How To Heal Jock Itch Easily

Jock itch can be attributed to a lot of causes. A lot of athletes and men actually have this because of the activities that they do most of the time. Friction and fungus can be the main risk factors for a person to have this kind of infection. Fungi can grow well in damp and warm environment and cause a full blown infection. Obesity is also being associated with this infection. A lot of people have experienced it and a lot of treatments have been formulated also. You can now even heal jock itch while at home. It is important that you will be able to get rid of this discomfort as it will just distract your focus on your work. You need some tips on how to heal jock itch easily so you need to remember them always.

POWDER AND CORNSTARCH

As much as possible, you have to keep the affected areas in your groin, genitals and thigh dry all the time. Moisture will just aggravate the discomfort. One thing that you can do to keep it dry and heal it fast is to apply powder or cornstarch. You may sprinkle talcum powder to absorb moisture in your skin. It can also help in reducing the friction as it will make the skin much smoother.

OINTMENTS

There are a lot of ointments that you can purchase over the counter. Anti fungal creams are available in the nearest pharmacy. Look for those that contain miconazole or clotrimazole. These are known to be very effective in treating jock itch. Before you apply the ointments, you must read the instructions first to see the contraindications. Make sure that you will wash and dry up the affected areas first before you apply the ointment.

COLD APPLICATION

Apply cold compress on affected areas so that you will be able to find some relief. The itchiness that it will cause will surely become disturbing even if you want to sleep already. One thing that you can do is to place some ice cubes inside a clean cloth. This must be applied on the affected areas for no more than 20 minutes to avoid skin damage. Also, you have to make sure that you will not apply the ice cubes directly on the affected areas. Dry up the affected areas after applying cold compress.

CLEANSING AND RELAXATION

You have to make sure that you will clean your groin area regularly. Wash it with water and mild soap and dry it up immediately after. Also, you need to relax and avoid much physical activities as it will just aggravate jock itch. Relax to avoid providing moisture in the groin area which can be very favorable for this infection.

Jock itch is indeed very disturbing and dreadful. You have to do your best to heal and treat it the fast way. You need to get rid of it as soon as possible. To do it, you have to follow some tips. These will help you to do the best thing.

How to Install a Brick Paver Sidewalk

Installing brick pavers can produce a multitude of patterns and colors, all chosen by the DIY’er. There are just tons of brick paver sizes, shapes and colors available at home centers and masonry suppliers today. Make sure you take the time to visit several sellers before picking out the final products for your walkways. Installing a paver walkway is not very difficult but does require a good deal of manual labor. If the walkway is not directly adjacent to an area that the pallets can be placed when delivered, then the amount of labor increases as you have to move the pavers over a distance to the actual work area. This is the area of work where friends can be a great help.

Start your project by laying out the walkway itself. A garden hose is an excellent tool for layout if the new walkway will have curves. Layout the hose as close to the shape as you desire and then fine tune it until it is exactly correct. Using regular lawn lime and a paper cup, mark the hose location and that will be one side of the new walk. Wash the hose and make sure you wash the lime from your hands. It is great for lawns and eco-friendly. A handy tool you will use over and over is to cut a two by four, six inches longer than your walkway is wide. It can be used during layout to assure you have prepared a wide enough area for the pavers and then as a screed board to level the base sand under the pavers themselves. Now, remove the soil, gravel, earth, etc. from the walkway area plus at least three inches on each side. You want to excavate the walkway at least two inches deeper than the thickness of the paver stones. If you want the stones to be flush with the adjoining lawn or driveway, measure the stones thickness and add two inches and excavate to that depth.

Once the excavation is completed, you will place at least two inches of stone dust or concrete sand in the bottom of the excavation. Using your two by four screed board and a carpenters level, level the sand keeping it slightly higher than what you want the finished product. Once the sand is in place, a gasoline powered mechanical tamper must be used to thoroughly compact the sand. Keep in mind that the sand will settle when compacted and additional material may have to be added across the walk to attain the final finished compacted height. You want to be very fussy when doing this work. The final walkway surface will reflect whatever defects you have left behind in the way of dips or bumps in the sand. Make sure the compacted sand/dust is at least three inches wider on each side than the finished walkway width.

Using a string line to maintain the location of one side of the walk is always a good idea. If one side is straight the other side will follow. Start laying your paver stones in whatever pattern you chose. Straight line, lap bond, diagonal, herringbone or any pattern you can think of is fine. Work across the full width of the walk and if you have a helper using a wet saw, cutting and placing any smaller pieces will greatly speed the work. As you complete an area, install a plastic brick edge retainer strip along with the supplied ground nails or stakes. Holding the retainer as tight to the pavers as possible, drive the ground nails into the ground securing the retainer strip in place. This prevents any sideways movement of the pavers. Proceed with paver installation until all pavers are installed.

Using whatever material you used as a sub base for the walkway, cast this material across the top of all the pavers and using a good stiff broom, sweep the sand/dust back and forth and diagonally over the pavers forcing as much material down into the joints as they will accept. When using stone dust, many contractors will also soak the dust making it settle even more tightly into the joints. You must now run compactor back and forth over the entire walkway surface. The compactor will not only settle the sand/dust into the joints it also pushes the pavers down into the sub base locking them into place. Use some hearing protection during this phase as it will be very, very noisy.

Once the paver compaction work is complete, go ahead and replace whatever the surrounding area materials were. If it was lawn area, topsoil and seed the disturbed areas, burying the plastic retainer strip as you proceed. A brick paver walkway will last your lifetime and will become prettier with age.

Pete Ackerson

http://www.Wagsys.com

BICES-Building Inspection & Code Enforcement system software

Why Wood Floors Are Healthier Than Carpeting

Do you know why wooden floors are healthier than carpeting? Are there allergies, or asthma in your home? Do you have pets in your home? If you have answered yes or no to any of these questions, read on.

I recently had the experience to replace old worn out carpeting with wooden floors. I knew this was a much healthier alternative to carpeting, but until I saw the results with my own eyes, the reason finally sunk in.

When you have carpeting it gets dirty and dusty – covered with animal hair – wet from spilled drinks. All we can do with the carpeting is vacuum. Then periodically once a year or whenever you feel your carpeting is an eye sore, you can hire a professional to come in and steam clean it or do it yourself.

With wooden floors immediately I knew the difference. The floors do require more maintenance especially if you have pets, but the floors are completely clean.

They can be dry moped daily or whenever you have the time, and wet mopped once a week. In this way the dirt and dust disappears and the animal hair is under control.

When you remove your carpeting take a whiff of the odor which is reking from the padding. Look at all the dust and dirt which has collected underneath the carpeting after being on the floor for years.

If you have members of your family with asthma, allergies or upper respiratory problems wood floors which require no glue is the answer.

I will say when you have a wood floor – it is recommended for you to wear shoes at all times. It is better for your legs, feet and your whole body. Even with padding underneath the flooring – it is still hard. It is a small adjustment to make wearing shoes when you are not used to wearing shoes in your home.

Thank you for reading my article. Please feel free to read any of my numerous articles on many different subjects.

Copyright Linda E. Meckler 2007

How To Buy Replacement Wood Shed Doors For Your Back Yard Storage Shed

Generally speaking, shed doors are the first problem you'll have with your shed (other than Mother Nature). It makes sense as your shed doors are the only moving part of your shed and are opened and closed many times through their use.

If you purchased your shed from one of the big box stores, you will have shed door problems sooner than later because of the way their doors are built.

The sheds the big box home improvement stores sell are shipped by the manufacture on tractor trailers and all the parts and pieces of the shed must fit into a nice box so they are lighter and take up less room to cut down on shipping costs and make them easy to load and unload.

Quality wise, the item that suffers the most are the doors. They need them to be as light as possible and fit flat into the box; so many shortcomings are taken giving the shed buyer a weak set of doors that will fail sooner than later.

The shortcuts include; using weak trim pieces as the actual frame structure of the door, only using staples to fasten the door sheeting to the trim and not using a complete 2×2 "or 2×4" frame on the inside of the doors for strength.

As your shed ages and settlements into its footprint in the backyard, the shed floor becomes un-level resulting in hard to open doors. The shed owner must use more force to open and close the doors which loosens the staples and nails that hold the doors together. Note: the shed builder is trained to add screws to the factory built door for added strength but seldom is this actually done and if it is, they use too much force and spin the screws which result in no holding power at all.

As the staples and nails loosen, the seams and trim in the door start pulling farther apart making it even harder to open and close the doors. Even more force is needed and before you know it, the doors are falling apart.

Most big box sheds come with a warranty and you can get the doors replaced. Most warranty claims are not scheduled appropriatively and it will take many calls to get your new doors. The squeaky wheel will get the grease in this case so be diligent in your complaining.

The bad news; the replacement doors will be the exact replica of the existing doors and the same problems you're having will happen again. There is no warranty on the replacement doors so be prepared to spend around $ 500.00 for doors from the original manufacture.

The good news; you can buy replacement doors on the Internet that are better than the doors that came with the shed and are easy to get and install yourself.

The first step is to measure the vertical and horizontal door opening (also called rough opening) of your shed. Use your measuring tape and measure from the bottom of the header to the floor. This is your vertical measurement. The header is the piece of wood (usually a 2×4) that is above the door opening. It could be a 2×6 if you have a larger shed. Then measure your horizontal width from the stud (usually a 2×4, also called a jack stud) on one side of the opening to the stud on the other side. This is your horizontal measurement.

On cheaper sheds, the jack stud could be a 2×3 (which is okay) or the door opening may not have 2×4 studs on both sides. If this is the case, you can easily add a stud (s). Measure the length needed cut to fit and toenail the new stud in.

Once you have your measurements, you can shop online and find the best deal. As of this writing, there are only 2 companies that build and ship wooden replacement shed doors. Both companies are reputable, make a superior shed door to the one you'll replace and both ship UPS. All you have to do is find the best deal.

5 Tips To Consider When Designing Your Signboard

Contrary to what you have been thinking, you do not need to be a creative genius for you to design a signboard that effectively passes the message or feeling. All you need to do is to observe a number of tips and you will effectively pass your message. To help you out here are the tips that you should consider:

Get the people's attention

The main reason you are designing the signboard is because you want to pass a message and there is no way that you will pass the message if you do not get the attention of the people that you are targeting. You should avoid using a regular design that nobody will remember. You should consider the size of sign board and its location. As rule of thumb, the board should be of the right size for everyone to remember it. It also should be strategically located to get the people's attention.

Pay attention to the lifetime of the board

Different boards are used for a given time. The duration should inform you on the right material that you should use in designing it. If you are going to use it for only a short period of time you should use aluminum or any other material that has the ability to last for a long time but if you are using it for only a short time you should use a paper or any other light material.

Less is always more

We are living in a world with plenty of information and your message will be lost if you do not get the people's attention at the right time. You should be cautious of the text and images that you use. As rule of thumb, you should use only the essential information that you want the people to know about. Including plenty of information gives the sign board a crowded look that difficult to read. In addition to being cautious of the amount of text that you use you should also leave a lot of space around the edges of the design elements.

Play around with color

According to research studies, the color that you use has a great impact on the success of the message that you want to convey. For a more finished look, you should go for a single color scheme such as using yellow text on a black background. Experts report that bright colors tend to draw the people's attention to the signboard but you should be cautious of how you use them. When you are looking to emphasize the main message, you should use a color photograph.

Make use of contrasting typefaces

When you create contrast you easily get the people's attention so easily pass the message. You should combine two contrasting typefaces such as italic and roman or bold and thin lines.

Conclusion

You have to create a high-quality sign board for you to pass your message. If you do not have the design skills you can always hire a professional to help you out with the design.

Do Cross Skull Tattoos Symbolize Fear, Danger, and Death?

The real meaning of cross skull tattoos have been misunderstood for a long time. Depending on how these tattoos are used, they have a wide variety of symbolic meanings. Skull designs are a universal symbol and can mean anything from a religious, political, or simply just an artistic expression.

If you want to stand out then a skull tattoo is a design you should go for because it represents a certain degree of individuality. A skull tattoo which is highly decorated with an original blend of color are popular among women. These colorful tattoos are meant to honor someone who died and represent a celebration of that person’s life. This is one of the few instances that a skull tattoo is seen as a positive image.

Frequently skull tattoos are seen as dark and threatening tattoo images. To many people these images represent fear, death, and danger, but rarely do these people know the true meaning behind these tattoos. These tattoos were not originally designed to represent these negative things. Instead they were originally used to represent a symbol of change. Traditionally the skull tattoo was related to a great change but over time these tattoos were eventually used to express person’s dark side.

Either way, skull tattoos have become increasingly popular and none more popular than the cross skull tattoo design. These tattoos are also known as crossbones tattoos. These are one of the best known skull designs and its image usually has a black flag as the background. These tattoos can be modified to adapt many different characteristics. Other cross skull tattoos include the flaming skull or the skull with crossbones and a pirate’s flag.

Solitaire Engagement Rings Vs Three-Stone and Pave Set Diamonds

This tutorial intends to review the different appearances of engagement rings that are currently in vogue. Loose diamonds can be found in many different cuts, and the most eye-catching settings often use multiple diamonds of different shapes, complementing each other to create a beautiful appearance. When selecting an engagement ring, it's critical to bear in mind the variety of setting types available, and be sure to review the different styles before making a decision.

First, as you are probably aware, diamond settings can often be produced in your choice of material. Even though platinum and white gold rings look the same, they have radically different properties. Platinum is much less commonly found than gold, but it is also composed of purer elements than even 18-carat gold (95% pure compared to just 75% pure.) All gold material is actually yellow; the difference with "white gold" is just that it's covered in a layer of rhodium that changes the exterior color. When the rhodium breaks down after the wear and tear of a few years, it will "yellow" with age, and will have to be re-plated with rhodium to maintain its original color-less appearance. Platinum does not demand this kind of maintenance, because it is a purely white metal, albeit slightly softer than gold.

Solitaire engagement rings are well-known for their classic appearance, and represent a visually simple style that draws the viewer's primary attention to the center stone. It is a great choice if you have the budget for a high-carat diamond with excellent clarity and color. Even though they appear similar at first glance, Solitaires still have unique hits. Most commonly, the center stone will be held in place by prongs, but more stylized options, like the tulip setting, also exist.

On the other end of the spectrum, other settings readily on more than just a single center stone to show off their style. Three stone engagement rings have a great history behind them, and display a more vintage appearance. Most of these, these diamonds are all the same shape and cut. One attribute of these types of engagement rings is that they can present a more, antique, or vintage, appearance. Multi-stone engagement rings have remained popular for a long time, and represent a very classic style.

For a more modern look, consider the intricate setting of very small diamonds (usually round cut) in the ring's band, along the face or sides in a manner that emphasizes the center stone. These pave set engagement rings frequently show off bands that are twisted, separate strands to create flowing contours. Groups of pave set sidestones appear to create a brilliant diamond surface, and some rings include over 100 individual stones carefully set in incredible patterns for a stunning visual effect. Micro Pave set diamonds achieve basically the same effect, just in an even more intricate fashion. If you are thinking about a pave engagement ring, it's important to remember that since these sidestones are small and fairly transparent, they will take on the color of the ring they are placed in. Due to this, white gold does a better job of preventing the pave diamonds from being seen as discolored or inordinarily yellow.

How To Maintain Steel Doors And Roller Shutters

Roller doors and shutters provide a robust and secure barrier against intruders and destructive weather elements. They're made according to specifications, including great fit, smooth operation, and utmost security. More importantly, their low maintenance factor makes them an economic choice. Neverheless, these shutters and doors require regular checks to ensure they're in good working condition.

Checking for balance should be done each month by a skilled technician, preferably someone licensed and insured. The doors should be balanced, being smooth to roll up and down the roller tracks and able to stay stationary at any point along the tracks. Otherwise, the steel doors are out of balance and need to be adjusted.

Jammed and stiff doors should not be forcibly raised or lowered. Check individual parts such as springs and rollers for damage and have them repaired immediately. At times, all that is needed is some cleaning and removal of accumulated debris and dirt.

All moving components, save for roller tracks, should be lubricated each month. Lubricant facilitates smooth, safe and sufficient operation, but when placed in the tracks, it joins more grime and dirt that disruptions operation. Lubricant likewise increases the life of the moving parts, and the entire security shutter device. Among the important parts that need lubrication are bearings, hinges, rollers, and springs.

To prolong the life of the roller tracks and to encourage smooth and quite operation, occasionally apply silicon spray. The spray gives the tracks a slippery finish, enabling the doors slide properly. If you want to lubricate the tracks, use petroleum lubricant, but brush away dirt and grime before application and wipe away excess lubricant after.

Automatic doors and shutters should be set in manual mode annually or semi-annually. Manual operation should then be predetermined and done according to manufacturer instructions to prevent damage. The support brackets should be checked if they need servicing. If so, it's always advisable to contact a qualified technician right away.

Springs should be re-tensioned periodically, and each time the roller shutter gets abnormally heavy or difficult to lift or roll. Avoid operating doors with damaged tension springs because this causes damage to the motor and the opener.

Steel cables on the sides of the doors should be checked as well if they are in ideal shape and position or not. Replace protruding and broken cables right away to avoid accidents and worse damage to your doors.

All bolts and fixings should be tight in place. Loose ones can easily snap out of their holes and make the doors unstable and dangerous to operate. When there are loose bolts, do not operate the doors automatically rather, operate in manual mode in order to control the speed at which the roller doors are moving up or down.

A Security Guard’s Work Environment: What Should You Expect?

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks numerous types of data about various occupations; this includes information on work environments. For many jobs, the work environment is relatively consistent; security officers, however, have to face a wide variety of settings and be able to adjust and function in each of those.

In fact, security guards have one of the most diverse job environments of any industry. While a teacher generally practices her craft in the classroom, a logger works in forests and a surgeon rules the operating theater, just about any building or location could need a guard. Schools, malls, casinos, hospitals, nuclear power stations, courthouses and airports all need varying levels of protection.

In its official category of “Security guard and gaming surveillance officer,” the BLS counts both private security officers and ones that work for the government; however, the agency makes a distinction between them and police. The main difference between the two is that police are always government employees and have the power of arrest, as well as a much more stringent training requirements.

The BLS identifies several industries that employ the greatest number of security personnel. In 2012-13, over half worked in “investigation and security services,” while government employed 9 percent, 6 percent worked in education facilities, both public and private; 5 percent were in accommodation and food services, and 4 percent protected hospitals.

Transportation security screeners and other security personnel provide services in transportation facilities such as airports, train stations and sea terminals; they work for the federal government.

Gaming surveillance officers work at casinos and other gambling institutions; for that reason, this is an occupation that only exists in jurisdictions where gambling is legal. While many in gaming security work in observation rooms and maintain surveillance with cameras, others patrol the floor in order to quickly respond to incidents. Gaming security officers are, as a rule, more highly paid than generic security guards, with an average wage premium of $7000 per year; however, they also face a higher than average rate of injury.

The work isn’t generally challenging physically, with long periods of little activity. Security officers either man a station for the duration of a shift or make rounds inspecting a facility. Both situations require most officers to be on their feet for long stretches of time, which is something to be taken into account if you have lower back pain or other health issues that could be exacerbated by standing or walking.

However, in case of theft, burglary, altercations or other incidents, a guard will be required to confront a potentially volatile or violent situation, in which case they should have both the personal skills to defuse a situation peacefully if possible, and the physical fitness to deal with a threatening individual if the former doesn’t work. This is why states require security officers to undergo training and certification, although it varies – while Florida, for example, mandates 40 hours’ training, a Connecticut security guard license only requires an 8-hour course.

In conclusion, it’s generally difficult to predict in advance the nature and comfort level of a security guard’s workplace. The higher an officer’s skill and training level, the more likely they will be to get a comfortable and well-paid assignment, so if you’re considering going into this industry, make sure to prepare thoroughly and train the skills you will need to ensure safety for yourself and others.

What's Hot in Direct Vent Fireplaces?

Are you looking for a direct vent fireplace?

Then you've likely spent some time searching on the web to see what's offered in the current marketplace. And like most you're head is spinning as there are literally hundreds of choices and styles being offered from a multitude of fireplace manufacturers. These manufacturers know that to stay competitive they must give people what they want. So what's hot in direct vent fireplaces?

One thing's for certain, the traditional log fireplaces are beginning to take a back seat to some of the newer trendy fireplaces now available. One of the most popular new trends is a low-profile contemporary gas fireplace without a traditional log set. More and more, homeowners are opting for a more metropolitan feel, rather than a traditional campfire log set design.

In contrast, a contemporary fireplace usually consist of a clean black or stainless steel face frame with no louvers to detract from the viewing window. Next, a flat pan burner (vs. a traditional dual tube burner on a cast iron grate) is used. This allows flames to shoot up uninhibited through a strategic pattern of holes for a beautiful elongated ribbon flame effect. Optional rocks or glass beads can be set in place to surround the burner holes, without blocking the flames. The result is a very clean, attractive look that works well in less-traditional and contemporary interior spaces.

A good example of the above-described fireplace is either the L series or custom C-View series fireplaces made by Montigo Fireplace Products of Ferndale, WA. These low profile fireplaces offer a contemporary and distinctly metropolitan feel that appeal to designers and homeowners alike. Other manufacturers offer similar contemporary designs.

While popular in all parts of North America, a major percentage of contemporary fireplaces are sold in heavy-populated and trend-setting cities such as New York, San Franciso and Chicago. Most are installed in new higher end homes and condominiums, as well as hotel lobbies, resorts, clubhouses, and galleries.

Traditional looking fireplaces will continue to be popular in the coming years, especially in less-densely populated and rural areas, and the choices are almost limitless.

Contemporary fireplace options have been more limited, but that is changing rapidly as more manufacturers are adapting to the demands of more discriminating customers.

Let's shift gears a little bit.

On the more practical side of the fireplace discussion is energy efficiency. Using your direct vent fireplace as a primary heating source is a great way to reduce your overall heating expense during the winter hours. By shutting off your central furnace and using only your direct vent fireplace as a zone or room heater you can actually cut your fuel consumption by 50% or more.

How's that possible?

By not heating unused or underutilized space in the home, and instead heating only the dwelling space where you spend the most time, you can eliminate a whole lot of thermal energy waste. In other words, most of the forced air heat pushing through ducts and heat registers into unoccupied spaces wastes heat energy. Instead, why not just heat the space you're in? That's called zone heating, and is a practical, common sense approach to saving a boat load of fuel dollars during the winter months.

You may be interested to know that a direct vent fireplace can be controlled with a thermostat. As the room calls for heat, the fireplace kicks on, just like your furnace. When satisfied, the fireplace turns off.

Now your fireplace serves two functions. It gives you the beautiful ambience only the glow of dancing flames can offer and, when used more tactically, can be a huge energy saver during the cold winter months.

Why the Africans Live in Huts

Whenever one sees a picture of a hut, one thinks of Africa. Indeed, huts have been the defining architectural hallmark of Africa, and throughout the continent, they have been the preferred building style.

Huts are a form of living space. Huts are usually round, with a peaked roof. They are usually made of mud or clay, with a wooden structure to support the building, and a single wooden pole in the centre, which supports the grass-thatched roof.

Many critics of Africa claim that Africa can boast no great cultures south of Egypt. By that, they often mean that there is no architectural evidence of greatness south of the Pyramids. Indeed, architecture or architectural remains are the accepted calling card of the so-called ‘great cultures’.

While most of Africa can boast no such fossil evidence, there is reason to believe that the architectural choices made by the Africans thus far are neither as accidental nor as simplistic as they may seem.

For one, most of Africa is warm to hot throughout the year, without an extended winter period. The most uncomfortable climatic period is the long rains, during which it rains a lot, mostly every day. However, in most of Africa, it showers, rather than rains. That means a quick and voluminous period of precipitation, unlike rain in Europe for example, which may be a slight but continuous precipitation. In addition, most of Africa, which lies at the equator, experiences almost equal twelve-hour periods each for night and day. This is in contrast to for example Europe, where in winter, darkness may be up eighteen hours long.

As such, most of life in Africa is lived outside. A shelter is needed only for the night, against the cold and as shelter from wild animals. There has never been a need to invest as heavily in shelter as has been done in Europe for example. Strictly speaking, there was rarely a situation in Africa where lack of shelter would have been life-threatening. In many African cultures, nomads, hunters, warriors and messengers were often away from home for long periods without having shelter.

Huts are often small, and made of the readily available mud or river clay, plastered over a skeleton of branches. They were completely inexpensive in both materials and labour. In many cultures, the women did the plastering, while the men did the thatching of the roof. Among the Maasai of East Africa, the woman builds the whole structure, which is referred to as a manyatta.

Because of this relaxed philosophy to shelter, the Africans were not enslaved by the acquisition of shelter as is often the case in the modern world. In today’s globalised world, buying one’s home is a lifetime liability that forces one to live chained to a mortgage, under the Damocles sword of a foreclosure. The exploitation of this fear in the U.S.A. contributed to the current worldwide financial crisis.

It is also worthy of note that almost all the famous architectural monuments of the great cultures were built by employing slave labour, forced and semi-forced labour. That has never been necessary in Africa south of the pyramids. In fact, shelter was so inexpensive that the nomads could walk away from their huts at a moment’s notice and walk off into the savannah – the epitome of freedom.

It also meant that no family was ever without shelter because shelter was unaffordable, unlike in today’s world where many families become homeless if they experience a financial upset midway through their mortgage.

In many parts of Africa, the huts were renovated and renewed once a year, after the harvest season and before the next rains. This was the period with the least work and was like a holiday. The harvest was in, and next agricultural season had not yet begun. The women renovated the walls of the huts by plastering with a new layer of mud or clay. White or ochre-coloured river clay was used as a cosmetic finish inside and outside the hut, as well as on the floor. Communities that had no access to river clay used a mixture of cow-dung and mud, or ash.

A good African housewife took this duty as seriously as caring for her own body. A capable wife could be identified by her impeccably-kept hut(s). The regular renovation also served an important hygienic function: river clay is a very clean and wholesome material that discourages the breeding of insects and other pests. Both clay and dried cow dung are similar to ash in this respect. Cooking-fire ash from non-poisonous burnt wood is pure enough to be used as an alternative for toothpaste.

Renovation also gave the woman a creative outlet: she could paint whatever motifs on her walls that she wished. The men re-thatched the hut(s), using grass, such as elephant grass which was mostly cut by the women. Among the Masaai, the women did the renovation work as the men were often occupied with the full-time job of protecting the tribe from lions and other dangers lurking in the savannah.

A very satisfying effect of this yearly renewal was the psychological effect. There was an atmosphere of renewal every year; of new life, of a fresh start, of soul cleansing and a doing away with the past. Every year. This is a very healthy psychological perspective. Festivals featuring dancing and feasting also accompanied this period.

In today’s world, acquiring a home has such a finality to it. A sense of being rooted and captured by one building for one’s lifetime.

Because they were low-cost, huts were also very flexible. One could build a homestead of huts: one for cooking, another for sleeping, another for receiving visitors, and so on. Every time one needed a new hut, one simply built one. Adolescent boys were given a piece of land where they could build their own huts, a distance away from the rest of the family. Their privacy was assured, and their activities within their huts were nobody’s concern. A lot of adolescents today would appreciate the idea of having one’s own hut.

Huts are very comfortable and exactly right for many parts of Africa. This is mainly because of the building materials used. Both clay and grass are good insulators, but are porous, and so allow a free flow of air. It is often very hot during the afternoons in Africa. The hut remains cool and is a welcome resting place. At night, when temperatures fall, the hut retains its daytime temperature, keeping the inhabitants warm.

Huts are also very low-maintenance. A well-renovated hut only needs to be swept once a day with a straw broom. There was no need to wipe, polish or dust. Accidents with liquids were undramatic because the liquid was simply absorbed into the earth. The only real danger was fire, since the thatched roofs could burn very quickly, trapping the people inside.

Recently, an architectural team in Switzerland has ‘discovered’ the virtues of clay as a building material. Clay is a strong, durable material that is easy to work with. Applied correctly, it can be used to build structures that are stable, durable and aesthetic without necessitating the use of paint and cement. Most important of all, clay is healthy. It has now been proven that clay filters out toxins from the environment. Modern building materials like cements, paint, fillers and metals release toxins that compromise human health and well-being. A building made of clay or mud is completely eco-friendly, provided the initial source was safe.

The Africans knew that a long time ago. Huts, made of natural ‘earth’ materials, fitted in with their basic philosophy of drawing on nature for all their needs, and only in the amounts that were needed. For example, calabashes and gourds were used as containers for milk, water, local beer, porridge, honey or any other liquid. Cooking pots were made of clay, as were water pots. Cooking sticks were made of wood.

Water stored in a clay pot has a pleasant, natural coolness, and smells of earth. Drunk out of a calabash, it has an additional woody flavour. Food cooked in a clay pot over a wood fire retains an inimitable earthy aroma, especially fresh beans or meat dishes.

Sleeping mats or sitting mats were woven out of rushes or made of animal skin, as was clothing. Some people constructed a raised clay platform covered with animal skins or rush mats to act as a seat or a bed. Stools were made of wood or woven from rushes. Women wore jewelry made from bone, horn, wood, stone, clay, beads or woven rushes. Foodstuffs were carried or stored in woven rush baskets or clay pots.

This philosophy of living in harmony with the bounty of nature led to zero garbage, since everything was biodegradable. Indeed, until the advent of modernity and urbanisation, Africa was a continent of natural beauty preserved in its entirety.

Sadly, present-day Africans are jumping wholesale onto the bandwagon of expensive homes built of derived materials, which require a lifetime to pay for and a fortune to repair and maintain. The materials used in modern buildings trap heat, smells and moisture and are often derived using procedures that harm the environment. The houses lack the wellness effect of sitting in a hut built entirely out of the earth. They are in keeping with the modern day trends of inflated consumerism, self-definition through possession and a careless disregard for the planet.

Happily, some are rediscovering the enchantment of huts. They have been re-designed in some cases to be much larger, with large windows, or combined in intersecting or interconnecting structures. A famous hotel in Nairobi, Kenya is built using this concept, with treated straw used for thatching.

Indeed, more and more people are re-discovering why Africans lived in huts.

Compound Exercises Without Weights – Let Me Show You How to Succeed Without a Gym

COMPOUND EXERCISES WITHOUT WEIGHTS – IT CAN WORK FOR YOU

Do you want to use a proven method that's guaranteed to add quality muscle mass to your frame while bulking you up safely, without the strength imbalances that can sabotage carelessly-constructed strength training programs?

Of course you do. You want to use compound exercises.

If you eat enough food to gain weight while using compound movements, you will build muscle and create a spectacular, powerful body that's operating at peak efficiency.

COMPOUND EXERCISES WITHOUT WEIGHTS – NO GYM REQUIRED

No well-equipped gym? No problem.

Every good strength training program uses three main types of exercises: push , pull , and squat . You can easily get the benefits of these proven exercise variations without any equipment.

Push exercises are those in which you push away from your body. Movements like push-ups (press-ups), overhead presses, and dips are all pushing movements.

Pulling exercises are those which force you to pull toward your body. Pull-ups, rowing moves, and their variations are all pulling movements.

Squats comprise many movements which all have as their unifying concept the act of straightening a bent leg against resistance. The normal 2-legged squat is the most obvious example, but lunges and step-ups also fit into the squat category.

So, if you pick two exercises from each group – squat, pull , and push , you can get a full-body compound workout that strengthens your body as a unit.

COMPOUND EXERCISES WITHOUT WEIGHTS – SAMPLE FULL-BODY WORKOUT

You always want to start with squats, since they require the most energy. Then alternate a push movement and a pull movement. After completing each category of movement, repeat the squat, push, pull group again, using a different, easier set of exercises.

1 Lunges
2 Chin-ups
3 Divebomber Push-Ups
4 Squats
5 Jumping Pull-Ups
6 Regular Push-Ups

There you have it! A full-body compound workout without any weights required. Some of you are probably shouting " Wait! What about arms? " That's the beauty of compound movements: you can work your "small" body parts while also hitting the more massive parts like chest and back. Without you work your body as a single unit, you will never develop the sort of size that's possible with a full-body compound workout.

Of course, if you add a set of dumbbells, you can add many more movements to your full-body workout. You'll find it easier to perform overhead presses and rows, but it is not necessary for beginners or anyone who wants to keep in shape to use weights. Bodyweight exercises are great, especially compared to doing nothing!

Curtains – Choosing the Right Color Scheme

Curtains, Blinds & Other Soft Furnishings

Help Choosing the Right Curtains for Your Property

When you see other people's homes and think that their choices of curtains and blinds look good it's important that you take into consideration the style of their room, compared to your own.

Design Fashion Magazines should be used as a guide for inspiration for your curtains and blinds and not to imitate, as often if we imitate we only take one element from the magazine image and this single imitation alone will result in disappointing results as the rest of your room, your natural light and your existing furniture will have been overlooked.

Its common to see fabrics for curtains, blinds and other soft furnishings and choose them because they are what we want and love – then the entire décor of the room has to be changed so that we can use it.

It is important to look at the space that we have to work with and consider the following factors:

• The age of the house
• The style of the decoration in the surrounding rooms, does this room flow into others, will the curtains be seen from other spaces?
• Who will be using the space? If children are around white fabrics for your curtains will probably not be advisable
• What type of furniture and upholstery, bedding, flooring etc.

It is easy to see why we often lack the confidence to make a decision

A Recent Question from One of My Clients, Prior To My Visit

Here is a recent question asked by a client before we met at her home, she wanted to have a vision before we arrived to ensure that her selection of fabric was easy once I had shown her our samples.

This is what she said

We have a single color, textured wool carpet throughout the whole house, which is a kind of taupe color. mahogany .We have various white ceramic lamps with taupe lampshades.

We need curtains for the living room and this space can be viewed from most other areas except the bedrooms and bathrooms. What fabrics do we select and what style of curtain? "

This is the advice I have given her to our meeting

I immediately think of texture, one color, no pattern, even though we could get away with using a pattern it would turn the curtains into the main focal point and that is not required; we are looking for a harmonious color and textured curtain to blend into the rest of the décor.

My choice would be to:
• Black wrought iron rods with simple ball ends
• Two-Tone, tab top curtains. Taupe for the tabs and heading and the rest of the fabric white linen, lined to add depth and weight.
• No holds or tie backs as the room is plain and symmetrical therefore to allow the curtains to fall naturally would continue the geometrics of the room.

Using the two tone effects, the tabs and heading in taupe and the white heavy linen for the main body of the curtains, we are bringing in the existing colors of the room together in a natural way and are not detracting from the overall look.

When selecting colors remember this golden rule

A safe way to select a fabric for your curtains, if you have a single colored room, is to take a tone either side of that color. You can not go wrong. Then you can add more excitation into the room with cushions, throws, rugs etc.

Also remember that the darker the color of the fabric the more sunlight it joins, speeding up the fading process.

Patterns can be fun with curtains!

So do not be afraid of selecting a pattern for your curtains

A child's room can tolerate pattern more than an adults room, adults often use a space to unwind so this needs to be taken into consideration when selecting a pattern, too much swirl, color and busyness in an adults bedroom can often detract you from unwinding.

So when you look at pattern take notice of how you feel. If you feel calm and relaxed for example, then this would be a good fabric for your bedroom curtains, if you feel uplifted and energized then this would be good in a work space.

A general rule for pattern is to not let it overwhelm the space. Your curtains can be a focal point of a room but ensure that there is a balance.

With all this said, selecting fabrics may seem a little overwhelming so that's why we are here …..

Top 5 "Tricks" Every Beginner Hockey Player Should Learn

When you’re a beginner learning ice hockey, you have to be competent in ice skating and stick handling (passing, receiving and shooting the puck). Mastering these two skills can take years and years, but as a beginner you can distinguish yourself by learning a few “tricks”. These are smaller pieces of skill that add a little style and flash to your game. Whenever you watch experts playing the game (collegiate or pro), you can see these little bits of brilliance from each player when they’re warming up and when they’re playing. Here are five that your teammates will take notice of.

  1. Running Onto the Ice – When you’re coming out of the locker room, and the gate to the ice is open, try doing a little run on the walkway. Once you reach the gate, jump on the ice and start skating. I like this entrance for that pre-game skate. Smoothly transitioning from “land” to ice demonstrates balance, and a good understanding of skating. Plus, you have just made a dramatic entrance!
  2. Jumping Over the Boards – When you’re changing lines in hockey, the open door is reserved for the people coming off the ice. When you’re inserted into the game, you should be standing by the boards, so you can jump over them and start skating to your position. Practice this, so you’re used to the feel of the ice as you jump on. You can straddle the boards, but I’ve seen players hurdle over them, and it looks very dramatic. I’ve also seen people fall as they jump over the boards, and it’s a bit embarrassing, so practice this (though see item 4).
  3. Picking Up a Puck with your Hand – During a stop in the game action, if you’re near the puck, it’s considerate to pick it up and then toss it to the nearest referee. This little action of picking up the puck with your hand will demonstrate your balance. Since you’re holding a stick, and wearing gloves, you will also have to practice taking off your glove by tucking it under your arm. Bending down to pick up the puck will involve stretching your legs apart and bending at your knees so you can reach down to the ice. When done correctly, it’s a smooth move. As your skills grown, you can practice picking up the puck with your stick, but master the hand pick up first.
  4. Popping Up After Falling Down – As a beginner, you’ll fall down plenty of times as you learn and play ice hockey. You should practice getting up from a fall as quickly as you are able. When I see professionals play, they seem to “pop up” on both feet after they fall. This is something you can practice. Wearing your shinguards (with knee pads), skate forward, and then drop to your knees. Can you put a skate down? Do you know how you’ll push up to get your other leg under you? For a simpler drill, kneel down on the ice, and then “pop up” and get to your fastest skating speed. Remember, it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up.
  5. Dribbling the Puck with Your Feet – As a beginner, it’ll be hard enough manipulating the puck with your stick, but spend some time getting used to bouncing the puck on your skates. In practice, or in warm ups, open your foot and try to “trap” the puck, like in soccer. Then once the puck is at your feet, try to kick it to your skate blade. This is a good skill when you’re battling against the boards; it may be easier to kick the puck into open space. One of the most common foot dribbling moves you’ll see from expert players is kicking the puck that is somehow well behind them, all the way to their stick. It’s a true skill move, and one that is both practical and pretty to see.

Every sport is full of little tricks, and hockey is no exception. I recommend these five to any beginner who’s starting to play regularly.

Fireplace Designs

There are people that would like to have a fireplace in their homes, not because they would like to enjoy a nice warm fire but because they like how it makes the house appear. For whatever reason that an individual would like to have a fireplace designs, the two most important things to consider are; the location and what will be used to power it.

The decision to go ahead and build the fireplace can now be out in order if the correct measurements have been taken. There are various materials used to build; tiles or marble. Tiles act like a mirror and reflect the heat. This is an added advantage because heat is spread evenly throughout the room. You can get ideas from visiting ancient homes or asking companies that specialize in building them to build one for you.

To know what fireplace designs you would like, understand what you want to achieve in the end of it. If you want to have a modern look, then go for the electric fire design which is formed like a cube in the wall. With this design, there need to be wires behind the wall that are connected to the power supply to provide the power required.

The modern fireplace designs save us the trouble of not having to deal with fumes, smoke, ashes or clearing up the mess when the ashes become too much. This makes it so much more convenient and appealing. They do allow us to enjoy the warmth of a sizzling fire even though we can not use them to make sausages.