Important Points To Keep In Mind While Designing Your Own Home

People often explore options to optimize the look and feel of their living space. All homeowners even prefer custom home plans to build a house that fulfills all their needs. The advancement in communication technology has further made it easier for modern people to design their own home in a quick and hassle-free way. There are a number of free software programs that will help you in creating a virtual house within a few minutes. But most online house designing tools require users to provide certain ideas and basic guidelines to design the home plan online. So it becomes essential for you do some initial research before making the custom home designs.

List down Your Requirements:

While designing a house, you must keep in mind the requirements of each member of your family. For instance, you have to decide the number of bedrooms your family needs. Normally, a house consist of both larger and smaller rooms. So you have to decide the size of each room. Also, you need to concentrate on choosing the floor plan for the bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. At the same time, you also need to explore options to extend your living space by designing the basement in a proper way.

Gather Home Designing Ideas:

The trends in house plans also change at frequent intervals. If you are not familiar with the latest home structure designs and styles, it is time to brush up your knowledge. You can gather the latest home designing ideas from both online and offline sources. Along with reading books and magazines on home designing, you can also gather innovative ideas by reading the online articles and blogs. It is also a good idea to observe the houses in your neighborhood to decide the details that you will like to incorporate in your custom home designs.

Choose the Home Design Software:

You have several options to design your home. You can still make the blueprint for your house in a traditional way by using paper, pencil or eraser. But the online home planning software applications will make it easier for you to create a virtual home without putting any extra time and effort. You also have options to choose from a variety of house design software applications. A simple web search will get you information about the free house design software. But you have to evaluate the features and functionality of the software before deciding which one complements your requirements perfectly.

Evaluate the Online Home Designs:

After selecting the free building design software, you can use it to design your virtual home in 2D or 3D. The software will further provide you templates to design the floor layouts. Also, you can use the easy-to-use designing tool to experiment with different layouts by dragging and dropping lighting devices, appliances, furniture, cabinets and countertops. Similarly, you can experiment with different bathroom layouts by adding shower, bathtub, sink, mirror and toilet. After designing the virtual home, get it evaluated by each member of your family. Their feedback and suggestion will help you in optimizing the impact of the house plan.

It is also a good idea to design your own home using multiple software application. By comparing different versions of the virtual home, you can easily pick the best custom home designs that complete all your requirements.

How to Wash Smelly Sneakers and Rubber Shoes Using Your Washing Machine

Smelly sneakers need to be cleaned and washed immediately. Otherwise, this will breed bacteria that may trigger the appearance of skin diseases such as athlete's foot. But you do not have to do this manually. If you have a washing machine, you can do it using your washer.

Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to clean your dirty shoes:

Step 1: If it has shoe laces, remove it first. Other shoes are fastened using Velcro and it is okay to wash that using your washing machine. But the shoe laces have to be removed first. You can include this with your other laundry. Once it is cleaned, you can just hang it to dry completely.

Step 2: Mix your cleaning solution. If it is reliably clean, you only need to use a mild soap. However, I suggest you use a disinfecting detergent specifically used for shoes. Before you buy it, check if it is a good choice for the materials of your shoes. If you are using canvas sneaker, make sure the detergent you are using will work well with canvas materials.

Step 3: Apply the solution to the dirtiest areas first. You might also want to sprinkle baking soda if it is extremely smelly. After treating it with the solution, place it in a net bag. You use this for exclusive clothes but you can also use this to hold shoes together.

Step 4: Set washing machine to the hot water cycle. And use the gentle washing cycle. Add a bit more of the solution to the washing cycle and allow the machine to finish cleaning your shoes.

Step 5: Use the slow spin speed so it can tumble and extract some of the excess water. When the cycle is done, hang it in a warm and sunny place to dry completely.

You might want to clean your washer afterwards as the dirt from your sneakers will be left on the washing machine's drum. If you do not immediately clean it off, it might cause a smelly washer and you do not want that to happen.

Using baking soda is also a good choice for a cleaning solution if you do not have a detergent used for athletic shoes ready. Just sprinkle it before washing your shoes. If it is still smelly after drying it completely, sprinkle it again with baking soda for an effective way of diffusing the smell.

Foundation Repair – Is Your Home's Foundation Moving? – 11 Ways to Know If Your House is Safe

The sooner you fix a moving foundation, the less damage it will cause. Sometimes these problems are hard to diagnose and foundation repairs many times should be left to the professionals.

Check off which symptoms you have below. Some obvious foundation movement indicators are:

1. Are there cracks in your foundation?

2. Do you have bulging concrete walls?

3. Do you suspect any type of foundation movement?

Any or all of those above can be cause for alarm!

4. Do you have any floor and wall cracks?

5. Do you notice any doors that bind and do not open or close correctly?

6. Do you have any floors that are not level? Do your windows bind or do not open or close correctly?

7. Is there any water intrusion in your home?

8. Do you have any mold growth?

9. Are there cracks in your exterior brick?

10. Do you have any cracks in your beams and joists?

11. Are there any separations of wood either on the interior or exterior of your home?

If you feel you need residential foundation repairs, – you MUST act quickly! Things could be so much worse if you wait. It is not worth risking your life as well as the lives of your family members. This type of problem is not for the "Do It Yourselfers" either. You are going to want a reputable experienced company. Many times a husband or a relative mean well and think they can go ahead and try to resolve it on their own. Say NO!

How to Build an Electric Generator to Power the House?

Would you like to learn how to build an electric generator to power the house? Using a renewable household electricity generating system has many benefits, both environmentally and economically. By producing electric at home with renewable sources, there will not be emissions of harmful gases. Also, such a generator has been able to help me save a lot of money that I would have had to pay for the electricity.

1. How Much Will It Cost To Build The Whole Electric Generator System And How To Built It?

The 2 most feasible solutions are wind turbines or solar power generators, and you can choose to build either one or even both if conditions allow you to use them. The guide that I use contains a whole list of all the parts required to build both the solar and wind powered system.

The wind turbines will require you to get PVC pipe for building the blades. If you are thinking of building bigger turbines, you will probably have to build wooden blades instead to reduce the possibility of them breaking. For the body of the turbine, you will need to have a 40 foot TV tower. All the parts can be easily acquired for a small cost or even free if you look for them at the right places.

2. Why Build Your Own Homemade Electric Generator Instead of Buying A Ready Made One?

Making the whole homemade electric generator system by myself has costed only about $ 180 for both the wind and solar powered ones. This system will have to be bought for at least $ 4,000 if they are in ready-made condition. Of course, building your own system will some time and you may also take some time to understand the guide first, so it is up to you to weigh the costs and benefits.

Thousands of people have already eliminated their own home electricity bills with the free energy system. They learned how to build it by downloading a step-by-step guide online. You can find out more about how to build this home power system at the website link below.

How Long Does Teak Furniture Last?

If you have done any research on teak you have probably come across a common word, "strong." Not only is teak strong but it has many properties that naturally repel aging and natural damage and weathering of other furniture pieces made of different woods. Lets go over some of the unique properties teak wood has that makes it so superior to other furniture woods.

Natural Oils. Teak produces natural oils and special resins that repel pests such as termites and other wood damaging insects. This in turn keeps the wood solid and improves it's strength quality and extends the life of the wood. Because of these resins it is unnecessary to put a protective chemical finish on the wood like you do with most other wood furniture.

Teak is easy to alter. Many people like to alter the color of woods. Teak wood is excellent to stain as it is easy to contract staining color and keep the color for a very long time without fading. Although teak wood has a very beautiful golden look, you can rest assured that if you want your teak a little more red or darker brown that you can achieve this project with ease.

Teak is ageless. Did you know that teak furniture can last up to and over 100 years? Teak holds up very well to natural weathering and its resins and oils also prevents rotting. The really nice thing about teak is that it does not split or warp like other woods do. Because of this one property, teak was the main building material of ships in the past and is continued being used in modern boats and yachts.

Teak is easy to clean. Patio furniture always looks to be the most aborted furniture pieces of a home. When you have yard parties people spill drinks and food all over your patio furniture. Unlike cloth pieces that never let go of stains, teak is easy to clean. When a teak piece of furniture needs cleaning one can clean it with these everyday house supplies; hose, mild soap, and a gentle scrub brush. Just combine the water and soap and use the brush to lightly scrub off the mess. Simple use the garden hose and spray off the chair and your all done!

To conclude a teak chair can survive years upon years of frequent use without any special care. This alone makes teak wood furniture one of the most thoughtful after types of furniture in the world!

Rain-X Vs Bosch Wiper Blades

Talking about windshield wipers and comparing them may seem boring, that is, until that unexpected winter storm comes along while driving alone on a curvy highway. Sometimes we get so caught up with the major things going on with our cars that we forget about the little things.

Rain-X and Bosch are the number one and number two windshield wipers sold on the market. Although they both may look the same, the two companies manufacture distinct products that may interest consumers.

Traditional Wiper Blades

A traditional blade has plastic or metal brackets connecting the rubber part of the blade to the vehicle's wiper arm. The problem is that snow and ice usually build up on these parts, reducing the blade's wiping efficiency. Older cars use these traditional wipers and both Bosh and Rain X still produce them.

Bracketless Blades

Both companies manufacture bracketless wiper blades (beam blades). Bracketless blades have no joints or hinges, which prevents snow and ice from collecting on the blade. They are sleek in style. Bosch and Rain X design their bracketless blades to resist heavy rain, snow and ice through a beading process, which improves the driver's visibility during heavy storms. There is also a wind spoiler on both Bosch's and Rain X's bracketless products that help blades cling to windshields better and reduce wiper noises.

Okay, now let's compare Bosch and Rain X!

Rain X Latitude and Repel Blades (Bracketless)

Rain X markets their next-generation Latitude and Repel bracketless wiper blades by claiming they are easy to install, they give drivers a high-performance wipe and their frame is ice resistant. Latitudes and Repels are graphite-coated wipers with a uniform pressure design. These blades fit all vehicles and are now number one in the wiper blade market. Rain X places a wind spoiler on them to reduce wiper noise.

There is only one difference between Latitude and Repel blades. Repel blades come with Rain X's patented water beading technology, which is a chemical treatment that is placed on the windshield during installation and activates when using the wiper in wet weather.

Rain X Bracket Blades

Rain X adds galvanized steel to their Weatherbeater bracket wiper blades from to prevent rusting. The experts at Rain X claim that the Weatherbeater is "Consumer Rated best in wet weather driving visibility."

Bosch Evolution (Bracketless)

Bosch has made wiper blades for over 75 years. Their top of the line wiper blade, Evolution, is a bracketless blade made with a special blend of steel and graphite. Bosch puts two steel tension springs on the Evolution used for hugging a vehicle's windshield. This wiper has a multi-functioning aerodynamic wind spoiler that blocks snow and ice for reaching the wiper's tensions springs and uses outside air to push the blade closer to the windshield.

Bosch DirectConnect Wiper Blades

This precision cut blade uses natural rubber, and it has an aerodynamic steel frame that Bosch coats with zinc primer to resist rusting. Consumers install the blade using Bosch's trademark DirectConnect feature that gives them a one-step process when replacing the blades on their vehicles.

Bosch MicroEdge Wiper Blades

MicroEdge has all the features of the DirectConnect and includes fully enclosed tension springs for better weather protection. The blade also incorporates Bosch's trademark Quiet-Glide technology, which reduces the blade's noise when in use.

Bosch Excel + Wiper Blades

This blade has all the features of the MicroEdge and includes a dual rubber compound on the blade for harder wiping. The wiper also lasts twice as long as Bosch's other bracket blades.

Bosch ICON Wiper Blades

This blade has all the features of the Excel + and includes a pre-installed weather shield connector that protects wiper arms from rusting.

Hardwood Floor Vs Laminate

The flooring is among the most essential features of your home making just any room fit for its purposes. Other than its utilitarian qualities, it is also among the most important interior design element that captures the preferred ambiance from which other décor and additional furnishings are based on. Thus, choosing the best flooring for your New York home is among the most major decisions homeowners have to make either for a new construction or floor replacement project. This article compares two of the most popular choices when it comes to flooring with insights ideal whether you are in Manhattan, Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens or Staten Island.

Especially in older homes of the rich, hardwood is a common material utilized for the luxurious warmth that it offers both in look and feel. With proper care, its unsurpassed beauty and exquisite appeal can be enjoyed from generation to generation. These past few decades, home building and remodeling materials have undergone a lot of revolution with the advances in technology. One hardwood alternative that has been gaining popularity is laminate. Once just an imitation of its more expensive counterparts, modern laminate products now boasts of enhanced durability.

To know whether hardwood floor or laminate is the best choice for you and your New York home, here are the major considerations in the selection and the pros and cons of both flooring types:

Look and Feel

When it comes to look, a lot of people may be fooled at first glance. Laminates are synthetic flooring that simulates other materials perfectly because of its photograph appliqué layer. But other than the look, hardwood floor possesses other such tracks that laminate lacks including its inherent warmth and more comfort when walking.

Cost and Installation

Cost is probably the area where you've found the greatest difference when it comes to comparing these floor types. Laminate flooring ranges from $ 7 per square foot to the more durable averaging $ 11. Manufactured in inter-lock design, installation is easier and the material can be laid over almost all kinds of sub-flooring. Hardwood on the other hand, would start around $ 11 and the price increases depending on the style, finish and the rarity of timber. Its installation is best done by a qualified contractor due to the advanced skills on carpentry and precision in cutting that the project requires.


When it comes to cleaning, both flooring will require regular sweeping and mopping. But hardwood will need more care in preserving its protective finish and appeal. Through time; stains, moisture and scratches will take their toll and make your floor look worn but sanding it down and refinishing will make it achieve its former glory again and again. Other than the low cost, laminate is popular for its resistance to scratch, stain and spills but once chipped, it can be irreparable.

Home Value

While hardwood could never beat laminate when it comes to cost, the boost to home value that you would enjoy is considerable. Hardwood is a favorite of both realtors and many homeowners for the good value that it adds to your home, making your investments payback in time. This makes up for a great choice when it comes to remodeling investments.

Discover the Various Patterns of Brick Patio Designs

If you are thinking about installing new flooring in your patio or backyard, brick is always a great choice. It is incredibly durable, never goes out of style, and looks great anytime of the year. There are a number of different patterns of brick patio designs that you can use, each of which will give your patio a beautiful and unique appearance.

Many people are unsure about what type of pattern design to use for their brick patio. With the variety of options available, it can be a little overwhelming choosing the ideal pattern design for your home. To help you make the right decision, here are some of the more popular patterns for brick patios that you can consider installing.

Running Bond Pattern

The running bond pattern is a simple, yet versatile brick design. With this pattern, you essentially have alternating rows of bricks in the same position. So, every other row will be in the same position. This gives a classic appearance that is commonly found in patios and pathways through the world.

Circular Pattern

While circular pattern brick designs are some of the most popular, they are also probably the most labor-intensive in terms of installation. Essentially, your bricks will be laid in a circular pattern extending out from a designated central point. Circular brick design add a certain level of class and sophistication to any outdoor space.

Basket Weave Pattern

The basket weave pattern consists of squares composed of two bricks, but pointing in alternating directions. So, in one square you will have two bricks running horizontally and in the neighborhood square they will be running vertically. This brick pattern is visually attractive, yet quite easy to install.

Herringbone Pattern

With the herringbone pattern, you will lay the bricks in diagonal rows of with alternating directions creating a zig-zag look. This creates a very formal, traditional look that has been used in streets and outdoor settings for centuries.

These are just four of the more popular brick patio patterns, but there are quite a few more. You can always create your own pattern or modify an existing pattern to create the brick patio of your dreams. Once you have determined what kind of design you would like to go for, mock it out on paper or your computer first. The last thing you want to do is change your mind after you have already laid your bricks.

Plantar Fasciitis Syndrome – What Exactly Is Plantar Fasciitis?

All About Plantar Fasciitis

A plantar fasciitis problem is a state that affects the foot's surface and is mostly seen among overweight people, runners, and people having high arches or flat feet or may be those who rest on the feet for much longer hours while doing their job. This problem is an irritation of tough plantar fascia, which runs from the heel bones to the bottom of the toes.

It mainly results from developing a tear in the fibrous tissue bands (plantar fascia), which leads to inflammation and pain. It is characterized as excruciating pain in the heel specifically in the morning. Plantar fasciitis is caused by the stress that is placed on the ligaments of plantar fascia while it is irregularly stretched.

During the rest moments, plantar fascia usually tightens up creating the pain diminishing. Although, the time pressure is placed on fascia, plantar fasciitis stretches firmly and the pain is experienced again.

The major symptoms of the plantar fasciitis are feeling the severe pain in the heel's inner side. If a severe pain is being noticed by an individual in the foot on taking initial steps in morning then an individual is suffering from the problem of plantar fasciitis. Because of the feet's warming up through the day, the pain relieves and plantar fasciitis stretches gradually. Also, people suffering from this problem may find it difficult in climbing the stairs because of pain in the foot.

In most of the cases, the treatments of non-surgical can assist an individual to completely eliminate the problem. The nature and duration of whole treatment varies depending on the severity. Plantar fasciitis treatment should be immediately initiated the very moment the problem occurs. It assists in eradicating the problem of plantar fasciitis in a short span of time.

The initial stage of treatment includes loads of rest, after the routine activities of applying ice in the regions of pain, some moderate stretching and anti-inflammatory remedies in order to relief their heel from the pain. It is recommended to wear night splints, as this would maintain the tissues to get stretched gently through the night with the intention to relate the sufferer from pain.

To less the pain caused due to plantar fasciitis Orthotics, shoe inserts are the best options available. If the pain is very severe and the people experiencing this problem of plantar fasciitis are not responding to the treatments that are mentioned above then the doctors make use of cortisone injections in order to ease of the pain.

Another treatment to relieve from the foot pain is exercises, which are necessary to be done in the early morning as soon as the patient of plantar fasciitis wakes up. Some of the exercises include belt-stretch exercises that involve reverse arch stretching of foot by making use of wide belt located over the foot's ball.

Strengthening and stretching exercises make ligaments very flexible as well as strengnthens the muscles that support the arch and this in turn will reduce the amount of stress on ligaments. Stretching plantar fasciitis exercises are also suggested to the patients facing the problem of foot pain.

For more information, check out the internet's # 1 resource for plantar fasciitis treatment.

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.

Lock Bumping – A Sign of the Times?

Lock Bumping – Why is it Important to Us?

I grow up in a small town in the 1940s and I do not ever remember ever feeling a need to lock our doors. First of all, most of us were poor, so we did not have a lot of valuable laying around for the taking. But we live in a different world now.

We have had 4 burglaries in our neighborhood since July. Two of them were directly behind our house. So I had already been thinking of ways to keep our home safe. I ordered some door alarms that would deter someone from breaking in. We put in security lights. And I was feeling pretty good until I read the article about Lock Bumping.

I never cease to be amazed at all the different methods a thief will use to gain entry into your home. I thought I had heard everything. Do you even know what Lock Bumping is? Well, I sure did not, so I started doing some research to know exactly what it is and how it works.

Now if you are not familiar with it, you need to be. The fact is that most of our homes have 2 to 3 doors that have locks. That probably does not even include PVC doors, garage doors and storage shed doors that are secured only by cylinder locks.

What Exactly is Lock Bumping?

In a nutshell, using this technique, criminals use a particular-cut key which is inserted and knocked on, causing all the pin tumblers in the lock to split and the lock opens. As I understand it, it works best on cylinder locks. Most older homes are very vulnerable because cylinder locks are used. Unfortunately, that includes most of us. And here's the crazy part, there are many "how to" videos on YouTube. So anyone with a computer has access to Lock Bumping.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

So how does the average homeowner protect themselves? Here is some important information to have to make sure our homes are safe ..

  • The only real answer is to ensure that all your cylinder locks are of good quality -minimum of 5-6 pins and preferably some kind of sidebar mechanism, and are sold as bump proof. This way you will be covering yourself against not only lock bumpers but also those who have a little more skill and may try to pick the lock in other ways.
  • There is a product called Pickbuster. It is a solution which is squirted into your cylinder locks and makes them safe from lock bumping. It coats the pins inside the lock and prevents them bouncing when an attempt is made to bump the lock.
  • Check the locks to all the entrances to your house. Are they all cylinder locks? If so, consider changing them to either a cylinder lock or a lever door lock. A lever lock can not be bumped.
  • If you have to use a cylinder lock replacement, quality is really important. Most manufacturers offer 'bump proof' cylinder locks and this is an option that you should seriously consider.
  • Here's a scary thought. Most of us have sliding doors or patio doors. These are prime targets for being bumped because often times they are often mass produced and tend to have small poor quality locks. Stats show that over 50% of these kind of doors can be bump locked.
  • If you happen to live in an apartment, you probably already know that the locks have been master keyed, therefore they are easier to 'bump' open. The only real solution is to replace them with high quality 'bump proof' locks. Granted, it's an added expense, but which is more expensive, a new lock or a break in?
  • Here's a little known fact. Did you know that factory made doors of any kind tend to be fitted with the same kind of locks? Someone who business is to steal your personal belongings would know this and be looking for that particular kind of door.

Will the Insurance Company Pay if it's not Forced Entry?

The answer to that is yes, no and maybe. It depends on the insurance company you are dealing with. However there is a caveat we should be aware of. In order for an insurance company to issue a claim, there has to be evidence of forced entry. When a door is bump locked, it will not appear to have been tampered with. Even worse, a lot of times the thief leaves the door open when they leave. So then as a home owner you wonder, did I leave the door open? This would appear to be an accident to an insurance company.

Then you find yourself in the situation of not only having your personal property taken, but if the insurance company chooses not to issue a claim, you have no way to get reimbursements for your stolen items. Not a great scenario to be faced with.

What Can We Do?

If someone is determined to break into your house, they will try it. That's even more reason we need to get all the facts and make a decision on what we need to do to keep our home and property safe. Here are some things you can do:

  1. There are lots of Lock Bumping videos on YouTube and other internet videos. Take the opportunity to view some of these videos.
  2. There is also lots of useful information on the internet. Just Google Lock Bumping!
  3. Lock Smiths can help.
  4. Talk to someone in the police department.
  5. Talk to the folks at Home Depot or Lowe's and see what they have to offer to homeowners.

But whatever you do, be proactive and do something to make sure your home is as safe as it can be!

Safety is not expensive, it's Priceless!

Organic Gardening – Double Digging Your Garden Beds to Improve the Soil's Structure

There are great rewards to be had by double digging your garden beds. It is a very labor intensive method of improving the gardens soil structure. It involves the improvement of the first 2 feet of the gardens soil.

Double digging is hard work and is not for everyone. If you have health conditions that restrict you to heavy work or back problems I would recommend staying away from this method of gardening.

When double digging it is best to start out small and just work an area that you can handle. It is going to take time so do not try to take on to much because you will only get disgusted and most likely give up on finishing it. I do not want to make this sound like I do not want to make it sound like I am trying to talk you out if if this method to your garden because the benefits that you will get in return will be great. Just take your time.

Several days before you start this project you should mark out the area you want your garden and soak the area with water. Once you have fished that step wait a few days and remove any sod or weeds that are in that area and loosen the first foot of soil with a spade.

The next day you plan on working on your bed you can start by digging and removing a one to two foot wide area of ​​topsoil the width or the length of the garden area, depending on where you are starting. Take this topsoil and stockpile it at the opposite end of the garden from where you are starting. Depending on the size or distance you have to move it a garden cart or wheel barrow may be needed. This stockpile area is where you will end the garden. Pile it on the yard off the garden area on a garden cloth, boards or something that you can easily clean it up from at the end.

Once the topsoil is removed you will need to start loosing the subsoil layer of dirt below where the topsoil was. You can do this by taking a spade and sticking it deep into the soil, twisting or wiggling it until you breakup all the clumps of soil, do this the length or width of where you are working.

Next you will need to spread about a layer of organic matter over the loosened area of ​​subsoil. Once you finish that step it is time to start working the next 1 or 2 foot area that is next to the area you just finished. Simply take the topsoil off the new area and place it on top of the organic matter that you just put in. Continue these steps until you have reached the farthest end of your garden and replace the topsoil that you have stockpiled into the last trench.

Once all the topsoil is all back in place in your garden you need to spread a layer of compost or organic matter over the entire surface of the garden and work it into the top 4 to 6 inches of topsoil.

Now your garden is ready to plant. Remember, only work small areas of a garden that you plan on double digging at one time. The benefits will be great for both you and your plants.

How to Tenderize Steak and Beef

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

Extra Tips

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

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

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

Handprint Wreath Banner

In preparation for the upcoming Christmas season, many people choose to make crafts, not only as decorations, but also as gifts. Consider creating a handprint wreath banner with your children. This craft is as simple as it is economic. Use it in your personal holiday decorating, or give it as a gift to relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles, teachers, or other individuals close to your family.

Begin by gathering the materials you will need, which include cloth material, green and red craft paint, a small dowel rod, fabric glue, and any other decorative materials you'd like to incorporate, such as small jingle bells. The cloth material best suited for this craft is a solid pattern of light color, as printed patterns will make the wreath difficult to identify and dark colors will hinder the visibility of the finger paint. Solid, light-colored cloth napkins are great choice.

Allow children, or the entire family, to dip their hands into the green paint until the entire hand is covered. Consider using a paint brush to brush in areas that are not easily covered. Each person should place their paint-covered hand (s) flat onto the material, fingers extending outwardly. Each hand should be placed next one another in a circular fashion. If you have a rather large family, do not be afraid to allow the handprints to overlap one another, as this benefits the appearance of a wreath. Allow the paint to dry.

Next, allow each participant to cover their fingertips in red paint and add to the handprint wreath in a hit or miss pattern. This gives the appearance of holly or other seasonal berries. If you'd like, you can also use the red paint to hand paint or stencil a ribbon atop the wreath. (Or if it is more convenient, appealing, and economic, design your own using actual red ribbon, then use the fabric glue to secure it to the wreath after the paint has completely dried.) Again, allow the paint to dry.

If you have other decorations you'd like to apply, such as small ribbons or bells, use fabric or hot glue to put them in place and allow time for the glue to dry.

Use this drying time to cut, sand (if necessary), and paint or otherwise decorate the wood dowel . Solid white, red or green would represent the season well. Or paint the dowel with white and red stripes, reflective of a candy cane.

From front to back, even fold the material onto itself. To ensure that the material is even, use a straight edge and a pencil to lightly mark the material if necessary. Also, be certain to ensure that the pocket that remains is sufficient to accommodate the circumference of the hardwood dowel. Once this is achieved, apply fabric glue along the top seam of the material and fold it evenly along the back. Allow time for the fabric glue to dry. Then, insert the dowel.

Tie or glue Christmas ribbon or twine to the outer edges of the dowel to hang from a door, wall, or other selected area. Or wrap the completed craft and present it to a loved one for the holiday.

Advantages Of North Facing House Plans

North facing houses are ideal for all members of the family. Researchers have found that magnetic forces of the earth are usually generated from the North Pole; therefore, if your house faces north, your house will receive a lot of positive vibes through the entrance door that faces north.

There’s a belief that north represents water elements and since water resembles wealth, there’s a belief that if your house faces north you will enjoy more wealth and prosperity. According to the Hindu culture, Kuber (god of prosperity) resides in the north; therefore, if your house faces north you have high chances of prospering in life. There are also high chances that your business will prosper when your business premises face north.

Features Of North Facing Houses

These houses tend to have sun almost throughout the day which means that you don’t need to leave the lights on. This saves you a lot of money that you’d have spent on your energy bills.

When you are designing the house you should ensure that there are no obstructions that will prevent the house from receiving the right amount of sun. This means that you need to get rid of trees, land and anything else that might be distracting the house.

As rule of thumb you should ensure that the open area is left on the east and north sides of the house. You should build balconies in the northeast corner. To maintain the original size of the house you should avoid extending the corners of the house.

You should ensure that the main entrance faces the northeast corner. Experts believe that when the entrance faces this direction it symbolizes the flow of positive energy.

When it comes to the kitchen you should ensure that it’s located at the southeast corner of the house. If it’s impossible to build the kitchen here you should consider building it at the northeast direction.

If the house has a stair you should ensure that it’s located in the northeast or northwest corner. The garage, security room and the electricity meter board should be located on the northeast corner of the plot.


Whether you are building a residential or commercial house, it’s wise that you construct the house using the north facing design. For ideal results you should ensure that the architect that you choose to design the house has experience in designing north facing houses.