How To Mount A Stone So That It Can Be Used For A Charm Necklace

I am assuming this is a tumbled stone, not cut as a jewelry stone with a flat back and definite shape. If so, let me know and we will go one more time.

Here is the answer for a tumbled freeform stone.

The kind of jewelry part (called "finds" in the trade) you want is a bell cap. There are different styles of this. You should be able to find these at crafts stores and if you want gold or perhaps sterling, a jeweler should be able to order for you. A few crafts stores will have sterling findings but most will have only plated items.

To attach the stone to a bell cap, a good adhesive should be used. There are two primary types of adhesive for this purpose. The first is 2 part epoxy cement and the second is a thick single part craft glue. There is a difference in the two: Epoxy takes more set-up time, meaning the cap must be set-up in place on the stone while the epoxy cures. The cement has no strength until some time has passed after the two parts are mixed. The epoxy has the advantage of curing with an almost unseen line and is a neater application.

The thick craft cement will hold the cap in place even when uncured and all may be set aside for a day while the cement cures. The disadvantage of this glue is the thickness and it will show a bit. Still, many crafters like the thick glue because it holds quite well in many kinds of cementing jobs.

BASIC PROCEDURE

Take the bell cap and press onto the part of the stone where you want it fitted. Try to fold the "arms" of the cap to match the contour of the stone fairly closely. Then when cement is applied, all is already fitted to the shape of the stone.

With either cement, do what many folks skip and help insure a good lasting bond. Simply clean the metal cap and the stone with alcohol (household medicine cabinet variety is fine) to remove any traces of oils from the surfaces. Allow to dry and then apply the cement.

Brands recommended: Should be available at crafts stores.

If not, a good craft store should have suitable alternative brands. I do not recommend the 5min cure types since working time is very short. You are better off to support the stone with the cap fitted and set besides for a couple of hours and get a stronger bond. Keep the leftover epoxy mix on the same scrap baggie or whatever you mixed it on, along with the toothpick (or whatever mixing tool). When the leftover cement is cured and the tool is stuck to it firmly, you know the cement is cured. This tells you your jewelry item is ready without having to mess with it while the cement cures.

E6000 crafts cement. This is the one part thick glue. Apply sparingly since it will squeeze out a bit and will settle down to a smoother surface. Be careful of "stringers" of cement on the application tool (again, toothpick or what is handy) since these stringers are messy getting on the wrong places. When cured, the cement may be peeled off of places it should not be.

You will need a "jump ring" (wire loop) or "snap on bail" to hang the stone from a chain. These are also available at crafts stores or at a jewelry store (generally not in mall chain stores, try local folks).

Just do a dry run first and then cement away! Use as little cement as appears needed for a neat and less "crafty" looking finished job.

Hammer Energy Gel Review

Hammer Gel has been around for over a decade providing only quality products. The Hammer Energy Gel has been the benchmark for concentrated carbohydrates energy because of its ingredients-or lack thereof. It does not contain preservatives, artificial colors or sweeteners, or refined sugar.

Hammer Energy Gel has only trace sugar in it so it does not cause you sudden sugar high or crashes. It is recommended by most users who have tried three or four other products. They always say that other products do not compare to Hammer Energy Gel.

Hammer Energy Gel is easily digestible and it does not upset sensitive stomach. With Hammer Energy Gel, you only get the good stuff and none of the bad because it's made with real fruit and wholesome ingredients.

You can even choose from purchasing the single-serving pouches or the more efficient larger jugs. Whatever fits your lifestyle, you only get what your body needs; complex carbohydrates and real fruit.

Below is the product description and details:

  • Rock solid energy.
  • Made with real fruit and wholesome ingredients.
  • Versatile and economic.
  • Gluten-Free and Vegan Friendly.
  • Pure steady energy from proprietary complex carbohydrate / Energy Smart® blend
  • Convenient: sip from flask or mix it in your water bottle, no wrappers or pouches.
  • Versatile: HAMMER GEL goes down great straight, diluted, or as a flavoring
  • Excellent taste in eight assorted flavors – Mix together for more options
  • Economical: about 1/2 the cost of other gels

For more useful information and more consumer reviews about the Hammer Energy Gel , just click on the link.

Mosaic Materials

The tiny blocks or tiles used in making mosaics are still known by the original Latin name – tesserae (sing – tessera). In the modern world, the mosaic artist may select his / her tesserae from a wide range of natural and purpose made synthetic materials. This article will briefly describe some of the options available to the artist or craftsman, for the facing medium of a mosaic artwork. A later article will describe the choices available for grouts and adhesives.

Stone:

The Ancient Romans were the first nation to exploit the mosaic art form on a large scale. They used mainly natural stone or sometimes pieces of baked tile or polished marble. With a fairly limited palette of colors, their craftsmen created many magnificent mosaic artwork, embellishing walls and floors, that remain as bright and clear today as when they were first created, even after the passage of some two thousand years. In those days, cutting the stone into even square cubes to make the tesserae must have been a laborious task. Today natural stone is cut commercially by diamond bladed saws to supply the artist with very even and reliably inexpensive mini tiles, which can find application for a multitude of purposes – though some artists prefer to use natural round pebbles, to provide the specific effects that they are looking for.

Glass:

Vitreous glass tesserae are the cheapest and most widespread mosaic tiles in common use and are used in great numbers by builders and tilers for common tasks such as shower bases and swimming pool edging, but these useful mini tiles can be adapted for artistic craftwork. They are usually supplied on a backing sheet of light fabric mesh or even of paper, from which they are easily washed with warm water. Each vitreous tile is usually 20mm square and is extremely durable and almost completely resistant. Clear glass tesserae are more expensive and are used for special effects, where light plays an important role, similar to stained glass. Broken glass from bottles is often particularly tumbled with or without abrasives to give a sea worn look.

Smalti:

Smalti are opaque glass tiles, made by a traditional casting and cutting process in Italy, and are considered by connoisseurs to be the supreme mosaic materials. They come in an almost infinite range of brilliant colors. The molten glass is stained with minerals and may have gold or silver leaf incorporated within them to give incredible sparkle. They were originally developed for use in Church art in the Byzantine era especially for icons and were used throughout the medieval and renaissance periods to produce magnificent art for the cathedrals of Europe ..

Mirror Tiles:

These are commercially available and are used extensively in modern craft work.

Ceramic Mosaic Tiles:

These can be bought from craft shops and builders merchants and are sold either on cards or loose and are not too expensive. The range of colors and textures is immense. You can save money by cutting your own from reject wall tiles or from broken crockery.

Metal Strips:

Nowadays it is fashionable to create attractive show pieces, using squares or strips of reflective metal, such as brass, copper, aluminum or stainless steel to create the mosaic effect. More Traditionally gold leaf and silver were once used in Church and Palace art – sometimes in conjunction with gemstones and semi precious stones.

Plastics and Resins:

There are thousands of modern materials such as sheets of plastic material that can be cut or cast into tesserae blocks for use in mosaics or in the case of resins the tesserae are formed by being into molds. Resins are useful as reflective metallic filings and thin foil strips are easily incorporated to give a sparkle effect.

I hope this short discussion of materials was helpful and will have demonstrated that the modern mosaic artist need only be limited by his / her own imagination in making the choice of materials preferred for this fascinating art form.

Concrete Dissolver

The Quandary of Removing Cement from Masonry Tools and Equipment

Ugh, your masonry trowel is caked with dried up mortar. What do you do?

You have three choices:

  • Throw it out.

  • Work with it as is.

  • Clean it off.

The first two options are not satisfactory. If you toss your mucky tool, you have to go buy a new one. If you continue working with an unclean implement, your workmanship suffers.

It makes sense to protect your tools and keep them in good working order ready for the next day’s work.

Historical Context

Taking care of tools and cleaning up residual mortar and concrete has been a necessity for ages.

“Old Stone Age” humans surely cleaned their implements especially of blood after a day’s kill. (Sorry to mention gore but these were hunting times.) Large pebbles found along a river’s edge were nicked to create early tools and in these waters is likely where they were washed. We can assume even 40,000 years ago people chose to maintain rather than throw away tools they’d made.

Furthermore, mortar–a pliable substance used to join parts together– has been a building improvement since 6500 BCE. This mud and clay tactic was replaced around 500 BCE when Greeks discovered that pozzolana (volcanic ash around Pozzuoli, Italy) created a better bond when mixed with lime and water.

Before the 1st century CE the Romans strengthened the formula by varying aggregate (fine to coarse) with lime and water. Their results were Roman mortar (with sand) and Roman concrete (with broken stone) that streamlined the building process.

Construction of the Colosseum is a prime example, even though it took 10 years (70-80 CE) to finish. It was restored in the 1800s and more recently in 2016. Repairing such a massive structure meant a lot of masonry tools and equipment were lined up for clean up detail.

Portland cement (PC or cement), named for the English Isle of Portland, gained popularity in the 1800s. This powdered limestone additive bonded quicker and harder and soon became the norm. Proportions of PC and varied aggregate make up the concrete, grout, mortar, plaster, and stucco we use today.

Cleaning Tools

It is important to clean concrete and mortar off of extraneous areas and tools after working with these materials. Extraneous areas can mean smears or splatters of concrete where they should not be. While the best way to cleanse excess from tools is to wipe it off while it is still wet, this is not always possible. However, there are ways to get rid of thick concrete and mortar.

Safety First

Take precautions if you are using any of these methods. Remember your Personal Protective Equipment or PPE. Make sure to put on safety goggles, and if you are handling acids or dissolving agents, wear gloves. Nitrile ones are strong and flexible.

Mechanical Methods

First, the physical route. Knocking off clumps of congealed cement works very well for tools. But what about large equipment and vehicles?

While care can be taken to avoid damaging surfaces with a wire brush, it is best to avoid this method if excess concrete is being scrubbed from a scratch-prone material. Glass or paint, for instance.

Pressure washing might be unnecessary overkill.

I’d read on a forum once how a mason rubbed off his dirty trowels in sand throughout the day. One replier agreed until seeing that feral cats were treating his pile as one big litter box. In other words, stay sanitary.

Chemical Types

Several household acids can be effective in disintegrating concrete and mortar, including hydrochloric (muriatic) acid and vinegar. However, high concentrations are often needed. Beware that generic muriatic acid often contains metal contaminants and is potent. It absolutely must be diluted.

ALERT: Slowly add any acid to a bucket of water and not the other way around. You do not want to taint the chemical. More important, you do not want the concentrate to splash up and harm you or anybody/thing else.

Rinse off with plenty of water once satisfied, and be prepared to touch up the area. Using such strong homemade mixtures will often lead to spotty-looking results, but it gets the job done. Well, sort of.

Proprietary Products

Retired masonry-teacher-writer Dick Kreh describes a proprietary product in his glossary as

“a chemical compound protected by a patent, copyright, or trademarks, which is used to clean masonry work.”

Today many solutions are safer and more effective. Different cleaning agents address specific problems and take into account varied factors. Examples of some distinctions are listed below:

Project

  • New construction

  • Concrete repairs

  • Historic restoration

Substrate

  • Brick

  • Stone

  • Tile

Feature

  • Color

  • Glaze

  • Texture

Problem

  • Efflorescence (white salty deposits) on exterior masonry walls

  • Hardened cement on tools, equipment, vehicles, and ancillary areas

  • Smoke stains on a brick chimney

Identify the problem, then address it by cleaning in the mildest way possible. Applying a manufactured tried-and-tested product rather than settling on a cheap, homemade measure might be prudent.

All Cleaning Is Basic.

According to cleaning guru Don Aslett, any cleaning involves these actions:

“eliminate, saturate, dissolve, and remove.”

That is, you get rid of loose debris, apply your cleaning product to the soiled spot, wait while it works, and remove what remains.

Concrete Dissolver (CD)

In general, here is the above 4 step procedure using concrete dissolver:

  1. Wipe off as much loose material as possible. There’s no need to agitate. Just wait for the solution to do its magic in the third step.

  2. Cover the soiled area with diluted concentrate. Spray on or use a nylon brush (brush & bucket method). Some concrete dissolvers foam up on the spot and do not run.

  3. Let the compound dwell (sit for bit). Say, 15 to 20 minutes. Give the chemical ample time to penetrate and separate the cement bond. Do not let the mixture dry up. Re-apply if necessary.

  4. Rinse off the pasty residue.

That’s the process in a nutshell.

Real Life Examples

Concrete dissolver will break down any Portland cement product. Here are two from-our-experience examples:

Power Tool: Wet Saw

  • We rent out a wet saw with diamond blades and table for customers to cut tile and so forth.

  • When it’s returned, the saw and body are encased with dried up plaster dust. Splatters are all over everything.

  • We spray the entire unit with concrete dissolver (already-diluted) and let it dwell as long as possible without letting the solution dry out. The foaming action before it dries out seems to increase dwell time.

  • After the hardened material liquifies and turns to mush, we rinse it off with water sprayed out of a garden hose nozzle. We make sure all residue is gone.

  • Then, we spray WD-40 on a rag and wipe down the contraption for a final cleaning all over. We look at all moving parts such as bolts and fittings and lubricate as needed with 321 oil using a grease gun.

  • Last, we put the wet saw kit safely away so it’s stored and ready for next time.

NOTE: For this job we prefer grabbing our already-diluted-CD easy-spray-cap bottle. Exercise safety precautions at all times. In this instance, wear PPE and never clean power tools when they are connected to electricity.

Hand Tool: Masonry Trowel

  • Expect a mess whenever working with hand tools around masonry work.

  • We try to clean up, as we go, but aren’t always able to prevent buildup. At the end of the day we clank hand tools to loosen off what mortar or concrete pieces we can.

  • Next, we immerse our crusty tools in a bath of diluted concrete dissolver in a plastic tub. After 30 minutes or so, we take them out and rinse off residual slop if there is any.

  • Finally, we wipe them down to finish the cleaning with WD40 metal cleaner that helps resist rust.

NOTE: For this job we prefer to keep a larger container of CD concentrate on hand and dilute it ourselves. We fill up a plastic tub with a dilution ratio of 4:1. That’s four parts water and then we add one part CD to it.

Concrete Dissolver Attributes

  • Biodegradable (molecular structure originating from sugar cane)

  • Liquid (color varies by manufacturer)

  • Less Corrosive (to metals e.g. aluminum, copper, stainless steel)

  • No Fumes

  • No Odors

  • Nullifies with Water (weakens its effectiveness)

  • Safe on Ancillary Areas (except concrete because it breaks up cementing agents) NOTE: OK for paint, plastic, wood surfaces and more. Ask expert if unsure.

  • VOC Compliant (meets regulations for volatile organic compounds)

  • Options: Already Diluted Solution, Spray Cap, Different Sizes (ranging from 22 fl. oz. to 55 gallon drum and custom requests), Foam Solution (not runny)

Other Points

I’m using a washing your car example to illustrate aspects about concrete dissolver (CD). The abbreviation CE stands for car example. The material, equipment and cleaner might differ between CE and CD, but the mindset is the same.

  • Read Instructions – on the CD container and in the MSDS (material safety data sheet). Heed precautions. That means being PPE-ready by wearing safety equipment. Keep first aid handy.

  • Arrange Work Area – Where will you set up (cleaning) shop? CE: Before you wash your car, you know where you work and have the materials nearby.

  • Watch Climate Control – Be mindful of hot and cold temperatures. CE: You wait for a temperate day to wash your car. Too hot and the solution might bake. Too cold and the solution might freeze. The same goes for outside masonry work.

  • Dilute Concentrate – Some CD comes already diluted. If not, follow product instructions about how to proportion.

  • Do Not Rinse First – Concrete dissolver does not work in water. Let it dwell and then rinse, not vice versa.

  • Trial Run – Test an inconspicuous area first.

  • Straighten & Store – Value others your live and work with. Clean up your cleaning area and supplies. Tighten the CD cap and store container away from pets and children. CE: You always clean up after washing your car. You put your car wash materials away, clean and safely stored until you need to use them again.

  • Seek Advice – Talk to your local building supplier or tool distributor about how to keep your masonry tools and equipment in good condition. Ask them about CD, how to use it, and any questions or concerns you have.

  • Common Sense – Always use it.

Cleaning is a building best practice.

Prepare for cleaning before actual masonry work begins. Emphasize its importance in phases of your project when:

  • Planning (cleaning as a factor to take into account)

  • Constructing (cleaning ongoing as able while working)

  • Cleaning Up (cleaning daily, weekly, upon project completion)

Whether you’re a DIYer or on-the-job contractor, masonry is a messy job and cleaning must be a variable in your thought process. Indeed, cleaning is an aspect of vocational training. Apprentices are taught to clean up their sites–including the tools and equipment they use.

The non-profit World Skills organization suggests that in concrete construction

“the individual needs to know and understand the purposes, uses, care, maintenance and storage of tools, equipment & materials” and “the individual shall be able to plan the work area to maximize efficiency and maintain the discipline of regular tidying.”

Masonry textbooks organize assignments strategically by:

  • Objective (what outcome the student should achieve)

  • Materials (what tools, equipment and supplies will be used)

  • Procedures (what steps students will take to finish the assignment)

Instructors also share their experiences and offer guidance. And students are graded on their work.

Tackle maintaining your tools the same way: Strive for an “A.”

Concluding Remarks

Prior knowledge of yesteryear and technical improvements impact us every day. Why not take the drudgery out of masonry clean up, if there’s a better way?

Concrete dissolver melts stiff mortar and concrete off your tools and equipment. It’s easy and simple.

The Morbid, Dutch, Renaissance Artist – Hieronymus Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch was a renowned Dutch painter of fifteen and sixteenth centuries. His real name was Jheronimus (or Jeroen) Anthonissen van Aken and El Bosco in Spanish. Hieronymus Bosch was born sometime around 1450 in a family of artists & artisans, and therefore, great up learning several art skills. His childhood was spent in the city of 's-Hertogenbosch or' Den Bosch, 'which had a number of glassmakers. They deeply inspired Hieronymus Bosch vis-à-vis his artistry. In 1463, a major fire destroyed about 4000 homes in the town. This incident is believed to have influenced young Bosch, resulting in his usage of the images of demons, half-human animals, and machines in his paintings. The objective might have been to create fear and confusion in the minds of people.

Hieronymus Bosch lived during the 'Dark Ages,' when the world was undergoing a transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance period. During this phase, fear and violence were rampant, and the church was in a position of power. Uncontrolled and the ruthless rulers of the era compounded the woes of the common person. Bosch was a sensitive artist with a keen observation. He could lift these images from everyday life onto his canvas for painting. Hieronymus Bosch's works of art are mainly the morbid interpretations of hell, death, sin, and folly. His works were much ahead of his times, as he specialized in the use of 'Symbolism' and 'Iconography.' A few examples of these symbols include 'fruit' for carnal pleasure, 'flames' for the fires of hell, 'mussel shells' for infidelity, 'ice skaters' for folly, 'eggs' for sexual creation, and 'ears' for gossip .

At the age of thirty, around 1479-81, Bosch married Aleyt Goyaerts van den Meervenne, the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in 's-Hertogenbosch. The couple then moved to Oirschot. He later became a member of the famous religious group, 'The Brotherhood of Our Lady,' of 's-Hertogenbosch. Famous among Hieronymus' works are "The Garden of Earthly Delights," a 'Triptych' that was filled with the symbols of sin. His other works include "Death and the Miser," "The Ship of Fools," "Christ Carrying the Cross," where Bosch expresses his views on religion, "The Haywain," and "The Temptation of St. Anthony."

Bosch sold his paintings to illustrious buyers and received hefty responsibilities from them. When he became very successful, Hieronymus changed his surname from van Aken to Bosch, in order to propagate the name of its native place, 's-Hertogenbosch. Bosch was fascinated with religion, politics, astrology, black & white magic, and alchemy. His fascinations remained at an intellectual level and were never experimental. Hieronymus Bosch died on August 09, 1516. His works are considered an inspiration to the 'Surrealist' movement that started in the twenty century.

Need Crystals For Chandeliers? Shop Online

If you have been thinking about updating an old chandelier and just need new crystals for chandeliers, you can find a wide variety of them online, along with any other chandelier accessories you may need. You can breathe new life into an old eyesore by changing the crystals and updating the other parts of an old chandelier as well.

Hobbyists who like to restore things can find a treasure trove of chandelier accessories and crystals online. Sometimes you can find an incredible bargain on a chandelier at a flea market or estate sale that needs a little TLC and some new parts to make it glimmer once again.

Sometimes, a quality chandelier is replaced simply because it is missing one or more crystals, which can throw off the whole look of the fixture. Instead of throwing it out and buying a new chandelier, consider replacing the crystals. In fact, you can easily find high quality crystals for chandeliers as easy as you can find the budget kind. There are websites that deal in fine crystals, such as Strass and Spectra. If you have had a hard time finding replacement crystals for a unique chandelier then you may want to give the web a try as many dealers carry hard to find replacement crystals.

You may just want to replace the chain to your crystal chandelier. Maybe you need one that is longer or you would like to update the design of the chain. Just like the quality of the crystals in the chandelier different, so do the ones in the chains and you can find chains for crystal chandeliers in a variety of price ranges.

Maybe you have clear crystals on your chandelier that you would like to replace with colored crystals. Or maybe you inherited a chandelier with colored crystals that you do not care for. You can easily replace the crystals with any color and grade of crystal that you desire. You can also choose the shape of the crystals you would like for your chandelier.

You will want to take care and order the right size replacement crystals unless you are refurbishing the entire chandelier, including the branches. If you are just replacing the crystals then you will want to get crystals that are the same size so that they will hang without any problems. You will find that you have a wide field to choose from when you search for crystals for chandeliers online.

Information About Biker Patches

Biker patches are used to distinguish biker clubs from one another. While their main purpose is to denote affiliation, the design can be used to express one’s belief, achievement or certain deeds the biker has done.

The One, Two and Three Piece Patch

The one-piece patch usually refers to motorcycle associations; the two-piece often means the rider belongs to a club (this convention is followed by most motorcycle clubs). The outlaw motorcycle clubs use the three-piece patch.

Outlaw clubs are not recognized by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA). The design of the patches will vary per club. However, the top and bottom shapes are almost always shaped like crescents. They are called rockers. It should be stressed however, that the three-piece biker patch are also worn by some non outlaw bikers.

Common Patch Designs

The 1% patch is worn by outlaw bikers as reference to the AMA claims that only 1% of US bikers disobey the law. A patch with an Ace of Spades serves notice the biker will fight for what they believe in till death; a flag patch can denote the biker’s place of birth or lineage.

There are also patches that denote the biker’s position in the club. There are specific patches for club president, vice president, secretary, sergeant-at-arms etc.

Other Types of Patches

A lot of patches come with wings, but the meaning varies. The wings and colors can mean a lot of things, but most of the time it can refer to sexual acts or crimes committed by the biker.

The F.F. patch means ‘club name forever, forever.’ There are several versions of this patch. Hells Angels, for example, uses the patch A.F.F.A. The 9er means the rider has Indian blood.

The Number 13 Patch

This patch has several possible meanings. Almost always, the 13 stands for M, the 13th letter of the alphabet. But the meaning of M depends on the clubs. Some say it stands for marijuana, others say it means motorcycle while others state it is methamphetamine. However, a lot of clubs have hidden meanings for the letter M, known only to its members.

Meaning of Other Patches

Men of Mayhem patches are given to a biker who has killed on behalf of the club. Rally badges (or pins) are given out to those who attend bike rallies. The rally can be for a number of reasons, but most do it for charity work.

Skull and crossbones mean the biker has gotten involved in a fight and probably killed someone. The skull and bones can also refer to other crimes committed on behalf of the club.

Some bikers also use the Swastika and Nazi symbols. These do not necessarily imply the biker is a Nazi. Rather it is used to invoke outrage among authorities and citizens. The patches are also used by outlaw bikers to ridicule people not in their club.

As the information above makes plain, biker patches can mean different things. Although the types vary, they all symbolize something of the biker and club, whether they are outlaws or law abiding citizens.

All Snowed In – Snow Removal Tips

With this recent blizzard that just hit the East Coast you need to make sure that you're ready for getting yourself out of it. Whether it be to use a snow blower or most commonly the snow shovel you need to know how not to hurt yourself when removing snow. The way we usually approach it is first looking at it, being overwhelmed and then just taking it like there's no tomorrow. Huge shovel after shovel of snow and lifting, throwing and turning while using movements that we generally do not use on a day-to-day basis and working muscles that are not used to all this work. When it snows we number one have to move all the cars and trucks to the back of the lot but then we have to still brush everything off and still have plenty of snow that needs to be removed and when you're removing snow from over 150 cars and trucks you need to know what you're doing and not hurt yourself doing it.

We have put together some helpful snow removal tips. Even though a lot of the snow from this storm is already starting to melt you should be prepared for next time and future snowfall.

You may not realize how much of a workout snow removal actually is so before you even approach the snow you need to warm up your muscles. You should stretch almost like an athlete stretches because you use so many different muscles including your back, shoulders, hamstrings and many more. You will also want to dress in layers so that you can remove them as you work because you will start to sweat – a lot – and have to dress properly for snow removal. Also, make sure that you also take enough breaks and when you catch your breath make sure to stretch again before resuming work.

You should also be using your leg muscles to help push the snow and when you're lifting it.also keep in mind that you want to keep your back straight when lifting snow to avoid straining your back and do not overreach. The best method is to hold the shovel as close your upper body as possible especially when working with heavy snow and you should hold one hand close to the blade of the shovel which will help with better leverage and remember not to twist your upper body as your throwing snow which could actually lead to some back issues.

Do not forget to keep hydrated especially with water or Gatorade because you're going to sweat a lot and you will lose a lot of fluids – so you want to make sure you keep those fluids and keep drinking to stay hydrated through the snow removal process.

And as much as you may not think the sun is very bright and strong because it's freezing outside you have to realize that the sun during this time a year is actually quite strong. I know a couple times when I've gone snowboarding I've come home with snowburn because the sun is actually stronger than you think in addition to reflecting off the white snow too. With this in mind you should clean an area where some darker colors are exposed (like asphalt or concrete), spread some salt and then the sun should start to melt the remaining snow and ice.

Finally if you can find someone to work with whether it's a friend, family member or even the neighbor this will help make shoveling more enjoyable but more importantly will create less stress on yourself and on others by working as a team and you will also get the job done much quicker.

We hope that you will use these helpful tips when shoveling snow. The main thing is make sure to keep hydrated and use proper techniques when pushing, lifting and shoveling the snow to avoid injury to your back or other muscles. Do not forget to stretch before and during breaks and extremely enjoy the snow, stay safe and have a great winter!

7 Effective Exercises For Every Teen’s Fitness Transformation!

I am glad I have an opportunity to share with you an outline of effective exercises any and all teens should begin to utilize in their own lives.

I recognize not every person has access to a commercial fitness gym or access to high dollar equipment so I have created a list of exercises that anyone can begin doing without having to spend a ton of money.

Here you go… a list of effective exercises that I know can and will help transform your body into a well- conditioned machine!

1. Push-ups

They are not fancy but they are an excellent exercise to build functional strength for the entire upper body. I would suggest you begin doing as many push-ups as possible each day. As you become more proficient, begin doing multiple sets of push-ups throughout the day. You will begin to see more definition in your upper body and feel more physically fit with each set.

Remember this is a basic movement you can perform pretty much anywhere you want. So start pushing the floor and you will most definitely see the results!

2. Bodyweight Squats

Place your feet shoulder width apart and SQUAT!

At the bottom of the movement your legs should be parallel to the floor and remember to keep your back as straight as possible. The squat is one of the greatest exercises you can do to develop strong leg muscles as well as core strength.

As you work your way up to hundreds of reps… you can change it up by jumping at the top of the movement. As you jump… pull your legs up in to your stomach. This exercise alone will increase your jumping ability and overall quickness for any sport or just for overall fitness.

3. Pull-ups

Find a pull up bar or some monkey bars at a park. Pretty simple movement…pull yourself up as far as you can. Do as many repetitions as you can knock out. This exercise is great for building strength in your arms, back and shoulders. The pull-up is a major compound movement that will give your upper body the strength and thickness you desire.

4.Leg Lifts

I was first introduced to this exercise when I was playing little league football. I can still hear my coach yelling… 6 inches… not 12… 6 inches. You see this movement is brutal!

Lay on your back and lift your legs about 6 inches off the ground. You will definitely need to tap in to your mind to push yourself past the pain. Keep your legs straight and your feet together. This exercise will strengthen the entire core region.

5. Rope Jumping

Get yourself a decent jump rope and start jumping. I usually shoot for 1000 jumps each session. Now as you progress… add an additional 100 reps each week or so.

This exercise builds leg strength… improves quickness for a variety of sports… and burns off the goo from all those burgers and fries! As you progress… you will feel empowered to tackle any obstacle that comes your way!

6. Ab Wheel

The first time I saw an ab wheel I was working as a fitness trainer. One day as I approached the main workout area, this guy was on the floor rolling a wheel around. I asked him if it really worked and he said it was the best exercise he had done for his core region. I purchased one myself and I would have to agree…it’s a great workout. The movement not only kills your abs but it is great for your arms, shoulders and chest.

7. Power Sprints

Another great exercise you can do pretty much anywhere.

I utilize a large field by my home and knock out 15 to 20 sprints each session. I would suggest warming up by doing some walking or light jogging. I usually start with build- ups. I start fairly slow for about 20 yards and then gradually accelerate for another 30 or 40 yards. After your muscles are warm, you can increase your speed for each sprint. Again… this exercise will strengthen the entire body and make you feel like a million bucks!

There you go… 7 great exercises that will help assist you on your physical fitness transformation. Now remember… I can give you great exercises all day long but if you don’t take the initiative and actually implement these in to your daily routine… you will not reach your fitness goals and dreams. Embrace the daily disciplines it will take to begin these exercise and you will most definitely transform your entire life!

Elevators – Top 4 Most Used Types of Home Elevators

Some people are thinking that installing an elevator is luxury and some people, necessity. If you are one of those who think that means luxury, it's all right; I'm not saying that installing home elevators is a must. At least that you can do is to read this article and maybe you'll learn something about the lifts. If you are one of those who think that means necessity I want to tell you some details about the most used types of elevators for home appliance.

The most used types of home elevators are: hydraulic elevators, electric (traction) elevator, pneumatic lift elevator and overhead winding drum. Hydraulic lifts are the most secure and the most used home elevators. These lifts are operated by hydraulic rams also known as a "hydro rams". They are pumps that cycle the water, supplied by hydro-power.

There are a few types of hydraulic elevators, known as "roped-hydraulic", "hole less", and "in ground". "In ground" systems must have a huge hole at the lowest level of the house and has to be drilled down, with depth same as the length of the lift trajectory. That's because the cylinder is moving down through the hole as the cab is moving up. Sometimes there are no possibilities to drill this hole. In that case are using "hole less" systems because on each side of the elevator they are using a pair of hydraulic jacks as a moving force. Roped-hydraulic system is alternative when it's not possible to drill hole for the cylinder and the cab travel is greater than the "hole less" systems can provide. They are combination of hydraulics and routes connected to jacks, controlled by friction governor and governor-tension sheave.

Electric also known as traction elevators have two types of traction systems. The traction systems can be geared or gear less. The geared systems can be power supplied by alternative or direct current. Geared machines are using to control the moving of the cab. The cab is connected by big steel rods and they are rolled by high-speed motor over drive sheave. The gear less system includes alternative or direct current high-speed gear less motor which is attached to the drive sheave directly without using steel rods.

The third type is the pneumatic elevators . These lifts can carry only one or two people and their cab is moved by pneumatic system by creating air pressure difference between the top and the bottom of the cylinder tube. No cables, no pistons and no pulleys, just like the elevators in the "sci-fi" movies. The aluminum and glass are the only materials used in the process of manufacturing of these residential lifts.

The last of the four types is overhead winding drum elevator. As we can absorb from their name these types of residential lifts, an overhead winding drum is used to manipulate with the elevator cab, so there's no need for machine room because the winding drum machine is placed at the top of the elevator hoist-way.

I hope that this information was quite helpful for you and as a potential buyer you've got some clarifications about the types and subtypes of home elevators. I'm sure that you'll make the right choice and you'll install the most suitable elevator, according to your requirements.

Artist’s Signatures – How Do They Change the Value of Art?

Signed in pencil, signed in the plate, what does all of this mean? The way a print is signed and it’s impact on the value of the art causes a great deal of confusion. You will see prints that are unsigned, signed in the plate, stamped signature, estate signed and signed with a blindstamp. There are no hard and fast rules about how an artist should sign their graphic art. It is more important to know what the normal procedure was for the time period and what the normal practice was for that particular artist.

Centuries ago, most artists never considered signing their art. Numbers of pieces are unsigned, but that does not mean that the artist is unknown or that it was not done or approved by him or that it has no value. Rembrandt, considered one of the greatest etchers did not sign a number of his etchings. Most of the modern masters, Picasso, Chagall, Miro, did not sign certain editions. This is when it is important to work with a knowledgeable dealer since unscrupulous people have forged pencil signatures on authentic art in order to command a higher price.

Signed in the plate means that the artist has signed their name in the matrix (wood, metal, stone, etc) so that it is printed within the art. This is the way that an artist would sign their work up until the 19th Century and many of the earlier artists would not have done that much if it had not be decreed by guild law. Generally speaking, because in art there are always exceptions, a plate signed work of art is more desirable than an unsigned piece, but is less desirable than one signed in pencil. Since artist from the 14th to late 19th Century did not sign their art in pencil, the lack of a pencil signature has no impact on the value.

Signed in pencil is usually the type of signature that collectors prefer.

It has become a tradition for the artist to sign their name in the lower margin under the image. They may also include the edition number, title and date. We can thank James McNeil Whistler for helping to introduce and promote the hand written signature at the end of the 19th century. The hand signed signature signified the integrity of the print, that it is original and distinctive from a reproduction. Whistler charged twice as much for his hand signed pieces than he did his other pieces from the same edition, even though there was no difference in the quality of the art. Seymour Haden would sign his name to any of his earlier unsigned etchings for a guinea. Picasso sold 15000 signatures for the Vollard Suite.

Unfortunately, the hand signed signature no longer has this same meaning since many artists sign and number their offset lithographic or giclee reproductive prints. Nor is this a new phenomenon, Kathe Kollwitz signed photolithographic reproductions of one of her aquatint series. Still, the implied message has remained and pieces that are hand signed generally are more valuable than ones that are not. What makes all of this very confusing is that it is possible to have a fake signature on an authentic work of art and an authentic signature on a reproductive work of art.

Sometimes, instead of hand signing the art or signing in the plate, an artist will use a stamp of their signature and apply it to the art, usually in the lower margin where you would normally find the hand signature. A stamped signature will sometimes be confused for a hand signed signature.

Heirs and estates have been creating posthumous editions or reproductive editions that bears a special signature. They sign the art to give the impression that it would have been authorized by the artist if they had not died. These signatures could be hand signed, stamped signatures or blindstamps by the heirs, museums or any authorized organization. The value of these is usually much lower than lifetime impressions. But of course, there are always exceptions!

Pellet Stoves – Get’m While It’s Hot

Today I heard a prediction for $7.00 a gallon gas from an oil analyst talking on the radio. I wasn’t too surprised because I remember hearing a similar prediction for $3.00 gas in 2004. The trend in home heating costs is definitely up, and, as we all learned in grade school science, a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

Along the way, speculators in crude oil futures will take some profits and cause prices to temporarily retreat. This is when consumer complacency usually sets in, and all those plans to do something about next years heating bill quickly evaporate.

This is especially true during the warm summer months. The last thing you want to think about while sipping margaritas in your backyard is next years heating bill. And who could blame you?

But this is absolutely the best time to shop for a pellet stove. As much as shopping for a pellet stove in July goes against human nature, you’ll be one of the savvy shoppers taking advantage of favorable prices resulting from lower summertime demand.

Before you start shopping, you have to figure out which type of alternative fuel you’re going to burn. Although many of the new pellet stoves classified as “Multifuel” can burn corn or wood pellets, there’s a large swing in prices between the two fuels depending on how close you live to the source. The closer you are to the source, the cheaper the fuel becomes.

For instance, if you can’t name the location of the nearest grain elevator or cornfield off the top of your head, wood pellets will probably be easier (and cheaper) to get a hold of. On the other hand, if you can’t drive more than a couple of miles in any direction without passing a corn field, corn would be the obvious choice. For those of you living in the North Central region of the U.S., you have the luxury of choosing between an ample supply of wood pellets or corn depending on which is cheaper.

Once you’ve found a reliable source of cheap fuel, the next step is to pick out an appliance designed to burn the fuel you’ve chosen.

For $2,000 or less, you can choose from a wide variety of stoves and fireplace inserts fueled by wood pellets, corn, or both. A typical 45,000 Btu stove or insert will heat 1,200 square feet of living space. This is sufficient to comfortably heat a ranch style home, modular home, or the main floor of a two story house.

With heating oil prices hovering around $4.00 a gallon, a pellet stove should pay for itself in two heating seasons or less.

Why I Must Have Kitchen Gadgets at My House

I love to cook for my family as much as I can. I like to watch cooking shows and try out new recipes all the time. I am only able to do this by using gadgets, utensils, and tools around the kitchen that help save time and effort. I can not believe how many gadgets we use in the kitchen. Let me walk you through a typical day in my kitchen, the most popular room in my house, and show you the "Must Have" kitchen gadgets at my house.

The first thing I do in the morning is I make coffee. I must have a coffee grinder and espresso / drip coffee pot. Sometimes your coffee just needs to be a little stronger, and it is great to have the option of coffee or espresso. I like to grind my own coffee beans; it seems to taste better than using already ground coffee.

Once I have my coffee brewing I am off to put something into the toaster oven. You can really make a lot of great breakfast items quickly with a toaster oven, everything from toast and bagels to eggs and bacon or sausage.

For an afternoon snack I usually cut up some fresh fruit using a cutting board, knife, and / or apple corer. Sometimes I'll use the fresh fruit in smoothies using a blender. These are great on hot days.

For lunch I often find myself using the microwave. It's leftovers, soup, or a quick microwave meal. If I am making soup I also need a can opener. I just use a hand held can opener, but it is still one of the many kitchen gadgets that I must have in my home because I use it so often.

For dinner there is a plethora of tools and utensils being used including pots and pans, graters, strainers, spatulas, pizza cutters, cutlery, mixers, and ladles to name a few. Not to say that you will use all these items in the same night, but we vary our dinner routine the most and this is when I use the most gadgets. Dinner time is also when I try out most of those new recipes.

So far I have mentioned about 15 kitchen gadgets that I must have in my home. They all help make cooking in my house easier. There are still some things that I want to get, like a griddle and a wok for starters. Unfortunately I do not have a big enough kitchen right now to accommodate all of the kitchen gadgets that I would like to have. It takes a little while to accumulate all the gadgets that we have in our kitchens, but worth the investment most of the time!

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring

For a number of different reasons, wood flooring is probably the most popular type of floor around homeowners today. While it can be quite expensive, hardwood flooring adds a certain level of comfort and warmth to practically any room. Some of the negative aspects of hardwood flooring include its vulnerability to damage including stains, scratches, and more. Overall, it can be a pain to maintain and clean on a regular basis.

Vinyl plank flooring is a newer type of flooring that offers many of the advantages of hardwood floors, but at significantly reduced prices. There are also some other key advantages that vinyl plank floors have over hardwood floors that make it an attractive option for anyone who wants that classic wood floor look without the hassles and high price tags.

You can find vinyl plank flooring in a wide variety of wood grain sizes. This gives you the ability to pick out a grain size that closely matches your preferred choice of wood. In addition, it is available in an array of shades resembling cherry, oak, mahogany, maple, or any other wood of your fancy. In fact, it does such a good job mimicking these natural woods that oftentimes you would not be able to see the difference between vinyl and wood flooring.

Probably the largest advantage of vinyl flooring is how cheap it is. The cost for this type of flooring will generally fall within the range of 1 to 4 US dollars per square foot. Another great advantage of these floors is that it is extremely durable and water resistant. Its ability to effectively repel water allows you to use it in your home's kitchen or bathrooms. It is also resistant to the cracking and scratching that you will often find with natural hardwood floors.

There are a few disadvantages to vinyl flooring that you should consider as well. Since your average vinyl plank is not nearly as thick as natural wood planks, oftentimes you will need to install an additional sub-flooring before installation. You also have to be quite careful when it comes to cleaning vinyl plank flooring. Certain types of solvents and cleaners can actually damage these floors so you need to find cleaners that are specifically designed to clean vinyl floors without damaging them.

Flooring is one of the most noticeable and important aspects of any home. Therefore, choosing the right flooring is a very big decision that you want to get right. Before you decide to install vinyl plank flooring, you will want to learn about its advantages and disadvantages so you can make the right purchasing choice.

Wedding Planning – How to Begin Planning for Your Big Day

Many people that are getting married do not know all of the steps needed for wedding planning. Because of this it may be an overwhelming task for them or they may overlook something. By staying calm and focused someone could plan a great day easily.

The first step that needs to take place is securing the locations and dates for the ceremony and reception. Many people have found out that they set a date and then can not secure the locations they would like for that specific date. There may be a need to change either the location or the date if this type of situation pops up.

Ensuring that the memories are captured by a trusted photographer or videographer is next. This is an important feature that people will not always prioritize but by searching different wedding forums it will be found that there are some horror stories regarding this service. Always ask for recommendations from anyone that is being considered for the job. If it is someone the bride or groom knows make sure to verify that they are qualified for this type of task.

Plan the attire for both parties early. This is something that may hinge more on the tastes of the bride at this point so make sure that she has plenty of time to consider options and try various dresses and gowns on. Take into consideration body types of not just the bride but also the bridesmaids.

Choose a good bakery for the cake. This is another item that many people do not take the time to properly consider but this should be done early to ensure that bakery can make the type of cake in the appropriate style for the wedding. Definitely taste test and look for pictures of other events that the baker has completed cakes for.

The flower budget for the event can be something that definitely gets over budget quickly. Take into consideration what type of flowers are wanted for the wedding and the types of arrangements wanted at the ceremony and reception. Always ask the florist for costs of different types of flowers as the costs of each type varies significantly.

By taking these items into consideration a person can make wedding planning much simpler. Remember to also look into limousine rentals, music, and invitations to make the day a memorable one. Once the day arrives remember that it should be a joyous one for all.