How to Decorate Sunrooms and Porches

Attached outdoor spaces that provide total or partial shelter should be considered an extension of the home's interior design. In most cases these areas embrace an entrance or serve to join two interior areas-a breezeway, for example. Traffic patterns figure importantly in overall furniture arrangements, as does the selection of furniture, durable fabrics, and other elements.

Document your ideas. Keep a folder full of your inspirations and any ideas you may have. Photograph the area you want to decorate from both inside the house and facing toward it from the outside. Keep clippings of similar spaces and furnishings, shades, and lighting that you like from magazines and product brochures; collect paint color chips and samples of fabric and flooring, too. Do not forget plantings, including window boxes and potted plants, and anything else influencing the design. Consider all the seasons the space is used. Will you want to add curtains to a sunroom for insulation come winter so that you can continue to use it longer into the cold weather? Will blinds or curtains add to a porch's comfort by blocking spring and fall winds?

Make a floor plan. Add special features unique to your space, such as notations indicating good and bad views. You will want to arrange furniture to take advantage of a good view or to face away from an ugly one.

Indicate the sun's exposure throughout the day, and note whether it should influence furniture placement. For example, you may need shades for the southern side of a porch, or you may want to group furniture to face fabulous sunsets in the west.

Make furniture templates. Make templates of the furniture you plan to use, as well as other elements, that require clearance space, such as planters, window boxes, or blinds. Group them on the floor plan; try different configurations to see which is best.

Factor in traffic patterns. Indicate pathways to and from the house. Take into account the swing of each door because you can not place furniture in those spaces. For sliding glass doors, indicate which side is the entrance.

Arrange furniture so that conversation areas are not interrupted by traffic to and from the house. For instance, a common problem is a porch with a central door and a stepped entrance directly opposite the door. Rather than arranging furniture in one big grouping, create smaller areas at each end of: the porch. Suggestions include a table with chairs on one side and a conversational grouping on the other. A table just outside the door can double as a buffet table. Plot any other traffic aisles, and make sure that you have not blocked paths to the cords for adjusting blinds or for watering plants.

What Are Biomes?


A biome is a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. It is also defined as a large ecosystem, extending over a wide geographic region, characterized by certain dominant life. They can be found over a range of continents and are distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate. Biomes have moved and changed many times throughout the history of the Earth. Biomes are the world’s major communities where insects, animals, plants, and people live in a certain type of climate. The climate and geography of an area determines what type of biome can exist in that region. Each biome consists of many ecosystems. The many biomes that exist are deserts, deciduous forest, coniferous forest, arctic tundra, tropical forest, grasslands, and taiga. They are all dependent on each other in numerous ways.

There are also Marine and Freshwater ecosystems that could be considered the water biomes. Both water biomes are extremely important since it contains water. Which water is the basis of all life. The earth’s coldest biome is the tundra which has permanently frozen subsoil called permafrost. It’s important that all the biomes be protected. The reason why is because over the past several years, human activity has destroyed, exploited, or polluted many biomes.

All living things are closely related to their environment and any change in a part. For example like an increase or decrease in one type of plant or animal. Which can cause a ripple effect of change through the entire biome. Also there are changes that can happen regarding the climate or the environment of a biome, those plants and animals that live within it can be threatened. This is why so many of them are able to adapt to the changes so that they can continue to survive. But unfortunately, not all of them are always able to adapt in such a manner so they die out or extinct. Some examples was ice age period and when dinosaurs.

Biomes are really important since any given plant or animal that depend on the biome for food may have a hard time surviving. The circle of life that is part of any biome is very complex. What affects one living thing within it will affect all of them on some level. To conclude all biomes are environments that consist weather, plants, animals, and etc.

Repairing Your Model Train Transformers

A common issue with model trains over time is the malfunctioning of a transformer. When trains sit for a long period of time without use they will go bad. So what do you do when this happens? You can either pay someone to fix yours or you can spend your hard earned money to buy another one. If neither of these choices appeal to you then maybe you should consider fixing it for yourself. It will only cost you a little bit of money and use a little patience as well. Soon you will be able to say that you are able to fix them yourself.

You will have to get a few supplies together before you get started. You will most likely need each of these in the course of your model railroading hobby anyway so it is a good idea to go ahead and put them aside just for that purpose. You will need some tweezers, a pair of wire strippers, spare wire of different gauges, some oxidation remover, screwdrivers, solder, and a soldering gun.

Once you have your tools you are ready to determine exactly what your transformer needs in the way of repair. Carefully plug in your transformer and see if you hear any noise coming from either it or your model train. If you can hear noise coming from the transformer and not the train then most likely the contacts on the track will need to be cleaned well.

Once you have done this try running your train once again. If it works then you will know that you have successfully solved your issue. SAFETY ISSUE: Do NOT handle the interior of the transformer unless it has been fully discharged. This can lead to sickness or even injury. The next step involves opening the case of your transformer and examining the interior. If you are an adolescent then get your parent to help you with this step.

If the transformer itself appears dead then you will need to unplug it and get inside the case. Take the appropriate screwdriver and carefully open the case being careful not to touch your screwdriver to any parts inside the transformer itself. While you are doing this you must make sure that you are well grounded just in case of accidental discharge.

Check for burnt, loose, frayed or missing wires. Also make sure there is no oxidation on them as well. Corrosion can be a huge factor in malfunctioning electronics. Any that have gone bad will need to be replaced. If any are just loose then you can use your soldering gun to reattach them.

Any oxidized wires can be removed safely with the soldering iron. You also need to make sure that you remove any extra solder from the wires. Once you have done this then you are ready to remove the oxidation. Dip the ends of the wires into your oxidation remover and let it dissolve the oxidation completely. Make sure that you allow them to air dry and then you can safely reattach them with your soldering gun once more.

Close your transformer back up once you have replaced everything and cleaned it up. You are now ready for another test run. Check your AC/DC output and see if you are getting a proper output. If it is low or non-existent then you should try replacing the plug itself. If this still does not work then you will have to buy another transformer for your model train.

High Quality PCB Fabrication and Assembly

The technology of PCB Fabrication has become more advanced since manufacturers have started offering printing. Printed Circuit Boards are used to support and connect electrical components mechanically. They are inexpensive and are also used for the high-volume production. Before fabricating a PCB, manufacturers define its design vaguely. Here, a PCB prototype plays the key role in the creation of its design and facilitates the manufacturer to foresee if anything needs to be resolved in the PCB's design. In case of any failure in the prototype, a fresh prototype is created and is kept under customs till it performs well.

The process of PCB Fabrication goes under extreme conditions and a lot of steps are involved, like etching, engraving photos, multi-layer processing, drilling, masking, finishing, and finally electrical testing. PCB Test is done to check its efficiency and see if it delivers what it is supposed to do. Some manufacturers use different kinds of PCB specifications to make it perform, as required, such as using polyimide for flexibility, Arlon for longer life in high temperatures, and Isola range for PCB prototype. However, if the PCB Test comes out to be negative, then the entire circuit board is to be replaced or rectified accordingly.

On the other hand, talking about PCB Assembly, it is when electronic components are connected to a circuit board, we call it PCB Assembly. To connect these electronic components to the PCB, several techniques are used and two main techniques are, surface mount technique and through-the-hole technique. But, in most of the circuit boards, both of these techniques are combined, to achieve maximum efficiency in the design and performance of the Printed circuit board. However, in some cases manufacturers employ highly skilled technicians to solder minute or small parts using microscope. They also use other equipments like tweezers, soldering tip, etc.

For a printed circuit board to be complete, not only equipments are important, but also PCB Fabrication, PCB Assembly and PCB Test. Here, everything needs proper care. So, while choosing your manufacturer, do a thorough research about the company, its background, so that you get genuine and high-quality services in return.

Essay Writing – How to Get Scholarships If You Have Trouble Writing

If you have a strong desire to go to college or university you shouldn’t let anything stand in your way. Maybe you think that you’re not a very good writer, and you think that this is holding you back from getting a higher education. Henry Ford said that if you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right. Your belief that your writing is poor may be holding you back from even trying, or may be becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy by you behaving as if you are a bad writer.

First, you should take an objective look at your writing. Maybe it’s not that you’re a bad writer, but that you don’t enjoy writing. Have someone you know look at your writing, and ask for their honest feedback. An even better way to assess your writing is to have an unbiased third-party look at your writing. Make sure that they have a background in writing, and you might even consider hiring an essay editing company to look over your work and tell you honestly how it ranks. These people won’t worry about your feelings, and will be able to deliver the news without a sugar coating.

Once you get your feedback from others, take an inventory as to where you stand in regards to your writing. If it’s true that you’re not a very good writer at this state, that’s OK. But you may be shocked to find that you’re a good writer, but perhaps someone told you a long time ago that you’re not. The thing with writing is that it’s a skill. While it’s true that some people are born with more natural ability, and writing comes easily for them, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to write better. Take this setback as an opportunity to learn a valuable skill. Writing is something that, unlike a subject like Algebra, you’ll use every day. It can help you in many aspects of your life, and is worth the time invested in learning how to do it better.

The problem that occurs is that you need the essay written now, because scholarship deadlines are approaching and although you’ve resolved to become a better writer, you need to be able to fill out the applications and win the awards in order to go to college and learn to write better. In this case outsourcing is your friend. There are many places that will help you edit your essay so that it sounds good. Once you get the initial first draft of your essay finished, you can submit the draft and an essay editing company will make corrections to it. There are many companies that offer unlimited edits. Test out that feature and keep resubmitting it until it’s perfect. Best of luck to you in your scholarship hunt!

Stair Lifts For Curved and Straight Stairways

The ability to get around ones home is essential to physical and mental well being. For many this task might seem simple and even trivial, but if you are not able to easily climb the stairs then getting around the home might not be all that simple. Many people install stair lifts in their home to make it easier to get around.

There are many factors in life that can result in limited mobility, which often makes things like climbing the stairs or even taking a bath very difficult. Often a severe case of arthritis alone can make it hard if not impossible to climb the stairs, but if you couple that with a poor sense of balance, then the risk of accident or injury is much greater.

It is no surprise that falling down the stairs is the number one cause of hospitalization among people who are over the age of 65, but it might be surprising to learn that falling down the stairs is also the number one cause of incidental death in this same age group. While it can be very dangerous to use the stairs, installing a stair lift will help to greatly reduce these risks.

A stair lift is a device that is most commonly installed to interior staircases, but some models are available that are weather proof and can be placed indoors or out. They are designed to carry a person up and down the stairs in a safe and reliable manner.

Stair lifts use a track and car system and is secured directly to the stairs. The track remains stationary and must be securely bolted or screwed into the staircase. The car then travels up and down the track with its single safe rider. Most frequently the car will use a chair to carry the occupant, but some instead use a small platform that is called a perch. The perch requires that you remain standing though, so is not the best choice for most people.

While the track is generally attached directly to the steps, in some cases it will instead be secured to the wall or banister. This is usually only done on curved staircases, but in some instances where the staircase is exceedingly narrow, the width of the staircase may necessitate that the track be installed to the wall. For those that have a concrete, brick, or stone staircase, usually the track can still be secured to the steps using specially designed screws.

People who decide to use and install a stair lift can effectively reduce their risk of falling to almost nil. Of course, you still must be very careful entering or exiting the lift, but most chair lifts are designed so that you can swivel the chair away from the stairs to safely exit the lift.

It is also important that you remain in the seat or on the platform as the lift carries you up or down the stairs. This is one of the reasons that the perch lift is usually not the best choice. Perch lifts require a strong sense of balance, so are generally only used by people who have had knee surgery.

Those that decide to use and install a stair lift in their home will never be left stranded and will also never be forced to neglect areas of their home that are separated by a staircase.

New York Scaffolding Law

New York Labor Law has a specific provision for protecting construction workers who suffer injury due to comply safety measures taken while working on scaffolding. The "scaffold law," more specifically New York Labor Law section 240, places the responsibility for maintaining the scaffolding on the property owner and contractor of the building. New York construction accident attorneys help protect workers' rights when it comes to accidents like these.

Why a New York Scaffolding Law?

Construction sites are often places of intense pressure for their workers: the physical strain of the work, coupled with a contractor's desire to finish the job as quickly and efficiently as possible, can lead to corner-cutting and unsafe practices. New York construction workers who lack the ability to speak fluent English or the protection of a labor union may feel uncomfortable asking that the appropriate safety equipment be provided, safety practices be implemented, and engineering investigations be undertaken before the work begins.

Working on scaffolding puts construction in a particularly dangerous position, adding the danger of height to the already-present dangers of a construction site. Gravity-related injuries like a fall from scaffolding or a ladder can be devastating to victims and their families. This is why New York construction accident victims have special protection under the law.

New York Construction Law and Scaffolding

New York is a leader in providing protection for construction workers. As a result, it has one of the lower construction-related injury rates in the nation. New York construction accident lawyers are well-versed in this special scaffolding provision.

Under New York construction law section 240, improper or damaged scaffolding, harnesses, hoists, ladders, stands, pulleys, routes, blocks, hangars, slings, and other essential scaffolding and height-differential equipment are the responsibility of the building owner or contractor. The building owner or contractor must provide a safe work environment for scaffolding use, or work-related injuries stemming from their negligence will be considered their responsibility.

The scaffolding law provides that owners and contractors will be liable in scaffolding-related accidents, if they failed to provide the necessary equipment or training. Any worker who has been the victim of such an accident should contact an attorney.

Victims who have suffered a fall while on a construction site, or other interested parties, can read more about these laws and contact the experienced scaffolding accident lawyers at

How is Laminate Floor Made?

If you are researching laminate flooring because you are considering installing one in your own home then you may be wondering how is laminate floor made? The first thing that you should know about the production of laminate flooring is that it is made from 4 basic layers, the wear layer, the patter layer, the core and the balancing layer.

The first layer in a laminate floor plank is the balancing layer. This layer is also sometimes referred to as the bottom layer or the stabilizing layer. Its job is to resist moisture and to stabilize the floor plank.
? The second layer in a laminate floor plank is the core layer. This layer is made up of a high density fiberboard that has been installed in resin to make the core tough and water resistant.

The third layer in a laminate floor plank is the pattern layer. The pattern layer is a thin paper that has been printed with a specific wood grain and finish. This is what makes the plank look like a hardwood flooring plank.

To protect the pattern paper a clear wear layer is added to the floor plank. The wear layer is made from a melamine resin which is extremely durable. This is the layer that protects that plank from gouges, stains and moisture penetration.

Now that you know the answer to the questions, "how is laminate floor made?" you can now focus your research on other areas. Some of the topics that you may want to research about laminate floors are what to look for in a laminate floor product, how much does it cost, where you can install a laminate floor and who makes laminate flooring.

Modern Bedroom With Black Lacquer Furniture

Black lacquer bedroom furniture can really be defines as timeless, sophisticated and refined. This is one of the most happening bedroom furniture materials, which dominates today's modern bedroom set ups. They really can make the stylistic proportions with their impressive as well as the bold statement. A simple piece of black lacquer can change the whole décor of your bedroom.

You may find many new trends in furniture. Some of them are related to color while some of them are entirely surrounded to style. If you are thinking of changing the bedroom décor in this holiday season, try black lacquer bedroom furniture. A good looking smart bedroom always reflects the persons, who are living in it. It bears the image of their style, personality as well as taste. Fortunately, modern bedroom furniture has stepped into the next step, so that whatever you want, you can get these at your favorite furniture store.

There are a number of online websites, which offer plethora of black lacquer bedroom furniture in order to give your bedroom a modern and smart look. The furniture used in the bedroom can range from beds to bedside cabinets, from dressers to dressing stool etc. Besides that, if you want to have black mattress to meet up with your black furniture set, you also can get one of them easily. The online websites also offer black mattress in a number of shapes and sizes. You can choose from this wide gallery of bedding accessories according to your preferences for your bedroom.

The feel of the black lacquer bedroom furniture is very industrial. But it does not mean it is not attractive. In fact, they are very popular in the modern market. These furniture pieces are stunning to look at. They are created out of sharp lines, geometric shapes as well as patterns. You also can accessorize your bedroom in contemporary by keeping it simple. You also try some mix and match techniques in order to give a dramatic effect in your bedroom. Place some bright colored cushions on the beds, or bright curtains on the windows, and you will see how the entire décor will change instantly.

The main thing that you have to remember with the contemporary designs of black lacquer bedroom furniture is that they should be simple apart from having finished and clean lines. You do not really have to worry so much about each and every piece of furniture, while coordinating with each other, rather just keep the look simple, because it is the main look out of any modern bedroom. Black lacquer furniture goes particularly well with the contemporary design, when it comes to a modern bedroom.

How to Remove New Carpet Odor

Many people wonder how to remove new carpet odor after they have installed new carpeting in their home or office and find that there is a pungent, irritating smell to it that just will not go away. Unless you have installed natural fiber carpeting, you will almost certainly deal with the new carpet smell that is common to flooring that is made with nylon, polypropylene, acrylic and any number of other synthetic materials. Natural fiber carpeting such as 100% wool tends to emit less or no odor except for, in some cases, some initial smell from dyes used to color the material. Rugs made from jute, although considered a natural material, usually has a hemp or grassy odor that may never really go away completely.

If you have purchased carpeting recently and want to eliminate the new carpet odor, here are some suggestions as to how to remove or significantly reduce the offending emissions.

1. Steam Clean – Even though your new flooring is obviously clean, it helps to steam clean your new carpet with a nontoxic steam cleaning detergent in order to remove loose fibers, dye residues, and residual chemical rosins from the fibers. Good products to use are any number of green, nontoxic steam detergents on the market or you can visit the AIM Company online and purchase Safe Clean steam cleaning detergent.

2. Seal with Carpet Sealer – After you have steam cleaned your floor and have vacuumed as much water residue from the fibers as possible, while still damp, apply a nontoxic carpet sealer to the carpet. A good carpet seal is Safe Seal that is quite effective and can be found at the AIM Company. The instructions suggest that you apply by spraying the Safe Seal over the entire amount of carpet space you have steam cleaned. Be sure to let dry thoroughly before walking on the flooring. If you have a room humidifier, you can place it in the carpeted area to hasten the drying process and to insure that you have thoroughly stripped the floor even to the foam padding underneath.

3. Re-do if Necessary – If this process does not lessen or eliminate the odors as much as you want, you can redo the process. You may find that certain materials are harder to get rid of new odors than others. A hundred percent nylon carpeting for example, tends to respond better to sealing than combination materials or those made purely from polypropylene. In fact, 100% nylon carpeting emits a little less obnoxious odors even when new than many other materials.

If you find that you just can not tolerate the new smell that new carpeting almost always emits, then you may want to consider using wood, tile or natural wool floor coverings. However, if you choose to use new carpeting, you will find that just knowing how to remove new carpet odor can bring a breath of fresh air to your home.

How to Tenderize Steak and Beef

The best way to tenderize a steak is to show it some love. You do not need to tenderize all cuts of beef, the best parts are already as tender as the will get. It mainly depends on how you like your steaks cooked and which method you are using to prepare them. Take Cuts like porterhouse and filet Mignon. These cuts are tender to start with and do not need any extra beating and they will not need to marinate for hours.

Sirloin and New York strip are the cuts of meat they may require a bit of tenderizing. This recipe is both a great dish and mini course about tenderizing meats. Let’s get started.


  • 2 12 oz. New York strip steaks
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1-cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic gloves, grated


Using a meat mallet on your cuts of meat will help to tenderize them. Use the spiky side first to break apart the fibers, and then use the flat side to give it a desirable texture.

Next, you place the steaks in a shallow pan. In a small bowl you mix the remaining ingredients. Grating the garlic will release the juices from the garlic and not give you big pieces in your marinade.

  • Pour them over the steaks and cover.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning once.  

Once your steaks are marinated, it is time for cooking. Place the steaks in a shallow skillet with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook your steaks until you desire and serve immediately.

Extra Tips

Steaks can be a highlight to any romantic dinner or outdoor celebration. The best way to tenderize a steak is the marinade. Adding acidity to a marinade helps to break down the steaks fibers and make it more tender. You can do this by using lemon or lime juice, pineapple juice, wines, vinegars or with fruit. The easiest way to tenderize a steak is to use a meat mallet and work the steak until you reach a desired texture.

Overcooking a piece of steak will dry it out and create an undesirable texture.

A steak must be cooked properly and according to its size. Grilling a steak that is thin may result in less meat that you started with. Pan searing may be the way to go. Also letting a steak rest after it is removed from the fire will give it a perfect finish.

Brick Paver Care in Fall and Winter

Now that the warm summer months have passed it is not advisable to be doing any brick sealing. With the temperatures dipping into the forties and precipitation being more prevalent pavers do not fully dry out making it a poor time for paver sealing. However; it is still a great time of the year for paver cleaning.

Brick Paver Fall/Winter Tip #1: You can extend the life and beauty of your pavers with a timely paver cleaning. Brick cleaning at this time of the year is usually done to remove sap from trees, mold, mildew, other stains and fallen leaves. It is important to remove excess fallen leaves once you have performed a paver cleaning so the leaves do not stain the brick cleaning. You will find that the brick cleaning process will be much more effective to paver areas where brick sealing had been previously completed.

Brick Paver Fall/Winter Tip #2: If at all possible try not to apply ice melters to paver areas where paver cleaning and brick sealing was performed. Ice melters will cause spalling and can stain the pavers.

Brick Paver Fall/Winter Tip #3: It is also important not to use abrasive plows or snow shovels on your brick surfaces. Be sure to use a rubber bottomed plow and plastic snow shovels so you do not scratch any previously completed paver cleaning and brick sealing. Remember once you have performed your brick cleaning and brick sealing it will be much easier to remove any of those rubber or plastic scuffs that may occur during the snow season.

Gutter, Soffit and Fascia Cleaning

If there was ever a job that needed a scaffold tower, this is it!

What Are Soffits and Fascias?

Right, stick your head out the window and gaze toward the heavens. Do you see the box your guttering is attached to going around the bottom of the roof? The soffit is the underside of the box, and the fascias are the boards at the corners of the eaves. Attached to the soffits and fascias is your guttering. Guttering catches rainwater from the roof and takes it down to the ground and drains, so you do not get soaking wet whenever you walk out of your home.

Scaffold towers make what could be one heck of a job into something far more manageable. Make sure you hire a scaffold tower for a week or so. If you have a two-storey house, you should hire a 5.2-meter tower. With color-coded braces that click in, wheels and stabilizers, and toe-boards that all magic together within an hour you can be having a face-off with your fascias before you can say 'Ladders are rubbish'.

Take Care of Your Gutters

Cleaning your guttering regularly from a scaffold tower will give your roof a fighting chance of holding off the rot, your house dry and your walls clear of the evils of water. Once a year get up there and rake away the debris of the year's seasons. Always rake away from your downpipe, so you do not block it with more nests and leaves. You can get a specially designed rake that suits your guttering perfectly, which makes your job even simpler.

Why not rig up a pulley system on your scaffold tower to pass down the debris to your second-in-command on the ground … your scaffold tower negates the need for a bucket dangling on the top rung.

Check your guttering carefully for breaks or deformities, lock in place any slipped guttering or brackets, make sure your downpipe joins are all in order. When there is more than a couple of things to fix, it's better to just replace everything – especially if you have to replace the soffits and fascias: the little champions of the guttering world.

Fascias and Soffits

The fascias' job is to secure the guttering to make sure that the rainwater drains properly from the roof. Overhanging the walls are the soffits, which should have ventilation holes according to modern building standards. The holes keep the roof aired so the wood is not damaged by damp.

Damage can include: water blown or splashed from the gutter rots timber fascias – something you'd be illegally to see from your earlier peek out of the window. Even if you have recently painted your house there's a great chance you will not have painted above the gutters – just below – which opens the fascia up to the risk of rot. DO NOT whatever you do just stick a plastic cap on the exposed or rotting fascia; while it may look nicer in the short term, all you'd do is encourage the rot to spread.

Old wooden fascias and soffits, and guttering made of anything but plastic means you are in serious need of a trip to the DIY shop! The most common option for mounting roof boundaries is to use white, black or brown UPVC, simply because it is easy to look after: simply a wipe with a cloth and UPVC cleaner.

Of course getting a carpenter to build you new fascias and soffits is also an option, but you'll have to maintain it carefully and annually painting to make sure it does not rot. Although some people try to patch-up their failing soffits, fascias and gutters, professionals consider the best approach is really to update it completely, whether you use wood or UPVC.

The Violin – Why and How to Put Rosin On Your Bow

The reason why you put rosin on to the bow of your violin is to create friction between the hairs and the strings; it is this friction which makes the sound. I was amazed the other day when I got an E-mail off someone who had been given a violin for a present and was learning how to play. He told me that there was something wrong with his bow, as it did not make any sound on the strings. He was about to give up learning as too difficult when I explained this simple fact about the rosin. If there are any other people out there who are not sure on why or how to rosin a bow; then this article is for you.

To rosin your bow correctly, you need to follow the following easy steps.

1 Tighten your bow until it is taught and ready to use. Remember that when you finish playing, you should always release the tension in the bow, before putting it back in the case. A great way to see if you have tightened the bow enough is to bounce it off the back of your hand. If it does not bounce it is not taught enough.

2 Take out your rosin and with your bow in one hand and the rosin in the other, draw the bow across the surface as if you are playing it. The tip and the frog ends of the bow should be more heavily rosined, but make sure that you go all the way up and down so it is applied evenly. I recommend that you do this about 10 to 15 times if the bow is not completely new. For new bows you need to apply about 3 or 4 times as much, to initially get it to work against the strings.

3 Test the bow to see if you have applied the correct amount. I was taught when I was a boy, that the best way to test the bow is to run it gently over the back of my hand, if it leaves a white residue it is ready, if not you need to put more on.

Please note that rosin is hardened tree sap, and as such needs to be cleaned off your violin every now and again. To do this, and this again is what my old violin teacher told me; use a cloth with a little cooking oil, and this will easily remove the white powder from the instrument.

Fireplaces We Love

Every autumn as leaves and temperatures fall, I anticipate the first fire in the fireplace. I continue to build fires well through the cool spring nights. Each new fire is a personal test of my log selection and arranging skills-some of which I fail; my father-in-law and I have a running contest to see who's fire will smoke and go out the fastest.

When my home (and his) was built in the late eighth century, building fires was serious business. These fireplaces were undetected the center of the families' lives and sometimes sometimes made the difference between life and death. Those farmers cooked in their fireplaces, slept near them and made sure they never went out during the long cold winter.

In the late 1700's Count Rumford (who was born Benjamin Thompson in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1753) wrote about his fireplace innovations which included a high wide firebox as well as broadly spayed jambs. These changes greatly increased efficiency and reduced smoking. We often use Rumford designs today, especially when efficiency is paramount. The basic design of the fireplace is still the same after hundreds of years and although Count Rumford made great improvements to the efficiency of fireplaces, most people prefer a deep fireplace that can comfortably hold oversized logs.

Even though a fireplace in the 21st century is physically unnecessary to heat a house, it is the heart of what we consider home. There is a comfort associated with a roaring fire in the fireplace and a thrill to contain the most dangerous element any home can know. We all bring our memories of childhood hearth sitting to the table when we began to design our own fireplace. My daughters' favorite question after playing in the snow is "Can we build a fire and drink hot chocolate?", All she cares about is the comfort and the cocoa.

Modern building codes have encouraged us to become safer and more efficient in our fireplace designs. A house fire caused by a well maintained, well-designed modern fireplace is almost unheard of.

There are many alternatives to a traditional fireplace such as wood stoves, gas inserts and even LCD screens that show a crackling fire. While being very convenient, those alternatives will never compare to the first fire I start in my fireplace each fall.

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