Monday, December 31, 2007

Foyer Storage Bench - Simplify Your Living Space

It is always surprising to see the number of homes featuring beautiful foyers, only to see those foyers cluttered with items like shoes, hats, gloves, umbrellas, etc. Nothing can make a beautiful foyer lose its appeal faster than a cluttered mess. So how do homeowners keep their foyers in order? If you were to look at one thing clutter-free foyers most often have in common, it would be a foyer storage bench.

If you have a foyer and you want to keep it tidy, you absolutely must have a foyer storage bench. Without one, it is inevitable that your foyer will eventually become a disarray of stranded shoes and abandoned umbrellas. A foyer storage bench can help prevent this unsightly mess by keeping your things tucked away and out of sight.

A foyer storage bench is an invaluable benefit throughout the year. During the summer it can hold items such as your sun hat and beach towel. In winter, you’ll have an out-of-sight area to store your hats and gloves. From umbrellas to briefcases, foyer storage benches offer the perfect place for hiding. Some foyer storage benches even have hooks to hang your hats and coats on, offering even more ways to organize your front-door clutter.

In addition to added storage space, a foyer storage bench can provide you with a comfortable place to seat your visitors. If someone drops in to pick you up for a day of shopping, there’s no need for them to stand in the doorway while you finish getting ready. They can sit comfortably on your foyer storage bench for a few minutes while you get ready to head out.

A foyer storage bench is also a wonderful way to enhance the ambiance of your entryway. No matter how your home is decorated, there is a foyer storage bench to suit your décor. From contemporary and modern to classically formal, these benches offer a diverse selection to choose from.

Finding the perfect foyer storage bench couldn’t be easier. Simply determine what type of foyer storage bench you would like and then look for a great deal on the perfect bench to suit your needs. Your foyer will be clutter-free before you know it.

About The Author
Jesse Akre, owner of numerous furniture websites, makes it easy to find a handy Foyer Storage Bench and outdoor benches . Learn how to decorate your patio and home in style by clicking the following link:

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Open Electricity Market: How It Affects You

In the open electricity market, you have the power to decide which company sells you the electricity you use. There are a variety of licensed retailers who may offer competitive pricing packages, as well as other products and services. Or, you can continue to have Hydro One Networks purchase electricity on your behalf and sell it to you through "Standard Supply Service". This means they buy it at the given spot market rate, averaged over your billing period, and pass it on to you with no mark-up or profit. Regardless of your choice, Hydro One Networks is still responsible for the safe and reliable delivery of electricity.

Why has the Government of Ontario opened the electricity market?

An open electricity market breaks down the electricity monopoly for the generation, transmission, distribution and retailing of electricity in Ontario.

The Government's goal in opening the electricity market to competition in generation and retailing is to help consumers benefit from choice, offer better products and services and encourage exploration of new sources of power and ways of doing business. It is also felt Ontario's economy will have a stronger future. Competition gives consumers the option to deal with a licensed retailer, without compromising safe and reliable delivery of electricity to their homes or business.

For more information about changes to the electricity industry, visit these important links:

Learn more about your relationship with Hydro One Networks (HON) in the open market at: http://customer.HydroOne

Find out about the government's open market policy at the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MOEE):

Get information on energy rates, electricity retailers and consumer protection by visiting the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) at:

View competitive retailer offers at:

About The Author
News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.
News Canada is a niche service in public relations, offering access to print, radio, television, and now the Internet media, with ready-to-use, editorial "fill" items. Monitoring and analysis are two more of our primary services. The service supplies access to the national media for marketers in the private, the public, and the not-for-profit sectors. Your corporate and product news, consumer tips and information are packaged in a variety of ready-to-use formats and are made available to every Canadian media organization including weekly and daily newspapers, cable and commercial television stations, radio stations, as well as the Web sites Canadians visit most often. Visit News Canada and learn more about the NC services.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Debate Around Controlling Pests In Our Gardens

An important hobby for many Canadians, and one that is increasing in popularity is gardening. "I have a firm belief that the gardening industry is getting bigger," says Mark Cullen, President of Weall and Cullen Garden Centres. Mark is well known across the country for his gardening expertise and from his syndicated radio show and TV program on Better Homes and Garden Television.

"This is an exciting time to be in the gardening business," he says. "We are seeing a growth in demand. We are also seeing younger gardeners in their twenties and thirties embracing gardening - especially first time homeowners." Cullen notes that the business is also getting very competitive as mass retailers and others compete for a share of the pie. He notes that the focus of his company is on providing outstanding customer service and answers to their customers' questions, especially in the area of plant selection and plant health.

To maintain a beautiful and healthy garden and home landscape, gardeners turn to a variety of tools to control pests that can otherwise damage sensitive plants. One of the key tools used are pesticides.

Cullen has seen a trend, particularly with younger gardeners, toward more environmentally friendly pest control solutions. This includes ready to use formulations of lawn and garden pesticides as well as organic pest control products. "People do not want concentrated products on their shelf, and they want to ensure that their pets and children are safe." He notes that retailers are responding to consumer's concerns by selling more ready to use products as well as organic and other non-synthetic products. He also sees homeowners embracing some of the principles of integrated pest management in terms of spot spraying only where there are weeds or insect problems.

Cullen himself combines a variety of tools including cultural, organic and where needed, pesticides in his approach to gardening. He sees an important role for pesticides in terms of being one of the tools available for gardeners. Believing that consumers should look very closely at the toxicity of the products they are buying - whether synthetic or organic. "It is important for consumers to continue to educate themselves on what is safe to use," says Cullen. "There are some synthetic pesticides that are in fact safer to use than some of the organic products out there." He says that toxicity should be the criterion for use instead of labeling a product as either being a synthetic chemical or not.

In terms of safety, Cullen says he is confident in the safety of pesticides when they are used responsibly. "We know that our regulators in Ottawa operate to more stringent standards than in any jurisdiction in the world. This gives me confidence in what we are selling when it is used as directed."

Cullen notes that the debate around pesticides is a complicated issue and that some special interest groups and even politicians try to make it a clear black and white situation when it is not. A balanced approach is needed with both sides playing a role in the debate. "It is unfortunate that the pesticide industry is dismissed outright as biased, as the industry does have credible information to offer."

To ensure that pesticides or other products they sell are used properly, Cullen's staff focuses a great deal of time on education with their customers. "We actively support all of the products we sell and provide our customers with the information they need to use these products properly. Most consumers lead busy lives, so they trust our staff to make the recommendations that are right for them."

About The Author
News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.
News Canada is a niche service in public relations, offering access to print, radio, television, and now the Internet media, with ready-to-use, editorial "fill" items. Monitoring and analysis are two more of our primary services. The service supplies access to the national media for marketers in the private, the public, and the not-for-profit sectors. Your corporate and product news, consumer tips and information are packaged in a variety of ready-to-use formats and are made available to every Canadian media organization including weekly and daily newspapers, cable and commercial television stations, radio stations, as well as the Web sites Canadians visit most often. Visit News Canada and learn more about the NC services.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Using Landscape Design Software

One option for would-be landscapers is to plan out their design on landscape software. Most of the time this software has great features that can help you decide where to put different plants, and how different features would look in a yard. The great thing about landscape design software is that you pay for it once, and then you can use it over and over again. While it cannot completely take the place of a landscape architect, it does allow the improver to get a good idea of what is possible.

Most software programs meant to help you design landscapes come with graphics that look like a variety of plants. These images often include flowers, shrubs, trees, and even vegetables. Additionally, some programs also include information on common garden pests as well as how different plant diseases look. Tips on how to prevent diseases, and sometimes even how to treat them often accompany this information about garden blights. This can save you time and money as you more effectively take care of your own garden needs.

Other features that come with some landscape design programs include already laid out garden designs. So, if you do not know where to begin, you can receive inspiration by looking at ideas suggested in the computer program. Additionally, some programs provide easy to follow suggestions on how to properly plant the garden or build some small landscape features. There are plenty of ideas present that you can either use straight from the program or even that you can modify a little bit to better fit your ideas of what you would like.

One of the best features available with landscape design software is the fact that you can scan digital photos into the computer and work with those. Rather rely on a graphic image of something that looks sort of close to what your house looks like or its situation, you can use a picture from a digital camera so that you can create a design based around what your yard looks like now — and then you can see what it could look like with a little difference in the landscape.

In addition to showing what your home would like at the current season with certain plants and trees and flowers, there are programs that also take you through the seasons. Therefore, you could see what your yard would likely look like when the plants that change colors enjoy a seasonal change of leaf, or how it would look in early spring, just prior to blooming. This can help you plan to move in plants that have different blooming times, and plants that still look attractive even after they are done blooming.

Not only do many programs show what your yard could look like, but they could also help you find the right plants for your garden and climate conditions. You enter in your soil conditions, and the area in which you live, and the program can help you run a search for the plants that would most likely flourish in your particular landscape. Then, using the click and drag method, you can set these potential plants into your virtual landscape and see how they would look. With the possible plant varieties before you, you can move them to various points in the yard until you are satisfied with the result. When you are ready to get started, you can use the program to work out a plan of action to help you bring your landscape creation out of the virtual world and into the real world.

Landscape design software can actually help you save money in the long run. Most programs for personal computer run between $25 and $75. You can purchase a program and then instead of spending hundreds of dollars to have a stranger design you landscape, you can design your own. Additionally, with programs that help you set out the garden, you might even bet a GPS device that help you more precisely survey your yard and more accurately position your plants and other features. Additionally, with a plan developed to help you accurately gauge what you need, you will have less waste when you go to start your landscaping.

About The Author
Janeth Duque of Geeks On Steroids. Janeth is well-known in the world of web design and search engine optimization.
Web Site: Geeks on Steroids
View their website at:

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Monday, December 24, 2007

The Professional’s Secret To Window Covering Ideas

A window covering idea is not just as easy as hanging some attractive curtains. The window covering should be designed so that the proportions balance the room. If an element in the design is not the right size it will throw the entire effect of the window treatment off. In order to plan a balanced window covering idea there are a few basic principles that relate with space that you have to understand. The principles will include balance, line, proportion, scale, rhythm and harmony. Your proportions and scale in the window covering work hand in hand. The scale is how the size of all the other things in the room and the proportion is the relationship of the objects and parts to each other based on size. For example your window size and how proportional it is to the size of your room. A good over all scale will be achieved if all the window fixtures are proportioned right and relative to one another as well as to the wholes rooms theme. Sometimes a window treatment will be too large or maybe too small for the location. Careful planning of your window covering idea and a deliberate effort will help this and you will achieve an overall custom window covering that is well proportioned and will complete the room's window covering design effect.

Color, Pattern, Texture, window covering ideas

To coordinate your window covering and the rest of the theme and elements of the room, you must consider the texture, pattern and color and how to best use them so that your window treatment will blend in or maybe stand out in the background. The choice of colors and patterns along with textures can alter the way you are covering the manufactures window by having them appear smaller or larger depending with the scale of your design and the hues intensity. Texture is the subset of the elements and will add complexity by use of fabrics with coarse, matte, glossy or smooth weaves.

How to choose window covering colors

Window treatments that are designed to blend into the room will give you a serene ambiance. To blend and stay low key choose colors and fabric that match the walls exactly. By choosing cool and warm colors you can crate the way a window treatment will be perceived. Warm colors with sunny hues will seem to be closer together and will give the room an intimate flavoring. The cool tones along with neutral colors will make your room recede and will help open up a smaller room. If you use a less intense color variation you will reduce the affect that it will have to advance or recede your room.

How to choose window covering patterns

To enhance your window covering, patterned fabric is the easiest and most popular way to do this because patterns are a major vehicle for color. Using the rules for color selection will effectively make the field smaller when you select a pattern or a few complements of patterns. A window covering pattern with a large scale and using a warm color, will make it appear as though the pattern is coming towards you. This may create a stimulating and lively window treatment. A large space may feel cozier. If you have a small space to work with be careful in using a large scale pattern or it may over power the room. A small scale window pattern will make things appear to recede. For instance it will make a small room appear larger. But in a large room the small pattern may be bland. If you are going to use a small window covering pattern in a large room, pick the one that has some vibrant colors. Following some of these tips, you will have a custom window covering that looks like it was designed by a professional.

About The Author
Daryl Plaza is the owner of a web site that can help you discover new and amazing window treatment ideas. Our Resources and Reviews will help you with your window covering plans.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Kitchen Safety: Keeping Stovetops and Ovens Clean

The kitchen is the heart of a family's house. It is in this room that a family prepares meals, shares meals, and gathers to talk about the day. This is the room where guests gather, where friends play games around the kitchen table, and where parents might relish a quiet time at the end of the day. It is also one of the leading locations for a household fire, an accident, or germs that breed food-borne illness. Every householder needs to be aware of the issue of kitchen safety.

Many homemakers ignore the regular cleaning and maintenance of kitchen appliances, preferring to cover dirty burners or toasters to give a false sense of cleanliness, but allowing crumbs and greasy residue to accumulate on these surfaces. Others hate cleaning their ovens with a passion reserved for little else, and put this chore off as long as possible, even when they own self-cleaning ovens. Kitchen safety is the farthest topic from their minds. However, food that is spilled or burned-onto the cook top or oven surface and not cleaned up is the leading cause of kitchen fires. Oven, microwave, or stovetop spills can ignite quickly, and can spread just as quickly to curtains, towels, or walls. Greasy residue on floors can cause people to slip and fall; and old, spoiled food on counters and tables is a source of bacteria that can contaminate fresh food and utensils. If small children are crawling or walking underfoot and reaching for every visible item of interest, tasting as they go, it is even more important to keep things clean in this central room. Kitchen cleanliness is an issue of kitchen safety, and not just of keeping a neat house to impress the neighbors.

A regular chore list is the best way to get in the habit of kitchen maintenance. Writing down each small chore and when it should be completed, helps to form habits that will keep the entire family safe and well. Counters and sinks should be wiped off at least daily, if not after each meal. Spills should be cleaned up quickly in microwave oven (Try Fuller Microwave Oven Cleaner.), regular ovens, or on stove tops. Cutting boards need to be washed with each use. To control spatters and the residue of cooking fumes, the entire kitchen should be washed with a good degreaser at least once a week. Range filters and hoods are part of this maintenance, as well as garbage cans and disposals. Any appliance that is regularly left on the counter should be given a cleaning at least once a week, if not after each use. Make sure that every surface of the kitchen is cleaned thoroughly at least once a month. (Try Fuller Cooktop and Counter Cleaner.) The entire family should be educated about the importance of these chores and encouraged to clean up their part of the mess.

A good, easy-to-use stove or oven cleaner can make these essential chores more palatable. What is the best oven cleaner? Look for one that does not need to be left overnight, but that works in a few hours. Many stove or oven cleaners produce less toxic fumes than earlier versions. Also, newer formulas will not run, but will stay in place to soak and thoroughly loosen the burned on food. (Try Fuller Brush's Industrial Oven Cleaner or Spotless Oven). With a damp rag or sponge, wipe off any loose food, and then spray on the cleaner. Let the cleaner set for thirty minutes to several hours, depending on how soiled the area is or according to the product's instructions. Soil should be softened to the point that it wipes up easily with a damp rag or sponge. If there is stubborn, burned on food, follow your oven manufacturer's instructions for what type of abrasive you can safely use and not mar the cooking surface. If you have left the product on too long and it is dried, try laying a damp rag over the area for a few minutes to soften the product for easier removal.

There are products on the market that will help keep food from adhering to cooking surfaces, keeping these appliances from getting so dirty they are difficult to clean. One product that can save hours of cleanup time the next time you clean your oven is Fuller Brush's Oven Spray. This product is to be sprayed on the oven surface after it is clean. Again, check with your oven manufacturer to see if it is compatible with your oven surface.

With good habits, or fanatical adherence to a chore list, your kitchen can be the safe, pleasant, gathering place it is meant to be. Kitchen safety will become second nature to you and your family.

About The Author
Vincent Platania
Fuller Brush Products. In business since 1906, Fuller Brush has been offering families high-quality household products for nearly a century. Fuller Brush natural cleaning products are environmentally friendly. Visit for more information

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Putting PASSION Back Into Home Decorating

For most people, they can count the times they redecorate their homes in a lifetime on one hand. It's a shame because this is not because they don't have great ideas about how they want their homes to be, but that the thought of redecorating brings the following obstacles to mind:

Where to put up if I am renovating?
I have accumulated a lot of furniture and household items, how in the world can we integrate them with this ultra modern design I am interested in?
We have spent all that money doing up the place when we moved in and now we have to do away with it? What a waste.
It's one big financial outlay!

But our tastes change, moods change over time. New notions inspire us even after we completed our renovations. Is there a way to invest in our homes in a flexible, relaxing and manageable way? To be able to afford stylish home transformations year after year?

Yes! This does call for a whole new way of looking at home renovations, not as a singular large-scale undertaking but modular projects that keeps the design process fluid and fun.

Modular transformations: Where to start?

Amazing transformations can be achieved by changing colour and texture around the house with a new coat of paint, new fabrics or overlays. A homeowner is taken by the Asian resort-style at a holiday trip to Bali wanted to give his home that same feel in his home. What he did was to overlay wooden decking in a strategic section of his living room, added indoor landscaping and enhanced his lighting. The solution was effective and relatively cheap.

To be able to enjoy many years of such surface transformations at a whim without major hacking and construction work, you will need good planning at the start. A good home design is all about form and structure, storage planning and circulation of movement. These are important decisions that homeowners need to make and should not be based on preferences for style as these change over time, but on lifestyle, family timetables, day-to-day habits and future household needs.

Good planning that takes these human factors into account will ensure that no matter how often you choose to make transformations in your home or how radical the style, it doesn't throw your lifestyles out of whack by negatively impacting critical spaces, creating odd corners and circulation of movement. This home improvement blueprint can also guide you in making those big-ticket furniture purchases and lessen the urge for impulsive imprudent buys.

With a good understanding of the form and movement in your home as well as lifestyle needs, embarking on small-scale projects to give your home a new look and feel, be it asian, modern classic or gothic revival, would be fun, fulfilling and ultimately successful.

On a more personal level, families can also use this kind of home planning exercise as a way to find out more about each other's lifestyle needs and involve everyone in the vision of making their homes cosy, lively and liveable.

Lighting - Endless possibilities with a small budget.

Everyone's moods are ever changing - sunny and bright, contemplative, dark, romantic, sultry - if only you could transform your home as often as you change your moods!

You can with the right lighting. The same room can look vastly different under different modes of illumination. A good lighting system will afford you a variety of lighting conditions, soft and warm for entertaining, bright and efficient for household chores like ironing, focused and glare-free for reading.

If you have a small budget and big plans for your home, designing a multi-purpose lighting system may be your finest investment. Lighting not only invokes fancy, it also helps put an attractive glow on old, uncoordinated furnishings (and don't we all have those around the house).

Home designing and decorating can be a most frustrating yet infinitely fulfilling activity. Start with a bright attitude, a good understanding of the design process and plenty of communication between family members and you are not likely to go wrong.

About The Author
Veronyka is a partner and designer at Incubate Interior Design, Singapore. She writes articles for "All About Design", Incubate's ezine at

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Blob Bean Bag Chairs - UK Beanbag Furniture Guide

Selecting a bean bag chair for a friend, family or yourself is a fun experience with a huge selection of fabrics, colors and styles to suit any home or lifestyle. Beanbag chairs are great as a gift for someone that is pregnant or has back pain. The soft and gentle shape of beanbags allows comfort as it moulds to the person's shape when they sit down.

There are many safety issues to consider when buying a beanbag and whether it is water and/or sun resistant. When you have purchased a good quality beanbag chair by checking out the quality. If you take care of you bean bag it will take care of you for many years to come.

When you are selecting a style you need to consider the recipient of this gift. Are they children, elderly, pregnant, middle aged? Where will this beanbag spend most of its time? Will it sit by the pool, in a bedroom or in a lounge? Children are more suited to stronger fabrics and darker colors, as they are likely to spill something and be rough with it. If the recipient is a fan of a local football team then a bright green to suit the team's colors is a great idea. There are many sizes available for a small to larger person and a style that can seat up to 2 people. An elderly person may prefer a softer bean bag with warmer colors to suit their home and lifestyle.

With such an array of colors available you can choose a bean bag to match any personality. Bright and bold colors are great for a modern apartment whereas soft, warmer colors are ideal for a small, distinguished home. Bean bags are a great way to spruce up any home. They are great for clubs, bars and really give the room a touch of sophistication without spending over the budget. Originally popular in the 70's, the beanbag is back in style and funkier than ever. They are incredibly comfortable and once you have obtained the correct 'groove' you will be set. A great price of furniture as the beads mould to your back and support you where you need it most. If is always ideal to overfill your bean bag with beans so there is plenty of support and over time the beans may become crushed together.

Cleaning a bean bag chair is a breeze due to it's durable outside layer that lets you gently remove stains. When bean chairs are used frequently they will need to be wiped occasionally with a soft cloth dipped in warm water. You can remove the covers for easy clean in the washing machine. There is a liner available that will keep the beans in when you remove the outside layer. This liner may be harder to wash and require the beans transferred. The most durable fabrics are the PVC or Vinyl and can be simply wiped clean.

When you have purchased you new beanbag chair cover, now you will need to fill it. This can be done with polystyrene beans. Close all windows and doors when you are pouring the beans into the bag as they are light and may escape. It is best to fill 15cm above the widest point on the bag to ensure you have enough beans to support you when you are seated. The beans are small expanded, polystyrene pieces. Fire retardant beans are great if you can find them and you should always keep then bean bag away from heaters and fireplaces for your own safety.

About The Author
Claire Calkin has been working around, with and on bean bag chairs for several years and runs several websites on this furniture.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Beginners Guide To Pond Supplies

Have you ever dreamed of creating a backyard oasis? Someplace where you can relax and enjoy nature, even if you live in the middle of a big city? If so, then a pond may be just what you have been looking for. While building a pond is not necessarily difficult, there is more involved than simply lining a hole in the ground and filling it with water and some fish.

Before you start the pond building process, you must first gather your pond supplies, decide on the size and the location for your pond and, of course, how deep your new pond will be. The depth will depend on where you live and whether or not there will be fish sharing your new oasis with you.

The easiest way to build a pond is to start with a pre-formed plastic pond liner. These types of liners come in a variety of shapes, sizes and depths to fit any homeowners needs.

You will often find this type of a liner in a pond kit. However, if you prefer more of a do-it-yourself approach to pond building, you also have the option of digging your pond free-form and lining it with heavy gauge pond plastic. This comes in a roll and is laid inside the hole and cut to fit.

When you are digging the hole for the new pond, it is a good idea to include shelves and maybe even shallow caves. These will come in handy when you are decorating with plants to give height and depth to your new addition and provide a sheltered place for any fish you might add.

If you will be adding any type of animal life to your pond, it is extremely important for their survival that you dig the pond deep enough so that all of the water doesn't freeze. In most parts of the United States this depth is between a foot and 18". The reason is that fish, frogs and turtles all need some liquid water throughout the winter. Sufficient water movement is also essential to their survival.

You will need a filter, especially if you choose to add fish, frogs or turtles to your completed pond. It is very important to get the best filter that you can afford, as you will need to clean up anything that the filter leaves behind. The better the filter, the less there is to clean up. There are a couple of different styles to choose from in filters.

You can get a submersible or an outside filter for your pond. A submersible filter sits under the surface of the pond and sucks water from the bottom through a filter surface putting clean water back in. An outside filter sits on the edge of the pond and gets its dirty water from the pond at a depth of about 18" or so. Traditionally, both kinds are hooked up so that the water is deposited back into the pond via a waterfall or small stream.

Now that you have the pond dug out, lined and a filter selected, it is time to fill it up, decorate it, add fish (if desired) and enjoy.

About The Author
Daniel Roshard is an interior designer fascinated by outdoor architecture, he is currently studying public parks and outdoor design. Daniel is writing articles about home improvement and landscaping issues at

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Improperly Testing Your Radiant Heat System with Water Instead of Air!

If you're considering radiant heat, here's a true story about Bill and Joan Hawley that you should find interesting.

When I first met Bill and Joan they were absolutely exhausted because of the damage to their radiant heat system. What was supposed to be a calm and peaceful time of life was full of stress and worry.

Although their story is not unique it clearly illustrates how a simple radiant heat installation error can have such drastic results.

Bill and Joan were educated consumers that took a vested interest in the design and construction of their new home. They loved the look of tile and hardwoods and were thrilled to discover how a radiant heating system would keep their floors toasty warm.

Yet, they failed to realize how one small radiant heat installation mistake could have such a disastrous outcome.

The crew that installed the in-floor radiant heating system made a grave mistake and tested the radiant heating system with water, rather than air.

For Bill and Joan, what made matters worse is that construction of the Hawley home ran a few weeks longer than projected and the radiant heating tubes that were tested with water had frozen and burst during a cold spell.

So rather than coming to see the progress of their fabulous new dream home with toasty warm radiant heat, they were now dealing with broken radiant heating tubes throughout their house.

Being somewhat of an expert in radiant heating, I was called upon to help. Unfortunately, the concrete was already poured and the cost to start over was astronomical.

At this stage of the project, the only practical thing was to continue construction without the in-floor radiant heat. The regrettable part was that this nice couple had already paid for their in-floor radiant heat system, but would never appreciate its benefits.

What happened to Bill and Joan is not that rare. Many radiant heat installers don't know the damage that can be caused by testing a radiant heat system with water, rather than air.

I certainly don't want you to make the same mistake as poor Bill and Joan, so when testing your in-floor radiant heating system, your installer should pressure test the whole system, before any concrete is poured over it.

This pressure test should be conducted for at least 48 hours. If it reveals a drop in air pressure, your radiant heat installer should check all joints and connections - this is where the majority of leaks will be found. However if the pressure continues to drop, all radiant heating tubes should be checked as well. Continue to retest the radiant heating system for at least another 48 hours after all leaks are identified and fixed.

About The Author
Larry Lang is the founder of Radiant Heating Disasters which specializes in the design and consulting of hydronic in-floor radiant heating systems. Larry is also author of Radiant Heat – What You NEED to Know BEFORE You Sign That Contract. This article may be distributed freely on your website, as long as this entire article, including links and this resource box are unchanged.
Copyright 2006 Larry Lang All Rights Reserved.
Lang Enterprises Inc.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Building an Arbor

It may be difficult to believe, but building an arbor for your landscape can actually be quite inexpensive. If you keep the arbor small, to a two-post size, you can have a very attractive landscape feature for a small cost. Even the novice landscaper can build a small arbor without too much trouble in about two days (three at the most). It can be a very rewarding project that provides a sophisticated sense of beauty to your over all landscape design.

Essential to building your arbor is thinking of it as five distinct phases. This will help you break the project down into doable goals and help you accomplish the task better. Breaking projects down into sections also aids the landscaper, as he or she will find that the task does not seem so daunting when done in bite-sized pieces. Additionally, a sense of accomplishment at the end of each stage can help the landscaper stay motivated throughout the project.

The first layer is to prepare the site for concrete placed under ground to secure the structure. In order to lay the concrete, you need to first get some things out of the way. Dig two holes where you want the posts to stand. The holes should be one inch wide and three inches deep. Put half an inch of gravel or crushed stone inside the holes. This will help water drain away, preventing cracks in the concrete. Set one post in each hole and lay a board on top of them. Use a carpenter's level to determine whether or not your posts are standing at equal heights. Adjust, if necessary, until the level shows that your posts are equal in height. You can use scrap lumber, nailed to the posts, to form temporary stabilizers.

The second layer is anchoring your arbor posts (they should be 4×4 posts) into the concrete. Before doing this, check again for equality in height with the stabilizers in place and make your adjustments to the stabilizers to adjust the height. Next, mix your concrete using concrete mix and water from a garden hose in a wheelbarrow

About The Author
Janeth Duque of Geeks On Steroids. Janeth is well-known in the world of web design and search engine optimization.
Web Site: Geeks on Steroids
View their website at:

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finishing Touches Make the Difference Between Drab and Fab

Three thousand parts. According to the National Association of Home Builders, that's what the typical home contains. And when you're building a home, you're faced with hundreds of decisions regarding those 3,000 parts. One or two car garage? Carpet or hardwood floors? White or oak cabinets? Paint or wallpaper? Chrome or polished brass fixtures? And the list goes on and on.

While these questions may seem overwhelming at first, it's important to take your time and closely consider each decision you make. And it's not just the major choices that matter when building a home. Equally important, if not more so, are the smaller decisions, such as accessories. Items such as lighting, towel bars, glass shelves and more can make all the difference in a room's décor.

These items make a significant difference in particular areas of the home, especially the bathroom. According to Eric Jungbluth, vice president and general manager of Creative Specialties International, a leading designer and manufacturer in the bath accessory marketplace, "A bathroom is a reflection of a homeowner's personal style. Our research shows consumers truly seek an emotional benefit from their baths ... a sense of comfort, serenity, and of style. The right accessories and finishing touches can add these feelings to the bath in an instant."

But, how do you know where to start? Do certain accessories match a specific decorating theme? What accessory options are available? Read on as we explore the world of accessories.

Accessories 101

We all know that an outfit isn't quite complete until you add the finishing touches. A vintage belt, stylish glasses or brand-new necklace can tie an ensemble together and give it a unique style. So, why stop with your clothing? The right mix of accessories, combined with a splash of creativity, can really make a house a home and show off your own unique style.

But how do you actually accessorize your home? According to Sherry Ruggieri, host of HGTV's Design & Decorating program, "Accessorizing is the art of placing and arranging objects to enrich the style of a room, add personality and most important, create visual interest."

Whether accessorizing a bath or an entire home, a recent survey found style is extremely important to Americans when decorating. The research conducted by Creative Specialties International and Rooms of America, a consumer research organization, determined 74 percent of those surveyed believe style is "very important" to "extremely important" in their overall decorating decisions.

In terms of specific style preferences, the survey found consumers typically decorate in three primary thematic approaches: country, casual/contemporary and traditional. Thirty-eight percent of the population decorates in a casual style (also referred to as contemporary); following closely behind, 35 percent of consumers choose a traditional style of decorating; lastly, 27 percent of Americans decorate in a country theme, which includes secondary themes such as Shaker, Country French and Mission.

Accessorizing the Bath

Once you have a style chosen for your home, how do you translate that into the bath? Where do you start? And what types of accessories should be chosen?

An important tip, according to Jungbluth, is to remember there are no rules when it comes to accessorizing the bath. "If your family room and kitchen are decorated in a traditional theme, it doesn't mean you necessarily have to accessorize your bathroom in the same style. It's a personal decision -- experiment with different looks and determine which style combination works best for your home."

In terms of accessorizing the bath, where should you start? Recently, on HGTV's Web site, host Joan Kohn asked two well-known designers for their "words of wisdom" when it comes to creating different looks in the bath, simply with accessories. According to designers Jean Zoller and Nancy Redifer, it's as easy as "1, 2, 3":

The first design decision to be made in any bath is the type of tub to be used, since it must be installed before the walls and windows go up. The color chosen for the tub will affect the rest of the color choices in the room.

If neutral colors are chosen for the large elements that form the background in the bath -- walls, floor, fixtures -- it's easy to change the room's looks, simply with accessories.

Accessories for the bath include candles, towel rings, plants, mirrors, robe hooks, glass shelves and more. Color can also be used as an accessory, with deeper colors being more traditional, while lighter colors have a more contemporary feel.

Jungbluth offered a final tip when choosing accessories, "Think of traditional accessories in untraditional ways. Try placing a grouping of different accessories together on a wall -- perhaps a towel bar, glass shelf and robe hook. The combination of the varying sizes and textures can add an interesting flavor to a room."

Choices Abound

Until recently, chrome or polished brass were the only finish choices in the bath accessory marketplace. Fortunately, the industry has changed dramatically in the last decade, and manufacturers now offer dozens of finish and style options in bath accessories.

"The bath accessory marketplace has really come to life in the last few years," added Jungbluth. "Consumers today have more choices than ever before. From 'retro' styles in oil-rubbed bronze to contemporary designs in brushed chrome ... dramatic wrought iron finishes and even accessories made in maple and oak, homeowners have a wide variety of new and innovative design options for the bath."

With all of the new options, Americans still hold true to a traditional finish. According to the aforementioned survey, chrome is still the most popular bath accessory finish, but consumers' second choice, brushed nickel, is on the rise. In addition, other finishes, such as oil-rubbed bronze and wrought iron, are also increasing in popularity with consumers. In fact, non-chrome finishes now represent almost half of bath accessory sales.

Relying on this extensive research, Creative Specialties International recently introduced four new bath accessory collections designed to reflect the styles used in today's bath. Sold under the Inspirations brand, the Kelsey, Vernini, Sienna and Westbury collections each fall into one of the three design categories -- traditional, contemporary/casual or country.

Featuring a distinctive retro flair, the Kelsey collection offers a unique look that combines simple curved lines and soft details. Perfect for a bath with a casual style, its design features a round base with ceramic accents and curved posts.

For those looking for a bath accessory with contemporary style, the Vernini collection is the ideal choice. Drawing from a modern European look, it offers a crisp, decorative style for the bath. What sets this collection apart is its sophisticated, architectural elements including geometric-shaped posts and finials.

The Sienna collection brings a fresh, new look to wrought iron, making it more style-oriented and updated in appearance. With a dramatic black finish that highlights the collection's handcrafted workmanship, it works in many design contexts to make a bold statement in the bathroom.

To enhance a country feel in the bath, the Westbury collection features the warm look of decorative wood. It brings classic bath accessory design elements to a wood collection offering a streamlined, clean appearance. Like fine furniture, it utilizes metal accents for an updated look and is designed to match today's popular cabinetry finishes and is sized so it does not overwhelm the bath.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! By this point, you should be completely comfortable with adding the finishing touches to your home through the world of accessories. You know what accessorizing is, how to select a style, and carry it through to the bath. The room has been well planned and includes your own personal stamp.

Whether you're building a home or simply redecorating, we can all see the dramatic effect accessories can have in creating your home's style. Remember to keep the style consistent, and have fun in trying new things.

The best advice? "Experiment and try different techniques," added Jungbluth. "Decorating with accessories is a cost-effective way of changing the look of a room in a matter of minutes."

For more information on bath style trends, or accessory products available from Creative Specialties International, write 25300 Al Moen Drive, North Olmsted, OH 44070-8022, call toll free (800) 321-8809, or visit their Web site at

About The Author
Courtesy of ARA Content,; e-mail:
Creative Specialties International, a division of Moen Incorporated, is a market-leading organization that provides creative and innovative solutions for today's bath. The company designs and manufactures a complete line of fashionable bath accessories in a wide assortment of styles and finishes. Creative Specialties International manufactures four brands of bath accessories. These include: Inspirations, Moen, Donner and Home Care.
Moen Incorporated is an operating company of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO,, the consumer products company.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pest Control Measures For Effective Flea Prevention

Fleas: The unwanted guests in your home.

Fleas are a common cause of irritation and infestation in your home. These unwanted guests can be found in your home and in large quantities. Out of the total flea population found in your home, about 80% of the fleas are still at the egg or larvae stage. These fleas can be found attached to your furniture, carpet, mats and anywhere in your home. The adult flea contributes to just 2% percent of the total flea population in your house. The remaining 18% of the flea population thrives in pupae stage. During this stage fleas are not harmed by any of the pest control products. Pest control products only affect fleas once they get out of the pupae stage. Wonder how many fleas you have at home!

Pest control against indoor flea influx

Fleas are a notorious cause of irritation and disease in your home. They also affect your pets. Fleas are the menace that you would like to get rid of forever. For this purpose there are various pest control products which are available for prevention as well as elimination of indoor infestation by fleas. Though there are numerous flea control products available, all are not safe. One must choose a product that is safe for children and pets. Moreover a good pest control is also water safe for fabrics.

Majority of people and even professionals use flea spray for flea prevention and elimination. The reason behind flea spray is its safety factors. The safest flea or pest spray is labeled as "indoor flea".

A flea spray solution contains two types of substances: an adulticide, it is an insecticide which kills fleas; the other substance is the insect growth regulator (IGR). An average insecticide would not help you in getting rid of the fleas. An IGR inhibits the maturity stage of the fleas by not allowing them to grow.

Pest control measures also include treating your carpets with Nylar. Nylar is an effective pest control measure against roaches and fleas. It inhibits the growth of fleas and leaves residual for up to 3-6 months. Nylar is available in aerosol formulations and liquid concentrate.

Nylar is among the best flea prevention methods. It rids your home of visible adult fleas.

An effective pest control measure for fleas can be buying electronic flea traps. These are an effective alternative to pesticides. A flea trapper kills adult fleas prowling for a pet. The trap emits attractive heat, light and infrared from the light bulb. The fleas get attracted to it and are killed as soon as they touch the screen. It is one of the permanent and safest pest control measures for your home, especially against fleas.

You should use a vacuum cleaner at home. It is the worst enemy of fleas. When used regularly it ensures that your furniture, carpets and sofas remain flea free.

Flea Stoppers is an effective pest control measure against fleas. It is a formulated mini granular orthoboric acid specially made for fleas. Just sprinkle this flea stopper freely on your carpet and to kill fleas and their larvae in the carpet. Flea stoppers are effective even when the carpet is washed or soaped.

Pest control for pets

Fleas mainly breed on mammals. Pets in your home provide as a haven for them. You should check and clean your pets for fleas too.

You should flea comb your pets regularly. Dip the comb in an enzyme cleaner and then comb your pet. You should restrict the entry of the pet in your bedrooms. Wash all pet beddings and rugs to ensure good pet hygiene as well as preventing the fleas spreading. You should bathe your pet too, to prevent fleas from settling on it.

Pest control measure act as an effective flea prevention measures. You should always check your home for fleas and take immediate steps to eliminate them.

About The Author
Michael Jason writes articles on a number of different topics. For more information on Fleas please visit and for additional Household Pest articles please visit the following article page

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tree and Shrub Care Programs

In many communities there are companies that offer tree and shrub care programs. These programs are the health care plans of the plant world. They are designed to help you monitor and care for your plants, as well as treat problems that come up. It is even possible for you to design your own tree and shrub care program that can aid you as you take care of the plants yourself, with minimal help from the care specialist. But one thing is certain: in order to keep your landscape looking healthy and attractive, you do need to take an active interest in some sort of care regimen for your trees and shrubs.

There are many benefits associated with having a care program for trees and shrubs. Benefits include catching infestations early and identifying diseases while they are treatable and before they do too much damage. A caterpillar infestation can cause defoliation, and if you move quickly to avoid this, your trees will look much better for longer. Additionally, if plants have good care, they are more resistant to disease and will flourish, giving your landscape a more attractive look. A proper program of care can prevent these problems and save you money on down the road. The old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is certainly true, especially as it relates to plants.

Other problems that a tree and shrub care program can help with are less detrimental to the health of the plants and more practical in nature. Proper monitoring can unsure that weak branches are removed before they fall on and damage your house. Additionally, proper care and pruning of branches ensures abundant flowering and a thicker, fuller look in evergreens. While better flowering and fuller plants may not directly affect the health of the plant or your wallet, they do add substantially to the attractiveness of a landscape and can contribute to the better enjoyment of your home.

Most tree and shrub care programs are developed and administered by specialized companies that provide care. They can also be arranged through an arborist or a master gardener. These programs do cost money, however. There are comprehensive programs that cover all costs related to monitoring your landscape plants and treating any problems or providing specific care. There are also programs that provide monitoring services and then charge treatments separately. The idea is to use a program that fits into your budget, and then reap the benefits of a landscape that is well cared for.

Another approach to the tree and shrub care program is developing and following one yourself. It may cost a little money up front, as you will have to consult with a master gardener or an arborist, but in the long run it is worth it if you take good care of your trees. In some localities, an extension office may have a horticulturist on hand to answer your questions at no charge. The key is to figure out a care program that you can carry out yourself, or that you can carry out mostly on your own, with back up help from professionals when needed.

Developing your own plan can be very rewarding. It helps you get closer to your landscape, and it can also help you spot problems quickly. You should have a regular schedule for inspection of trees and shrubs, as well as other plants, and a regular schedule of care and maintenance. To learn how to properly prune trees and shrubs, keep an eye out for community classes. You can even pay for a session with a professional. Paying for a two or three hour lesson in pruning can save you hundreds of dollars in having to pay a yard service to do the work. Make sure you know the best times to prune, and do your pruning on a schedule as well as the rest of the landscape maintenance.

No matter whether you pay for a professional tree and shrub care program, or whether you carry out such a regimen yourself, it is important to have a plan for the proper care of the plants on your landscape. This way you will find that you have a more attractive landscape and save money in trying to fix large problems that arise through neglect.

About The Author
Janeth Duque of Geeks On Steroids. Janeth is well-known in the world of web design and search engine optimization.
Web Site: Geeks on Steroids
View their website at:

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Beyond the Box: Outdoor Spaces Can Extend the Boundaries of Your Home

Fresh air, natural light and open space are key elements in today's home designs. New home buyers and existing homeowners alike want more open living and homes with a seamless connection between indoors and out.

For example, courtyards are appearing in more home designs across the county. Often connected to several rooms in the home, the courtyard serves as a central gathering spot for busy families or for entertaining guests. The courtyard is designed to flow from the inside of the house and appear more seamless than a traditional deck or patio.

"People hunger for sunshine, for glimpses of flowers, for the fun of watching their kids play in the back yard. For people who work in windowless, fluorescent-lighted offices all day, it's a joy to come home to a cheery sunroom or outdoor areas that let us drink in fresh air and views," said Joan McCloskey, an editor with Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Getting Started

Like other rooms, outdoor spaces are a reflection of the people who use them. What makes each space unique is how it expands the boundaries of a home -- adding functionality and character. Designing an outdoor living area doesn't need to be complicated, but homeowners should ask themselves a few questions when planning the space:

What are your goals for the space? The goal might be to expand a living area, maximize the site the house is built on, or frame a certain view. Regardless, establishing a goal and sticking to it will provide guidance when selecting from the myriad of building materials and designs that may challenge the process.

How will it be used? Will the space be used as a second kitchen, family gathering spot, or a place to relax and soak up the view?

How do you want the space to make you feel? The space may be designed to evoke a certain mood or feeling -- such as restful, informal or active.

How will this affect existing indoor and outdoor areas? Consider how this new space will tie into the existing architecture of the home. Proportion and scale play a part in successfully designing and integrating useful outdoor spaces, as does circulation to and from indoor living areas.

Choosing the Right Materials

In addition to developing a solid design, think about the materials that will be used. For example, windows and doors are both the visual and physical connections between inside and out. Large or thoughtfully positioned windows and doors maximize outdoor views and an indoor feeling of light, space and movement.

"A well-planned combination of windows and patio doors will successfully balance the static effect of solid walls with the dynamic qualities of the space," said Fred Foster, an architect with Andersen Windows, Inc. "Good door and window design allows homeowners to manipulate the movement of natural light, views and fresh air through the home, and affects how they move between the indoor and outdoor spaces of their home -- both physically and with their eyes."

Foster suggests combining sidelight and transom windows with patio doors to expand the basic function of the door into a major element that creates more interaction between the inside and outside. He also suggests using window grilles or art glass where a view is not being featured, or where pattern or color can enhance the design of the interior space.

The Finished Product

Opening up a floor plan with an outdoor living area can be a great addition to any home. From the design to the construction, homeowners often enjoy the process and look forward to using the space when it's finished.

For more information on the virtually limitless sizes, styles and combinations of Andersen windows and doors that can help make any home and outdoor area a more personal place, visit or call (800) 426-4261.

About The Author
Courtesy of ARA Content,; e-mail:

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Make Soundproofing A Part Of Today’s Home Improvement

Want a simple behind the scenes way to increase the comfort and value of your home? Soundproofing may sound like something only professional recording artists need, but you will be surprised at how much you will enjoy the added quiet that soundproofing supplies to your home environment.

There are many areas where soundproofing can be added in order to make for a quieter space. Sometimes it the outside disturbances of traffic or barking dogs that you would like to block out. Other times, you may want to keep noises from one room inside your home from seeping into other areas. Depending on the way you want to manage and control sound, there is a soundproofing technique that will meet your needs.

Keeping Noise Out

One of the most effective ways to keep street noise from entering your home is to soundproof your windows. Normal windows are given a sound blocking rating on a numerical scale. The percentage of noise that soundproof windows can block out increases substantially with these special windows.

The best part of the whole process is that it is easy. When you add soundproof windows to your home it will look just the same as the old windows. In fact, the old windows remain in place and the extra glass barrier is added to them. Windows will still open and close in the same manner too, but the panel of glass and the air pocket created by the double pane greatly reduces noise.

Sound proof windows differ from just plain double pane storm windows. The greatest effect is in the amount of space between the two panels of glass. It is just the right amount to trap unwanted noise, and it has the added benefit of staying clean inside because of the air block seal.

Keeping Sound In

Another area where soundproofing may be wanted is in a home theatre. If you want to keep the sound from the stereo system from getting distorted or disturbing others around the house, then there are sound proof panels that can be added to the room. These panels are usually made of foam, resembling an egg crate, but other materials are being made and tested every day. These look more like decorative panelling, yet offer the same noise control.

Ceilings and floors can help prevent the escape of noise between rooms. By adding insulation, similar to that which keeps the cold out in the winter and the heat in, you can reduce noise in and out of the room.

Soundproofing - Doing It Yourself

If you are good the DYI projects, then soundproof is one you can tackle. It is best to leave the windows to the professional installers, but during any renovation of your house, you should consider sound proofing as important a decoration as the carpet or wallpaper. When you need to repair drywall for example, consider adding the insulation that will reduce noise. After all, no one wants to be enjoying lunch in the kitchen or on the patio and have to listen to a teen's stereo from the bedroom! Soundproofing may not be something you would have missed until you have it once. Then you will be thinking about it anytime a noise gets in the way of your peace and quiet.

About The Author
Ken Morris releases many news and information to the internet site Within his publication he is working on topics like floor sound insulation ( ) and provides information on acoustical foam.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

How to Decorate Ethnic


NEW YORK, NY - With all that is happening in the world today - the threat of war, falling stock prices, a recession (in spite of what economists say) - more and more of us are nesting. That is, we are spending more time at home.

While it is hard to control what happens in the outside world, home is where you decide the who, what, where, when and why. Ethnic decor is filled with endless options to spice up your living space. However, you may wonder, what is ethnic decor.

"Ethnic decor is more a feeling than a science," says Marcelo Velez of the interior design firm Velez Hayes in New York City. "When you say modern, country, French, et cetera, an instant picture comes to mind. Ethnic decor is different. Many cannot define it, but know it when they see it."

This open-ended approach is what makes ethnic decorating fun. It's eclectic, inclusive, colorful and most of all, unique. It allows you to fill in blanks for yourself, using an internal palette to satisfy decorating needs.

Here are five handy ideas to get you started:

Pick a room to start: Thinking in terms of one room narrows your scope so the project doesn't seem overwhelming, while also limiting cost as you feel your way into the project.

Decide which ethnicity(ies) you will focus on: African style is different from Middle Eastern is different from American Indian, et cetera. However, don't be afraid to blend elements from several cultures. Again, that's the fun of ethnic decor - the possibilities are endless.

Start with an object as the focal point and decorate around it: This can be an ethnic painting, a sculpture, a piece of furniture, et cetera. The bigger the better. Be careful, though, not to overwhelm your space.

Choose a color scheme: Ethnic decor is very festive, so think outside the box in terms of colors, patterns, surfaces. Soon, you will find yourself drawn to a few colors that work well together.

Listen to your likes and dislikes; your instincts: Many times, an object or color will "speak" to you. And, if everyone insists that this painting doesn't go with that rug, but you like it, go with it. The final product should make you the happiest.

Now, relax and enjoy!

About The Author
Yuwanda & Cassandra Black are co-owners of Ethnic Home Decor offers soft home furnishings with ethnic themes at affordable prices. For more information or to schedule an interview, send email to

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

If I Had Only Known Then What I Know Now!

Hindsight, we all know only too well, is a wonderful thing. For example, if we had only known that the ceiling on membership at a popular site was going to be subscribed so quickly - we would have joined up the minute we heard about it.

If we had only known that niche marketing was going to be so wildly popular we would have focused on that instead of MLM.

If we had only known that Google was going to change its algorithm and the rules of AdWords were going to change we would have...


Stop, stop, stop.

In the world of Internet marketing, you can safely bet that the only constant is the rate of change!There's always news of the latest product dropping into your email inbox. There's always another promise of quick and easy money. Google will keep changing its algorithm, and new search engines are quite likely to pop up to challenge Google.

What can you do about this? Four main things:

(1) Continue To Educate Yourself.

Understand that those who rise to the top of any field - whether it's internet marketing or something else - are good at what they do. This means that they never stop learning. There are always new materials, new techniques and probably new 'experts' showing the way.

Most of us learn in three main ways: (a) from experts who specialize in a certain niche related to our field; (b) from others who are following the same path as we are, and (c) by trial and error, from our own results.

You will find that the more you immerse yourself in the world of internet marketing, the more you will be able to analyze which products, services and opportunities are right for you.

(2) Focus. Pick One System And Give It A Fair Go.

Countless people who start out on the internet with high hopes follow the same pattern. They get excited about a new product or system. They throw themselves into it and invest long hours (and potentially quite a bit of money) in getting it up and running. It might be e-books sold from mini-sites; it might be setting up an eBay business; it might be directory-type sites with text manipulators; it might be AdWords or content sites optimized for AdSense.

Then one day they get wind of another new system (probably one created by someone who claims "the gurus are angry with me for giving away all their secrets..."). Discouraged by the lack of results with the first "opportunity", they decide to let it rest for a while and try the new one. Back they go into the cycle of try-the-new-product, get-discouraged, discard-it-and-try-the-next-thing.

And so it goes on. Months pass. Perhaps years pass. They struggle to pay the credit card bills mounting from buying into every new system that comes along... with very little money coming in to offset their 'investment'. As they look back, they start muttering "If I had only known then what I know now..."

If you can recognize yourself in this scenario, the good news is this: Now you DO know better. You don't know what the next new product will be that's going to set the internet world abuzz, but you do know enough to choose a system that's right for you and stick to it.

(3) Take The Time to Plan.

Give yourself from two to four weeks to regroup. Go through all the products you have on your shelves or on your computer. Make a list. Decide which products you now know (so wise with hindsight!) to be worth keeping. Then analyze the 'keepers' and pick on the best system for YOU to use at this time. (This will depend upon your level of knowledge and which one you would enjoy most. Work with your strengths.)

Finally, devise a game plan. You are going to focus on this ONE method and devise a practical time-line to achieve results. Don't be in a rush. Make sure you give yourself enough time to see it 'take hold' so the money starts flowing in. That will give you the motivation to continue.

Clear the decks, physically as well as mentally. Put all the products that don't fit in with your plan in boxes or on disk for safekeeping. You may return to them one day, but if you've chosen the system that's right for you, you probably won't.

4. Don't Get Distracted by New Products.

Resolve to buy ONLY products or services that will save you time or money in implementing the system you have chosen. Never buy anything on impulse. Print out the sales letter, read it through, then put it aside. Read it through again the next day. Does it still seem so appealing? Check out a few forums to listen to the buzz. If a product doesn't deliver, you'll soon hear about it. If it is exceptional value, you'll hear about that, too.

Some questions to ask: "Will this help me to streamline the business I have chosen? Is it worth the money? Will it make a significant difference?" And above all, "Do I need this, or is it just another distraction?"

Resolve to make this the year you will succeed. No more pocket change. No more "If I had only known..."

You DO know.

So make it work.

3 easy steps to an Internet fortune...

About The Author
Mohd Zulfaezal Che Azemin is a lecturer in Physics and Computer Applications at Multimedia University, Malaysia. He is currently active in internet business, whose mentor is Stone Evans.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How Financial Markets Really Function - What The Private Investor Does Not See

How do financial markets really function? Primarily by supply and demand - "more sellers than buyers" as some would put it. Only that sellers and buyers must be in balance for a market to function at all. Take the forex (foreign exchange) market - probably the most efficient market there is. $2 trillion is the normal daily turnover and price information is instantly transmitted to hundreds of thousands of end users all around the world. Likewise, all economic news is absorbed into the price. Therefore the price at any particular point of time is the sum total of all the factors as reflected on by all the traders in the world.

Until a new factor causes a trader in say, Hong Kong, to consider that the dollar is too cheap. Why? Because there is an economic advantage in buying dollars at that price - perhaps the short term Hong Kong dollar interest rate has dropped a few basis points, making it more attractive to buy U.S. dollars as a better investment. So he buys U.S. dollars, in the process moving the price higher.

The new price may trigger a London-based bank to cover some options they have written, thus creating new demand for the currency. Maybe the London bank sells Swiss francs for dollars. This ebb and flow is going on all day long, almost continuously.

Traders at the big money-center banks see these movements in the 'market-making' operations, where they will make trading prices to all comers to earn a 'spread', the difference between the buying and selling price. From these so-called flows, they believe they can preempt other customers jumping on the bandwagon and buy dollars in anticipation of selling them back to customers at a higher price a few minutes later. Big money is made here - the handful of banks who engage in the highly-automated market-making operations are probably turning over $100 BILLION per day. If they make just a 1 'pip' spread on each trade, they are making between $7-$10 million per day. Although sometimes they get 'steamrollered' - days of high volatility, when unexpected events create fast markets cause them to suffer losses. Therefore, they want to know the flows, and be the first to get wind of an upcoming large order - like a central bank deciding to switch some of its currency reserves from one currency to another. For example, China's forex reserves are over $700 billion dollars. If they switch just 1% of these reserves from dollars to Euros, then $7 billion will hit the market!

So, what about the poor retail forex trader. Is he doomed to be at the end of the food chain, where being last to know means always being in a losing trade? Yes, probably. Although the brokers update the news and gossip regularly, the small investor is always last to know. The large majority of these traders try to follow price charts and apply technical analysis to predict movements. Alas, the charts are only showing history and in the short term are poor predictors. There are simply too many seemingly random events, or so it seems.

The truth is that the small investor is not privy to what is really going on in the market, and neither can he ever be so. Many former Interbank traders go on to be very successful traders in their own right, running successful hedge funds. Yes, they have their contacts, but even more importantly they interpret what is going on from the price action in the market. They understand the inner workings of the market and the forces that are driving prices.

What can the private retail forex investor do about this? He or she would be wise to invest in a simulation that replicates the conditions in the Interbank market. Such a simulation is TraderMetrics, a software simulation originally designed for and used by banks to train their forex traders.

With TraderMetrics, users become market-makers in the forex market and learn how to handle the flows. They learn the factors that cause herd mentality, which has more to do with staying within limits than being 'scared'. They get the inside track on trading that will give them several 'aha!' moments.

They will be able to trade on live rates, subject to the availability of a price feed, with recorded rates or programmed trading scenarios.

The trading normally takes place against the computer, but by operating in a networked environment, they can participate in a 'virtual' market, which is driven entirely by customer orders and the actions and reactions of other traders logged into the session. One gets to trade against other traders, so it becomes a game of anticipating the anticipation - like a giant game of poker.

The best news is for all traders that once you have learnt this in forex trading, you can apply it to any market with success.

TraderMetrics has recently been re-released. It was previously only available to financial institutions, but is now available at a very reasonable price to the general public. As well as being highly educational, it is also a lot of fun and at the same time supported by hundreds of statistics monitoring trader behaviour, performance and risk management.

Go visit the website, register and download a fully-functioning evaluation from www.forextradermentor/tmsignup.html

About The Author
Steve Pickering is the forex trader mentor. He offers coaching and guidance to private investors who want to succeed as forex (foreign exchange) traders. He has been actively involved in forex trading since 1971 as a broker, trader and trainer. He is the author of articles designed to cut through the hype associated with marketing in this industry and give honest, useful information. He is British and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.
His web site may be found at The mentoring service is available here at and the free evaluation of the TraderMetrics forex simulation is available at

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ornaments To Decorate PVC And Wood Deck Railings

There are many ornamental touches to add to your deck railing including box deck flower railing. The railing system on your deck provides that finished look. Because a deck is typically an oasis from your everyday life, it is important to add little touches that make you happy with the space. Creating planters on your deck can create a private garden that you can enjoy as you take in the view from your beautiful deck.

A box deck flower railing can be constructed out of many different materials. One type of material that can be used in this construction is PVC. PVC or vinyl constructions are an excellent choice for a number of reasons. There are no sharp points when the box deck flower railing is fastened appropriately because the material doesn't splinter. That means as you're gardening, there are few ways to cut yourself on the flower box. Moreover, PVC is an enduring material, and it doesn't heat up like other materials, so if you touch it on a hot day, as you probably will with gardening devices, you are unlikely to burn your hand. Also, the material is ultraviolet light resistant, so it won't fade as time goes by. It is waterproof and essentially maintenance free. PVC is an excellent choice for a box deck flower railing.

Another excellent material for construction of a box deck flower railing is wood. Wood offers a phenomenal classic look. You can use various types of woods to create different looks. Cedar offers natural preservatives that make it resistant to decay and insects. Even when exposed to extensive moisture, as it would be in a gardening situation, it holds up better than most wood choices. Composite woods are also a good choice. These offer the beauty of wood without the maintenance problems. Because of their nature, the products are decay, insect, light, and water resistant. Additionally, this type of material will not splinter. It makes a great box deck flower railing.

Whether you live in a large home overlooking a huge estate or a small two story apartment building, a box deck flower railing can be an excellent choice for adding that touch of beauty to your deck.

About The Author
Adam Peters is a freelance author who contributes adding interesting articles to a deck and porch railings website. Adam publishes ideas for railing plans and deck design for different type of styles at . Reach further articles on wood plans and designs at

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Home Warranty: The 5 Reasons You Need To Get One Today

Wouldn't it be nice if your life had a "reset" button? There aren't many guarantees in life, so when you can get one... you should! And a home warranty policy can provide exactly that guarantee!

What is a Home Warranty?

After all, your home is the single largest investment you'll ever make. Doesn't it make sense to have home warranty protection that matches? That last thing you want to do is deal with the problems that occur when household systems break down and you have to repair or replace them.

A home warranty protects homeowners against the costs associated with unexpected repairs or replacement of major household systems and appliances that may break down... even from normal wear and tear! And if something like your refrigerator or freezer breaks down, you may have insurance to cover the food inside, but it won't cover the appliance. That's where a home warranty is useful.

A home warranty policy works. And what's even better, it's so simple! If a covered appliance or system in your home breaks down, it will be fixed or replaced with no hassles, no lengthy claims process, no thumbing through the yellow pages trying to find a reputable service provider.

Why is a Home Warranty Beneficial?

1. It's comprehensive: A home warranty plan provides coverage over the existing systems and appliances in your home, regardless of age, make or model.

2. It's affordable: Home warranty protection protects your wallet against the high cost of home repairs or replacement that comes from normal wear and tear.

3. It's always available: A plan through a reputable home warranty company gives you preferred customer access to screened, local service contractors 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

4. It's convenient: A home warranty policy gives you plenty of security because you know – in case of emergency – that a service contractor will respond within a few hours, even on weekends and holidays.

5. It's easy for you: A home warranty plan gives you the peace of mind that if your home system or appliance cannot be fixed, they will be replaced with new item.

Weigh those benefits against the cost of buying or repairing those same systems yourself. And don't forget to add in the time and hassle you'll experience by trying to schedule and manage the repairs or delivery. It's time you can better spend... on just about anything else!

As a home owner, you'll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a home warranty. But if you are selling a home, consider these added advantages: According to a recent poll, over three quarters of buyers rate a home warranty as one of the most important considerations when buying a home, behind location, design and financing options. And an international home warranty policy survey showed that people who sold their homes with a home warranty sold their house sooner and got more money!

How Do I Find a Good Home Warranty Provider?

If you Google "home warranties" you will find many providers and finding the right one is important. Here are some tips to help you.

When you are looking for a home warranty company, be sure to find one that is focused on you, the consumer. After all, there are plenty of home warranty companies that "straddle the fence" and try to appeal to both the service contractors and the realtors who push their products. It's much nicer to deal with a company that pays attention to its customers. How can you tell? Companies that do focus on the consumer will have valuable information on their website about the types of things you'll find useful... even if it doesn't have to do with home warranties.

You'll also want to find a home warranty company who offers 24/7/365 service. If you find a home warranty company who does, use them! If not, keep looking. You don't want to make a late night phone call because of a broken furnace only to get a recording that says, "Please call back tomorrow morning."

As you search for a home warranty company, look for ones that make it easy on the consumer: for example, they should have one number for claims, online policy sign-ups, etc. You don't have the time to be running around, trying to do all the legwork. The home warranty company should make it easy for you to sign-up. They're in business to help you!

Find a home warranty company that covers the systems and appliances in your home. Many companies offer a pre-packaged policy – which is okay – but additional coverage should at least be available for other appliances in your home, such as a pool or spa.

Your policy should be guaranteed. If it's not, find another company. Some companies will make sure that your satisfaction is guaranteed. Those are the companies that care about the consumers.

Home warranties are excellent "just-in-case" policies to have. You'll sleep better at night knowing that you are well taken care of should something happen to the systems and appliances you rely on every day. And having the right company protecting you will give you even more peace-of-mind to ensure that your home is a great place to live!

About The Author
Aaron Hoos is a writer working with Remax Warranty Corporation. Remax Warranty provides you with peace-of-mind through their comprehensive home warranty policies available online at