Contemporary Furniture Design – History And Influences

Contemporary furniture design came about through the combination of enquiring, innovative minds, advances in technology and the ability to produce incredible furniture at more affordable prices. The industrial revolution also played a huge part in this, particularly in terms of cheaper materials, access to factory space and the ability to create artistic furniture pieces at a price more suited to the public at large.

From the late 19th century, designers started to look towards sleeker, simpler designs for modern furniture. Whereas in the past furniture had been constructed almost entirely from wood, resulting in heavy overstated pieces indicative of grandeur and luxury. This access to new materials and different ways of working allowed designers to make more compact and modest sized items. These new furniture designs were easier to incorporate within any required living space and also gave the purchaser an opportunity to buy items that were an expression of their own personal tastes, with less limitations. Contemporary furniture design became known for being serviceable and functional but with a creative slant that saw modern furniture often viewed as pieces of art in their own right.

Odd angles, clean lines, curved shaping and materials such as metal and moulded plastic paved the way for modern furniture to infiltrate into our consciousness. It’s hard to ignore the striking designs of contemporary furniture pieces – the fluidity and sharpness often used in these designs made people really start to sit up and take notice of modern furniture.

Many designers of modern and contemporary furniture are also noted for being incredible architects – contemporary furniture is really about functional items being seen as architectural and artistic designs. Architects such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Frank Lloyd Wright and even Antoni Gaudi started to incorporate contemporary furniture design into their overall architectural visions. Gaudi would often design furniture pieces to complement the interesting nuances of his buildings, creating a harmony between the external structure and internal decoration.

Other notable contributors to the contemporary furniture movement include Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier and Lilly Reich. Mies van der Rohe invented the now famous and often copied ‘Barcelona chair’ and his contemporary furniture often used cantilevers to enable supportive yet delicate framework, often created out of chrome. Mies worked in collaboration with Lilly Reich for over a decade, sharing both a professional and personal relationship. In addition to her involvement in the design of the Barcelona chair, the couple also worked together to create the Brno chair, another iconic piece of modern furniture that continues to be cited as both inspirational and aspirational.

Coping With Foundation Creep on a Sloping Site

Foundation creep is a common type of foundation damage found in houses built on sloping sites. With this kind of damage, a foundation element (wall, footing, slab or pier) can begin to move downhill in response to gravitational forces, soil pressure and other factors. Since foundation elements are usually tied together with a combination of steel reinforcement, continuous masonry or framing; multiple elements can be affected when one element shifts.

If not addressed, foundation creep is likely to worsen over time. Homeowners who occupy sloping sites are well-advised to contact a foundation repair specialist if they notice foundation damage. When proper repairs are done in a timely fashion, high repair costs and more perilous foundation damage can be avoided.

Sloping Sites Present Problems

Contractors prefer to build a house on a flat, open site, but they don’t always get their way. Sloping sites are often developed because flat sites are no longer available. They can also be chosen because of attractive views and other features like rock outcroppings to create special appeal. Regardless of the reason for developing a sloping site, property owners have reason to be concerned when soil creep causes foundation damage.

A number of forces and factors are usually involved when soil creep occurs. Most obviously, gravitational force causes soil pressure to increase as the slope grows steeper. Vegetation usually helps to stabilize a steep slope, because plant roots consolidate the soil and also help to absorb excess moisture. However, vegetation also adds weight to the soil. It can increase downward pressure on a foundation if most of the roots are above the slip plane where soil movement is most likely to occur.

A discussion of soil movement usually involves water. Soil stability is enhanced by certain moisture content– in the same way that damp sand can be molded to create a solid form. However, adding more water to a sand sculpture will cause it to crumble and wash away. Soil can behave in similar fashion. On a sloping site, the pull of gravity begins to effect soil when a certain level of moisture saturation is attained.

Foundation creep can also be caused by clay-rich soil that expands naturally as it absorbs moisture. This type of soil pressure often damages foundations on flat sites. On a sloping site, soil expansion typically causes a downhill push against the foundation.

Tiebacks and Tiebeams Solve Foundation Problems

A foundation repair contractor is the best professional to diagnose and repair foundation creep on a sloping site. Helical tiebacks and tiebeams are possible solutions to stop the creep and restore stability to the foundation.

A helical tieback is a steel anchor equipped with helical plates that allow technicians to drive the anchor into the soil like a giant screw. A series of these anchors are typically driven through the foundation wall on the uphill side of the house, and deep into the soil. Such an installation effectively pins the upper foundation wall into the slope. The same repair technique is used to stabilize and restore retaining walls that are tilting due to soil pressure.

Since it’s usually the foundation wall on the downhill side of the house that is creeping downward, the repair strategy often involves installing beams to connect the stable uphill wall with the downhill wall. The combination of tiebacks and tiebeams is a commonly used repair strategy. However, the foundation specialist is likely to suggest other remedial work to help control drainage so that the soil around the house doesn’t get too heavy or too saturated.

How to Play Happy Birthday on the Guitar

Learning to play simple and fun songs on the guitar is easy. Many of my students have learned how to play Happy Birthday in their first lesson. Follow the simple steps below to learn this song in just a few minutes.

Learning to Play the Notes

To play Happy Birthday on the guitar, you first must learn how to play an open string (no left hand fingers pressing the string down to the fretboard). To do so, position your right hand over the sound hole and strike the first string (thinnest string) either with the tip of your right thumb or with a pick held between your right thumb and the outside edge of your right index finger. (You can also pluck the string with one of your right hand fingers by hooking the tip of the finger under the string and then plucking the string to sound the note.) Say "0" each time you sound the note because that is the number for the note played when you play an open string.

Except for open string notes, playing all the other notes requires holding a string down at one of the frets with the tip of a left hand finger. Press the tip of your left thumb to the back of your guitar and arch your left hand fingers so that you roughly make a "C" shape between your thumb and index finger. With the tip of your index finger, practice pressing the first string down against the fretboard with your fingertip very near each of the first four frets (but not touching each fret. As you press the string down at each fret, sound the note the same way you did for playing the string open. In order as you play these first four frets, say the numbers one through four because those are the numbers for each of these notes.

Once you have learned to hold the string down at the first four frets to play notes one through four, move up the neck of the guitar and do the same thing with the next four frets. Say the numbers five through eight as you play these notes. Finally, move again to the next four frets and practice sounding these notes. Say the numbers nine to twelve as you play them.

Counting the string played open, you now can play thirteen different notes on that string and say the number for each note as you play it! You now know all the notes for playing Happy Birthday on the guitar. Most guitars are marked with a dot on the fretboard at the fifth, seventh, and twelfth frets, so finding the right fret for each numbered note is not hard at all with just a little practice.

Playing the Song

You will now learn to play Happy Birthday on your guitar in four groups of notes. Use your ear to guide you about the right timing as you play each group of notes. Play the first group of notes (0 – 0 – 2 – 0 – 5 – 4). Play the two open notes faster than the other notes. In fact, you will play the first two notes of each group faster than the other notes in each group.

Then play the second group (0 – 0 – 2 – 0 – 7 – 5). The first four notes are the same as in the first group, so memorizing the first half of the song is easy.

Play the third group next (0 – 0 – 12 – 9 – 5 – 4 – 2). Finally, play the fourth group (10 – 10 – 9 – 5 – 7 – 5). Practice the song until you can play it smoothly on the first string. With just a little practice, you can easily learn how to play Happy Birthday on the guitar by following these steps!

Playing in Other Keys

Because you are playing by fret numbers, you can play this song on any of the strings. Except for the sixth string, which has the same notes at each fret as the first string does, playing Happy Birthday on the other strings changes the song to a different key. You have now learned how to play Happy Birthday on the guitar in five different keys!

Fireplace Tile Design – How To Create A Stunning Fireplace Hearth

Whenever you walk into any home, the fireplace always catches your eye, but if it has a unique fireplace tile design them it becomes something more stunning.

Have you been considering a new fireplace hearth design? Well, here are some things you need to be aware before starting your project.

Fireplace tiles come in a wide array of shapes, colors and sizes. Whatever you decide on is fine. For some ideas you can look in home design magazines or construction books. They are full of pictures on various fireplace tile designs.

You can find tiles to use in your fireplace hearth in materials such as porcelain, glass, ceramic, terra cotta and all sorts of natural stone.

Next, you need to decide on a color. Each tile design will have various colors to choose from. Even natural stones can be found in different colors.

Now that you know what you want in a fireplace tile design, it's time to think about what size you want and if you want the complete heart area to be the same size?

Will you want to add some accent tiles to your design? Accent tiles are really special because they can really create a spectacular look. You can find them in all colors, shapes and sizes. It could be a diamond shape or even a pictured tile, which is a hot item today. You're only limited by your imagination.

While there is nothing wrong with going with a more traditional fireplace hearth design, you can spice things up and create your own really unique design that will be a conversation piece for years to come.

Pilates Can Help PMS Symptoms

If you suffer from PMS (pre-Menstrual syndrome) then please be aware that you can find relief through the regular practice of Pilates. There are also other ways that you can reduce the systems such as introducing lifestyle changes, eating a healthy diet and practicing regular exercise. In this article I'm going to share with you some of the ways that you can use Pilates to reduce symptoms.

PMS is estimated to affect between 75% and 80% of all menstruating women. Symptoms are varied but can include back pain, mood swings, headaches and breast tenderness. It is thought that fluctuating hormones cause the symptoms. Let's look at each symptom and how Pilates can help.

Back pain. Practicing some form of exercise for 30 to 40 minutes on 3 to 5 days a week can not only keep our bodies fit, but it can keep muscles stretched and strengthened. One of the benefits of Pilates is that the spinal is mobilized during the exercises and this can give relief to tight back muscles and the nerves that get affected by uterine contractions.

Discomfort in the stomach area and menstrual cramps can be eased by laying on your back with the knees lifted and bent. Breathe in and as you breath out, then lift the hips from the floor. Be sure to curl through your spell, breathe in again at the peak of the movement and then breath out as you come back down, with one vertebrae at a time.

The cat stretch is another move that will help to ease the back. Go on all fours then curl up the back into an arch, just like a cat. Inhale and exhale with each movement. Each breath will massage your internal organs and the back stretch will release tension around the spine.

End with the child pose. Sit with your hips on your heels and stretch your arms out forward as you go forward bending your back. Do this for as long as you like.

Menstrual cramps. Any exercise that works the abs can help with menstrual cramps. Exercising with deep breathing can produce endorphins that will not only help to ease the pain, but it will leave you with a sense of well-being.

The side hip extension can be of great benefit. To do this you need to lie on your right side. Put your right hand benefit your head with the weight of your head on your arm. Now position your legs straight and to the front of you at 30 degrees. Now lift your left leg, bring it forward and point your toe, then push it back for a count of two. Keep your torso and hips in the same position as you repeat this for up to ten times. Then work on the other side.

Pilates can do a lot for the PMS sufferer. Remember that keeping to a healthy diet can do a lot of good too. Avoid white flour, refined sugar and keep dairy product intake low. Fill your meals with fresh vegetables, salads and fresh fruit to keep your immune system and your hormones at their peak. Pilates is a powerful medicine and by practicing it regularly and consistently, you can alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS if not all.

Stop by my store to view Pilates DVDs that can help with PMS symptoms.

Laminate Flooring Cleaning Tips

Laminate flooring may be made to look like other kinds of floors, but that does not mean it is not unique in other ways. When it comes to cleaning laminate floors, for example, there are some definite do's and don'ts. True, when it comes to cleaning laminate is not as demanding as, say, carpet or certain types of tile flooring. But it still needs thorough, periodic cleaning.

To begin with, the most important thing is to give your laminate floor a regular light sweeping. This prevails any dirt or grit from building up, detracting from your floor's appearance. It also brings the dust that goes into the room's air.

If sweeping is not going to get the job done you can try damp mopping. Use water with a little vinegar in it and make sure to wring the mop out thoroughly before applying it to the floor. You do not want to use excess water. In fact, any time you find standing water on your laminate floor, it should be soaked up immediately.

Sometimes a little extra elbow grease might be needed, in which case cleaning by hand with a cloth moistened with a cleaning solution should do the trick. Just make sure that the solution is one that the manufacturer of your laminate flooring has approved. Using the right cleaner will make the job easier and help remove sticky and stubborn substances. Once again, when the job is done, soak up any excess water.

Water and humidity are laminate flooring's enemies. For this reason you should not even consider steam cleaning. Steam cleaning is fine for certain other floor types – like carpet and tile – but is highly likely to damage a laminate floor. If you're faced with cleaning challenges that the above methods just can not handle, you might try applying a little acetone or alcohol to the problem area and using a soft bristled brush to scrub it. This method can often be used to successfully remove asphalt, paint, crayon and even cigarette burns.

And never let your laminate floor fool you: Even though it can be made to look just like real wood, it is not – which means no sanding, refinishing or waxing. Also, avoid using cleaning products of an abrasive nature. And keep those harsh scouring pads and that steel wool away too. These will only cause scratching, and over time, more serious wear.

Advantages Of Steel Frame Kit Homes

Generally, standard kit homes are made from good old timber chemically treated against attacks from termites and mold. Although timber can also withstand the wear and tear of wood through different seasons, this material still remain vulnerable to fire. In contrast, steel frame kit homes are specifically made of steel trusses and wall frames. Because of the material, these homes rarely need maintenance check-ups and repairs. Other advantages to building steel frame houses are expanded in detail in the following discussion.

Steel Frame Buildings as Warehouses for Business

Steel frame kit homes can be used as commercial buildings, such as warehouses to store perishable goods. Wooden frame kit houses also work fine as storage areas, but they’re prone to termites and mold, not to mention a favored nesting place by birds and mice. If you’ve got food in there, then you’d be greatly concerned with the possibility these animals might invade your space any time and steal your goods. As a result, your business gets compromised and you have to spend money on repairs in case the mice gnawed holes or the rafters, walls, and foundation needed another round of anti-termite treatment.

Steel Frame Homes as Secondary Dwellings

These types of kit homes may be constructed as secondary dwellings, such as storage sheds for an extra pantry space or for chopped wood, or as storm shelters. According to expert builders, steel frame structures are more well-grounded and durable than timber frame buildings. Homes built with steel in their trusses, rafters, and frames aren’t likely to buckle, divide, distort, rotate, chink, rot or splinter because of climate changes or an incoming storm. Actually, the material is resistant to corrosion, and so, it won’t worsen and age as fast as wood and not in the same way as timber frame houses do.

Reduced Costs in Construction of Steel Frame Houses

Kit homes made of timber often need the hand of professional builders because of the measuring and refining of fittings. In comparison, steel frames are made to make it easy for owner-builders to assemble their house or shed. Whether they use their new building for commerce or for shelter, these kit homes don’t need extra labor during construction. And so, owners may save up to $35,000 in labor costs alone. In addition, they may save further maintenance costs by around $60,000 or more depending on the number of repairs done and the termite treatments needed every six months.

Numerology Reveals the Hidden Meaning of Your House Number

Continuing with this series of articles giving you insight into where you live, in the meantime consider this: the house or apartment of where you live, even the block of land chosen you! That's right, even though you might think you chose where you live I have news for you, it chose you …

Developing this a little further, how many times have you heard (it may've even happened to you) of someone falling in love with a house but unable to afford it, yet – the finances became available. And, of those who had all their finances organized unable to proceed to the sale for one reason or another. It's happened to me and I'm sure it's happened to you – it's all about the where you live being where you're meant to be – lessons to be learnt – Karma to unfold or a journey to begin.

House Number Four: This is the most unpredictable of all the house numbers – with one crisis after another. The occupants often visit psychiatrists or seek someone to talk to! Expect your life to move in a completely different direction from what you had in mind if moving in here, take a tip and go with the flow for life is changing in ways you can not predict.

Aquarians will enter your life (you may be one yourself), but as long as they are not born on Jan 26, Feb 8, Feb 17 you can let them in! Life will offer many moments where you'll be called upon to help or counsel others. This address may even look different to others in the area or the occupants considered a little 'strange.' It also joins those involved with the physically handicapped! Some personal comments: I've often seen this number to have all the electronic gadgets, computers, plasma televisions, etc. Another thing I mention to people moving to this address is to look after their back and to invest in a decent bed. Linked to the planet Uranus in Astrology and has connections with all things Astrological along with the 11th house in the Astrological Chart (see my previous series)

When we talk about the 'unusual' you have to consider the actual appearance of the building or its color, even the occupations or occupants could have considered 'unusual' either by their looks, careers or something 'harder to define.' Let me give you a personal observation for this number crops up in my life more than I would like to admit and when it does and did I notice and notice that my life plans-goals-objectives seemly alter of their own accord. I want to go one way – life wants to go another. Call this Fate or Destiny, call it what you like but I fully believe the place (s) we live are the place (s) we are meant to be living at for the energy / vibration has attracted you – just like a magnet a magnet) joins iron filings and forms patterns. I live and work at a Number Four (103) my profession is all about helping others and yes, there are a few gadgets along with an interest / passion for Astrology – Numerology. I do not have any problems with my bed but it would be nice to have someone else share it with me now and then LOL …

When we include the meanings (simple) given to House Numbers 1-9 and those reducing to these numbers we'll explore the sexuality of Numerology for like it or not we are sexual as well as spiritual animals and Numbers give a clue to both.

Difference Between Hot and Cold Lamination

You can use cold or hot lamination depending on your need and your budget. In hot lamination, the item you want to laminate is subject to heat. However, if you use cold lamination the item is subjected to pressure. For both techniques, you require a film to laminate the material. The thicker the film, the firmer will be the lamination and its durability will increase.

Hot lamination

To laminate a material using hot lamination you need hot laminating film. This technique can be divided into standard and special low melt hot lamination. Standard lamination is used for everyday purposes while special low melt technique is used on items that cannot be subjected to heat. For instance, it is best that you avoid using standard hot lamination on photographs.

The film that is used in this process has two layers – the adhesive resin layer and the polyester layer. The material is placed between the layers which are then placed in the machine that melts adhesive in the sheet. The machine also spreads the adhesive evenly over the item. Since the machine can generate a temperature of up to 300 degree Celsius, it is important that trained personal handle the machine. The process is complete when the aggressive dries up and becomes cold.

This technique is usually cheaper than cold lamination and the items laminated using this technique is more durable. The biggest disadvantage of using this technique is that it cannot be used for material that is sensitive to heat or have inkjet ink. If you use this technique on inkjet ink paper, the ink in the paper may melt. This technique is more time-consuming than cold lamination because you must heat the machine before you start the process.

Cold Lamination

Cold lamination is a simple procedure that helps you get laminated documents in a few minutes. To laminate a document using this technique, you must place the document in the cold lamination machine. After the document is placed in the machine, you have to set the attributes depending upon the shape and the size of the document. If you have a limited budget, you can also use cold roll laminator to laminate the document.

The best part about using this technique is that it can be used for all documents. Paper that have inkjet ink and heat sensitive material can be easily laminated using this technique. It is a simple procedure and can be easily performed by people who have no formal training. Other advantages of using cold lamination machine are that they require little maintenance and are safe. The biggest disadvantage of using this technique is that it is expensive when compared to hot lamination. Also, the chances of bubble formation are high during this technique.

The hot and cold lamination machines have their own advantages and disadvantages. Your choice of machine will depend on your budget and your requirements.

Fireplace Tools

The task of cleaning out a fireplace is not enjoyable, however it is much easier to clean electric or gas fireplaces than the ones that use firewood by using fireplace tools. There are specific, affordable paraphernalia that are used to clear out a fireplace. The quality of this equipment should be of the highest standard because of how often you will use them.

The first essential item is a broom which bristles are able to not only clean out the ashes but will also gather them in a place where you will be able to collect them with a shovel that has a long handle. The shovel should be of the correct size because that is the only way you can gather the ashes without leaving any behind.

The one thing you should never do is trying to catch a log while it is still hot; instead, what you can use is what we call a fireplace poker. If you decide that you have had sufficient warmth and do not need any more heat, use it to remove the hot logs or move them around. When none of your equipment is in use, maintain neatness by placing them in a fireplace tools stand.

The fireplaces that use gas or electricity do not need equipment to clear up the mess because there is no mess to begin with. The only fireplaces that need fireplace tools are those that use firewood because of the ashes, logs that are not fully burnt and the newspapers we use to light the fire.

Structural Analysis – Effective Way to Study Building's Behavior

Structural analysis is considered as a base of any construction project. It is a process that examines the physical integrity of any building structure. It is wise to analyze everything about your building structure before you actually start building it. This will make future construction activities a lot easier.

How your building structure will be, how it will react to certain external factors are the most common questions for any professional. Structural analysis – a calculation about behavior of any building with respect to certain laws and methods gives the perfect answer to such questions. It gives general information such as:

o Calculation of deformations
o Internal forces – how your building will react against heavy internal forces between various building components like beams, windows, stairs etc
o Stresses – How much capable is your building to deal with stresses
o Loads – Predicting about how well any building will withstand internal loads as well as external loads
o External forces – Structural analysis will give you detailed information about how your building will face external forces

This information is based on set of physical laws and mathematics required to study and predict the behavior of structures. Builders, contractors and engineers depend on structure analysis to render structurally sound plans and models. To implement an accurate structural analysis a user must determine information regarding structural loads, geometry, support conditions, and materials properties. In this way, one can easily build a behavior.

Also structural analysis has many applications to offer to construction industry such as:
• Use in structural steel plate girder, truss girder, gantries, industrial sheds etc.
• Wooden structures like fish repair centers, sheds, residential structures etc.
• Pre-stressed and Post-tensioned structures like parking structures
• Deteriorated structures
• Composite structures

Above mentioned applications of structural analysis reduce work load of builders, contractors and engineers. They become more familiar with their proposed building structure's behavior.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

If you are a home owner and want to save yourself the cost of having a so called professional install your laminate flooring, and take the pride of do it yourself install, you will need good step by step approach instructions.

The first thing you will need is a good solid and level subfloor. Make sure it is clear of all debris left over from taking out your old floor.

You will then have to determine which way you want the grain of the wood to run. Take and lay out some of the planks to see what way looks the best for you. Once you have figured out which way to run the planks you will need to determine where to start. I always recommend starting at the longest straightest wall in the left hand corner of the room.

You will need to stagger out your joints when laying your planks. This is accomplished by starting with a full plank in your first row then running full boards all the way down to where your landing ends. Remember to keep a 1/4 "gap between your planks and the walls for an expansion joint. a 1/3 of a plank the full boards down the row the rest of the way. Then you just start repeating the pattern all over again, full, half, third.

You will need to undercut your door jams so that the laminate will fit under the tribs of your doors giving you that professional look you are seeking. When you get up to another floor where the laminate stops you will need a transition piece between the two floors. Most all of the manufactures have transition pieces to match the same color of your flooring. You will need to stop your laminate one inch short of the flooring you are butting up to. This will leave a gap between the two floors where a track is put down that the transition piece fits into. Once you have your transition piece cut to the proper length it will just snap into the track. Once it is snapped into place do not plan on getting it out because once it is in it's in. If you try too take it out you will end up snapping it in half. trust me I learned the hard way and broke too many pieces trying to get them out.

The Foods You Need to Eat During Pregnancy!

Need some real, practical suggestions for healthy breakfasts, snacks, meals and drinks for avoiding excessive weight gain during pregnancy? Look no further – we’ve even given you a shopping list!

PREGNANCY NUTRITION: TOP FOODS TO EAT AND TO AVOID!

Pregnancy Nutrition: BREAKFAST IDEAS

Fresh fruit smoothie: Blend any fresh fruit (with some natural unsweetened live yoghurt (soya, goat or cow’s) and a handful of mixed seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed).

Tip: if you are in a hurry, add fresh orange or apple juice to dilute your smoothie so it’s easy to drink, then put in a beaker and take it with you.

Boiled, scrambled or poached egg with buttered oat cakes or rye toast. – Wholegrain rye toast spread with nut butter (almond, cashew, hazel or peanut)

Mix a handful of oats in a bowl of live natural yoghurt and top with a few pieces of chopped fresh fruit and a handful of chopped nuts.

Spread some cream cheese on corn cakes or wheat-free bread/crackers and top with wild or organic smoked salmon.

Porridge cooked in water with grated apple and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Tip: soak oats in water for 10 minutes before cooking – this will bring out their creamy flavour, so there’s no need to use milk. Add some hot stewed apple and berries

An omelet (filling ideas: grated cheese and red onion, mixed fresh herbs, chopped tomatoes and peppers, garlic mushrooms and watercress, smoked salmon).

Baked beans on rye toast.

Pregnancy Nutrition: DRINKS IDEAS

Herb teas instead of caffeinated tea. There are so many varieties now, experiment until you find one you like. Rooibosch (Red Bush) tea is the closest to ‘normal’ tea and can be drunk with milk.

Caro, Barleycup and Dandelion coffee are all caffeine-free coffee alternatives. Teeccino is a delicious coffee substitute that you make in a cafetiere (comes in different flavors, e.g. mocha, vanilla nut, almond amaretto)

Instead of alcohol, mix fruit, elderflower or ginger cordials with sparking water.

SEEDS are rich in protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals – grinding them helps to release their nutrients. Aim to have a heaped tablespoon each day and add to cereals, yogurt, soups or salads.

Buy some fresh, unsalted seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed (also called flaxseeds – the golden variety is richer in essential fats than brown).Using a coffee grinder or a grinding attachment from a food processor, grind a mixture that’s 50% linseed and 50% a combination of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Grind enough to fill a small glass jar (choose glass rather than plastic as plastic can damage the essential fats in the seeds). Store your jar in the fridge. Ideally, keep your unground seeds in a dark cupboard to protect them from light or oxygen damage (essential fats can be damaged easily).

Pregnancy Nutrition: ENERGY BOOSTING SNACK IDEAS

An apple and a handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds

A pear, peach or other seasonal fruit with 10 fresh almonds

Three oat cakes with nut butter (almond and hazelnut butter is a delicious alternative to peanut – buy in health food shops).

Mackerel, salmon or mushroom pate on two ryvita (beware pate in pregnancy unless homemade and without fresh mayonnaise/egg).

Carrot and celery sticks with hummus.

Berries stirred into a small pot of natural yogurt.

Pregnancy Nutrition: QUICK AND EASY MEAL IDEAS

Roasted vegetables with pesto crusted chicken or fish: Add a pesto-coated organic chicken breast or fish fillet (organic salmon or cod works well) to a baking tray of part-roasted vegetables (e.g. new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, courgettes, onions, garlic red and yellow peppers) and cook for a further 10-20 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Chickpea and apricot tagine: To a basic tomato sauce (i.e. a tin of chopped tomatoes added to an onion and garlic clove softened in olive oil), stir in half a finely chopped red chill, a pinch of ground cumin, a handful of chopped dried apricots and three handfuls of chopped mixed vegetables (e.g. carrots, courgettes and baby corn). Add water if necessary to make a nice sauce consistency, then season and simmer for 15 minutes. Add a tin of chickpeas and cook for a further 10 minutes, then stir in a handful of fresh chopped coriander and serve with couscous, quinoa or brown rice.

Haddock poached in a parsley and lemon tofu sauce: Blend half a block of silken tofu with a clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, some chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Add to a pan with two haddock fillets and slowly simmer so that the fish poaches (about 15 minutes, but keep checking). Serve with steamed broccoli or green vegetables and brown rice.

Baked potato and sweet potato filling ideas:

Hummus (home-made ideally); Ratatouille or baked beans topped with grated Cheddar; Cottage cheese with chives or spring onion, mixed with chopped red or yellow peppers, cucumber or prawns; Roasted vegetables and pesto; Tinned or smoked salmon mixed with cottage cheese or crème fraîche; Cannelini or butter beans mashed with anchovy fillets and black olives, with lemon juice and black pepper; Steamed leeks, broccoli or cauliflower florets mixed with cheese sauce; Hard boiled egg chopped and mixed with cottage cheese or crème fraîche and chopped parsley; Guacamole (again, make your own or buy in the deli section of your supermarket)

DELICIOUS SALADS (perfect for a light meal or packed lunch):

A simple salad of mixed leaves and chopped raw vegetables can become a nutritious and delicious meal in moments if you keep your fridge stocked with deli delights such as artichoke hearts, sun blushed tomatoes, olives, hard boiled eggs, peppers, sweet baby peppers, anchovies, smoked fish and slices of lean white meat.

Smoked organic trout fillet (a delicious alternative to smoked salmon that is packed with Omega 3 Essential Fats) with flageolet beans or lightly steamed broad beans mixed with lemon juice and black pepper.

Hot smoked organic trout or salmon, or smoked organic mackerel, flaked through whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet or couscous, with chopped raw vegetables. Season with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and chopped fresh herbs.

Tofu chunks (marinated in tamari or soy, ginger, garlic and sesame oil and brown rice syrup), stir fried for seven minutes or till golden and fairly crisp. Toss through whole grains as above, or stir into buckwheat noodles with finely sliced cucumber and seaweed (packets of dried varieties can be found in the Oriental section of supermarkets). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve warm or chilled. – Mixed bean salad with peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, sweet baby peppers and chopped hard boiled egg, with a tomato and basil dressing.

Chickpeas dressed with paprika, lemon juice, black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt or Solo low sodium salt and parsley, with quinoa.

Warm potato salad with passata (sieved, chopped tomatoes – buy at your supermarket), with a dressing made from olive oil, paprika, chillies and crushed garlic.

Taboulleh of couscous, bulgar wheat, millet or quinoa with chopped cherry tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning.

Whole radishes, crumbled feta cheese, broad beans and alfalfa sprouts.

Blueberries and apricots on green leaves such as lamb’s leaf or spinach, with feta cheese crumbled over the top.

EASY PUDDINGS

Raspberry sorbet: Liquidize frozen raspberries and bananas to a smooth puree.

Apricot whisk: Puree a handful of apricots (fresh or dried) with half a cup of low-fat curd cheese or silken tofu lightened with two whisked egg whites.

Pregnancy Nutrition: SHOPPING LIST: NEW FOODS AND BRANDS TO LOOK OUT FOR!

Nairns oatcakes (wheat and sugar free) Terrance Stamp wheat-free breads Boridinsky rye bread Pumpernickel-style rye bread (e.g. thin slices of dark bread Sugar-free peanut butter (I like Whole Earth brand) Cashew, almond and hazelnut butters Fresh, unsalted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and golden linseed) Intelligent Eating or Columbus eggs (rich in Omega 3 essential fats) Fresh, unsalted nuts (e.g. almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, brazils, cashews or mixed nuts) Frozen berries – look out for blueberries, summer fruits, forest fruits and raspberries. Organic oats – If having them cold, look out for small rather than jumbo oats (you should also find these in a health food shop). Rooibosch tea (Tick Tock is a good brand) Elderflower or ginger cordials Quinoa

It’s important that you COMMIT TO EATING BETTER QUALITY FOOD TODAY! Pregnancy is only 9 months long and your precious little one needs those nutrients for proper growth and development, not to mention you need them for strength and energy.

Advantages of Hiring Qualified Concrete Contractors

The busy lives of homeowners these days are the very reason why it is best to let professionals handle the concrete work needed for any remodeling project. This can be most effectively resolved with the aid of having a concrete contractor that can help you out in providing with best options and quality outputs.

There are still those individuals who take for granted the importance of working with experts instead of taking the risk of not having any work done properly. The following are some advantages of hiring the right expert in managing concrete works:

Hiring Experts Saves a Lot of Time
If you are up to having an efficient home improvement project that sticks to a particular timetable, then hiring professionals for this kind of job is the best thing to do. Not only does this save you a lot of time, it also makes it possible for all of the requirements to be fulfilled accordingly.

Of course, you can still have the project done all by yourself, but you have to consider the fact that it would take more time for you to complete everything. Having professionals work for you provides efficiency and productivity. Expect completion of work as discusses with your contractor.

Concrete Professionals are Experienced
One can easily say that jobs concerning the foundational structure of a home project are not difficult. But then again, you have to take into good consideration that there are various factors that alter the kind of tools and techniques in completing this job. Without the right experience in this field, and without the knowledge in how to effectively execute the work to be done, the entire project can be a waste of time, effort and money. Having the right professionals is an assurance that the job can be handled with knowledge and expertise at hand.

Professionals Entail Professionalism
A home project is nothing with the right kind of attitude presented by the people you are working with. Since concrete jobs are not easily carried out, you can expect professionalism for the people you will be having at home or in the place where you would like to have the job done.

All in all, assurance that high quality work will be performed is the key on this form of endeavor. Hiring a concrete contractor for this activity opens the opportunity of making the most out of having the right professionals for the project.

The Basics of Woodcarving

There is nothing quite like creating something with your own hands. Woodcarving is a great way to express yourself. You can create ornaments, figurines, decorations, toys, puzzles, and sculptures from a piece of wood, using your own personal interpretation of how the finished product should look. Many people love this hobby because they love to work with their hands. Most woodcarvers use only a piece of wood and a few hand tools. Hand rubbed finishes help to bring out the wood grain and detail of the piece.

The wood that you choose can have a bearing on what you are able to carve. Wood is stronger when you work with the grain. Working across the grain will result in a more brittle piece. Many woodworkers plan their most intricate pieces before deciding where to start carving. Whichever piece will be the thinnest or most delicate should be carved with the grain.

For very detailed or fine pieces, consider hardwoods that are sturdy when taken down to a tiny degree. Sycamore, maple, plum, apple, pear, and Italian walnut are common. For all other work, choose the hardwood that is easiest to work with for you. Basswood, Tupelo, mahogany, teak, chestnut, and American walnut are most popular. Softwoods are easier to carve, but they do not have the longevity that hardwoods do. In general, you want a tight grain for detail work and a fuller grain for larger tasks.

Once you've chosen your wood and picked out the best areas for your details, you can start shaping your wood. If the wood is very hard and you have a lot to take away, you may want to use a chisel and a mallet to start. If it's not too hard, you can start with a gouge and smooth peel away layer after layer. Knives can be used on smaller projects while saws and power tools can be used on larger projects. Never cut or gouge against the grain. Always go with the grain or against it.

Tools used for finishing vary broadly. Your artistic impression of what the should look like will have a bearing on what you end up using. Some like the sharp lines left by chisels and gouges. Smoothing can be performed with a rasp, which is like a rough version of a file. Smaller rasps and files can be used to smooth out fine details.

You can carve from a solid block of wood, a board, a dowel , a stump, or an an entree tree. For small projects, like chess pieces, are easily carved from dowels. You can purchase dowel rods in varying diameters and types of wood. Some people will combine different types of wood to create unique pieces. No matter what you make, you will surely enjoy the process of woodcarving.