Saturday, 31 May 2008

Faux Italian Plaster Decorative Paint Finish

One of the best faux painting techniques which produces a mottled wall finish which looks like old plaster techniques that you might find in an old Italian villa, is done using two paint rollers and latex paint. Unlike a lot of faux finishes, you don't need to use "glaze" with this finish and you don't need to thin or modify the paint in any way. This finish is fast and simple.

Color Selection:

The simplest way to get a good looking finish with this technique is to use a deeper tone color of your liking with an off white or white paint. This color combination will give you a blend of your deep color and light off white with blends of the two colors. White and off white works predictably with the deep color of choice. If you were to use a second "color" instead of white you can get a muddy, ugly third color blend which won't be pleasing.

Your deep tone color should be a bit darker than the overall desired look you wish for the room, when the two deep tone and off white paints are meshed together you should get a softer blend or the two which will provide the overall look for the room.


Latex satin or eggshell paints work well with this technique.


You will apply the two colors in a random manner one at a time using semi circular strokes with each roller. While it is common to use 4" rollers to do this technique, you can use 7' rollers (or even standard 9" rollers) as well.

Nap length: Should be on the longer side - 1" or ¾" works well. The best covers for this technique is the lambs wool cover. There are manufacturers who make wool rollers specifically for this technique., and even make special dual rollers. I don't use the dual rollers as I like the "liberty" of not having the two rollers attached and being able to do independent swipes with each separate roller color.

Start at one end of the wall, make your way down the wall working in small 4' x 4' sections at a time. Apply one color first in random patches in semi circular roller strokes (covering maybe 25% of the wall with this color within your 4' x 4' working section) , then repeat with the second color overlapping here and there the first color. You should have about 50% of your working section covered at this point. Now take a lambs wool pad ( these pads are used for applying stain , if you can't find one of these - there are manufacturers who will supply you with one made especially for this type of technique) and dab and blot softly here and there to soften and blend the two colors together. You don't want to blend everything or over blend, just here and there in a random fashion.

Repeat the above procedure to fill in the remaining 50% of the section. Once the section is complete move on to the next 4' x 4' section and repeat until the whole wall is complete.

Dale Slater is a professional painter and faux finisher. To learn more about all aspects of painting and decorating visit

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Painting Fences - Spruce It Up This Spring

Painting your fence every few years is a great way to spruce up the look of your yard and extend the life of the fence. Different types of fences require different methods of painting.

Your previously painted wood fence will need to be touched up every year or two, or completely repainted. Either way, these fences often have offset boards that defy ordinary painting methods and are usually made of rough lumber. The paint tool of choice should be a sprayer.

Prior to painting you should prepare the fence by scraping away any flakes and chips.

If your fence is not too large, a handheld cup sprayer would work, these usually have a quart size reservoir. For a larger fence, refilling a quart size reservoir would become tiresome. Instead, consider renting an airless sprayer with a suction tube that can be used with any size container.

Try to control your overspray by following these tips:

-Do not spray paint on windy days. Wait for calm weather to paint.

-Check the opposite side of the fence and be sure that there is no car, lawn equipment or other object near the fence. Ask your neighbor to move everything of value from the area.

-Buy plastic sheeting and staple it so it drapes over the opposite side of the fence. When you paint the backside of the fence, remove the sheeting and cover your own side of the fence so that airborne paint is stopped before it can travel or become windblown.

-Finally, don't over thin your paint or stain.

Chain-link fencing has a durable galvanized coating that keeps it trouble-free for years. Eventually, though, even this galvanizing will fail, and the fence will require painting.

Wire fencing can be difficult to paint. Brushing on paint is usually slow and tedious, while spraying the open fencing permits too much wasted paint from overspray. The best solution is to use a long-nap paint roller, about 1" to 1-1/2". The long nap reaches into the weave of the wire and covers hard to reach corners. Try to get your neighbor to paint his side at the same time. This way, you will see each others' misses and can touch up the paint as you go.

Before starting, use a rotary wire brush to clean away loose rust on the fence. You can also use an ordinary wire brush to clean the surface. When everything is properly prepared, wipe down the fence with a sponge that has been soaked in mineral spirits. When the fence is dry, apply the paint. Be sure to use a paint designed for covering metal, not woods.

Find more home improvement advice, solutions for your Home, Yard and Garden

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Friday, 30 May 2008

Cabinet Knobs - Flower Themes For Spring

If you are looking for a quick way to add color and freshen up your home when spring approaches consider making small changes that can have a big impact on the room. Changing out the knobs on your cabinets is an easy but very effective way to bring color and a fresh look into the room.

You can also change them out on your kitchen, bathroom, and any other cabinets in the house as well. It's a quick and relatively inexpensive way to make a big visual change to a room.

There are a wide variety of cabinet knobs available at your local hardware stores and also available online; but there are a few things you might want to consider before making your final purchase.

Size of Knob

When shopping for new cabinet knobs don't necessarily look for ones that match the size of your existing ones. Think about selecting new versions that are slightly larger than the ones you have; a larger cabinet knob will make more of a visual impact.

Type of Knob

With the wide variety of available cabinet knobs, you will have a great many to choose from. There are ceramic, wooden, metal, and even plastic options available. Be sure that what you select are a good quality.

Size of Screw

If possible, take one of your existing cabinet knobs and its screw with you to the hardware store; this will allow you to measure the existing screw with those of the new ones. Matching the screw size will ensure that your new knobs will be an easy install. If at all possible, try to avoid the need to expand the existing holes for them on the cabinet doors.


The whole concept of changing the knobs on your cabinets is to bring seasonal color into the room, so don't be afraid to pick colors that stand out and bring attention to themselves.

If you have white cabinet doors think about vivid red porcelain cabinet knobs, or bright white ceramic options with bright red flowers painted on them. Don't be afraid to be bold with your choices. The spring season is all about bright colors and making a large impact with seasonal floral colors.

Note: If your cabinets are a dark cherry color you might struggle with selecting an appropriate color of cabinet knob. Consider, instead, selecting a black metal cabinet knob with an intricate floral pattern.


Your local home improvement warehouse store will have a wide variety of cabinet knobs for you to choose from. In addition to a great selection, they are more likely to have the correct number in stock for you.

Alternatively, you can shop online; there are several websites devoted simply to cabinets and cabinet hardware. Just remember to be specific about the size of the screw.

This is a great project for someone with little to no DIY knowledge; additionally, changing your cabinet knobs is a fast and easy way to make a great seasonal change to the various cabinets in your home. With a few minutes of effort you can make-over your kitchen, or bathroom cabinets with them.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of a wide variety of online specialty shops that offer both products and information on how you can easily furnish and decorate your space. Whether it's your living, bedroom, or even your deck or patio, there are many tips you can use to make your space both functional and beautiful. Today, she offers advice on how to create a fabulous indoor area by using sparkling cabinet hardware, antique looking cabinet knobs or sleek drawer pulls.

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The Pros and Cons of Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis systems is just one type of many water filtration systems that are available on the market today. Water filtration pushes water through a filter that traps contaminant molecules and releases pure water molecules. There are many health benefits that can be had from the use of water filtration systems including reverse osmosis systems.

The first benefit is clean and safe water to drink, bathe, or cook in. Exposure to contaminants is greatly reduced or virtually eliminated. This results in fewer occurrences of diseases including cancer and skin irritations/disorders. With lead content being eliminated or reduced there will likely be many fewer occurrences of learning disabilities in children that currently occur at over 400,000 in the United States yearly. Skin and hair become softer and more properly hydrated.

Osmosis is a process whereby a solution is pushed through a semi-permeable membrane with the lesser concentrated solution moving through the membrane to the greater concentration until the solutions become equalized. Reverse osmosis is where water is pushed through a semi-permeable membrane and pressure is applied to stop osmosis and then reverse it. It is a slow process and the result is pure water. The contaminants are trapped in the membrane which is an extremely fine membrane.

The pros of using reverse osmosis systems is that pure water will result. It is a popular seller. The same health benefits mentioned previously can result from using these systems. Although slow they are effective in removing contaminants.

The cons of using these systems lie in the fact that though they remove contaminants they also remove important minerals including magnesium, calcium, potassium, and many others. Depending on need and budget these systems will still be a good option for many consumers to consider for purchase.

John Collins is a content editor who focuses on a wide array of niche health topics. His latest website - Water Purification focuses on fresh pure water sources, and in particular, a natural water filter company our editors personally use with excellent health results known as - Natural Water Purification

Be sure to check out our water filters of choice, they are the water systems we use and recommend to friends and family, and have done for over 3 years.

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Thursday, 29 May 2008

Antique Door Knobs - They're Making a Comeback

If you love the look of antique door knobs and other antique fixtures, but think they are literally a thing of the past, think again. Working ones, lighting and plumbing fixtures of all styles are available through building salvage retailers and they aren't as expensive as you might think. Even antique doors and windows, gates and lampposts are available as long as you know where to look.

Most of the antique fixtures available have been salvaged from buildings that are slated for demolition.

Companies go into these buildings and literally take the building apart. This trend is called historical salvage, demolition salvage, fixture salvage, and "deconstruction", depending on what part of the country you live in and whom you ask.

Regardless of what you call it; "deconstruction" is the new way to demolish a building, though it involves little or no actual demolition. Since it involves reusing many materials, it is a much "greener" or eco-friendly way to "demolish" a building.

Door knobs, plumbing, lighting, and other nearly any fixtures that can be are removed. Windows, doors, and trim are carefully removed. Even full staircases with balustrades are painfully deconstructed to be reassembled at a new location. These antique pieces are often used in historic renovation projects, but you can use them in your home, too.

While some of you are excited that you can finally put all 1940s fixtures in your 1940s Craftsman-style bungalow, some of you are probably thinking, "Yeah, right. Brass with curlicues really goes with my minimalist design." I understand what you are thinking, but there are antique fixtures that will fit most any décor. One of the more budget-and design-friendly ways to bring antique fixtures into your home is to get antique door knobs.

Beautiful, classic, antique door knobs start around $20-$30 each, or about double what a standard door knob goes for at a home improvement warehouse. You will want to do a bit of research to make sure the ones you have picked out will work with your doors, but antique door handles definitely add more pizzazz than their cost would suggest.

If you want to match the original décor of your home, try to find pictures of homes like yours from the era to see what antique door knobs were used and always talk to your architect, contractor, and supplier. They will usually have sources for historically accurate fixtures.

If you want to bring the class of antique door knobs into a newer home, consider your overall design. If you have a chintz sofa, you might look at brass with curlicues or the classic octagonal glass. For those of you who desire simpler fare, consider perfectly spherical glass orbs, porcelain, or composite disks for your antique door knobs. They come in many colors, which will fit most any décor.

So, to live a little greener and with a little more style, look at what using antique door knobs and other antique fixtures can do for your home. They are a beautiful design choice.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of a wide variety of online specialty shops that offer both products and information on how you can easily furnish and decorate your space. Whether it's your living, bedroom, or even your deck or patio, there are many tips you can use to make your space both functional and beautiful. Today, she gives advice on how to create a fabulous indoor space by using beautiful antique doorknobs, elegant glass door knobs, and chic glass doorknobs.

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Door Knobs - The Perfect Decorative Stamp For Your Living Space

You are just about done completing that remodel of your house and you're looking for a way to really put a personal, decorative stamp on the space. There is a fine option for doing just that and it's not artwork or the plants and vases that you're thinking of. Here's a hint, you open and close your door with it. That's right, door knobs are a fantastic way to put the finishing touches on your home.

How is this possible? Well, the answer is simple. Nowadays, there are just a lot of stunning door knobs to choose from, which is the result of all the eye-catching materials they can be made out of that are then finished in a number of stunning ways.

For example, you can get ones that are made out of stainless steel that have a very modern look and feel since they are finished in a smooth polished chrome. Or, you can get ones that are made from brass and have an antique appearance as they are oil-rubbed. You can even get ones that are made from porcelain that have painted floral designs on them. Or, glass ones that have a rosette shape and have a charming pink or blue color infused right into it. With these fixtures, the possibilities are endless, which allows you to easily find just what you're looking for.

When purchasing door knobs, along with making sure the ones you get have an appealing appearance, another thing that you need to do is to get the right one for the job. That's right, different ones serve different purposes. Like, if you are buying one for your bedroom, you would want to get one of the privacy variety, it is lockable to keep people out when you do want them intruding. Or, if you are getting one to enter into your house, then you would get an entryway one, this one also locks, but it has a keyed cylinder allowing you to get in from the outside with a key.

There are two other doorknobs to choose from as well. One of them are passage versions that don't have a locking features. They are generally used for hall or closets doors where the doors need to be just open and shut. The second one is dummy ones, which have the look of the fixture, but none of the mechanisms that allow it to open or shut. Basically, it just sits there looking pretty.

For an easy way to check out all the doorknobs that are available, forget about going to your local hardware store. You don't have to waste that trip, instead just go on the World Wide Web and do your shopping there. Just by the click and glide of the mouse you can sift through what all the online retailers have to offer. And, when you do decide on something, it will be shipped right to your house.

At the end of the day, doorknobs are just one of those fixtures that are an awesome way to complete the look of any remodel, even home building project. So, get some stylish ones today, so you can have your home looking awesome tomorrow.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of a wide variety of online specialty shops that offer both products and information on how you can easily furnish and decorate your space. Whether it's your living, bedroom, or even your deck or patio, there are many tips you can use to make your space both functional and beautiful. Today, she offers advice on how to create a fabulous door area by using exquisite antique doorknobs, sparkling glass door knobs and dazzling glass doorknobs.

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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Switch Plates - Saving Money And Resources Made Easy

If your energy bills are going through the roof and you're wondering what to do about it, switch plates may be the answer. These small and inexpensive items may make the difference between cold, draughty rooms that cost you an arm and a leg to heat, and a well-insulated house where temperate air circulates in the correct fashion.

The first thing to find out is what is causing the problem. Start with the obvious. You probably wouldn't leave windows open in the middle of winter, but check to see if the windows shut properly and whether or not they are double-glazed. Roof insulation is also worth verifying. All done? If you have had your windows replaced recently with better insulated ones, then you can move on to the next step; switch plates.

Time to get down on your hands and knees to check your electrical outlets. Each electrical outlet is a prime suspect for the leakage of warmth out of your house. You can test for cold air movement by putting your face close to the outlet. Your cheeks and eyes are typically very sensitive to cold air moving across them. Otherwise a standard candle will soon show air currents by a fluttering flame or smoke being blown across. If this happens, it's time to make a (modest) investment in insulating your switchplates.

The reason why it's worth taking the time to check out your switch plates is because although each one may seem small, there are likely to be a lot of them in your house. In addition, switchplates often cover quite sizable holes going back behind plasterboard or supporting walls. Multiplying energy leakage per switch plate by the number of outlets soon adds up to a big drain on resources.

So how can you insulate your switch plates? The good news is that the solution can be quick, effective and inexpensive. The product that is required is called a foam gasket. This is an expanded polystyrene-type of foam cover that fits in and around the electrical outlet hole to block off the passage of air currents. To fit them, you unscrew the switch plate. You then fit the foam cover over the aperture where the electrical outlet arrives, and finally screw back on the switch plate.

Make sure that you do this for electrical outlets that were never meant to be part of the ventilation, rather than air vents that were designed into vent the house. It's important to leave these purpose-installed air vents in an operational state, because you need some movement of air to mix the cooler, dryer outside air with the warmer, moister inside air. If you blocked up every single hole possible, the warm, moist air would stay trapped inside your house and lead to problems of dampness, mold and associated conditions.

However, by targeting the electrical outlets whose sole purpose should be to bring you electricity and not cold air, insulating behind your switch plates can mean a major difference in comfort and reduction of energy bills.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of a wide variety of online specialty shops that offer both products and information on how you can easily furnish and decorate your space. Whether it's your living, bedroom, or even your deck or patio, there are many tips you can use to make your space both functional and beautiful. Today, she offers advice on how to create a fabulous outdoor area by using colorful switchplate covers, sophisticated switch plates and an illuminating light switch plate.

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LED Lighting

LED light bulbs are the way of the future. LED, light emitting diodes, provide a more natural light than incandescent bulbs of the past. Providing more light at a third the cost is only one of the advantages of these bulbs. LED light bulbs have a life span of up to 60,000 hours compared to 750-1,000 hours of life in an incandescent bulb. The durability of an LED light means less breakage from shaking or package rattling, unlike its fragile counterpart.

Providing a more natural light, closer to daylight, means brighter rooms. Brighter rooms have also been linked in studies to a keener alertness in those who use them. Since this light is more directional, as a result of a small mirror inside, it also means less wasted light. Because of this, LED lights are perfect for task lighting or reading. The simplicity of this innovation cannot be matched.

Another advantage to LED light bulbs is that it emits less heat, thereby causing less strain to other electronics in homes and businesses. Less heat means less strain on cooling systems. LED lights, while considerably brighter, stay cooler than the old fashioned bulbs decreasing the need for greater electrical use as well. By easing the strain on other heating and cooling devices, as well as the direct electricity it uses, the monetary rewards are great. Not only are these rewards important in the long run, they can be seen immediately after the consumer makes the switch since the efficiency contrasts so significantly with energy wasting bulbs of the past.

To learn more about LED lighting check out where you will find this and a lot more on led light bulbs and the use of led´s.

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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Solarnews - Solar Energy Can allow The Possibility for Many Benefits

Likely The most viable and cleanest form of renewable energy has to be Solar Power.

The perks of solar energy beat any other form of energy which can deplete the natural resources of our planet and pollute the environment. Oil and coal are not renewable. Once they are used, they are gone, and besides They take a different form which pollutes the environment. Solar energy uses the power of the sun which is trapped during the day and supplies energy during the day through storage batteries for use in the night. As long as we have the sun, we will have solar energy.

Road to a Greener Earth

One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is that it is non-polluting. It is also silent. The solar cells extract the energy from the sun without a beep. Compare this with noise polluting coal plants and one can figure out the benefit of shifting to solar energy. The solar cells have no moving parts so maintenance is almost negligible and the cells have a long lifetime.

The initial investment on solar panels and the installation of the system is at present expensive. But in the long run, benefits of solar energy generating systems pay for itself in terms of reduced energy bills. As the solar panels have a long life, once the investments costs are met, there is no more drain only gain. Once the system is installed and functioning well, you are free from blackouts and power outages and no more at the mercy of power generating companies.

According to Solarnews sites, if there are any downsides to Solar Energy it may be the initial cost but cost is no issue if you compare the benefits.

Solar energy at present costs two times as much as traditional sources of power generation which is oil and coal. But as natural sources of oil and coal deplete, the cost of producing energy from such sources will rise. The other downfall is that it is only possible to generate electricity during the daytime. But with good battery reserves this can be a non issue .

Electrostatic Filters and Indoor Air Quality - Improving Quality of Air in Your Homes

Keeping the air quality in the homes is very important, particularly for family members with cases of allergies or asthma. Unfortunately, not many of us are aware that air inside our homes is actually more polluted than that outside. Following are highly recommended actions for you to follow so to reduce, if not prevent further trigger of asthma attacks, allergies, and other respiratory health condition in your homes.

It is very important to constantly keep your house clean and dust free. Installing window screens and even screens to your doors can help control some biological allergens (e.g., pollen, dust mites, mold, midew, and pet dander) from entering your homes. So you can let your windows and doors fully open instead of using standard window fan. This type of fan only allows movements of air pollutants into your homes. You can increase and keep good ventilation by rather using an exhaust fan, especially when showering, cooking, and using the dishwasher. In this way, you remove or avoid moisture and indoor pollutants from going around your homes.

Moreover, avoid as possible use of scented cleaning sprays or perfumes as these only trigger allergy or asthma attacks. Avoid any use of scents or smoke even if you want to spare yourself or your family members from unending sneezing or other respiratory symptoms.

Apart from installing screens for windows and doors, you can further improve quality of air inside your homes by using air filters to your air conditioning system or heater.

How electrostatic filters and indoor air quality are related to each other is an obvious way. Electrostatic filters and indoor air quality simply shows a direct relationship in the sense that the use of electrostatic filters increases the probability to achieve and maintain a favorable quality of air indoor.

Electro filters and indoor air quality relationship has been a long concern by many of us. It has been the reason how electrostatic air filters have become a requirement among many consumers nowadays. Increasing cases of asthma attacks, allergies, and other respiratory problems led for electrostatic filters and indoor air quality to become a pressing matter. This resulted to continuous research and development with the goal of improving the quality of the air we breathe.

Moreover, a regularly monitored electrostatic filters and indoor air quality ensures us of supplying our body with fresh and clean air, going through our lungs and blood streams.

Electrostatic air filters simply use static charges to attract and capture tiny air particles. These filters are found efficient, time- and money-saving, and help protects and maintains not only your respiratory condition but overall well-being as well.

Determine if a filterless air purifier as good as a filtered air purifier by visiting a popular website that provides tips, advice and resources on finding the best indoor air cleaners for your home.

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Monday, 26 May 2008

How To Build A Shed Base

As spring draws to an end and a promising English summer begins, the gardening retail market is at its peak. With the garden on everybody's mind, the sale of garden buildings and sheds in particular start to soar. This article explains something that not everyone is aware about, but everyone needs to know before buying a shed. Building a garden shed base which is firm and level is vital. A base must be constructed for any garden shed, and why pay excessive amounts to dodgy local handyman when you can do it yourself. With the help of the following, you can create your own base, and then you'll have the perfect foundations for your garden shed.

Firstly, to ensure both ease of assembly and the longevity of your garden shed, it is essential that it has a firm and level base constructed from a durable material. Construction without such a base may not only invalidate any product guarantee that comes with your garden shed but also lead to problems such as doors dropping out of square and water leakage.

When choosing the location for a garden shed base, make sure not to place it too close to walls or fences as your garden shed may have an overhanging roof. Similarly, be careful when placing the base near overhanging branches or large bushes especially if they are likely to grow and come into contact with the shed in the future. If this is the case, cut these branches in advance and, once your shed is assembled, make sure to check nearby foliage regularly as any damage to the roofing felt may make your garden shed vulnerable to bad weather conditions. Finally, don't forget to allow sufficient access to the outside walls so that you can apply regular wood treatments.

We recommend using a reputable local builder to construct a base for your garden shed where possible but if you feel comfortable with the task yourself, it is relatively straightforward to do.

It is strongly advised that you build your base slightly larger than the dimensions of your garden shed by approximately 30-40 mm (1.2-1.6 inches) on each side.

There are three main methods described below:

1. Concrete Base Method

2. Paving Slab Method

3. Timber Bearers Method

The first step is common to all methods:

Mark out the area where you plan to build your base with pegs and string and clear any vegetation within. You can ensure that your marked area is square by measuring diagonally between the top-left and bottom-right pegs and making sure that distance is equal to the distance between the top-right and bottom-left pegs. Alternatively, you can make use of a try square to ensure that all angles are at 90 degrees.

Concrete Base Method--------------------

(This method is strongly recommended for larger garden sheds or log cabins.)

Excavate the ground in the marked area to an approximate depth of 150 mm (6 inches). Lay approximately 75 mm (3 inches) of firmly compacted hardcore, scalping or brick rubble to act as a sound foundation and level with compacted sand if appropriate with the aid of a rake. You can now remove the pegs and string.

The next step is to cut and fit four timber rails or steel shutters to create a frame for the concrete that will rest atop the foundation you just laid. Ensure that the base with its new shuttering is completely level and square with the aid of a tape measure, spirit level and try square.

Now lay approximately 75 mm (3 inches) of concrete. Concrete can be produced with bags of dry mixed concrete with small amounts of water added gradually or by making a mixture of "all-in" ballast, cement and water. If going for the latter option, mix five parts "all-in" ballast to one part cement. "All-in" ballast is usually sold in 40 kg bags at most building merchants and DIY stores and you will need approximately1.25 kg per cubic foot of concrete. Take care not to let the mix become too wet however as this will weaken the resulting concrete.

Spread the concrete evenly in the shuttering, making sure to push it into corners and edges. A good technique is to lay the concrete a layer at a time, compacting each as you go until the shuttering frame is full. Use a wooden or plastic float to make the concrete flush with the top of the framework.

Cover the concrete with sheets and allow it to dry naturally. Concrete must not dry too quickly so it may be necessary to spray it with water in warm and dry weather conditions to prolong the drying process.

Once dry, your base is complete and ready for you to begin assembly of your garden shed.

Paving Slab Method------------------

Excavate the ground in the marked area to an approximate depth of 64 mm (2.5 inches) and remove the pegs and string. Lay approximately 40 mm (1.5 inches) of a mix of one part cement to eight parts building sand. Level this dry sand and cement mix with a rake and use a spirit level to check it.

Starting from a corner, lay paving slabs tapped down with a rubber mallet ensuring that the top of the slabs is slightly higher than the surrounding ground for rain water drainage. Again, use a spirit level when checking that the slabs are square, level and firmly butted together.

After brushing off any excess sand and cement mix, your base is now ready for your garden shed.

Timber Bearers Method---------------------

Excavate the ground in the marked area to an approximate depth of 50 mm (2 inches) and remove the pegs and string. Lay approximately 40 mm(1.5 inches) of gravel or soil, levelling it with a rake and checking with a spirit level.

Equally space concrete or pressure-treated (sometimes referred to as"tanalised") timber bearers at intervals of approximately 400-600 mm(15.7-23.6 inches) across the gravel or soil. Ensure that the bearers are perpendicular to any floor joists that come with your garden shed. Use a spirit level to ensure that the bearers are level and use a rubber mallet to tap them down if necessary.

The number of floor bearers you need depends entirely on the size of your shed but here are some examples to give you a rough idea:

* 6x4 shed = 4 x 1150 mm (4 feet) long bearers

* 7x5 shed = 4 x 1450 mm (5 feet) long bearers

* 8x6 shed = 5 x 1750 mm (6 feet) long bearers

* 10x8 shed = 6 x 2350 mm (8 feet) long bearers

Your base is now ready for your garden shed.

This article is from an experienced journalist from

Chris Hopkin is an experienced journalist who specializes in the field of garden care and outdoor structures. He is a key contributor to many online articles and blogs including offering in depth market advice and analysis on behalf of large retailers such as

Chaise Lounges - Comfortable Seating For Your Outdoor Space

Comfort is the key ingredient to relaxing on a lovely summer afternoon. That is why you need relaxing seating in place and one lavish seating option is chaise lounges. A few of them would be a spectacular addition to your outdoor space.

What makes chaise lounges so relaxing is their fabulous design. They feature a spacious, long rectangular lounging area equipped with a backrest. Now, this is the most simple of the designs that one can have because there have been variations made to it so the furnishing is even more relaxing. Like, now they come with adjustable backrests, so if you want to take a nap or sit up and read a book, you easily can. Armrests are also an option for some of them and there are even features that add some practicality to them including those that have pull out snack trays and wheels for easy transportation.

Chaise lounges would be a great choice for adding to any outdoor space since they are so comfortable. One fantastic spot would be by the pool, where you could nicely dry off after a refreshing dip. Another great place that you could put one is on a deck to create a nice outdoor oasis, you could even put two so you could enjoy the time with the one you love.

When purchasing chaise lounges, make sure that you get ones that are made out of higher quality materials. This is important given that if you get something that is made out of something that is cheap, then it won't last long and will break down under the elements. So, go with something that is good and those materials include woods like Southern Cypress, Shorea, Redwood, and Teak along with metals like wrought iron and manmade materials including recycled plastics and different resins. Each is a durable choice that will ensure your selection lasts for years.

Now, if you want to create the ultimate place to relax, in addition to the chaise lounges, you should also get some nice outdoor accent furniture to go with it. Like, side tables so you can set down drinks and snacks and other items including books and magazines. In addition to that you, you could also add an umbrella into the mix to provide shade whenever you feel like getting out of the sun.

For a great way to look into all the chaise lounges that you could purchase for your space, the thing to do is some online shopping. In no time at all you can sift through the many selections that are available. When you do happen upon something you want, it generally will be available at the best possible prices, plus, it will be shipped right to your home. So, no worrying about how you are going to get it from here to there.

When it comes down to it, if you want a comfortable place to take it easy on your deck, porch, or patio, just turn to chaise lounges. They're a top notch outdoor furniture choice that will be sure to please.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of different niche online stores that offer customers not only products, but information relating to furnishing and decorating indoor and outdoor living spaces. Whether you want to redecorate your living room or create the ultimate outdoor environment perfect for entertaining, there is a lot of helpful advice to take advantage of to make it happen. Today, she shares her insight when investing in luxurious resin patio furniture, grand patio furniture, and comfortable outdoor patio sets.

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Sunday, 25 May 2008

Copper Weather Vanes - The Decorative Touch You've Been Looking To Put On Your Home

You have decided that you would like to put a unique, decorative twist on your home, but you're not quite sure how you're going to do it. New gutters would be a good option and even a new coat of paint might do the trick. The thing is, you don't seem to have to the time to get that all done and just want something simple. Well, if that is the case, then copper weather vanes are just what you've been looking for.

Copper weather vanes are a beautiful outdoor item that would be a fantastic finishing touch the outdoor décor of any home. Why? For starters, there are many eye-catching options available out there that can easily reflect your personal style. For example, maybe you are really into birds, if so, there are a tone of birds selections available from pheasants to ducks, hawks, geese, and even eagles. Or, maybe you like the fast lane and you're into speeding cars and everything fast. A great choice for you then would be ones that are in the shapes of motorcycles, drag racers, and even airplanes. The choices don't stop there either, there are a ton more, so many, there isn't enough time to list them all.

And, the second reason why copper weather vanes have such a stunning look is because of the copper they are crafted from. Copper is a metal that is extremely pleasing to the eye and when new, it has this gorgeous shining quality that just gleams with beauty. Over time, your copper weather vane will weather to a luscious antique, patina color, creating one distinguished looking piece that will be sure to please. Now, if you want to keep the one you get in its original polished state, just apply some kind of protectant to it at the beginning of each season.

In addition to copper weather vanes, there are also other selections available that are crafted from different things as well including aluminum and stainless steel. Each is a pretty good material option just like copper and would be a great choice for adding to your outdoor space.

If you're thinking that copper weather vanes, or any other ones you might want, are the right outdoor accessory for you, a great way to take in all the options is by jumping on the World Wide Web and doing some online shopping. Really, it is the way to go given that you don't have to step foot outside of your home to do it and when you do decide on something, it generally will be at the best prices available. Plus, it will be shipped right to your house, so, you don't have to worry about a trip to the store and wasting gas.

At the end of the day, if you want to add some decorative flair to your outdoor space, a great way to do it is with copper weather vanes. There are a ton of selections to choose from, all of which will be sure to please.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of different niche online stores that offer customers not only products, but information relating to furnishing and decorating indoor and outdoor living spaces. Whether you want to redecorate your living room or create the ultimate outdoor environment perfect for entertaining, there is a lot of helpful advice to take advantage of to make it happen. Today, she shares her insight when investing in luxurious garden finials, grand copper weathervanes, and elegant weathervanes.

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Saturday, 24 May 2008

Crystal Chandelier Best Fit For Best Dining Room

Well everybody knows that the proper lighting in the dining room sets the mood and enjoyment for the most elegant room in your house. To get the best balance of illumination in the dining room, opt for layers of light. It is said that it offers so much and can contribute too many things in your room. It is a fact that most beautiful homes have nice crystal chandeliers to illuminate the whole room. The first step is to realize that a dining room needs more than just a chandelier for proper lighting. Chandeliers that are bright enough to illuminate a room will be too bright for comfort when dining. Likewise, if the chandelier's light is comfortable on the eyes, it will be too dim and look flat. The most coveted crystal chandeliers often offer the best to your home.

Remember that when choosing dining room lighting, start with a crystal chandelier in the middle of the room, and then work out with accent lights. The chandelier will determine the room's feeling. Use your imagination. In today's more eclectic decor, even casual homes can have elegant dining rooms as well. It is not impossible to have crystal chandeliers because the demand on it nowadays is really high. You might find casual wrought-iron or brushed-steel metal fixtures in the home's adjacent great room and wrought-iron with crystal drops or pendants in the dining room, creating a more romantic, softer setting. It is just fine to have those because it is the common for a crystal chandelier.

You have to take note that when selecting a chandelier; don't worry about the fixture's quality of light as much as its beauty and scale. Crystal Chandelier choices include everything from those with exposed bulbs to those with large alabaster diffusing bowls. Trends range from simple Mission-inspired models with mica glass to ornate brass filigree with crystal pendants. Truly the range of design and style can go a long way and you can have your eyes feasting on many exclusive designs that you may want for your home.

It is widely known that finish is the most important factor today and it should complement surrounding furnishings and accessories, not match or contrast. The finish selected will then determine the material. Like popular materials include brass, aluminum, wrought iron, other metal combinations, or composite materials. Crystal chandeliers are one of the most traditional ways to complement a dining room setting. So don't be left behind and sink your teeth into it. The demand is really surprising and there are many choices to ponder with. Remember to always be at least in the know when it comes to crystal chandelier so that you can the best fit for your home.

Light Is Might For Crystal Chandelier

Everyone who is into crystal chandeliers knows that its lighting feature is the most important on its use. So when choosing a crystal chandelier it is important to focus on it as well. I now that people fall easily in love with beautiful styles and designs but at the same time you also have to keep in mind that you need to focus on its lighting as well, because it is one of the factors that is really needed on it. Let me talk about the use of accent lights. Accent lights are either recessed or track-mounted, on either side of the crystal chandelier and between the ends of the table add a festive sparkle to china, crystal, and fruit arrangements. Space them so they are not over the heads of diners, but not so close to the crystal chandelier as to create shadows. Angle them toward the chandelier to add sparkle and provide down lighting.

Portable lighting, or table lamps, also plays an important role in the dining room area. Accent lamps on breakfronts or étageres or two great buffet lamps with unique shades can help create just the right mood for that special meal or occasion when the dining room is being utilized. You must keep in mind that the lighting aspect of the crystal chandeliers is the most important to keep in mind. You bought a crystal chandelier for a reason and I am mighty sure it is for lighting purposes. So always take note that when choosing one, you better focus on it as well.

The final layer of light should fill in the shadows around the room's perimeter. Consider recessed lights located in the ceiling toward the corners of the room. Wall washers, recessed or mounted on tracks, can illuminate drapes or paintings. Torchieres and sconces point light toward the ceiling. Don't forget to light furniture around the edge of the dining room. Buffets, hutches or breakfronts can be illuminated internally with low voltage lights on the underside of shelves to light up collections and china. The perimeter should always be lit and it is also a big factor to keep in mind that everything should be covered in this position.

Although there are other options include recessed or track lighting above buffets or breakfronts. Miniature low voltage pendants suspended three feet above the buffet offer a more contemporary look, while tall, thin candlestick lamps on either end are more traditional. The things to keep in mind most of the time is that you need to consider the lighting of your crystal chandelier at par. Be sure that you are also giving care on it so that you won't have a useless crystal chandelier, remember the brighter they are the more exposed the beauty of it can be.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Cinch Bug Lawn Symptoms And Home Remedy

You do everything right. You water, fertilize and mow with a methodical approach yet you find these circular yellow spots on you lawn. More than likely you have cinch bugs.

These nasty things will eat away at your grass sucking the juice right out of it then leave behind a poison that kills. They are most common in the South, East and Midwest. They love St. Augustine grass, Kentucky Bluegrass and Bent grass. They also like highly fertilized grass, and this is another reason I say too much fertilizing can be harmful.

Well, here's a way you can test and verify if these pests have invaded. Take a teaspoon of liquid detergent, dish or laundry, and mix it with a quart of water. Then remove both ends of a tin can to make a tin tube. Push one end of the tin tube into the ground, about 2-3 inches. Then pour about 1 cup of the solution into the can. Wait about 5-10 minutes and watch for anything climbing or floating to the surface. You may be surprised at what you see coming up.

They tend to infest when there is a thick thatch, poor nitrogen content and lack of water. They usually appear during dry spells. They'll colonize in the hottest and driest parts of your lawn. It may be difficult to distinguish drought damage from cinch bugs, but the "can" test will tell the tale.

There's a simple, cheap and very effective home remedy for removing cinch bugs. In the Pest Control Pages at The Little Green I have provided a modest recipe for insecticidal soap. In the mid-section of the "Yellow patches in my lawn" article there's a cinch bug home remedy removal procedure that will allow you to rid yourself of these suckers. It's cheap, quick and effective. If you choose to do this procedure you'll want to grab the kids and gather the neighbors because it's quite entertaining.

You can also try Scott's Bug-B-Gone insect killer for lawns that will work great; just follow the instructions.

As another option, and if you're wanting to use what's around the house and relatively less expensive, make the insecticidal soap I mentioned above and add 4 teaspoons of isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Pour it into a spray bottle that you have labeled explicitly and spray the infected areas every 3 days for 2 weeks. This should take care of the little pests.

Taking preventative measures is always the best way to keep them out. To do so make sure your thatch layer never gets any thicker than 1/4 inch, keep your lawn moist and well watered and try to avoid over fertilizing.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Stone - Fieldstone - It's Only Natural!

Drive along any old, winding country road and you'll pass dozens of structures built out of fieldstone. Really... you say? Yep. Just about anywhere you can drive a car you will encounter this common building material and in a very short period of time. You could say that this common though beautiful stone has the right to be classified as one of the foundations of civilization... quite literally!

What is fieldstone? - The name is - the definition: a stone found in fields and used in its original shape.

Farmers clearing their fields for cultivating would remove stones that prevented plowing and collect them into large piles usually by the side of the fields. Since it was a by product of their farming efforts these stones were free and abundant and were an invaluable source for use as a raw building material. Eventually the piles of stone would find their way into walls and foundations as the homesteaders improved their properties with addition structures.

What do they look like? - Most fieldstones would have been left by glacial deposits and are rectangular to oval in size and shape. Fieldstones are also whole stones of a manageable size, so that men can place them into walls for construction.

The larger stones that may be found in fields are called boulders and have been used for centuries for markers for property lines or decorative pieces for property entrances and landscaping. Before heavy equipment was available though they were generally left where they were found, due to the extreme difficulty and work effort required to move and place such heavy pieces of stone.

They can range in color from dark gray, light browns and rusts to light buffs. Some locales may have unusual colors but most places will have the colors common to granite and limestone.

What makes fieldstone different than rubble stone? - Fieldstone and rubble stone differ in that a deposit of fieldstone will usually have a larger quantity of whole stones within the deposit. The corners will also be softened by thousands of years of weathering and tumbling. A rubble stone will tend to have sharper edges because they are mostly chips and chards from larger stones and haven't had the aging of Mother Nature to soften their edges.

Where is field stone used? - Even though fieldstone do vary is size and shape overall, they tend to have flatter characteristics and are of a size that one or two men can carry. This makes the fieldstone most desirable for barn and house foundations, retaining walls, fences, fireplaces and chimneys or any structure that requires large and wide stone wall thicknesses.

Even though this is a very beautiful stone for building it is not used much for home facings due to the depth of the stones. However they can be collected and run through power splitters to form the necessary shapes needed to fit residential house wall construction but done so rarely.

Like the lowly rubble stone the fieldstone is considered a common stone and used where an earthy, natural appearance is desired. Because of the general size of the individual stones, a fieldstone wall has the look of durability and strength.

If you ever decide to build terrace walls, foundations or retaining walls you have to consider the fieldstone as a material choice. For its' price you won't find a more favorable appearance.

Michael Olding is tradesman and consultant in the field of restorations and repairs and currently operates a restoration and repair business in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also a Master in the field of masonry construction, restorations and repairs.

In addition he is a writer and speaker as well as a marketing, training and business consultant for the contracting industry. If you interested in his services he may be contacted by visiting

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Stucco - For the Protection of Deteriorated Masonry

Stucco can be a great way to protect damaged masonry - Old or poorly maintained masonry can be costly to repair. A stucco application to deteriorated masonry just might be the answer for small budgets yet still provide reasonable protection of the damaged masonry from the elements.

What exactly is stucco? - Stucco is a cement and sand based mixture that is used as a siding material on homes or businesses or as a decorative or waterproofing material for covering masonry walls.

When buildings begin to age they start to experience many different forms of deterioration mostly from water infiltration. Sometimes the cost of repairs can be very expensive.

When old, deteriorated masonry structures do not warrant the investment in re-construction or repair then a stucco application may be the alternative. This will extend the life of the masonry by filling in the obvious damaged area and in addition provides a smooth waterproof surface from rain water.

It can be used where bricks are flaking or 'spalling' - Stucco can be used as an intermediate repair application that will protect the surface of old or deteriorated masonry from water entry. It helps strengthen the surface of the wall which will slow the process of spalling or flaking of brick masonry. Stucco can be used in so many different ways and is truly a very versatile product.

Old masonry chimneys and walls are prime candidates for stucco - Old masonry chimneys and walls can be real problems. If the conditions are right an application of a stucco coating can extend the life of your chimney or wall by closing off the deteriorated bricks and mortar joints and providing a smooth surface for water run off.

How is the stucco coating applied? - For the simplest applications stucco cement is mixed with water. A bonding agent is also added to assure the best possible bond of the stucco to the masonry surface.

The masonry wall is dampened prior to the application of the stucco coating to keep the stucco from flash drying which can weaken the bond of the stucco to the masonry. This first application is called a 'scratch coat' and is used to fill all voids and cracks and smooth out any inconsistencies in the wall. The scratch coat is then left to dry overnight.

Then the second stucco coat is applied - Sometimes a single coat is all that is requested and other times a second coat is applied to tighten up the surface of the wall and add some finished texture to the appearance to the masonry. Many different pigments can be added to the stucco and many different textures can be applied.

Stucco can be used as either a cheap and effective repair solution or if the budget allows a highly decorative and artistic texture designed to enhance the beauty of any home. How you choose to use it is completely up to you and how much you wish to spend.

Michael Olding is tradesman and consultant in the field of restorations and repairs and currently operates a restoration and repair business in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also a Master in the field of masonry construction, restorations and repairs.

In addition he is a writer and speaker as well as a marketing, training and business consultant for the contracting industry. If you interested in his services he may be contacted by visiting

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Bedroom Furniture - Perfect For Getting Your Space Organized

Your bedroom space, it should be a sanctuary where you go to just relax and get a good night's sleep. However, if that space is in shambles with clothes over here, shoes over there, and just clutter everywhere, it can be kind of difficult to just unwind. So, if that is the state of your bedroom, it's time to clean things up and bedroom furniture is a great way to get things organized.

How does bedroom furniture help you get organized, well, it is because there are many selections to choose from that will allow you to easy stow away all of those items that are strewn out across your floor. For example, maybe your closet is just jam packed with hanging clothes and you need more space to hang more of it. Well, then a must have for your space would be an armoire. It offers you that extra space to put clothes and you could even place other items in it since ones will usually come with lower drawers and even shelves. You can even use armoires as an entertainment center, ideal for keeping that TV of yours when it's not in use.

Along with the armoires, there are also many other bedroom furniture options. Like, you can get tall and slender dressers, shorter dressers that are longer and wider, nightstands, bed frames that have shelving built right into them, book cases, and even hope chests. All of them give you a great place to put different things. You can even get a vanity, giving you a lovely place to get ready for nights on the town if your husband is hogging the bathroom.

In addition to getting your bedroom organized, bedroom furniture is also a great way to give your space a lovely, eye-catching appearance since the pieces that you can get are extremely pleasing to the eye. How is this possible you might be wondering, well, it is because the furniture is crafted from different materials that are then finished in a number of beautiful ways.

For example, you can get bedroom furniture that is crafted out of a rich maple wood, something that also makes your selection sturdy, that have a rich espresso finish applied to it while being finished with sleek stainless steel hardware to create one modern appearance. Or, you can get something else that has more of an antique vibe crafted from pine that is painted white and then finished with elegant hand painted accents.

These are just some of the bedroom furniture material and finishing options available and for a great way to check out all the different ones you could purchase for your space, just hit the Internet for some online shopping. You can look at what all the online retailers have to offer by just the click of the mouse. And, when you do come across something you like, it usually is at a pretty reasonable price.

So, if you want to get your bedroom organized, turn to new bedroom furniture to do it. There are many options available, all of which you will get years of use out of.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of a wide variety of online specialty shops that offer both products and information on how you can easily furnish and decorate your space. Whether it's your living, bedroom, or even your deck or patio, there are many tips you can use to make your space both functional and beautiful. Today, she offers advice on how to create a fabulous indoor area by using unique bedroom furniture sets, fun and fabulous contemporary bedroom furniture and sleek and low slung modern bedroom furniture.

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Sofa Tables - Mixing Them With Your Living Room Set

Regardless of how many rooms you have in your home, the living room is probably the most important of them. The living room is where you, as a family, spend most of your time relaxing, watching TV or just bonding. It's also the room where you entertain your guests. The living room is definitely the room that requires the most furnishing and decorating ideas. The way you chose to decorate your living room will say a lot about you and the way your friends will see you. Will it be stiff and formal or relaxed and casual? The most important part of your living room decorating will be your walls and your sofa.

Once you decide on a color for your walls, you can get a sofa that goes with it and blends well. Very seldom do people get just a sofa, however. They usually purchase a set consisting of a sofa, loveseat and chair or recliner. Many chose to go with a sectional, which will allow them plenty of sitting room, too. Although the walls and the sofa are the most important part of your living room, they are far from everything. In fact, you'll consider a living room with only a sofa or sofa set as quite incomplete. The accessories you chose will be what will make or break your room décor.

Sofa tables will probably be the first thing you'll choose after you get your sofa. Many people purchase their tables at the same time as the furniture. Furniture stores often place these items together so customers can see how well they go together. This usually guarantees them a sale. If you don't get your sofa tables at the same time as your sofa or sofa sets, you'll have a lot of deciding to do. You'll be amazed at the many styles of sofa and console tables available today.

Sectional sofas are a great choice for your living room furniture. They prove themselves as very relaxing for you or your guests while you kick back and watch TV or just visit. With sectionals, you have the choice of letting them fill up an entire section of your living room or you can break them apart and use them as individual seating arrangements. This is when sofa tables come in very handy.

If you're interested in more of a modern look, you can get some wood finished sofa tables with drawers for storage. These come in a variety of sizes and finishes. Contemporary style tables can be purchased in a sleek black finish with geometric lines and designs. Wrought iron is another style that's widely used in sofa or console tables. These can be used for many different functions including a place to store beverages, a display place for your favorite knick-knacks or your favorite family portraits. Many decorators have the ever-popular scented candles or a live plant sitting on top of their sofa or console tables. Whatever function you choose for your sofa tables, they are sure to add some style and décor to your living room.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of a wide variety of online specialty shops that offer both products and information on how you can easily furnish and decorate your space. Whether it's your living, bedroom, or even your deck or patio, there are many tips you can use to make your space both functional and beautiful. Today, she offers advice on how to create a fabulous indoor area by using colorful accent tables, sleek sofa tables and a modern console table.

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