Above Ground Pools and How to Avoid Wasting Money on Kits

Above ground pools are normally made from kits that come in a large box and cost a lot of money. There is a much cheaper way to install a small above ground pool than by buying an expensive steel framed model that will eventually rust away – even if it is galvanized to start with. The other problem with above ground pools that are made from kits is that the filtration and water sanitation systems are nearly always sub-standard because most of the money is allocated to the steel framing and not to the care of the pool water. Simple above ground pools can be built in more or less any shape using 150 mm wide concrete blocks from your local builder’s merchant and waterproofed with a PVC liner and provided with a water treatment system that really works and ensures that children can use the pool without getting ill. 

Such a pool can be square, round or octagonal. If the walls are about 4 feet or 1.2 metres high, the water depth can be 40 inches or about 1.0m. The concrete block walls will hold this height of water if they are propped externally by further concrete buttresses that are built at 2 metre intervals around the periphery of the pool. These buttresses need only be 40 inches or about 1 meter wide and should always be built at a right angle (on plan) to the main pool walls. 

The beauty of this structural system is that the buttresses can be used to support timber decking around the pool perimeter. The pool walls and the buttress walls will need proper concrete foundations and these should be at least 16 inches or 400 mm wide and taken down through the topsoil onto reasonably hard sub-soil. The foundations should be at least 6 inches or 150mm thick. They can be stepped if the pool is not being built on a level site. The pool can also be set down into the ground if it is required to reduce the visual obtrusiveness. 

The internal water facing side of the concrete block wall should be pointed flush so that the pool sides are smooth. Above ground pools do lose the heat received from solar gain very quickly over-night and to counteract this effect, polystyrene panels can be glued onto the inner face of the pool walls. 

An amateur brick layer can build one of these pools quite quickly and easily but care does need to be taken to ensure the structural integrity of the walls and it may be easier and quicker to get a professional involved. A skimmer and three water inlets that can be bought from the local pool shop also need to be installed through the pool walls. The skimmer should be installed so that it maintains the design water level. Two of the water inlets should be installed about 400 mm below water level and the third inlet (that actually works as a drain) should be installed just above the pool floor. All three should be on the side opposite the skimmer. 

The pool floor can then be leveled out and covered with sand. Skilled builders may prefer to put down leveling concrete topped off with a sand-cement screed. 

When the pool is built, measure it up (include the diagonal measurements at the top and bottom of the pools walls) and order the PVC liner and liner lock from your local pool shop. Work out the volume of your pool and ask the pool shop to provide a pump, sand filter and multi-port valve that will circulate the entire volume of the pool water in 4 hours and a circuit diagram. The filtration equipment and the pipes can all be located, out of the way underneath the decking around the pool. 

I will write another article about pool water care because it is very important to get this right when the weather is hot. 

The Top 5 Key Benefits of Purchasing and Owning Investment Real Estate

So… You may ask yourself, why should you buy or invest in real estate in the First Place? Because it’s the IDEAL investment! Let’s take a moment to address the reasons why people should have investment real estate in the first place. The easiest answer is a well-known acronym that addresses the key benefits for all investment real estate. Put simply, Investment Real Estate is an IDEAL investment. The IDEAL stands for:

• I – Income

• D – Depreciation

• E – Expenses

• A – Appreciation

• L – Leverage

Real estate is the IDEAL investment compared to all others. I’ll explain each benefit in depth.

The “I” in IDEAL stands for Income. (a.k.a. positive cash flow) Does it even generate income? Your investment property should be generating income from rents received each month. Of course, there will be months where you may experience a vacancy, but for the most part your investment will be producing an income. Be careful because many times beginning investors exaggerate their assumptions and don’t take into account all potential costs. The investor should know going into the purchase that the property will COST money each month (otherwise known as negative cash flow). This scenario, although not ideal, may be OK, only in specific instances that we will discuss later. It boils down to the risk tolerance and ability for the owner to fund and pay for a negative producing asset. In the boom years of real estate, prices were sky high and the rents didn’t increase proportionately with many residential real estate investment properties. Many naïve investors purchased properties with the assumption that the appreciation in prices would more than compensate for the fact that the high balance mortgage would be a significant negative impact on the funds each month. Be aware of this and do your best to forecast a positive cash flow scenario, so that you can actually realize the INCOME part of the IDEAL equation.

Often times, it may require a higher down payment (therefore lesser amount being mortgaged) so that your cash flow is acceptable each month. Ideally, you eventually pay off the mortgage so there is no question that cash flow will be coming in each month, and substantially so. This ought to be a vital component to one’s retirement plan. Do this a few times and you won’t have to worry about money later on down the road, which is the main goal as well as the reward for taking the risk in purchasing investment property in the first place.

The “D” in IDEAL Stands for Depreciation. With investment real estate, you are able to utilize its depreciation for your own tax benefit. What is depreciation anyway? It’s a non-cost accounting method to take into account the overall financial burden incurred through real estate investment. Look at this another way, when you buy a brand new car, the minute you drive off the lot, that car has depreciated in value. When it comes to your investment real estate property, the IRS allows you to deduct this amount yearly against your taxes. Please note: I am not a tax professional, so this is not meant to be a lesson in taxation policy or to be construed as tax advice.

With that said, the depreciation of a real estate investment property is determined by the overall value of the structure of the property and the length of time (recovery period based on the property type-either residential or commercial). If you have ever gotten a property tax bill, they usually break your property’s assessed value into two categories: one for the value of the land, and the other for the value of the structure. Both of these values added up equals your total “basis” for property taxation. When it comes to depreciation, you can deduct against your taxes on the original base value of the structure only; the IRS doesn’t allow you to depreciate land value (because land is typically only APPRECIATING). Just like your new car driving off the lot, it’s the structure on the property that is getting less and less valuable every year as its effective age gets older and older. And you can use this to your tax advantage.

The best example of the benefit regarding this concept is through depreciation, you can actually turn a property that creates a positive cash flow into one that shows a loss (on paper) when dealing with taxes and the IRS. And by doing so, that (paper) loss is deductible against your income for tax purposes. Therefore, it’s a great benefit for people that are specifically looking for a “tax-shelter” of sorts for their real estate investments.

For example, and without getting too technical, assume that you are able to depreciate $15,000 a year from a $500,000 residential investment property that you own. Let’s say that you are cash-flowing $1,000 a month (meaning that after all expenses, you are net-positive $1000 each month), so you have $12,000 total annual income for the year from this property’s rental income. Although you took in $12,000, you can show through your accountancy with the depreciation of the investment real estate that you actually lost $3,000 on paper, which is used against any income taxes that you may owe. From the standpoint of IRS, this property realized a loss of $3,000 after the “expense” of the $15,000 depreciation amount was taken into account. Not only are there no taxes due on that rental income, you can utilize the paper loss of $3,000 against your other regular taxable income from your day-job. Investment property at higher price points will have proportionally higher tax-shelter qualities. Investors use this to their benefit in being able to deduct as much against their taxable amount owed each year through the benefit of depreciation with their underlying real estate investment.

Although this is a vastly important benefit to owning investment real estate, the subject is not well understood. Because depreciation is a somewhat complicated tax subject, the above explanation was meant to be cursory in nature. When it comes to issues involving taxes and depreciation, make sure you have a tax professional that can advise you appropriately so you know where you stand.

The “E” in IDEAL is for Expenses – Generally, all expenses incurred relating to the property are deductible when it comes to your investment property. The cost for utilities, the cost for insurance, the mortgage, and the interest and property taxes you pay. If you use a property manager or if you’re repairing or improving the property itself, all of this is deductible. Real estate investment comes with a lot of expenses, duties, and responsibilities to ensure the investment property itself performs to its highest capability. Because of this, contemporary tax law generally allows that all of these related expenses are deductible to the benefit of the investment real estate landowner. If you were to ever take a loss, or purposefully took a loss on a business investment or investment property, that loss (expense) can carry over for multiple years against your income taxes. For some people, this is an aggressive and technical strategy. Yet it’s another potential benefit of investment real estate.

The “A” in IDEAL is for Appreciation – Appreciation means the growth of value of the underlying investment. It’s one of the main reasons that we invest in the first place, and it’s a powerful way to grow your net worth. Many homes in the city of San Francisco are several million dollars in today’s market, but back in the 1960s, the same property was worth about the cost of the car you are currently driving (probably even less!). Throughout the years, the area became more popular and the demand that ensued caused the real estate prices in the city to grow exponentially compared to where they were a few decades ago. People that were lucky enough to recognize this, or who were just in the right place at the right time and continued to live in their home have realized an investment return in the 1000’s of percent. Now that’s what appreciation is all about. What other investment can make you this kind of return without drastically increased risk? The best part about investment real estate is that someone is paying you to live in your property, paying off your mortgage, and creating an income (positive cash flow) to you each month along the way throughout your course of ownership.

The “L” in IDEAL stands for Leverage – A lot of people refer to this as “OPM” (other people’s money). This is when you are using a small amount of your money to control a much more expensive asset. You are essentially leveraging your down payment and gaining control of an asset that you would normally not be able to purchase without the loan itself. Leverage is much more acceptable in the real estate world and inherently less risky than leverage in the stock world (where this is done through means of options or buying “on Margin”). Leverage is common in real estate. Otherwise, people would only buy property when they had 100% of the cash to do so. Over a third of all purchase transactions are all-cash transactions as our recovery continues. Still, about 2/3 of all purchases are done with some level of financing, so the majority of buyers in the market enjoy the power that leverage can offer when it comes to investment real estate.

For example, if a real estate investor was to buy a house that costs $100,000 with 10% down payment, they are leveraging the remaining 90% through the use of the associated mortgage. Let’s say the local market improves by 20% over the next year, and therefore the actual property is now worth $120,000. When it comes to leverage, from the standpoint of this property, its value increased by 20%. But compared to the investor’s actual down payment (the “skin in the game”) of $10,000- this increase in property value of 20% really means the investor doubled their return on the investment actually made-also known as the “cash on cash” return. In this case, that is 200%-because the $10,000 is now responsible and entitled to a $20,000 increase in overall value and the overall potential profit.

Although leverage is considered a benefit, like everything else, there can always be too much of a good thing. In 2007, when the real estate market took a turn for the worst, many investors were over-leveraged and fared the worst. They could not weather the storm of a correcting economy. Exercising caution with every investment made will help to ensure that you can purchase, retain, pay-off debt, and grow your wealth from the investment decisions made as opposed to being at the mercy and whim of the overall market fluctuations. Surely there will be future booms and busts as the past would dictate as we continue to move forward. More planning and preparing while building net worth will help prevent getting bruised and battered by the side effects of whatever market we find ourselves in.

Many people think that investment real estate is only about cash flow and appreciation, but it’s so much more than that. As mentioned above, you can realize several benefits through each real estate investment property you purchase. The challenge is to maximize the benefits through every investment.

Furthermore, the IDEAL acronym is not just a reminder of the benefits of investment real estate; it’s also here to serve as a guide for every investment property you will consider purchasing in the future. Any property you purchase should conform to all of the letters that represent the IDEAL acronym. The underlying property should have a good reason for not fitting all the guidelines. And in almost every case, if there is an investment you are considering that doesn’t hit all the guidelines, by most accounts you should probably PASS on it!

Take for example a story of my own, regarding a property that I purchased early on in my real estate career. To this day, it’s the biggest investment mistake that I’ve made, and it’s precisely because I didn’t follow the IDEAL guidelines that you are reading and learning about now. I was naïve and my experience was not yet fully developed. The property I purchased was a vacant lot in a gated community development. The property already had an HOA (a monthly maintenance fee) because of the nice amenity facilities that were built for it, and in anticipation of would-be-built homes. There were high expectations for the future appreciation potential-but then the market turned for the worse as we headed into the great recession that lasted from 2007-2012. Can you see what parts of the IDEAL guidelines I missed on completely?

Let’s start with “I”. The vacant lot made no income! Sometimes this can be acceptable, if the deal is something that cannot be missed. But for the most part this deal was nothing special. In all honesty, I’ve considered selling the trees that are currently on the vacant lot to the local wood mill for some actual income, or putting up a camping spot ad on the local Craigslist; but unfortunately the lumber isn’t worth enough and there are better spots to camp! My expectations and desire for price appreciation blocked the rational and logical questions that needed to be asked. So, when it came to the income aspect of the IDEAL guidelines for a real estate investment, I paid no attention to it. And I paid the price for my hubris. Furthermore, this investment failed to realize the benefit of depreciation as you cannot depreciate land! So, we are zero for two so far, with the IDEAL guideline to real estate investing. All I can do is hope the land appreciates to a point where it can be sold one day. Let’s call it an expensive learning lesson. You too will have these “learning lessons”; just try to have as few of them as possible and you will be better off.

When it comes to making the most of your real estate investments, ALWAYS keep the IDEAL guideline in mind to make certain you are making a good decision and a solid investment.

Couples Making Love Positions – Positions For Better Love Making

In the Kama Sutra manual, it has recorded different kinds of love making positions that couples can adopt during sex. Some of the love making positions provides higher stimulation than the others and it will be good for you to try them out with your lover.

1. The Clip. This position is very easy to execute and it brings a lot of pleasure to both partners. The man will lie down with his legs outstretched. The woman will sit astride him and lean back, so that the man can play with her clitoris while she controls the thrusting movement. The man can just relaxed and enjoy the intercourse.

2. The 90 Degree. This position is best to be performed on a table, with the woman lying on it and her buttock at the edge of the table. The man will then enter her in a standing position. This position is ideal for the man to caress both her breasts as well as her clitoris. The woman should wrap both her legs onto the man’s waist and pull him to towards her. This will cause the pressure to increase, giving both partners stimulating pleasures.

3. The Doggie. This is a classic making love position and it is highly stimulating for both partners. This position starts off with the woman going down on all fours, using her forearms to support herself. The man will enter her from the rear, controlling the thrusting movement with his hips. This position will give a lot of pleasures to both partners as the deep penetration will not only grind and stimulate against the vaginal wall, but also the G-Spot too.

You should explore more love making positions with your partner to spice things up as there may be some other positions that both of you find highly stimulating.

Do you need more lovemaking tips & ideas to enjoy better love making with your lover? Check out the kama sutra website below for more ideas now:

The Origin and History of Face Painting

Face painting has come a long way since human history began. It is obviously hard to pin point the origin and exactly when face and body painting started, although some claimed that the Native Americans were the ones who initiated this art.

Wikipedia, however offers some insights. From ancient times, it has been used for traditional ceremonies, wars, hunting, religious reasons, and military purposes (such as face camouflage). In the popular culture during the hippie movement of the late 1960s, it was common for young women to decorate their cheeks with flowers at special events. At the same time, there were those who painted peace symbols on their faces at anti-war demonstrations.

In the 1980s, face painting found its way into professional wrestling shows. Popular wrestlers like The Ultimate Warrior, Road Warrior Hawk and Doink the Clown utilized this art to create unique character dressings that literally shook the wrestling world. To date, some WWE superstars are still wearing face paint designs to dramatically increase the visual impact of their characters.

In the last few decades, face painting has been a common sight at carnivals, private parties, street and paid performances and large open-air markets (especially in Europe and the Americas). A part from that, it is also very popular among children at birthday parties, theme parks and seasonal festivals throughout the Western world in particular. Though the majority of face painting activities are targeted at young kids, many grown-ups enjoy being painted as well especially at special events such as charity fund raisers.

I recall that when I was a child, circus performances were fairly common. This group of performers travels from country to country with their herds of animals and large cases of tools and gadgets to entertain the crowds. Those were the times before we had cable television or HBOs. One of the most entertaining performances when watching the circus was when the clown appears to delight the crowds. Most of these professional clowns had to paint their own faces. Fortunately, they had a fairly easy and simple design.

Whatever the origin or the history of face painting is, this beautiful art is here to stay.

Enjoy!

Steel Detailing – Are You Interested in Starting Your Own Business?

Steel Detailing for me is my life. If you had to ask the question, if I chose it for my life I would say “Deep down YES”. I just fell into it.

It all started when I was 18 looking for work straight out of High School. I was accepted into an apprenticeship as a Structural Designer for a company in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, working on mining designs. Back then the office was decked out with drawing boards, smoking was permitted and an ammonia copier.

The job involved standing behind the ammonia copier copying drawings onto CPR’s, Penmanship, small drafting jobs, the coffee run and the food run for the first 6 months. This was my introduction into detailing steelwork for mining jobs throughout The Hunter Region and it was all coal process and handling.

Little did I know, the owner of company had a habit of starting and closing companies on a regular basis and my job only lasted just over 6 months. This was just enough for me to continue into this career with just a small taste.

Since then I have worked for many prominent design companies and have gained extensive experience. It wasn’t until I was given the opportunity start my own company with the backing of a building company in Thornton, NSW, Australia before I really began to learn fast.

The company went from just me to 6 people in a small 2 year period and was working really hard. I cannot emphasize the Really Hard part enough as the hours were long. The reason for this is that I was working in the business and not on the business and because I was the business owner, it had to run smoothly in order for it to grow.

For those that have not had experience with steel detailing there is a process you must follow.

Firstly, you are asked to provide a quote. If the quote is accepted, you are presented with a set of Structural Engineering drawings and a set of Architectural drawings depending on the project category. There are 3 main categories – Mining, Industrial and commercial. Mining has no architectural requirement.

Secondly, you go through the drawings and work out areas that maybe of concern and require more information and request the information. Usually at this stage because the information is going to change the amount of work you have to do, so you would ask for a variation if the work is allot more than you originally estimated.

Thirdly, the client accepts the variation and you begin the project. As the company owner I usually started the project layout for the rest of the team to detail the steelwork. The layout was completed in AutoCAD and consisted of the plan view with all of the elevations projected surrounding the Plan.

At the end of the day I was the checker also. “Why” did I check the drawings you may ask. It’s plainly obvious, the buck stopped with me. If there was an error, just a small error, it would cost me. Imagine that you would be back charged if the error required rectification by the builder or fabricator. Imagine that if the error was just enough that it holted the erection of the steelwork on site and they needed to hold the crane, hold the erection crew and a boiler maker was required to fix it. The costs start to add up fast. The drafting job may have only cost $10,000, but a small error could cost you much more.

At this stage, you are probably wondering why you want to start a steel detailing business. The risk is very high, the hours are long. But I need to add more fuel to the fire by talking about money. If you make the smallest mistake that costs more money than you were expected to receive for the steel detailing, the fabricator, building company will hold your money back until the project is complete. One error indicates there could be more and just in case there is, they will hold it back. So what does this do to your company’s cash flow?

I talk about errors in a frightening sense because they are very scary. You could, if you had an ego like I did and say there will be no errors, but you’re just kidding yourself. Believe me when I say “There are always errors” Consider that steel detailing is the lowest detail of the project. It’s every nut and bolt. Yes that’s right, if you get your bolt quantities incorrect you are liable for a back charge, if the steel erector has to go and get more bolts, it’s going to cost you.

Can you imagine not being paid for months. In my experience there are 2 main factors that influence a company’s growth, cashflow and risk. Think of errors as a risk. Depending on the error size the risk increases or decreases, but there is always risk. There are more risks other than errors. Yes that’s right more risk. That risk is getting paid. If you let the fabricator or building control the way you get paid, you are really going to be in for a big shock. Imagine just asking for 10% of the quoted price to be paid before work begins can cover your overheads. That’s great, what about the other 90%?

Imagine doing business with companies that are well recognised in the building and construction business. Usually their terms are 90 days with no deposit. That’s the top of the spectrum, what about the bottom of the spectrum. You come across another potential client, but your not sure about the stability of the clients company, but you take a risk only to find that you have been involved in trying to help them service and since you are the last person to get paid you never see payment from them at all. So you begin legal action. You start shelling out money for solicitors earned from other projects. You hire a personal debt collector that harasses the company for payment under terms that if he gets any money out of them he gets a cut. Now imagine companies starting and closing like my first job. Imagine the clients company goes into liquidation and you are not a secured creditor. No money here at all.

So I guess you are asking yourself at this stage, Why are people still detailing steel. Well there are ways to protect yourself. If you put in your quote that you will be paid under your terms, that you will be not back charged for any errors and your contract is created using a secured creditor arrangement you can protect yourself. If you find a reputable client that won’t back charge you and pays regularly, your on to a winner.

I just wanted to educate you so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did. So please be careful when it comes to steel detailing, because the Risk can take it all away from you.

The Steel Detailer…

Transvaginal Mesh Represents a Treatment Procedure That Might Not Be Too Safe

For many women childbirth represents the pinnacle moment of their life and it is probably one of the reasons a child can save many things in a relationship. Having another life depending on your own will require you to focus not only on the others in your family but also on your own actions and health. After childbirth, women experience changes in their bodies. One of them is known as pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that occurs when the muscles and tissue between the pelvic organs and vaginal wall can no longer support the organs, causing them to bulge into the wall of the vagina.

One treatment procedure available for patients suffering from pelvic organ prolapse is transvaginal mesh implants, a device meant to offer reinforcement to the muscles and tissues that are weak and therefore offer support to the pelvic organ, preventing them to bulge into the vaginal wall and in some cases beyond it.

Unfortunately, many medical studies have linked this treatment procedure to severe and painful complications. Even the Food and Drug Administration issued a public health warning after thousand of reports received for patients regarding the harmful effects of transvaginal mesh procedures. This treatment option has lead many patients to experience bleeding, severe pain, organ like blood vessels and bladder being perforated and infections.

Women that have been injured after having transvaginal mesh surgery may be entitled to receive compensation to cover all the damages the product has caused them. Before filing a lawsuit, it is very important to make sure you are indeed the victim of this product’s negative effects. Consulting with a specialized and determined lawyer with years of experience dealing with similar cases will be of great help, as he will know exactly what to look for and what to do. Getting proper compensation is vital due to the fact that it will cover all your medical expenses, any lost wages and all the pain and suffering the patient may have endured because of the product. Your legal defender will have to prove that the mesh used in your surgery is the cause of your injuries and that it is can be a threat to all patients using this pelvic organ prolapse treatment procedure. This will be achieved by bringing undeniable medical evidence in court, evidence that cannot be denied even by the defenders of the companies that make and distribute the product. Getting properly compensated is the first step in the right direction in the mission to get your life back on a positive track.

The 7 C’s of a Successful Resume

Your resume may have taken long hours to be perfected. However, there is no excuse to double check everything after it has been finished. The important thing is that you edit it with a fresh eye, maybe a day or two after it was written. This will enable you to see it from an outsider’s perspective. Every detail of the application paper is crucial. You never know what the HR will only see during the 20-second scan on your details.

Make sure that you edit your resume in such a way that your key competencies will be recognized and be seen easily. Moreover, you have to take note of the following qualities to assure that you’re holding a successful resume:

1. Consistency

Everything should be consistent in the general view – from the layout of your copy to its grammatical composition. Consistency is a great virtue to nail the first impression even before the hiring manager reads your resume. It projects your credibility and trustworthiness. So if you don’t want your application paper to end up in the trash bin for the first few seconds, then keep an impeccable grammar and professional image, even if it’s just on paper.

2. Customized and specific

Never ever use the same resume for two different jobs. This won’t give you a very good image for the hiring manager will think that you have included non-relevant background or skills because you have nothing else to write in your resume. You can never be successful in job hunting without tailoring your resume in a fashion that will exactly fit with the requirements and taste of your employers.

3. Complete

Never leave gaps on your history and background. Cover them wittily but truthfully. You can always write ‘freelancer’ or ‘studying for a degree.’ Or if there’s no other possible way to compensate these gaps in your copy, candidly indicate that you’re unemployed instead of not writing anything. The hiring managers know that lying applicants always have the cunning for hiding details, and they will get suspicious if you leave a long gap on your history.

4. Clean and professional

No, the job market is not a game show. It’s definitely not the place for colorful gimmicks. So ditch out your urge to use flashy fonts and colorful borders and dividers. Yes, you will get noticed for such a show, but bet that it won’t go any further than that great quagmire of HR office confetti.

5. Clever

If you continue to compare yours with average application papers, you will get what you want: a place in the middle, in the probationary, or in the who-knows-maybe list of the hiring managers. So if you’re vying for excellent results, tailor it uniquely and impressively. All those people on top only settle for the kickass.

6. Considerate

Have some respect with your employer’s time. Accept the fact that they can only give your resume a maximum of 30 seconds. In that way, you don’t only give them their respective time, you’re also maximizing the focus on what matters. Guess, it actually pays off.

7. Compelling

Good news: applicants naturally have the knack of guessing what the employer wants to hear from them. Bad news: they usually don’t follow this instinct. So know the personality and culture of the company you’re applying to, and obey your common sense. Write what you think they want to know about you. The only way to make an irresistible and successful resume is to say what is important to them, not what is important to you.

Buying a Property in Romania – Real Estate Law in Romania

If you are looking to buy a holiday or second home or invest in Romania, Transylvania or at the Black Sea and you are a foreign citizen/investor, there are few aspects you should know about the procedure an the costs for the acquisition of Romanian land or Romanian houses.

After 2012, foreign citizens EU citizens (non-Romanian) may purchase a home or apartment in Romania may freely buy and sell any Romanian property, without restrictions. Along with the sell price for the property, buying real estate in Romania has other costs associated with it.

If you have chosen to collaborate with a Romanian real estate agent/ broker you can expect to have an additional commission of approximately 2-4% of the price of the property. The local tax will be 2-4% of the price of the property. The signing of a contract must be witnessed by a public notary who submits it for certification by the Land Registry in charge of real estate records. The fees for the Romanian public notary is about 0.5-1% of the purchase price. You will also have to pay fees to the Land Registry (“Cartea Funciara”) to register the Transfer Deed. The Romanian Land Registry Fee for a purchase of a property will vary from 1-3% according to the length of time that the seller had owned the property and the property’s value.

The Romanian law on property states that Citizens of EU member states, legal persons incorporated in the EU member states and stateless people domiciled in an EU member state can purchase land in Romania only if the land is used for secondary residences or for secondary headquarters after a 5 (five) years term from the accession of Romania to the EU (starting with January 1st, 2012); only for the agricultural land and forest land 7 (seven) years term from the accession of Romania to the EU ( starting with January 1st, 2014).

But for the Citizens, legal persons and stateless people not from a EU member state, the Romanian legal system establishes that they can purchase land in Romania, under the conditions of international treaties between Romania and the states of origin on these persons, under a reciprocity basis.

In our point of view, a prudent investor will hire a Romanian lawyer/ a Romanian Law Office, who will liaise closely with the notary on the verification of the title, obtaining the Land Registry excerpt and the drafting of the agreement for the transfer of ownership of the real estate. This means that the Romanian lawyer will be solely acting for and is responsible to his or her client, whereas the notary will not have the same degree of responsibility to the purchaser.

Under Romanian law there are three basic rights to land and buildings such as right of ownership; usage rights as lease, usufruct, superficies; concession right. The principle of contractual liberty represents the key core of the property law in Romania.

Sometimes, an investor/purchaser can opt for closing a pre-sale agreement, by which the seller undertakes to transfer ownership to the buyer at a certain date in exchange for an agreed consideration. The content of the pre-sale contract will stipulate all commercial and legal conditions for the transfer of ownership, as conditions precedent to the final transfer of ownership. The closing of such pre-contract for purchase does not means the transfer over the property, but the stipulate binding obligations for the parties, in regard to, as example, damages or penalties set out in them, if the seller refuses to sign the final notarized deed of transfer at the agreed deadline.

The closing of the pre-sale agreement is to protect the investor/buyer from any possible purchase to other buyers and to matters regarding the fixed price and duration of a future purchase. In our point of view, it is a must that the pre-sale agreement to be concluded at a Public Notary and clearly stipulate the sale price and other clauses regarding duration of future purchase. In this case, it can be enforced in court on the buyer’s request as a deed to transfer ownership.

A sale agreement signed in Romania, according to the Romanian legislation will mandatory stipulate: obligations of the parties for the fulfillment of the sale contract, delivery and quality conditions of goods and/or services, terms, payment methods and payment guarantees, payment instruments and price insurance, contractual risk, as well as method of solving eventual litigations arising from the contract. Other required elements include the full name and identification details of the parties (for legal entities) and name of the person signing the contract (representing a legal entity).

Our team of romanian lawyers offer a wide variety of legal services in the real estate law http://www.lawyersinromania.com

How to Salt Cure Shrimp Bait For Surf Fishing

If your a surf angler you can salt cure your own shrimp bait easily. Salt cured shrimp bait will get just as many strikes as live shrimp and it stays on the hook much longer.

How much better would it be if you didn’t have to deal with live bait? The advantages are numerous.

  • You don’t need a bait bucket
  • You don’t need an aerator
  • You can carry a bag of bait in your pocket
  • Salt preserved shrimp will catch just as many fish as live shrimp
  • What you don’t use doesn’t spoil
  • It stays on the hook much better than live bait
  • It’s simple and easy to preserve shrimp yourself
  • Cured shrimp has an indefinite shelf life

Salt curing has been around for ages but since the advent of refrigeration you very seldom hear about it. The reason why salt curing works is because it inhibits the growth of microorganisms.

Once you start using shrimp that has been cured as see how well it works you won’t want to go surf fishing with live shrimp again.

Go to your local super market and buy a box of kosher salt (do not use iodized salt) and a pound of uncooked shrimp with the shells on. Peel the shells off and cut the shrimp into chunks about ½” to ¾ of an inch long. Do not wash or rinse the shrimp. You want it to retain as much of the natural scent as possible

Use any plastic container about 6″-8″ round with a flat bottom. Start with about an inch of salt in the bottom of the container. Place in a layer of chunk-ed up shrimp and another inch of salt. Continue building layers of shrimp and salt until all the shrimp is under the salt. Do not seal the container. You can place a rag or a towel over it if you like.

The shrimp will cure relatively fast usually in one day but allow at least a few days to be sure. You can shake it a little bit every once in awhile just to be sure that the shrimp stays in contact with the salt.

Once the shrimp has cured you’ll notice that it is a lot more firm than before curing. This is the reason it will stay on the hook much longer than fresh shrimp. Any surf angler knows you can go through a lot of live bait when your surf fishing.

After curing you can place the shrimp in zip lock or vacuum seal bags and you’re ready to head to the surf anytime. Surf fishing will take on a whole new meaning once you start curing your own bait.

Curing your own bait is a great way to have bait on hand ready to go at a moments notice. Try it for yourself and see how well it works. You won’t be disappointed.

Hunter Ceiling Fans Advice

Hunter ceiling fans are without doubt the best you can buy, here we have put together all the information you might need to know about ceiling fans before purchasing, please bear in mind that there are other ceiling fan manufacturers out there who copy Hunter ceiling fan designs but they are nowhere near as good, the materials they use are not as high quality and they cannot copy hunter ceiling fans patents such as whisper-wind and wobble-free technology, no-one else can match the Hunter lifetime warranty on the motor either, so while many ceiling fans may look “just like a Hunter,” remember all ceiling fans are not created equal…

Most Hunter ceiling fans have a reverse option which is especially important to reduce heating bills in the winter, warm air can be directed down to where it is needed by spinning the ceiling fan clockwise.

Some points to consider when buying a ceiling fan:

– How much air is actually being circulated?

– How efficiently will the fan move air?

– How quiet or noisy is the fan?

– Will the fan wobble?

– How long will the fan last?

– How durable is the finish?

– Will the manufacturer stand behind the warranty?

Many Fans Move Very Little Air

A ceiling fan that looks nice but moves little air is a comfort to no one. One of the keys to proper air movement is blade pitch. The greater the pitch-the angle of the blade-the greater the air movement providing the blade pitch has been properly harmonized with the motor. Unlike Hunter some manufacturers skimp on materials and don’t use large enough or powerful enough motors to support proper blade pitch. So they compromise on blade pitch, sacrificing proper air movement to reduce the stress on undersized or under-powered motors. Many fans also use extra thin blades to reduce cost. The reduced blade surface area means reduced air movement.

Why Many Fans Are Less Efficient

The amount of energy a fan consumes plus the volume of air the fan moves determines the fan’s overall efficiency. Small, low wattage motors may use little energy, but they also move very little air, resulting in very inefficient fans, Hunter fans are built to shift a lot of air.

Why Many Fans Are Noisy

An electrical humming created when a ceiling fan is running is usually the result of poor engineering design and a lack of precision manufacturing. Some manufacturers use generic, inexpensive ball bearings to reduce cost, even though these are a common source of operating noise. A lack of proper dampening between metal parts can also create and intensify noise, as can the use of extra thin sheet metal motor and mounting system parts. Hunter fans only use the best materials available.

Why Many Fans Wobble

Many factors can produce fan wobble. Substandard blade materials and improper blade sealing can produce blades that absorb moisture and warp-a prime source of wobble. Blades that are not matched in carefully weighed and balanced sets can also wobble. Inconsistent blade mounting brackets can create varying degrees of pitch (blade angle), throwing a fan into an unbalanced wobble. And poorly manufactured motors have rotors that can easily get out of balance, generating wobble from the very heart of the fan. Inexpensive mounting systems with pin fasteners can also contribute to wobble. Hunter fans have a patented wobble free canopy which means Hunter fans are always straight.

Common Reasons Substandard Fans Break Down Prematurely

Motor size and blade pitch are not specified and matched correctly. Improperly installed on/off pull chains can become faulty and be pulled out of the housing. Inadequate quality, testing, manufacturing and inspection procedures send poor quality fans to market. Defective motor windings can lead to electrical shorts in the motor. Low quality fan bearings may be “shielded” on one side only, allowing dust to enter and cause premature failure. Inexpensive materials, poor engineering, and substandard manufacturing processes are used to create “bargain” fans.

Why Brass Finishes Are Not Alike

In the beginning all brass finishes look great. Then tarnish and dark spots begin to appear. You may even notice the brass on the fan is a different colour than the light kit you just added!

Quality brass and other metallic finishes include a series of grinding and buffing steps between multiple plating processes. To help determine the quality of a plated finish, look at the surface closely for scratches or unevenness of finish. Does the surface spot easily? If so, avoid the fan. Can you feel a smooth protective coating? That’s a sign of the kind of quality you’ll find in the famous Hunter Bright Brass Finish.

What is the minimum height I need in my room to put up a fan?

Safety standards state that the min height from the floor to the bottom of the fan blades must be 2.3m or 7ft 6″, consider Hunter Low Profile ceiling fan if you have a low ceiling, just really make sure that they are above head height.

Why a Hunter ceiling fan warranty makes a difference

Hunter backs its fans with a lifetime limited motor warranty, and backs that warranty with nearly 120 years in the ceiling fan business. No other manufacturer has that kind of record to stand on. So you get the peace of mind of knowing you’ve got the best-backed warranty in the business!

How much air do ceiling fans move?

Ceiling fan air movement is measured in CFM, or cubic feet per minute. The greater the CFM, the more air that is being moved. The air moved by the fan creates a wind chill effect that makes you feel more comfortable in a warm room. There is a direct relationship between air movement and comfort – the more air moved, the greater the wind chill effect. Hunter fans generally move more air than competitive models because of custom-engineered motors and blades pitched at the maximum possible angle.

What is the difference between a four and five blade ceiling fan?

The main difference between a 4-blade and 5-blade fan is aesthetics, with some additional wind noise associated with 5-blade fans. For a given motor, a 4-blade fan will move more air than a 5-blade fan. The 5th blade puts additional drag on the motor, slowing down the RPM of the blades, which decreases the CFM. All Hunter fans, whether 4 or 5 blades, are designed for optimal air delivery

How do I know what size fan to purchase – there are so many sizes available?

You need to choose the right size fan for a room to get optimum looks, comfort and energy savings. If the fan is too small for the room, it will not move enough air to make you feel comfortable. If the fan is too big, it could move too much air. Hunter recommends the following:

• 100 sq foot 30″-42″ Ceiling fan

• 400 sq foot 48″-54″ Ceiling fan

• Larger rooms use at least 56″ Ceiling fan

Why do some fans require oil and others do not?

The Hunter Original has a very unique motor that uses an oil-bath lubrication system. This system keeps the main bearings lubricated at all times, for quiet operation and long-life. It is part of the reason why this fan has a limited lifetime motor warranty. Most other fans use motors that do not require oil.

What makes the Hunter Original so unique in the market compared to all other fans?

The Hunter Original is the most unique ceiling fan on the market, with a design that dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Cast iron is used in the motor housing construction to more effectively draw heat away from the electrical windings; heat is a major enemy of electrical motors. The extra weight of the cast-iron construction also reduces the potential for fan wobble. The motor is also larger than any other ceiling fan, making it the most powerful motor available. This allows the blades to be pitched at a 15 degree angle, which produces greater air movement with less noise. The oil-bath lubrication system protects the major moving components of the motor, and prolongs the life of the motor. Added up, these unique design elements produce a powerful, quiet fan that is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

How do fans cool the room – do they actually lower the temperature?

A ceiling fan cools by creating a wind chill effect; it does not lower the room temperature. Wind chill effect makes you feel cooler by accelerating the evaporation of perspiration on your skin. It is the feeling you get when you open the window in a moving car. If you have a ceiling fan in a room whose temperature is 80 degrees, running the fan can create a wind chill effect that makes you feel as if the temperature is 72 degrees. When used in conjunction with an air conditioner, a ceiling fan can lower energy costs, because you can set the thermostat of your air conditioner at a higher temperature.

Can the ceiling fan be used in the winter for any beneficial purpose?

A ceiling fan can help lower energy consumption in the winter by up to 15%. The temperature of the air in a heated room varies in layers; the air near the ceiling is warmer than the air near the floor, because warm air rises. A ceiling fan can help push the warmer air that is trapped near the ceiling back down into the room, thus de-stratifying the layers of warm air. As a result, the warm air is circulated where it is needed, and the heating system does not overwork to warm the room. To properly de-stratify a warmed room, the ceiling fan should be run in a clockwise direction. This pushes the air up against the ceilings and down the walls, to gently re-circulate the warm air without creating a cooling wind chill effect.

How much electricity will a fan use?

On average, a ceiling fan run on high speed will consume less power than a 100-watt light bulb.

How much can I expect to save in heating and or cooling costs?

A ceiling fan can save up to 95% on cooling costs for a new install and 47% on an existing air conditioning system. It can also save up to 15% on heating costs. Savings will vary depending on energy rates.

How easy is a ceiling fan to install?

Most people will get an electrician to install a ceiling fan, it can be a DIY project but please bear in mind you will need to be able to:

– Locate a 2″ x 4″ or other suitable support in the ceiling

– Drill holes and install wood screws

– Identify and connect electrical wires

– Lift the fan (most weigh less than 8kg)

What is covered by the fan warranty – how does the Hunter warranty compare to other fan company warranties?

Most fan warranties are limited warranties that cover the motor parts for the stated life of the warranty; that is, a 20-year warranty will cover the motor parts for 20 years. Labour for the motor is generally covered for 1-year, as are parts and labour for all other components of the fan. All Hunter fans are backed by a “limited lifetime motor warranty.” Most importantly, Hunter is the only fan company with over 115 years of experience behind its warranties.

Can my fan be adjusted by remote control?

Most ceiling fans can be adjusted with an accessory remote control sold separately from the fan. In fact, remote controls can really enhance the performance and operating flexibility of ceiling fans since many include one-touch multiple speed settings, instant fan “off” operation, and full range light dimming — all possible from the comfort of your favourite chair or bedside table. Ceiling fan and light remote controls can easily be installed either with the fan during new installations or on fans which have been previously installed and in use for some time.

The installation is an easy, do-it-yourself project and does not require any professional wiring. Remote control kits include a handheld transmitter for sending commands to the fan and a receiver which either conceals inside the fan canopy or mounts just beneath the ceiling. Remote controls can operate the fan or light reliably up to 40 feet away from the fan.

Can ceiling fans be mounted on angled or vaulted ceilings?

Yes, ceiling fans can be installed on angled or vaulted ceilings by using a fan canopy (the “cap” visible closest to the ceiling which covers the electrical box) which has been designed to accommodate sloped ceilings. Many quality fans will include this type of adjustable canopy, like Hunter’s Installer’s Choice and HandsFree™ Canopy systems, but if not included with the fan at original purchase, accessory canopy adapters are sold separately at retail outlets.

What length drop rod should I use with my fan? Will the fan be more prone to wobble if I use a drop rod?

See chart above. A general formula for calculating drop rod length is: ceiling height in feet minus 9′ = drop rod length. This formula is based on the fan-to-floor distance of 8 feet plus 1 foot for the dimension of the fan. So if your ceiling height is 12 feet, you need a 3 foot drop rod in order to properly position the fan 8 feet from the floor. Using long-length drop rods for fan installations actually help stabilize fans and reduce the potential for wobble. Think of a grandfather clock pendulum and its slow, heavy swing versus a smaller clock pendulum with a fast, unsteady swing. Weight and length combine to create stability, reducing wobble, whether it is in a ceiling fan or a clock pendulum.

Why does my fan “hum” when I installed a variable speed (solid state) control?

Most quality ceiling fans are operated by a certain type of electrical control system called capacitors. Capacitor electronics in ceiling fans create distinct speed “steps” like high, medium, and low. Capacitors control the fan speed in a way that does not produce a hum. Variable fan speed controls, which create a speed control “range” from low to high, are operated by solid state electronics. Variable controls can create a hum because they control the fan’s speed in a different manner. For quiet fan operation, capacitor type fan controls are recommended for most ceiling fan installations.

Can a ceiling fan and a light kit be controlled from the same wall switch?

The answer here depends on how your wall switch is currently wired. If you have a single wall switch with two wires (one black, one white), the answer is “no” unless you purchase a control specifically designed for this type of switch (Hunter offers three models). The answer is “yes” if you have a three wire set-up in the single wall switch and purchase a more common, dual control that will operate a fan and light separately from a single switch. Having an electrician install a third wire can be expensive.

What is the difference in having a ceiling fan installed close to the ceiling versus on a drop rod

For maximum performance and greatest energy savings, ceiling fans should be installed approximately 8 to 9 feet above the floor. Extension drop rods are used to properly position fans from ceiling heights greater than 8 feet. For example, a 12 foot ceiling would need a 3 foot drop rod to position the fan at 8 feet (one foot must be allowed for the distance from the top of the fan motor to the switch housing bottom.

Pokemon Birthday Party Games

So you’ve got young boys who love Pokemon and their birthday is fast approaching? Never fear, help is here. Both of my young sons love Pokemon, they are ages 6 and 9. What is Pokemon you say? Pokemon means “Pocket Monster” in Japanese. The crazy characters evolve into different characters and they use pokemon moves to “fight” each other causing “damage”. This craze has originated in Japan, but is highly popular here in the US. The Pokemon characters all have an HP number, how much the Pokemon is worth and the higher HP cards are highly coveted young boys. Anyway, back to your party issue. I just threw a great Pokemon party for my son’s 9th birthday. He loved it and his friends had a blast. Below are some great ideas for you and they are EASY and INEXPENSIVE to do. I sat down one night and came up with some games that I could easily make the supplies for and they would be fun to play. Below is a summary list of the games we came up with and read on to get the details of each one. Keep in mind, these are EASY, FUN and INEXPENSIVE and I will tell you exactly how I did it and what you need:

o Pass the Pokeball

o Pin the Tail on Pikachu

o Pokemon Balloon Dart Throw

o Pokemon Master Tracking

o Gliscor Bean Bag Score

1. Pass the Pokeball If you are remotely familiar with Pokemon, you will know about pokeballs. To play this game, I went to a craft store and purchased a LARGE Styrofoam ball, they seem to range in price from $5 to $11. I also bought some red washable craft paint while I was at the craft store. Paint half the ball with the red craft paint, let it dry, then use black electrical tape to tape around the circumference of the ball right where the white Styrofoam joins up with the red paint. This made the PERFECT pokeball. Quick and easy and inexpensive. Then we had a small keyboard (cheap one) that could be automatically set to play music. If you don’t have a keyboard, use anything that can make music, cd player, musical instrument, drum set, guitar, anything that plays music and can be stopped and started. Have all the boys sit in a circle and they have to hand the pokeball to each other in a circular fashion. They cannot throw the ball. I would then start the music on the keyboard and close my eyes and stop it after 20 to 30 seconds. I closed my eyes, so I wouldn’t know who was going to be holding the ball when the music stopped. Whoever is holding the ball when the music stops is out, then play again until there is only 1 player left. Give the player who is left a party prize.

Supplies recap:

i. Large Styrofoam ball

ii. Red craft paint

iii. Electrical tape

2. Pin the Tail on Pikachu – Pikachu is one of the main pokemon characters and if your kids like Pokemon they like Pikachu. For this game, I found a good picture of Pikachu. I used a picture out of the Pokemon Handbook that we have, but if you don’t have one of those, use a pokemon card of Pikachu, or print a picture of Pikachu at pokemon.com. I bought a package of 10 white posterboards at a discount store. Look at the picture and draw a large picture of Pikachu to cover most of the posterboard (1 sheet). Don’t draw his tail. Use a separate posterboard to draw enough Pikachu tails (shaped like a lightning bolt) for each party guest to have one. After I drew the Pikachu and then drew the tails, I had my kids color the Pikachu and tails, they loved helping. Cut out the Pikachu tails. I had an old cork board that I was able to mount this Pin the Tail on the Pikachu game onto so it had a sturdy back and could be hung up outside. Put the name of each party guest on one of the tails and right before they play, add a single strip of double sided tape. When you are ready to play this, use a bandana to cover the eyes of your party guests, spin them around in a circle twice and direct them towards the Pikachu. Don’t allow them to feel their way around, wherever they touch the Pikachu they must put the tail on there, otherwise the kids who go last will be able to tell where to put the tails by feeling where the other kids tails are pinned. Give a prize to the party guest who gets Pikachu’s tail closest to the right spot.

Supplies recap:

i. Picture of Pikachu

ii. Large white posterboard for drawing picture of Pikachu

iii. Large white posterboard for drawing multiple Pikachu tails only

iv. Double sided tape

v. Bandana

3. Pokemon Balloon Dart Throw – Kids love to pop balloons and throw darts, so put these two things together in a fun and easy activity. The night before the party I bought 50 balloons at a party store. Each Pokemon character has an HP value, or a points value. For example, Pikachu might be 60 HP, Shadowlugia 300 HP, etc… You can find the names of many Pokemon characters in a Pokemon handbook or you can find them online at Pokemon.com. Take some plain white paper and cut it into strips that are about 1 inch high by 3 inches long. Write the name of a different Pokemon and their HP Number on the strips. We had 6 boys at the party and I blew up 45 balloons. For example, you might write Ryperior 90 HP on a slip. Make each slip of paper with a different character and add the HP number (use multiples of 10 only for the HP values). We used each character name only once but reused the HP 50, HP60, HP70, HP80, HP90, etc… However we only had 1 character (Shadowlugia) that had the highest HP of HP300, no other card had the HP300 on it. Fold the slips of paper small and poke it inside the balloon prior to blowing up the balloon. I then used an air compressor to blow up the balloons quickly and tie them in a knot. You will see the little slips of paper inside. I stored the balloons overnight in large trash bags and they stayed aired up fine. I purchased a set of 6 darts at a sports store to use for this game. If you have a large cork board, attach the balloons with push pins to the cork board. Have the party guests stand back about 8 feet and throw 2 darts a piece and try to pop the balloons (like a traditional carnival game). If they pop a balloon have them gather up and keep the slip of paper with the Pokemon character on it and the HP number (see the next Pokemon Master tracking as to what to do with the slips of paper and keeping track of the HP numbers). They loved to pop these balloons and they loved finding the slips of paper to find out which Pokemon character they had and what was the HP number. We played several rounds of this game!

Supplies recap:

i. Bunch of balloons (have at least 40 or more)

ii. Plain white paper

iii. Names of Pokemon characters and made up HP numbers (I did not take the time to look up each characters real HP number, that is too much work, just put down any HP number you want, but only have one character with the highest HP

iv. Package of 6 darts (about $2.50)

4. Pokemon Master tracking – There is no doubt your kids are familiar with Ash Ketchum if they like Pokemon, he is a Pokemon master. In order to make it fun and to get the boys to want to get the slips of paper I put inside the balloons, I created a Pokemon Master chart to track each party guests characters and HP values. I used a large white posterboard and wrote Pokemon Masters at the top and used some Pokemon stickers to decorate with. You can buy Pokemon stickers, or use sticker paper in your printer and just print some Pokemon cards or Pokemon characters from the internet. I then divided (using a black market) the posterboard into how many party guests I have a made a large square for each of them. As the boys gathered the Pokemon character slips from popping the balloons, I had another adult log in their Pokemon characters and their associated HP Values onto the Pokemon Master chart. I just had it taped to my back door and the boys loved coming over to see what their Pokemon scores were. I gave a prizes for the highest HP sum in each round of darts. One child may pop a balloon with the Pokemon character slip of paper that said Metagross 90 HP and his second pop may have been Snover 60 HP, we recorded these both onto his square on the Pokemon Master tracking posterboard and his total HP for the round was 150 HP. If he had the highest score that round, he got a prize. I let the boys throw 2 darts a piece for each turn. I also gave a prize for the lowest HP score, so no one felt left out. Have an adult record the names and HP numbers to keep it moving. At the end of all the balloon popping I gave a prize to party guest who found the Shadowlugia 300 HP slip of paper, as it was our highest HP value “card”.

Supplies recap:

i. Large white poster board

ii. Sharpie Marker

iii. Pokemon stickers to decorate the tracking poster with

5. Gliscor Bean Bag Score – If you have any type of existing bean bag toss game at your home, commandeer it for this game. We had a bean bag toss game that had 6 small bean bags. If you don’t have one, you can make bean bags easily out of old socks and uncooked beans, just tie the socks in a knot after putting in the uncooked beans, PERFECT!. I used another white poster board to draw a Pokemon character on. We chose Glico for his shape as it would be good to toss the bean bags into his belly! I used the Gliscor Pokemon card to look at to draw the character on a large white poster board, then we colored with crayons based on how the character looks on the card. Then I lined up the existing bean bag game hole and cut a similar hole in the character’s belly and taped the two together. If you don’t have a bean bag game you can attach your poster board to, you can cut a hole in an old piece of plywood, or tape your posterboard Pokemon character with the hole in it to a laundry basket, anything that will basically catch the bean bags. You want the bean bag catch place to be tilted up slightly at the top, so the game is doable for the boys. Have the boys throw the bean bags from about 12-15 feet back and try to get a Gliscor score!!! Any Pokemon character will work for this game, just cut a hole about 6 inches wide in the posterboard wherever you are wanting the bean bags to go through. They played this a lot and several of them scored by getting a bean bag in the hole of Gliscor’s tummy! I gave prizes to the ones who scored in the hole, if no one got it in the hole, I gave a prize each round for the party guest with the bean bag closest to the hole. You can knock off the bean bags of other players! They loved this competition.

Supplies recap:

i. Existing Bean Bag toss game if you have one

ii. If not, plywood with hole, or laundry basket and something to hold the board or basket on an angle with the top tilted up off the ground a bit to make the game doable for the boys

iii. White poster board

iv. Picture of desired Pokemon character

v. Crayons/markets

vi. Bean bags (existing or home made)

The boys at this party were between the ages of 6 and 9 and they absolutely loved playing these game. We also ordered a Pokemon cake from a local supermarket bakery and it looked awesome. I had also ordered Pokemon birthday theme plates, cups and napkins and a tablecloth. It was all very easy and looked great.

PRIZES

For prizes, I went to several of the dollar stores and discount stores and bought cheap glow sticks, light up pens, blow up baseballs and footballs, crazy bounce balls, sound makers that make poot sounds (they loved those!), glow in the dark aliens, stretchy snakes, packages of gummy worms. I decided which prizes to give and I put a sign on the prize bowl that said “Momma’s prize bowl, hands off please!” That way they couldn’t pick through the goodies that were prizes, they did trade a few prizes between each other. I recommend looking for fun cheap items that are about $1.00 or less, stay away from the truly junky toys that break immediately or no one in their right mind would want, that will just waste your money.

GOODY BAGS

For goody bags, I added candy like individual starburst, small M&M’s packages, and gummies. I also found small silver alien stuffed toys ($1.00 a piece) and I had ordered Pokemon wrist sweat bands from an online party supply, these were very cool! Last but not least, I bought two 10 card each packs of Pokemon cards and divided those up so each goody bag got 3 Pokemon cards in it as well. I divided them up so not all the higher HP cards were in a single goody bag, spread around the fun! They loved these cards in their goody bags and it was an absolute blast of a party. Don’t let this sound hard, I did all of this listed above plus I blew up 100 water balloons for use in the water balloon launcher just by doing a little bit in the evenings starting about 1 week before the party. You can do this too and give your son the best Pokemon party ever! I hope these ideas are useful to you, they really are EASY to do, low cost and fun, your party goers will love it!

SharePoint Skills Profile

Introduction

Many organisations roll-out SharePoint without considering the resources needed to own and manage SharePoint, especially the human resources. The initial focus is often placed on the technical side of the development and the initial go-live, ongoing management of the site is given little thought. One area that is often given the least resources to is training, which is more often than not a mistake. Without adequate training for all users concerned the SharePoint deployment will fail.

This document seeks to detail the five skilled separate concerns needed to manage and leverage SharePoint and the training required for each.

Although this article details these concerns separately this doesn’t mean that they cannot be performed by the same person. The only caveat to that is that the main SharePoint owner should never be in IT – this is explained in a separate document that is available titled Seven Pillars of SharePoint.

It should also be noted that the specifications of concern is not absolute, and as every organization is different so are the responsibilities allocated to a skill. These responsibilities should be tuned to suit the internal layout of your organization and the skills you have in-house. This document will guide you through identifying the skilled areas and should help you to choose the moat appropriate member of staff to fulfil each role.

Skills Required

Once SharePoint has been deployed in your organization there are several skills needed to maintain the system and to develop it in line with your corporate strategy. These skills are best viewed as separate concerns, and if possible best serviced by different people. Obviously this is not always the case, but by analysing the skills matrix as if it were separate people it is much easier to understand.

There are four main players in the world of SharePoint – SharePoint System Administrator, Super User, SharePoint Designer and Web Developer. These terms will be referred to continually throughout this document.

We have chosen to omit the fifth player from this diagram -the End User. End Users contribute to SharePoint but are not required for developing the system; we will discuss End Users at the end of this document.

Skill Area 1 – SharePoint System Administrator

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood skills in SharePoint is that of the System Administrator. Many people confuse the System Administrator with a concept referred to as a SharePoint Administrator (we refer to this role as the Super User). Instead of explaining the differences between the two roles I’ll explain the function of the SharePoint System Administrator in detail in this section and the Super User in detail further on in this document.

The SharePoint System Administrator is concerned primarily with the back-end functions of SharePoint focusing on how it integrates with other server applications.

Responsibilities

  • Selecting the correct version of SharePoint.
  • Specifying the most suitable set up for anticipated load.
  • Deploying SharePoint correctly.
  • Configuring email (incoming).
  • Configuring email (outgoing).
  • Ensuring Anti-virus is operable.
  • Configuring start-up security.
  • Configuring shared services.
  • Configuring search.
  • Backup.
  • Restore.
  • Disaster Recovery.
  • Other duties focusing on the Central Administration Page

Skills

Anybody carrying out this function should have a minimum of two years working as a system administrator on Windows Server, SQL, and Exchange. They should be fully conversant with Domain Name Systems (DNS) and Active Directory.

Training As a bolt-on to existing skills as listed above the System Administrator would benefit from a 5 day SharePoint Administrators course. Make sure this is a System Administrator course not a SharePoint Administrator course!

Work Load

It is anticipated that once the SharePoint system is in and robust the additional burden on the administrator will be an additional 1% of their existing workload.

Skill Area 2 – Super User

This individual has the most important function within SharePoint, they are responsible for configuring SharePoint to match 70% of the organizations bespoke needs. This is the role that is sometimes referred to as SharePoint Administrator, as they administer the SharePoint front-end environment. Once the System Administrator has installed SharePoint and confirmed that it has been robustly installed the Super User takes over.

This role is non-technical (meaning no knowledge of code, or computer systems is required) and we strongly recommended that this role is given to someone outside of IT. This is because the focus of this role should be on the I (information) and not on the T (technology). In our experience a member of the IT team will focus on the technology because this is what they know. This role is suited to a Business Analyst, as they have the skills to analyse problems and find solutions most suited to the current organizational strategy. The Super User uses the out-of-the-box SharePoint features available to meet the requirements of the business. They will focus on using the Site Actions button to deliver the needs of the business.

Responsibilities

  • Managing site collections.
  • Configuring security at site level.
  • Creating and owning sub-sites.
  • Creating lists, blogs, wiki’s etc.
  • Creating and configuring site features.
  • Mapping business issues to SharePoint functions.
  • All configurations under the site actions button.
  • Creating site level policies.

Skills

This individual must be a good communicator at all levels and have excellent presentation skills. They need to be able to understand the business and analyse business problems. The Super User must have a solid understanding of how SharePoint can be configured out-of-the -box. The Super User must have excellent business analyst skills and needs to be able to map business problems onto SharePoint functionality.

Training

This user will need 5 days Super User training course and a 3 day End User training course. This will give them a full understanding of the out-of-the-box capabilities of SharePoint.

Work Load

The Super User can expect to have 100% of their time dedicated to working with SharePoint sites. There time will be split between developing new uses of SharePoint and monitoring and maintain existing SharePoint sites.

Skill Area 3 – SharePoint Designer

A further 20% of the organizations bespoke needs can be customized by the SharePoint Designer. The customisations performed by this individual are changes that cannot be done through the SharePoint user interface i.e. the site actions button. Once the Super User has exhausted all possibilities through the site actions button the SharePoint Designer comes in.

The three main areas SharePoint designer is used for is branding, creating workflows and connecting to external data sources. This document will split the SharePoint Designer skill set into these three different work streams, to clarify the different skills needed for each. This does not mean that three different people have to commit to each area in fact one person could manage all three strands.

SharePoint Designer (Banding)

This person will be responsible for managing the look and feel of the SharePoint site, this will involve creating page layouts, making changes to the master pages, and responsibility for the aesthetics of the site. This person should have knowledge of accessibility standards when designing to ensure the design is as inclusive as possible as well as being pleasing to the eye.

Responsibilities

  • Creating page layouts.

  • Editing the master page.

  • Giving guidance on design best practice.

Skills

The person performing this function needs to have a thorough understanding of the web and preferably come from a web design background. Knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML is very desirable. As mentioned above knowledge of accessibility standards is also desirable.

Training

This user will need a 5 day SharePoint Designer course, preferably aimed at web and graphic designers.

Work Load

The SharePoint Designer usually has a 100% time allocation at the beginning of a deployment and thereafter a reducing amount of commitment. The work load typically consists of smaller projects delegated to them by the strategy team.

SharePoint Designer (Workflow)

Workflow is an important part of any SharePoint deployment, SharePoint designer has extremely powerful capabilities for developing bespoke workflow. The person responsible for this will work with the Super User to examine business processes and translate them into SharePoint designer workflows.

Responsibilities

  • Examining user requirements.

  • Designing workflows and building them.

  • Testing and evaluating existing workflow.

Skills

This person needs to have a broad understanding of current business processes and analytical skills. Experience of previous work in business processing mapping is desirable.

Training

This person will need a 5 day SharePoint Designer course.

Workload

The SharePoint Designer usually has a 100% time allocation at the beginning of a deployment and thereafter a reducing amount of commitment. The work load typically consists of smaller projects delegated to them by the strategy team.

SharePoint Designer (Database Access)

Businesses will have information and data stored in multiple storage sites across multiple locations. One good point about SharePoint is that you can access information held in other locations through SharePoint. SharePoint designer can be used to create access to this information so it can be used again and again.

Responsibilities

Creating data access modules. Ensuring data protection laws are upheld.

Skills

The person in this role will need to have an understanding of data and a technology named ActiveX Data Objects (ADO). Previous experience of writing databases is an advantage. Knowledge of the Data Protection Act is also desirable.

Training

This person will need a 5 day SharePoint designer course.

Workload

The SharePoint Designer usually has a 100% time allocation at the beginning of a deployment and thereafter a reducing amount of commitment. The work load typically consists of smaller projects delegated to them by the strategy team.

Skill Area 4 – Web (.NET) Developer

The remaining 10% of an organization’s bespoke SharePoint needs can be achieved by calling on the services of a Web (.NET) Developer. This person should be a last resort when it comes to SharePoint development, SharePoint works best when the out-of-the-box features are leveraged fully.

This individual will be able to carry out deep customization and provides the ability to achieve very tight integration between SharePoint and legacy systems. Custom web parts and complicated workflow processes can be designed b a Web (.NET) Developer. A Web Developer would only be called when both the Super User and the SharePoint Designer have exhausted all other options.

Responsibilities

  • Developing solutions / features within best practice guidelines.
  • Working with and leveraging the object model.
  • Working with and leveraging SharePoint web services.
  • Creating web parts.
  • Creating user controls.
  • Implementing events.
  • Developing complex asynchronous workflows.
  • Deploying solutions and features with best practice.
  • Working with enhanced security.
  • Creating code in keeping with best practice.

Skills

The Web (.NET) Developer will need to have a minimum of 3 years.NET development experience. They must have experience of developing for the browser and have been working with ASP.NET 2 for at least 12 months.

Their core skills will need to be:

  • Understanding the SharePoint object model, and
  • Working with workflows

Training

This user will need a 5 day SharePoint Developer course.

Work Load

The Web Developers work load will be very dependent upon the needs of the business and specifically the level of integrating with legacy systems.

Once again, in the initially stages of deployment the Web Developer will be heavily utilized and after a period will have less demands made on their time. Web Developers will be called on an ad-hoc basis to complete project

Skill Area 5 – End User

Last but not least, the End User will also need some SharePoint skills. Although the skills required are minimal, End Users will still require training to build their confidence and acceptance of the site. When End Users are given proper training and told explicitly what is expected of them when using the site the more likely it is to be a success. The general rule for training End User with SharePoint is to focus on small skills based learning packages and make sure users are comfortable with them. It is always best to train in fewer areas well than cover lots of topics without users really understanding.

Responsibilities

  • Navigate through the site and find content.
  • Organise themselves with alerts and RSS feeds to keep updated.
  • File documents in the appropriate place.
  • File documents with the appropriate metadata for searching.

Skills

End Users do not need any specific skills and providing that they have had some exposure to the internet they will be capable of working with SharePoint.

The training provision is mainly to build confidence initially and acceptance of the site.

Training

End Users require a 1 day session as close to go-live as is possible. This session should focus on the tasks they are going to complete on a day to day basis.

Work Load

The End User can expect to interact with the SharePoint site 100% of the time on an ongoing basis. This of course will very much depend on the tasks required to be performed by the End User can the function of the site. End Users make up the majority of SharePoint users.

Pergola, Ramada Or Gazebo – What’s the Difference?

If you are in the process of designing your yard and landscaping, you are probably looking at outdoor structures. These options can provide shade, entertaining space and general ambiance to your property. However, if you have begun to look at your options, it’s likely that you are a bit confused. Should you chose a pergola, ramada or gazebo? What’s the difference between these choices and which will best meet your needs? There are some distinctions that you can recognize in order to help you make a more informed decision.

Ramadas

Traditionally, a ramada was a structure erected to provide shade, usually roofed over with brush or branches. An open walkway or porch was also known as a ramada. In modern construction, however, a ramada is a structure used to provide shade, with a fully covered roof. It usually matches they style and material of the home.

A ramada is ideal for an outdoor space that is designed to be an extension of the living environment. Because of the sturdy structure, it is easy to include details such as a fireplace or barbecue area. Some homeowners include an outdoor wet bar in their ramada and make it a full featured entertaining area. Brick and stone details are common in the design as well.

Pergolas

Throughout history, a classic pergola was designated as an outdoor structure with an open roof. It was usually supported by columns or similar architectural details. Pergolas are designed to accommodate creeping or vine like vegetation. Modern pergolas remain at much the same specifications. An open roof, often made with a wood trellis, is placed atop columns or posts.

Pergolas are ideal for homeowners who appreciate an open, airy feel and wish to incorporate vegetation in their entertaining area. Planting pots look lovely next to each column. Vine plants can grow up the sturdy poles and begin to make a home in the open trellis work of the roof structure. If you do intend to utilize your pergola in this classic setup, be sure that your contractor uses materials that are designed for the strain of plant growth. A pergola that won’t be used for planting can be made with less durable materials and still last. However, for supporting plant growth, go with the best quality possible.

Gazebos

The gazebo is probably the most recognized outdoor structure that is used in landscaping designs. Gazebos are usually built in more circular geometric shapes. In years past, the name of gazebo was given to an open building that took advantage of a view, or a summerhouse. For this reason, gazebos are often found on hills, wooded clearings, or next to a beach view. Today, any outdoor structure with at least five sides is designated as a gazebo. Most often, a hexagonal shape is used. The roof is most often fully covered and vaulted.

When selecting a gazebo, it’s still a good idea to take advantage of a lovely view. A gazebo sits well in a more traditional landscaping, with a lot of trees, gardens and vegetation. Gazebos compliment Victorian architecture, as well as other classic details. A gazebo is ideal next to water features, such as a pond, or a flower or vegetable garden. Also, if your property fronts woodland, a gazebo may be ideal to take advantage of that view.

Understanding Wallace Nutting Signatures and Dating Wallace Nutting Pictures

A proper understanding of the Wallace Nutting signature process can not only help you to authenticate a Wallace Nutting picture, but it can help you to date it as well. Authenticating a legitimate “Wallace Nutting” signature is probably the most difficult part of Wallace Nutting collecting because Wallace Nutting rarely signed pictures himself.

It can be safely assumed that Nutting signed some of his earliest pictures, before he hired employees and as his business was growing. We also know that he signed some later pictures as gifts to friends or favors to associates. And throughout the years he undoubtedly signed some pictures in the Studio. But for all practical purposes, Nutting probably signed perhaps no more than several thousand pictures out of his overall output of literally millions of pictures.

Rather, it was his colorists, or more specifically, his Head Colorists, who signed the Wallace Nutting name. As a result, when you buy a Wallace Nutting picture, you are buying a picture with the Wallace Nutting name on it, not a picture signed by Wallace Nutting himself.

In the Wallace Nutting Studio, after each picture was colored and mounted on the mat board, it was returned to the Head Colorist who actually signed the Wallace Nutting name. And considering that Wallace Nutting was in full-time business between 1905-1941, and he had a part-time business between 1900-1904, he obviously had many different people signing his name over the 40+ year period. This accounts for the many different Wallace Nutting signatures that will be found on his pictures today.

And with so many different “authentic” signatures, this is the easiest thing for a forger to fake. As a result, differentiating between authentic and fake Wallace Nutting signatures is the hardest thing for a new collector to master.

I will be the first to admit that even I cannot authenticate each and every signature I see. In nearly every instance, I can determine which signatures are authentic, and which are fakes. But every once in a while a picture comes along that I just don’t know whether its real or not. There are a few signatures that look like they might be 70-90 years old, yet aren’t recognizable as a signature I have previously seen. When shown to a group of very experienced collectors, more often than not there is a lack of unanimous agreement regarding its authenticity. Which means that no one knows for sure.

The good news is that most fake Wallace Nutting signatures are relatively easy to detect…once you know what to look for.

This is the only in-depth attempt at visually exploring legitimate Wallace Nutting signatures that we are aware of. We ask that you take this article for what it is intended to be: an in-depth look at Wallace Nutting Signatures. But it does not include all legitimate signatures. That would be a physical impossibility.

Basically, we have divided Wallace Nutting signatures into 3 distinct time periods:

Early Southbury…1904-1910

• Late Southbury-Early Framingham…1911-1930

• Late Framingham…1930-1941

Each period has certain characteristics which we will try to explore. But before we explore many of the different colorist’s signatures, let take a brief look at Wallace Nutting’s own signature.

Wallace Nutting’s Personal Signature: Prior to the days of desktop publishing, e-mail, cell phones, Federal Express, UPS, Priority Mail, Land line Long Distance Service, and all the other modern means of communication, Wallace Nutting had little alternative but to correspond via the US Mail. And since Wallace Nutting was relatively famous, especially in his later life, he corresponded with many individuals, many of whom kept copies of his letters.

Wallace Nutting also actively promoted most of the books that he wrote, especially by attending book signings where he would often sign his books upon request.

And we know that he signed various pictures over the years.

So between his letters, books, and pictures, there is a pretty good sampling of his handwriting and signatures available for comparison. And it is pretty obvious once you have reviewed his signature and correspondence that Nutting’s handwriting was not what you would call neat. So when you consider Nutting’s relatively poor handwriting, and the large volume of signatures that were needed as his business grew, it becomes obvious that he needed someone to sign his name to his pictures.

You should understand that Nutting’s handwriting obviously changed over a 40-year period. When he started the Southbury business, he was 44. He died in Framingham in 1941 at the age of 80. Everyone will have different handwriting between the ages of 44-80, especially when working in a rushed business atmosphere, and Wallace Nutting was no exception.

Early Southbury Signatures…1904-1910: It can be safely assumed that Nutting signed most of his earlier pictures, especially during his beginning years. Volume was small, he was still testing the commercial possibilities for his pictures, and he had no employees until around 1905.

Once he opened the Nuttinghame Studio in Southbury, and as volume grew, he began to hire various employees to help in the day-to-day activities associated with the business. At this point, Nutting turned over the picture signing responsibility to several of his trusted employees.

At first, these employees were trained to copy Wallace Nutting’s personal signature, especially with the distinctive formation of the final “g” in “Nutting“, which had a tail curving to the right instead of the left. Many people today mistakenly think that any early signature with that right-curving tail is Wallace Nutting’s own signature. Unfortunately, that is an incorrect assumption to make. Since the colorists signed so many pictures, and Nutting signed so few pictures, the probability is that Nutting did not sign it. Plus, who can confirm with 100% certainty that Nutting always finished the “g” with the tail curing right rather than left?

The earliest signatures were typically signed in Pencil. I typically use the date of 1910 as the transition year from Pencil-to-Pen signatures. This doesn’t mean that a pen was never used before 1910. Nor does it mean that a pencil was never used after 1910. However, I think that we can safely say that most Pencil Signatures would date a picture at 1910 or earlier.

How else can an Early Southbury Signature be identified and dated?

• If the signature is in pencil, it is probably early Southbury

• If the picture has a white, reversed-out block copyright on the image, the signature is probably early Southbury. Some of the earliest pictures contained a longer copyright marking, e.g. “Copyright 1904, by Wallace Nutting” vs. a much more concise @WN’16. This longer copyright was phased out by 1905.

• Often times the subject matter will identify the picture as early Southbury. For example, certain titles that appeared in the 1904 or 1908 Picture Catalog, but which were not sold in later years, can be assumed to be early Southbury.

Late Southbury-Early Framingham Signatures…1910-1930: 1910-30 marked the peak period for Wallace Nutting pictures. His business was employing 200 people at this time, probably 100 of whom were colorists. His picture sales were at an all-time high, more signature signers were needed to keep up with production, and you will find a wider variety of authentic signatures during this period than any other.

The signatures from this period were typically signed in Pen. The most distinctive signature from this period having a bold and flowing appearance.

How else can a late Southbury-early Framingham signature be identified?

• If the signature is in Pen, and there is no black border around the picture, it is probably late Southbury-early Framingham.

• The signature was often bold and flowing in appearance. This is not to say that bold and flowing signatures were never used in the other periods, but rather the bold and flowing signatures were more typical of the 2nd period than the 1st or 3rd periods.

• The subject matter and location of a picture can help to date the picture. For example, Interior scenes from Nutting’s Colonial Chain of Houses will rarely have a Pencil signature because they weren’t photographed until after 1915, when Nutting purchased the first home within the chain.

• Pictures from Pennsylvania, New York, or Virginia were rarely signed in Pencil, because most of these were taken after he left Southbury and stopped using the Pencil signature.

• The more concise copyright @ WN’16 are also indicative of this period.

• The color tone can also be indicative of the period. Pictures with more subdued color are typically from the Southbury-early Framingham period. Later Framingham pictures usually were more brightly colored than the earlier years.

Late Framingham Signatures…1930-41: By this time, Nutting was taking relatively few new pictures for commercial distribution. As interest in his pictures was fading, and with literally thousands of negatives already on hand, he relied primarily on selling images that he already had in inventory.

Generally, 1930’s signatures will be found on pictures having these characteristics:

• A black border, with a very colorful picture, will often times be found

• Signatures on black border pictures were typically smaller and more concise than the early bold and flowing signature. Presumably the bold and flowing signature might have competed with the black border.

• If the picture had an indented matting, without the black border, but having a much more brightly colored picture, it is probably from this period

• If the picture has a Copyright Label on the back, it is probably from this period.

Subject matter can also help to identify the type of signature used. For example, Floral arrangements and Garden scenes were only introduced on a larger scale in the 1930’s. Certain of these pictures were matted and signed, other were close-framed and signed directly on the picture itself. Sometimes the picture was signed in Pencil, other times it was signed in Pen.

Rarity of Pencil vs. Pen Signatures: Many collectors fail to understand the difference in rarity between the Pencil and Pen signatures. Although there are a few exceptions, the general rule of thumb is that Pencil signatures were used until 1910, and after 1910 Pen signatures were almost exclusively used.

This means that Pencil signatures must be rarer than Pen signatures because:

• Pencil Signatures were used for only 10 years (1900-1910), when production was at its lowest

• Pen signatures were used for more than 30 years (1910-1941), when production was at its highest

Those 30+ peak-production years of Pen signatures would indicate that perhaps 90% of all Wallace Nutting signatures were signed in Pen, while perhaps only 10% were signed in Pencil.

So with all other factors being the same, i.e., Subject Matter, Condition, and Size…a picture with a Pencil signature is rarer, and should probably be valued higher, than a comparable Pen signature. However, if any of these three factors are not the same, the type of signature used should become the least important factor in determining value.

Wallace Nutting Collecting Tips

• The Signature on a Wallace Nutting picture can help you to both authenticate and date the picture.

• Most Signatures were signed by the Head Colorist rather than Wallace Nutting himself.

• A Pencil signature usually represents pictures taken during the early Southbury period (1900-1910)

• A Pen signature, without a black picture border, more often than not will be from the late Southbury-early Framingham period (1910-1930).

• A Pen signature with a black picture border, will date the picture during the late Framingham period (1930-1941)

• Pencil signatures are significantly rarer than Pen signatures.

• A variety of factors including the picture coloration, matting type, frame style, signature, type of copyright, subject matter, and location of picture can all be used to date a Wallace Nutting picture.

Starting a Carpet Cleaning Business and Choosing the Best Portable Carpet Extractor

The carpet cleaning business continues to expand rapidly across America. Independents and franchisees are growing by large numbers. Carpet cleaning companies are cleaning carpet, tile & grout, boats, automobiles, furniture, drapes, walls, carpet dyeing and much more. Some specialized carpet cleaning companies have even branched out into the lucrative duct cleaning business and water restoration business. Although the residential carpet cleaning business is large, even larger is the commercial opportunity. Although running a commercial driven carpet cleaning business might require more equipment and might not be able to be run out of your home the opportunities are large. Hospitals, office buildings, hotels, warehouse facilities, retail outlets, restaurants, apartment complex common area’s, club houses and much more all need this service more than once a year.

It is because of this fast growing business that there are dozens of manufactures of carpet extractors to choose from. Over $100,000,000 in carpet extractors was sold in 2008! With this huge opportunity getting started requires choosing the best machine possible for your budget to begin. It is important to determine how much machine you would like. There are machines that do both carpet and tile & grout, though if you’re going to be cleaning mostly cars or lugging this machine up stairs often it may not be a machine you’d want because of its weight. The following is a quick summary of the different features to look for when choosing a portable extractor:

  • PSI – There are extractors that go from 50 psi – 1200 psi. If you plan to do mostly residential homes and upholstery having a machine that does is between 50-250 psi is usually sufficient. Too much pressure and you’ll get the common compliant that you’re leaving the carpet to wet buy homeowners. When cleaning upholstery typically you’ll only be at 50 psi and for most residential carpets you’ll be either at 100 or 200 psi. If you plan on doing a lot of tile and grout you’ll want high pressure of 1200.
  • Heat vs. No Heat – Hot water does assist in the cleaning process. It will help in breaking down the oil and debris in the carpet. Soil in the fibers typically will extract easily with no heat, though the oil in the fibers of a carpet are more easily extracted with heat. Heat will speed up the process, though with no heat agitating the carpet before will assist or a higher PSI will also assist in extracting without heat. The labor cost if running crews is much lower using heat than using only a cold extractor. Another option is pouring hot water in the extractor and pre-spraying before hand. The downside to heat is you’ll be using more electricity and risk tripping the breaker with some machines.
  • Tank Size – The bigger the tank the less stopping to refill when cleaning. If you’re going to be doing a lot of automobiles and upholstery a 3-6 gallon should be ok, though if you’re doing a lot of rooms you’ll want a larger tank.
  • Weight & Size – Remember you’ll need to load the machine in a truck or van. Some machines are terribly heavy, while others aren’t.
  • CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) – This is the air flow which will assist in the drying time for the carpets
  • H20 Lift – This is how much the lift is for pulling back up the water that’s been released into the carpet. The more you lift the dryer you’ll leave the carpet. A good balance between lift and CFM tends to be better.
  • Look for attachments you’ll need. Most portable carpet extractors aren’t sold as packages so you’ll want to make sure to purchase the vacuum & solution hose, wands, upholstery tool and crevice if needed. Packages are put together occasionally so make sure to check.

In conclusion it is essential to choose the best machine for your budget when starting a cleaning business. The better the machine the greater the saving are in time spent at each job site and quality that your customers will receive. Good Luck and always feel free to visit us online and chat with a personal account manager with further questions.