Custom Stair Treads for Remodeling and New Construction Wood Staircases

Currently, one of the most common stair remodeling endeavors is installing replacement stair treads manufactured out of a wood species that matches the new hardwood flooring that was just installed during the remodeling project. In many instances, particularly in older and historic preservation homes, the wood stair will require custom stair treads to be manufactured to the architect’s or contractor’s specifications as far as thickness, width, length, radius (if curved) and return molding on the left, right, or both sides for any exposed edges. Pie shaped or triangle treads are used for winder stairs. Custom stairs for new construction always have custom specs by definition. Pre finished stair treads, just like all millwork products have become extremely popular in recent years. Any reputable stair parts manufacturer with pre finishing capabilities will be able match the clear coat finish on your floor if provided with a sample, or simply instructed what clear finish product to use when finishing any wood product.

Some stair systems are entirely wood, and typically involve replacing all the stair parts including the hardwood railing, turned newel posts or box newel posts, balusters and treads. Other stairways have an existing iron railing or half wall and only require the wood stair treads and sometimes risers to be replaced to complement the new wood theme which started with the flooring choice. Even when the wood floors are not replaced and just refinished, it is very common to replace the stair treads and other stair components. The simple fact is, resurfacing wood treads, handrails, and especially balusters, requires a great deal more hard tedious work than sanding down a hardwood floor. Be it a home owner or business owner, most people want to make an impressive visual statement in terms of the entrance area of their home or commercial property, When a guest or customer walks in. Your beautiful staircase if often the first impression made on that person, at least for most residential stairs. Staircases just have a way of affecting us like that. Why is a staircase impressive? Because it’s impressive!

A fine hardwood stair, when built or remodeled correctly with quality materials is basically built in furniture that will last for generations. For better or worse, red oak makes the world go around. After all these years of red oak use (or over-use) 80% of hardwood sales for most interior wood products remain red oak. It has been and probably always will be the best hardwood for the money in North America. Hard maple and hickory follow as second and third. Sales of white oak and quarter sawn white oak custom stair treads have increased a great deal over the last 5 years as well. However, the overwhelming trend, even in smaller homes, is toward exotic stair tread species such as tiger wood, Brazilian cherry, African mahogany, and Santos mahogany which provide rich, deep natural color as well as less grain.

Tips for Cleaning Stainless Steel

Stainless steel trends are on the rise, and they’re not just for appliances anymore. Several office and household commodities are being introduced to the market in stainless steel versions. Items like countertops, kitchen and office back-splashes, phone cases, laptops, furniture, jewelry, electronics, and more can be bought in stainless steel. Steel finish, however appealing, is not actually stainless. In fact, one of the downsides to this type of finish is that it retains every single fingerprint that seems to come in contact with it. For this reason, it is helpful to learn some easy methods and techniques for cleaning stainless finishes, and keep your stuff shiny and finger-print free!

Stainless Steel Cleaning

Stainless steel requires more than a simple wash rag and wipe-down. It requires certain specialized products and cleaning techniques for optimal shine and protection. You won’t get far using dish detergent and water. It is best to purchase a store-bought stainless steel cleaner and polisher. These generally come in kits with the proper brush and polishing tools as well.

Now this may sound tedious, but it’s actually quite simple and only needs to be done once or twice a week. Simply apply the cream solution or polish to the surface, and then scrub in with the included abrasive. Use circular motions and adequate pressure. You are not just wiping imperfections away, you are conditioning and polishing the finish.

Once the polish is wiped in, you will notice a white powdery residue left over. Simply use a dry paper towel to clear this away. Last, use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe the surface down in circular motions, to remove any lasting streaks or marks. And you are done!

Restoring Stainless Finishes

When polishing doesn’t do the trick, or when steel items are past their prime, a professional cleaning company can restore the look of steel finishes with acid chemical treatments. These are called “Pickling” and “Passivation” acid treatments. They are meant to remove any free iron deposits and low chromium layers from the surface, to reveal shiny better-looking metal. This is a very popular service for commercial properties with stainless steel cleaning and restoration needs. Properties like movie theaters, restaurants, bars, casinos, office buildings, medical facilities, museums, schools, cafeterias, malls, and more typically retain specialty furnishings and surfaces like this that require routine cleaning and care by a professional service. Contact a professional commercial cleaning company for these kinds of service and more.

How To Install Carpet On Stairs

There are basically two methods of installing carpet on stairs. One is the waterfall method where one piece of carpet covers each riser and tread. The other is the cap and band installation. In this case the cap is a piece of carpet installed over the treads and the band is the piece that will cover the risers. In this article I will show you how to install carpet using the waterfall method. These instructions are for basic stairs and not for spiral stairs which would require additional procedures.

Tools Needed:

Tack strips

Staples or upholstery nails

Measuring Tape

Knee Pads

Knee kicker (check your rental store)

Stair Tool (check your rental store)

Utility knife


Safety glasses

Obviously you’ll need to remove all the old carpet. Get rid of the tack strips and don’t try to use the old padding. Make sure any nails and staples are removed and sweep down the area to be carpeted.

Before you get started you’re going to have to figure out how much carpet you’ll need. To calculate the width simply measure across the tread. If your stairs are open on one or both ends make sure to measure under the nosing to where it meets the riser and add it to the total width. Figure the total length of your flight of stairs by measuring the tread and riser. Assuming your going to use carpet pad make sure to add at least 3 inches per stair. If your steps have nosing add one foot to the total flight measurement.

Okay, let’s get started. Apply the tack strip to the stair crotch location. Next you’ll need to tighten the carpet by tucking in the crotch. You can do this by using a knee kicker. It is a tool used to install carpet in small areas and stairs. It consists of a piece of metal tubing with a pin plate attached to it. On the other end it has a padded cushion where you can position your knee to apply pressure to the carpet. You should be able to find one at your local rental store. Simply place the padded end several inches above your knee and add pressure.

This is where you will use the knee kicker:

To attach to the tack strip you need to use the knee kicker to stretch the carpet straight from the center of the tread and hook it to the tack strip located at the crotch. Once the carpet has been hooked to the tack strip you need to firmly attach it by sliding your carpet tool back and forth to compress the pins. Using your utility knife or carpet knife trim as needed. A carpet knife is better as it has two sides and is sharper than a utility knife. Repeat this process on each side of the tread. Before going to the next tread make sure the carpet is smoothed out on the riser and then staple to the stair lip. I would recommend you staple about every 2 inches. Don’t forget to also staple along the edge of the riser.

Make sure to step back and take a look at your work before going on to the next tread. Is the carpet smooth? Did you kick it in evenly? It is also a good time to give your knees and back a rest. If everything looks good the continue onto the next tread. If not you’ll have to pull the carpet off and install it again. Repeat this process until you are finished.

Once finished stand back and admire your work and give yourself a pat on the back. You now have a beautiful looking staircase.

Super Quick Low Carb BBQ Sauce Recipe

BBQ sauce recipes are wildly popular all over the United States and the world simply because we all love to eat meat.

When we talk of meat, we are referring to meat products from domesticated animals like pigs, cows and poultry (i.e., chickens and turkeys), among others.

All of these meat products are suitable for use together with a low carbohydrate and tasty sauce.

Why Are Low Carb Recipes Better For You?

We can cite numerous reasons of which the following are the most generally-accepted within the community of health professionals including doctors, nutritionists and researchers:

Weight Loss – This is the primary reason a low carb diet is adopted by individuals since scientific studies have proven its efficacy in this regard.

Improved Triglycerides and Increased HDL– This is linked to lower risks for cardiovascular diseases like strokes, hypertension and heart attacks.

Reduced Blood Sugar Levels and Improved Insulin Sensitivity- This are most helpful to pre-diabetics, diabetics and others who have health issues related to their glucose levels.

With these benefits to low carb recipes, we suggest enjoying its benefits. Start with the sauce discussed below and then experiment with other recipes as you gain more appreciation for the delicious dishes.

Why BBQ Sauce?

Before we discuss the ingredients and procedure for making a low carb barbecue sauce, let’s first discuss what it is.

Keep in mind that most, if not all, store-bought and homemade sauces have high sugar content. Sugar equals carbohydrates in health experts’ books.

Take a look at the nutrition labels: Each 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce contain 12 to 15 grams of sugar.

Let’s own up to it.

Nobody uses just 2 tablespoons to marinate and baste their meat products!

Plus, store-bought sauces contain plenty of artificial flavors, preservatives and additives, all of which are harmful to health in many ways.

It must be emphasized that a low carb BBQ sauce contains substantially lower amounts of sugar for each 2 tablespoons of serving.

This is because the sweetener used in the sauce is made from healthy alternative sweeteners like Splenda or diet cola although you need not necessarily make your sauce sweet to be delicious either.

Quick and Easy Recipe:

Prepare the following ingredients:

  • 2 strips of thick bacon, chopped until fine
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove minced garlic)
  • 1 6-ounce oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 12-ounce diet cola
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free
  • 3 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • Hot sauce according to your preferences

The steps for making this sauce are:

  1. Using a 2-quart saucepan, fry the bacon until crisp.
  2. Add the minced onion until transparent. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds or so.
  3. Add the rest of ingredients along with ½ cup of water. Stir and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Adjust the seasonings according to your taste.

How healthy is it? Think of just 3.5 grams of carbohydrates for each serving.

You now have 10 servings of ¼ cup each of a delectable, healthy and easy-to-store low carb BBQ sauce.

Clinical Peculiarities of the Head of the Newborn

General observation of the contour of the head is important, since molding occurs in almost all vaginal deliveries. In a vertex delivery the head usually is flattened at the forehead, with the apex rising and forming a point at the end of the parietal bones and the posterior skull or occiput dropping abruptly. The usual more oval contour of the head is apparent by 1 to 2 days after birth. The change in shape occurs because the bones of the cranium are not fused, allowing for overlapping of the edges of these bones to accommodate to the size of the birth canal during delivery, such molding does not occur in infants born by cesarean section.

Basic Anatomy of the head bones
Six bones-the frontal, occipital, two parietals, and two temporals-comprise the cranium. Between the junctions of these bones are bands of connective tissue called sutures. At the junction of the sutures are wider spaces of unossified membranes tissues called fontanels. The two most prominent fontanels in infants are the anterior fontanel formed by the junction of the sagittal, coronal, and frontal sutures, and the posterior fontanel, formed by the junction of the sagittal and lambdoidal sutures. One can easily remember the location of the sutures because the coronal suture “crowns” the head and the sagittal suture “separates” the head.

Two other fontanels- the sphenoidal and mastoid are normally present but are not usually palpable. An additional fontanel located between the anterior and posterior fontanels along the sagittal suture is found in some normal neonates but is also found in some infants with Down’s syndrome. The presence of this sagittal or parietal fontanel is always recorded.

Clinical assessment
The doctor palpates the skull for all patent sutures and fontanels, noting size, shape, molding or abnormal closure. The sutures are felt as cracks between the skull bones, and the fontanels are felt as wider “soft spots” at the junction of the sutures. These are palpated by using the tip of the index finger and running it along the ends of the bones.

The size of anterior fontanel is assessed between middle points of the opposite sides of the fontanel (between the frontal and parietal bones). The anterior fontanel is diamond-shaped, measuring 2.5cm (1 inch) by 3cm (about 1.5inches). The posterior fontanel is triangular- shaped, measuring between 0.% and 1cm (less than1/2 inch) at its widest part. It is easily located by following the sagittal suture towards the occiput.

The fontanels should feel flat, firm and well-demarcated against the bony edges of the skull. Frequently pulsations are visible at the anterior fontanel. Coughing, crying, or lying down may temporarily cause the fontanels to bulge and become more taut. However, a widened, tense, bulging fontanel is a sign of increased intracranial pressure. A markedly sunken, depressed fontanel is an indication of dehydration. Such findings are recorded and reported to the physician.

The doctor also palpates the skull for any unusual masses or prominences, particularly those resulting from birth trauma, such as caput succedaneum or cephal-hematoma, because of the pliability of the skull, exerting pressure at the margin of the parietal and occipital similar to the indentation of a ping-pong ball. This phenomenon is known as physiologic craniotabes and, although usually a normal finding, can be indicative of hydrocephalus, syphilis and ricket.

The degree of the head control in the neonate is also assessed. Although the head lag is normal in the newborn, the degree of the ability to control the head in certain positions should be recognized. If the supine infant is pulled from the arms into a semi-Fowler’s position, a marked head lag and hyperextension are noted. However, as one continues to bring the infant forward into a sitting position, the infant attempts to control the head in an upright position. As the head falls forward onto the chest, many infants try to get to the erect position. If the infant is held in ventral suspension, that is, held prone above and parallel to the examining surface, the infant holds his head in a straight line with the spinal column, when lying on the abdomen, the newborn has the ability to lift the head slightly, turning it from side to side.

A marked head lag is seen in Down’s syndrome, hypoxic infants, and newborns with brain damage which are diagnosed by specific head peculiarities.

The Cheesecake Approach to Investing in Raw Land

Mike Fisher from the Redfield Group joined us to talk about profiting from Raw Land. Mike is an accomplished auctioneer who specializes in land auction. He shared with me some very unique and simple ways to profit from land. Let’s take a look at what Mike talked about to understand better what the steps are to get started in raw land.

Finding Raw Land – This part may seem like the toughest part but in reality I think it really comes down to a numbers game as Mike mentioned. Just like with single family houses you have some choices to stir the pot.

1. MLS – go out on the MLS or work with a realtor to find available tracts of land. Unlike single family homes you aren’t looking for the lowest price deals here. Because of the cheesecake principle (more on that later, or even better listen to the show ) you can buy the land close to or at the selling price and still make big money.

2. Newspapers – check out the classifieds. A lot of people who sell land like to do it themselves so they advertise in the paper or on the internet such as Craig’s list to sell their land.

3. Public records – don’t forget people inherit properties and go into foreclosure on land just like houses. Keep an eye at the courthouse. Odds are the other investors are passing it by.

Keep in mind no matter who it is or what they are selling the land for the really crucial element is they are motivated. You want someone who will let you tie up their property for a period of time for a small amount of money out of your pocket. They don’t have to be on their last leg, but they do need to want to sell.

How much is it worth? – This is the one I had the hardest time getting my arms around. Houses are easy. You have an appraiser look at the house and then everything else that sold and you get a number. Land is a little different. Mike gave us two great F.R.EE ways to get a price.

1. Call the county – Call up to the courthouse and tell them about your land and ask for some assistance on what has sold recently. They probably won’t have something the same so ask for some larger tracts, and most importantly some smaller tracts.

2. Call banks that finance land – Now do the same thing with a bank that specializes in land (Mike has a list in his course) Not only will they give you a price you now know the deals can get financed for that amount so you can refer your buyers to these banks!

3. Calculate your price – If you are purchasing 100 acres you can get the value of that tract from the big tract prices above. That is your purchase price. Then when you decide what size parcels to sell off you can use the little tract prices to get your selling prices.

4. Profit – The difference between your purchase price and the sum of your entire small tract selling prices will be your potential profit.

How small do I make the tracts? – This is the key to Mike’s system . It may go by unnoticed unless you have tried to subdivide land before. You need to call the local land use department for the county the land is located and ask an important question. “What is the smallest tract of land I can develop that is exempt from county regulations?” This answer is the smallest you want to create unless you feel like going through zoning regulations, land use meetings and possibly some really large expenses. Listen to Mike’s interview to find out how this could save you a couple million dollars, no kidding.

How else do I know if it is a good piece of land? – You can look at a couple of other basic characteristics of the land other than how small you can make it. First look at the road frontage. The more frontage the small the lots and the more you can create in most counties. Second look at other usability issues such as where it is located and access to the land, including what is around it. (Remember from Mike’s talk, it doesn’t need to be located in a hot area.) Lastly look at features. Does the land have creeks or lakes or other natural amenities that are appealing to buyers.

If you are interested in raw land get all of the info at

Fireplace Installation of Plasma and LCD TVs – How Do You Do That?

In considering whether you must or must not install a TV above a fireplace, you must consider many aspects of installation. Listed below is a step by step guide in installing flat panel LCD TVs or plasma TVs above a fireplace. The guide would also answer questions regarding the safety of putting up a TV above the fireplace.

A. Do you have plans of using the fireplace again? If yes, then proceed in reading this article for you to learn if you’d want to install your TV above your fireplace. On the other hand, if your answer is no, well certainly you could install any plasma or LCD TV above your fireplace for as long as your wall could support the weight of the mount and of the TV.

B. Use a thermometer above your fireplace on a mantel where you’re going to install your TV. Get your fire going in full force, if it does not get to or above the TV manufacturer’s heat level recommendation, then you are good to go at 90 degrees. If you do not have a thermometer, get your fireplace blazing hot then touch the wall above it to see if it’s warm enough and is just okay. If it’s too hot to touch, then you probably could not install your TV there.

C. Another consideration aside from heat above the fireplace would be the mantel wall, you’ll need to know if the facade has brick that is actually a part of your chimney. If it is a part of your chimney, if you’ve done a heat test, it should be hot. Most homes built from the 70’s have facades. If your fireplace has brick facade, heat is put to small smoke stack that’s insulated from heating the surrounding walls. This would protect you from chipping paints and drying walls from totally deteriorating.

D. When you are not sure, call a professional to be able to determine if you could hang your TV above your fireplace. HD installers have installed more TVs above the fireplace from any other companies in the US. Most of the time you could put an LCD TV above a fireplace, however, HD installers will not install big screens if they determine that it is not safe.

History – The Romans – The Training of a Roman Soldier

The period with which we’re going to deal is that of the Empire, which came about in 27 B.C.E. Prior to that, during the Republic, every man between the ages of 17 and 45 was expected to serve in the army for the defense of Rome, when necessary. He had to supply himself with all his own weapons and armour, but with the coming of the Empire, all this ceased.

The Roman soldier became a salaried professional, and the training of a Roman soldier became a very serious business.

The historian, Peter Heather tells us that; “The training was like the Marines, only much nastier!”

A Roman legion was divided into 10 cohorts, (battalions), 30 maniples, (companies), and 60 centuries, (platoons). A legion was between 5000-6000 men.

Before they even touched a weapon, trainees first had to learn to march. Perhaps more accurately, to keep formation. Ranks with the discipline to keep formation were seldom defeated, so the thinking went, and if we study their battles, the thinking was absolutely correct.

Next came practice in running, leaping ditches and climbing over difficult objects. Swimming, too, was an essential part of their training. Not only them, but the cavalry, horses and even servants had to learn as well.

Then came sword practice with wooden swords, which were twice the weight of the real ones. We saw the Normans doing exactly the same thing. Not only does this strengthen the arm, but it makes you a great deal faster with the real weapon in battle. Practice with the shield came next.

After that, the use of them both together. They had to learn to keep themselves completely covered with their shields, and to stab with their swords, not slash. Slashing would seldom kill anyone and in the excitement of battle, when you were in mid-slash, you would most likely leave your flank exposed.

Next came the bow, sling and javelin. Again, the practice javelins were twice the weight of the real ones. In full battle order, a soldier would carry about five javelins in the hollow of his shield.

In fact, as far as the bow was concerned, only about one third to one quarter of the youngest and fittest were trained with this weapon.

All soldiers were trained in vaulting over wooden horses. First, they’d train without armour and then practice while wearing it. Once the soldier had been taught to march in formation, the next stage was route marches, fully armoured and armed.

The armour and accouterments would weigh in the region of 40 lbs, while he’d have to carry about another 35 lbs. of gear. Flavius Josephus, writing in the 1st. century, C.E., tells us..

“They carry a saw, a basket, a pick and an axe, as well as a leather strap, a sickle, a chain, and enough rations for three days.”

As well as this was his cloak and blanket.

The method of carrying these was on a ‘T’ pole, a wooden pole about 4 feet long, with a shorter piece fixed securely and at right angles to one end. On this would be tied or hung everything that the legionary required.

Express Yourself With the Leather Craft Creation

Do you have much free time and do not know what to do? Try the leather craft practice in your home. This activity will not only let you add more skills to yourself but it also allows you to express yourself.

For who still do not know about the leather craft, it is the activity to make the craft object or art object from the leather material. The practice is involving the shaping and coloring techniques. With your hand skills and patience, you will able to produce the beautiful art object made from leather.

If you are the beginner in doing any art practice, it is better for you to start the crafting process with simple thing. You may begin with the small thing like leather bookmarks. To make this bookmark, you do not need outstanding skill but you need the patience. Follow these steps below and you can start the leather craft in your house.

1. The first step you should do is to moisten the leather which has been cut in an inch wide and six inches long. You need to place the leather on the hard surfaces such as the marble, stainless steel, and the tile. It is better for you to moisten the leather with the wet sponge. You should ensure that you moisten enough but it is not sopping wet. If you press the leather with your fingertip, there is no water comes out.

2. After you done that step, you can move to the design part. You can choose the design from many brands like Dolce, Dior, or Channel. For the beginner, you should choose the simple design. Made the pattern by drawing the design on the tracing paper. You may put the tracing paper on the leather. With the pencil, you should redraw the design with the proper pressure. Do not use too much pressure but it is enough to leave the mark on the leather. Take away the paper and with the tool which has the pointed tool, you should deepen the lines.

3. You will need to press down the tooled design area. It will help the leather to raise and make it stand out. If you wish to have other models, you will need the modeling tool. You should rub the front side around the design area with the small circle motions.

You may have the hot design by burning the leather. To do this, you will need the tools which help you to do this technique. The tool which will help you to do this is the soldering iron which has the good tip. First, you will need to heat the iron and when it reaches the right heat you may trace the design on your leather. The heat will give the burn effect to your leather. If you want to get the darker effect, you will need to give more pressure from the iron.

What is a Motherboard?

A Motherboard (or System Board) is a one of the most essential parts of not just the computer, but many electronics such as televisions and stereos. Also referred to as a Mobo, this component is in charge of relaying information between all the different components connected to it. It’s safe to say the microprocessor is the heart of the computer and the motherboard is the body and structure. The system board itself is made up of chips, transistors, and circuits. The different components, such as the video card, pci cards, and the memory modules talk to each other by transferring data and information along the circuits, or buses on the system board. Pretty much all the internal components of a computer are connected to the system board.

Every motherboard operates off of a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System), which is basically a small program inside a chip on the board that controls how the motherboard operates and handles the components connected to it. When you first turn your computer on, before your operating system loads up, you are seeing your BIOS in action. All those gobbled up words running across the screen is your BIOS running its self tests to see what all is connected to the motherboard, and if there is any problems with any of the components.

When building your own computer, making sure the motherboard you choose has the correct socket for the processor you choose is crucial. Most computer builders pick out a processor first and then choose a motherboard accordingly. So I you were to pick out a Socket 478 Pentium 4 processor then you have to make sure you pick out a motherboard that will fit a Socket 478 Pentuem 4 processor. It’s also always a good idea to purchase a motherboard with more slots (pci and memory) than you currently need, so you can have room for expansion.

8 Tips For a Great Opening

All good speeches include an opening, body and conclusion. It can be argued that the opening is the most important part of the speech. If the speaker can’t get the audience to “tune in” from the start, it is unlikely that they will listen to the body and conclusion of the speech. In other words, a great opening is needed to grab their interest right from the very start. Here are some tips for a great opening.

8 Tips for a Great Opening

1. Start on time

2. Open on a positive note

3. Open quickly

4. Grab their attention

5. Let them know you care

6. Give them a reason to listen

7. Smoothly introduce your topic

8. Memorize opening

1. Start on time

Plan ahead, arrive early and start on time. If you start late due to circumstances beyond your control, don’t remind the audience of it. Just start your speech and abbreviate it to end on time.

2. Open on a positive note

Always start out on a positive note. Never apologize for anything (except being late). When speakers open on a negative note, the tone of the entire speech will likely remain negative. Have a positive, upbeat opening.

3. Open quickly

Never start slowly. Open your speech with a bang and then move right into it. Save facts, information, and longer detailed stories for the body of the speech. The opening is to grab their attention and interest. This can best be accomplished at a quicker pace.

4. Grab their attention right from the start

You can grab their attention a number of ways. Start with a comment about current events, a humorous story, an anecdote, a quotation, a real world situation or a thought-provoking question. Or begin your speech with music or an activity to grab their attention. Just make sure that whatever technique you use relates to your speech topic.

5. Let them know you care

While your credentials help, be sure to let them know that you care about them. Taking the time to learn as much as you can about them and their organization before preparing your speech is a great way of doing this. Talk about them.

6. Give them a reason to listen

Quickly run down what you will tell them and why it is important for them to listen. If you can’t come up with this, you shouldn’t be speaking.

7. Smoothly introduce your topic

In the opening, you should smoothly introduce your topic and transition to the body of your speech.

8. Memorize opening

While trying to memorize an entire speech isn’t necessary, it is helpful to be very familiar and comfortable with your opening. Speakers usually report being nervous when they start, and less nervous after they get into the “flow” of their speech.

The opening of the speech is brief, but very important. Start with a great opening and you will likely grab and hold your audience’s attention, get your message across effectively and become recognized as a good speaker.

How to Patch Large Holes in Clothes

Some garment holes can be easily fixed by darning them (sewing with a needle and thread). If you want to know how to patch large holes in clothes, you must use a fabric patch. The fabric patch, combined with correct sewing patterns will have your garments fixed up in no time.

If you can find a piece of the garment that you are repairing, use it as the patch. Cut out a rectangle shape in the hole, and the patch. Make the patch one inch large than the hole on all sides.

How to hand-sew a large hole

Lay your clothes right side up. Place the patch in the center of the hole and use pins to keep it in place. Clip each corner of the repair area diagonally 1/4 inch. Take the edges of the hole and fold the under. Apply a slip-stitch sewing pattern to the patch.

How to machine sew a large hole

Large holes are best patched with a machine zigzag. Set the machine to a short stitch length and a wide stitch width. Pin the patch to the right side of the hole. Stitch along the edge of the patch, with the piece of clothing face-up. Next, sew a row of straight, medium length stitches right inside the zigzag stitches.

You can use ready-made iron on patches if you want to fix the patch up fast. These can be very convenient if you have children who like to play hard! If your patch is a different color than the garment, make the fuse on the outside. This gives it a decorative look. If you want a uniform look, fuse it to the inside. If you are repairing heavy cotton clothes, using aluminum foil will help to get the materials hot enough to iron together.

If you want to know how to patch damaged elbows of sweaters and jackets, you can start with a piece of suede or suede cloth. These are sold ready-made or in sheets. Cut out 5 to 6 inch ovals out of the fabric. When patching a sweater use the buttonhole stitch, and apply by hand. When repairing jacket holes, free the lining at the cuff. Pull it away from the work area, and pin the patch to the garment. You can use either straight machine stitches or buttonhole stitches. Finally, replace the lining to the sleeve by resewing slipstitches to the fabric.

LED Track Lighting – Highlight Your Home

Track lighting has come a long way in the past 20 years. If you are picturing those old can-shape metal things with all the personality of a soup can, then you will be pleasantly surprised with the advances. Adding to its progress is the addition of LED to the equation. LED track lighting is the most efficient and attractive option for highlighting different areas of your home. Bathe those shadowy areas in warm or cool white light to simulate sunshine. From kitchen to work space track lighting will lighten and brighten any space.

You have several design choices when shopping for LED track lighting. The two basic distinctions between styles is the presence or absence of a rail or track. Now wait a minute. If it’s called “track” lighting, shouldn’t it have a track? Not necessarily! This is one of design enhancements from the days of yesteryear that you should be aware of when shopping. There are LED fixtures today called light bars that fall under the classification of track lighting. Just be sure to add this modern term to your vocabulary when inquiring about your new lighting.

The two largest benefits of choosing LED track lighting is the flexibility of adjusting multiple light streams around the space, and the energy savings of LED bulbs. The nature of LED light is more focused than incandescent or fluorescent light which bounces about the room. Picking an LED with dimpled lens will give a greater dispersion to the light. The types with a track come in attractive styles with designer shades. They are available in multi-light or single light arrangements, and are perfect over a kitchen island, in the den, or to highlight the corner of a bedroom. There are low profile options if you are not interested in the fixture, just the addition of light.

If you look about your home, most rooms are lit primarily from the ceiling. This casts shadows on furniture and wall hangings. The perfect solution for perking up those corners and highlighting items on the walls is LED track lighting. They are available in single bulb fixtures, are completely adjustable and perfectly safe to shine upon artwork – there are no UV rays which can fade the items upon which shine. You can choose a mount close to the ceiling or with extension bars for greater flexibility. What a nice addition to show off the family photo wall. To learn more about lighting, be sure to visit the authors website at LED Lighting.

Customer Service – Dealing With Language Barriers

Delivering world-class customer service is difficult at the best of times, and much more challenging than it was in the past. In today’s global village it is not uncommon to find yourself face-to-face, or on the telephone, with a customer who is struggling with your language. It can be a tremendously awkward and frustrating situation for all concerned. Here are six rules for overcoming language barriers:

Be patient

If you think you’re frustrated, imagine how your customer must feel! If you have ever tried to function in a second (or third or fourth) language, you know how inadequate you feel when the service person you’re dealing with doesn’t understand you and is looking at you like you’re stupid.

Look pleasant

Smile, for goodness sake! Let your face send the message that, despite the communication barrier, you care about this customer.

Listen for creativity

Often, when someone is searching for words, they will try different strategies to get their ideas across. So, for example, if someone says, “I need an eyes-closed place,” don’t just shake your head in frustration. He (she) may just be wondering where the nearest hotel is.

Use body language

Ever play charades? Great body language can often compensate for other language barriers. Use your hands!

Use visuals

A picture is indeed worth 1000 words. Use pencil and paper, maps, calculators – any prop that might help facilitate communication

Involve other people

If there is someone else you know who might be able to help – get him involved!

It takes a lot of courage to try and conduct business in a language that’s not one’s own. Make sure that you treat this customer with the respect they deserve!

Good luck!

A Fire Door Separating Your Home From the Garage is Essential

Many aspects of house design often go overlooked. Sometimes safety is the most important detail that is missing. Take the following question, for example: “Does the door from my garage to my house have to be fireproof or different from the other doors in my house?”

The answer is a resounding “YES”. Outside of the kitchen, the garage is the most likely room of the house to initiate a fire. When you think of all of the combustible elements it contains, gasoline, paint thinner, noxious chemicals, the chance of fire is too great not to protect against spreading. A fire rated door is designed to contain a fire from blasting through it. The time it buys could mean the difference between safe evacuation and tragedy.

If your garage is separated from your house, you have natural prevention. The space between the buildings can act as the fire barrier. However most homes have the garage connected to the living space. In these cases it is important to adhere to a few guidelines. The International Residential Building Code, which has been adopted in many locales, requires a 20-minute fire rated door, a solid wood, or solid or honeycomb core steel door of not less than 1 3/8″ thickness.

I recommend choosing a door which the 20-minute fire rated door. This designation means that the door has been tested to withstand penetration by a fire for at least 20 minutes. The door should have a label which states that it has been tested by the Underwriters Laboratory for safety and state its rating. If you want more security, you can always exceed the minimum rating and install a door with an even higher rating.

Household fires are far too common. Protection codes and sensible storage should not be taken lightly. Fire-rated doors, along with smoke alarms, will let you sleep at night knowing your family is safe.