How To Remove a Wallpaper

Wallpaper removal can be a messy process if done wrong. Do you want to learn how to remove wallpaper? It's actually pretty simple if you keep things organized. All you need are a few tools and the patience to let those tools do their job. These tools include a scraper tool, scraper or broad knife, screwdriver, painters tape, wallpaper stripper, paint brush, roller and tray, drop sheets, garbage bags, bucket, sponge, step ladder, dish washing liquid or sugar soap. You can also use a wallpaper steamer which uses very hot steam to melt the adhesive for wallpaper removal.

If you are going to use stripper be sure to use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), ie; rubber gloves and safety goggles. Make sure the room is well ventilated, an oscillating electric fan is ideal, and open the windows.

Start by preparing your work space. Remove all furniture and window treatments from the room or move to the middle and cover with drop sheets. Next using a screwdriver, remove all power and switch covers. Isolate the power to the room, and place painters tape over the envelopes to avoid getting stripper on them. Likewise with any other surface you wish to avoid getting stripper on. Place canvas drop sheets on the floor, as these do not get slippery like plastic sheets.

Now it is time to score the wallpaper. Start in a corner near the ceiling and preferably along a seam. Use the scoring tool in a circular motion, this will put hundreds of small holes in the wallpaper allowing the stripper to penetrate. To start just do a 3 'square section as a test. Next roll on the stripper and allow 15-20 minutes for the stripper to penetrate the score holes and dissolve the adhesive. DO NOT rush this step. If the stripper starts to dry out during this time apply a second coat to ensure the area holds wet. Another option is to use a steamer, make sure you keep the steam plate firm and tight against the wall. After the recommended amount of time, use your broad knife to lift the seam and pull the paper away from the wall at a 45 degree angle. Continue working around the room from top to bottom in approximately 3 foot wide sections, using your scoring tool and stripper or steamer. Always put your scraps in the garbage bags. A common problem is some of the paper backing will remain on the walls. To remedy this, just apply some more stripper, wait the required amount of time, then use your scraper to remove it.

Once all the wallpaper is removed, there still might be some adhesive and small pieces of paper backing remaining. Just reapply stripper, working from top to bottom in 3 or 4 foot widths. Then wash it off using soap and water and a sponge, repeat as necessary until the walls are clean. Once the walls are clean and dry, you are ready to apply an interior primer if you are painting. Or, if you are going to wallpaper, you will want to apply a wallpaper sealer / primer.

Small Fireproof Safes

Buying a small fireproof safe for your home or business is a great investment. Having your own safe means you do not have to pay for a box at the bank and you do not have to travel to the bank every time you need something. Beside keeping cash, it's a perfect place for passports, social security cards, jewelry, important documents such as titles to a vehicle, etc.

Safes are available in many sizes, shapes, and colors. Some weigh as little at 14 pounds and others weigh over 100. The smaller ones are useful for cash, small items, a coin box for an event, etc. A safe to hold documents, jewelry, etc. should be a little bit larger.

Things to look for when buying are, size, weight, convenience of use. Some safes are easier to open. This is good for you, but also easier if stolen to open so may not be a good point. It should be a little bit difficult to open so even if someone walks off with it, chances are they will not get into it. It should be fire proof and water proof and not fire resistant and water resistant. If you do have a fire, most likely it will be put out with water so it should be both.

The larger safes come with an anchoring hole so you can bolt the safe to a wall or floor and no one will be able to remove it. This is great for putting in your basement or closet and keeping all your papers and valuables in. The small fireproof safes are great for keeping things safe and dry. They should have a handle on them so you can move them around. If there is a combination lock, make sure it has a key backup in case you forget the combination.

What to Include in a Bathroom Remodel

The bathroom should be an oasis within your home, where you feel comfortable and even a bit pampered. If your bathroom is barely functional enough to fulfill your basic restroom requirements, you might want to consider a bathroom remodeling project. Remodeling your bathroom can not only provide you with a soothing retreat, but it can add long-term value to your home.

Bathroom Remodel Ideas

Before you get started on your bathroom remodel, consider your budget and make a list of features you want to include. Careful planning is required so you don’t end up with an oversized tub or run out of money before the work is complete. Here are some things to consider addressing in your remodel:

1. Smart Storage

Crowded counters and lack of space for daily essentials such as towels can make your bathroom a place of frustration rather than relaxation. When it comes to bathroom remodeling, addressing storage problems is a must. Built-in storage that utilizes the room’s vertical space, such as tall cabinets with drawers, can hide your mess while freeing up floor space. Consider adding an electric outlet within a cabinet for keeping electronic devices, such as toothbrushes, out of sight while they’re charging.

2. Ventilation

Your bathroom’s ventilation system is another important element to think about. An improved ventilation system can help inhibit harmful mold growth and protect the finishes of your bathroom furniture. An upgraded fan can also be less noisy, and some come with humidity sensors that turn the fans on automatically.

3. Adequate Lighting

Tired of putting on makeup in your bathroom only to find you look like a vampy raccoon in regular daylight? Take advantage of your bathroom remodel to install better lighting that complements the colors of your walls rather than distorting them. Remodeling small bathroom lighting can involve including vanity lights around a mirror.

4. A Good Soak

There are plenty of choices available for stylish showers and tubs. In a more spacious bathroom, a soaking tub is a nice luxury to add. In a more constricted space, you can achieve a similar effect by adding a tub with heightened walls.

When it comes to showers, some bathroom shower remodel ideas include adding extra shower floor space and an additional showerhead, as well as including smaller showerheads along the walls that pulsate water for a water massage. You can also install showerheads on the ceiling for a tropical rainforest vibe. For a bathroom shower remodel in a smaller space, a steam shower can incorporate many of these bells and whistles into one unit.

5. Go Green

One of the biggest trends in bathroom remodeling is incorporating items that are both sustainable and economical. You can make your bathroom more eco-friendly by using cork flooring, which is warmer to the touch than tile, and by installing a timer on floor heaters. Decrease bathroom water consumption with water-saving showerheads and low-flow toilets, and conserve electricity with an on-demand water heater that heats water instantly instead of storing it.

Instead of focusing on the latest trends, consider these timeless bathroom remodeling ideas. When you remodel your bathroom, you raise not only the value of your home, but the quality of the time you spend in that room.

~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2010

What Is A Cryo Cuff Knee System and How Does It Work?

What is it and do I need one?

A cryo cuff knee system (also known as a knee ice machine or passive cold compression therapy unit) consists of three basic components:

* The cooler – which you fill with ice and water

* The cuff – a sack which you wrap around your knee

* The tube – provides the water flow between the cooler and the cuff

Usually, a doctor will ask you to buy one of these units prior to upcoming knee surgery because immediately after the operation you will most likely experience pain and swelling which can be relieved by cold compression therapy. They are also recommended for patients going through physiotherapy for other (non-surgical) knee-related issues because intense physiotherapy sessions can sometimes leave you feeling as if you had just undergone surgery. The main purpose of this system is to provide compression and ice therapy, which will relieve some of the pain and swelling.

This article will focus on the Aircast Cryo Cuff Knee System because it is one of the most popular brands out there, which makes it easier to find replacement parts and information on them.

Different types of AirCast Cryo Cuff Knee Systems?

There are two main types:

* The gravity-based system – This is the lower cost version where water flows through the cuff by raising and lowering the cooler. Movement of the cooler also affects the compression of the cuff. The higher you raise the cuff, the more pressure (compression) you will feel.

* The IC pump system (or “AutoChill” system) – This system is a little bit more expensive than the gravity system because it comes with a small electric pump which provides automatic continuous cold water flow and also provides intermittent pulsating pressure. Some say that these two additional features allow for less swelling and faster recovery times.

Both systems are available in three adult sizes. To determine what size you need, measure the circumference of your thigh approx. 6 inches above the center of the knee cap, then refer to the following:

Small – 10 to 19 inches (or 25 to 48 centimeters)

Medium – 18 to 23 inches (46 to 58 centimeters)

Large – 20 to 31 inches (51 to 79 centimeters)

How do we use an AirCast Cryo Cuff Knee System?

The system is simple to use. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to set it up and use it:

1. Start by getting the cooler ready.

a. Attach the blue tube to the cooler.

b. Fill the cooler with cold water up to the indication line.

c. Add ice.

d. Place the insulation disk on top of the water/ice.

e. Place the lid on top and secure it. Make sure it’s tight to ensure no water leakage.

f. Wait five to ten minutes to make sure the water is cold enough.

2. Wrap the cuff around the affected knee. (Make sure the cuff is empty beforehand.). The top strap should be snug while the bottom strap should be a bit loser. Then adjust the front strap.

3. Connect the other end of the blue tube to the cuff and open the cooler air vent.

4. Raise the cooler 15 to 20 inches above the cuff and leave it there until the cuff is filled with water, then close the cooler air vent.

5. Place the cooler at the same level as the cuff, preferably on a stable surface (desk, coffee table, etc.)

6. If you have the motorized version, at this point you will plug it in and it will automatically start circulating the cold water.

7. Sit there and enjoy the ride.

Other tips

* With the regular (non-motorized) version of the cryo cuff, your body heat will eventually warm up the water before you are done using it. If this happens, just lower the cooler below the cuff to remove the warm water, and then repeat steps 4 and 5 above.

* If you find that there is too much pressure, or you feel tingling or numbness, lower the cooler a little bit at a time until the cuff feels more comfortable.

* If you have a bandage or dressing of some sort around your knee, make sure it isn’t too tight before securing the cuff to your knee.

Important – This is an overview on how to use it. You should always refer to the owner’s manual for specific instructions.

Are they worth it?

Some people will say that using ice packs (or even a frozen bag of peas) is all you need to reduce the swelling and pain. In some circumstances, they are correct and simple cold therapy may be enough. However other situations may require more that just simple icing. The added benefit of compression may be required depending on your situation. To determine what you need, it is crucial that you consult a doctor.

Disclaimer – I am not a doctor and I am not qualified to provide medical advice. This article was posted for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice.

CLA and Weight Loss

CLA, otherwise known as conjugated linoleic acid may be a supplement you want to consider for help in your weight loss efforts. CLA has become popular because of its reported benefits of fat loss, cancer fighting, improving cholesterol, immune system improvement, and possible prevention of atherosclerosis.

Researching CLA may leave you wanting to take it whether or not fat loss is your goal.

CLA is a fatty acid that is found in small amounts in meat and dairy products. However do not plan on getting the benefits of CLA from eating these foods. There is just not enough CLA present. Supplement companies have found a way to convert the linoleic acid from safflower oil into conjugated linoleic acid. This allows you an affordable way to get the benefits of CLA.

Studies that have shown promise were done using dosages of 3 to 4 grams of CLA per day. Most supplement companies sell CLA in dosages from 500 milligrams to 1 gram per pill – This means you may have to take several pills per day to get the optimum results. CLA is different from many weight loss supplements as it does not contain stimulants and you probably will not "feel" any immediate effect from taking CLA. You will want to stay on CLA from 4-6 weeks before expecting to see any results.

If you decide to do further research on CLA you will unduly find it listed on many bodybuilding sites. The reason for this is that CLA has also shown promise in helping to maintain lean muscle tissue. Do not let this deter you from trying it because this will help you improve your fat to muscle ratio. In other words – you will look better

The opinion of many health and fitness professionals is that CLA may be something you want to consider adding to your daily health regimen. I recommend purchasing your CLA online in order to save money. Tonalin is a brand name that you will see on many different companies form of CLA. Tonalin is the most researched, highest quality CLA that you will find. Purchase from a reputable company and give CLA time to show some effects.

Do not Forget the Tilt!

There are countless articles and blog posts about patio umbrellas. With a simple internet search, you can find information on aluminum umbrellas, wood umbrellas and offset umbrellas that will detail everything you need to know about construction, or quality of wood, or the best way to position an umbrella. But it's almost impossible to find information on probably the most important function of a modern patio umbrella; the way it tilts.

Let's face it, we seldom think about it, but we fully expect our umbrella purchases to be the perfect umbrella for us, until we find out that maybe we should have looked at the tilt functions and little more. We need an umbrella to tilt because the sun just does not stay in the same spot all the time. Most people are of the opinion that an umbrella tilts … all umbrellas tilt, right? Wrong. Some umbrellas definitely do not tilt, and other umbrellas do tilt, but not the way the customer thought it would. Do not let yourself be done again. Let's take a look at the most basic tilt functions so that you can decide which one is right for you.

Mechanical Push Button – The grand daddy of tilt functions, there were probably a few early attempts to get a patio umbrella to tilt that did not get past the "let's try this" stage, but someone finally came up with this design, and it stuck. The promise of a push button is simple: At the top of the umbrella pole, near what's called the hub, is a button that controls a levered tilt system. Push the button and the lever clicks down one level. This typically results in three tilt angles, but there are known to be up to five tilt positions.

Automatic – Also called the auto tilt, at one time this was the absolute most popular umbrella in the United States, and for a pretty good reason. It works like this: The umbrella cranks open like most umbrellas do, but once it's completely open, you turn the crank one more time, and the umbrella tilts. There are no limit to tilt angles on an auto tilt umbrella, so you can change the tilt as the sun changes location in the sky. Pretty neat when you're laying out all day.

Collar – Collar tilt patio umbrellas are also considered a type of automatic tilt, but the tilting function is not dependent on the crank. Collar tilt umbrellas open the same as a push-button and auto tilt, from the crank. However, when you want to tilt the umbrella, you turn a collar that's just over the crank housing. By far, a collar tilt umbrella is much easier to use than a push button or automatic tilt. The angles of the tilt is as limitless as an auto tilt, but much more secure.

In general, push button tilts are the most economic of the three basic choices. Auto tilt and collar tilt umbrellas are generally around the same price range. Your choice should depend on how you plan to use your umbrella. For daily use, such as over tables or general lounging, it's best to go with a tilt function that's easy to use and provides the most shade all day, such as the auto tilt or collar tilt umbrellas. If your using patio umbrellas for creating shade areas around your outdoor room, a push button tilt is perfect for the job.

Just remember, the sun moves through the sky through the day so a tilt patio umbrella will help keep you shaded and relaxed while you lounge.

Barska Spotting Scopes

Setting a rate for technical precision, dynamics and design the latest Barska Spotting Scope climbs higher in decisive performance. Perfectly engineered with unmatched optical durability and performance by the technicians who know the different conditions the scopes have to tolerate. The Barska is specifically designed for selective hunters who usually demand for the very best. Some of the features of this scope include fog-proof protection, complete water-resistant and water proof, massive objective lens and a multi-coated option. Be it a large or compact scope that sets everyone's sight, Barska is one of the best in is own standards.

Designed to end the severe climatic conditions encountered during hunting, the 100 percent water resistant, fog-proof and all weather Barska Spotting Scope even has a rubber armor which is shock proof. Its multi-coated optics has a large objective lens to deliver superior view and clarity in low lights whereas the extendable sunshade asses the user to reduce the glare when viewing in the bright light. Its ergonomic design improves portability and handling. Pan-head tripod lever is also included with this set and all of this can be purchased for a price that makes the scope worth.

From the wide range of products available in the market you can easily find a perfect one that can actually fit your own style. These products typically feature multi-coated and fully coated high quality optics for providing a clear and crisp image. Almost all the scopes come with the Pan-head tripod lever. The company usually offers direct viewing models of spotting scopes, multi-position and rotating eyepiece spotting scopes and angles viewing spotting scopes. Whatever scope you purchase they are strictly covered by the lifetime warranty.

Monoculars and scopes from Barska are specifically designed to bring far-away land based substances closer. Barska's typically offer additional stability and durability compared to the binoculars with higher magnification of telescopes. These products ideally suit for funny activities like long distance whale and bird watching, scenic observing, beginning astronomy, surveillance, long distance microscopy, nature studies and telephotography. The company even offers a wide variety of advanced quality scopes from some of the best manufacturers of monoculars and scopes.

Some of the important features include:

• Changeable magnificence from 20 to 60 for various applications with a defiant stare reducing the sunshade.

• Entirely fog and water proof for any type of weather condition.

• Ergonomically constructed with rubber armor that is shock proof for improving overall maintenance and maximum protection.

• Fully and multi-coated optics along with huge objective lens to increase the light therefore delivering excellent quality images even in conditions where the light is not bright.

• Portable and convenient tripod levers which have hard aluminum case and are easy to carry.

• Field view of 45 feet at the distance of 1000 yards and 91 feet at the distance of 1000 yards.

• Overall weight 1.7 pounds and 13.84 inches in length.

• Sight tube for fast targeting on most of the larger models.

• Lifetime warranty on all the scopes

Camper Awnings

An awning is a covering attached to the exterior wall of a building that is designed to act as a sunshade. It is a typically outdoor arrangement consisting of canvas or acrylic fiber cloth that is stretched tightly over a light framed structure of aluminum, steel, or wood.

Awnings are generally found on the outside of buildings, either above a window, door, on the patio, or above the area along a sidewalk. If columns are provided to independently support the frame, an awning is able to stand by itself or extend enough from a building to cover the entrance, as is customary in the case of high class hotels and restaurants.

Camper awnings are either of retractable type fixed to the side of the camper or stand-alone type light framed structures. They are available in many versions and can add visual interest to a camper as well as provide temporary shade for the entrance, and windows. The entire awning system is specifically designed so as to be quick and easy to install, set up, and disassemble. Camper awnings are generally durable and dependable. They come in a variety of colors and designs. The awnings are always installed such that the roof fabric stays above the camper windows and doors to act as a shield from the sun or create a temporary outdoor patio. When using a retractable version, usually the shades can be unrolled and positioned when the camper is to be parked for a long duration.

Camper awnings usually come as knocked down kits that include arms or braces, horizontal rafters, and the overhanging vinyl blinds or fabric shades. The manufacturers always provide detailed assembly instructions along with the kits, to enable swift accident-free assembly of the awning. These low-maintenance awnings can be installed any time on any kind of camper. When the awning has to be installed, all that is generally required is to simply release the braces and fasten a few poles.

How to Replace the Fuel Pump On a Jeep Cherokee

While on an off road trip, Jenny's Jeep began to experience the symptoms of a bad fuel pump. Her jeep would stumble and die at idle. It would only run if the rpms were kept over 1500 and it was low on power. It was also surging as the fuel pump lost pressure. It was making only 20 psi or so and that was simply not enough to keep the fuel from boiling in the hot fuel rail. It was a struggle, but we got her Jeep out of the woods under its own power and got it back to my shop.

Fist, we used the failing fuel pump to pump the reminder of the fuel from the tank. I used my fuel pressure tester attached to the fuel rail test port to pump the fuel into a can. I made a jumper wire and attached it to the fuel pump relay socket to force the pump to run.

Once the tank was empty, I disconnected the lines from the fuel pump assembly and disconnected the wires. I also disconnected the tank vent lines.

Next, I rigged up a lift to support the tank as I lowered it from the Jeep. I then loosened the tank support straps. After lowering the tank a couple of inches I was able to reach above the tank and loosen the filler and vent lines from the tank. I then removed the tank support straps and lowered the tank out of the Jeep.

With the tank out, I put it up and cleaned the mounting flange for the pump assembly with a wire brush. I used a hammer and screwdriver to move the clamp ring off the pump. Then I carefully removed the pump from the tank taking care not to get dirt in the tank. The filter sock fell off and had to be retrieved with a gripper tool. Often the tapered grommet for the pump assembly will stay in the tank as well. If so, this has to be fished out. This one came out with the pump this time however.

To test the pump, Jenny made up a container for fuel and reconnected the pump to the lines and wires. The last time I worked on this Jeep there was a leak in the line between the pump and the tank outlet. This time however, there was no leak; the pump simply was not making pressure. Cold it would make only 30 psi not the required 48 psi. When the pump got hot it made less pressure. We measured 20 psi when the Jeep was trying to get home the day before.

We then tested the used replacement we had available. It easily made more than enough pressure. And still no leaks. The mounting bracket in this tank has been modified slightly in an off road mishap so I had to adapt the new pump to fit. After some mixing and matching of parts and some creative routing of the expensive high pressure hose, I got it to fit. Jenny also had to put a wrap or two of Teflon tape on the pump inlet to get the filter sock to stay in place.

I carefully cleaned the pump mounting surface and the O ring. I then set the pump in place and tapped the retaining ring back into position.

We then lifted the tank up into the Jeep. With the tank almost in place I reattached the filler and vent lines. This was the most difficult part of the job by far. Once the lines were reattached, I lifted the tank the rest of the way back up and reinstalled the straps. I actually forgot to tighten the fuel line clamps before driving it. I should have tightened them right after I installed the lines and attached the wires.

We put the fuel back in and ran the pump on the jumper a moment to prime the system and get air out of the lines. When I heard the regulator squeal, I knew the air was being purged. Jenny's Jeep started right up. It stumbled a moment while the computer adapted to having the right pressure at the injectors again but it settled down quickly.

A quick test drive showed it all worked fine. With the exception of the loose clamps on the fuel lines I mentioned earlier. I had to tighten them in the street because I was afraid they might pop off if we drve it back to the shop. Her fuel pressure is back in spec again. Hopefully this pump will last a while. The whole job took about four hours start to finish.

Mounting Wood On The Wood Lathe: Using A Glue Block

While one of the great advances in woodturning in recent years has been the development of the four jaw chuck to mount wood for turning, the price tag on a good chuck is a shock to many turners. In fact the price for a decent four jaw chuck often accedes the price of many starter lathes. One of the things that a wood turner needs to remember when going into faceplate turning is the use of the old fashioned glue block for holding wood.

The use of the glue block arises from the desire to not have screw holes observed in the bottom of such items as bowls and platters. Generally such an item is made by first rough turning it from green wood and then letting it dry in the shop for some time. Later it is remounted to the wood lathe and finish turned. It is during this remounting that it may be screwed to the faceplate, thus leaving holes in the finished product. These holes then have to be filled or covered in some way. In addition, the length of the screws determines a certain depth of wood that cannot be used or the tools would hit the screws themselves.

A simple solution, and one centuries old, is the use of a glue block to hold the wood to the lathe. First the bottom of the bowl is flattened using a plane or other tool. Second, a waste block of wood is screwed to the faceplate. Third the waste block is flattened. Third, the waste block is glued to the bottom of the bowl using carpenter’s white glue.

Generally a piece of craft paper is glued between the waste block and the bowl. This enables the bowl to be finish turned and then a chisel blow between the block and the bowl splits the paper down center. Then the waste paper can be sanded from the bottom of the bowl and the bottom finished. If desired, the paper could also be removed from the waste block and it could be used again.

There are a few draw backs to this system. While glue has a great hold but it needs to be clamped and let dry for at least eight hours. Also, the wood used has to be dry so this can not help with green turnings. In addition there is the fuss of sanding away all that glue and paper, a combination known for quickly clogging sand paper.

Thankfully, a couple of modern glues rise to the occasion. When turning dry wood such as a dried bowl blank, hot glue can be used to glue the wood block to the bowl. Withing a couple of minutes it is ready to mount on the lathe and turn. Either the block can be parted from the blank with the lathe running or the whole assembly can be taken off and the waste block removed with a a sharp rap of a chisel at the glue line. Any remaining glue is easily pealed off.

Similarly a medium thick cyanoacrylate glue can be used to bond a green blank to a waste block. The glue is applied to the waste block and accelerator to the blank and the two are pressed together. Again, a couple of minutes are sufficient to hold the work for turning and again a sharp blow at the glue line will separate them after the turning is done.

Modern adhesives simply allow the old methods to work in today’s shops. While the technology advances us a little we are still working in the historic fashion. The old ways may not always be the best, but they certainly work and work well.

Water Hammer

“Water Hammer” is generally caused by either high water pressure, loose pipes or faulty plumbing components.

Water hammer is a condition that occurs in buildings where copper water supply pipes make a banging sound as a tap is turned off or a loud squealing sound when a tap is running. It may also occur when a washing machine is filling.

So, is it possible to eliminate water hammer in your home? Definitely, by using one or more of the methods described below:

1) Securing pipes. Copper water pipes should be secured at intervals of no less than 1.2 metres; by re-securing the pipes at more regular intervals, the pipes cannot move or vibrate. By doing this, water hammer can be substantially reduced, if not totally eliminated.

2) Servicing of taps. Having damaged or worn washers or old taps replaced or serviced, including the meter tap, will at least reduce, if not rectify, water hammer problems.

3) Toilet Cisterns. Servicing or replacing faulty toilet cisterns or cistern taps will eliminate or reduce certain types of water hammer.

4) Hot water heaters. Hot water heaters and associated valves can also cause water hammer. Servicing of the heater and replacement of the faulty valves or incorrectly rated valves will rectify or reduce water hammer.

5) Hammer arrestors. These are devices that work like a shock absorber and when placed near the source of the hammer say near a washing machine supply pipe or washing machine tap will help reduce water hammer considerably.

6) Fixed and variable pressure limiting and reduction valves. Valves can be fitted where the water supply enters the property to reduce the water pressure. By reducing the pressure, the flow rate remains about the same, or slightly less, but the pressure is noticeably less. This reduction in pressure will have a marked effect on the water hammer, if not completely eliminating it, then at least greatly reducing it.

7) Fitting plastic water pipes. Where plastic pipes are fitted to a property, the most common “clanging, banging” type of water hammer is not present.

Mosaic Art


Mosaic is actually an ill defined term that can have several meanings. However, if we must be technical and insist on having a definition for the art form, it would have to go something like this –

" Mosaics is the technique of attaching numbers of discrete colored pieces of a particular material onto a prepared surface, in order to create the appearance of an image or pattern, when the assemblage is viewed as a whole" .

This unholy mouthful could encompass a wide range of artistic disciples – from priceless baroque gold and jewel encrusted tabletops to trendy, modern, cut-and paste photomosaics – but also be applied to candies inserted into cake icing! However to most of us, when we speak of mosaics, we are usually thinking of a more permanent work, made from hard materials, cemented or glued firmly onto solid surfaces. Coming easily to mind, would be the enduring ancient Roman floors, where myriads of tiny blocks of marble and polished stone were arranged eons ago, to create rustic scenes and bold, evocative images of ladies at leisure, gods and charioteers – always surrounded by distinctive geometric borders. Or possibly we might be picturing brilliant panels set up on a huge scale, where the lustre of glass and ceramic is used to throw light about and dominate the wall of a public building, making it alive with a contemporary artist's passionate view of life in the modern world.

Modern artists, working in the traditional style, use hard blocks of stone, glass or a range of modern materials, cut into tiny tiles that are still collectively known by the original Latin name of tesserae. These tesserae are cemented or glued firmly onto a solid surface, using one of a host of modern adhesives – or for the purist – just ordinary cement mortar. Quick-setting grouting paste is used to add stability, by filling the gaps between the tesserae – but the grout can also enhance the visual effect by adding another dimension to the work. Grouting can be executed with a strong hand, using dark or bright grouts, to emphasize the mosaic builder's technique, or it can be muted and unobtrusive, so as not to interfere or distract the viewer's eye away from imagery and the flow and shading nuances of the tesserae. The end result of traditional mosaic techniques is to create art that is permanent and practical, because it is hard wearing, waterproof and stain resistant – so needing little effort to maintain and keep bright and clean.

Mosaics are a great way to embellish a drab wall or garden path, by bringing color and light to an otherwise uninteresting area. Bright work is cheerful and creates interest – but on the other hand, more humble techniques, using slight variances in the color and texture of embedded natural stone, may also be used with great effect, when the scale is large enough, to channel the emotions and to create mood. Actually, embedding river pebbles in a paved courtyard or wall, in order to create interesting patterns, was one of the earliest techniques, adopted by both Ancient Babylonians and also by the Greeks who followed them. Nowadays, working with mosaics is a craft that can be learnt by all – including even very young children. Whatever your age, if your mosaic is made with love and care, it is a way of leaving a little part of yourself to be displayed and enjoyed for many years to come – maybe even for several generations after you are long gone.

The two principal traditional techniques of creating mosaics are the " direct " and the " indirect " methods – each of these specific discriminates is best suited for a particular set of different applications and locations. Unfortunately, this article is not the place to go into detail about these and other mosaic methods – of which there are many. However these particulars can be found on my website.

One last word – do not be deterred, if you do not consider yourself " artistic " in the true sense of the word. You do not need to start from scratch – there are many ways of carrying out this craft in an easier and partly directed way. Patterns and instructions are easy to find and prepared kits are readily available for the beginner. You can find them at most craft shops and also on-line. There are many levels at which you can find your entry into this exciting craft or art form. However it is important that you take time to read up on the topic beforehand and gather up all the useful information and tips you can, learning from others and avoiding the pitfalls. Planning is essential and unfortunately an ill-planned and messy mosaic can last just as long as an excellent one! If you want to get the most from this rewarding and absorbing hobby you must prepare yourself well. But most of all, remember that practice makes perfect – so start soon!

Garden Tools – Essential Tools To Buy For Your Garden

Using the right tool for each job in the garden will make short work of most yard chores. When shopping for garden tools you will usually find that the heavier the tool, the finer quality it is and the longer it will stand up to frequent use. Look for tools where the blade, shank and handle socket are made from forged steel, rather than those made of stamped steel components. With the proper care, tools made of heat-treated, one-piece steel construction should last a lifetime.

The handles should be made of ash or hickory which provides strength and durability. Those made of pine or other soft woods will break easily and maybe only last the season.

Garden tools should help you to accomplish two basic duties: cleaning, preparing and maintaining the soil; and setting and maintaining the plantings. Here are 11 of the best tools for the garden:

1. Hoe. The hoe is your best tool for weaving, clearing away undesirable plants, cultivating and closing furrows in seed beds.

2. Garden fork. Use your garden fork to loosen and prepare soil in beds and lift and move plants without damaging their roots. It can also be used to turn the compost pile, aerate the ground around plants, dig out root crops and divide perennials. Choose a garden fork with four spring-tempered tines.

3. Pruning saw. An indispensable tool. The blade of this saw will not clog up on green or soft wood like a regular hand saw will. This smaller saw is useful throughout the yard for thinning and small pruning jobs too hard for clippers and loppers.

4. Shovel / Spade. You can not beat a strong shovel to scoop, lift and moving piles of soil, sand, compost, etc. The hard, sharp edge of a spade will take the work out of digging large holes and turning soil.

5. Garden spray. An on-hose sprayer is a fast effective way to apply fertilizer, insecticide and other chemicals in yards and gardens. After setting a number on the mixer valve, the spray mixes the chemical with water and deliveries it at the correct strength.

6. Weeder. The weeder, with its forked blade, hooks under the crown of the plant and, with the right amount of leveraged force, uproots the entire weed. Also effective in clearing grass and weeds from narrow crevices and paved walks.

7. Branch lopper. Bypass loppers handle branches up to 7/8 inch in diameter, giving precise cuts closer to the trunk than anvil types. Ratchet loppers deliver considering more cutting power, but cost about twice as much. This type is ideal for taking out canes and branches too thick for clippers.

8. Utility trowel. Best for all small digging jobs, such as making starter holes for vegetable and bedding plants, and upoting weeds in beds. Select a trowel constructed of one piece for durability.

9. Clipper / pruner. Bypass and anvil clippers are suited to small pruning chores in the landscape. Bypass (scissor-action) type will cut branches up to 1/2 inch in diameter. Anvil-style handle cuts up to 5/8 inch. As a general rule, if you can not cut a branch by squeezing the pruner with one hand, switch to a lopper or pruning saw.

10. Hedge shear. Designed for heading back and shaping hedges and trimming border shrubs, and not for pruning chores. Electric shears are more efficient and make difficult jobs, like creating and maintaining topiary, a breeze.

11. Straight rake. Essential for smoothing out soil, seed bed preparation and clean-up of debris. Other available styles are made for raking leaves and working around shrubs.

After use, you should always remove the dirt from your tools and store them in the shed or garage. Do not leave tools on the lawn where someone can trip over them or a mower can run over them. Also remember to use the tool for what it is intended for, do not try to dig a hole using your hoe; use the shovel.

John Singer Sargent – One of the Greatest American Realist Painters

John Singer Sargent was one of the most venerated American 'Realist' painters, sculptors, and drafters of his time. He was born on January 12, 1856, in Florence, Italy, to an expatriate American couple. Sargent's parents, father, FitzWilliam, an eye surgeon, and mother, Mary, a singer, desired to settle in Europe and therefore, John Singer Sargent had the influence of European culture since his American lineage. John's mother, an amateur artist, played a significant role in introducing him to painting. He did not get a formal education, but had gained immense knowledge in art, music, and literature (French, Italian, & German) through his excursions across the Europe.

During 1874-1878, a famous French artist, Carolus-Duran, tutored Sargent. Duran taught the artist the direct application of brush on canvas, a painting technique earlier invented by Diego Velazquez. The works of John Singer Sargent were initially themed on landscapes and buildings, which later graduated to portraits painting under Duran's guidance. John's first portrait painting was of his friend, Fanny Watts, in 1877, while in 1879, he painted that of Carolus-Duran. Soon after, the artist visited Spain to study Velazquez's works. Spanish Music and Dance also fascinated him, which was well reflected in his later paintings like "Al Jaleo (1882)."

Upon his return in 1880s, Sargent was commissioned for many portraits. His rich textured and versatile paintings made him a very thought after portrait artist. His masterpiece, "The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, 1882" shows four young girls of Edward Darley Boit. His other capable portrait, "Lady with the Rose (1882)," was a painting of Charlotte Burckhardt, with which John supposedly had a romantic relationship.

Sargent started sending his paintings, such as "Dr. Pozzi at Home (1881)" and "Mrs. Henry White (1883)" to the Royal Academy in England. He later moved to London in 1882. In 1884, he painted his most controversial, "Portrait of Madame X." The French society heavily decried the work, forcing the painter to return to London. By 1885, he almost stopped getting French missions. He visited Monet in 1885 and created the famous painting, "Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood," depicting his fascinating use of colors. From here on, the English patrons unhappily labeled him as an 'Impressionist' painter. Sargent's 'Realist' painting, "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1887)," depicting two young girls lighting lanterns, however, was an instant success and hugely leveraged his recognition as a brilliant portrait painter. He held his first solo show at Boston, in 1888. His other notable portrait paintings were "Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and his Wife (1885)," "Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892)," and "Mrs. Hugh Hammersley (1892) ). " The much-appreciated John was made an ally of the Royal Academy in 1893.

In 1900, Sargent painted one of his most famous masterpieces, "An Interior in Venice," a portrait of Curtis family and its palatial home. In 1907, the artist shut shop officially and was back to painting his first love, landscapes. The same year, he refused the knighthood to keep his American citizenship. During 1915-17, he even stayed in the US. Before his death on April 14, 1925, in London, the artist painted his last portrait of "Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston."

John Singer Sargent, an ever bachelor, had a magnificent career, in which he created around 900 oil paintings and over 2,000 watercolors. He also made the portraits of two American presidents, "Theodore Roosevelt" and "Woodrow Wilson." This 'Realist' painter sold his portraits handsomely at as high a price as $ US 11 million. Recently, in December 2004, "Group with Parasols (A Siesta) (1905)" was sold for $ US 23.5 million. During 1890-1916, the artist even made several charcoal sketched portraits and called them "Mugs." His 'murals' orient the walls of the Boston Public Library. Admirers, critics, and many art galleries Heavily appreciate and respect the scrupulous works of John Singer Sargent. He once quoted, "You can not do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh."

Pre-Raphaelites – Group of 19th-century English Poets, Painters, and Critics

There was a group of 19th-century English poets, painters, and critics called Pre-Raphaelites who reacted against the neoclassical conventions of academic art and Victorian materialism by producing sincere, quasi-religious works. The group took inspiration from the medieval and early Renaissance painters up to the time of the Italian painter Raphael.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood:

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was established in 1848. Its major figure was the poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This group was made of other members such as William Michael Rossetti, sculptor and poet Thomas Woolner; painters John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt; painter James Collinson; and art critic Frederick George Stephens.

The brotherhood disapproved of the imitative historic and genre painting of their time. They tried to revive art through a simpler, more positive vision. For example, in portrait painting, the group disdained the formal structure and somber colors favored by the Royal Academy.

They got inspiration from the religious and scrupulously detailed art of the Middle Ages. Pre-Raphaelite art became more distinct for its blend of romantic, archaic, and moralistic qualities. The renovated English art critic John Ruskin was an avid supporter of this movement.

The Works of the Pre-Raphaelites in Literature:

Originally, the movement was aimed at reviving simplicity, freshness and freedom in painting, but soon it touched the literature and sculpture. The works of the Pre-Raphaelites in literature may be considered as a recurring phase of the Romantic Movement. If you look back to the Middle Ages, the school seems to be parallel to the Oxford movement in the Anglican church and a Gothic revival. In 1850 the members published a periodical called The Germ , in which some of Rossetti's initial literary work included.