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.

Yin and Yang Food – How Does it Affect You?

Did you know that Yin and Yang, the principle at the heart of Chinese philosophy, applies to Chinese food and cooking as well? In Chinese medicine, all food can be divided into four Qis: Hot, warm, cool and cold; or yang, mild yang, mild yin and yin respectively.

In general, yang food improves blood circulation and warms us up, but too much yang food (or eaten during the wrong season e.g. summer) will induce constant thirst, hot flashes, night sweats and constipation. In contrast, yin food quenches thirst, cleanses our systems and cools us down, but if eaten inappropriately it will lower our metabolism and weaken our bodies. In particular, according to traditional Chinese, pregnant women are traditionally advised not to eat yin food (e.g. crab, watermelon) as it may increase the chance of miscarriage.

So what are some examples of yin and yang food?

Grains and Beans

  • Mild Yang (warm food): glutinous rice, black rice, barley, sago, sorghum
  • Mild Yin (cool food): wheat, barley, green beans, buckwheat, millet
  • Right in the middle: Rice, corn (maize), sweet potato, sesame, soy beans, rice beans, oat, long beans, sweet peas, kidney beans, mung beans, lentil, broadbean

Meat and Dairy Product

  • Mild Yang (warm):beef, lamb (mutton), chicken, shrimp, lobster, mussels, goat milk
  • Mild Yin (cool): duck, abalone
  • Yin: duck egg, crab, clam, octopus, squid, escargots, raw food
  • Just Right: chicken egg and egg white, pork, scallop, fish, cow milk, yogurt

Fruits and Nuts

  • Mild Yang (warm): peach, almond, dates, lychee, long yan, lemon, papaya, pine nut, walnut, chestnut, cherry, mango
  • Mild Yin (cool):apple, pear, orange, strawberry, pipa
  • Yin (cold): Persimmon, pomelo, banana, starfruit, kiwi, water melon, sweet melon
  • Just Right: plum, pineapple, grapes, olive, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut milk, peanut, hazelnut

Vegetables

  • Mild Yang (warm): spring onion, garlic, leeks, coriander / parsley, onion, pumpkin
  • Yang (hot): pepper
  • Mild Yin (cool): tomato, celery, egg plant, choy shum, spinach, asparagus, artichoke, cauliflower, tofu (including soy milk), gluten, lotus root, winter melon, cucumber, mushroom, needle mushroom
  • Yin (cold): bok choy, arrowhead, water spinach, watercress, bamboo shoots, seaweed, straw mushroom, bitter melon, water chestnut
  • Just Right: carrot, potato, taro, mushroom, turnip (very mild yin), black fungus (very mild yin)

Other Food and Ingredients

  • Mild Yang (warm): spices such as young ginger, clove, dill, rosemary, sage, turmeric, thyme, horseradish, cayenne, nutmeg, wild pepper, cumin, star anise; stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, black tea and other caffeinated drinks; red sugar, ginseng
  • Yang (hot): Cinnamon
  • Mild Yin (cool): green tea, honey, beer, chrysanthemum tea, mint
  • Yin (cold): Soy sauce, soy bean paste, salt

How Does This Apply To Us?

According to the Chinese, each of us are born yin, yang or somewhere in between. For example, if you always crave for spicy food you may have a “yin” body; and if you love watermelon anytime in the year you are likely a Yang.

Your health condition can also indicate the yin-yang balance of your body. Constant cold hands and feet? A Yin; Get soar throat easily and have a quick temper? A Yang. Seasonal and geographic variations will also affect our preference on yin and yang foods.

The Advice

  • When cooking yin food (applies to most veggies), add yang ingredients such as garlic, spring onion, ginger and coriander.
  • Eat seasonal food: let the nature guide us how to eat.
  • Balanced diet: if we eat a wide variety of food, the yin and yang will balance out.

Fly Fishing in May – Top Tips For Early Season Trout Fishing

Before we start, there is no such thing as "Duffer's Fortnight"! Fly fishing for trout is difficult all year round and it can be particularly problematic in the Mayfly season if one is not careful. Whether stocked or wild, the trout are experiencing a great deal of change and this affects their feeding habits. Wild trout have just come through the winter and will be keen to fatten themselves up. Stocked fish will have just been moved from a stock pond where they had as much food as they could eat. The Mayfly season is also the most popular and you can guarantee the waters have been thrashed to death by other fishermen so the trout will be wary and easily spooked. They may not run for cover, but they will certainly stop feeding. So, what are the top tips? Here are my Top Ten Tips for Catching Early Season Trout:

1. Select a fly that matches the conditions. Mayfly have two adult stages, the dun and the spinner, so make sure you use the right type – they are very different.

2. Add floatant to the fly but make sure you do not get it on the last 12 inches of your tippet. Use Fuller's Earth to degrease the last 12 inches of the tippet. This will ensure that the tippet does not sit visibly on the surface and frighten the fish.

3. Use the lightest tippet possible. For most trout fishing 4lb breaking strain is fine but on chalk streams you may need to go lighter.

4. Always test your knots or the first fish you hook will do it for you!

5. Never cast beyond your abilities. All this does is frighten all the fish in the immediate area. If you can only cast delicately at short distances then only cast short distances!

6. Use stealth at all times. Always try to get close to the fish without them seeing you. If fish see you they will stop feeding even if they do not bolt for cover.

7. Try to use the minimum number of false casts. Every cast risks thrashing the fish and increases the chances of you getting caught in a tree. Remember that casting is just a means of delivering the fly to the right place at the right time. Perfect casting technique and 60 foot casts do not catch fish!

8. When you hook a fish remain hidden and stealthy. The trout does not know what has happened and will play more easily if it remains confused. If you stand up and show yourself the trout will run from you as hard as possible as it will associate you with the danger it is in.

9. Keep control of the trout at all times so it does not frighten other fish or bolt into weed.

10. Once you have safely landed your first fish of the day, take some of the fish slime and rub it into the last 12 inches of the tippet. Fish slime is a natural whetting agent and will help mask the unnatural smell of your fishing tackle.

There are more tips and advice at the links within the resource box below.

How to Soundproof a Bathroom

Bathrooms can be very noisy places due to exposed pipes, family members taking showers, blow-drying their hair and so on and so forth. Just because the walls in your home have insulation, including the ceiling does not mean that there is insulation in the interior walls to reduce the noisy sounds. In most cases, interior walls have no insulation at all.

There are many different ways you can soundproof your bathrooms including adding insulation or by doing a few simple maintenance things that are very simple. Insulating the interior walls is the best answer. If you would like to do to it yourself, there is a simple method even though you will need another person to help. You can choose to go through the bathroom wall or the other wall. In most cases, as long as the pipes are not in the wall that needs the insulation you can go through the bathroom wall. It also depends on how many walls you need to soundproof. In some cases, the guest bathroom may be beside not only the dining room, but also a bedroom to one side or the other. You may wish to insulate more than one wall to give the person in the bathroom a bit more privacy. No matter, what the case you will should be able to add insulation through the bathroom wall.

The best insulation to use is called cellulose insulation. Cellulose insulation is nothing more than shredded newspaper treated with fire retardants. This insulation can and will fill and pack the stud cavities. What you will need is a stud finder, bags of cellulose insulation, a drill, and an insulation machine. You can find all of these products at a home repair center or a retail store such as Home Depot. You may even be able to rent the insulation machine.

Now, find the studs. Next, drill a hole in between the studs on the wall you wish to insulate. Measure the nozzle on the insulation machine in order to know what size to make the hole. Drill a hole about 4 to 6 inches down from the ceiling. The insulation machine needs to be outdoors with the hose running in through the window or a door. One person will need to be outside with the insulation machine to operate the machine and fill the hopper with insulation and the other person holding the nozzle in the wall to fill the cavity with insulation. When the insulation is at the top of the hole, you will be done. Be careful not to overfill. Once you see the insulation coming out of the hole, stop the machine. You can now repair the hole and paint the wall.

If you are searching for easier ways in which to soundproof your bathroom, you will be glad to know there are a few ways that are very simple and are not that expensive.

Applying rough materials to the walls and ceilings can be a great way in which to soundproof your bathroom. Adding such things as paint with resins, wall coverings such as rough wallpaper, carpeting to floors, and even speckled paint on the ceilings can aid in soundproofing. Smooth surfaces allow noise to bounce around the room whereas rough surfaces to do not. If you do not wish to carpet the bathroom, you can use mats or rugs. These items will also reduce sound, but will not soundproof as well as insulating the interior walls. Another option is the use of a sound conditioners. A sound conditioner or white noise machine will help mask all types of bathroom sounds. The sound machine should be placed outside of the bathroom door for maximum effectiveness. White noise machines produce sounds similar to those of a box fan or air conditioning unit and will help mask most sounds coming from inside the bathroom.

Free Reverse Phone Number Lookup – Back Door For Identity Theft?

Maybe you would like to employ free reverse phone number lookup to discover who is the person behind the phone number that is hanging up on you in the 4 am? Or otherwise you wish to acquire a phone number of a college friend, family member or former partner? Perhaps you have to carry out a credentials check on your employee or even check on someones criminal record.

The hottest private info harvesting technology is free reverse phone number lookup, it is quite easy to use and all you need to do is fill out a plain internet form. By making us of it, you may fill in whatever phone number, it makes no difference whether it is a mobile or regular phone number, and in many cases, you will get some kind of info regarding its owner.

It is obvious that mobile phones technology has gone through incredible improvements during the last twenty years. Our parents needed telephone operators, while nowdays we can trace people by combining mobile phones with global positioning technology.

On the other hand, such simple access to individual info makes the future technological advances terrifying. However, this might be a bit of exaggeration as we reflect on the future. Naturally, the possibility to get a hold of personal info from mobile phones is gradually driving us towards the time when usage and possession of such technologies will have to be strictly controlled and limited.

In the recent years many people have started to be increasing concern with the risk of identity theft and many of us are taking precautions to stop the crooks from using such services for seizing individual info.

For the most part all Governments around the world, or in any case the ones in democratic countries, have quite firm privacy rights regulations and as a global leader, it is not surprising that the US government also has quite a few privacy regulations that safeguard privacy rights. But without meticulous control, it could get out of hand.

Moreover, the more we guard ourselves against the misuse of services similar to free reverse phone number lookup, the more useful these technologies end up to be for normal, honest people and businesses.

We do not have to be scared of technology alone, allventions to these days have the possibility for either bad or good. You need to make an effort to be more cautious concerning your individual info and then free reverse phone number lookup will end being a hazard and start to be your personal asset.

Piracy on the Sea of ​​Cortez

An early morning dream-voice told me Chamula was back. As hard as I had tried not to, I had fallen in love with the captain of a co-op shrimping trawler, Joven, out of Guaymas, Mexico. We met six months earlier in a little palapa restaurant at the mouth of the Mulege River. For months now, I had been having the most amazing experiences. The morning of the dream my sister and I talked over coffee, and I told her how much I had wanted to go out with him on this latest expedition. However, Chamula could not promise when he would return and he thought it best I do go. Just then Alisabeth's boyfriend, Marcos, came through the door, his fiercely Yaki Indian face looking even more so today. Gravely, he reported that the Joven had been robbed; the crew held at gun point by the Mexican mafia!

The story unfolded. Shrimp boats worked nights and rested during the day, the crew catching well deserved sleep. They had anchored off the coast of Sinaloa, Mexico, and it was then they were boarded by six men with guns. Forced to take off all their clothes, they were thrown into the hold. The 600 kilos of shrimp, their personal belongings, and money were taken.

We hurried out to the ship, and I will never forget the sight of them: bare-chested, ratty sweatpants, and hatless, squinting against the sun. At that moment it would have been hard to tell the difference between the banditos and the crew. Everyone looked really rough. We were told that this was a common occurrence, because of the wealth the shrimp represented, as valuable as gold, the Mexican mafia regularly took its share. Alisabeth looked at me with great big eyes. "You wanted to be on this boat trip." I looked at Chamula. He nodded. I could not even picture the horror I would have faced, or the likelihood I would not have returned.

The blustery north winds kept the boat grounded for several days. Since the captain and crew were paid according to the amount of shrimp bought in, it was critical to get back to work and make up the loss. I still could not get myself to say goodbye and head back to the states, so when he asked me if I wanted to go back out, I foolishly said yes. Alisabeth reminded me that it was an "experience of a lifetime" and we both laughed at the old joke. Back on board, I watched as the palm trees receded in the distance and the water cactored the last golden rays of the sun; I was already having grave doubts about my decision. Chamula had not told me where we were going or how long we would be gone. I found him at the helm and it was then I learned the truth. We would be motoring for two days, and the first mate mentioned that we were headed to Sinaloa! What? Chamula sheepishly affirmed that it was true, not wanting to tell me because he did not want me to return to the states. We were headed to the coast of Sinaloa, exactly where they had just been robbed!

"Pendejo!" I retorted angrily, swearing like a Mexican sailor. Out on the deck, I flopped down and leaned back on the salt encrusted nets. I was in shock. I felt like I had volunteered to be kidnapped. All this because I did not have the guts to say goodbye. Well, I had made the choice, and the choice put me here. Done. Now the only thing to do was either stay mad or have an adventure. Since it was such a small world aboard a boat in the middle of the sea, I thought adventure was the better choice.

Chamula followed me. I did not understand how he could put me in harm's way, and told him so. His answer was very pragmatic. He assured me that since all the shrimp were gone and the mafia knew that, we would be safe from the threat for a while. The seas began to pick up the further south we went. I started taking heavy doses of Dramamine and went to sleep. When I got up the waves had turned dark blue with deep troughs and white caps. I brought coffee forward to Chamula and asked if he could show me where we were. Might as well learn something during my voyage into hell. He was all too happy to see I was not holding a grudge. In the evening we had gone south to Loreto then southeast across the Gulf in the night. Now we were near mainland Mexico. I sat on the step of the wheelhouse, sipped coffee, and watched the whales spouting.

At 4:00 pm the rumble of the engine went silent. We tied up at the stern of another co-op boat in the middle of nowhere. Well, I knew we were in the Gulf, but I could see no land. The sea was a constant relentless motion. Worried, I asked the Captain if we were not going near the coast. No, he admitted, this was much different from Mulege. It was illegally we would see land, because the gulf was so shallow here that boats could anchor right in the middle without a problem. I thought the boats might not have a problem, but I certainly did.

The next morning I crawled from the bunk and the motion of the Joven thread my body against the cabin wall. "Mierda!" Another day of heavy seas. I surprised how many days I could keep myself drugged and sleep. It was then I surprised if I could get Chamula to let me off the boat. When I asked he said he had a friend in Los Glorious, Sinaloa who could probably help. And just like that the captain pulled anchor and we headed to the mainland. I felt horrid to be the reason that everything was changing course. My hermanos looked at it as just another lark, an "aventura" in the moment, and if you were a woman stuck in the middle of the gulf, their attitude had a lot going for it.

Once moored off Los Glorious, the wonders of Mexican transport became clear. Everyone knew the Joven, and a panga was already on the way out. The seas were turbulent. I literally jumped from the ship to the smaller boat below as both were tossed around. The pescador handling the launch maneuvered through the breaking surf. And like a surfer, riding the curl, he would pause a moment, and then at the perfect time he would use the force of the water to propel us forward. We would glide on the force until another wave would reach us. We rode the momentum all the way to the beach.

After pulling the boat above the tide line, we walked into the barrio of adobe brick houses. Chickens and dogs ran loose everywhere. We stopped for cold drinks at a little tienda. The sun was hot and penetrating. Sitting under a shade tree near the Sinaloa River, the old friends talked while a lone gringa looked on. In Mexico there was a time to visit and a time to go. You never thought about going when you visited. But when it was time we had to go back out to the trawler to get my belongings. We jumped back into the panga and roared through the Mangrove trees out the gaping mouth of the Sinaloa River into the smashing surf. The breaking waves hit the bottom of the boat so hard we had to hang on with both hands, not to be thrown out. I knew Chamula was expecting me to be afraid, but when he looked over at me, I was grinning so big we both must have looked like loons. I was "muy loca" for more! And that day I earned the title, "Pirata."

Back aboard the heaving decks of the Joven, I went in to pack. Chamula would not let me to go alone, and so we both went to the beach to meet his friend. We rode in the back of an open truck all the way to Los Mochis airport. It was a tearful goodbye. My life had been substantially changed in these months. I had lived and loved life fully. Yet I had to leave and it hurt. Looking down on the shimmering gulf waters, I picked up my journal to keep the memories fresh. Like a giant backbone of ancient volcanic rock the Baja peninsula rose up out of the water. Slowly, I closed the journal to prepare for the landing in La Paz.

Cleaning Cubic Zirconia

The basic rule of jewelry care is to apply all lotions, make-up, hair spray, etc. first, then put on the jewelry. Pearls are especially sensitive to the solvents in hair sprays. In the reality of the jewelry business, I see people who refuse to remove rings and those who do so only once in a while. When we clean a customer's jewelry and inspect for wear and loose or missing stones, the jewelry most often needing repair is a ring that is "never" taken off the finger and cleaned by the owner.

Persistent dirt gets between the metal settings and the stones causing abrasive wear and sometimes sometimes a loose stone. Everyday wear on the outside of stone settings may lead to lost stones, too. A regular home cleaning and good look at the jewelry will prevent most stone loses, allowing for repair or tightening before it is too late. It is not common to see really clean jewelry come into the shop. When we do, that jewelry is generally in much better condition than the dirty items.

Hand lotions and soap film are some of the more difficult materials to remove. With CZ stones, a clean stone is vital to keep the "sparkling diamond" look. Just a little lotion on the bottom of the stone will take away much of the visual life of the stone. Fortunately, CZ's are fairly hard and tough. Cleaning may be more aggressive than with stones like opal or pearls, for example.

Start by taking the ring off the finger long enough to clean it! Using a soft tooth brush and a warm to hot solution of a dishwashing detergent like Joy, brush as well as possible to remove the scum and lotion. Rinse well in warm water. Pat dry and take a look. If more cleaning is needed, soak the ring in hot tap water with about 1/3 detergent to 2/3 hot water. (The mix is ​​not critical.) Then brush again.

The brush and even the end of a toothpick will not damage the stone. Do not use any abrasive cleansers. Most will not damage a CZ but will take the shine off the metal and may scratch some softer kinds of gemstones. Do not use toothpaste or similar stuff. Short of buying a small home sized ultrasonic cleaner, the detergent approach is one of the best for home use.

With CZ a little sudsy ammonia may be added and will greatly improve the cleaning speed and effectiveness. Do not use any ammonia cleaners with silver, turquoise or pearls. Ammonia will cause spots on sterling. Use enough ammonia to liven up the fault hearted and do have a window open and some air moving.

With regular cleaning, you "get to know" the jewelry and can spot worn metal and loose stones before a loss happens.

When you can not get the dirt off, let the jewelry store clean and inspect the jewelry. Strong detergents in heated ultrasonic cleaners followed with high pressure steam cleaning will remove most all dirt. Soap scum takes a little longer but comes off ok.

CZ is hard enough to cut glass. Most faceted gemstones are hard enough to cut glass. However, dust in the air contains a lot of silica (think sand). Hand lotions will leave a film on jewelry for dust to stick to. Over time, this rock dust in the air will abrade metal settings and some softer gemstones. Keep the lotion off the jewelry if at all possible. Not only does lotion free jewelry sparkle and look better every day, it will wear longer, too.

Pros And Cons Of Sewing Machines

From budget basic to modern marvels, the hunt for the most indispensable of sewing tools.

Sewing is so different from what it used to be, and so are the machines on the market today. With so many different sewing machines, shopping for one can be daunting.

The following list of machines are worth a test drive, dividing them by the sewing skill level, the kind of sewing they are suited to for, and the pros and cons of each category. Use it as a starting point in you search, then head to your local dealer to try them out in person. The only way you’ll know which machine is the one for you.

STARTER SEWING MACHINES; They are no-frills, sewing-only machines. Most will include automatic buttonhole features and a basic selection of utility stitches. Some are electronic rather than computerized, with dials or buttons for machine settings rather than touch screens. These machines are basically for the beginning sewers, kids and anyone who plans to do only basic garment construction, mending, or home decorating and craft projects.

PROS; easy to use, affordable and capable of turning out quality clothing and decorating projects.

CONS; decorative stitches are limited or non-existent. Tension may not be set automatically. Buttonholes may require manual manipulations.

SUGGESTED MACHINES ARE; Singer Feather weight 11; Brother NX-200; Elna’s Debut 2110 or 2130; Euro-Pro’s Intelli-Sew; Bernetta from Bernina; Husqvarna Viking’s Scandenavia 100

MID TO HIGH-END SEWING MACHINES; These machines are performance oriented machines geared to garment and home decorating sewing. They handle a wide variety of projects and fabrics with ease. Some are electronic, but some are computerized. They feature a wide variety of utility stitches, automatic tension settings, self-threading and multiple automatic buttonhole settings. Some have built-in decorative stitches for embellishment. These machines are for serious sewers focused on dressmaking, tailoring and home decorating projects.

PROS; touch screens or electric settings take care of tension setting and indicate the correct stitch length and presser foot. Multiple automatic buttonhole settings and styles, precision sewing speed control, better handling of fabrics and hundreds of built-in utility and decorative stitches. Instruction manuals are stored in the machines memory and can be accessed from the LCD screen.

CONS; pricier than basic models. The wide variety of features and options may intimidate those not comfortable with computerized functions. These can be rectified with practice and lessons from the dealer.

RECOMMENDED MODELS; Singers Quantum 9940; Brother’s NX-600 Janome’s Memory craft 6500; Elna Quilters Dream Ultra 6003 QT

COMBINATION SEWING/EMBROIDERY MACHINES; these high-tech machines offer the best of both worlds. You can stitch up garments, home decor, and accessorize to your hearts content. They have a switch presser feet and snap on the embroidery attachment to decorate y our designs with professional embroidery. The designs are built into the machines memory, supplied on flash cards or similar devices. Some models you can download designs directly from the internet to the machine by way of a USB port.

PROS;Offer almost unlimited creative embellishment potential.

CONS; These machines are expensive, but as the technologies advance manufacturers are introducing lower-priced models that offer many of the same functions as higher-end machines.

RECOMMENDED MODELS; Singer Quantum Futura; Brother’s Innov-is 4000D; Janome’s Memory Craft 10001; Bernina’s Artista 200E; Artista 185 Quilters Embroidery Edition

EMBROIDERY-ONLY MACHINES; These machines are dedicated to machine embroidery. These machines are for mostly for someone starting a custom embroidery business, crafters interested in embellishing read-made items.

PROS; Since embroidery is their sole function, these machines turn out designs more efficiently. Higher speeds than combination sewing embroidery machines.

CONS; You can’t sew on these machines.

RECOMMENDED MODELS; Brother’s PR-600; Babylock’s Embroidery Professional; Bernina’s Deco330.

Now you are ready to head out to your local dealer and try out some of the machines before you buy.

Porch Swings

Porch swings have been popular pretty much since they were invented. One of the draws of having a house with a porch is the opportunity to hang one. They are often associated with happy and simple times that are best spent hanging out at home with friends and family.

Choosing one, however, can be a somewhat daunting task. After all, there are so many kinds available. They are available in plastic, metal, wicker and wood. They can be installed to the rafters on the porch or come with their own stand. The swing can have cushions or be a simple seat. They come in different sizes and colors and prices. How do you choose the right one for your family?

The two most popular types are wicker and wood and the wooden ones can be made from cedar, pine, teak, oak and maple woods. Of these, the white oak is the strongest wood, but it is also heavy. Cedar is the strongest and the lightest. Cedar is also the most durable wood.

The physical features of a swing can vary a great deal. The depth of the seat, the back's angle and, if the seat or back is slatted the space between the slats can be very important. The construction of the joints can also vary between swings. Typically the depth of the seat is usually between eighteen and thirty six inches. There is no "standard" seat depth. It can also usually fit between one and three people, but it depends on the seat depth and the seat length.

When choosing your swing, here are some things to keep in mind:

Because there is no standard seat depth, its seat is chosen based on personal preferences. Do not be afraid to sit in any of the swings you are thinking of buying.

When choosing it might be tempting to get the largest one available. You probably have visions of everyone managing to fit on swing together, but the more people that it is designed to hold, the stronger the supports need to be. Typically a two-seater is recommended to start with.

Always check to make sure that its joints are bolted or screwed together. Stay away from one whose joints are collected together because bolts and screws are meant to keep something together for a long time. Nails always come loose.

You will want to think about what kind of an installation process you need to accommodate. If your porch has exposed joists, then you will have a much easier time of installing it. You need to find out how much weight your porch's joists can hold.

The porch swing is a must for any porch. Choosing one can be a long process if you do not know what to look for.

Care Homes Benefit From Self Printed Door Signs

Recently care homes have been opting for door signs showing their patients names, and with an optional picture, as opposed to the traditional room number. This is due to the fact that residents are helped greatly by having their own name on their door to reassure them they have found their own room. Pictures also aid fellow residents of retirement homes who may be suffering from memory loss and therefore have trouble with names.

Door nameplates – personalized easily

Care homes are increasingly attracted to this option where the resident's name, and possibly their photograph, can be printed onto a piece of paper which is then inserted into a frame. The frame can then either be screwed or stuck to a patient's door (or secured along the door) and the contents updated easily without taking down the frame. So tenants do not have to remember which exact room is their, or which is occupied by any of their friends. This is also valuable for visitors.

A picture along the name will also help them if friends' names are forgotten making these frames a perfect option for the dementia sector of the care home industry. It also means that in a setting where either residents and / or staff are temporary, carers and support workers will be able to learn resident's names quickly, or will be able to look up the name as entering their room.

Changed in a snap

A simple name sign is also an economic option price wise as certain products such as an Edge Snap Door Sign are under four Pounds each. This is a small door sign which uses two snap up and down sides at either end to secure information in place under a clear plastic face. Sizes vary from 2in x 6in up to 4in x 12in, with an intermediate size of 4in x 6in known as A6 size. It is a simple yet smart looking answer to discreetly helping a patient with room identification. The larger versions are recommended when a picture is to be incorporated.

The information can be printed in house, with a standard office printer and a small amount of ICT knowledge in applications such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. This is ideal for a nursing home situation as it means that these door signs can be printed quickly, easily and cheaply. When patients are only in on a temporary basis this form of displaying information is convenient as the nursing home can simply remove the paper slide showing the previous patient's information and reprint a new sign with the new patient's information.

Comparing customized door sign options

Certain businesses do offer custom made door signs with a person's name already printed onto this sign, however this is less financially viable in an environment where guests or patients may be changing rooms or leasing regularly. The price of these signs are high, they can retail at over twenty Pounds each and the names in them are not changeable; therefore unlike a product such as an Edge Snap Door Sign, they are not reusable. This could mean throwing away a twenty pound sign every time a patient left. It may take a while to take delivery of these pre-printed signs and with a patient who is only on a temporary stay they may have left before their sign has arrived.

These customisable door signs are also very useful in more permanent situations where personal nameplates are required on a restricted budget. Amongst many existing users of this method of signage is the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home to the Chelsea Pensioners who are former members of the British Army, who have purchased Edge Snap door signs from Green Magic Company.

A Review of the Revival RG-26M Acoustic Guitar

One of Revival Acoustics more popular guitars is the RG-26M an OM / OO size / shaped acoustic guitar. If you appreciate the quick response and unique sound that mahogany gives and appreciates good tone with added volume and punch; then the Revival RG-26M may be just the ticket for you!

As a dealer for Revival Acoustics, I had heard good things about this particular model, one of my incentivies for stocking this guitar was that I had ordered the RG-26 with the spruce top and liked it!

The RG-26M has an even more reasonable price tag! After making numerous attempts to purchase the RG-26M guitar from my supplier (because they continued to sell out of them so quickly) I finally got my hands on two and began to compare them! I'll admit that I'm a bit biased, in that I do like the sound that mahogany / guitars make; having said that, playing these guitar's for me was a satisfying experience! It is also important to note that size / shape matters here as well and there is a big difference between playing a dreadnought size / body guitar and wrapping arms arms around an OM with thinner sides; none one has long arms; it just feels more comfortable! The OM body is still versatile enough for flat-picking and excel's at finger style approach's like! This guitar features a 1 & 11 / 16th's nut width and works well for people with smaller hands, obviously it does not have the power and depth of a dreadnought, but it can squeeze out a lot of sound which should satisfy most people and it has a uniqueness that is all it's own!

There's Something about the way she Woo's me, this guitar is simple, no nonsense and straight forward, in that it's uniform (basically all the same material / wood goes into building it). Simplicity has a beauty all it's own and though mahogany may not be exquisite like Koa wood it's distinct and rich in color, style and tonality! What you see is what you get here, this may sound redundant, but when you play an all mahogany guitar you get an all mahogany sound, not the sound of a combination of woods like the Sitka spruce topped mahogany back and sides RG-26 ( see the Guitar Player Review on the articles page of my website) Both of the tops on the RG-26M guitars I received had a reasonable amount of what I call character; which I felt made them unique / pleased in there own right; despite being green, (right out of the box) both of these hogs performed well and whenever I am reluctant to put any guitar down, that's a very good sign to me, and not only that, but when I continue to pick them up to play them and continue to be satisfied by them time and time again!

There is nothing fancy here, but I think this model does really show off the abalone rosette well, which to me looks like a jeweled necklace and looks great against the dark mahogany top wood! The finish is all satin / matte and this gives the guitar a real nice natural feel and an overall rustic appearance! I also believe that a satin finish helps this guitar breath out more sound better than a gloss / poly coat would and it just fits so well with this particular model! If there we're something's I would change about this guitar, it would be the width of the neck, I would personally prefer to have a 1 n nut width. I would probably swap out the Grover mini Romatic's and replace them with open gear tuners for a more vintage vibe and because I find the mini knobs small for my hands to maneuver.

The specification's of the RG-26M are the same as the RG-26 guitar, with the only exceptions being the hog top, the satin finish and the headstock inlay; which has Revival inscribed on it in abalone vs. the tree of life Revival logo which is done in pearloid on the RG- 26. The Revival RG-26M is a very affordable solid wood acoustic guitar providing a lot of sound and bite for the money, an if your looking for an all solid mahogany OM sized acoustic guitar you will be hard pressed to do better!

The Character Dolls Of Kenner Parker Toys

Founded by three brothers in 1947, the Kenner Company produced several popular toys such as their popular building and construction toy sets in 1957 called the Girder and Panel, 1959's Give-A-Show projector, and 1963's the Easy-Bake Oven. Then in 1957, the company was acquitted by General Mills which also remarkably merged Kenner Products into its own Rainbow Crafts division wherein its first product after the merger was Play-Doh.

The first few dolls that Kenner produced were the 1972's vinyl Blythe doll which measured 11.5 to 12 inches. The doll came with different changeable hair and eye colors. This doll is one of the thought-after vintage collectibles which can reach several hundred dollars to acquire. Another doll it popularized in the same year was the 18-inch Gabbigale with a battery-operated talker. The doll was made of hard jointed plastic body with vinyl head, painted eyes, and rooted hair.

Still in 1972, Kenner also introduced the 6.5-inch Garden Gals which has a red watering can and then followed by the 18-inch tall Sweet Cookie. In 1973, 16-inch tall Baby Alive was launched which was a battery-operated drink-wet doll. It also introduced Stretch Armstrong which was composed of stretchable vinyl that can stretch as far as four feet and return to its original shape.

By the year 1977, Kenner acquired the license to manufacture action figures for Star Wars with the trilogy running from 1977 through 1985. The action figures measured 3.75 inches and became a standard in the industry that sells action figures. It also began manufacturing other actions figures based on the hit TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. The 13-inch doll characters were Lee Majors, Jamie Sommers, Oscar Goldman, Big Foot, Masketron Robot, Woman Robot, and Steven Austin. It also tried penetrating the toy car die-cast market by launching Fast 111 but it did not gain much of the market's response.

The Kenner dolls became more popular when it created action figures based on DC Comics' superheroes which were included in the series called the Super Powers Collection. Each action figure doll comes with an action feature such as throwing a punch when the doll's legs are squeezed. Other dolls that were also based on books and movies were 1978's Hardy Boys and 1981's Indiana Jones. Doll collectors who are fanatics of television series and movies will certainly appreciate collecting dolls from Kenner. Anyone who also has passion for unique action figures and dolls will find Kenner's battery-operated models amusing.

Where Can You Find Chinese Lacquer Products?

As Chinese lacquer products are becoming more popular, ever more people are wondering where they can source them. These products are often used in home decor magazines or given away as gifts. In this article we will discuss four places that you can find Chinese Lacquer products. We will also give you a few helpful hints when it comes to purchasing these items from suppliers.

Online

The most obvious place (and best) place to find Chinese lacquer, is to search online. There are a lot of online stores that sell these wonderful pieces in the west. If you're in the United States and looking for a supplier then just Google specifically for your area. Most online shops will ship their products to anywhere in the United States.

eBay

A lot of shops and Chinese lacquer products sellers are selling their products on eBay. It's a simple way for buyers and sellers to connect for a variety of products. When purchasing products from eBay make sure that the seller has a trusted reputation and the minimum amount of negative reviews. If they do have negative reviews, make sure that you go and see what they are for. Sometimes buyers will give negative reviews for silly reasons and you do not want to miss out on the opportunity of finding the perfect product for you.

Specialty Stores

There are specialty shops all over the United States which specialize just in selling Chinese products. Go and see if you can find Chinese lacquer products in their store. If they do not have the products you want in the store, ask them if they can recommend you to someone.

Tips for buying Chinese Lacquer products

When purchasing any sort of products, make sure that you do your research before hand. You want to be able to get the best possible price. Compare prices between different shops and see which one is offering the better deal. Really exceptional online shops will even offer you a bonus gift for purchasing through them. It's these sort of online shops that you should be looking for. Also keep in mind that you work with someone who is knowledgeable about Chinese lacquer products. You want to purchase products from someone is supplying quality products to the public.

With these tips you'll be able to find your Chinese lacquer products quicker than you though. There are fantastic lacquer products out there – you just need to find them.

Brick Paver Durability

How durable are pavers? Do they last longer than concrete slabs? Which is more prone to cracking? If I want a new patio or driveway, which product is going to give me the most bang for my buck? When trying to decide whether to use pavers or concrete, these are some of the primary questions people ask. Lucky for you, we have the answers!

Pavers and concrete are very similar. In fact, both products are made with cement. When you hear pavers referred to as "brick pavers", typically, that means the paver was made with clay instead of cement. Pavers are technically concrete; however, they are produced prior to installation and have to adhere to certain technical definitions to be considered a paver. The definition of a concrete paver is a cement based product that is produced with aggregate, sand, water, and color dye which contains a maximum aspect ratio of four and typically has a surface area less than one hundred square inches. The aspect ratio of a paver is its length divided by its thickness. A common four inch by eight inch brick shape, which is two and three eighths inches in thickness has an aspect ratio of 3.37. The reason the aspect ratio is so important is that it quantifies the durability of a paver. If you have a large concrete slab with a few expansion joints cut into it and you want to determine how strong it is relative to its own size, then the aspect ratio is the quantitative way to figure it out. Let's say your driveway is ten feet wide and one section, between expansion joints, is ten feet long. Now, in order to determine that slab's aspect ratio, you'll also need to know how thick the slab is. Let's give your concrete contractor the benefit of the doubt and say he loved your driveway extra thick and that it is six inches from top to bottom. If you take the length, ten feet and covert it to inches, you'll get one hundred and twenty inches long. Now, divide one hundred and twenty by the thickness of the slab, six inches, and your aspect ratio is twenty! What does this mean? Basically, it means that your concrete slab is a lot longer and wider relative to its thickness and therefore more brittle and easier to crack.

When compared to concrete, pavers cost more. Not only do they cost more to produce, but the steps taken to properly install them are more numerous and costlier than those taken to install concrete. Beneath pavers, one and a half tons of base material needs to be installed and compated for every one hundred square feet of area. This means that not only do you need to purchase this material and pay for its delivery, but you also have to excavate the area you areaving to a depth that will not only accommodate the paver, but also about four to five inches of base and sand.

If you make the investment in pavers, you will not be disappointed. Sure, they cost more than concrete slabs, but they are much more durable and less likely to crack. In fact, most pavers come with a twenty five year warranty against cracking! Their color, shape, and texture options are unmatched and they will last a lifetime. Contact Park Avenue Pavers for more information about your new paver patio!

How to Date Your Grandfather Clock

If your grandfather clock has a brass dial, it was probably made in the period between 1680 and 1770. The early brass dial clocks only had one hand, because the average person had no need of knowing the time to the nearest minute, and with a bit of practise you can tell the time to the nearest five minutes on one of these early (and rare) clocks.

By 1730 the vast majority of grandfather clocks had two hands, for the hours and minutes. One-handed clocks continued to be made in country areas for a while after 1730. Village life was very conservative, and the people living in villages at this time still had no real need of “to the minute” time.

From around 1730 (all these figures are approximate all the way through this article) the brass dial clock was made all over England in ever-increasing numbers, and the dials became more ornate as time went on, especially on the eight-day clocks. More features appeared, such as seconds hands in a small subsidiary dial, date hands or wheels, and moon phases, usually in an arch on top of the dial, but sometimes in small aperture in the dial itself

The easier clocks to date, and the ones most popular in America, are the painted dial clocks, often called “white dial clocks” in Britain.

Painted dial clocks appeared about 1765 to 1780, and after this the brass dial clock ceased to be made, again with just a few exceptions in rural areas, especially the far southern counties of England. The majority of English grandfather clocks were made in The Midlands and the North of England. The new painted dial was cheaper and easier to produce and easier to read by the poor light available at night, so the brass dial was dropped from production over a very brief period, for our purposes it is fair to say that no brass dial clock was made in the big clock making centres after 1780.

It may be worth a mention here that the clocks we are talking about were no different apart from the dial itself; everything else remained the same in both cases, only the dial changed.

Fortunately the painted dials then followed a certain progression as the fashions slowly changed over time, this means that we can usually date a clock to the nearest five to ten years. – – – And it also means we can see at a glance the important features without having to dismantle the clock.

The first white dials from 1770 to 1800 were lovely, simply and sparingly decorated, and with much of the white background showing. Decoration consisted of spandrels painted on in gold paint in the four corners, (probably to resemble the cast brass spandrels fitted to brass dials.) Sometimes a swag of flowers or similar was painted on the dial face, but again very sparingly and restrained. The hands were made of steel, very fine, often blued or blacked and not exactly matching.

Another year indication of an early dial is the use of dots for the minutes with small Arabic numerals round the dial at 5, 10, 15 minutes etc. The hours are marked by Roman Numerals.

From 1800 to around 1830 the style of the dial changed slightly, matching steel hands were used from now on. The minutes were still dots and not the lines inside two narrow concentric circles that we are used to, but the minute numbers changed to the quarters only, instead of every five minutes. The missing numbers were often replaced with little symbols, often looking like stars.

At this time also it became fashionable to use Arabic numerals for the hours instead of Roman numerals. The painted background decoration is starting to spread out too; arched dials have a scene painted in the arch, often with a spray of flowers on each side. The corner painting is spreading a little too, and the imitation spandrels are now often geometric designs, or a fan shape, or a floral design, which fills the corner.

Now we come to the later clocks, of around 1830 to 1880. In the North of England after 1830 grandfather clocks gradually got bigger and bigger, until by the end of the period some of them were huge – – – the dials were often fifteen inches wide and the clocks were eight feet tall, sometimes nine feet or more.

Given the larger area of dial to be decorated the dial painters went to town, the corner paintings became little masterpieces in their own right, and the decoration spread from the corner right up the side of the dial circle, to meet the next corner painting, and so on. Most of these clocks have an arched dial, and the artist painted in a large scene, often a biblical illustration, or a country scene, a nautical scene, a ruined abbey, or something ordered specially by the customer.

The hours have gone back to Roman numerals and stay that way; the hands are now highly decorated brass and matching. These brass hands were used after 1830 for the rest of the period when grandfather clocks were made, in other words up to 1880, possibly in a few rare cases to 1890.

The minutes are shown by a minute band, two concentric circles close together, with lines inside to represent each minute and no minute numbers at all. Date and seconds subsidiary dials are usual now, and the small ornate hands fitted to these are also brass and matching.

To finish off, here is a quick guide to the various features and their dates:

(Of course, all dates are approximate, to the nearest ten years.)

Numbering

Dotted Minutes – 1770 to 1800

Minutes numbered every five minutes – 1770 to 1800

Minutes numbered every quarter hour – 1800 to 1820

No minute numbers – 1820 to 1880

Roman hour numerals – 1770 to1800 then 1825 to1880

Arabic hour numerals – 1800 to 1825

Full minute band – 1815 to 1880

Corner decoration

Flowers or fruit – 1770 to 1800

Fans, shells or abstract – 1790 to 1830

No painting – left blank – 1780 to 1820

Gold imitation spandrels – 1775 to 1785

Arch decoration

Name of maker – 1770 to 1780

Flowers or birds – 1770 to 1795

Small painting on white background – 1795 to 1815

Full painted scene – 1820 to 1880

Moon dial – 1770 to 1830

Dial size

10″ to 13″ – 1770 to 1810

13″ to 15″ – 1810 to 1880

Square dial – 1770 to 1825

Arch dial – 1770 to 1880

Hands

Steel – 1770 to 1815

Brass – 1815 to 1880