA. The company enjoys a vast and prominent presence throughout the country courtesy of its 252 stores in 12 states spread across the length and breadth of the country and also holds the honor of being one of the best stores in the country as regards quality and quantity. Ever since its establishment since 1962, this organization has not only surpassed the expectations of its clients but has also emerged as one of the leading employers.

The Menards vinyl fencing is available in a large variety meant to cater to all types of different uses. While some may be customized in accordance with the expectations of the clients, most of them serve as ideal enclosures for properties, gardens and lawns. There are aesthetic and artistic varieties as well which are referred to under the category of decorative fences and are usually bought by people who are interested in home improvements. Apart from being available in different colors, these fences are capable of sustaining all kinds of weather conditions which proves their durable and long lasting nature.

The Menards Vinyl Fencing are galvanized and vinyl coated which makes them sturdy where as the wired types are suitable for preventing animals from entering the garden by chewing the fence. The option of corner fences can be to add beauty and elegance to the area in form of a unique design feature. Likewise, the modular variety could be bought with doors in it so as to enhance its functionality and practical usage since it is convenient to install and assemble apart from being portable. To opt for this elegant brand of fencing is not only a commendable decision but a cost effective one as well.

Everything You Need to Know About Hardiplank Siding

Fiber cement siding has been around for about one hundred years, and is finally gaining popularity thanks to its unmatched durability and aesthetic beauty. Much technological advancement has been made since James Hardie invented the process of combining sand, cement and cellulose fiber into a siding product that can withstand some of the harshest climates and stand up to high winds and hail. This product is known as Hardiplank siding.

Hardiplank siding is available in many shapes, sizes and finishes and can be custom ordered to match your existing home style. You can achieve a wooden look or a stucco appearance with certain finishes of Hardiplank siding. Because it is made of fiber cement, this type of siding is termite, rot and fire resistant. Furthermore, Jamies Hardie siding comes with a 50 year or lifetime warranty – a warranty that no other siding manufacturer can match.

You may wish to have Hardiplank siding installed on your home. If so, there are some things you need to take into account. First, research reputable contracting companies that have experience and are skilled in installaing this type of siding. Ask questions about the manufacturer’s warranty and find out what – if any – maintenance you’ll need to do on the product. Check with your town or city’s local business codes. Some installations of fiber cement siding may require a permit. Also, some building and construction methods will differ from town to town and region to region, depending on climate and other environmental factors.

Make sure that your delivery of Hardiplank siding stays dry and off the ground. It should be covered with plastic sheeting or a tarp to avoid moisture. When it comes time to cut and trim the fiber cement siding, you’ll need a diamond-carbide skill saw. You should perform all cuts with the finished side down to ensure a clean seam. Be sure to wear ear, eye and mouth protection, because sawing through Hardiplank is loud and small pieces of fiber cement can lodge into your eyes and airway, if not protected.

Of course, installation of James Hardie-invented siding should be left to the professionals. They will make certain the nails they use are of proper durability, either rust-free stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized. Nails can be color-matched to blend evenly with the fiber cement siding.

You’ll also notice that siding contractors will install all the exterior trim before they install the Hardiplank siding. All cut ends and butt joints will be properly caulked and painted to keep moisture out, and flashing will be installed where siding and trim meet.

Skilled contracting companies who specialize in the installation of Hardiplank siding will make sure your home has properly installed siding that looks clean and professional. You will have a house that can look great and remain protected from the elements for many, many years to come.

DIY Wood Railings

Think about a traditional home with a huge winding staircase. What is that imaginary staircase constructed of? It is most likely constructed of some type of wood, most likely a mahogany or teak.

Preferring Wooden Railings

For hundreds of years, people have been making all kinds of things with wood. Almost anything can be made with wood, from tables to chairs to dishes to railings. Wood gives an elegance to just about anything made from it, which is why it is so well loved and appreciated. Wood railings are very popular, due to the fact that they fit everyone’s budget and they are elegant and beautiful.

Wood railings are durable and long lasting, too. They will stay beautiful for years and years as evidenced by the many castles in England that are over five centuries old.

Do It Yourself Wooden Railing

If your railing needs to be curving or winding, then you will want to leave the rail building to a professional. A winding railing is difficult to make and can be quite time-consuming as well. You may want to stick with maintaining the wood railing on your own, especially if the wood is heavy and hard to handle.

If your railings are straight, then you will be able to create your railings yourself. By using the proper tools that are easily available, you can make a beautiful railing that you will be proud of.

Tools To Build Your Wood Railings

Making wood railings can be comparatively simple if you use the right tools and have some wood working experience.

o Hand Saw

o Tape Measure

o Circular Saw

o Sanding Tools

o Power Drill and proper bits of 1/8″ 3/16″ & ¼” diameter

o 3/8″ Hex Head Driver

o Edge Sharpening Tool and Pocket Hole Joining Tool

o Tape Measure

o 12-Inch Rough Files

o Level

o Pencil, T square, and other drawing instruments

o Hammer

o Safety Goggles, Gloves, and Mask

Gaining Experience

Straighter wood railings are the simplest to make. You can start with straight porch rails and then move to curved rails. All you need to do is practice with the straight railings and straight fences and then continue on to more curved and winding railings. With a little time and effort, you will be able to make your own wood railings for your home.

A wood fence is an easy thing to start with. You only need to learn some basic wood working methods and then you can keep practicing until you get the experience you need to start with railings outside and inside of your home.

Building Lingo 101

Even if you don’t know how to fix a leaky pipe or build a house, it helps to understand the lingo. You may find yourself dealing with a contractor one day, and you’ll sound a lot more knowledgeable if you know some of the common building terms and what they mean.

Take this little quiz and see if you know the difference between a soldering iron and angle iron.

Choose A, B, or C and view your answers below.

1. A narrow, vertical member in a railing is a:

a) Tread

b) Banister

c) Baluster

2. The temperature surrounding an object.

a) Ambient

b) Radiant

c) Ventilation

3. A non load-bearing wall separating two areas.

a) Partition

b) Gable

c) Plate

4. A rectangular, groove cut in the corner edge of a board or plank.

a) Dove tail

b) Rabbet

c) Notch

5. The vertical portion of the frame on which a door is hung.

a) Mantel

b) Jamb

c) Plate

6. A stud less than a full story high, similar to that found over or under a window.

a) Joist

b) Lintel

c) Cripple

7. The projecting decorative moldings under the bottom edge of a roof or ceiling.

a) Cornice

b) Gingerbread

c) Molding

8. The sawdust-like substance created by boring insects like carpenter ants.

a) Muntin

b) Heartwood

c) Frass

9. The vertical trim running along the edge of the roof to which the gutters are commonly attached.

a) I-beam

b) Fascia

c) Soffit

10. A horizontal structural beam that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window.

a) Lintel

b) I-Beam

c) Rafter

11. The space or passage in a chimney through which smoke, gas, or fumes are ventilated through

a) Hearth

b) Flue

c) Vent

12. A shallow channel or conduit of metal or wood set below and along the eaves of a house to catch and carry off rainwater from the roof.

a) Eaves

b) Leader

c) Gutter

13. A post to which the end of a stair railing or balustrade is fastened.

a) Newel

b) Column

c) Butt Joint

14. A strip of formed sheet metal, sometimes combined with a thin strip of metal lath, placed on corners before plastering for reinforcement. Also, a strip of wood finish three-quarters-round or angular placed over a plastered corner for protection.

a) Corner Bead

b) Corner Braces

c) Cove Molding

15. An opening in a sloping roof, the framing of which projects out to form a vertical wall suitable for windows or other openings. This is commonly seen in Cape Cod style homes.

a) Gable

b) Dormer

c) Lookout


1. C

2. A

3. A

4. B

5. B

6. C

7. A

8. C

9. B

10. A

11. B

12. C

13. A

14. A

15. B

DIY With Wood

Over the years I have used wood in a variety of DIY projects in my home. My very first was quite basic and meant me taking up the majority of the floor boards in the upstairs rooms and landing and replacing with brand new. Why? you may ask. It wasn’t something I should have had to do but because the central heating pipes were not laid deep enough the floor boards would cause a ringing noise on the copper pipes as you walked over them. So not only did I have to lay new ones I also had to cut channels underneath them so as not to rub on the copper pipes. Now that was a chore.

My next project was much more enjoyable. I would be taking down the old painted paneled banister rail and renewing it with wooden hand rail and spindles, then finishing with stain and varnish. I also had to remove the paint from some of the old hand rail, sand, stain and then varnish that too. It all came to fruition within about three weeks and I was very proud of my handy work when friends and relatives came to visit commenting on how lovely it was, especially when they would ask for the builders name.

Now the ultimate and I would class this more of a hobby than DIY work on the house, would be the natural wooden toys I have made. OK there has only been two so far but it is a start. The first of the natural wooden toys I made was a nineteen hundreds shop with shop counter to the ground floor and living accommodation to the first. The front was made to look like the front of a shop with a little opening door and shop window, as well as the large door to access the whole shop. There were little lights and furniture, the shop owner, his wife and kids. My daughter still plays with it in her bedroom and looking at its condition when she grows up her kids will be playing with it too.

My second but I hope not last of the kids wooden toys that I made was a hobby horse. With the head cut by using a template as a guide, the wood was about 1 1/2 inches thick so all I needed to do was cut the profile then sand it to a fine finish. Before varnishing I bored a hole where its neck finished so I could put the pole with handle into it after gluing. Even with this basic design it looked very professional and the kids still play with it to this day.

If you think some of the wood working projects I have done could be beneficial for you just browse the web sites on the internet as there a lots where you can get plans from for similar types of projects.

Mystical Beast: I Meet a Manticore or Manticora

I was cleaning out the garage when I heard a voice from under my workbench. The voice was like a small trumpet or pipe, or a pipe and small trumpet, or like something I had never heard before. The voice said, “Please don’t hurt me.”

I said, “Come on out of there creature with the weird voice.”

I took my shotgun down from the wall just in case it was big but had a small voice.

The critter bounded out from under my workbench and prostrated itself in front of me. It said, “Please get me a bowl of cereal. I’m dying of hunger and thirst.”

It’s head was that of a bearded man but the body was something else. I said, “Did your father marry a lioness?”

He said, “Of course not! The cereal?”

I headed for the kitchen to get the cereal. I tried to stay away from his tail. His tail looked like it might be harmful, sort of like the posterior of a scorpion.

I grabbed a large bowl, poured half a box of my precious Wheaties® into it, and then a half-gallon of fat-free milk.

My wife came in the kitchen and said, “Got a big day?”

I said, “I can’t talk to you now. I’ve a weird creature to feed.”

She said, “A weird creature other than you?”

She followed me into the garage.

That was this morning.

The last time I saw my wife she was first breaking Jamaican Asafa Powell’s world record for the men’s 100 meters of 9.77 seconds, and then Roger Bannister’s record of 3:59.4 for the mile run. See and

I think it was the creature’s three layers of teeth that got to her.

Well, she’ll be back.

While the weird critter was slurping down the cereal, I went to my computer to see if I could find a site with a Weird Creature Field Guide.

At I found Dave’s Mythical Creatures and Places.

I scanned down the category list. It was not under the following categories:

“Biblical Beings- Angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Tetramorph, and others..

“Serpents & Dragons- Dragons, Amphiptere, Amphisbaena, Basilisk, Chimera, Cockatrice, Hydra, Gorgon, Wyvern (also Lindworm), and others…

“Winged Beasts-Caladrius, Gansas, Griffin, Goose Tree, Hippogriff, Martlet (and Bird of Paradise), Opinicus, Pegasus, Peryton, Phoenix, Roc, and others…

“Land Beasts- Bonnacon, Bunyip, Cerberus, Gulon, Ibex, Lamb Tree, Mantygre, Mermecolion, Musimon, Salamander, Su Unicorn, Yale, Yppotryll, and others…

“Sea Creatures- Devil Whale, Kraken, Nereid, Mermaid, Scylla, Siren, Sea Bishop, Sea Monk, Sea Horse, Sea Lion, Sea Serpent, Siren, and others…”

Although I had an interest in the Tetramorph, the Wyvern or Lindworm, the Peryton, the Yppotryll, and especially the Siren, I had to move on to:

“Part-Human creatures- Centaur, Harpies, Ipotane, Lamia, Manticore (and Catoblepas and Leucrocuta), Moon-Woman, Satyr, Sphinx, and others…”

There I found the Manticore or Manticora, the creature eating my Wheaties®.

I went back into the garage to tell this creature he was a Manticore or a Manticora.

The bowl was empty, not even a drop of milk was left on the floor of the garage.

He was gone! Not even a note!

I kicked myself. Why didn’t I get my lariat around that creature before I went for the cereal?

How stupid can I be?

Sadly, I went back to my computer and added the Manticora to my listing of Weird Creatures I’ve Seen in the Field.

I didn’t even get his name.

This afternoon, I had one of my grandiose visions. I decided that if I put a bowl of tempting Wheaties® in my garage, the critter would return.

I got out my camp cot, a flashlight, and my lariat.

If that bugger comes back tonight, I will have him in my grasp.

copyright©2006 John T. Jones, Ph.D.

How To Make Your Own Wooden Switch Plate

When homeowners decide to change out their switch plates in their home, they usually think they will have to purchase new ones form the store. Most people put off getting new covers since they do not want to spend the extra money. What they forget is that sometimes things can still be handmade by yourself. This can also be the case with switch plate covers, especially made out of wood. It does not take a huge amount of skill to make your own and it can be a fun little project that can be done over the weekend. You can create wall plates to your liking and feel good about creating your own. Building something from scratch always has a rewarding feeling to it. Following are a few steps to help guide you along if you decide to take on this task:

1. Grab an old wall plate that you can use to get the overall dimensions and hole locations.

2. Create a pattern by laying the plate cover on a piece of cardboard and tracing the outside edges, holes, and the rectangular hole in the center.

3. After you traced the required shape, cut it out with a pair of scissors.

4. Using your newly created pattern, lay and trace it onto a piece of wood. You can use any kind of wood you want. I would recommend it to be at least 1/4 in thick.

5. Using a band saw, cut out the rectangular shape of your wall plate. Try to go slow when cutting to prevent the wood from splitting.

6. Cut out the rectangular hole in the center for the switch to fit through. Make sure you cut out enough for the switch to fit without rubbing.

7. Mark the two mounting holes onto the wood. This is easily done by placing your template on top of the wood and marking the holes with a pencil.

8. Using a drill, drill out the marked holes from step 7. Take a mounting screw and make sure that the hole is big enough to fit it.

9. You might want to give your switch plate a good sanding to remove any splinters and sharp edges. Some medium to fine coarse sandpaper will do the job. If you want, you can round the edges using sandpaper to achieve a different look.

10. You are all done. You may want to stain your wall plate to match your decor. Some people might paint it, but you will loose the wood grain of the wood as it gets covered up with paint.

As you can see, making your own wooden switch plate can be easy and fun. So next time you are sitting at home on a weekend not knowing what to do, grab your tools and make yourself some new switch plates.

Right Brain, Left Brain

The right brain controls the left side of the body and the left brain controls the right side of the body. The right brain is the more creative or emotional hemisphere and the left brain is the analytical and judgmental hemisphere. Anything that is new or not familiar to an individual is right brain dominant. Anything that is familiar is left brain dominant.

Along with right and left brain there are different parts of the brain. The frontal lobe controls your personality, the temporal lobe deals with short and long term memory, the parietal lobe is the lobe of the hand, and the occipital lobe, the very back part of the head, controls vision.

There are specific activities that may stimulate the right or left brain.

Activities that stimulate the left brain are solving crossword or word search puzzles, performance of learned tasks, language usage, both comprehensive and expressive, analytical information, problem solving, and recalling new information. Geometric or spatial memory, hand gestures, writing one’s name, classifications of pictures or words into categories, recalling complex narratives, recognizing someone you have met, and name recognition are also all left brain activities.

Activities that stimulate the right brain are emotional issues, the creative process, recalling memorized lists, any unfamiliar event or activity, and holding the attention span. Seeing or feeling different sizes, seeing different colors, attention exercises involving timing, seeing unfamiliar faces, and meeting someone new also stimulate the right brain..

You are not dead until your brain is dead. Your brain needs two things to survive: fuel and activation. Fuel comes in the form of oxygen and glucose. Glucose comes from the food you eat, and oxygen comes from the air you breathe. The normal inspiration/expiration ratio should be exhalation twice as long as inhalation. That is to say – breathe out twice as long as you breathe in.

There are also specific treatment modalities that a clinician may utilize to increase function or activation of the right or left brain. One example is big letters made up of small letters. If you look at the small letters you will fire right cerebellum to left brain. If you look at the big letters you will fire left cerebellum to right brain.

Auditory stimulation (listening to nature sounds, clicks of a metronome, or Mozart in a major key) in the left ear comes up through the brain stem over to the right brain and vice versa for the right ear.

Visual stimulation from the left side in a checkerboard pattern using different colors comes up through the optic pathway to the brain stem and up to the right brain. The T.E.N.S. unit set at subthreshold stimulates large diameter nerves which fire up to the cerebellum and to the opposite brain.

Eight Interesting Facts About Cafe Terrace At Night

One of the most tragic celebrities in the world art history is Vincent Van Gogh. Though he was not very famous in his lifetime, he and his paintings got immense fame soon after his death-the time when he was no more to feel his fame! Today, his paintings are on peak demand and sold on record prices.

He painted a lot of night scene paintings in his lifetime. But his famous most painting on nightlife is Cafe Terrace at Night, which completed sometime around mid September 1888. This painting has a special charm in it. With that charm, the painting has a lot of interesting facts attached to it that we are discussing hereunder:

1. Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night is an ideal example of the artist’s imagination and superb dealing with light. This painting captures the colors of light at night. ‘Light’ and ‘night’ seem contradictory words as this combination is hardly found in any scene.

2. In this painting, artificial gas lanterns lighten the night sky with a glimpse of exterior of a Parisian cafe. The cafe is still there and has been a famous destination for all Gogh’s fans.

3. When this painting completed, Gogh wrote a letter to his sister mentioning that he has completed a night scene without using black.

4. Gogh painted this popular painting on the spot than painting it in daytime after preparing a sketch.

5. Though this painting is not signed by Gogh, his letters prove that this is his own work.

6. The painting is at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Netherlands now.

7. On its first official display in 1892, Coffee house in the evening was the name given to this painting. The title was later replaced by cafe Terrace at Night.

8. This is the first painting by Gogh with starry backgrounds.

Brief About The Painting

The painting represents the scene of night cafe. The terrace painted in this work has small figures of people drinking. A bright yellow lantern light up the terrace, frontage and side-walk. The rooftops of houses painted seem to have been a fading road under the blue sky with stars and a green tree nearby. This beautiful painting is trying to distinguish the usual darkness of night with this green and blue night, thus contradicting conventional night scenes.

Gogh has perseverance to propinquity and his keen ability to depict moment with so beautiful and bright colors made him one of the greatest colorist till date.

More Benefits of Sealing Stone on All Six Sides

Carrying on my theme of sealing stone on all six sides, I will look at issues relating to the back of the stone. I will use the example of a granite façade I saw whilst staying at a Hotel in Athens. The façade was clad in polished granite tiles, they were a grey-white speckle in colour and a stone that I happen to know is quite porous.


Much of the façade is fine and looks great. However, there is an issue with a large number of the tiles and that is dark staining or blotchiness. This has come from behind the stone; the stone adorns more than just a simple external façade, it also covers a large planter and the staining is present mainly in this area.


The staining is mainly due to the presence of water in the soil of the planter, and I dare say that if the planter were to be allowed to dry out, then the intensity of the stain would likely reduce. However, it is kept wet for a reason – to keep the plants alive.


Water is very rarely pure and untouched by contamination, especially when it emanates from what is essentially a great big plant pot: the water having passed though soil and compost may have any number of dissolved minerals which, even if the water were to recede, will likely be left crystallized for eternity in the stone.


Some of the tiles also show some golden-brown spots; naturally occurring phenomena or a preventable blemish? This granite, like many stones can contain soluble minerals like iron sulphide. This is a source of iron and it reacts with water and oxygen; basically it rusts when it gets wet and so these spots are rust, growing from the back to the front and cannot be removed.


Would sealing the back and sides of the stone have prevented either of these? Well it would have kept the water out, or at the very least dramatically reduced the amount of water getting into the stone so it would certainly have helped (although to totally prevent such issues, proper thought should be given to the design of the planters and adequate provision for drainage ought to have been designed in. In addition, a water-proof membrane could have been used on the inside of the planter to effectively tank it).


However, even if it had been tanked, there would still be the initial construction moisture to consider, in other words the temporary but considerable amounts of water present in the concrete and the setting and grouting materials. This brings me to another very commons issue: efflorescence.


Efflorescence is essentially a mineral deposit brought about by having moisture in the system, which dissolves soluble minerals in (for example) the concrete sub-structure and then deposits those minerals as it evaporates out of the system. Efflorescence is usually seen as a white powdery deposit on the face of stone facades, on brickwork or in the joints. Sealing all six sides, along-side the correct design, would make a considerable contribution to the prevention of such problems.