Do not Forget Finials to Finish Off Your Outdoor Spaces

One of the things you can say about finials is they are versatile. In fact, you can use them on curtain rods, bookshelves, as door stoppers and decorations from your banister and your fence and deck! The message is to look around and see where something as simple and affordable as a finial can liven up your space, and since it is spring, we are going to talk about your outdoor spaces.

The first thing to recognize is that these lovely additions come in many different shapes and sizes as well as materials. The most common are wooden but there are also copper finials as well as synthetically produced ones such as Azek's that last almost forever.

The next thing to know is that finials, by nature, are pretty much about decoration. For outdoor purposes, most of them will sit a top a post cap of some sort (mostly wood). If you expect a finial to protect your post cap from the elements than you would be wrong. You need to purchase a post cap for that application. However, to decorate the space, a finial would be perfect!

So now that we know where they go on fences, let us talk about decks as this is one of the main areas that a finial can add to your space. Just like the banister inside, a great place to add wooden finials would be at the top and bottom of the deck stairs. Whether you prefer welcoming pineapple finials or a decorative ball or acorn finial for that application, it will be up to you.

Make sure you follow the manufactures instructions on how to prepare, install and maintain them for long life. Both the wood finials and the Azek ones can be painted, stained and sealed so you can match and know that your purchase will last a long time and be weather resistant.

Also watch out for cheap ones as well when purchasing. Make sure you buy either a redwood or cedar finial for outdoor use. Mahogany is wonderful for inside use but not the best for outside applications. Redwood and cedar naturally work as both an insect and water repellent just making the product that much more tenant for outdoor use.

I have also seen some wonderful uses of finials for entrance marks to make your property stand out for your guests. One of my personal favorites is the use of the copper ball finials that sat on large 8 x 8 posts on either side of an elaborate gate. It created a wonderful entrance and over time the copper turned so you had a different look and feel every time you drve by. It was stunning.

Now that you have a few ideas, walk around your property and discover the places you may be able to add a little something extra to the decor with fence or deck finials. They are very easy to install so you can do it yourself or hire a local handyman to help if you do not feel like you can. Either way, finials are affordable and fun and an easy way to finish off your outdoor spaces!

Protect Your Invention – 2 Inexpensive Legal Ways

There are two legal ways to protect your invention that you will want to consider before spending thousands of dollars on a patent. But before we get into that, you need to understand how intellectual property rights work.

Intellectual Property includes patents, trademarks, servicemarks, and copyright.

A) WHAT IS A PATENT?

A patent allows you to exclude others from making or selling the invention but does not grant you the right to make or sell an invention. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years, and US patent grants are only effective within the United States.

There are three types of patents:

1) Utility patents cover processes, machines, articles of manufacture, composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement of something.

2) Design patents cover the design or look of an invention.

3) Plant patents cover asexually reproduced distinct and new varieties of plants.

A utility patent is the strongest patent an inventor can obtain to protect an idea and how it works.

A design patent, although significantly less expensive, will only protect the way your income looks (shape, color, size, etc), not the way and reason it works.

B) WHAT IS A TRADEMARK OR SERVICEEMARK?

A trademark is a word, name, or symbol used to distinguish your products from others. A servicemark is the same as a trademark except it identifies a provider of a service, not a product.
Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a similar mark, but not from making or selling the same products or service.

C) WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT?

Copyright protects works of authorship: literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, etc. A copyright gives you exclusive rights to reproduce the creation, to distribute copies, and to perform or display the copyrighted work publicly.

A copyright protects the form of expression not the subject matter. So a description of a product can be copyrighted, but someone else could write a similar description, and even produce the product from your description, then market and sell the product. Copyrighters are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

2 Economical forms of Intellectual Property protection

Two very economic forms of protection that you can use in the beginning stages of your idea are a Disclosure Document and a Provisional Patent.

A) The Disclosure Document Program allows you to send in a paper to the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) called the Disclosure Document, describing your invention, "as evidence of the date of conception" of your idea. This record is kept on file for two years, but this is not a patent application, so it will only give you minimal protection. In other words, you need to begin completing your invention and pursuing a patent ASAP. A disclosure document filing costs $ 10 at the time of this writing.

B) The Provisional Patent Application allows you to put "patent pending" on your product, allows you to file for a patent without a lot of red tape, and it allows you to file for a foreign patent in other countries. Filing a provisional patent also allows you to test your idea, find funding, perfect it, establish retail accounts, etc. However, it is only good for 12 months, and during that time you need to file for a full patent.

According to the USPTO, "inventors are strongly encouraged to file a provisional patent application instead of a Disclosure Document". I highly recommend this strategy. It is quite beneficial and only costs $ 80 at the time of this writing.

SUMMARY OF IP RIGHTS

Although this gives you a fair amount of information on intellectual property rights, you will likely get more complete information from a patent attorney. There are areas in which you may want to seek counsel, such as patent writing, and contract negotiation.

There is a great deal that you can learn about your own about writing patents by simply reading through patents that have been published. You can find these online at http://www.uspto.gov . Familiarize yourself with this website, it has many tools that will help you learn more about protecting your ideas.

I learned how to write patents by reading patents that were similar to products I was developing until I was to recognize and understand the language used. This can help you either when you are writing your own patent or having an attorney do it. Either way, you should at least have an elementary grasp of how the document comes together.

As far as filing for copyright, trademarks, or servicemarks, these things are as simple as following directions and filling out paperwork. For trademark, or servicemark forms, contact the USPTO by phone, mail, or email. For copyright forms, contact the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

How Can Softphone Software Help Grow Your Small Business?

Softphone software is so sophisticated these days it is competing the best services offered by the big telephone and cable companies. As a small business owner, I want a phone system that is reliable, can handle multiple calls at one time, and even allow me to send and receive faxes. These are the minimum requirements that I have for a phone system.

With the available softphone software, I have those basic services and even more. In fact, the software that I use serves my company at a mere fraction of the cost that I would spend if I were to use services from the big telephone and cable companies.

Let me describe how we use this service to grow our small business. First, let me say that my team is global. We have employees and associates literally all over the world. However, when a client calls into our 800 number, they think that they are calling one centralized office where all of our workers are located. Little do they know any one of us can pick up the phone from our de-centralized locations? That is the first way to save money in a BIG way. Forget about paying for costly office buildings. And, source out your resources in regions with much lower cost of services.

The next way softphone software helps is in how you add "departments." For example, whenever you need to bring on a new service or employee, you simply add an "extension." That extension can be tied to someone's computer, mobile phone or even to a real phone. This is accomplished by simply assigning that extension within the software itself. Employee is leaving the company? No problem, turn off the extension and / or assign to someone else. This can be done in a matter of seconds. A real live example of this is employee in San Diego quits, but you've hired someone in Chicago … open up your browser, log into your account, and switch the receiving destination from the person in San Diego to the person in Chicago … over even to a person in the Philippines. It's That simple.

Now, what about faxing? Yes, these services can even manage your faxes as well. When you sign up for a service you are given the ability to Incorporate a fax number. The fax number is virtual, which means that you do not have to have a physical machine. Incoming faxes will be stored within your account and / or routed to any email address that you designed. Outgoing faxes can also be sent directly from your email. The beauty of this solution is in its simplicity. Every communication is handled and stored by your computer. No more fumbling around to remember where you put that last communication.

Softphone software can help your small business grow in many other ways as well. In my next installation, I'll explore how call hunting and call forwarding can help you grow your departments without incurring expensive physical office overhead.

The Occipital Lobes and Their (Dys) Function

Because the occipital lobes are located at the back of the skull, they are not as frequently injured as other parts of the brain. However their role is extremely important when it comes to the survivor's vision or lack thereof. Essentially, this region of the brain is the visual cortex-the portion concerned with all things visual.

The curious thing about the occipital lobes is that no matter which side of is damaged, the field of vision is affected more or less equally on both sides. Unlike the frontal or parietal lobes, where injury to one side or the other has a greater effect on either motor movement or some other ability, any significant injury to the occipital lobes produces more or less a unified change in vision.

And although the occipital lobes are not frequently injured, any significant trauma to the brain can cause a drastic change in vision or the prevalence of scotomas-or blind spots-in the field of view.

"The Peristriate region of the occipital lobe is involved in visuospatial processing, discrimination of movement and color discrimination (Westmoreland et al., 1994)."

Visuospatial processing is like misjudging how far away you are from the doorjam when going through it. Discrimination of movement and color discrimination are both kind of self-explanatory, but an example of discriminating movement is like when you are looking at something far-off about dusk or in the dark, and you do not notice it moving. That's when I have noticed this challenge. For those with more pronounced shortcomings to the occipital lobes, the problems may be exacerbated. For the color discrimination, that's simply not being able to tell the difference between different shades or hues. Like navy blue and black, charcoal and gun-barrel gray, etc … My wife would say that I have serious problems in this area-I can not tell the difference between bone, eggshell, ivory or off-white, even though she says she can. I have to take her word for it, because I seriously can not tell.

If the occipital lobe is damaged, it can cause visual hallucinations and illusions. To differentiate, hallucinations occur when their is not external stimuli, while illusions may take the form of specific objects the survivor sees, but there is a change in either the size of the object or of its color. Additionally, there may be problems with "word blindness," or alexia-the inability to understand the written word-when the occipital lobes sustain injury.

While the occipital lobes are located in the back of the skull and do not get injured as often as the frontal lobes or the parietal, they are extremely important regarding all things visual-damage to this area of ​​the brain can produce significant problems for the BI survivor.

How to Use Comparable Sales to Determine the Current Market Value of a Property

When assessing the value of a property, many investors and other commercial property buyers look at comparable sales to determine the true current market value of a property. The comparable sales can show you exactly what properties are selling for, not just the asking price. If you know three or four properties of similar characteristics sold for about the same amount, then you can determine what the value of your property is. Do not ever just look at the asking price, as it can be as far off as the owner wishes. He or she may be dreaming in regards to what the property is really worth!

Comparable sales, or comps, are the properties that have sold around the subject property that are zoned identically, and are about the same amount of acreage. It also helps if the comparable sales are properties that have similar uses.

Comparable sales may not always be the most accurate for your specific property. They could be from many years ago, may not be of similar use, many do not have the same characteristics such as the availability of utilities, or may not have a comparable amount of road frontage, or could be a reasonable distance from the subject property.

In order to get around this problem, you must use the closest properties that you can. You simply adjust the price according to the changes in the market or property characteristics.

For example, if a comparable sale was from 2001, and the current year is 2006, then you can adjust the price according to the appreciation the overall commercial market has experienced in a specific area.

Or, if the subject property has a total road frontage of 200 feet, and the comparable sale property has frontage of 1000 feet, you can adjust the price or value appropriately.

As you can see, finding the true current market value of a property can take some investigation and adjustment in relation to the properties that have sold in the past. The more recent and similar the comparable sale is, the easier and more accurately you can assess the true value of the property.

It is a good idea to collect as many comparable sales as possible and take inventory of each. What are the characteristics? What are the uses? Assess each one individually and then group them together to determine an overall consensus. You should be able to determine the current market value at this point. The more properties you have to pool from, the more accurate a number you will have.

Very often brokers or agents supply you with comps from the area of ​​interest as part of the service of selling the subject property. If you are not familiar with the area, you must be leery of the comps that they send you.

I have received comps of properties in the most affluent areas for a subject property that was positioned in a lower to medium class area which completely misrepresented the true market value of the property. Without I had investigated further and asked many questions, I could have easily taken this property as a true comparable sale, and would have expected a far greater return than what I really would have experienced.

Unfortunately, as much as you want to trust the information that you are given by a source, you must always perform your very own investigation because brokers and agents are there to sell their properties. Many of them are honest and will do the best they can to give you the most accurate information. However, there are those who will dupe a buyer in order to sell the property and receive their commission. It is important to be aware of these tactics. Although we do not like to admit that they happen, they most certainly do.

Comparable sales are really the only way you can determine the true value of a property. It may take a comparable from another city, or even county of identical characteristics to determine the most accurate value. If necessary, ask a trustworthy broker or agent for assistance, as they will know their market inside and out, and be able to point you in the right direction as to what the property is really worth. Get two or three opinions in order to validate any information you might receive.

Hercule Poirot – "The Double Clue" Exposes Hercule's Facade As the Thief Melts His Heart

These made-for-TV movies are among the 41 murder mystery novels originally issued by PBS involving the proper, obsessive little Belgian inspector Hercule Poirot. The character of Poirot (played to perfection by David Suchet) was created by the famous British author Agatha Christie, who wrote her first Poirot novel in 1920 at the age of 30 and her last Poirot novel in 1975, 55 years later and a year before her death in 1976.

The Double Clue – 4 Stars (Excellent)

The dramatization of "The Double Clue" by Anthony Horowitz in 1991 strips something from the original novel written by Agatha Christie in 1923, but remains one of the best Hercule Poirot episodes ever.

Poirot (David Suchet) is called to investigate the theft of an irreplaceable piece of jewelry that occurred during a social gathering at the home of wealthy collector Marcus Hardman (David Lyon).

Only four guests are possible suspects-a millionaire who could buy the missing piece in a heartbeat; a middle-aged society lady who is on hard times; a young, effeminate agent for Hardman; and a Russian refugee, Countess Vera Rossakoff (Kika Markham).

Poirot's assistant-Captain Arthur Hastings (Huge Fraser) -and personal secretary-Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) -pretty much make fools of themselves investigating the case while Poirot is smitten and spends all of his time with Countess Rossakoff. Both Hastings and Miss Lemon are visibly upset because the precise, orderly, rational, meticulous little Belgian detective is so out of character.

Even more upset is Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) whose job is on the line since there have been three recent thefts of precious jewelry and the thief is still at large. Japp is given only a couple of days to solve the case; he sees his livelihood slipping away as Poirot idles away his time with the Countess.

Miss Lemon is distraught. She has been in love with Hercule forever and Poirot never even notices her. Poirot finds the Countess to be the most extraordinary woman he has ever met, a brilliant thief who is the match of his brilliant mind. Will Poirot be able to experience an impulse and yet not act on it?

See how Poirot finds and returns the stolen goods only to have the thief escape into the night.

The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 4 Stars (Excellent)

What chances will a husband take to validate his suspicion that his wife is cheating on him? Hecule Poirot, the master of psychology and human behavior, is almost killed in his quest to solve the murder of the suspect husband. The center of the wife's attention and her suspected lover is obviously implicated and arrested for the crime.

But Poirot can not find the answer to two key questions: Why would he kill the husband, put him in Spanish chest and leave the body there while conducting a party with several guests in the same room, knowing the body could be easily discovered? And if he did not do it, who did and why?

Poirot finds the answers to these questions far more difficult than successfully concealing an ongoing illicit affair. By pushing his gray cells a little harder, Poirot discovers a dastardly execution by a person with no conscience and no remorse.

The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor – 3 Stars (Good)

When a young, beautiful artist-Susan Maltravers (Geraldine Alexander) -marries a much older wealthy owner of a manor-Jonathan Maltravers (Ian McCulloch), could there be a hidden motive beside love? What if a love triangle developed? What if the death of a young girl on the same manor grounds years ago returned to haunt the young wife, driving her out of her mind?

These and other questions are put to rest when Hercule Poirot realizes the elder Maltravers did not succumb due to a recent operation, but rather from a cold-blooded execution. Poirot, however, does not have sufficient evidence to convict the murderer.

Because he is long on theory and short on evidence, Poirot concocts a really scary scene wherein the victim returns from death to confront his executioner.

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

Stained Glass Soldering – A Beginner's Guide

Soldering stained glass can sometimes be frustrating for a beginner. Do not be discouraged; it may take a little while to get really good, but with a little practice and patience, anyone can be an expert. This article describes the best practices for soldering when using the copper foil method.

If you have never soldered stained glass before, it is going to be well worth the effort to practice on some scrap pieces of glass first. I recommend taking four square pieces, wrapping copper foil around the edges and assembling them into one large square. This type of arrangement has the two main types of joints, a single joint where two pieces of glass meet and an intersection joint, where multiple pieces of glass meet. The intersection joint is in the center of the large square where all four pieces of glass meet. This kind of joint can be the trickiest to get looking good. Keep reading, I will explain how to get that pesky joint looking great every time.

Once your soldering iron is hot and the glass assembled, the first step is to tack all the pieces together. Apply soldering flux on all the joints. I have found the easiest way to tack together stained glass is to hold the soldering iron with the flat part of the tip horizontal just above the glass, touch the solder to the iron tip until a small bead forms and lightly touch the copper foil. It does not take much sold to tack the glass pieces together. Start at the edges and work in towards the center making sure to tack every piece. You do not want them moving when doing the final soldering.

With all the glass tacked together, the second step is to solder all the joints. This is typically the hardest thing for a beginner to master. This is mainly because two things must be done at the same time, keeping the soldering iron moving and feeding the solder onto the iron. The key to an even solder line is to feed a consistent amount of solder as the iron is moved across the joint. Feeding too much solder creates large bulging solder joints and not feeding enough solder leads to flat uneven joints. Apply flux to all the joints. Start at the edge of a joint; hold the iron so the flat part of the tip is vertical to the work piece.

As you touch the solder to the iron tip, place it on the joint and begin dragging or pushing (while it is more comfortable) while maintaining a constant solder bead. When you come to an intersection where multiple joints meet, make sure to apply welded about one half inch into each incoming joint. If you do this correctly, all the solder at the intersection will be melted and cool at the same time. This makes that joint look very smooth. Start at another joint and work your way towards the intersection again. This time, when you reach the solder that is sticking out from the intersection, simply melt a little ways into it to join the new solder line with the old one. You should not have to re-sold the intersection again. Do not forget to wipe the tip of the iron frequently on a damp sponge to keep it clean.

One mistake that many beginners make is to pick the soldering iron straight up a joint. This will leave an imperfection in the solder which will have to be fixed later. Instead, move the iron back and forth on the joint so there is melted solder on either side of the tip. Pull the iron off to the side making sure to keep it touching the glass. Once free from the melted solder, you can pick up the iron. The flux will keep the solder from sticking to the glass and make for a very professional looking joint.

Do not get discouraged if, at first, the solder lines are not perfect. Simply drag the iron across the joint again until you get the results you were looking for. After a little practice, you will be soldering stained glass like a professional.

All You Need to Know About Hair Supplies

The hair salon business is a business that requires a lot of supplies. All these supplies contribute in the quality of work this business can offer. The type of supplies needed for this kind of job will depend on the type of style the customers wants with his or her hair. The type of service also determines which of these supplies should be used. Some tasks may be more complicated than others and they would require a longer list of supplies and equipments to be done properly. For instance, there are salons that concentrate on hair styling.

For hair styling a specific set of supplies are required. These hair supplies include a variety of sinks, salon reclining chairs, blow dryers, hair dryers, hair irons, scissors, hair chemicals, and combs. A salon can also merge hairdressing with other types of hair services such as pedicures, facials, manicures, and other supplies required for the job. Other examples of these beauty supplies include massage tables, aroma therapy tools, nail color etcetera, and beds.

If you are just starting to develop in your own salon business, it would be crucial for you to give a good and powerful impression on your business. Competition is just part of the game and you need to gain as much of the customers trust as you can. Customers go to salons where they think they can get the quality service they need and a good reputation would be very important. People can walk into your salon and know immediately if they have come to the right place or not. If they see that you have all the good supplies available, they’d feel more confident with your business and set a good expectation.

It is a very important part in any business to meet customer expectations. One factor which will help you meet these expectations is having the right equipment. This goes without saying that equipments and supplies have to be chosen carefully. Choosing a good supply also depends much on the supplier. It would not be good to settle for suppliers who do not meet your standards even if they offer these supplies at a cheap price. As your business grows, it will demand better supplies and that means better suppliers. And one of the chief skills of a business person is the ability to constantly modify his or her business.

There are industries and stores whose names are already recognized in the market place and you can look into these names and have them as suppliers. These industries and major stores should be able to provide you with the supplies you need to modify your business. A lot of these potential suppliers should be available online on countless sites and you can make inquiries any time you like. You can also look for different guidelines or manuals in choosing the right hair supplies for your business.

Choosing Socket Wrenches

A socket wrench is one of the most important tools anyone should have. These tools come in handy wherever you are a professional mechanic or just the neighbors' handyman. If you want to do your own repairs, invest in good socket wrenches. It seems easy to say that you have to invest in these tools, but actually buying one means you have to choose among a variety in the market. The variations are due to the fact that each type of wrench is good for a specific purpose.

Before you actually buy socket wrenches, you need to figure out what repair tasks you usually do. It's not ideal to go to a tools store and pick the cheapest one you can find. You would know that you have bought the wrong kind only when you are already doing household repairs.

Socket wrenches are essential components of a homeowner's tool box. The job that these tools do may seem trivial. They do nothing else but hold bolts or screws. Can you think of other tools that do exactly the same thing?

The handle of a socket wrench has a spring-loaded bearing where the sockets can be locked. Various sockets can be attached to the wrench. The set becomes a versatile number of tools. Unlike other types, these particular tools are more capable. They are more reliable in tightening and loosening bolts or nuts. These tools are usually used in machinery and automated repairs.

When it comes to choosing the right set, keep in mind that there are many other types in the market. Manufacturers have made various wrenches, each capable of doing a certain task only. It's probably impossible to find one that does everything. The best you could have is a set of sockets, which allow you to do a wide range of mechanical tasks. For beginners, it's probably safe to have the standard set, which is good for general purposes.

Sockets come with six or twelve points. Its purpose is to hold on to a nut or a bolt, but the six-point socket has a tighter grap on a nut or bolt, provided its size matches the size of the nut or bolt being tightened or loosened. Sockets come in sets with all varying sizes. The sizes vary as the sizes of nuts, bolts and screws do. For your everyday needs, get the 3/8-inch set.

Should you look for cheap sockets? No, because quality should be your main concern. Cheap ones are most likely unreliable as they have inferior metal quality. So, they make inefficient tools. Invest in quality ones, those you can use for a long time. There are metric and standard sockets. Get a socket set with both metric and standard ones so that you have appropriate sockets for different types of bolts. Both types are handy during separate situations. But when you do car repair, for instance, you may need both.

You can save on cost by opting for an adjustable wrench, instead of buying a set of wrenches, which would also increase the weight of your tool box.

Make a Woman Fall in Love With These Dating Tips for Men

Dating can sometimes be tiring. It may seem endless. A man may feel that his relationship with a woman is not progressing. When dating seems to have reached a status quo, these dating tips for men could help you push the buttons and finally make a woman fall for you. Read on and learn some of the best dating tips for men.

Show kindness. Most women fall for guys who treat them well. But this does not mean that you will obey her commands like a dog. There is a huge line between being nice and being a rag. Guys who have no idea of ​​dating tips for men end up being treated as a rag. You do not always have to follow what she says; in fact you are free to say no. You can still treat her right by doing things in her favor. If she wants something, do not give it to her right away. But be sure to remember and give it to her when she least expects it.

Learn how to flirt. Adapt a playful attitude. You will reap good results if you use these dating tips. For men, being playful is a weapon you could use to know if a woman is interested in you. If she responds and flirts back, this means that she likes you. A commonly used technique in flirting includes sending mixed signals. This is where you confuse a woman by making her think that you like her and then pulling back as if you are no longer interested.

Focus on the details. Compliment her hair, her clothes, her bag, her shoes, etc. Women like it when men are able to notice their efforts to look more attractive. If you have not read these dating tips for men, you can easily make mistakes that most men do and become selfish. Try to find something different from her every time you meet. Tell her that her earrings look nice on her and that it fits her dress or you can tell her that you like her previous outfit more.

Know where to touch her. Increase physical contact with these dating tips for men. Be observant on her body language if she likes it or not. If she avoids physical contact, move away and initiate contact again later. Start by touching the base of her palms, her forearm, and the area above her knees or her elbow as you talk to each other. These areas have many sensitive nerve endings that may trigger sexual arousal. Use slow, graceful, and firm touch.

Lastly, perform acts of chivalry. Women fantasize about romance. They dream of what they read in novels and watch from movies. Acts of chivalries does not mean you need to ride horses and battle other men with swords. It could have been simple dating tips for men such as opening doors for her, holding her arms as she climb up and down the stairs, or carrying the groceries if it's too heavy for her. All you need to do is show her that you can take good care of her. Use these dating tips for men to break the status quo in your relationships and finally make the woman you like fall in love.

4 Things You Should Know About European Beads

One of the new trends in creating heirloom jewelry is the use of European beads. These types of beads are readily available and can make for some great custom pieces of jewelry. The beads themselves are a little different then the traditional beads we may use. These are constructed from a variety of materials and are three dimensional. They normally feature a large diameter hole that will accommodate a chain. These beads are widely used in the making of what look like charm bracelets. Here are four things you should know about these beads.

Many Styles

European beads are available in many different styles. When using these beads the idea is to create unique, custom jewelry pieces. Some beads will be shiny, others not so much. Some will be larger as to create very chunky types of pieces. With the European style, the beads will be much larger than a traditional bead. In many instances, they look more like a charm than an actual bead. Just remember, if you are making jewelry with these beads, you will have plenty of options to choose from.

Size Matters

With the popularity of European bead bracelets, when making them it is imperative that you choose appropriate sizes. The bracelet should dangle somewhat so, as a rule, measure the widest part of the wrist and then add one inch to determine the size. If you prefer a bracelet that is more snug, then only add ¾ of an inch. The beads that will be added to the bracelet will be larger than traditional ones. That makes it important to create the right size bracelet for the wrist.

What Are They Made Out Of?

You can find European beads made out of just about anything. Some are sterling silver, and some are solid gold. There are also gold-plated, base metal, and glass versions. You may find some featuring cubic zirconia stones, other precious stones, and even Swarovski crystals. As opposed to traditional beads, these ones can often be very pricey, with a solid gold bead going for a $100 or more. Another difference with this type of bead is that the bore, or center hole, is threaded. Most beads have a smooth bore.

Bracelets, Necklaces, And More

You can make several different items using European beads. They do lend themselves to the making of bracelets, but they can be used to make very unique, custom necklaces as well. The larger, more stylish beads can create a very exclusive look. With the larger beads, you can also create pendants that can be worn on a nice gold or sterling silver necklace. These beads will also make some great earrings. You can also make keychains using this style of bead. Remember, though, depending on the style of beads that you choose, your project may be a little more expensive than others that you have completed.

How Many LED Lights Do I Need? LED Light Buying Guide For Solar Lights

The majority of outdoor solar lights use LED bulbs for illumination. Why not fluorescent or incandescent? Well, LED bulbs will not burn out during the lifetime of the product! They are incredibly energy efficient and last for a long time. LED stands for "Light Emitting Diode" and contains a chemical inside its bulb that illuminates when electricity passes through it. Recent advances in technology have enabled LED bulbs to become much brighter so they can be used outdoors effectively.

The benefits of using LED's are clear – they generate very little heat for their size and draw a small amount of electricity. Advances in technology make them the perfect choice for solar products because they last for the entire life of the product. You will almost never have any maintenance cost with outdoor solar lights! Some LED's have even been tested to last 50,000 hours! Compare that to a traditional flashlight which lasts only a few hundred hours and the advantage is clear.

With low cost, no inconvenience, and added safety of outdoor solar lights, replacing your traditional lights is a good choice to save money and reduce your energy use. So how do you know how many LED lights you need? Use this simple guide to determine how bright your outdoor solar lamp or lanterns need to be.

  1. For simple lighting needs, like outlining the edges of a garden path or walkway, you may only need a solar light with 1-2 LED bulbs. This level of light will help direct you where you need to go but will not provide a clear view of the ground. A few LED lights will be about as bright as a night light.
  2. For accenting garden plants, statues, fountains, or other lawn ornaments, choose a solar light with 3-5 LED bulbs. This will provide much more light output and is perfect for accenting your patio or deck. Having an outdoor light with 3-5 LED's is the equivalent of a table lamp and are great for driveway markers, path lights, and outdoor lanterns.
  3. For increased lighting needs, choose a solar light with 6-8 LED bulbs. These lights are perfect for solar lamp posts or porch lights outside your front or back door. This level of light is comparable to a traditional porch light.
  4. For maximum safety and illumination, choose a solar light with 9 or more LED bulbs. Similar to a high-powered flashlight – or spot light if more LED's are used – these are used for security: spotlights, shed lights, and to brighten entire patio or deck areas.

A typical LED will give off the equivalent lighting of a 2 watt bulb. The advantage over traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs is clear. LED's are safer, more dependable, and last longer with no maintenance costs! If you are searching for deck, porch, or path accent lights, LED's are the best choice. Solar products provide a softer, more subdued accent lighting for your outdoor spaces which makes your garden or deck look stunning when the sun goes down.

Why Advertising LEDs and Business Signs Work

Businesses have long used signs to place themselves on the map, draw attention, communicate with customers, and describe their services and locations. Everything from large road-side billboards to the small "open" sign that hangs from the window in the front door. Now, technological advances have finally made it into the business sign industry. The most recent advancement in outdoor advertising has been through the use of LED signs. Here's a closer look at what all this means.

Just what is an LED sign?

LED signs are made up of panels (usually square) that are place together to form a larger projection area. Conventional panels (with discrete LEDs) are most commonly used outdoors (and occasionally indoors as well), although there are also surface-mounted device panels (SMD). Conventional panels have individually mounted LEDs. Images and colors are displayed by thousands of clusters of red, green, and blue diodes. Each cluster forms one, full-colored pixel and all these diodes are even spaced from each other so that the end result, standing a distance back, is a seamless "screen" and viewing area.

Because outdoor LED signs are just panels placed together, the size they can be built up to is virtually limitless (limited more by the computer that is needed to run such a large marketing medium). The largest LED display in the world can be found at the "Fremont Street Experience" in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is over 1,500 feet long. The largest LED television in the world is 11,520 square feet (160 x 72 feet), the Center Hung Video Display at the Cowboys Stadium. But back to advertising outdoors with these powerful lights. There is a difference, as mentioned, between an outdoor LED sign and an indoor one. The outdoor signs are made with larger diodes increasing their viewing distance and allowing the sing to be easily seen while competing with the sun's bright rays.

Why do LED signs work?

LED signs are an effective means of outdoor advertising for quite a few reasons:

1. Branding: Because of its high resolution, these modern signals are great for displaying anything engaging your business, particularly logos and images of products and services. This high-quality advertising is very professional, neat, and crisp looking.

2. Versatile: As an LED sign is hooked up to a computer, what the sign displays can be changed as often as wanted or needed, instantly. This unlimited access also means no extra costs for putting up a "new" ad.

3. Unlimited: As these signs have unlimited changes, they also have a virtual unlimited number of ads that can be displayed at the same time, "scrolling" through numerous ads over the space of a few minutes. This means multiple ads can be displayed at the same time, promoting numerous products or services and targeting a whole host of demographics.

4. Cost-effective: These little lights pack a big punch. Compared to other types of lighting, these do not fade or flicker and actually use less than half the electricity traditional lights use (such as neon or incandescent).

Crawlspace Vapor Barrier Mythbusters

Outlined below are the most common 4 methods I have seen used in installing a vapor barrier. If you talk to different builders, you usually will end up with many different methods of installing a vapor barrier in a crawlspace. Here are the most common:

1. Pea Gravel on top of plastic vapor barrier – This has to be the all time dumbest thing I have ever seen, and yet it is probably one of the most common. I have had builders tell me that the plastic on the ground KEEPS ground water and moisture from coming up from the ground. Now if there is no moisture or water in the soil, this might be possible; but if that was the case there would be no need for the barrier in the first place. So here is the basic idea – ground floor (bottom) – plastic (middle) – 4″ pea gravel fill (top). Once the crawl foundation is built, builders install a 4 – 6 mil plastic on the ground and dump about 4″ – 6″ of pea gravel on top of the plastic. Eventually, what always happens is that water comes in from the walls and the ground floor and ends up on top of the plastic. So what you end up with is a swimming pool liner that holds water in the gravel for prolonged periods of time. Nearly all the water and moisture in the gravel back fill has to evaporate into the structure. Another example of building practices and science turning a blind eye to crawlspaces for decades.

2. Vapor barrier on top of ground floor – By far the most common practice for installing a vapor barrier. A 6 mil polyethylene vapor barrier is placed over any ground floor. Here is the idea – ground floor (bottom) – plastic (top). The ground floor could be river rock, pea gravel, dirt floor, sand, etc. The seams are typically overlapped 6″ – 12″ and almost never taped. While this will temporarily stop some moisture evaporation, it does not seal out moisture from the internal perimeter wall where most water penetration occurs. Also moisture can come up from the seams, and the plastic is not durable enough to crawl on. It nearly always ends up with many punctures and holes in it.

3. Vapor barrier on bottom of floor joists – This is rarely seen, and usually only home owners attempt this. This is probably the method that accounts for more wood rot than any other method. If you are even thinking of doing this, quit thinking and call a professional to fix your crawlspace. Most crawlspaces are vented and the cooler surfaces such as duct work, pipes, and the floor will condensate in the summer. The plastic will trap the condensation up against the floor structure and mold and wood rot will occur. Good intentions do not always produce good results.

4. Vapor barrier fastened to sill plate – There is a new industry in crawlspace repair that encapsulates crawl spaces. The process of encapsulation is to install a heavy think plastic liner on the floor and up the foundation walls. The plastic liner is fastened and sealed to the foundation wall and all the overlapped seams are taped. Every potential gap or seam in the liner is meticulously sealed to prevent any moisture from evaporating. Then the vents are sealed in the encapsulation system to prevent hot humid air from entering in the summer. There is another system being sold and installed out there being represented as an encapsulation system, but is far from it.

This “other” system is a 6 mil plastic that is ran up the foundation walls and stapled to the sill plate. None of the overlapped seams are taped. It is basically a glorified vapor barrier on top of the ground floor being ran up the walls and stapled to the wood. They seal the vents without properly sealing the moisture from the ground floor or foundation walls. The problem with fastening plastic to the sill plate is that moisture will “wick” up the foundation wall, and moisture will absorb into the sill plate and floor joists. They are giving free access to all the moisture under the liner to rot the sill plates and floor joists. Not to mention that all the moisture will evaporate up through all of the seams that aren’t taped and the plastic liner is only 6 mil and eventually will puncture and tear. Be very careful in the contractor you choose to properly encapsulate your crawlspace.

Fireproof Floor Safe

It does not do a whole lot of good to keep people from taking your valuables if you can not protect them during a disaster. Should your house ever burn (God forbid), you want your most precious possessions to be safe and sound, and that is why you need a fireproof floor safe. Let's look at some of the best fireproof floor safes that you can find on Amazon.com.

This Sentry DS0200 fireproof floor safe is one of the most common online. It is classified for up to 1 hour of fire protection. It will protect data storage mediums such as CDs, DVDs, and memory sticks up to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. This Sentry safe has a 3 number combination lock, and is very durable. In fact, it has been tested to withstand a drop up to 15 feet.

This safe has 4 live locking bolts which you can use to bolt the safe to the floor. Let me tell you something – when you get this puppy bolted down, is not nothing gonna move it if you know what I mean. Inside the floor safe is a key rack, and plenty of room to store your most important papers, folders, and legal documents. The interior is roughly 9 "high, 12" wide, and 11 "deep.

Customers that have purchased this product talk about how easy it is to install. Many of them found it convenient to put it in a closet or small room to keep it out of plain view. The safe is very solid and will prove to be very difficult to move should anyone try it – especially if it is bolted to the floor properly. Some people do say that after a while the lock becomes difficult to open. I guess how long the lock lasts depends on how often you have to open and close it, but just be sure to read all the customers reviews so you can get a good feel if this is the right floor safe for you.

And second fireproof floor safe is this DiamondBack GS5930H gun safe. This product is large enough to hold up to 30 guns, and it has "easy-out" gun racks so you do not have to wrestle to remove the guns. It has proven to be fireproof up to 1,250 degrees Fahrenheit, and it has a 1/4 "thick steel door to match its 1/8" thick steel body.

This particular fireproof gun safe is made to be durable. It comes with a Lifetime Fire and Burglary guarantee, so you know DiamondBack believes that they have made a quality product. The door seal is heat activated to protect the contents during a fire. What is about this product the most is the adjustable shelving. It allows you customize the interior just the way you need it to store your valuables.

Now I suggest you buy your fireproof floor safe online because you will find the best prices and selection. Traditional stores just can not compete as well in this industry, and you will find excellent discounts online without looking very hard at all.