Chandelier Lighting Fixtures

Chandelier lighting has been around for centuries, even before the middle ages people used them. Back in those days chandeliers were a simple cross of wood with spikes that candles could be stuck to. In fact the name chandelier is French for candlestick. The chandeliers were attached to a pulley by rope so that they could have raised and lowered for lighting the candles. Chandeliers in public buildings sometimes have this same feature, so that they can be lowered for cleaning and replacing burnt out bulbs. When metalwork became affordable for the merchant middle class, chandeliers made made of brass or bronze. These multi armed chandeliers with candles (and later gases) are still in use today, although we use electric lights today. Let's take a look at some of the chandeliers you have to choose from.

Crystal Chandelier Lighting

Crystal chandeliers became popular when a 17th century glassmaker discovered how to make easily cut glass crystal. Until that time only rock crystal or fragile crystillo could be used for chandeliers. With the cheaper glass crystal, the popularity of crystal chandeliers exploded. They could fill a room with all the glittering colors of the rainbow, and effect that still makes them a very popular option today.

Black Chandelier Lighting

Many of the old chandeliers were made of iron but could be very heavy, which was not so much of a problem since homes were built with large central beams that could support the weight. The black iron look can also be imitated with bronze or brass that is weathered chemically, although it does not look exactly the same. A chandelier made of iron can be very contemporary looking, even though it has its roots in antiquity. Another option is a chandelier made from black glass crystal. It will not refract the light like a typical crystal chandelier but it can add a sleek modern look to a room.

Contemporary Chandelier Lighting.

Many contemporary chandeliers do not have the branched arms we think of in a classic lighting chandelier. Instead they have a central support holding up a central illuminated area. This is typical of an art deco or craftsman style chandelier. Modern chandelier lighting with a central support are typically called pendant chandeliers. They can come in all sizes and shapes, from mini chandeliers to streamlined steel.

eReader Review – Kate Spade Canvas Bella Library Cover for Nook

Nook fans like us can now have a taste of fabulous and functional designer accessories for our well loved eReader. Many reviews have been chattering about the Kate Spade Canvas Bella Library Cover and for very good reasons. It brings more fun and elegance to the Nook while safeguarding it from minor bumps or scratches.

This great Nook cover is a collaboration of artist Bella Foster along with the famous designer label Kate Spade New York, exclusively for Barnes and Noble. The illustration is whimsical and innovative, perfect for vibrant and sassy girls that crave a little color along with gadgets. The scene is an interpretation of places where we like to read books, including the New York City public library.

The interior fine detail is equally as fabulous, using the striking all red pattern. As it is created by Kate Spade, the quality of design will be top notch. You can expect this product to be in great use for a long time.

The material is constructed of canvas, which feels high quality to touch. It helps to make the eReader seem like a genuine book. Do not be fooled by the interesting design and style, the Canvas Bella Cover is padded more than enough to give good protection from minor drops and jolts; everyday normal things that happen to our own beloved gadgets

It also has an elastic band inside, that secures the Nook in position. All necessary ports are free of any obstructions, which makes it hassle free when charging since the eReader does not have to be taken out of the cover.

It makes a good companion and proper protection for our Nook.

Here are more things about the Canvas Bella Nook Cover:

Made from 100% cotton

Dimensions are 8.3 inches x 5.9 inches.

Includes a slip pocket inside, that is perfect to store small notes or even business cards.

Life's serious enough without having to make our gadgets look stiff and boring. The Canvas Bella by Kate Spade combines fun, imagination and performance in one great cover.

How to Get a Harley-Davidson Shovelhead and Get On the Road Quick

It is possible to find a great Harley-Davidson Shovelhead bike for a great price and get it on the road quick. It’s important to understand up front what is necessary to get the bike going before the purchase is even made. By knowing what to look for and taking stock of what needs to be done to the bike up front allot of time and money can be saved.

When checking out the bike be sure to take notes on what needs to be repaired or replaced before the bike can be on the road. Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of the big picture when checking out a bike and forget the little things the need replacing that could cost time and money. For example, the bike needs new tires, the gas tank leaks, the seat is falling off. None of these are the end of the world but combined they add up to a fair amount of time and expense necessary to bring them up to par.

Ask questions of the current owner if possible and decide how valid the information is. This is going to take some intuition as it’s at times advantageous for the seller to keep some information under wraps. Many times sellers won’t be honest about the bike which becomes especially important if the bike is not in running condition. This makes it tough to detect exactly what issue caused the bike to quit. Was it a short in a wire, or did the cylinders lose compression. Depending on the issue this could be minor or a serious issue.

Keep in mind there is always another deal around the corner and don’t be afraid to walk away. It’s easy when checking out a bike to get all wrapped up in having it today. You’ll benefit greatly if you have no fear in walking away and looking for a better deal. This is what differentiates those that know how to get great deals from those that don’t. Those with the experience to know that there is always another deal around the corner have the ability to dodge bad deals and increase the odds of finding a good one.

Finding a used bike and getting it on the road can be allot of fun. By selecting a bike on qualities other than simply price the odds will be increased that a good deal will be had. Although someone else may be finished with the bike this doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect bike for you.

A Transformational Read: A Place To Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Reading online is one thing but reading a book is quite another. In order to read a book one has to slow down and take a break from the normal chaos that is our modern lives. No matter which method you choose, reading can be a step towards Healthy Living in the middle of chaos if you allow it to be. Many of you may notice I chose the word Reverie to describe my thoughts about this book. I did so because reverie seems to describe a deeper connection between reader and author.

I love a great read and if you are a book-lover I know you do too. I recently read A Place To Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca. For those of you who own it, I imagine you are searching for your copy right now anticipating a revisit to this fantastic read. For everyone else, continue on and discover what is so unique about this memoir.

I confess, I bought my copy of A Place To Stand from Amazon. When the box arrived with its little smiley face logo I felt a sense of anticipation. I was not disappointed. I sliced ​​open the box & the plastic shrink wrap and lifted the book out. The matte finished cover felt a little rough and was designed with an interesting sepia look to it. (I am partial to matte finishes on book covers so this boded well.) Leaning against the island in the kitchen, I thumbed through the introduction pages. Intrigued by the intro, I ventured into the first chapter and was hooked.

Baca leads readers into his memories through an experience that happened when he was very small, 5 years old. This sets the stage for understanding what and where Baca's foundation comes from regarding later situations in life; especially his troubled and tumultuous teen years leading into early adulthood. To have jumped directly into his prison experience would have led readers to believe the story was 'just another prison story'. Instead, this early foundation is brilliantly juxtaposed with a life-altering choice Baca makes later on in prison; to teach himself to read and write while in solitary confinement. Beyond being an extra feat in itself; learning to read and write literally saves his life. Subsequently, Baca forms a new foundation of beliefs and values ​​on which to stand and thus basing his life choices from.

It was a book that I could not put down. Without taking my eyes from the page, I moved to the sofa and kept reading through the afternoon and then the evening. By early morning the next day, I had digested Baca's parting words and reluctantly closed the back cover. But the words and the message stuck with me.

Over the following weeks my mind went back over some of the paths and I realized the awful impact books, reading and writing had on my own life and early childhood situations (I started reading when I was 4). To say that I resonated with Baca's story because of events that happened early in my life is cliche 'so I will not draw that conclusion. Rather, this story touched me because because I recognized the brick layer within. We all have the capacity to be a brick layer no matter what happens in our lives. As brick layers, we choose what foundation to stand on and sometimes its up to us to lay a new, or re-lay an existing, foundation.

As for Baca, he was released from prison in 1979 and went on to become one of the most revered modern poets of our time. You can read more about his poetry, writing and community service work on his official website .

Read more about Healthy Living and TransFormation .

Find an Elevator Company You Can Trust

Installing an elevator measurably improves the mobility and accessibility of a building. Turning to a professional elevator company ensures proper installation and maintenance – something you can not afford to overlook. This gives you the opportunity to give your visitors what many of them need and want. Whether they need a lift for easier access or because they have a condition that prevails them from easily navigating the building, you need to make sure it is there and working properly. A qualified technician will help you to keep it working properly while bringing in additional features to improve it.

For many buildings, an elevator is a necessity. It makes going to a specific floor easier, of course, but it also allows for accessibility to those floors for people who can not use the stairs. Whether they are wheelchair bound or have a medical condition that limits their mobility, an elevator gives them access that they could not have before. This is why you need to make sure that it is working properly. No matter the type of building you run, you want to give access to all people come.

One of the first steps of a job for an elevator company is the installation. If you do not already have a lift in the building or if you are looking to modernize one that you do have, you have a great place to turn. Here, you can add something into your office or home that works spectacularly. This provides a safe, reliable trip through the structure. Since it is modernized, you can count on it to have the very best technology when installed. Right down to the parts, everything is going to be high quality and long lasting.

No matter what you want or need in an elevator, you have options. There are several different ways to make it work in your building with few to no issues regarding performance. This helps you to provide the highest level of quality to your visitors while lowering the amount of maintenance and other problems that might occur. Since this will be made to fit your building's specific needs, you do not have to worry about it becoming more of a hassle than it is worth.

Of course, with any elevator company, there is always going to be the need for repairs and regular maintenance. When a professional from this company is helping you, you can be sure that it will improve quickly. There are even computerized diagnostic tools that allow for access to major manufacturers' controls available to the workers. With everything working for you, you can be sure that your elevator will be back in working condition quickly.

Microplate Washing Within the Laboratory

Microplate Washers combine dispensation and aspiration cycles to eliminate reagents from sample wells. A microplate washer may be an automatic washing device or a manually-operated washer and is available in many different configurations for various types of microplates and strips.

These washers are differentiated by specifications, including speed and number of wash cycles, the number of available preprogrammed settings, the fluid volume used per cycle, soak time and dispensing volume. They can be used to wash and prepare plates for a variety of test routines, including ELISA assays, cytotoxicity assays, agglutination tests and cell washing applications.

Manual microplate washers consist of a reservoir fitted with multiple channel pipettes that can be used to wash multiple-well microplates. A strip washer typically includes multiple channel manifolds for rinsing down larger microplates.

For large microplates, such as those with 384 wells, automatic manifolds can be used to dispense liquids with the use of precision tips. An automated microplate washer can wash single strips or full plates and can also wash plates from the side and bottom. Automated plate washers can be programmed for column or row washing for the partial washing of large microplates.

Microplate washers use different solutions for various applications. Some automated plate washers can be programmed with specific wash protocols to dispense only certain types of solutions or allow defined soak times. Many plate washers also feature an alarm function to indicate when the waste reservoir is full or nearly full.

Newer modular plate washers are now available. The modular design permits easy configuration of the washer for changing formats and applications. The system's multiple well wash heads are interchangeable to extend the capabilities of the system on a single instrument platform. Most modern microplate washers have on board, touchscreen programming which gives laboratory personnel control over the unit's microplate processing parameters.

The system's washing capability minimizes background interference, maximizing the sensitivity of assays. There is even a hand held style washer available. These washers generally consist of a microplate workstation, a reservoir kit, a pump module and wash manifolds with either 8 or 12 probes. This style of washer has proven to be useful for in-the-field applications for its ease of use. While certainly not suitable for every application, these hand held portable plate washers have worked on with many users who have a need for a portable washing solution or simply have very little free space in the laboratory.

Microplate washers are an essential piece of equipment in the life sciences or quality control testing laboratory, where they ensure reliable, accurate results. It's almost unimaginable that there was a time when laboratory personnel had to rely entirely on manual washing for the microplates used in high sensitivity applications, but like every other type of laboratory equipment, great strides have been made in the technologies behind them.

There is now a microplate washer available to suit the needs of virtually any application and to provide laboratories with the required cleaning required for the highest in sensitivity and accuracy for exacting assays in the modern high throughput laboratory environment.

Wood Stoves Cast Iron Verses Steel

Wood burning stoves the comparison between steel and cast iron. Steel stoves heat up quick and start giving off heat right away. When the fire in the steel stove cools down so does the stove. A cast iron wood stove can take a couple hours to heat up, but when the fire dies down the cast iron will radiate out heat for hours. When comparable sized stoves are heated and operating both generate comparable heat into your home. What we will look at is the time it takes a wood stove to heat up and the time it takes to cool down.

If you plan to purchase a wood stove and burn it 24-7 late fall till early spring either stove will heat the same. Where the heat up and cool down times play into the comparison is the home owner who burns a wood stove just a few times a week and wants to heat up a cold home quickly. Many people have cabins or cottages that the sole source of heat is a wood stove. When entering a cold cabin in the dead of winter you want heat right away versa waiting for it to heat up.

Cast iron stoves have more features like upper air controls that allow you to add more or less air into the catalytic chamber for more combustion. Lower air controls are for the fire box. Most steel stoves only have lower air controls for the fire box.

Most cast iron stoves have ash drawers. The bottom of the fire box is either a cast grate with slots for the ash to fall into the clean-out drawer or some have shaker grates. Shaker grates are controlled from the side of the stove with a special wrench type tool. Steel stoves are lined with firebrick. Most steel stoves do not have ash drawers. Ashes are removed with a shovel. As stated above steel stoves are lined with firebrick this is to help the stove hold heat. Firebrick is easily broken when logs are tossed in and and from normal wear of heating and cooling. Firebricks can be replaced.

While steel stoves are welded together, cast iron stoves are held together with furnace cement. Heating the stove under normal circumstances the expanding and contracting will cause the seams to crack. After a few years of burning the cast iron stove should be broke down and all the seams re-cemented.

Both steel and cast iron stoves have gaskets around the door and glass. The rope gaskets should be replaced annually. This is small maintenance and it keeps the stove airtight.

Cast iron stoves are available in decorator porcelain enamel colors. A word of caution the colors will darken over time after the stove is heated. If the wood stove is overheated the finish can crack. It is similar to crazing that appears on your diner plates and other ceramic pieces. If there is water on the stove clean it ASAP. If the stove is hot do not spill water on it. The enamel finish will stain and the water marks are noticeable.

A wood burning stove is a great source of heat. Wood stoves last for 15 plus years and are inexpensive to operate. Whichever wood stove you choose enjoy it!

Choosing a Rice Cooker

Until fairly recently the only way you could cook rice was properly using the traditional method of boiling it in a pan. However over the past few years many people have discovered that electric rice cookers are the easiest and simple way to get perfect rice every time. Now there are so many models on the market you really are spoiled for choice. This article will take a look at a few things that need to be borne in mind when choosing the rice cooker for you and finding the right rice cooker for your needs.

The first thing to think about is whether you want a totally automatic rice cooker or what you want to have a manual cooker. The main difference is that a manual version can be used to do things that an automatic version sometimes can not, such as cooking rice in a certain way so that you get a hard crust on the rice that is needed for certain types of cuisine. Most people will choose the automatic version and this is the one that is the easiest to use.

The next thing you need to consider is whether or not the rice cooker is programmable. If you can program the rice cooker it means you can set the cooker to turn off at a certain time so that the rice is ready when you come home after a hard day at the office. Most rice cookers are programmable in some way or other, so if you want total control it is best to go for one of the more expensive models that give you more programmable options.

The final thing to think about is whether you want your cooker to simply cook rice or whether you wanted to be able to cook other foodstuffs such as vegetables. Some rice cookers have a steam function which enables them to be used as a vegetable steamer and this can come in really handy when you have different types of cuisine that you want to create.

Take time to look at the various types of rice cooker that are available on today's market and do your research before making a proper choice.

Ceramic Coatings

Any object would usually need a certain kind of protection, like a coating, to lengthen its life span. A coating could also enhance its physical appearance and other properties, such as resistance to wear, corrosion, scratch and a lot more. It can be applied to many different types of surfaces, may there be solids, liquids and gases too.

Coatings come in different types. They can be optical coatings, ceramic coatings, or spray coatings. They all have a particular set of characteristics and purposes that is unique to each of them.

What are ceramic coatings?

Ceramic coatings are used to cover the surface of a certain kind of object to provide protection. They are usually made of nitrides, silicides, borides and carbides. They are formed during sputtering when hydrocarbon, nitrogen and silicide is introduced in the process. They are often available in the form of TiCN, TiAlN, CrN and TiN.

Ceramic coatings are known to be good agents in oxidation resistance. This characteristic can still be improved further by adding elements like vanadium, chromium, aluminum and yttrium. The addition of nanocomposite coatings and multilayer coatings could also do the job.

What are the functions of coatings?
To help you understand how coatings provide protection to objects, here is a list of some of its more specific purposes.

1. Coatings can be used to give materials self-adhesive properties that are useful in labeling, taping and packaging.

2. They have low energy present on their surfaces, therefore enabling objects to have non-stick surfaces.

3. They can enhance an object's color, tint, anti-reflection, holographics and other optical properties.

4. They can make an object water proof or water resistant.

5. They can alter an object's electronic and magnetic properties.

6. They can provide the needed level of photo sensitivity, just like what is required in photographic paper and films.

Coating methods and processes can be categorized into: physical vapor deposition, chemical vapor deposition, spraying, chemical and electrochemical techniques, roll-to-roll coatings, optical coatings, ceramic coatings and many more. Each of these categories includes a wide range of sub-processes that require different types of devices, materials, machineries, skills and expertise.

So, whether you are going for ceramic coatings, aluminum coatings or any other type of coatings, it is advisable to look for a company or an individual that is knowledgeable enough on this matter so that you would get the results that you desire and expect.

Get Back Your Pre-Pregnancy Abs With Side Planks

The foundation of fitness for a mom is her abdominal area. To moms a flat stomach is wonderful; a strong abdominal core is critical. The cool thing is, you can get both at the same time with side planks.

Side planks are great for toning, without enlarging, the obliques on the side of your abdomen. Strong oblique muscles also add strong stability to your back. Asthetically, side planks can sculpt your stomach in ways crunches or sit-ups just can not do. The nice thing about side planks is that they can be done in little time and you do not need any equipment.

Before we get on to how to do them, I just want to add a little incentive …

A Mom with Poor Abdominal Strength is an Accident Waiting To Happen
Let's face it, as your child grows the physical demand placed on your body increases. You start out holding a 8 lb. newborn in your arms, but that quickly changes into holding a 25 lb. toddler who twists and turns quickly.

You may be required to sweep your toddler up with your right arm while holding another child in the left. You may have to carry a 40 lb. child who is unhappy and doing whatever it takes to squirm from your grass. If your body is incapable of handling these tough physical demands it will let you know, because back pain and fatigue will start compounding. Is your body prepared to handle the stress being placed on it?

A Side Plank A Day Keeps Back Pain Away
Planks, build functionally strong, stabilizing abdominal muscles that allow you to bend, twist and reach with less chance of injury. Beginning an abdominal strengthening program now will prepare you for when your infant becomes a toddler and for those times your toddler becomes antsy and unruly.

Planks can not only give you back your pre-pregnancy abs, but they will prepare your body to deal with being a mom of a toddler! So let's get to the exercise itself.

How to Side Plank:

1) Begin by lying on your left side. Bend your left elbow and place the forearm on the floor directly under your shoulder. Your weight should be supported on the forearm and the left hip. Your right arm should be resting along the right side of your body with the hand resting on the right thigh.

2) Rise up so your body weight is resting on your left forearm and the edge of your left foot. Wear shoes that have a good edge on the sole to avoid slippage once you're in place. If you find this to be too difficult, start by placing your weight between your forearm and knee. After a few weeks, you'll be able to move to the more difficult position in which you are supporting your body between your forearm and your foot rather than your knee.

3) Lift your body up as high as you can and contract your abdominal muscles by bringing navel to spine. Attempt to form a straight line from your armpit along the side of your ribs to your hip, and down to your ankle just above your left foot. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds to start with. You can increase to 20 seconds over several weeks, but your goal should be to ever build up to at least 60 seconds for each slow contraction.

4) Slowly lower your body back to the floor, then immediately rise as high as you can and hold it again. Repeat on the right side. Start with two sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

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Helpful Hints:

– Do not hold your breath. This increases abdominal pressure which feels easier, but prevails you from getting the full benefits of the movement. Take a breath and exhale as you are lifting into the bridge.

– Avoid twisting or turning your trunk. This may cause a side strain and slow your progress.

– Stop if you feel back pain Everyone has their own rate of progress. If you feel pain in your back, stop. Try again on the next workout and you'll find your back will start getting stronger. If back pain lasts, stop and consult a fitness professional.

Finish with a stretch

After doing your planks, lie on your back, relax, bend your knees with feet on the floor and tilt them from side to side. Do this a few times to lengthen your back and abdominal muscles.

Strong, flexible abdominal muscles are a moms best friend. Start developing yours today with side planks!

Nursing Care Plan Software For Effective Nursing Plans

Creating a nursing plan is included as one of the responsibilities of nurses. This is an important task which they should do as a routine to ensure that a patient's health is restored and that they will be well on their way to recovery. With this being said, a nursing plan will include tasks and details performed by a nurse. It will also serve as means of talking or communicating the needs of the patient when it comes to healthcare. This should also be understandable and objective enough for co-nurses and team members to read and follow. This nurse care plan also shows or displays details about the patient such as his or her diagnosis results, condition or other responses or request.

It is essential now to ensure that nurses should be enabled and made skilled in terms of creating this nursing plan. There are a number of resources where one can look upon to make this possible. Books and care plan sites are available as means of resources to help out nurses successfully carry out nursing plans. There are also several nursing care plan software which can be used to aid nurses with this task. With this, information is made possible and available for the necessity to use. This software will help the nurse go through different points and will be presenting the concepts in a very clear and logical manner.

This way, understanding and retention on the part of the nurse as a learner is ensured. This will help them go through the process of how to carry out effective nursing plans. This will also give them the opportunity to simulate or practice as they go through the information. This helps provide them a very good background information which they can use as study then later on put into practice into their roles.

Japanese Shoji Lamp

In Japanese interior plan, shoji lamp fulfills many significant roles which stand for the essence of Japanese design. A stunning Shoji Lamp is a vital addition to a Japanese household. Shoji Lamps have been commonly used to improve the atmosphere of a room and add to its Zen Decor. One of the uniqueness of Japanese styles shoji lamps are built in accordance with genuine Japanese habit. Within that tradition, we are able to make a broad assortment of superb designs. Round or Square, a Japanese shoji lamp makes any room more elegant.

The Shoji Lamps have a variety of designs on them that reflect the distinctiveness of Japanese traditions. So many aspects go into manufacture perfect Japanese Shoji lamps, the finish of the wood, plus the type of light that is placed inside. As with all Japanese stuffs, awareness to aspect is the mainly significant thing.

Much of Japanese style decoration is influenced by the design of simplicity. Also, Japanese stuff was intended to be in harmony with nature, and to merge with natural settings creating a sense of simplicity and entertainment.

Most of the furniture is handmade which adds to the attractiveness of the equipment and in this way it has led to the most expected type of furniture global. Here, if the person has excess cash with him which he desires to make use of in giving a mode to the house then all he desires to do is to visit the nearby shop and buy the finest Japanese style furniture.

Simple and stylish could seem to be adverse conditions, but with an extensive variety of high quality Shoji Lamp products I believe these words come as one in a matchless and attractive means.

Deck Railing Designs and Ideas

There are several deck railing design ideas for creating your perfect home deck. Decks are an oasis for a homeowner. They provide the perfect outdoor space for an individual getaway or an evening party with friends. Deciding on the type of deck railing, though, is perhaps one of the most important decisions in finishing your deck. Railings have the largest effect on the deck because they are the most high profile part of the structure. They can be seen anywhere your deck can be seen. You must, however, plan the railing system before you build the deck, because sometimes they require tying into the post system of your deck.

Materials for cutom designs

Your deck railing design ideas do not necessarily have to match the material you use to build the deck itself. You may use a composite wood material to construct the base of the deck because of its durability, but you may not want the look of that material in terms of the railing. You may, however, prefer the deck components not only to match each other, but also to match the colors and materials your home was constructed with.

Some deck railing design ideas include stainless steel cable railing. This type of railing uses a solid stainless steel top rail, but the use of cables instead of balusters. This allows for increased security as well as visibility from your deck. Another deck railing design idea is glass balusters. These offer elegance and sophistication to your deck area as well as increased visibility from the structure. Another deck railing design idea is the use of an ornamental metal like iron. Strong metals like iron offer durability and beauty. It does not, however, always withstand the weather as well as other options do. Metals like iron have a tendency to rust with weather.

Ideas about ornaments and how to include them to look great

One final deck railing design idea is to use ornaments with your deck railing. Flower boxes create a nature paradise on your deck. Centerpiece accessories for balusters come in a variety of designs and create a very classic look on your deck. Post top accessories like post caps and finials that screw directly into the post top to offer an ornamental look to the railings.

There are many different deck railing design ideas, and it can be very difficult to choose the right design for you.

Angkor Wat – The Bayon

Jayavarman VII built the Bayon in the late 12th century as his state temple. It is located at the physical center of Angkor Thom, the nine square kilometer or (three and a half square) mile city complex, and is the focal point of the building boom Jayavarman VII initiated after he defeated the Chams to reclaim the Khmer Empire. As with his other constructions, the Bayon is a Mahayana Buddhist temple; its primary deity is Avalokitshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Since the Bayon sits in the center of Angkor Thom, his state capital, this monument makes the entire capital a temple complex, with the walls of the city and the moat representing the outer mountain ranges and oceans of the mythical Hindu universe. In various ways the relationship between Hinduism and Buddhism is seen here. Just as the Victory Gate was part of a three-dimensional representation of the Churning of the Sea of ​​Milk, with Phinemeakas as the central churning stick, the Bayon is a similar representation with the gates at the four cardinal points of Angkor Thom. The naga balustrade of one side of a gate that symbolically extends to the Bayon, wraps around the temple, and then continues to the opposite gate, where the opposing force holds the other side of the snake. The Bayon sits in the center as another metaphorical Mt. Meru. This setup also makes the Bayon look a bit different, since its outer walls are so far removed as to seem nonexistent. From the outside, this gives the Bayon an open feel, but the interior of the temple is actually quite cramped. The temple is organized on three levels, but the specific arrangement has led scholars to believe that the original plan was a flat temple along the lines of Ta Prohm, which is located to the east.

While the bas-reliefs of the Hindu temples often deal with the gods and their epic adventures, those in the outer gallery of the Bayon deal more with historical events and everyday life. Part of the reason for this change in focus may be the different views of the Hindu and Buddhist religions. The Hindu religion puts much emphasis on matters of cosmic importance like the battle of gods to maintain good and evil. The Buddhist religion emphasizes that enlightenment is achievable by the actions of the individual. For an example of a Buddhist bas-relief, take a look at the bas-reliefs of the southern gallery. Some of its highlights are the bas-relief that details battles with the rival Cham Empire as well as everyday market scenes, fisherman, and even a cockfight. The inner galleries primarily depict Hindu mythology again. These were added by Jayavarman VIII, a successor who restored Hinduism as the state religion of the Hindu Khmer Empire. He converted the Bayon to a Hindu temple, and these bas-reliefs were added later to reflect this change. Some of these images are vague beyond their connection to certain gods like Shiva and Vishnu, but of course classic stories like the Churning of the Sea of ​​Milk appear, too. In addition to adding the more strictly Hindu imagery, Jayavarman VIII took the main statue from the central tower's sanctuary, a 3.6 meter (or 12 foot) tall Buddha, and smashed it, throwing the pieces down a well. The statue was recovered and pieced back together again in 1933. It now sits in a small pavilion on the road from the Victory Gate to the Elephant Terrace to the northeast of here.

The real draw of the Bayon, however, is the top level. As in the other temples, the stairs lead up from each of the four cardinal points to the top level, where over four dozen towers hold giant faces nearly 2 meters (or six feet) in height. Most of the faces are oriented to the cardinal points of each tower, and with so many four-faced towers at different heights, you always have someone looking over your shoulder. It really is interesting to view the towers from different angles to see how the faces line up.

The exact meaning of the faces is still under debate by scholars. One explanation is that the primary deity of the temple is Avalokiteshvara, also known as Lokesvara, or the "lord who gazes down on the world" or "he who hears the cries of people who need help". Avalokiteshvara is a bodhisattva or Buddha-to-be who listens to the prayers of people in need and has postponed his own enlightenment until he has assisted all people in achieving nirvana. To help all of these people and hear all their prayers, he would need many eyes and ears, which may explain the multiple faces. Others have argued that the face is that of Jayavarman VII himself. This is also realistic, since Jayavarman VII considered himself a devaraja, or god-king. George Coedes, a former director of the École Française d'extrème-orient, also known as the EFEO, saw these two interpretations as complementary rather than mutually exclusive. Since Jayavarman VII considered himself a god-king, it makes sense that he would use himself as the prototype of Avalokiteshvara. The reason for the huge number of faces remains a mystery. Some have tried to tie some significance to the number of faces, but the state of disrepair of the temple has made accurate counts difficult.

The Bayon is one of the more popular temples. To avoid most of the crowds, you might want to time your visit for dawn or sunset. Most of the crowds flock to Angkor Wat at dawn and the hill Phnom Bakheng at sunset, allowing you to enjoy some solitude at the Bayon. The golden, slanted light at those times of the day make the faces even more magical, as the enigmatic smile of one face will jump out past the shadow of another. It's worth an early morning trip, because those moments are the true magic of the temples of Angkor.

Ten Reasons to Decorate With Cowhide Rugs

There are many reasons for this, and in case you're wondering what they are, or why you should own one for your own home, here are just a few:

1. Stain-Resistant
Cowhide rugs are made for the outdoors. Cattle wear them year-round to protect themselves from the elements and they wash right off.

2. Hypo-Allergenic
Of all the animal skins you could own, a cow hide is the most allergen-friendly. They're tight pores do not trap dust or shed.

3. One-of-a-Kind
Just like there are no two people exactly alike, there are no two cows exactly alike. Each design is completely original and oh so chic.

4. Extremely Durable
It does not get much tougher than cow skin for wear and tear, not to mention, the ultra-short fur keeps its shape even when trampled.

5. Add Contrast
If you want to mix it up and add some unexpected contrast to a streamlined modern room, throw in a cool cowhide rug.

6. Soften Any Space
The unique lines of a cowhide rug soften a space with strong lines.

7. Look Great with Any Color Scheme
Few rugs are as versatile as this one when it comes to matching a color scheme, but you can throw it in with almost any color and it will fit right in.

8. Not Just for Floors
If you get tired of using your cowhide as a rug, you can hang it, cover a wall with it, throw it over a banister, or drape it over the back of a chair – each one an equally stunning option.

9. Fantastic Conversation Starter
Imagine the element of surprise your guests will get when they find one of these rugs in your formal dining room. Did you raise the cow? Are we eating the cow? They're always fun elements of dÊcor.

10. Naturally Warm
Just like any other animal, a cow's coat is made to keep her warm in the winter. It's self-insulated and warm on your feet. Place one by your bedside to absorb the shock of the cold on a hardwood floor in the middle of the night.

Choosing a rug that's perfect for your room can be overwhelming, but it does not have to be. The texture and color of these rugs lend the perfect detail to accent any room, and add a hint of art and eclectic style to the modern home. Another added plus, is they even work well in homes with children and pets due to their resiliant nature.