Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Solar Rebates For Home Improvement

American’s love rebates. Whether rebates are offered on computers, software, cars or whatever, we snatch them up. If your considering going solar, you’ll be happy to hear rebates are available.

Solar Rebates

As most people know, a rebate is a give back by a company in exchange for the purchase of their product. Rebates usually come in the form of money if you send in a coupon, but can also come in the form of upgrades and add-ons.

The solar technology industry is so thick with rebate programs it is hard to see the forest for the trees. You can expect to find rebates being issued by the manufacturer of a product, the federal government, your state government and possibly even your country and town or city. In many locations, the local utility company may also give you a rebate on your bill for going solar. No other source or product line has as many rebates as the solar industry. Why? Because solar represents one of the cleanest and cheapest energy sources in our country. The powers that be want to promote it for monetary and environmental reasons, not to mention providing some relief to our overtaxed national electric grid system.

Buy down rebates are the most voluminous in the solar industry. With a buy down, a government agency will pay for a percentage of the solar platform you purchase. The specific amount of the buy down depends on factors such as what the platform is used for and the amount of electricity it produces. Trust me, your local solar vendor will be able to tell you in detail about the rebate since it is a good sales technique.

When investigating rebates for your solar purchase, it is important that you don’t stop at the first program. If a state has one rebate program, it will often have as many as eight others. You can often qualify for three of four, which can cut your initial costs by as much as fifty percent.

About The Author
Rick Chapo is with – a directory of solar energy and solar power companies. Visit to read more solar electricity articles.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Solar Outdoor Lighting

The Old Way

Once upon a time if you wanted outdoor lights, you had to assemble the lights, dig ditches, run wires, find and outlet for the transformer(these were low voltage systems using 12 volts), connect the light connections to the main cable, cover the ditches and set back to enjoy the fruits of your labors. If there was a sidewalk or driveway involved, then the work had just begun, trying to get your main cable across these obstacles. They worked great until the bulbs started getting older, then they would fade a little, burn out or their connection would corrode and need occasional cleaning and reinserting.

The New Way

Solar Outdoor lighting has made improvements by leaps and bounds over the last decade. The efficiency of the solar panels including the reduction in their size coupled with the quality of the batteries they charge has made the purchase of solar lights very economical. In the beginning, they only had one color, bluish white. They have now developed an amber color which is less artificial looking.

They can be purchased individually or in sets. If you only want to light up a feature in your yard such as a tree, you can purchase the light to do it. If you want to light up the walk to your front door, you can purchase a set to do this.

Now, installing outdoor lights has never been easier. All you need to do is decide where you want to install a light, stick it in the ground and you are done. If you decide you don’t like that location, just pull it up and move it. No wiring to fuss with or move, no timer to set and no connections to worry about.

Overall: For the person with a lot of time to spend on installing all the components involved with the old system and the maintenance they require, they are less expensive and dependable to a point. For the person who is busy, likes instant gratification, and may want to change the location of their lights to gain different effects, solar lights are the way to go.

Johnny Shaw
Never give up, Never surrender

About The Author
Johnny Shaw
I am a retired military trying to supplemente my income with an online store.


Monday, February 26, 2007

6 Easy Decorating Fixes

Sometimes you don't need to spend a fortune to fix a decorating mistake or problem. In fact, easy and inexpensive solutions are more common than you may think. Here are six cheap and simple decorating fixes.

1) Paint. Need to update a room or give it some flair. Paint is the easiest and least expensive fix there is. With a gallon or two, about $50, you can give a room a brand new look.

2) Throws and pillows. Ok, so the sofa is getting worn and dated, but the budget won't allow you to replace it yet. What to do? Casually drape some throw blankets across a corner and add some coordinating pillows. Don't just put the throw over the back, have go on the corner, draping so it falls across an arm, part of the back, and over a cushion. We were selling our house and had redecorated the whole thing, but we couldn't afford new couches even though the dog had snagged the fabric with his claws. Throws and pillows covered up the problem spots and made the boring couches look romantic and inviting.

3) Area rugs. Have a problem floor or a spot? Hide it with a rug. We had refinished hardwood floors in our first house, but there was a water stain smack dab in the middle of the room that no amount of standing could fix. We didn't have the money to replace the floor so we bought a small oriental rug instead. While the rug seemed expensive at the time, it was cheaper than replacing half of the hardwood, added a warm luxurious feel to the room, and it has lasted nearly 20 years!

4) New cabinet hardware. Cabinets make a big statement in a kitchen or bath, but replacing them cost thousands of dollars. For a simple way to update and dress up cabinets, simply change the hardware. Get fancy knobs that make a statement. Spend a little extra than you may normally because remember how much you're saving by not replacing your cabinets.

5) Slipcovers. Yes, slipcovers. No longer are these the horrid things your grandmother used. Now slipcovers come to be easily put on, sized to fit well, and designed to be attractive and modern. Do a Google search, and you'll be surprised how many you can find.

6) Sponging or rag painting. Do you have a wall that's been patched or had cracks repaired, but it's just not as smooth as it once was? A great way to camouflage it is to sponge or rag paint the wall. The inherent texture of these painting techniques can hide a multitude of plaster and dry wall sins.

See; you don't have to break the bank to easily fix some decorating problems.

About The Author
Julie Lohmeier is the veteran of numerous home remodeling and building projects. From working hands on and doing much of the work herself to hiring contractors and construction managers, she has seen the entire spectrum of home improvement. She shares her remodeling tips, home decorating ideas, and other various rants at Subscribe to her free newsletter at:
@copyright 2006, Julie Lohmeier,


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tips for Growing Beautiful Roses

Growing roses isn't difficult. It just takes some tender loving care.

Plant roses in a location which gets full sunlight.

Roses should be pruned in the spring. Cut out dead and damaged branches. Always sharpen the hand shears and soak them in a solution of half water and half bleach before pruning. This will helps to protect the rosebush from diseases and insects.

Mulch the rosebush with wood chips, pine needles, grass clippings or other organic mulch. The mulch keeps in moisture, keeps weeds from growing, and helps to prevent diseases.

Protect roses during the winter months by adding a few extra inches of soil to the base of your roses.

Fertilize roses regularly. Kelp is an excellent natural fertilizer. Stop fertilizing one month before expected frost date.

Water roses deeply once a week at the roots and prevent getting the leaves wet. Wet foliage invites fungal diseases. Alternatives place a drip or soaker hose around the rosebush and cover with mulch. Water in the morning for best results.

Roses need to be planted in soil that provides good drainage. If not possible then plant roses in raised beds. Allow at least one foot of space between the rosebushes for good air circulation. This too helps to prevent disease.

For insect pests a good natural insecticide is Neem Seed Oil. It is also good at helping to defeat fungi. In severe cases use an insecticidal soap or chemical pesticide.

Aphids are the most common rose pest. Simply wash the rosebush with a blast of soapy water from a hose. This will knock the aphids off.

Japanese beetles are the second most common enemy. At the first sign of them apply insecticides and continue on a regular basis. Garlic plants and sprays are organic techniques to help keep the beetles away.

For more information about growing roses visit:

Copyright: 2006 Marilyn Pokorney

About The Author
Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
Email: Current address on website


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Selecting A Canopy

A canopy can add a touch of sophistication as well as provide shelter from the elements. A canopy should provide optimum shade and also be a stylish extension your living space. A canopy can help you create your very own outdoor room. There is a wide choice of colours, styles and models to choose from so that your canopy will be a perfect feature for your garden. Whether you want it to be an eye-catching feature or to blend in with the rest of your house and garden there is bound to be one that suits your tastes.

A canopy has to be designed and built to cope with the demands of life outdoors. It needs to be tough and stable to ensure that it will look great for years to come - no matter what the weather. A canopy needs to have strong frames and should have casings manufactured from heavy-duty aluminium that will not bend, twist or buckle during operation. The finish should be highly resistant to cracking, chipping and peeling. Experienced canopy makers have used extensive research to develop superior fabrics that resist fading and temperature extremes. A canopy should be coated with Teflon to make them stain resistant and have a regular anti-mildew treatment to reduce unsightly spots and markings. There are special water-resistant coatings available so your canopy can be used in wet weather too.

Gardens come in many shapes, styles and sizes and that's why a canopy should be made to measure so that it is as individual as your garden. The most expensive types of canopy are handcrafted so that it can be tailored perfectly to meet your needs. Special brackets and fixings can be used to cater for any special requirements and a top of the range canopy will even include a remote control unit so you can adjust your canopy without having to get up, giving you extra shading, privacy or cover in seconds. There are even some canopy manufacturers that incorporate light and wind sensors into their canopy designs meaning that it automatically adjust in line with the weather. This is especially useful if you are in an area that is prone to heavy winds. If the canopy is open and the wind speed detected exceeds the safety limit then the canopy will be automatically retracted to prevent it from damaging your property.

About The Author
John Rivers is the owner of Top Improvements. On his website you will find home improvement projects, contractors, tools, and resources.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Repairing a Hole in Drywall

I received a call this week from my church’s office manager saying we needed to have some repairs made before a visit from the building inspectors next week. One of the repairs was a hole in the drywall where a door handle had punched through the wall. The doorstop had broken and next thing you know there’s a repair job for the Go-To Guy.

Knowing how to do a patch like this is handy even when you’re not repairing damage. The first time I did one was when I installed phone and cable television service into an older home that my parents had purchased. My brother and I cut holes at the top and bottom of the wall to fish through the new wire, and then I patched up the holes and repainted and you’d never know the wall had been repaired. The same goes for running a new electrical wire or anything else that requires getting inside the wall.

If you don’t already know, a typical wall is mostly air. It is either 2×4 wood studs or metal studs that are placed every 16 inches on-center (when building walls you measure from the center of each stud and not the edges.) The surface is covered with drywall (a gypsum board covered with a heavy layer of paper) which is screwed or nailed to the studs. It’s quick to build and looks great, but can be easily damaged - especially when the builder uses 1/4 inch thick drywall instead of 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch (these are the standard thicknesses.)

When you have a damaged wall you need to replace the broken area with new drywall and then patch the seams and paint.

The supplies you’ll need for this project are:

* Drywall Saw
* Utility Knife
* Drywall piece large enough to fill the hole
* 1×3 inch Lumber or pieces of Scrap Plywood for supports
* Drywall Screws
* Joint Compound
* Mesh Fiberglass Drywall Tape
* 6 inch or larger Spreader
* Fine Grit Sand Paper or Drywall Sanding Screen
* Drill with Drywall Bit

All of these supplies can be found at your local home center in the construction materials area near the drywall. If you have a small patch, they may give you a scrap of drywall so you won’t have to buy a full sheet. There are usually plenty of scraps laying around in various thicknesses.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

1. Cut a hole larger than the damaged area. Make the corners of the cut as square as possible to make it easier to cut the replacement patch. Use a drywall saw cut the hole

2. Cut several pieces of 1×3 inch wood or plywood scraps that are several inches taller than the hole. Place them in the wall near the edges of the hole and use drywall screws to secure the wood to the exisiting wall. (Tighten the screws until the heads are slightly below the surface but don’t completely tear through the paper. A drywall bit for your drill is designed to prevent overtightening. It’s not essetial, but recommended.) The point here is to create a good solid surface to attach the patch too. If you have a large opening you can put an additional support in the center.

3. Using a utility knife, cut a new patch piece that is slightly smaller than the hole. (To cut drywall, cut the paper on the finished side and then bend the board backward until the gypsum ’snaps.’ You’ll want to support the back along the cut so it breaks evenly. Once it has snapped, use the utility knife to cut the paper on the back.)

4. Insert the patch into the opening and securely attach it to the supports you installed using drywall screws. One screw at the top and bottom of each support should be sufficent. (Don’t put the screws too close to the edges or the gypsum will crumble.)

5. Now that the hole is filled you need to cover the seams. Apply fiberglass mesh tape over the seams. (The joint compound used to fill the seams is not strong and will crack if not reinforced.)

6. The last step is applying joint compound to the seams with a wide spreading knife Spread the joint compound over the screw holes and tape creating the smoothest surface you can. Don’t get too fussy at this stage. Just get it close. Let this dry overnight and then put on one more light coat. After this coat dries, smooth out any surface bumps with a light sanding.

Your wall is repaired, good as new. Put a coat of wall primer over the patch to seal the surface and then paint it to match the rest of the wall. It’s important to put on the primer, because raw drywall and joint compound, when painted, will dull the finish of the paint and give away your patch job.

Happy home repair,

The Go-To Guy

About The Author
Andrew Seltz's wide range of interests and experience have given him the reputation of being a Go-To Guy for his family, friends, and co-workers. Through his website,, he shares some of what he has learned through the years - from home improvement to video production.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Installing a Shower Pan Membrane Liner for a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower

Installing a custom ceramic tile shower in your home is something a do it yourself homeowner can do with a little upfront knowledge. The most important aspect of a successful custom ceramic tile shower installation is properly installing a shower pan membrane liner. The shower pan membrane liner is used to ensure a leak-proof shower.

Shower pan membrane liners are used to funnel any water that seeps through the floor or wall grout to the shower drain below. The shower pan membrane liner is made up of a flexible type of plastic material that sits below a bed of mortar, and the tile, in the shower floor area.

Prior to installing the shower pan membrane liner, the floor of the shower needs to be pre-sloped to ensure that the water will flow towards the shower drain assembly. The pre-slope is accomplished by applying a layer of mortar to the floor of the shower unit area. The layer of mortar is troweled in such as way as to create a gentle slope from the shower wall edges to the center of the shower where the drain resides.

Once the pre-slope mortar has cured, the flexible shower pan membrane liner can then be installed. There are a couple of types of shower pan membrane liners on the market, with each having their own benefits. With either type of membrane, the homeowner needs to form and fold the material into the base of the shower area and secure it to the sides of the shower wall frame with staples and/or nails. In addition, an opening in the membrane should be cut out to allow the adjustable shower drain assembly to slip through.

With the shower pan membrane installed, the cementitious ceramic tile backerboard can then be secured to the framed shower walls. The backerboard is a rigid material that is ideal for attaching tile in wet areas such as a shower stall.

After installing the ceramic tile backerboard, a final coat of mortar needs to be applied on top of the membrane to protect it and to provide a solid base for laying the ceramic floor tile.

With the final coat of mortar cured, the ceramic tile can then be installed in the shower.

Once the tile and grout have been installed, the shower drain assembly should be adjusted so that the drain height sits flush with the finished ceramic tile floor.

For more information on installing a shower pan membrane liner, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation EBook from The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.

About The Author
Over the past 20+ years Mark Donovan has been involved with building homes and additions to homes. His projects have included: building a vacation home, building additions and garages on to existing homes, and finishing unfinished homes. For more home improvement information visit and


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rubber Floor Mats Or Carpet Floor Mats?

Regardless if you have just recently purchased a new car or are looking to spruce up your old vehicle, adding floor mats can make all the difference. Whether you are purchasing floor mats from a car dealership or a automotive shop, the options are usually large and may be confusing. Generally, there are two main categories of floor mats: rubber floor mats and carper floor mats. When making a decision between the two materials, the choice is generally one of desired look and specific needs.

Rubber floor mats are the better choice for vehicles that do a great deal of hauling materials or people. Look to include rubber floor mats in truck beds or in the rear of vehicles and in trunks. In addition to being much easier to clean than their carpet cousins, rubber floor mats may offer a bit of skid protection, so that items you are hauling are not catapulted from one end of your vehicle to another. Also, if you live in an area of the country that experiences particular messy weather or have a great deal of mud around your home or place of business, you may want to consider rubber floor mats specifically for the clean up potential.

Carpet floors mats are generally designated for cars, although there is no one reason why carpet must be included in cars and vice versa. Generally, carpet floor mats are though to look better, and are often purchased directly from the dealership in a color that matches the interior carpeting of the vehicle. If you purchase carpet floor mats from an automotive store or an outside source other than a dealership, you may have potential problems in matching the color of the floor mat to the color of your interior. In this instance, consider using a coordinating color that will hide stains and clean up easily while looking nice with the interior of your car.

Although carpet floor mats are usually purchased for vehicles designed for transportation instead of hauling purposes, many individuals find them inappropriate. Especially if you have small children or pets, carpet floor mats can become easily dirty and stained with muddy feet or spills. For this reason, consider mats that are topped with a stain protective coating so that spills and liquids puddle on the surface instead of soaking through the mat. Although floor mats are generally the line of protection for the carpet underneath, very few individuals ever let this carpet show and they often look for clear protective vinyl or rubber mats to protect their floor mats. Keep in mind that any floor mat should be secured to the floor to prevent slipping upon entering or exiting the vehicle, especially if the mat is located under the driver’s seat.

Consider using rubber floor mats for their customization options, since many individuals want to create a look especially for their car. These customizations can be anything from a name or nickname emblazoned on the floor mat to a cartoon character or a favorite sports athlete’s number. With the booming customization business involving vehicles of all makes, shapes, and sizes, it is not surprising the customized floor mats have also become a trendy extra for vehicles.

In the end, the choice of rubber or carpet floor mats is completely up to you. Consider first your purposes of the vehicle and then your budget to determine which type of mat will best meet your needs. If budget is a main concern in your choice, turn to the World Wide Web, where you can often find great prices on popular styles and brands of floor mats.

About The Author
Bill Carmel specializes in Floor Mats and


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ceiling Questions - Different Kinds Of Ceilings?

* What is a French ceiling?

It is a ceiling that is designed by its founders, Jean and Marie Gachet. The design came up after Jean Gachet coupled the stretched ceiling technology (which is relatively popular in lost ceiling designs in France) and his passion for traditional materials. He has created a ceiling finish system that is attractive as well as versatile and dependable. In addition, it is also a perfect complement to any decoration, whether contemporary, traditional, or everything in between. It can also be used in conjunction with thermal insulation and soundproofing purposes.

* What is a tin ceiling?

A tin ceiling is manufactured from various kinds of metals which include copper, tin, steel, and brass. Basically, it comes in the form of large rolls that, when laid, are stamped into a wide array of designs. It can then be cut and used for residential as well as commercial structures.

Most of these tin ceiling plates come in two standard sizes: 2’ x 2’ or and 2’ x 4’. The large standard size is commonly used on commercial structures and preferred by many with regards to drop-in ceiling installation.

* How do I clean my vaulted ceiling?

A vaulted ceiling is your ceiling that closely traces your roof line so that it looks like much of your roof. Before cleaning, you need to cover your floor, carpet, or furniture with plastic or any cloth that will catch the spill. After which, you may use a squeegee placed at the end of an extension pole or a broomstick and start cleaning your vaulted ceiling. If you want to clean it completely, use a scaffolding adjusted on a preferred height and use a cloth dipped in a cleaning solution to wipe your ceiling with any dirt or stain.

* When should I use acoustical ceiling tiles?

If you are living in an apartment and you do not like the noise that the children of your co-tenants on the floor above are making, acoustical ceiling tiles are the best material to fit in your ceiling. Similarly, if you do not want to hear the splattering sound of heavy rains, you may use acoustical ceiling tiles. These tiles are made for soundproofing and noise reduction purposes.

* How much will a new ceiling cost?

The cost of the new ceiling varies according to performance features and product designs. The typical cost of a new ceiling within a 10' x 12' room is estimated to be from $50 to $200. However, such cost does not cover installation costs or suspension system expenses.

* What is a fire rated ceiling?

A fire rated ceiling secures a particular structure (a house, commercial building, or others) from extreme heat and potential collapse in case it is scorched by fire. It provides a strong barrier between the area where the fire occurs and the floor above.

About The Author
Carrie Goyer is a regular contributor to ceiling and tile-related resources such as


Sunday, February 18, 2007

How to Pick the Right Glue for Your Project

Glues (or adhesives) are designed to stick two things together. Technically speaking, glues are natural and adhesives are synthetic, but for our purposes, we'll call them both "glue." Because there is no "universal" glue that can stick anything to anything in any condition, there are several "general purpose" glues (they stick a lot of things to a lot of things) and a whole bunch of "special purpose" glues (they stick certain things to certain things).

The best first step when picking glue is to understand:

- what you are sticking to what

- under what conditions do you need it to stick

- how quickly must it reach full strength

- how strong must the glue be

- what properties (clear, able to be sanded, etc.) must the glue have when it is dry

The following are different types of glues:

- White Glue: Non-toxic, odorless, nonflammable and dries clear in under an hour. Good for paper, wood, cloth, pottery and more.

- Yellow Glue: A higher quality derivative of white glue that dries stronger and is more resistant to moisture.

- Plastic Cement: Used to join polystyrene plastic. Works by dissolving the areas it contacts on the two parts of polystyrene being joined together, and in these dissolved areas the molecules from the two parts mix together.

- Instant (Super) Glue: Chemical name is ethyl cyanoacrylate and is an extremely fast bonding adhesive. It works best on smaller surfaces, using a very small amount of glue. It bonds instantly with a colorless and transparent bond that is very strong (except for shear forces).

- Pressure Sensitive: This term is applied to adhesives that bond on initial contact to most surfaces with only a little pressure and without any drying or curing time. The strength of the bond varies with the formulation.

- Rubber Cement: Literally, rubber dissolved in a solvent. The bond develops as the cement dries.

- Epoxy: Extremely tough and durable synthetic resin that is comprised of two parts that when mixed together bond a wide variety of materials in relatively harsh conditions.

So whether you want to create a craft project or repair an everyday item so it's usable again, shop around for the right kind of adhesive and your project will last!

About The Author
Article written by Gary Nave of


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

You Can't Beat Oriental Rugs For Elegance

Oriental rugs will add timeless beauty to your home, will coordinate with any décor, and enhance any room, hallway, or entrance. They are also a favorite option when decorating home offices, and are a particularly good choice for high traffic areas because of the intricacies of their designs, which hide wear and tear. The term "oriental" refers to rugs produced on the continent of Asia, such as Persian (from Iran), Indian, Chinese, and Turkish rugs. Imitations of the popular oriental patterns are also available and produced by manufacturers such as Nourison in the USA, and Sphinx, also in the USA but with its parent company in Egypt.

Making rugs by hand is an ancient art and the old designs reflect the religious and ethnic structures of the times in the countries or areas of origin. Many of these ancient designs are still produced today, sometimes hand-woven and hand-knotted, other times woven by machine. The most traditional patterns are those with a floral or garden motif, or geometric or curvilinear designs around a central medallion or a central painting-like scene. Oriental rugs used to be constructed only with such natural fibers as wool, cotton, silk, or goat and camel hair, or blends of these materials, but now you can find them made with less expensive synthetic materials such as olefin (polypropylene), nylon, polyester, and acrylic. Wool rugs remain the first choice in durable, soft, dirt-and-fire resistant, warm rugs, but synthetic reproductions make oriental area rugs more affordable. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes – round, oval, rectangular, and, of course, the popular runner.

How to Choose Oriental Rugs for Your Home

Decide on how you are going to use each area rug. Is it going to define furniture groupings or unify all the elements in the room? Is its primary use to protect a floor or a carpet? Is its prime function to add warmth and comfort? The use of the rug will dictate its size and shape. As well, you should keep these points in mind:

· The colors should be harmonious with other colors in the room.

· If the center of the carpet will be visible, medallions or central scenes are good choices, but if the center will be fully or partially hidden under a table or other furniture, it is better to go with a repetitive design or an elaborate and interesting border.

· A family with health problems will appreciate rugs with natural fibers since they have the advantage of not releasing chemicals into the air as synthetics do.

· Very colorful and busy designs can make an oriental rug the focal point in a room, but if the room is already colorful with intricate drapery and upholstery fabric designs, choose simple designs and subtle colors.

· If you are going to use two different rugs in one room, make sure the colors and patterns blend and complement each other.

Important Cost Considerations

It is not as difficult as you may think to find good quality, cheap area rugs with oriental designs. When you shop online, you deal directly with online retailers who can offer discount and warehouse prices because there are no storefront costs and no middlemen to pay. As well as shopping online, here are other considerations that can make the oriental rug of your dreams affordable:

· An antique rug is the most expensive and should have documentation attesting to its authenticity; imitations are much less costly.

· Natural fibers are more expensive than synthetic.

· Hand-made, hand-woven, and hand-knotted rugs made by weavers are more durable and much more expensive than machine woven and knotted.

· The number of knots per square inch indicates its quality, and a higher number means a higher cost.

· Very intricate and rare designs are the most expensive.

· The country or area of origin affects the price.

Whether you spring for a genuine antique oriental wool rug that has been hand woven and hand knotted in Iran, or you choose a polypropylene machine woven rug with an oriental design manufactured in North America, you will be adding beauty, warmth and comfort to your home. Enjoy!

About The Author
Scott Gray is an area rug, home decorating specialist and provides useful information and money saving tips about home decorating and related information. Visit the web site at


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Relax in a Hammock

Hammocks have been a standard for backyards for decades. Although they traditionally come from South American and Caribbean cultures, they have easily become a part of modern life. They are the ultimate way to just kick back and relax, and even doze off for a while. Just like most things, the hammock has been developed for maximum comfort and practicality.

Hammocks are a staple in homes in the Mexican state of the Yucatan. They have been made there for centuries and are hand woven by women and children alike. They are made in villages all around Mexico, though they are also made and sold worldwide. Hammocks have also been widely used on ships by sailors. Since they rock with the movement of the ship, they make sleeping on a ship much safer than a bed. Whether or not these cultural backgrounds have helped the popularity of the hammock is not know, but the practicality of the hammock sells it for itself.

Modern hammocks mimic the traditional construction of tightly wound thread, but have made several changes that make hammocks more comfortable. They are much larger so people can really spread out and get comfortable. Instead of a simple thread construction, hammocks are now crafted with decorative fabrics, pillows, and even mosquito netting. Decorative fabrics made the hammock a elegant addition to any deck or veranda, and comfy pillows offer a wonderful place to sit outside and rest your head.

Camping hammocks are specifically designed for being used in the great outdoors. Like the sailors, camping hammocks keep campers from being tipped out in the nights. They also allow campers to set up camp anywhere with no searching for that perfect spot for the tent. Mesh netting provides protection from insects and from the wind. Camping hammocks can also be folded up to make a hanging chair, and they are extremely light weight making it easy for hikers to carry around.

Next time you look at a hammock, you can think about the simple traditional hand-crafted hammock of thread and twine, or you can envision the elegant decorative floating chair. But the thought definitely will make you want to stretch out and catch a nap.

About The Author
Dawn Rowlett writes for Patio Stuff at A full service provider of indoor and outdoor patio furniture. Visit the site here,, for great deals on hammocks.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Buying Custom Baby Bedding and Pre-made Baby Nursery Bedding

When a new baby is on its way, the first thing a new parent thinks about is how to make the baby most comfortable when they arrive into their new world. A lot of effort goes into building the perfect ‘nest;’ i.e., nursery, and one of the most important items in a nursery is a baby’s bedding. Because babies are so susceptible to their surrounding environment, where and how a baby sleeps can make all the difference in how they rest.

It is important to invest wisely in proper baby bedding. This means materials that are soft, resilient, light, and warm on a baby’s skin, and sheets that fit as snugly as possible over a firm, snug mattress. This also means no quilts, comforters or pillows, as they are considered risk factors in sudden infant death syndrome. There are two options when buying baby bedding: pre-made baby bedding and custom baby bedding.

Pre-made baby bedding is a great, cost effective way to buy for your baby. If you do decide to use pre-made baby bedding, a good idea is to pick the bedding before anything else in the nursery or bedroom. This way you can design around the bedding, which often makes it easier to manage.

The problem many new parents face is that they may not be able to find exactly what they want, and will put it off, looking for the perfect match for a nursery or bedroom theme. Pretty soon the baby comes along, and the parents still haven’t chosen the bedding; they are now rushing to throw something together, and are unhappy with what they get. While this isn’t always the case, it is for many people. Others are happy and find what they need quickly, but for those that are having trouble, there is always custom-made baby bedding.

Custom baby bedding is great, especially if you can’t find a material you want, a pattern you like, or design element you require. Custom baby bedding can be manufactured to any and all specifications you have, and that is what makes it so great. You have full say in layout, looks and design, ensuring the uniqueness of your baby bedding and your happiness with finding exactly what you need.

This also creates less stress, because you will pick your design and layout, order it, and wait for it to arrive. This save saves you time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. While you may fear that custom-made bedding is very expensive, many manufacturers are very reasonable, and are worth at least a call or an email.

Buying baby bedding is a very personal and individual experience for most people, and getting exactly what you want is important. Whether you decide on pre-made or custom baby bedding, the most important thing is that you are happy and satisfied with your choice. Make sure you do the research and find out what materials are out there (cotton jersey is a great one) and what’s available for new parents.

About The Author
My name is "Kiran Joseph" and working for .


Monday, February 05, 2007

Ten Easy Tips for Installing Ceiling Fan

Current info about ceiling fan is not always the easiest thing to locate. Fortunately, this report includes the latest ceiling fan info available.

You may be a "do it yourself" (DIY) expert, having installed countless ceiling fans in numerous homes—both yours and those of various family and friends. However, even though you have the basics down, every DIYer knows: there's always another trick out there to make the process a little easier. So although the following is not an exact step-by-step guide to installing a ceiling fan, this should give you a few hints to make the process a breeze!

When buying, remember that not all fans were created alike. In addition to price and style, some other factors to consider when buying your fan are:

Motor: more inexpensive fans often have an outer covering of thin metal, which increases the likelihood of rattles, clicks, hums, or buzzes during operation. Since many fans are installed in bedrooms, this can become an important consideration

Blades: Blade pitch can determine how effectively air is moved—an optimum pitch is 14 degrees. Also ensure that blades are balanced to avoid wobble.

Lighting: As in any other lighting situation, keep in mind lighting that is appropriate to the room’s size and function.

Room size: Not surprisingly, fans and rooms both vary in size. Make sure they vary accordingly in your house! Fans usually come in seven sizes, ranging from 32" to 56" blade spans. Come to the store armed with room measurements and speak with a lighting representative.

Mounting: For best results, fan blades need to be a minimum of seven feet above the floor, and have 12" clearance below the ceiling. For lower ceilings, choose a close or low-ceiling mount fan. With higher ceilings, you can purchase a standard or angled mount with an extension down rod.

Bonus! For maximum effect, purchase a reversible fan that helps cool you in the summer and pushes warm air down from the ceiling in the winter to keep you comfortable year round.

Make a list and check it twice. At the most basic level, you'll need the ceiling fan/light kit, screwdrivers, wire strippers, a circuit tester, pliers, and step ladder. If you need to replace the ceiling box, you’ll also need a new ceiling box, a hammer, and a drywall saw. Run through the installation process in your mind before actually picking up a tool to ensure that you have all the necessary components—nothing is more frustrating than being stuck on a step ladder, holding up the ceiling fan, and realizing the tool you need is tucked away in the toolbox in the basement!

Is everything making sense so far? If not, I'm sure that with just a little more reading, all the facts will fall into place.

Inventory the fan as you unpack. As you take the fan out of its box, give yourself plenty of room to inventory the multitude of pieces and parts. Then lay the parts out in order of installation. This way, you'll be confident that you have all the parts before you start, and you'll be able to move smoothly from one step to the next.

Turn off the electricity! You already know this, but it's always worth mentioning. Turn off power to the light's circuit breaker or fuse. Ensure the circuit is truly "dead" by checking with a high-voltage neon tester. If you're working at night, a flashlight might be handy at this point.

Mounting the box: Always use a metal junction box—not plastic. Another item to keep in mind when mounting the box is that there’s several ways to mount it, depending on whether the box is next to a joist, in-between joists, or being mounted on a beamed ceiling. If no fixture was in the room previously, find the center of the room by snapping chalk lines diagonally between opposite corners. Also, the mounting must be able to withstand vibration, as even the most balanced fans cause some level of vibration when running.

Assemble. This step varies from one manufacturer to the next. Pay close attention to the specific instruction for your fan brand and style. However, keep in mind that if there is less than a screwdriver’s length between the blade and the ceiling, it might be easier to install the blades before hanging the fan. When you are finished, again check all screws for tightness.

Hang fan for wiring. Install the hanger hook or attach the ceiling plate to the fan box, whichever is appropriate for your fan model. If attaching a hanger bracket, but sure to use a lock washer, which will help prevent the fan’s vibration from loosening screws in the future.

Wiring the fan. To facilitate the wiring process, swag kits can make installation easier than ever. To improve ease of use once the fan is installed, you can also wire the ceiling fan through a fan speed control. Always electrically ground the fan to both the metal box and itself, using the grounding wires (typically either green or bare copper).

Let there be light! Install the light kit and controls you have chosen. This step typically varies according to individual models. However, in general the wires are provided with plug-in connectors. Be sure to tighten everything securely. Install the globe(s) and the light bulb(s).

Troubleshooting wobbles. Fan wobbles can range in severity from a minor irritation to a seriously hazardous situation. If you notice your fan wobbling, the first step is to take off the blades and examine them. Look for bent or misshapen blades. If you don’t see any obvious deformities, weigh them to determine if one is lighter or heavier than the rest. If one is underweight, affix a soft object such as an eraser to the middle on the top and see if that resolves the problem. For wobbles that are still unexplained, fan balancing kits with detailed instructions are also available.

You’re finished! Pat yourself on the back and enjoy the delightful breeze from your new ceiling fan.

You can't predict when knowing something extra about ceiling fan will come in handy. If you learned anything new about ceiling fan in this article, you should file the article where you can find it again.

About The Author
Masni Rizal Mansor is co-publisher of He provide tips and review on designer furniture,comtemporary furniture and how to locate discount furniture store.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Choosing The Right Private Jet Charter Service

As you may have experienced, vacations can be great or vacations may be awful. It all depends of every little choice you make to make a travel come true. One of these choices is deciding which private jet charter service is the best.

You have to keep in mind some things when choosing a private jet charter service. There are some good services for private jets out there but that may not be what you were looking for. For example: Do you need a butler for the plane? Do you need a Jacuzzi? Is the flight long enough to take advantage of the features your private jet charter service delivers?

First you have to make a contact list of private jet charter services available for you. Once you have that list you’ll need to talk to each and every one of them, if possible in person, so they can give you an in depth look at what their private jet charter services brings. Then you’ll have to look for features that you won’t want, and using this method, uncheck form the list some of those private jet charter services.

By now you should have a narrower list of service providers, this is good because it means every company in your list is better qualified to bring you a better vacation. The next thing to look for is price. You have to assume that all these type of private jet charter services are priced high, but sometimes is just too much and it is not worth paying all that much with your hard earned money. Look for a reasonable price and for things they may be charging you but you don’t want (a butler for example)

The last thing, but the most important is a subtle one. It is about the human factor. A private jet charter service is not all about the features and private jets, it is about people too. People that can make your travel a better one if they are kind and want to bring the best service to you. Try to know the people, the drive of the company. Ask them what makes them a better private jet carter service than the competition. Don’t be afraid to ask those questions, because at the end those question will be critical to the success of your travel.

Those were the tips for choosing a private jet charter service. But remember this all happens in the air, so when you land is all about you! Have the vacations you’ve always dreamed of! Make that business meeting a great opportunity for your company! A private jet service, will make sure your travel won’t be a stressful one.

About The Author
Paolo Basauri is an expert author who writes for


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Attracting Birds to a Tropical Garden

Some individuals enjoy bird watching but prefer to do their bird watching in their back yard. Below is some advice on attracting wild birds to your back yard.

Firstly it depends upon having wild birds in the general area where your house is located and then you can attract then to your backyard.

The method used to attract the birds will depend upon what is the diet of the bird. If the bird is a nectar feeder e.g. bananaquits or hummingbirds, then large flowering plants will attract them. Hummingbird bills are perfectly adapted to the various types of flowers that they feed on, so different types of flowers will attract different hummingbirds. Some hummingbirds have especially curved or elongated bills that allow them to feed on special flowers, eg the White-tipped Sicklebill hummingbird whose downward curving bill allows it to draw nectar from heliconias. The Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird has a short and slightly decurved bill that is suited to feeding on the flowers of the ixora shrub. The Blue-tailed Emerald has a short bill that is suited for feeding on the Hibiscus flower. The Copper-rumped Hummingbird has a straight long bill that allows it to feed on medium sized tube shaped flowers such as the allamanda. Hummingbirds have little or no sense of smell, so colour is important to a hummingbird's search process for locating flowers containing nectar. While they will visit any flower that has sufficient nectar they prefer flowers that are red to orange in colour. It is believed that this colour preference is due to the fact that red flowers standout in a green background and so are more easily seen by the hummingbird. It is also believed that because hummingbirds compete with insects for nectar they choose flowers that are less likely to be visited by insects. Most insects do not see well at the red end of the colour spectrum and so may not visit red flowers while hummingbirds see the full visible spectrum.

If space in your yard is very limited, preventing you from having large flowering shrubs, an area to consider is the curb area between your property line and the roadway. You can plant small flowering shrubs such as the miniature ixora, which will then attract nectar feeding birds to your property.

For birds that are fruit eaters, the presence of ripe fruit will attract and so having fruit trees will attract birds. The majority of trees however only fruit once per year for a few months, so the attraction is not year round. If your garden has sufficient space then multiple fruit trees that bear at different times in the year will ensure a continuous bird presence. One tree that bears fruit for a very extended period is guava and so can attract birds for most of the year. Trees are also an attraction to birds because they provide nesting and resting sites. If you have the palm trees that people usually plant in from their houses that will generally attract Palm Tanagers who will feed on the small nuts, use material from the tree for building their nests and may also nest in the tree.

When a large number of flowering shrubs and/or fruit trees is not an option, you can consider purchasing a bird feeder. The type of feeder will also be dependent upon the type of birds in the area and the type of birds that you want to attract. For nectar feeders you use a sugar solution (the feeder usually has directions). You must put the feeder in a location where the birds will see it and you must change the solution regularly (2 -3 days). Red Feeders are good for attracting hummingbirds because they have a preference for red flowers. If you use a feeder it will take a few days for the birds to recognise that it is present in your yard.

Other feed can attract other types of birds. Bare-Eyed Thrushes and Kiskadees are somewhat omnivorous and so you can use rice (not boiled). I have found that they will also be attracted by dog food. Tropical Mockingbirds can also be attracted with rice. In addition, ripe fruit such bananas, mangoes and cherry can be used and will usually attract Blue-Gray Tanagers, Palm Tanagers and Yellow Orioles.

As an alternative to purchasing a feeder you can construct a feeder. For fruits you can build a simple chicken wire basket or bamboo joint to hold the fruit and attach it to the fence. Another low cost feeder can be constructed using a plastic bowl with a narrow edge. To construct this feeder you punch three holes, equidistant around the bowl. Then attach wire strands through each hole with the strands coming together at the top to form either a hook or a loop for suspending the bowl. Three strands are required to provide stability to the bowl particularly when birds alight on the bowl to feed. It is necessary to punch several holes in the base of the bowl to allow any rainwater or liquids to drain out the bowl.

Attracting birds, apart from the visual delight also provides the benefit of controlling the insect population, as many birds are insect feeders.

About The Author
Brian Ramsey is an avid birdwatcher and amateur photographer and is the author of the CD, Discovering the Birds of Trinidad and Toabgo, which can be previewed at the site, He can be contacted at

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