Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Grass

Grasses have existed for centuries and will continue to do so. They have populated the world since the days of yore. Grasses practically thrive on all of the world’s continents, with the exception of Antarctica, and are recognized to rank as one of the most versatile life forms known to mankind.

By Definition

Literally, grass is generally described as a monocotyledonous green plant that possesses slender leaves, referred to as the blades. Grass typically grows by arching upward from the ground. Botanically speaking, grasses fall under the family of flowering plants, which is termed as Poaceae.

Other plants which are directly related to the grass family are as follows:

1. China grass

2. Ditch grass/wigeon grass

3. Fish grass

4. Goosegrass

5. Mondo grass/Lily turf

6. Nut grass

7. Pepper grasses

8. Sawgrass

9. Scurvy grass

10. Scurvy grass sorrel

11. Sea grass

12. Sleeping grass

13. Xyridaceae

Uses

Grasses are advantageous both to man and animal. Firstly, animals feed on grass. Secondly, man benefits much from them. Not only does man eat the animals that feed on grass, but he also, perhaps more importantly, benefits from other aspects of grasses: They prevent soil erosion, floods, and landslides as well as serve as ornaments in landscaping.

Grass Species

Bahia Grass commonly thrives in the Southeast and is characterized as a tough and coarse type of grass.

Bent/Creeping Grass is one kind of perennial grass that is fine and soft in texture and appears to be in a tight-knit turf. This kind of grass is commonly integrated into golf course lawns, particularly in the northern regions.

Bermuda Grass is one of the significant lawn grasses. It is heat and drought tolerant, aggressive, fast growing, and tough.

Blue Grama Grass is most apt for use in the northern plains. It mostly grows during the summertime and can survive lengthy periods of drought.

Buffalo Grass is a native of North America and is very much like Bermuda grass.

Centipede Grass is known to endure acidic or unfertile soils and is generally a warm season grass.

Fescue Grass is of two types–the fine, or needle-leaved, grass and the tall, or broad-leaved, grass.

Kentucky Bluegrass is one of the most well-known types of lawn grass for the northern regions.

Ryegrass has both an annual and a perennial species.

Seashore Paspalum can live on in salty soil and thrive off of recycled irrigation water.

St. Augustine Grass typically grows in a fast-paced manner, is deep-rooted, and is coarse in texture.

The Zoysia Grass is commonly referred to as a miracle grass.

The existence of grass is inevitable. They will continuously transcend varying climate conditions present in the rain forests, arid deserts, and frosty mountain steppes.

Catering Contracts

Catering contracts are legal agreements entered by the consumer and caterer to supply food for a specified period or a particular event. Catering contracts facilitates food services at sporting events, airlines, and university canteens, office canteens and in many social gatherings. Some well-known and innovative catering professionals handle catering contracts. This ensures better quality food, as many times chefs understand the cutting edge of the consumers taste.

Catering contracts are cost effective and save a lot of time when arranging events. The professional caterer’s plan and schedule arrangements as per requirements. As the burden of running the event successfully is wholly dependent on the contractor’s shoulders, they fully involve themselves in every activity. Now-a-days large companies are working with contract caterers who offer best quality of food. This sector also offers more opportunities for career development. Normally, catering contracts are independent with few contracts in order to provide better quality and services. Some international contract caterers provide catering services worldwide for large multi-national corporations.

Catering contractors endeavor to satisfy guests in all possible ways. There are various types of catering contracts from stylish served meals to fun filled entertaining events.

In order to host a function properly it is essential to inform the catering contracts before 3 working days. Number of people attending the event should be specified, and in any case the catering contracts will be prepared for 5% above the specified number. If extra guests attend, charges will have to be borne by the hosts. Catering contracts take a deposit of 50% of total estimated amount before the event for occasions like meeting and event services. Remaining 50% is taken at the time of the function.

If an event is cancelled without a three days notice, the deposit will be refunded by deducting 10%. Recommendations on themes or packages offered are taken into consideration that may be appropriate for the event. Prices listed are subjected to change to meet increased costs of goods. Catering contracts are available during holidays and weekends too. The catering contractors handle business lunches, Civic Catering, parent or teacher events, official openings, retirement functions, prize giving days or evenings, conferences, and seminars exceptionally.

The Pros and Cons of Wooden Pallets

Wooden pallets are most commonly used frames in order to make heavy things and containers rest on them. They are easily available every where. Though pallets made of other materials are available in market, most of the people prefer purchasing wood. These are useful as well as harmful but still are popular to be used all around the world as food storage and goods keeping containers.

Advantages of Using Wooden pallets

Most of the people who need a container for the shipment of trade goods or food will definitely purchase wooden pallets as their first choice. The major factors in choosing them as first choice for the customers include following issues.

Cheap

Wooden pallets are cheap and inexpensive containers and are available at very low prices as compared to other available options for pallets including metal and plastic, because the client who wants to purchase pallets is in need for low budget containers that are easily reusable. So in this case the wooden pallets prove to be the best option as a container.

Durable and strong

These pallets are cheap but it does not mean that they are not strong enough to hold up heavy and bulky materials on them.They very strong and durable as well as reliable structures to be used as containers accommodating huge consignments in them.

Easily available

One of the major causes of common usage of these pallets is that they are easily and frequently available to the clients. And the clients like to purchase them because there is no wastage of time during the shipment process due to searching out pallets made of other materials that are not usually available for the clients.

Easily repaired

Wooden pallets are easy to handle if they get damaged. They can be repaired by simply putting in small nails with hammer. There is no expertise required to repair them for further use.

Can be recycled

Wood pallets can be recycled easily without any special practice. You only need to have a creative mind and you will see that they can be converted into many things including flower beds, fences and tables.

Have high level friction on surfaces

The most important advantage of a wood pallet is its high friction against different surfaces avoiding possible slipping of contained materials.

Disadvantages

Wood pallets are not without their disadvantages they are also cause of different problems to people using them. The problems posed include the following:

Highly prone to bacterial growth

Wood pallets have proven to be suitable for bacterial growth. This has made their use quite questionable for food containing purposes. It has been investigated that the these pallets are home to bacteria called E. coli and salmonella. These bacteria can cause a great harm to health of many people who use that food contained in these pallets.

Can develop fungus

Wood pallets are prone to develop fungus if kept damp for longer periods. So they should be kept dry for longer life.

Difficult to clean

Wood pallet surfaces are difficult to be cleaned because it is rough and dirt and stain go into the rough surface and make it hard to remove.

Air Conditioning – Is it Environmentally Friendly?

Air conditioning means the cooling of indoor air for thermal comfort. It refers in a broader sense; any form of cooling, heating, ventilation, or disinfection that modifies the condition of air. Any appliance, system, or machine that is designed to stabilize the air temperature and humidity within an area (used for cooling as well as heating depending on the air properties at a given time), is referred to as an air conditioner. Typically this uses a refrigeration cycle but sometimes evaporation, which is commonly for comfort cooling in buildings and motor vehicles.

Modern air conditioning emerged from advances in chemistry during the 19th century, and it was recorded that the first large-scale electrical air conditioning was invented and used in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier in Buffalo, New York. The first air conditioners and refrigerators employed toxic or flammable gases like ammonia, methyl chloride, and propane which could result in fatal accidents when they leaked.

Air conditioning is broadly divides to comfort and process applications. In Comfort Applications it aims to provide a building indoor environment that remains relatively constant in a range preferred by humans despite changes in external weather conditions or in internal heat loads, whereas in Process Applications it aims at providing a suitable environment for a process being carried out, regardless of internal heat and humidity loads and external weather conditions. In addition to buildings, air conditioning can be used for many types of transportation – motor-cars and other land vehicles, trains, ships, aircraft, and spacecraft. Although often in the comfort range, it is the needs of the process that determine conditions, not human preference. In both comfort and process applications, the objective may be to not only control temperature, but also humidity, air quality and air movement from space to space.

Though built for man’s comfort, air conditioning can constitute air pollution. Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or damages the natural environment into the atmosphere. Since the atmosphere is a complex dynamic natural gaseous system that is essential to support life on planet Earth, its pollution will drastically affect human health as well as the Earth’s ecosystems.

Since chronic, low-level exposure to various chemicals, e.g., lead exposure – even at relatively low levels – may result in a number of adverse outcomes, continuous exposure to air conditioning appliances can have severe effects, such as anaemia, malaise, and damage to the nervous system. Children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead. Relatively low levels of exposure can reduce their IQ scores, cause learning disabilities, poor school performance, and violent behaviour, all of which may contribute to reduced lifetime earnings.

Apart from the problem of stratospheric ozone depletion, indoor air pollution and urban air quality are listed as the world’s worst pollution problems in the 2008 Blacksmith Institute World’s Worst Polluted Places report. Though atmospheric pollution can be caused by other combustible materials such as open burning of refuse, old tyres, old vehicles, exhaust pipes of engines and other locomotives which pollute the environment, yet pollution from air conditioners are very dangerous. Prevention of atmospheric pollution is very important because a lot of diseases like respiratory tract infections can occur from them and the major constituent of these gases which is carbon-monoxide can prevent the free flow of blood in the body by impairing the oxygen carrying capacity of the hemoglobin. A poorly maintained air-conditioning system can occasionally promote the growth and spread of microorganisms, the infectious agent responsible for Legionnaires’ disease, but as long as the air conditioner is kept clean these health hazards can be avoided.

Conversely, air conditioning, including filtration, humidification, cooling, disinfection, etc., can be used to provide a clean, safe, hypoallergenic atmosphere in hospital operating rooms and other environments where an appropriate atmosphere is critical to patient safety and well-being. Air conditioning can have a positive effect on sufferers of allergies and asthma. In serious heat waves, air conditioning can save the lives of the elderly. Some local authorities have even set up public cooling centers for people without home air conditioning.

Filtered and Fabulous: Things That Use Filters

According to Dictionary.com a ‘filter’ is:

– Any substance, as cloth, paper, porous porcelain, or a layer of charcoal or sand, through which liquid or gas is passed to remove suspended impurities or to recover solids.

– Any device, as a tank or tube, containing such a substance for filtering.

– Any of various analogous devices, as for removing dust from air or impurities from tobacco smoke, or for eliminating certain kinds of light rays.

As you can see from the definitions, a filter can be found in many different products, machines, and other items. The purpose of a filter is to separate one thing from another, usually substances that should not be mixed; oil and water, smoke and air, oil and air, and minerals and water are a few examples of this.

Filters are used in common everyday items, in big industrial applications, in vehicles, and in science and engineering applications.

In the Home

There are many common household items and products make use of filters. One of the most filters in the home is the air filter in the air conditioning or heating system. The air filter filters out the dust, allergens, smoke, and other airborne particulates that are blown through the air ducts. A properly cleaned and regularly replaced air filter will help keep a family healthy, and can usually cut down on allergies and common colds. Another household item that uses a filter is the vacuum cleaner. The things that get sucked up into the vacuum cleaner aren’t always solid pieces of dirt or detritus. Most of the time the vacuum will also suck up dust, ash (from homes with fireplaces) and other super tiny particulates that shouldn’t be blown back into the air. The filter on the vacuum cleaner traps these things.

In the Garage

In the garage you will find that your car uses a filter. The air filter in the car keeps dust, dirt, exhaust, and even oil from getting into the car’s system. You wouldn’t want to turn on your air conditioner and get a big whiff of road dust. Also, the air compressor you use to clean off your work space and inflate the car’s tires uses an air compressor filter, as a well as an air oil separator.

Medical Uses

Filters are used in the breathing apparatuses for patients, and even in the air filtration system. The air filtration system in the hospital also uses an air compressor to keep the air clean, thin, and dry. These air compressors use a different type of air compressor filter, and must have a well maintained air oil separator-you can’t have oil vapor escaping into the hospital.

Filters have many practical uses in the home, at work, and in the garage. Filters should be replaced often and cleaned regularly in order to keep them working-filtering out the things you don’t want to breathe, drink, or clean out of your house or car.

The 7 Pillars of Choosing a Football Team’s Quarterback

The Quarterback is undoubtedly the most important man on the team. He is the playing coach who directs the offense. Therefore, his selection becomes one of the most important decisions the head coach must make.

In selecting a quarterback, these considerations are ranked in order of their importance. Perhaps this ranking may cause wonderment to many. Nevertheless, if they are possible, we select the quarterbacks with the following qualifications:

1. Quarterback must be respected

The first consideration must be that the quarterback be respected by his teammates. The quarterback need not be “popular” or well liked by his team, but it is essential that he have their respect if the offense is to be successful. If a quarterback has the respect of his teammates, his judgment will not likely be questioned in a clutch situation. Every individual will give his absolute maximum effort instead of “second guessing” in a crucial series on the goal line. With this respect the squad will develop a feeling of confidence and assurance in the quarterback to get the job done. Respect and confidence carry the ball together.

2. Playing ability

When selecting a quarterback, the requisite of ability is almost a carbon copy of respect; you can’t have one without the other. Yes, it is possible, but not likely. At one time, we made the error of selecting a signal caller who was proficient on offense, but weak on defense. As a result, the team did not completely respect this quarterback, so that they did not go all out for him.

In order for the quarterback to gain absolute respect he must be fairly proficient in other phases of team play. It would be ridiculous for a single-wing quarterback to attempt to lead his teammates on offense, if he were deficient in blocking himself. Yet, he might be a fine defensive man. The quarterback should be able to more than hold his own on both offense and defense. If he fails to have confidence in himself he cannot expect his teammates to respect his judgment. This has been one major area where T-formation quarterbacks could stand improvement. The best way to be a leader is through performance.

3. Football sense

The third quality we look for when selecting the quarterbacks is “football sense.” This is not necessarily found in the player who leads his classmates in scholastic standing. The “A” student many times does not have “football sense,” especially during the stress and pressure of a crucial situation. Normally, the quarterback is academically ranked in the upper one-third of his class and possibly in the top ten per cent of the squad.

It is mandatory that the quarterback know the strengths and weaknesses of his teammates, not just the backfield men, but the line as well. Some players are better in clutch situations than others; they are most reliable when the pressure is on. By way of illustration, some kickers are poised when kicking from their own end zones; certain centers are less excitable when snapping the ball into their own end zone than others.

4. Leadership

Actually, leadership may be the wrong term for this fourth qualification in selecting the quarterback. Perhaps a better definition would be “personality.” The quarterback must have a personality to lead his teammates and at the same time keep harmony. Usually a personality that is willing to “sacrifice everything for the benefit of the team” is one that will bring the desired type of harmony and leadership.

An ideal type of disposition is one that is cheerful. After all, football is a game and by having a cheerful leader there is a tendency for other men to be alert and happy. He must be above discouragement at all times. If he becomes discouraged all this is lost. Of course, there will be times when he will feel this way, but he must not reveal his feeling to the players around him.

5. Voice

It is our feeling that here is one quality that has not been drilled on enough.

By way of illustration, let’s pretend we have two men battling for the top quarterback position. Their names are Black and White. Black has leadership, confidence, football sense, and a good voice. White has intelligence and all the qualities that go with an alert mind. However, he is lacking somewhat in the other qualities, especially in voice. Which would you select?

The coach must choose Black because the team will follow him. White may select the correct play on every occasion, but because of a deficiency in other qualities and a poor voice they may not believe he is correct. As a result, they will not go all out for him. His personality will not lead them.

Actually, Black may have much less to offer mentally, but with his personality, confidence, and voice, will be a better general. He will drive the team and his voice will help give the team the precision necessary. His voice will be like a command to the team. It will be clear, snappy, and forceful. He will make tactical errors, but his team will go all out on every play, and to some extent overcome these mistakes. White may make no tactical mistakes and yet his team will lack the drive necessary on offense. It may not even score against a strong defense.

The finest axiom for any quarterback to remember regarding voice is … the wrong play called properly has more chance of success than the right play called improperly. Without question a team can be unconsciously stimulated to greater efforts by the quarterback’s voice. A good voice is a necessity.

6. Alligator skin

A quarterback must be alligator-skinned to criticism from fans, alumni, and press. A field general must expect to receive a high percentage of unjust comments from unqualified sources. He must not let this affect his thinking or worry him at any time. He will make mistakes, but he should try to profit from them and not make the same mistake twice. He must not worry or brood over past mistakes, but look forward to the next contest with optimism. Always preach to the quarterback that mistakes are a thing of the past. If a quarterback learns to become thick skinned he can take considerable criticism and still do a good job of directing the team.

7. Loyal representative

The final quality and one of the most important is that of loyalty to the coach. The quarterback is responsible only to the head coach. He is a personal representative of his coach on the field. The quarterback should be clearly informed of this so that there is no doubt.

9 Killer Tips for Solving Kenken Puzzles

These intriguing math based puzzles are easier to solve than you might think, and they are a fun tool for sharpening mental arithmetic skills as well. Here are some great tips for those who are new to Kenken puzzles, and you’ll be familiar with the logic of most of them if you already do Sudoku puzzles.

TIP 1: USE LOGIC NOT GUESSWORK

Kenken puzzles are like Sudoku puzzles in this respect. If you make a mistake it’s never apparent straight away and when you do discover it it’s almost always impossible to retrace your steps and start again. Therefore use elimination and only fill in a number if you are 100% sure it’s correct. In the simple puzzles there is sometimes a cage with only one cell so only one number can go in. There, you’ve started.

TIP 2: WRITE DOWN THE NUMBERS YOU CAN ONLY USE

So if, for example you are solving a 4 x 4 write the numbers 1 through to 4 somewhere near the grid. It’s good to always have the different numbers combinations and their relationships in your mind at all time. This is easier if you can see the numbers.

TIP 3: WRITE IN CANDIDATES

Kenken puzzles are also like Sudoku puzzles in that it’s a good idea to write in candidates in the cells. Candidates are lists of numbers that could go in a particular cell and they can be penciled in the corner of it. You will find that later on you will be able to narrow these down to one single candidate as you start solving.

TIP 4: USE SCANNING TO ELIMINATE CANDIDATES

With Kenken puzzles know that the number can only appear once in any row or column. So if you find a number it’s eliminated from both the row and column that intersects that particular cell. Numbers can be therefore eliminated from candidate lists when cells are solved using this logic.

TIP 5: LOOK FOR ROWS AND COLUMNS THAT ARE ALMOST FINISHED

If a row or column has only one cell left unsolved then as you cannot repeat a number there is only one number that can go in it. For example if you had a row or column of five with the numbers 2, 1, 5 and 3 already filled in then the last unfilled cell must contain a 4.

TIP 6: USE MATHS

Remember that Kenken puzzles use math, and this can further eliminate candidates.

For example, if you are solving a 6 by 6 grid and you have a cage that has a sum equal to 11 then there are only two numbers that can go in, 6 and 5 so we can put them as the only candidates. Always look for cages like this where only a few numbers can go in.

TIP 7: LOOK FOR PAIRS AND TRIPLES

Above are an example of pairs, and yet again this makes Kenken puzzles similar Sudoku ones. So, if you have two cells in a row or column where only two numbers can go, then those cells can be eliminated from other candidate lists in that row or column.

TIP 8: BE FLEXIBLE IN YOUR THINKING

If you get stuck switch techniques, i.e. go from looking for pairs and triples to scanning. When we get stuck in puzzles it’s usually because we’ve missed something and changing approach can usually uncover something we have overlooked.

TIP 9: COME BACK TO IT LATER

Even the best solvers get stuck once in a while. If you really are stuck save what you have done and come back to it another time. With a fresh mind you will spot something that you missed before.

Kenken puzzles are great fun so happy solving!

How to Buy the Right Gymnastics Equipment for Home Use

Buying gymnastics equipment for home use doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Knowing what to look for will save you time and money. Don’t worry about buying the wrong brand or some cheap piece of equipment. We’ve narrowed down the best to save you hours of internet searching. We give you must know details on gymnastics grips, balance beams, mats, and training bars.

First, you need to decide on the type of grip. You can choose between the Palm grip or Dowel grip. Then decide is you prefer a Velcro wrist strap or a buckle grip wrist strap. The advantage of a Velcro wrist strap is ease of use. You can put the grips on quickly and without assistance. Velcro wrist straps tend to be a little more comfortable as well. The only disadvantage is longevity as the Velcro tends to wear down over time. The advantage of a Buckle wrist strap is holding power. The Buckle wrist strap will not wear down over time and always provides a solid hold on the wrist. Most high level gymnasts choose buckle grips for the fact of holding power. Buckle grips won’t slip or move around on the wrist. The disadvantage of Buckle grips is comfort, but there is a solution. Since buckle grips can be tightened down firmly on the wrist, most gymnasts will wear very thick and long cotton wrist bands. The thick wrist band provides cushion for the wrist. Gymnasts may need assistance in putting on Buckle grips which is a small inconvenience. Finally, it’s essential to purchase the correct size. Each brand of grips will come with a sizing chart specific to the brand. This is a fairly easy process and requires a ruler or tape measure as indicated in the sizing instructions. Now you’re ready to purchase.

Choosing the right balance beam is a rather simple process. Home practice balance beams come in three different styles. Low beam, folding beam, and semi-high beam. First determine how much you’re willing to spend as home practice beams range from $80 to $350. Ensure enough space to safely use the beam at home. You must have sufficient clearance on all sides

of the beam for safety. Folding balance beams offer the most versatility. This type of beam can easily be moved around due to its light weight and folding characteristic. One major advantage of a folding beam is the ability of gymnasts to perform difficult skills without the worry of falling to an injury since the beam sits directly on the floor. This type of beam is great for practicing back handsprings. Another advantage is the cost savings since folding beams are generally least expensive. Low beams are another great choice for home practice. Low beams are elevated 3″ to 4″ off the ground and do not fold in half. The low beam is very stable and solid making it a great choice for all around beam practice. It’s great for practicing hand stands, back walk overs, back handsprings (with a spotter), and many other skills. Low beams tend to offer a more competition like feel and quality. Finally, the semi-high beams are also a great choice for home practice. This type of beam is elevated 12″ to 24″ off the ground. Semi-high beams offer all the great benefits of the low beam while a bit higher off the ground.

Investing in a good quality gymnastics mat is an important decision for the safety of gymnasts. When researching gymnastics mats you’ll want determine your budget. Gymnastics mats range in price from $100 to $800. As a general rule, the bigger the mat, the more expensive it is. Determine what you will use the mat for. Are you placing it under a Junior training bar? This would require a landing 4″ to 8″ in depth. If you’re using the mat under the low beam a depth of 2″ to 4″ would work. If you need a mat for tumbling skills, a 2″ depth is sufficient. You will need increased mat length for tumbling skills and less mat depth. If you just need a mat for stretching or yoga, 2″ depth or less is sufficient. Keep in mind that mats will differ from each manufacturer. While the square footage of mats may be the same, foam density could be different. Not all 2″ mats are created the same. You don’t want a soft squishy mat for stretching or yoga, but rather a firm mat. You don’t want a firm landing mat under a training bar, but rather a softer mat to break a fall.

Finding the right pair of gymnastics grips should start with asking the coach what, if any, brand and type of gymnastics grips they prefer. (If you want a good guide on everything about gymnastics grips, click the gymnastics grips link). While a good starting point, the gymnast ultimately has the final say and should be satisfied with the quality and feel of the grips. The majority of grips on the market are high quality which makes choosing a rather simple process. All of the grips reviewed on this site are high quality and used in gymnastics competitions all over the country and range from $10 to $55. There are, however, a couple of key points to keep in mind before you purchase a pair of gymnastics bar grips.

Choosing a gymnastics training bar for home use can be simple if you know what to look for. When choosing training bar, keep in mind you are not purchasing a full scale uneven bar system as seen in gymnastics facilities across the country. The training bar is not meant to perform full routines and high level skills. The purpose of a training bar is to practice basic bar skills, drills, and conditioning. All training bars are basically the same in size, construction, and material. There are some small differences that could impact which bar you end up buying. You will want to check the weight limit of the bar. Some bars only hold up to 100 lbs. while other bars hold up to 140 lbs. One common problem with all training bars is the lack of floor anchors as seen attached to the bars at your local gym. This may allow the bar to move around the floor while in use. To remedy this common problem, leg extensions can be attached giving the bar more stability. Keep in mind that you will need sufficient padding beneath the bar for safety. 4″ to 8″ of padding is recommended. A good landing mat will provide adequate safety. Training bars are expensive. If you can’t afford the ongoing monthly fee for extra classes at your local gym this is a great alternative for extra practice.

Waterproof Area Rug Pad – Is There Such a Pad?

I often hear people ask for a waterproof rug pad. The closest to this is a waterproof pad made for under wall to wall carpeting. Even in this case, the waterproof aspect is still not a guarantee and could cause problems by trapping any moisture between the carpet pad and the carpet above it. In the world of area rugs, although there technically is no 100% waterproof rug pad, there is something that comes close.

For those who experience the occasional spill or perhaps pet accident, no matter what type of floor covering or protection you have in place, it is always best to try to blot the area as soon as possible. When you place an area rug on your hardwood or laminate wood floor, you should have the proper rug pad. Many of these pads do not resist water or liquid at all, hence causing the spill to go through the rug and the pad right to the floor under it. The only padding available with a plastic layer is one made for wall to wall carpeting and would be severely dangerous if used under area rugs as the plastic layer is quite slippery and causes rugs to slide right off.

There is a high quality rug pad made of a recycled jute and rubber combination. This pad is about 1/4 of an inch thick and very dense. Not only is ti one of the best protections for your rugs and your floors for normal wear and tear, it is also one of the only rug pads that will resist liquid until you can get to it and dry it up.

I have tested several pads by pouring a cup of water and watching the results. this above mentioned pad did the best in as far as the time it took to penetrate through to the wood floor underneath. Since we all would like to catch the spill or accident as soon as it happens, sometimes this is not possible. This jute and rubber carpet pad resists as best as possible and takes quite long to penetrate through to the rubber bottom. Although the top jute may be wet, and this can be dried up when you have a chance, the solid layer of rubber underneath acts as an excellent barrier between the spill and your floor. I will not say the spill will not eventually seep through this rubber. It will, depending on the amount of the spill, yet in my test it took several hours for the underside of the rubber to feel damp.

As I always mention in my articles, when I refer to this jute and rubber combination pad, I am referring to the finer one available. There are plenty where the rubber is a sprayed on latex and this will not stand the test as well. My test was on a solid rubber layer that is sewn on to the jute surface.

As much as we try to avoid spills and pet accidents, they are bound to happen. Choose the proper rug pad and you will have less worries and damage to your floors.

Easy Steps to Zebra Hide Rug Longevity

Zebra skin rugs cost a lot of money; that is why you need to ensure they last for as long as they were meant to. In this article you will discover exactly how to do that.

Vacuuming is a must

Try as much as possible to vacuum (with the rotator brush turned off) your rug at least once a week. Depending on the manner or where the rug is used, the number of times you do this will vary accordingly. For example, if it is used in a high traffic area with a lot of people walking over it, vacuuming may be exercised even twice a week.

Alternative to vacuuming

If you don’t want to use a vacuum machine for fear of spoiling the rug, you can also use a soft broom or brush, but always remember to move in the direction of the grain and never against. Doing so will only cause the rug to lose its hair before time and make it look unappealing.

Removing stains and spots

Whether you like it or not, there will always be that irritating stain or spot from pets, drink spills or food. Here is what you can do to remove them:

Pet urine stains be gone

The best thing you can do is to head over to a regular carpet cleaning supply store and buy pet urine remover. You might also want to consider using SPOT SHOT or any other organic cleaning product (organic in the scientific sense). Inorganic chemical products rarely remove the stains completely.

Drink spills and food stains

Drink or food stains are not as stubborn as urine in a way. What you will want to do is avoid eating or drinking anywhere near the rug altogether. If it so happens that there is a stain or spot, get a damp rag (dampened with a warm water and mild soap solution) and blot the spot.

Don’t rub it in as this would only make it worse. Instead, blot until the stain is gone with little gradual and gentle rubbing. After that, just let it air out and dry.

Normal Wear

Every so often, when you see fit, get water, mild soap and a sponge and spot clean your rug. Really take care not to get the hide wet in any way; doing that will only damage it beyond repair. If that happens, only professional restoration might bring it back to life. Even that is not guaranteed.

End note

All in all, please take really good care of your expensive rug. If you have any pets, keep them from defecating or urinating on your zebra hide rug. Always get rid of stains as soon as they appear. Following the above steps will help your pelt last a long time.

How Soon Should You Have Your New Carpet Cleaned?

Let’s say you buy a new pair of jeans and start wearing them every day. How soon should you wash them for the first time? If you normally wash a particular pair of jeans once-a-week, should you wait one month before washing the first time? Of course not. So why do people wait two or three years or longer before getting their carpet cleaned for the first time, when normally they have their carpet cleaned every year or two? I’m glad you asked, because I know the answer!

Back in the 1960’s, professional carpet cleaners used high ph shampoo to clean with. When the carpet dried, the shampoo left a residue in the carpet that was like a magnet for dirt. So what happened? People noticed their carpet would get dirty after cleaning at a much faster rate than when it was new. They made the obvious and correct assumption that carpet got dirty faster after cleaning. Let’s move up to the 21st century now. There have been major improvements to chemicals and equipment, so that most competent cleaners now will leave very little if any residue in the carpet. The carpet does not soil at a faster rate than before the cleaning.

A second aspect of carpet is its ability to filter the air of dust/etc.as well as pick up tracked in soil. If the carpet is not maintained on a regular basis including when the first cleaning happens, the ability of a professional to clean out all of the soil and particulates lessens. The carpet is like a wastebasket that fills up upside-down, from top to bottom. If it is completely “full”, it will be difficult for the cleaner to remove all of the soil. BUT, it will look clean. But since the “wastebasket” is still partially full, it will APPEAR to get dirty sooner.

These are two good reasons to NOT WAIT more than a year (or so, depending on the traffic) for that first cleaning. With regular and timely cleanings including the first one, your carpet can stay looking new for years to come. If you live in central Washington state, check out my websites listed in the Author Resource Box. Thanks!

How to Make Homemade Cosmetics Using Spices

Did you know that in ancient times there were no cosmetic products for makeup or skin care? Nevertheless women of that times had perfect skin and cosmetics for makeup they made by themselves. They looked so beautiful because they knew some magical secrets of ingredients that nowadays can be found in every kitchen. Nowadays we know these secrets and we are ready to share them with you.

How spices can be used in beauty purposes?

We got used to think that spices are created only to make appetizing dishes, but now we know that they are also used in order to make our skin beautiful without spending a lot of money on expensive cosmetics. Spices contain a number of anti-oxidants which give wonderful taste and flavor and some useful qualities. If you combine them with correct ingredients and apply it regularly on your skin then you will receive amazing results. Spices make your skin beautiful without any harm or side effects. They are so gentle that can be used even on sensitive skin. So there is no need to look for expensive cosmetic products when you can make them by yourself and be sure that they are safe.

Home-made skin care recipes with spices

Turmeric

Anti-oxidant contained in turmeric is called curcumin. It has anti-bacterial and anti-septic qualities. When it is taken in, it purifies our blood, which also helps to maintain healthy skin from inside. It is very effective in struggle against free radicals. Your skin looks younger; it is more healthy and fresh. Also it gives the possibility to avoid or to get rid of any kinds of blemishes and inflammations.

Beauty recipes with turmeric

  1. Take turmeric paste or powder (it can be found in both forms) and combine it equally with sandalwood powder and apply it on your face. It is extremely effective if you are suffering from acne, pimples or blemishes. It has cooling effect on your skin so it is perfect to use this mask in summer, because you will receive double effect. If to apply this mask systematically, your tone of skin will become brighter.
  2. If you need to receive whitening effect on your skin and remove dead cells, then you need to combine milk, lemon juice, turmeric and flour and to apply this paste on your skin. Wait until it dries up and then cleanse your skin. It has a wonderful peeling effect.
  3. If you need to remove facial hair, then you should mix turmeric powder and lemon juice. Though you should be careful if you have allergy to lemon.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a perfect choice for those who want to receive smooth tone of skin and forget about pimples, because this spice has anti-bacterial effect.

Beauty recipes with cinnamon

  1. If you have a problem of loss of hair, then combine honey with cinnamon powder equally and massage this paste into the scalp, leave it for at least thirty minutes and then shampoo your hair properly.
  2. If you suffer from a problem with pimples then you should immediately make a paste, made of cinnamon powder and honey and apply it on problematic areas for twenty minutes. Pimples and little scars after it will be effectively removed.
  3. If you need to lose weight then boil the mixture of honey and cinnamon and take it in the morning and in the evening before sleep. It will effectively burn fat in your body.

Clove

Ages ago clove was used by dentist in order to receive anti-bacterial effect. It is present in composition of a great number of soaps and other cleansing products and it is very effective in treatment of pimples. It gives your skin a pleasant tone and purifies your pores effectively.

Beauty recipes with clove

  1. If you suffer from acne and blemishes, then you should make a paste of clove and fullers earth powder and add some rose water into it. This paste should be applied on your face and left for ten minutes. There will be no irritation or itching anymore because your skin will be soothed.
  2. Apply clove paste on problematic areas (on pimples) before you go to sleep and remove it in the morning. This procedure will cure pimples or will help to lessen them.

Pepper

Pepper accelerates blood circulation which is very good for skin because it makes it younger and prevents from premature aging and also useful for hair and scalp, because it stimulates hair growth. But if you have sensitive skin, you should avoid it because it may cause irritation and allergy.

Beauty recipes with pepper

  1. If you want to dry up the pimples then you should apply black pepper on these problematic areas.
  2. To cure hair loss and to make your hair radiant you should combine pepper with curd and apply this mask on hair for thirty minutes and then shampoo it properly. Your hair will look healthy and grow faster.

Types of Picture Frame Spacers and How to Space Framed Pictures

What are picture frame spacers?

When framing pictures under glass it is recommended that the picture you are framing doesn’t touch the glazing material. With works on paper, fabrics or other flat substrates it is common to space the artwork by using a colored mat board. The mat board is made from either wood-pulp based boards or cotton based boards. These boards are made and purified to different levels depending on the application. The simplest paper-based boards can contain lining or woody fibers that can cause quite rapid deterioration.

But what happens if you don’t want to use a mat board as your spacer material?

In some circumstances the artwork or picture may look better without a border surrounding it. The artwork when framed will still require spacing from the glazing but will have to be spaced with something other than mat board.

What else can you space artwork from the glass with?

The spacing between glazing and artwork can be achieved by using several readily available products.

Some of the most common spacers used include timber slip frames, fillets and synthetic extruded sections that often have double-sided adhesive coated to one surface.

To determine which spacer is most suitable to use for your picture framing project you should consider the following factors.

1. The material the spacer is made from.

2. The depth of spacer required.

3. The color of the spacer

4. The ease of use.

The material used to make the spacer is important if you require something archival and acid-free. Many of the commercially available spacers are either a solid plastic strip or an extruded rectangular hollow tube. These plastic spacers often have a double-sided adhesive applied to one surface. The adhesive is used to adhere the spacer in position to the surface of the glazing material. You can make a spacer from timber, metal, cardboard and foam boards. Timber spacers can either be visible from the front of the frame adding a decorative edge called a fillet or they can be a simple square edged profile that is just functional.

The plastic spacers are usually available in several thicknesses. For deeper applications where a colored liner is required you can glue mat board to foam board and then cut it into the widths required. The strips are then glued to the frame molding between the glass and the art work. This is a useful technique to employ when you want the spacer and backing material to match as in the case of an artwork floating on a mat backing.

Common pre-fabricated spacers are colored black, white and clear. You could color the spacer to match the frame when you are using a timber variety. You can easily see what spacer is least noticeable by cutting a small piece and holding it temporarily in position between the item and the frame. Generally the white and clear spacers are used on light-colored works and inside pale colored frames and the black spacer is used on darker works.

The easiest liners and spacers to use are the adhesive pre-coated types as it is a simple job to just cut them to length and stick them in place. One tip when positioning the spacer is to cut the top and bottom sections to a tight length first. Then when you fix the side members into place they help by holding up the top piece stopping it from dislodging in the future. The hollow plastic types can be easily cut with a sharp craft knife and the solid types can be scored and snapped or clipped to size with angle cutters. Pay attention to cutting the length accurately to ensure you have no untidy corners.

You can combine spacers with matting and stepped frames to create interesting depth in your pictures whilst adding the extra benefits of the increased air gap from the glass or acrylic front.

When you are next framing an object consider using a suitable spacer or fillet.

Build Your Own Gymnastics Balance Beam

There are several methods to make a gymnastics balance beam for home use. They can run the gamut from the most basic wooden beam to one covered with carpet. Or you can make a more elaborate balance beam padded and wrapped in synthetic suede. However you decide, this project isn’t too difficult and can save you money. Most supplies you need can be found at a local home improvement store.

First a little background. All competitive gymnasts are required to perform on the balance beam apparatus. Beams used in international gymnastics competitions must conform to the strict guidelines and specifications set forth by the International Gymnastics Federation Apparatus Norms. Originally, the balance beam surface was polished wood. Since the 1980s, beams have been covered in synthetic suede. Today’s competition beams are also sprung to accommodate the stress of high-difficulty tumbling and dance skills. This is why gymnasts who are competing can be very particular about the apparatus they use at the gym vs the apparatus you might make at home. Therefore, it is always a good idea to consider the level of the gymnast when deciding to start this project

The regulation length for a competition balance beam is 16 ft 5 inches. Many homeowners can not accommodate an apparatus of this size in the home, therefore decide to make a shorter one. Many home-made balance beams range from 8 to 12 feet in length, however, all are a standard 4 inches in width. The height of the beam will depend on where it is used. We do not recommend using balance beams outdoors as it can be difficult to get a stable surface to prevent wobbling. Your apparatus should always be used on a flat surface.

For beginners age 3-6 a basic wooden beam will provide a great introduction to the sport. As the gymnast gets older this same apparatus can be wrapped in carpet to provide a bit of padding or you can choose to wrap it in synthetic suede to give it the realistic look and feel of a standard balance beam.

MATERIALS

(6) 1 x 6 lumber 8 ft. long (or any desired length)

(2) 2 x 4 lumber 20″ long for the legs

Wood Glue (such as Elmer’s Carpenters wood Glue)

3M Spray Adhesive

3″ wood screws

Wood Stain

Industrial Carpet

Suede Topper for carpet beam (option for carpet beam)

4 inch adhesive loop strip (option for padding)

Synthetic Suede Fabric (cover option)

Iron leg brace option

C Clamps

Sandpaper

Step 1

Glue the six 8-foot pieces of 1-by-6 inch pine lumber together so that their sides are fully contacting one another. This will create a block of wood that is 8 feet long with a side of about 4.5 inches.

Glue liberally between the boards and use clamps to make sure that the glue fastens itself to the wood. Let dry overnight. Using a Belt Sander go over entire beam and sand to smooth finish. If staining your beam you can use finer grade sandpaper with an Orbital Sander to create a smooth finish. If covering the beam with carpet or Suede this step may be omitted.

Step 2

For a stained wooden beam. After sanding to smooth finish, apply stain to your beam.

To make a carpet covered beam you will use heavy-duty staples and wrap the beam with the carpet. Start by stapling carpet to bottom side of the balance beam and tightly wrap carpet around beam and staple underside of beam only. You may also use spray adhesive to further secure the carpet to the beam.

For a synthetic suede covered beam you will want to pad the beam first using a neoprene strip. It can be difficult to find 4 inch wide neoprene which is used on professional beams therefore many home-made beams use yoga mats to pad the beam. You do not want the beam to be too soft so minimal padding is needed. Do not staple padding. Use glue only as staples will cause dimples. You can also use 4 inch wide adhesive peel and stick loop to create padding as well. Continue attaching the suede to the beam by applying spray adhesive to the top and sides of the balance beam. Working from the bottom of the beam, staple the Suede along the bottom. This is a 2 person project as one needs to tightly pull the Suede around the beam evenly while it is being secured with the adhesive. Make sure your balance beam is completely dry before use.

Step 3

For a basic beam you will screw the (2) 20 inch 2 x 4 wood braces to each end. Place each brace at a 90 degree angle to the beam 12 inches from each end.

Alternatively, you can purchase iron manufactured balance beam braces you simply screw into the bottom of your beam. These braces come in a variety of heights and can even make your beam adjustable. It is possible to convert your basic beam to metal braces later on. One advantage to metal braces is they are tall enough to allow a mat to slide under the balance beam while the gymnast is using it.

Warning

Use home-made balance beams at your own discretion. As your beam is not a professionally made piece of equipment it is only as strong as your craftsmanship. Use with supervision as gymnastics is a sport with inherent risk of possible injury.

8 Tips To Avoid While Heating Your Home This Winter

Simple Tips To Help You Save On The Heating Bills

We all like to come home to a warm house when the temperature drops outside, but at the same time we do not want to be wasting money. I have listed some tips below that will keep your home warm while at the same time save you money on those ever increasing fuel bills.

Thermostats

If you have a room thermostat fitted to your central heating system make sure it's fitted in the right location, it should be fitted in the last room to heat up, this is normally the hallway area. If you do not have one, then have one fitted.

Smart Thermostats

There is a lot of new technology around today to control our home central heating systems, and one of the best to come onto the market is the smart room thermostat. There are many makes to choose from, but they will all help you cut down on those fuel bills. Most of them work through an app on your smart phone. Depending on what one you choose, they can sense when no one is home and adjust the heating accordingly. They also check the outside temperature via the internet and adjust the boiler heat output, plus they have many more money saving setting. These thermostats are well worth investing in.

Radiator Thermostats

If your radiators do not have TRVs (Thermostatic Radiator Valves) fitted, then consider having them fitted to all your radiators. They work by sensing the temperature in the room, you adjust the temperature on the valve head, once the temperature is reached they will close that radiator down, as the temperature drops, the valve will open and the radiator will reheat the room. They do not need any form of power to work.

Do not Set The Thermostat Too High

If you turn the room thermostat too it's highest setting because you have come home to a cold house and want to heat up quickly do not, thermostats do not work like that, be patient and wait a little, it will save you money.

Overnight Room Temperatures

When it's excessively cold outside, do not turn the heating off when you get to bed, keep the heating on, but lower the room thermostat. The most expensive part of heating your home is from cold to hot. It's better to keep the heating ticking over and keeping the costs down.

One Of Your Rooms Not Reaching Its Temperature

If you find one of your rooms is not reaching its temperature but the radiator is very hot to touch, then it could be down to an incorrect radiator size, but before you do anything first make sure all windows are closed, and if the radiator is Fitted under the window that the curtains are open. When the curtains are closed they will restrict the heat from heating the room.

Boiler Service

When was the last time the boiler was serviced? All boilers need an annual service to keep them in tip-top condition. When your boiler was made at the factory it was fully tune to give you the user the best optimum performance, but just like any car or machine they need to be maintained. If your boiler works on Gas, then call your Gas Safe Registered company to arrange a service, it will save you money in the long run.

If Going On A Short Break

If you are going away for a long weekend do not turn the heating off, turn the thermostat down to a low setting, it will stop the pipes from freezing in your home. If you have a smart thermostat fitted it will protect your home from freezing, it will also sense no one is home but also sense when it get excessively cold.

These are just a few tips that could help you save money on your fuel bills and keep you warm at the same.