Phenomenal German ‘Expressionist’ Painter – Anton Kerschbaumer

Anton Kerschbaumer, the famous German ‘Expressionist’ painter, was born on November 20, 1885, in Rosenheim, Germany. He championed one of the most complex and diverse art movements ever included in the history of ‘Modern Art.’ Kerschbaumer believed that he could use his art as a bridge towards a better future. From the year 1901 to 1908, Anton studied under Maximilian Dasio and Julius Exter, at the School of Decorative Arts in Munich. Initially in his career, Anton also taught as an art teacher there. After 1908, he moved to Berlin to study under Lovis Corinth, who had also taught Paul Kleinschmidt. In his early years, The ‘Impressionist’ works of Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Henri Matisse, impressed the artist. Later however, he deflected from ‘Impressionism.’

In 1905, Anton Kerschbaumer joined a very famous ‘Expressionist’ group, “Die Brücke,” formed by a small section of artists who met as the students of architecture in Dresden. Other prominent members of this group included Erich Heckel, Fritz Bleyl, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Carl Schmidt-Rottluf. The group disbanded after eight years, in 1913, but its implications for the ‘Modern German Art’ were immense. In 1914, Anton Kerschbaumer had his first exhibition with the help of an art dealer, Israel Beer Neumann.

Due to the outset of the First World War, Kerschbaumer had to stop painting for some time and in 1916, he worked as an ambulance driver in Flanders. During this period, he met several artists, such as Erich Heckel, Max Kaus, and Otto Herbig, who were too serving in the German army. Erich Heckel, his military supervisor in Ostend, inspired Kerschbaumer’s early works and also influenced him to create ‘Lithographic Art.’ In 1919, Kerschbaumer came back to Berlin and took part in his first big exhibition with the publisher, Paul Cassirer.

In 1921, the artist married Friederike and spent most of his summers with her in Ammersee. In 1923, he founded the Bloch-Kerschbaumer School in Berlin with Martin Bloch. He later, however, gave up his place to Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Also later that year, Kerschbaumer took part in an exhibition of contemporary artists in the Berlin gallery, Nierendorf. In the year 1930, he joined the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome for three months on a scholarship. Here, he met the famous ‘Expressionist,’ Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Otto Herbig, with whom he spent the summer in Malcesine. In the winter of the same year, Anton Kerschbaumer became seriously ill and died on August 2, 1931 in Berlin-Tegel.

Murano Chandeliers – More Than Decoration

Upon looking at the transparent colored glass that strikes the walls of the room illuminated by Murano chandeliers, Murano wall sconces or Murano table lamps, one can get a feeling of calmness, and yet it is mixed with a flurry and raging passion.

These glass lamps made from Murano are Venetian masterpieces. With the main goal of being an item of quality, every part of the chandelier, the glass paste, the opal, the watermarks, the aventurine, and even the metal that is covered by the glass, you've got more than decoration; you have art. Murano chandeliers have the characteristic of being made with multicolored vibrant designs or flowery patterns. The colored glass and the transparent glass that drapes the chandelier have leaves and various flowers. The shape that every side of the chandelier has is graceful. Looking at this illumination, you can be transported to a fantasy world where everything seems to have a hypnotizing swirl about it.

Each of the Murano chandeliers is unique, and they are unforgivable pieces to have in your home. You can even get a glass chandelier customized to the very last detail, from the design to the materials. It is an ornate work of art that can be a witness to the memories you make and the relationships you build with your family. It may well be the crowning jewel of your generation. Just as this kind of chandelier and glass work is full of history and popularity, such are also the qualities it can bring to your home.

Master artisans and craftsmen of Muran were able to transform sand into a great expression of art. The glass is carefully and painstakingly shaped with fire. Just imagining the master craftsman at work on these kinds of things is enough to take one's breath away. With a few quick simple gestures, the glass is formed into something of grace and beauty. Murano chandeliers are made with great skill, and the person molding the form and design of the chandelier has been a student of the craft for many years. Be assured that the chandelier, the floor lamp or the wall scone that you get made from Murano is full of history, made by hands that learned the techniques and ways of making glass lamps from previous generations.

With its quality, history, art, grace, beauty, and elegance, your glass lamp is not just a decorative accessory to your home.

Unique Wedding Favors For Casino Themed Weddings – Personalized Playing Cards, Spade-Shaped Cookies

Themes are arguably indispensable in weddings nowdays. Themes give a memorable factor to every wedding and with the right one, a wedding can be buzz worthy even weeks afterward.

A casino themed wedding is a fun, refreshing take on matrimony's and one which suits upbeat or offbeat couples. A casino theme may signify leaving a bachelor or bachelorette's life for both members of the couple; the last hurrah to singleness for the bride and groom to celebrate with their friends and loved ones. For those who dare indulge in casino themed weddings, here are a few celebratory decorating ideas to dazzle guests with.

A casino theme bought to reflect money, a touch of elegance even and more than a hint or two on gambling. For starters, turn aisle runners and table runners into stand-out decorations by embedding monograms. Choose fonts that are very Vegas-chic. Berry, crimson, persimmon and black are some colors to consider when picking out aisle runners.

To highlight tables, a classic centerpiece like glass vases, personalized with a monogram or casino icon with the bride and groom's names, should do it but make them more casino-oriented by choosing deep red roses to fill the vases. Silver diamond shaped tea light holders would make elegant Touches to a casino wedding but make sure that the table cloths are in Vegas colors, black and red, for example, to bring the focus back to the theme. For a more prominent casino centerpiece, make use of edibles: Fill a red bowl or platter with Las Vegas or poker theme cookies. These are cookies shaped in dice, cards, spades, diamonds, and hearts, to name a few. The cookies make for unique wedding favors too.

Tie linen napkins, in black and red colors, with a diamond ring for a classy, ​​casino look. Personalized beverage napkins are welcome additions to emphasize the theme too. Choose shades of red, black and some bright greens, for a little variety, for the beverage napkins. Have them printed with casino icons like playing cards, dice, martini or champagne.

Place wine cork candles in the mouths of wines being served each table to provide a romantic glow, sprawl a few matches personalized with Vegas icons on each table for guests to re-light the candles when necessary, these matches make for unique favors as well. Match the wine cork candles with wine cork place card holders. When picking a place card, throw in a poker icon to play along with the casino theme. Serve wines and champagne casino style by personalizing wine labels and wine glasses and champagne flutes with casino icons.

For unique wedding favors, lavish guests with custom printed wedding poker chips, dice keychains or personalized playing cards . The personalized playing cards are great gifts to male guests and they make great decorations when sprayed neatly on the tables. Pack these gifts in Vegas theme favor bags and hash tags that say "Lucky In Love" near the names of the couples, for a sassy way of reminding guests of the wedding's essence.

Commercial LULA Elevators

Commercial LULA elevators, or Limited Use Limited Access elevators, are practical solutions for meeting accessibility challenges of old and disabled people. These are designed to provide speedy access to multi-storied commercial buildings more conveniently and safely.

Only a limited space is required to install LULA elevators, and often they require less pit area. These mobility equipments are perfect for use in hospitals, schools, lodges, railway stations, airports, churches, clubs, meeting halls, and more.

A Wide Variety of Designs and Features

Nowadays, you can find a wide range of LLA elevator models in varying designs, speed ranges, and finishes. Each has its own set of features, emphasizing functionality and efficiency. Most of the models come with standard features such as electromechanical interlocks, automatic controls, emergency light and alarm, handrails, manual or automatic entrances, overspeed governor, car top inspection station, plastic laminated cab panels, stainless steel control panel and trim, and more .

Best Option for Commercial Buildings

The Orion LULA elevator is a popular model manufactured by Savaria Concord. This is a heavy-duty, fully enclosed model, designed for use in low-rise commercial buildings comprising two to four floors. It has all the essential features similar to that of a high-rise mobility system. This model has added safety features such as flow control valve, backup lighting, interlocks, slack rope safeties, negative pressure module, and more.

Yet another popular model in the category of Limited Use / Limited Application elevators is the Serenus LULA elevator, manufactured by Federal Elevator. This model is best suited for small-scale use by persons having mobility problems and physical disabilities. This model comes equipped with fully automatic two or three speed horizontal sliding doors. Apart from these, it has many standard features, which make this model the most desirable and user friendly solution for easy accessibility.

Types and Uses of a Serving Platter

Although a person may not consider serving platters as being an essential part of your dishes and other pieces of your table setting, they are extremely versatile and second in functionality next to serving bowls. Serving platters can be utilized for a variety of uses inclusive of the following:

– casual everyday serving of bread, burgers, or fruit
– Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham
– special events such as weddings or parties for serving appetizers, desserts, and refreshments

A good rule of thumb is that you should purchase at least a serving platter, a serving bowl, and serving utensils when you initially purchase your dinnerware set. Manufacturers are known for discontinuing dinnerware product lines, so if you want your dinnerware and platter to match, you should consider it with your initial purchase. Despite the issue here, we are not saying that everything has to be a perfect match.

Variety of Uses

Just like all other items that are classified as serveware, serving platters are designed with functionality and versatility in mind. There are numerous collections of attractively colorful platters to serve in and serveware items available today, so at times the selection process can be a bit of a challenge to say the least. Serving platters today are second in importance only to serving bowls, but they still play a key roll in the dining room and kitchen. As with any other dinnerware item, these platters are manufactured in a variety of materials from durable plastic to sterling silver.

The event or dining occasion oftentimes defines the usage of the platter as well as when it is a casual or formal piece that you select. Of great significance here is the fact that the serving platters you choose will allow you to create an eye-pleasing display of food unlike any other piece of your table setting. It is important to realize that you do not just want your serving platters to be a "fashion statement." They need to be functional and versatile as well, and fit the needs of the specific occasion that you are using them for.

There is an endless assortment of colors, designs, materials, patterns, and styles available in the market today. This can make your purchasing decision extremely difficult. Here are some helpful tips that will hopefully make your purchasing decision a little easier:

Decide on the primary purpose of your platters. Try to determine if your platters will be used for everyday dining or just for serving formal or special occasions. Not only will this help you to decide if you are purchasing a casual or a formal serving platter, it will also help you determine how much you will spend on the item.

Consider your budget and how much you are willing to spend on your platters. Once you decided on either casual or formal platters, determine if it fits within your budget. This is also an ideal time for determining if you want to purchase any additional matching serveware pieces.

Gas Stoves

There are many different models and brand names but they all work basically the same, gas is connected to the stove and different components distribute the gas to different part of the stove.
They are two major differences in lighting the stove automatically, one is with a glow bar, the other is with ignition, these components are both igniters the difference is one glows and draws a certain amount of current then it opens a valve that let the gas out to the oven burner then it lights the gas, if this igniter is defective it might glow but will not open the valve as it is not drawing enough amperage, other times it will not glow because it is burnt out, sometimes it will open the valve but because it is not shining full power the gas will build up in the oven and you will smell gas because it is not lighting the gas.

If you put food in the oven and set the thermostat to 3.50, or 400 degrees and after an hour when you check the food it is still cold and you can see there is an orange glow coming from the bottom of your oven that is an indication that your igniter is defective.

The other type of oven use the spark igniter, both kinds of stove use spark igniter for the top burners, the spark igniter oven when you turn it on the thermostat send a pilot flame to the oven, the micro switch on the thermostat also send a spark to ignite the pilot through a spark module.

Planking Your Model Ship Hull

Almost ready to plank your model ship? Not quite. Let's finish off the discussion on framing. Before the wales and the planks can be attached, all of the frames need to be beveled correctly. This means that the outside edges of all the frames are angled to a greater or lesser amount to follow the run of the hull so as to provide a solid support for the strakes. In English you say! Alright -the bulkheads at mid ship will be square but beveled toward either the bow or stern in the direction of the bow or the stern and the amount of bevel will increase as you get closer to either end. This is done so that the planks will have as much bonding area with the bulkheads as possible. The angle of the bevel is usually found on the waterline drawing. It's better to do a rough beveling job prior to attaching the bulkheads to the false keel so that you do not loosen the entire hull framework during this process. Use a rasp or long piece of sand paper attached to a piece of wood. Once the bulkheads are attached to the keel frame, use some wallpaper to refine the angle.

Speaking about the waterline, make sue that you have drawn the load water line on both the false keel and the bulkhead. The waterline at which the loaded ship floats is usually not the same as the design waterline because ships tend to be trimmed aster and thus the waterline is not parallel to the keel.

Start with the wales prior to any planking. The wales are a series of heavy planks the width of which may be the same as the hull planking but with greater thickness so that they protrude beyond the planking. The tops and bottoms are usually slightly rounded off and you can find more that one on a ship. The wales are used to provide extra support to the frame. When fitting the wales work alternately from starboard to port side and make sure that they follow the marks on the frame edge and have a regular and smooth run without flat spots and sudden bends. Now we get into some fine details when building 16th and 17th Century ships versus 18th and 19th Century ships. The former had wales extending 3 to 4 "beyond the planking and the later 2 to 3 inches.

For the rest of this series of articles, I'll talk in terms of an 18th Century ship that measured 155 feet in length. The scale will be 1:48. So the actual length of the model is 38.6 "In the example above concerning the wale protrusion, you would want the wale to extend 1.5mm beyond the planking.

Now that we are talking about scale let's look at the length and width of the boards used in an18th Century ship. The width was between 11inches and 14 inches which extrapolates to 7mm as the ideal scale width. The length of the boards were between 20 ft and 24 feet or in scale about 5 "" or 140mm.

The most common type of planking is carvel where the individual boards or strakes are butt-joined to each other. For modeling purposes, the most practical method of planking is to attach it in two layers. The first base layer will be a thicker piece of wood that will provide structure and shape to the hull (you can consider this your practice planking layer). The second layer is a veneer that is your finishing layer. For the base layer you do not need to worry about the scale length. To provide extra rigidity, you can glue pieces of wood in between the bulkheads on the inside of the hull. There are strong curves at both the bow and stern ends. You want to pre-form the planks the best you can. There are a number of methods you can use but they all involve water and a jig. Soak your plank in warm water for ten to fifteen minutes. This is just enough time to make the cells of the wood pliable without breaking down the structure of the cell. Place the wet wood in a jig that simulates the shape you need and let dry. For very different bends or extremely thick pieces of wood, you may want to step through this process a few times changing the angles of the jig as you go along.

And now for a few words on plank bending tools. The simplest jig is one that you make out of scrap plywood and nails. Form the nails into a crescent shape and wrap with tape to prevent rust spots on your plank. There are commercially available tools that do the same thing but are adjustable so you can change your angles. Another method is to use an electric plank bender. This is an excellent tool for thick pieces of wood. You will only require to process the plank once and it will hold it's shape. Some builders wet their wood and hold it over a candle flame as they bend the wood. Others make a steam tube out of plumbing PVC pipe that is capped on both ends (one end being removable). No matter what method you use, remember that if you use wood glue to adhere the plank to the frame, you need to let the wood despite dry because wood glue is water soluble (the key to success when gluing two pieces of wood together). At alternative is to use contact cement. The advantage of this glue is that the wood can be applied while damp and in its' most pliable state.

The next useful step is to measure the actual run of the planks on the hull. To do this, divide up the hull at the mid-ship frame into divisions the same size as the width of the planks. You now count the number of planks, and divide each bulkhead in turn into the same number of divisions. If the points so marked are joined with a thin bevel batton, you will obtain the exact run of the strakes. At the ends, the planks should never be narrower than 3.5mm or wider than 10.5mm for a 7mm wide plank.

Start applying the planks one by one, first the starboard side and then the port side. There are a few methods you can use to clamp the boards to the frames while the glue dries. There are clamps with lips that either screw into or attach to the frame and hold the board in place. Because you are applying the inner layer, you can also use brass nails to fasten the board to the frames. The nail heads will sand off so you can leave them in place once the glue has cured. But the best technique is to apply a spot of CA glue (fast dry) to one end of the board for positioning, then apply wood glue to the rest of the board, turn the TV onto your favorite game and while enjoying yourself, hold the board in place with your fingers for about 20 minutes. At the next commercial break, start another plank on the opposite side of the hull. I estimate in a 3 hour game, you should be able to apply 8 boards.

With the first layer now planked wood filler is applied over the entire hull, and subndently sanded off. This is repeated until every crack, groove, dent and bulge has completely disappeared. Make sue that the hull is symmetrical on both the starboard and port side and check the run from bow to stern.

It's now time for applying the finishing veneer layer. For our sample hull we will be applying the veneer in about 5 section runs. The usual pattern of the shift of butts are either three plank shifts or four plank lifts. Just remember that the butts always coincide with the frames. You may want to apply or simulate nails or spikes and you also may want to simulate tar lines in between the strakes. Apply the veneer using the same methods you used to apply the first layer of planking.

Once the hull is planked it is the ideal time to apply a finish. For unpainted hulls, you should use a semi gloss varnish that has been diluted 30% for the first two coats then full strength for the final coat. Lightly sand in between applications.

If you are going to paint the hull and before the model ship's hull can be fitted to a display stand, the underwater hull has to be completed. First mark the waterline on the hull. Once again there are commercially available tools but a block of wood with a pencil attached at the correct height for the ship's waterline works great. Just carefully walk the piece of wood around the stationary hull. Below the waterline the hull was usually painted with wood coal tar which colored it a dark brown or almost black. Sulfur was often added to the tar to offer protection against worm attack. This resolved in a yellowish gray color. The alternative was to paint the underwater hull with a white lead paint, which produced a dirty white finish.

From the middle of the 18th Century, it became common to sheath the underwater hull in copper sheeting. For our purpose, we'll assume that our ship was built after 1850 and was British so it would have had copper sheathing. The size of the sheet would have been 48 "x 15" scaled to 25.4mm x 8 mm with a thickness of.004 "In order to simulate the nail fasteners, you can either purchase preformed pieces or use copper strips cut to size and a 7/16 "pounce wheel to simulate the nail heads The copper sheets usually overlapped from bow to stern and from top to bottom of the hull. So start at the bottom of the stern and work forward and upward. Contact cement is good for adhering the plates to the hull. After installation is complete, clean them and apply a coat of clear protective lacquer

Our next topic will be on planking the deck.

Succession Planning is Crucial to Company Survival

If you run a successful business you may have wondered what you are going to do when the time comes for you to voluntarily or involuntarily retire – then ensuring your business survives and flourishes. Succession planning is important if you want your business to continue after you are gone.

There are a few steps you can take to make the process easier.

(1.) It is never too early to start planning for retirement which includes planning for your business. One of the most important things you can do when you begin succession planning is to obtain an accurate valuation of your business and keep it updated. Knowing your businesses worth will protect your business in the event you must sell or pass it to your heirs unexpectedly. When the time comes for you to retire, already knowing the value of your business will make selling it (or passing it down to family) that much easier.

(2.) It is also important to identify who will be responsible for the success of your business and to determine who has the skills to effectively run your business. The person you want as the new owner may not have the necessary skills to successfully run your business in which case you would have to assign someone else as the manager in charge of business operations. Remember to prepare your successor by providing training, hands-on experience, support and coaching. Tip: Hire a professional HR firm to handle this as it provides a good 'arms length' argument should you need one.

(3.) Because business success affects not only you and your successor, but your employees as well, it is important to address any concerns they may have during your planning. It is important to reassure employees that their position with the company is safe, or if it will be changing it is important to be open and honest from the beginning. Remember open communication and transparency is key to company survival.

(4.) Even the best laid plans may not always work, so ensure you plan for contingencies – develop a 'Plan B'. For instance, if you plan to leave your business to a family member, what happens if they are unable to inherit it because of death or decide they do not want to run the business?

You need time, careful thought and patience to work through a success plan. Last piece of advise – consult with the appropriate experts with respect to your succession planning: your tax adviser / accountant, your banker, your Human Resources expert … they will help the company to not only survive but thrive and you can ride into the sunset, guilty-free and comfortably!

How to Build Your Own Cuckoo Clock

Of all the various kits available from hobby stores and websites across the Internet, cuckoo clock kits are very rare indeed. Why is this? Two reasons: one is that as simple the cuckoo clock’s design may seem (after all, it was invented in 1730), it is actually very complicated and can only be replicated by masters. Minor defects in construction will render the movement meaningless with regard to telling accurate time. There is then the added difficulty of the simulated cuckoo sound.

As easy as it is to assemble finished parts at a company that has been doing it for a few hundred years, it’s very difficult for a beginner to achieve the same success – even when using the same parts. Also, since most of the artistry that draws people to appreciate the cuckoo clock is the look and sound of the finished product, there is no way to create a hand carved, artistic finished cuckoo clock and then disassemble it so somebody else could put it together. It simply cannot be done.

But rest your fears. For the ambitious cuckoo clock enthusiast there remains one way to create a totally unique cuckoo clock on your own. The company clockworks.com specializes in selling parts for all clocks, cuckoo clocks included, can sell you all of the individual parts you will need to create the inner workings of a basic cuckoo clock. You’ll pay quite a bit more then you would if you were simply to buy a finished cuckoo clock but that isn’t what you’re looking for, now is it?

You want to put it together yourself, and with the parts from clockworks.com you can do just that. The only problem is once you’ve got the inner workings you’ll actually have to do the artistic part yourself as well. You’ll have to sculpt a bird to emerge from the wooden doors and enough exterior decorations to satisfy yourself that you’ve done a Black Forest-worthy job. It can be done, but don’t expect a cuckoo clock in a box to come landing on your doorstep. You’ll have to become a master craftsman yourself.

Railings For Stairs

Stair railings are available in a wide variety of materials and styles. The materials you absolutely select will have an awful impact on the ambiance of your home. Material selection also affects the final cost of your stair project, not to mention the safety your stairs provide for guests and family members.

Wood can be used for outdoor railings, such as decks and porches, but vinyl and composite railing is increasingly popular. Vinyl is less tolerable than wood to deterioration from exposure to insects and extreme weather condition. Among woods, pressure treated pine is also less susceptible to pests and rain, but fares poorly in areas where exposure to sunlight is constant, as it loses its elasticity. Composite materials are pricier, but pay for themselves in the long run by offering even greater durability than vinyl, and less sooner to chipping and discoloration. Composite carpets also have a more wood-like texture than vinyl.

For metal stair railings, aluminum, stainless steel, and wrought iron are popular choices. While wrought iron is the most expensive, you can mix it with wood, vinyl or other less costly materials by using the latter materials for the banisters to frame iron balusters, which are sold in sets, ranging from packs of 10 to 200 balusters.

Aluminum offers much of the look and longevity of wrought iron, using a baked enamel coating that makes it more or less weatherproof. For modern, industrial homes, stainless steel is often used for cable stair railings connecting more widely spaced rectangular balusters. Glass and acrylic railing are further options, where balusters are also widely spaced, but have transparent or translucent panels inserted between them with metal brackets.

All of the above options are also available for indoor railings. Wrought iron, and metal in general, is used somewhat less frequently for homes of average size, since it tends to look rather imposing. Wood railing, particularly oak, is the most popular choice, since it blends nicely with hardwood stairs and landings, especially when stained rather than painted. More importantly, oak is a durable, solid material that looks very organic while offering great security. The safety of stair railings is more important the their looks.

How to Refurbish Your Stairs on a Budget

We all want to be proud of our home and make a good first impression on visitors. The staircase is often the first thing people see when they step through the door, so if yours looks worn or outdated it will reflect badly on the whole property. In fact, stairs are such a central feature that a shabby staircase could even lower your home's resale value.

Here are five simple ways to revamp your stairs that will not cost a fortune:

1. Replace the balustrade

Swapping dated balusters, or spindles, for more contemporary ones can make a big difference to the look of your stairs. There are many styles to choose from, ranging from sleek stop-chamfered wooden spindles to modern metal balusters in a variety of designs. You can complete the transformation with fresh newel caps and a new handrail. If you want to make a statement, consider using glass panels instead of spindles for a touch of contemporary glamor.

2. Chuck out the carpet

The current interior design trend for using natural wood has encouraged many people to take up their stair carpet to expose the timber treads beneath. Wood is a warm, timeless material that looks good with contemporary and traditional décor similar, and will not easily fall out of fashion.

3. Stain the stairs

You can give your staircase a new lease of life by using wood stain to bring out the full beauty of the timber. This will nourish and protect the stairs as well as improving their appearance. Many different colors are available. It's a good idea to finish with at least one top coat of polyurethane varnish, to seal in the wood stain and protect the surface.

4. Paint the stairs

Painting your staircase is a great way to add individuality and really make your home stand out. You may decide to paint only the steps, or just the balustrade – or take the plunge and decorate the whole lot for a complete transformation.

You will need to sand down the stairs beforehand, apply a stain-blocking primer then finish off with at least two coats of gloss or semi-gloss paint to achieve a professional-looking result.

5. Lay new stair carpet

Fresh carpet can brighten up a tired staircase – in fact, if your stairs are made of concrete, plywood or MDF it is usually the only option.

If you are sufficient enough to own a timber staircase in good condition there is no need to carpet the steps completely, unless you prefer the look. Instead, you could install a runner – a narrow strip of carpet – down the middle of the stairs and paint or varnish the exposed sections of tread on each side.

Select a durable carpet designed for stairs, preferably with a ratio of 80% wool to 20% nylon. Choose thick underlay and fit the carpet so that the direction of the pile runs down the stairs.

To help your budget stretch that bit further, you could try piecing together several carpet remnants. These will be much cheaper than a full roll, and you might be able to afford a better specification – particularly useful for such a high-traffic part of the house.

How to Deal With a Destructive Cat

Is your cat shredding your furniture? Tearing your wallpaper? Whittling your banister? Most cat owners have experienced the frustration of having Fluffy use all the wrong things as scratching posts. Some owners get so fed up that they resort to the extreme practice of declawing their cat. But this is totally unnecessary; in fact, it is quite cruel. Imagine how you would feel if someone wanted to pull all of your fingernails out? "Oh, do not worry," they would say. "It's not so bad. We'll put you under a general anesthetic first."

No problem right? Of course not – you would suffer terribly after. In fact, you've probably been emotionally traumatized by the whole experience. Can you see that your cat would feel exactly the same if you were to let someone do this to them? Many cats never get over this trauma; some even become psychotic; all suffer tremendous physical pain afterwards. Luckily, it's not necessary. As with people, cat's nails can be trimmed. I have found it easiest to start with them as kittens, and gradually introduce them to the practice. However, I have successfully introduced adult cats to this practice, as well. They will of course squirm a bit and meow a lot, especially at first. However, most eventually became assigned to it, once they learn that it does not hurt. The secret to success is patience, and persistence. You must not push them to far too fast, especially at first. Here are some practical tips:

  • Remember, only the front paws need to be clipped. These are the nails that cats do the most damage with.
  • Start by just getting them used to having their front paws handled. As you cuddle and pet them, get into the practice of first petting, then later holding, their paws. As they get more and more used to it, move on to pushing gently on the pad to expose the nail. It is vital to you successfully reach this stage before you attempt to clip the nails.
  • Start by clipping only one nail per day. You can still keep ahead of new growth, and even get some time off before they grow back. Some people say that the best approach is to bend the front paw at the knee, so that the pad faces up and under the armpit, since it's harder for the cat to see what you're doing, and so gets less stressed. You might try this, though I admit, I have had more success with a light touch and paw gently stretched forward.
  • Cuddle and reassure your cat before, during and after clipping each nail. Take care to clip only the very tip of the nail – just barely enough to take the point off. It is vital not to take too much, or you might cut the quick and cause great pain and bleeding. I use regular nail clippers and have never had a problem, but some vets say that they can damage the nail and so recommend special nail cutters. These can be purchased from a pet supply store, or even from your vet.
  • It's okay to have another family member help you by holding the cat, as long as you do not go so far as to restrain your cat. Remember, a light touch is essential. If you get into a struggle with kitty, s / he will develop a negative association with the practice and you'll have blown any chance of being able to do this ever again, let alone regularly.

Although many cats eventually become quite ambivalent about having their nails clipped, I have come across a small number that just can not be conditioned to accept it. They will scream, howl, struggle and scratch the second you try to hold their paw for too long. Do not let it get to this point. You're pushing it way too far if this is the reaction you're eliciting. In these extreme cases, take your cat to the vet and have them glue on nail covers. These are little rounded tips that blunt the end of the nail. They are a very effective alternative, and though more expensive than just clipping them yourself, it is much cheaper than replacing your furniture, and ultimately more humane than declawing your cat.

Finally, do not forget to provide kitty with a proper scratching post or two. You can even buy a catnip spray to attract kitty to it. And what about that wallpaper that kitty has already shredded – what to do about that? Well, get rid of it, of course! It's 2009 – wallpaper is passe!

Choosing a Karate Class For Your Child

There are so many different types of martial arts, and also many different types of karate.

If you wish to enroll yourself or your child in karate then there are a few pieces of advice you may be interested in. Before we go into the advice there is an interesting bit of information you may like to know, and that is most people will enroll in karate or martial art school because it is the closest to where they live (live).

If you want the best karate training available for you then it is suggested that you follow these simple pieces of advice.

First of all, go and watch a full class or even maybe two, if the instructor will not let you do this, scrub that school of the list strike away. Some instructors will tell you that what they teach is secret and they do not want to share their secrets with outsiders, this is a cop out and just garbage.

Second, Do not sign up for any training when you are away from the school. Just because someone knocks on your door at home or talks to you in a shopping center, does not mean that that school is the best to you.

Thirdly, ask who will be teaching you or your child, is it a highly ranked instructor or will you be passed off on to someone who still seems to be learning for themselves.

Fourth. Ask what qualifications does the instructor or instrucers have, are they government recognized qualifications? Or are they just qualifications that have been presented by that particular school?

This may not seem relevant to you, but it can be very important. Number four is to ask to see or to the school's insurance policies. Keep in mind if there is an accident through bad teaching practices then someone has to be liable. If the person who is running a school is not insured and does not have any assets then the risk is way too high. Most legitimate schools will have insurances including instructor indemnity.

Last but not least is the price that the school is charging, is it comparable to other schools in the area that are offering the same standard of service. Unfortunately the only way you can check this is by visiting each school to see for yourself.

Good luck in your quest, remember a small amount of ground work at the start can make a big difference in the way you train, and the output you desire.

The Best Way of Communication

Communication is very important in our daily life. In our modern life most of us use cell phone to communicate with each other. In my opinion this is not the best way to improve your relationship with others. You did not talk to them face to face, so you can not totally get the response immediately. You can just get the information from their voice only. In your family, communication is also the key point to enhance your love to your parents. Most of the time, some parents can not understand what you are thinking about. So the misunderstanding is unavoidable between you and them. Please do not forget to communicate with them face to face. Parents are parents, they always love you and want you to be better. If you only talk to them via cell phone, maybe there is one kind of barrier between you and them.

In your daily work, communication is the most important ability you have to own. You have to cooperate with your colleague. But how to cooperate with each other smoothly, communication is the key point. Only when you can communicate with them well, you can did a better job. You talk gently with them face to face, and they can easily understand your ideas. All in all, communication is very important in our daily life and the best way of communication is not via cell phone but talking to your friends face to face. Hope all of you can have a good day.