Sunday, October 31, 2010

Can You Undo the Past?

"The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart; the less capable you are of loving in the present."

-Barbara de Angelis

You may not be able to undo what has happened in your past but you can let it make a difference in how you live in the future. You may not be able to undo the pain of the past but it doesn't have to still hurt. You may not be able to undo wrong choices but you can stop living with regrets. You may not be able to undo what others have done to you but you can let it go and move on.

There isn't a person on this planet that doesn't have something in their past that they would rather forget and some people don't forget. They hold onto it for dear life trying to figure out why, wondering how it's affected them now and wishing things would've been different.

If you took one hundred people off of the street and you each wrote your problems down on a piece of paper then threw them into a big box and then you reached into that box and you had to pick another person's problems; 9 times out of 10 you would wish for your old problems or your old life back.

When you think you've had it bad; trust me there are a lot of people who have had it a lot worse than you. Now that isn't supposed to make you feel better but it is supposed to put your life into perspective.

We've all had our share of heartache, betrayal, bad choices etc. But there are people that can't get beyond what has happened to them. The relive it as if it were yesterday. They point the blame finger so often that it's going to fall off and they can only see backwards.

The sad thing is that they have a choice. "If they don't wake-up they are going to live, dying." When bad things happen, you may not have had a choice in what happened, but you do have a choice in how you are going to deal with it.

You can let it make you stronger or break you down. You can dwell on it to the point of obsession or you can look at it and take from it the lessons you've learned. You can waste your time wishing things were different or you can make your life different from this point forward.

You have the power to take your thoughts in any direction you choose. If you keep looking in the rear view mirror how can you ever move ahead? Life isn't always fair, but what's fair about you continuing to torture yourself over something that's over, gone, finito, kaput, in the past?

Just for today get your head out of the past and enjoy your day. Just for today give yourself a break and don't look back, don't think of what if, if only and why.

Instead think of all that you have in your life to be thankful for. Look to your future without the past hanging over your head. Know that no matter what has happened you CAN move on and live a good life.

You can't undo the past but you can make ALL the difference in whether you let it destroy your future. You can't undo the past but you can chalk it up to a part of life, a part of life that may have been brutal, but a part that is dead and gone so bury it and move on.

Go out and enjoy your day instead of dreading each day. Go out with new eyes and see the world with a whole new vision. Go out and don't look back. There is a big world waiting for you if you only step out of the past.

About The Author
Quit messing around with wanting to live a better life and start living a better life. Find out how Susan has changed people's lives by being their wake-up call. Go to

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Time Management, Planning and the Sigmoid Curve

Charles Handy in his book, The Age of Paradox, makes an interesting case for launching a second career before the first one starts going downhill. Or a second business before the first one starts to falter. Or a new product before the sales on the first one starts to peter out. Handy feels the Sigmoid Curve, an s-shaped curve tilted forward, sums up the story of life.

For example, if we start a new business, we usually start slowly, sales take off, and then level off and finally start to decrease. The time to make a change is while we're approaching the crest of the curve, while everything is going great. At that point we have the energy and resources needed to get a new curve through its faltering first stage. But we are reluctant to change when things are going great and tend to ride the first curve down to oblivion. The various stages of growth are marked on the diagram.

Take products for example. I have probably developed over 100 products over the last 30 years, if you include manuals, self-study programs, books, training programs, videos and so on. But we probably have less than 50 available on our website at any one time. You can't wait until one product fizzles out before developing a new product. When things are going well, it's easy to sit back and do nothing. My public seminars were still doing well when I started doing teleseminars, and electronic products on flash memory sticks were developed long before book sales declined. You shouldn't wait for sales to plummet before introducing something new.

My experience in large companies showed that such things as austerity programs and cost-cutting measures took place whenever the company was on a downswing - at a time when the company could ill afford the damaged morale and resentment that normally ensued. By then it was too late anyway. Band-Aid approaches seldom work. Companies should have examined their spending habits during prosperous times when sales and profits were soaring. Living high on the hog during good times and panicking during recession is no way to run a company.

I like the concept of the Sigmoid Curve because it is more than just planning, it's anticipation.

A similar situation could occur in our personal life as well. If we get a higher paying job, an inheritance, a big sale or some other sudden influx of money, we might go on a spending spree that eventually escalates to a lifestyle. And when the source of the extra money dries up, we find ourselves unable to stop the downward spiral to bankruptcy.

It's difficult to determine where we are on the sigmoid curve at any point in time, only that we're on an upswing or a downswing. But companies usually underestimate how far they are on the upswing. Taking action before reaching the peak is a lot better than finding we're on the verge of a downward slide. Successful companies introduce new products; packaging or other innovations while things are going well, not as attempts to turn things around.

The things that make you successful are rarely the things that keep you there. The environment in which we live keeps changing. It takes courage and a degree of risk to change things when everything's going well. But not to do so may lead to disaster.

How do you know where you are on the curve? You don't really know until it's too late. So you must guess. In this fast-paced environment where change is exponential, it's likely that you're farther along on the curve than you think. In his book, The Age of Paradox, Charles Hardy refers to a study of 208 companies over a period of 18 years to find out which ones were consistently successful. Only 3 companies lasted for the entire 18 years. 52 percent could not maintain their record for more than 2 years. By that example, it would be reasonable to introduce change after 2 or 3 years. If you start a second curve too soon there are no great consequences. Start too late and it could mean disaster.

About The Author
Harold Taylor's website
Harold Taylor has been speaking, writing and conducting training programs on the topic of effective time management for over 30 years. He has written 16 books, including the Canadian bestseller, Making Time Work For You. He has developed over 50 time management products that have sold in 38 countries around the world.

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Success Motivation: Its Role in the Achievement of Your Dreams

The term motivation is not at all strange to all of us. In fact, in every endeavor that one ventures into, the idea of motivation always tags alongside it. Motivation is literally that thing known as the extreme desire to fulfill something. But before motivation must be exercised, it is important that there is a vivid plan regarding what is to be done, how it is to be done, and what kind of result is expected to turn out.

There may be a lot of things that you wish to accomplish. But then because of the most unexpected twists and turns of the events, your dream of fulfilling something may have suddenly become blurred and unreachable. But you would not let it happen and have it stay that way, right? There is always the chance to straighten things out.

Success motivation can be said as something that inspires us to pursue whatever it is that has been planned out. Life constantly provides everyone with a definite stream of opportunities and because of the many distractions, one always end up unable to pursue what he has planned beforehand. But with the idea of success motivation, the fulfillment of anything will not be out of reach.

The very main reason that hinders success motivation to materialize is the load of weaknesses that thrive in the human persona. This can be a very powerful tool that stops you from achieving your dream. If only you are aware of the most possible methods to stop these things from occurring, then you will likely be able to keep a focused mind. When these bad factors overwhelm you, you will find it hard to escape these obstacles and for success motivation to be kept in close track.

In order for you to maintain your focus on the dream that you have in mind, you must let success motivation enter your mainstream. There are obviously innumerable ways to have your dream bright, clear, and fresh. Here are a few of the important things that you may take note of:

Jot it down. Whatever it is that you dream of, scribble it on a piece of paper. This will be your constant reminder. If ever there are new occurrences in your life, your original goals will be relived as soon as you see what you have written.

Read it over and over. Posting the paper on the corners of your room will make it visible enough for you to be reminded of regarding your goal.

Revise your copy. As things change, the concerns you have also alters. But it is important that you stick to reachable and realistic goals.

Keep a log to yourself. You may list down the initial steps that you have taken in the achievement of your goal. You can also jot down other necessary things that you can attend to tomorrow or for the next days to come.

Take time to learn it. Always study and keep an eye on your designated project. It does not mean that you have to go back to school for another degree. It is only a matter of being decided on the matter. The more intense your success for motivation is, the clearer the pursuance of your dream would be to you.

Have someone to share your concerns with. It is important that you take note of other people's opinion. Their voices can truly help in the materialization of your dream.

Be inspired. It has been tried and tested. Having someone or something as an inspiration can contribute to the success motivation deals.

If you dare to take challenges, always be geared towards success motivation. You will lose nothing when you do so.

About The Author
Learn How to get up to 19 Checks Per Month, Earn Upwards of $519.17 Per Day, and Personally Sponsor 107 Reps into YOUR Primary Business in 60 Days or Less Marketing 1 Simple Website! Click Here To Get Access Now!

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How Do You Love the Work That You Do?

How do you love the work that you do? So often the work that you are doing doesn?t feel like it is necessarily your life?s purpose. And yet, you were drawn to this work. If you?re interested in finding work that is your life purpose, and you don?t feel like you are there yet, there is a way to get there. You need to actually begin to accept, appreciate, and honor the work that you do.

Where you stand in this moment is the bridge to that ultimate thing that will bring you the fulfillment. In other words, you need the contrast of now to bring about that incredible inspiration that will lead you to the work that is your ultimate work, that work that will bring incredible fulfillment and desire.

I like the way that Napoleon Hill says it. He says there is the seed of equivalent benefit in every adversity. And the mind is often thinking, ?Well, this particular job that I?m in now is a bit of an adversity. I don?t like it. It doesn?t feel good. I?m not happy about it.? But it is bringing you to that thing that you want.

So, here?s the trick. Make a list of all the things that are great, wonderful, that work, that you?re excited about, that you?re happy about. In the current position/job/ask that you?re taking on, get connected to the fact that there are good things occurring right now.

Get connected to what is working. Then make a list of all the things that you want it to be, additionally. What else do you want it to be? So yes, these are the things that are good, but there?s more to be good. What else do you want it to be?

If you get connected to what works, you?ll find that more of it works for you. You?ll find that it leads to greater opportunity. If you then identify what else you want it to be, you?ll find that those things that you want it to be will start to come to you. Where you are now is perfect.

It?s leading to where you wanna go. The contrast that you?re experiencing in this moment is leading you to that next level of joy, self-expression and fulfillment that you desire in this endeavor. Do the 10-10 visualization. That?s all this is.

Ten things you love about it, ten things you want it to be. And watch what happens. What you want is coming when you focus on it.

About The Author
Matthew Ferry a Life Coach, The Life Coaching Company Matthew Ferry International offers life coaching, Life Coaching Programs, law of attraction and dozens of training products and seminars relating to the law of ttraction to help you find your passion and love your life.

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No More Rejection!

Just about everyone has experienced rejection. They say it is our biggest fear. I suppose much of that comes from our instincts in childhood since a child experiences rejection as life threatening. Nature programs us to avoid rejection, so that as kids we don't die of starvation!

However, we may tend to carry this instinct (avoid rejection at all costs) over into our adult life in a way that does not help us create healthy relationships.

Lets have a looks at what 'rejection' means to an adult. Imagine I have tried to contact someone who did not respond in the way I hoped - or, who did not respond at all. When that happens I may feel 'rejected'. But, what is that all about?

After all I don't know what is going on with the other person. How they are behaving may have nothing it all to do with me. (It might, but I'll come back to that later - see What if it is My Fault?).

I could tell myself various things about this 'rejection' depending on how I feel at that particular moment - especially if it is the third time it has happened this week. I might start to feel really bad about myself. However, there is another way I can handle it. There is a way in which even an apparent rejection can help build my self-esteem rather than damage it. It is all down to what I tell myself about the event.

The part in quotes is my initial response and the part that follows is how I explain it to myself.

'They don't like me.' - but they don't even know me. Best just to move on.

'They don't like what I said/wrote/did.' - fair enough. Not everyone is going to like my style. I will learn what I can, but I will also move on.

'They have lost faith in relationships at that moment' - maybe, if so not much I can do about that. Best just to move on.

'They are too busy' - not much I can do about that either. Best just to move on.

'They are a stuck-up %^&!' - but I don't even know them. I don't know what they might be going through. Best not to be down on them, just to move on.

'I did not really like them anyway' - maybe, maybe not. I don't know them. Best just to move on.

'I am a terrible person. Nobody like me' - nah! Not everyone likes me, but some folks do. Best just to move on.

'I don't know' - I don't know what is going on with that person. I probably never will. Best just to move on.

'Nothing' - that's right. It may have nothing at all to do with me. Best just to move on.

You'll notice in the above there is a discussion going on. One part (in quotes) expresses my gut reaction; the other part interprets the event and helps bring it to some kind of resolution.

Seeming rejection from other people is really only a problem if I have rejected myself. If I feel pained by a situation it is best that I listen to the part of me that feels the hurt and hear what is has to say. I can then think about what happened and explain it to myself. If I reject the hurt, then I am really rejecting myself, and that causes a lot more pain than anything.

What hurts is not what other people say or do, but what we tell ourselves about it.

How Many of Me are there?

It may seem strange idea at first that one part of use needs to explain things to another part of us. Yet, it works. It works really powerfully too. Sometimes I need to do it a number of times, but often I find this approach of getting into a discussion with myself creates a shift in mood, or attitude, really fast.

It this still seems strange to you, consider the alternatives. We can ignore how we feel and pretend it didn't happen. We can go into hiding till we feel ready to contact other people again. Those are not useful alternatives, are they?

Also, we can lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that we did not really want anything to do with that person anyway. We can medicate our feelings through; drugs, alcohol, watching TV, being busy, obsessive behavior, and so on. Of course, lots of people do that. But, it does not really work. We want to do what works. Don't we?

If we don't deal with an issue and handle the pain, like grown ups, we end up having to hide or run away. That just causes us a lot more pain in the long run.

Having a good internal conversation is far better, far healthier and a lot more fun, than the alternatives. There is nothing to be gained by repressing our feelings and moods, or by letting them spill out in harmful ways. It's best just to have a 'conversation' with them.

I have had some hilarious (and very enlightening) conversations with myself while alone driving along in my car. I have found out things myself that I never even knew and in the process cleared up some long standing personal issues - and even some health problems!

In fact a good sign that you have got a handle on dialoging with yourself is when you find yourself being surprised by what comes up. There is a wonderful, beautiful authentic person in there. Why not get to know you? Not just the bit that society made, but the bit that God made. Most of us have only traveled a short way into tapping into our real potential.

What if it is My Fault?

The whole point of all this is: we can only have a healthy relationship with other people if we have a healthy relationship with ourselves. We can't abandon ourselves and expect everyone else to welcome us.

If I have such a low opinion of myself that I don't pay constructive and healthy attention to myself when I am hurt by something why should anyone else? If I don't give serious attention to what I really enjoy in life, then who will?

If I keep looking to someone else to fill the gap (and only expect life to get better that way) then I have rejected and abandoned part of myself. If I abandoned part of myself then what I get is a gnawing feeling of abandonment and isolation.

There is a difference between feeling lonely and just being on my own. When I feel lonely it feels like nobody is there. When I am on my own (but not lonely) at least I am present - and paying positive attention.

How does it feel to have someone avoid you all the time? It feels horrible. And, that is how I feel when I avoid myself. That is how any person, who avoids themselves, ends up feeling. Self-avoidance is what causes much of the 'social medication' we see around us (drugs, alcohol, obsessions, addictions, etc). If you want to get over an addiction try being genuinely kind to yourself for a while. Love is always the greatest healer.

The most attractive type of person is a person who has a life. Doing the things we love to do is part of what makes us interesting to others. It is also the best way to meet people.

There is no point postponing leading the most enjoyable life we can till the 'right' person comes along. When it gets down to it, we are the person who can do the most to make us happy. Besides, isn't being on the road to happiness a good place to meet the right person?

About The Author
William Martin offers a very different slant on dating and relating. He offers a unique and wholistic approach to finding - and keeping - a life partner. William is the webmaster of a totally free dating site.


Finding Happiness

How can we define the word "happiness", really? Each one of us has their own definition in finding it. Whether you're rich or poor and powerful or powerless, you want to be happy. Everybody wants to be happy, that's for sure. Some of the most common ways that people do to find it is through their finances, their relationships, their jobs as well as their health.

Yeah, there is no question about these things. But until when will that happiness last? With all of these, it will only last for a short period of time. And then, you're going to seek for another thing that makes you fulfilled. So, how can we find a true meaning of it? It seems that everyone is looking for it but doesn't really know what it is.

So, how about you? Do you know what true happiness is? Knowing happiness must start within. We should know what it is for us. After all, if you are looking for it, it would help you with what exactly you're looking for. Take some time and identify what it feels, looks and tastes like to you.

To be happy is like you're traveling to a place where you haven't visited yet. You don't know where to go. So you need a map to guide you. You need to create your own map or plan on how you're going to define it. It is useless to continue without any direction.You couldn't achieve what you want. The truth is, we must find our happiness somewhere else. And that somewhere else is within.

Sometimes we ask other people what it means to them. You always hear this phrase ? I'll be happy when?... When I get a good job, I'll be happy.

I'll be happy when I meet someone I love. These kind of feelings are based only on our external circumstances. If you base it on external circumstances, you'll continuously fail to find it. There will always be another job, another partner and so on. We strive very hard to find the shining moment in our life.

Sometimes we are doing our very best to have it, but how come we can't have it? We can't feel it in one click. Not all that we want can appear at once. We are still coping for some skill and techniques to achieve that one. We should know how to wait.

Take some vitamin S- smile. As you wake up early in the morning share that smile to everybody. Having a smiling face is a kind of blessing. In a simple way you share it to other people. This kind of magic can take away some of your depression as well as other people's.

You should always think of wonderful experiences that happened in your life. Eventually, you would realize what made you feel better, how you let go of some pain and how to make more positive experiences in your life. If you want to be happy, start doing things that you love in life.

And make sure that you are doing it with passion. You should know exactly what you're passionate about and why. And then you should live according to that passion. As you start to work on things that you are passionate about, you will find the true happiness in life.

About The Author
The author of this article,Amy Twain, is a Self Improvement Coach who has been successfully coaching and guiding clients for many years. Let Amy help you find Happiness in Your Work Place. Click here to learn how to become a Happy Worker.


Development Of Self And Thus Living A Better Life

Have you ever wondered why you sometimes find it so hard to achieve the development of self and change your way of living a better life? You may have your priorities right and your plan and timetable well set out but you still cannot feel a change in your life. Well, maybe it is because you find it hard to let go.

You cannot bring in new books unless you first clean out the bookshelf and hence get rid of the old books. Succeeding in life is about knowing when it is time to move on and forgetting the past whether good or bad. This is the underlining principle of achieving development of self.

What you have recently achieved is nothing compared to what you will achieve in future. You must also realize that everyone has an element of a dark path and have things in their past which they would not like to go back to or remember. Your past mistakes should never be a barrier to stop you in your pursuit of attaining development of self and the various milestones in your career.

Concentrate more on what is ahead and not what is already in the past in order to continually and gradually improve your conditions of living a better life. It is possible for you to build a career path that is unprecedented by integrating commitment with inspiration.

Since humans possess infinite potential and as a result no one has ever fully attain theirs; you can get close to your limit by working hard. There exists a chance for you to shatter records which were previously perceived permanent and thus development of self worth.

Your success is a reflection of your wishes. If you want to be the next king, then it is yours for the taking. You just have to evaluate yourself to discover what your creator put in you and have a desire to see it put to work.

Find more articles on achieving Self Development by clicking the links below.

About The Author
Stephen shares his wisdom and experience on Development Of Self that will definitely ensure you live a better life. Visit his Inspirational and Motivational Website at and start living a purposeful life.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Tropical plants blossoming in your home

The easiest plants to grow are tropical plants. You don't even require a greenhouse to grow them. Most of the tropical plants grow very well in a typical home environment.

However, you have to provide a consistently warm temperature to help tropical plants grow well. Of course you don't have to do anything special about it. They need the temperature that you need. Since the average home temperature is 73-76 degrees, the temperatures for growing tropical plants is just about right. Moreover, tropical plants need slightly higher humidity, which is again so easy to provide in an average home.

Notwithstanding, you will need to pay special attention to see that your tropical plants get enough sunlight. Again, you don't have to put them under direct sunlight or keep shifting them from place to place chasing the sunlight. All they need is light, because tropical plants don't grow well in dark. So, avoid placing them in dark corners of your house. It's a good idea to place them in a sunroom also called Florida room, if you have one. That will help them grow to their fullest glory.

It is advisable to do some extensive research while buying the tropical plants for your home. There are many bookstores flooded with books providing extensive information and tips on how to grow tropical plants at home. You may also use the online resources that can prove very fruitful while gathering information. These may provide you with many useful tips on growing tropical plants fruitfully. So, be ready with your homework and research to find the most suitable tropical plants for your home.

Once you've done your research and have an idea of what tropical plants you want to grow in your home and which ones are likely to do well, it's time to go shopping. Your local nurseries and even florists are excellent places to shop for tropical plants to grow in your home. The staff in these nurseries and florist shops are also founts of information and can give you invaluable information on growing tropical plants in your home.

There are many online nurseries and plant websites where you can gather information along with ordering your tropical plants. The major setback of ordering the plants online are that they might get damaged while shipping. Also tropical plants you are going to buy online may be diseased. So if you are ready to buy plants online then make sure what are their return polices and terms. Since anything can happen to plants so you should be prepared with your action plan and know the policies of the company.

About The Author
Dio Tropica is the proprietor of A Real Tropical which is a premier source for Tropical information. For questions and comments, go to:

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Furniture Slipcovers Can Transform Your Home In An Instant!

These days furniture slipcovers can be found for seats of all shapes and sizes, from wing backed chairs to sectional sofas, from loveseats to ottomans. Fitting a new slipcover to a favorite piece of furniture offers a simple yet effective way to instantly improve its appearance and give it a fresh lease of life. Ready made slipcovers for sofas and chairs are the cheapest option, but even having fitted slipcovers custom made can be relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to the costs of re-upholstery or buying a whole new suite. A real benefit of a slipcover is that it can be easily replaced whenever you fancy a change, or if it needs to be washed.

Furniture in many rooms can be slipcovered. In the family room, sofa slipcovers, as well as looking pretty, have the practical function of protecting your existing fabric from everyday wear and tear. Why not buy a few sets of discount slipcovers if you've got pets of small children? That can be an affordable way to always ensure you have spare furniture covers in case of accidents! Most modern slipcover materials are designed to be easy to care for and are fully machine washable. It can be worth spending a bit more on hardwearing fabrics such as cotton, particularly for seats that get used regularly. Why not look for matching recliner chair covers for a stylish, coordinated look?

Stretch slipcovers are also available for other rooms. For example, dining chair slipcovers can be purchased to protect good quality upholstery from food or drink spills. They come in various colors and patterns. Many people like to have a set of luxury covers to add a touch of elegance to dinner parties or special occasions. Folding and kitchen coverings are widely available too. If you're tired of the appearance of your home, fitting some new slipcovers is an easy way to give an entire room a makeover without the inconvenience of decorating.

A new slipcover can enhance the look and feel of a whole room, with minimal fuss, and can be changed whenever you fancy a new image!

About The Author
Caroline Smith is a successful freelance writer and regular contributor to - an online resource packed with tips and advice for finding the best deals on all types of furniture slipcovers.

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Is a Landscape Architect Really Necessary?

Many people feel that when they are ready to design a landscape, that a landscape architect is necessary. They do not feel that their natural tastes or inclinations are "correct," and they feel that they may irrevocably ruin their yard if they try something on their own. While it is true that some people may cause irreversible damage to their homes when they try their hand at design without a landscape architect, what they do not realize is that their problems have very little to do with design. A landscape architect will not actually install your features or plant your flowers, trees, and shrubs. That is up to you. You either have to do it yourself or hire someone to follow the plan drawn out by the architect. So, the question becomes whether or not you really need the help of a landscape architect to design your home environs.

Landscape architects can be very useful when it comes to using space. A square deck may save you money, but it may look out of place, and it may not be as usable as you would like. This is where a landscape architect can help. She or he can look at your available space, and suggest possible uses for it. These architects are experienced in combining utility with attractiveness, and it may be worth your while to spend $50-$200 for a consultation or two. It really depends on your budget, and whether you can afford such expensive advice. The architect may also be able to give you ideas for walkways, fences, and patios. However, it is important to note that most landscape architects are not gardeners, and many of them are not experts in plant care.

When working in a certain area, many landscape architects make use of commonly used plants that are widely known to grow well in a particular region. This means that you may end up with a design that, rather than being personal, looks very similar to other designs. Also, your architect is not going to be able to instruct you on what you need to do to amend your soil if the plants recommended will not flourish with the make up of your soil. Plus, many architects specify mature plants in their designs. This is because they are visualizing the attractive completed project. Mature plants cost much more than smaller plants, and such specifications may price you out of your landscape project.

The fact of the matter is that most people can determine their own preferences for landscapes by drawing out their own plans. With the help of local urban planning Web sites or a local university's plant specialist, it is possible to discover which plants thrive in your climate. Additionally, you can browse online to find plans for a variety of projects and flower gardens. If something looks comfortable and attractive to you, then there is no reason why cannot incorporate it into your landscape design. The key is trusting in your own taste.

Something that can be a lot less expensive than hiring a landscape architect to consult with and then to design your yard (the whole process can cost upward of $800-$1,000), it is possible to use software. Many stores sell this software, and it is available online. It is fun to use the software to figure out various possibilities for your home, and some of them even come with information like what you need for a specific design, and approximate cost estimates. This software not only provides great amusement, but it can also be helpful as you try to figure out what you would like to do about your landscape.

Landscape architects can be very helpful. They can help you determine feasibility and show you how to best utilize a space for beauty and function. However, these services do not come with a hefty price tag. An argument can be made for saving money in the long run, but unless you have a massive project undertaking, the services of a landscape architect are rarely completely necessary. You can sketch out your own ideas, or you can make use of software. And, as the average do-it-yourselfer does not often participate in a complete landscape overhaul, he or she is more than qualified to design for his or her own small landscape improvement projects

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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Vintage Lighting: Action Lamps, Stained Glass Lighting and Lava Lamps are here to Stay!

Since the early part of the 20th century lighting designers have created lamps and fixtures to captivate our senses. Much like the tranquility one feels staring at a warming fire or the excitement one feels staring at the spectacle of a lightening storm, accent lamps – those with colorful stained glass patterns, mythical figures, pastoral scenes or action, evoke our emotions.

While illumination is a function of lighting, many of the lamps of the sensory ilk, including lava lamps of the 50's and 60's, and animated action lamps of the 20's and again in the 1950's, favor more the sense of accent, entertainment and decoration than the practical function of task lighting.

Static yet colorful stained glass lighting appeals as eye candy. Beautiful patterns of Wisteria, Iris, and nature captivate, whether lit or not. Not much has changed since pioneer Louis Comfort Tiffany introduced his first stained glass art lamps more than 100 years ago. Vintage original Tiffany fixtures can be bought for more than the cost of a down payment for a San Francisco home.

Motion lamps, like the animated lamps of the 1920's, feature popular scenes such as water cascading over Niagra Falls or flames burning around a log. It's no wonder why advertisers sought to reintroduce action lamps again in the 1950's. In the 50's these moving lamps were brought back to life featuring Cole Swimwear models or popular snacks and drinks such as popcorn or coke and would rest upon the counter of a bar for all to enjoy!

Lava lamps also captured our fascination with colorful lighting and movement. Today, these, and the above mentioned vintage lamps, continue to be popular. Collectors may seek higher valued originals, whereas the homeowner may be just as happy with a modern day reproduction. Adding to the feel of a place, these kinds of fixtures are here to stay!

About The Author
Nicole Martins is a contributing author and publisher to an online resource providing you with information, articles of interest and reviews of popular and name brand chandeliers, floor lamps and table lamps.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Driveway Landscaping

Landscaping driveways does not necessarily mean the driveway itself, although the design of your driveway can impact the look and feel of your landscape. Rather, many people neglect to landscape their driveways to look attractive. This includes adding landscaping elements to the sides of the driveway, as well as at the bottom and the top of the driveway. There are many softscape and hardscape elements that can be added to make the area surrounding the driveway more attractive.

Your driveway landscape is the entrance to your property. If you ignore it, the driveway can look more like an ugly scar than a part of your landscape. If properly incorporated, however, it is possible to create a nice looking element in your landscape, tying it in to the rest of your design and looking as though it truly belongs. It is very worth your while to make an attempt at landscaping around your driveway. You need not spend a great deal of money to landscape your driveway, but if you carefully choose features and elements that are attractive and creative, you can have a fairly low-cost driveway landscape that is inviting to visitors as well as to those who live inside the house.

Before landscaping the driveway, however, there are a few things to take into account. First of all, you need to make sure that what you are doing will not be so much wasted work. Take into account your neighborhood. If there are a great deal of children, a flower bed at the entrance, near the street, may not be a wise decision. It may be trampled careless children, or the flowers may be picked. While these actions do not usually the products malice, they can result in a ragged and disheveled looking driveway entrance. In such a neighborhood one might consider accenting the entrance with an attractive fence, rock wall, or even a small rock garden. Also determine the footpaths traveled by those who live in the house. Make sure that any elements you add to the sides or ends of the driveway are not interfering in established walkways.

Some of the common hardscape options are walls and fences. These are projects that can add distinction and accent to your driveway area. A rock wall can be especially interesting if you use different colored rocks. It is also possible to plant grasses and small, hardy flowers in the cracks between the stones used to construct the wall. This can be decorative and it can add a more interesting aspect to your rock wall. Short, attractive fences, and even some of higher height, can also accent the driveway and give it a little more color and character. Small hanging baskets or lanterns can be used with either a fence or a wall to add more beauty.

There are plenty of softscape options for dressing up the area around the driveway. The first thing you need to decide (and this goes for hardscape accents as well) is whether you plan to use the landscape elements to run the length of the driveway or to simply accent the entrance to the driveway. If you are working with a very small budget, simply accenting either side of the driveway, near the bottom, is a good idea. It will cost much less, but add a great deal to the look of your over all landscape. Some of the softscape ideas that work well either to follow the driveway up or simply to add character to the entrance, include beds of colorful annuals, groundcover along the drive to create a natural and interesting border with the lawn, ornamental trees, and shrubs. The shrubs can even be cut to be topiary and have interesting designs.

A curved driveway is interesting of itself, and can be made even more so if a focal point is added to nestle in the curve. This focal point should be something of beauty. It can be as simple as a stately oak, or a specially designed flowerbed or rock garden. Or, instead of being something simple, the focal point can be something else entirely. Landscape bridges, wishing wells, garden arbors, and water gardens all make excellent focal points that can be exceptionally attractive.

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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How Vinyl Replacement Windows Can Save You Money

Imagine the home of your dreams. Is the old colonial style home that has historical significance but could use some updating? Perhaps it is the 1960s rambling ranch that gives you more single floor living space than you've ever dreamed of. If you have or would like to have an older home, chances are it could use some updating. One of the best ways to add value to your older home is by replacing the windows. Vinyl replacement windows are energy efficient, easy to clean, and add maintenance free beauty to any home.

Why Replace Windows?

Older windows that are generally made with wooden frames can warp or rot over time. They may at one time been well sealed, but over the years caulking flakes away and allows water to seep in. When water gets into the wood it expands and can rot, leaving spaces though which water and air can get into the house. Basically you have an aesthetic nightmare as well as horribly inefficient insulation against the elements.

Vinyl replacement windows take care of it all. The best part of the whole deal is that they will never rot or warp. The paint won't peel because there isn't any! The only maintenance they will ever need is cleaning – and that is many times easier than on old wooden windows with separate panes.

Vinyl Replacement Windows – A DIY Project

If you know how or are willing to learn how to replace a window, then you can install vinyl replacement windows. This great do-it-yourself project is an easy construction task.

First, you will need to remove the old window. If there is still a seal from the caulking you can cut it with a utility knife around the perimeter. Then with the help of a second person, push the window in or out with gentle pressure.

Once the old window is removed, then you will need to clean up the area around the window box by scraping off all old paint and debris. A clean surface is important in getting a good fit and seal for the new window.

Next check your measurements. If old windows have become a bit lopsided, then you can square it up with shims. This extra step will make the windows fit better.

Windows then are securely attached with screws. Finally, run a seal of silicone caulking around the edges for an extra strong seal.

Caring for Vinyl Replacement Windows

To wash replacement windows is so easy. The windows tilt in so cleaning the exterior side can be done safely from the inside. This is especially convenient for second story windows. Any storm windows that came with the old windows are no longer needed. The new windows are double-paned and insulated. Between the panes there can be decorative trims, so the surface to be cleaned in one smooth surface.

When it comes right down to it, there is no down side to installing vinyl replacement windows. They will add carefree beauty to your home for decades.

About The Author
Charles Mohaney writes frequently for an online guide. Charles is working on topics such as and home improvement.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Importance Of Good Interior

Every Human being has a unique chemistry of his own body, choices, preferences, tastes, likes & dislikes and so is the level of comfort depending upon the specific type of Interior Decoration that one cherishes. It is a pure Art to know yourself, identify your needs closely and then make up a surrounding of your own kind which is as unique as you are. The interior which gives you the best satisfaction to live in or work around.

Very few of us are born with this talent to recognize their need of ambience that suits them the best. In other cases some people require Professionals, Experts engaged in the field of Interior Decoration with skills tuned to the nuances of perfection, art and nature. They discover ones style of life, day to day routine & the living habits and accordingly arrange a interior that is most compatible for them.

Almighty is the best Interior Decorator who always keeps us inspiring with his lovely creations, which we call Nature. We all always like to make a little comfortable world within our own surroundings / premises. At all times we try to follow the basic rules of Nature only, like the darker shades at the lower portions and light shades on the upper, heavy objects in the bottom and putting lighter ones in the upper part.

The Interior Decoration describes many facts about a person who relates to it. In other words, Interior speaks its own language of art, style and life. A rich Interior elevates our soul !!!!



Natural Light should be used maximum in any Space whether it is residential or commercial. Manmade lights should always be our second preference. Yellow Lights are good for a space to be used for celebrations / festive happenings. White light is good for reading space, worship places, lawns, lobbies, verandahs, restrooms. Light

Blue color lights are best advisable for Bed Rooms. The direction of light should be in front-top of a reader in the reading room or the subject in question. In all cases the level of lighting equipments should be lower than any Ceiling Fan or major fitting which cuts the flow of light.


Free Space is a must between the Openings of different rooms and even inside also. It allows the free flow of positive energies in the premises and the cross-ventilation of fresh air, as well. The advisable direction to maintain a Free space is either North-east or Center of the total space. Free space is often called as breathing space also.


Sufficient number of Main Windows, Ventilation Windows and Doors must be provided in any building or interior. It allows keeping us in touch with the free and fresh stock of air, energy and day light. Partial arrangements like blindfolds give a very special look to these openings while maintaining their role intact.


The use of wood in our buildings and premises give us a feeling of being close to nature. It is much advised in the Inner parts of the buildings only, which are not much exposed to water / water usage. Natural colors of wood are always better, they never react with any kind of Interiors.


The choice of Floor is an important matter which depends upon the usage of that part of Floor. Wooden Floor for the Living Rooms / Offices is very good owing to their appearance. However, glossy bright tiled / marble floors are advised for the Spaces which are to be used for Commercial activities and celebrations with very heavy usage.


Certain Colors are good for particular directions. However, Dark shades are advised in the Bed Rooms. Light shades are better for living rooms, study rooms. Red, yellow and Orange are good for kitchen or the cooking space.


Wall Area should be treated well, where ever it is exposed to the use of water. Especially in the Bathrooms, Toilet and Kitchen, application of Ceramic Tiles gives elegance and a clean environment. Walls can be decorated by using Handmade Tiles, Hand-painted Sceneries, Handmade Murals, Ceramic Tile Sets and so many other similar options. A wide range of such products and latest Ceramic Tiles / tiling trends can also be found at


Furniture is a primary need for usage and comfort. Also it decorates your interior without a saying. Optimum Furniture should be placed in any space specifically in accordance with the use of that particular space. Excessive Furniture just consumes the positive energies flowing in the concerned space.

About The Author
Manoj Gupta is a eminent interior consultant running his import export firm by the name Ambalika Enterprises since last 15 years. His website is at

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Skip Troweling Method for Textured Ceilings

There are several ceiling texture choices to choose from when finishing a room. You can simply apply a flat paint to the ceiling, or spray or roll on a popcorn textured ceiling. However both these choices seem to be waning in popularity to the Skip Toweled look. The Skip Troweled look provides a compromise between the flat painted ceiling and the popcorn ceiling. It provides texture but to a lesser extent than a traditional popcorn ceiling.

Skip Troweling is relatively simple to do and can be performed by a homeowner who is doing a home addition project.

Skip Troweling should be performed after the sheetrock, mudding and taping are complete. Skip Troweling simply involves applying water downed Joint Compound onto the ceiling and running a trowel over it once.

To Skip Trowel a ceiling, simply water down a batch of Joint Compound to a soupy consistency. Then using a trowel (the pros use a sprayer for large areas) simply spread the material onto the ceiling.

Note that this is a very messy job as there will be significant spillage and dripping. Consequently protect yourself and your floors with eye-protection and plastic on the floors.

If the Joint Compound is of the right consistency the material applied onto the ceiling will begin to form stalactites that dangle from the ceiling. Not too worry as this is what you want to occur.

After the joint compound has begun to dry somewhat, use your trowel to knock off the high points (the stalactites). To do this, simply run your trowel over the now partially stiff joint compound area. The completed surface will have a mottled look.

Let the Joint Compound completely dry then paint the ceiling using a roller.

When employing the Skip Trowel method you can get creative by adding fine sand to the Joint Compound mixture before applying to the ceilings, or by moving the Trowel in a swirling pattern when applying the compound. In addition, some of the pros actually mix paint with the soupy Joint Compound mixture to eliminate the need for applying paint after the material has dried.

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

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Fast Solutions with Feng Shui

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art used in the home to create balance and harmony. Feng Shui Practitioners have many tricks of the trade used to get rid of negative energy and promote happiness, stability, affluence, tranquility and peace. With the help of this guide, now you, too, can use Feng Shui to enhance your surroundings.

Here are some Feng Shui fast solutions to allow you to experience maximum fulfillment in your current home:

Color. Color can lift you up or bring you down, so pay attention to the colors you choose for your furniture and to decorate your house. Decide on which color best suits your living room, bedrooms, dining room and furniture by figuring out the energy you would like for that particular room or area.

* Red: Great for energy and excitement. Works perfectly in a dining room to keep folks awake at the dinner table. Not so good for bedrooms and studies, as its properties can make it hard to relax and unwind.

* Orange: Stimulates hunger. Softer, lighter shades work great for living rooms, playrooms, and even bedrooms.

* Yellow: Inspires happiness and creativity. Use in any room to add brightness and vitality.

* Green: A healing and soothing color. A perfect choice for a living room or any room where you want to enhance the energy of balance.

* Blue: A healing and soothing color. A perfect choice for a living room or any room where you want to enhance the energy of balance.

* Indigo: Yet another color that heals and soothes. Good for a child's room to promote healthy sleep habits.

* Purple: A highly spiritual color that promotes richness and transformation. Can be too high of a frequency for a large room, so consider using accents of purple as an alternative to painting an entire room.

Light. Light exerts a strong influence over how we feel. Take care to light each room so that you achieve the appropriate calming or energizing effect.

* Sunlight: Natural lighting is the very best way to brighten a room.

* Good Quality Lighting: Second best to natural lighting. If possible, don't skimp when it comes to buying lamps, track lighting, or fixtures for your home.

* Bright Lighting: Promotes energy and activity (for a playroom, for example).

* Low Lighting: Promotes calmness and relaxation (for a bedroom or study, for example).

* Dimmers: Can be purchased at a local hardware store. Dimmer switches give you the flexibility to alternate between bright and low lighting in the same room. With a dimmer, bedrooms can be used to play, study, or sleep, your dining room can accommodate a lively brunch or a romantic supper, and the living room can foster animated conversation or some quiet family reading.

Touch. Designers often overlook the power of texture and how it influences the energy of your home and surroundings. Play with accessories and furniture of different materials to achieve surprising results.

* Rugs: A shag rug emits a playful energy, while a tightly coiled country rug adds a homey, nurturing touch to a living room. Decide whether you would prefer to tread barefoot upon a soft carpet or a cool shiny wood floor. One draws the energy of comfort, the other professionalism. Choose the materials best suited for the energy you would like each room of your home to radiate.

* Pillows: Silk pillows add richness and sensuality. Cotton is good for kids or casual relaxation, and fun, fluffy pillows can be employed for a lighter, playful effect in a living room or playroom.

* Furniture: Sleek wood furniture conveys a sturdy and reassuring energy, while soft leather couches and armchairs add a luxurious energy to a living room or study.

Smell. Aromas are an easy and inexpensive solution to help you achieve a harmonious home environment. Play with different scents in each room, changing them occasionally to see how the smells aid in energizing or relaxing you.

* Flowers: Flowers can be a terrific addition to any household because of their color and innate positive energy. Easy to forget, however, is how wonderful a room smells when fresh flowers are added.

* Candles: Candles look beautiful and have an immediate calming effect on a room. Use different scents for each room, or place various candles with unique smells together in one collection.

* Cooking: Cooking provides nourishment and comfort. An added benefit is the wonderful smells of cooking, which contribute to a balanced atmosphere in your home.

* Incense or alternatively, Sage: Incense is a fantastic cleansing agent. Use it to erase negative energies, such as after an argument. The scent will permeate all corners of the room, and either relax or invigorate the inhabitants, depending on what type of incense you use.

You! Don't forget the most important element of your home: you and your family. Even plants and flowers play a vital role in livening up an environment. Pets and children are great for adding movement in each room, which, in turn, keeps the energy of your house circulating. Play with these and other Feng Shui solutions, to maintain balance and perfect harmony in your home.

Please find the original article and more information about this subject at

About The Author
When Yale graduate, BatSheva Vaknin is not writing helpful and insightful articles like the one you just read for, she writes plays, screenplays and short stories. In fact, she has just completed her first novel.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tips On Using A Warm Mist Humidifier

Dry indoor air causes a wide variety of physical symptoms including a stuffy nose, dry cough, nosebleeds, dry skin and brittle hair. A warm mist humidifier will relieve these symptoms and help you sleep better. Dry air is common when the heat is turned on in the winter. If you live in a dry climate, you may need to humidify your home all year long. Excessive dryness causes wood furniture and flooring to crack and warp. Houseplants can dry out and the seams of your wallpaper could peel.

If your home is very dry and you need to add moisture to the air all year long, you may want to consider a whole house humidification system. These are installed on a forced air heating system and should be installed by a professional.

If you only need to use a humidifier in the winter weather, a single room model will be sufficient. These are plugged into any electrical outlet and can be used in the kitchen, bedroom or any other room in your home. The size of the water tank determines how long you can run the humidifier without adding water. Be sure the model you choose is large enough for the room and the amount of time it will be running.

Benefits of a Warm Mist Humidifier

A big benefit of the warm mist is the ability to put medication in the humidifier, as you can with a vaporizer. This is great for treating colds, congestion and winter viruses. Vaporizers release hot steam into the air and are notorious for causing burns in children. The steam in warm humidifiers is initially heated and then cooled just before it enters the room. This results in less risk of burns.

Because the water is heated, there is less risk of mold spores and bacteria breeding in the water. Since the mist is cooled before entering the room, mold can still grow, but happens less often than with cool mist humidifiers. Proper cleaning and maintenance can nearly eliminate mold spores in the air from the humidifier. In addition, monitor the humidity level in the room and make sure it doesn't exceed fifty percent. Mold flourishes at higher levels of humidity.

Cleaning Your Warm Mist Humidifier

To keep your humidifier working well for years, regular cleaning and maintenance is needed. Always clean your humidifier according to the manufacturer's directions. You will find this information in the owner's manual. You should empty the water reservoir and rinse with clean water. Dry it out with a towel before adding new water. It's best to do this each time you use it.

At the end of the season, give it a thorough cleaning before storing it. Use a disinfectant cleaner and dry thoroughly. You should clean the heating element at the end of the season to remove any build up that has accumulated. Doing this will help keep the air in your room cleaner.

Many warm mist machines have humidifier filters. The filter will need to be changed at least once, at the end of the season. Depending on the usage, you may need to change the filter more often. If you have hard water, the filter will need to be changed more often. Using distilled water can prevent the filter from becoming clogged with iron or other contaminants in your tap water.

About The Author
Johnathan Bakers reveals frequently for the website . Within his publication he is working on topics like and provides information on air cleaner.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Compare international moving companies and shipping services for well-organized move.

International moving is a job for well-organized professionals how can take care after the never-ending amount of details. Yet, thousands of people relocate from one nation to another every day. These people neither have the information, nor the gear to get fully prepared for the upcoming move. International moving .biz has both the tools and the information for the relocating individual and family. The company supplies moving quotes, explain about the different shipping methods, advice you with relocation tips for every major city around the globe and much more. Connect now to and have an easy and well-organized move!

International Moving .biz platform is simple and easy to use allowing customers to find the precise information and services they need. One of the most helpful resources is the moving and shipping quotes supplied free of charge. Customer's fills a short request form with their moving details. Such details include basic moving details (countries, dates), and data regarding your favorite moving methods (air, sea, road). In no time international moving and overseas shipping quotes are delivered. The shipping quote service provided through a leading international movers quotes provider. Finding international moving company has never been easier. allowing customers to chose from a variety of international moving companies.

Moving to a new country, by your self or with children is a tricky procedure. People are trailing with the new language and with the new customs. Daily routines are dissimilar from country to country, so it would be wise to learn about the culture and daily life of the destination country. allowing customers browse through every detail in need, making sure landing will be smooth. International Moving .biz give customers the opportunity to be prepared for the upcoming move, to learn about everyday life of the new country, making a smooth move.

The service is simple and easy giving the freedom to negotiate and wisely choose international moving company. In addition the service by International Moving .biz let people on the move get ready for the life in the new country. It is a helpful resource- gives example to the use of the Internet as a center of global information. Connect now to, and start saving time and money.

About The Author
Paul Hawson establishes marketing programs in the field of international moving, shipping and cargo. His main interest is with web sites which compare shipping rates.
Pual Hawson is available at


Monday, October 18, 2010

A Steel Building Provides the Perfect Storage Solution

Steel buildings are enjoying a resurgence as a storage solution for everyone from sportsmen to farmers. Able to withstand the harshest weather conditions - heavy snow, thunderstorms, and even hurricanes - steel buildings have distinct advantages over other storage options. With simple bolt-together construction, a steel building can be easily expanded to any length and - because it can be constructed without a frame - can offer a clear span of one hundred percent usable space.

Contrary to popular belief, constructing a steel building doesn't require specialized knowledge or dozens of workers. In fact, assembling a steel building requires no special tools or equipment, and can be completed by as few as four people in as little as three days.

Steel buildings can be the perfect solution for:

Sportsmen - Use a steel building as a garage or workshop. A steel building provides shelter for a boat, RV, or antique car. It can also be set up for a roomy workshop, with space to comfortably work on virtually any project. It can even be used as an airplane hangar!

Farmers - An arch-style steel building is the perfect agricultural solution. It can provide economical storage for farm equipment, machinery, and livestock. A steel building offers superior strength over I-beam buildings or pole barns, and can store hay in a vermin-proof facility.

Small Industrial Businesses - A steel building with a high sidewall clearance is ideal for equipment and materials storage, and makes for a great looking manufacturing facility. It is perfect for a workshop, and provides fire-resistant safety for heavy-duty tools.

Truckers - A steel building offers the perfect storage solution for big rigs, and has the added benefit of providing space for a workshop. Because a steel building protects against the elements, it is great for repairing and storing trucks.

A steel building can be used in a variety of other ways, as well. It can be used as an office built on to a manufacturing facility, or can be used behind a façade for a retail shop. A steel building can make a great animal shelter, and can even be customized for an affordable living space.

When buying a steel building, it's important to consider the quality of materials and construction. Optimally, the steel building will be built with galvalume-coated steel, an alloy containing aluminum and zinc. This type of steel is seven times more rust resistant than typical galvanized steel. In addition, look for a steel building that comes with a multi-year guarantee, and one that is affordable and easy to assemble.

About The Author
Chris Robertson is a published author of Majon International. Majon International is one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing and internet advertising companies on the web. Visit their main business resource web site at:
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Remodeling a Bathroom

So you've decided that it's time to update your bathroom. Whether you're planning to sell your home or you've simply decided your family needs a more updated space, there are a few important decisions you should make before you start.

First of all, consider what needs to go (no pun intended). Are you remodeling because all of the fixtures- tub, shower, toilet and sink- are outdated? Or is there a specific area of the bathroom that doesn't work for you? Maybe the floor is outdated or peeling, or the mirrors are in inconvenient places, or you'd like to knock out a closet or install some shelving. Before you start, pin down the exact things about your bathroom that need work. Don't immediately assume you need to overhaul the entire room. You may be able to save yourself big bucks by starting with the problem areas.

If your bathroom seems too small, you might not need to tear out a wall. Maybe you just need a pedestal sink instead of a cabinet one. If you're more than ready to just tear the whole thing up and start from scratch, you'll have to make some decisions about what's going to replace the current fixtures. Take some measurements of your tub, sink and toilet, the replacements you're considering, and the size of the room. Keep in mind that just because you want a claw foot bathtub doesn't mean you should have one- your bathroom may be too small for anything but a tub that fits closely into the wall. Draw some diagrams, and move things around until they seem to fit. But keep in mind that the layout of a bathroom is fairly limited. The water pipes only come out of the walls in certain places, so unless you're planning on tearing up the walls and the plumbing, your toilet and shower will probably stay where they are, even if you replace them with new ones.

Making decisions about what new items to buy should be the easy part. Look into purchasing a low-flow toilet. If you haven't had a new toilet in awhile, you will be amazed at the savings on your water bill once a new, water-saving model is installed. This is also a huge plus to potential buyers, who will love the idea of saving on utilities each month.

Safety in the bathroom is also a consideration. Consider handles around the tub and a non-slip floor covering specifically designed for bathrooms. Many older bathrooms are lacking in safety features, and that's a down side when it comes time to estimate a home's value.

Remodeling your bathroom is going to be a job that requires some forethought. Whether you're doing it to sell the home or for your family, it's best to take space, safety, and convenience into consideration. You spend an awful lot of time going in and out of your bathroom. It might as well be comfortable!

About The Author
Richard Rigor is a real estate agent in Birmingham, Alabama. Visit to find out your homes value or get a free list of homes for sale that fit your criteria (with prices, addresses, and descriptions).

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shingling a Roof

Shingling or roofing a house is a major undertaking for a homeowner and extreme caution is required. This said, a Do-It-Yourselfer homeowner can shingle or roof their own home with a little knowledge and the right tools.

Required Tools

In order to roof a house properly and safely the following tools are needed: Ladders, Roof Jacks, Hammer, Carpenters Knife, Chalk Line, and preferably a compressor or nail gun.

Estimating Materials

Typically the roof is measured in squares, where a "square" represents 100 square feet. There are eighty shingles in one square. However, when you go to your local home improvement store shingles are usually sold in bundles. Usually three bundles equal one square, however this can vary slightly pending the shingle style.

Measure the area of your roof (length x width) and divide by 100 to get the number of squares required. Then multiply this number by three to get the number of bundles of shingles required for the job. Add an additional 10-15% for spare, leaning toward the 15% if your roof has hips and valleys.

Drip edge, ice and water shield, asphalt paper, flashing, roofing nails, and hip and ridge vents will also be required. The Drip edge comes in various lengths. Measure the outside perimeter of the roof to calculate the drip edge required. The ice and water shield, asphalt paper and flashing come in roles. Use your roof square area calculation for determining your asphalt paper requirements. Typically only one or two courses of ice and water shield is required along the bottom/eave of the roof and in the valleys. Calculate 2 times the length of the roof and valleys to estimate the amount of ice and water shield required.

Typically each shingle will require 4-6 roofing nails and flashing usually comes in 16" wide roles or 6x6 or 8x8 square inch steps. Step flashing is typically used around chimneys, dormers and side wall junctions. Hip and Ridge vent will vary with local building codes, however a rough estimate would be to measure the length of your roof's hip and ridges and take 75% of this figure for calculating the amount of vent required.

You should now be able to fairly accurately calculate the cost of material for roofing your home.

Installing the Drip Edge

Nail the Drip edge around the entire outside perimeter of the roof.

Apply the Ice and Water Shield Membrane and the Asphalt Paper

Apply the ice and water shield material such that it is flush with the drip edge. If the climate in your area has harsh winters and/or significant annual rainfall, add a second course of ice and water shield for added protection. You should also add the ice and water shield membrane in the valleys.

Next apply the asphalt paper to the entire roof, starting from the bottom and working towards the ridge. Make sure each course of asphalt paper overlaps the lower row by several inches (effectively shingling with the asphalt paper).

Install metal flashing

Install metal flashing in all of the valleys. Step flashing around chimneys and dormers will be added as the shingles are installed.

Installing the Shingles

Start the shingling at the bottom of the roof (or at the eaves). Lay a starter course such that the bottom edge of the shingle lines up flush with the drip edge. The starter strip is a "tabless" shingle that you make from the regular shingles using your carpenter's knife.

Lay your next course of full shingles over the first course, staggering the starter joints from the first course to prevent water penetration.

Note: Sometimes you may want to start with a full or a partial shingle at one end. In either case, you want to try to avoid small shingle pieces at the far end of the roof. To prevent this, divide the length of the roof by the length of a full shingle and assess how much of a shingle length you want to start with. Ideally you do not want to have pieces smaller than 12".

Use a Chalk Line

To ensure your shingle courses run straight use a chalk line. Measure the finished reveal on your shingles. Usually this is about 5 inches. Then make marks every 5 inches on the gable ends of the roof. Snap a chalk line between the gable ends at each pair of marks all the way up the roof. This will ensure that you shingles run true and straight as you progress up the roof with the courses.

Vertical lines should also be snapped every 3 to 6 feet to ensure your tabs maintain alignment.

Use of Roof Jacks

After 3 or 4 courses of shingles have been installed using ladders, roof jacks may be necessary to access the upper courses. Roof jacks are steel brackets that hold planks in position for you to stand on. The roof jacks should be securely nailed through the decking and into rafters to ensure that they will support your weight.

Shingling Valleys, Chimneys, Skylights and Dormers, and Step Flashing

Shingling the valleys and installing flashing requires extra care. The shingles, typically coming from two intersecting courses when entering a valley, need to overlap each other such that no water penetration occurs.

Skylights, chimneys and dormers must be step flashed (step flashing is interleaved with each course of shingles) to ensure water is kept from penetrating the roof.

Adding the Ridge Vent and Caps

To complete the roofing project, ridge vents need to be installed. These are nailed to the top of the ridge and then capped.

The ridge cap prevents water from entering the home via the ridge vent, while still allowing the house to breath. The ridge cap is constructed out of individual shingle tabs that have their unfinished corners cut off at 45 degree angles. Each modified shingle tab, is nailed such that it overlaps the previous piece as you work your way down the length of the ridge vent.

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

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Monday, October 11, 2010

10 Ways to Survive Building or Remodeling Your Home

Building or remodeling a home is a stressful experience. Right up there with visiting in-laws and getting root canals. So here's some advice for finding the silver lining on this often difficult time.

1. Think of the project as a new diet.

Who doesn't want to lose at least five pounds? This is one way to do it. Between running to stores all day and evening long, meeting with contractors, inspecting the work, searching the Western world for the perfect light fixture, who has time to eat? Provided you don't sabotage this new, unorthodox diet plan, with McDonalds drive through, you're good for losing five pounds. If you are a masochistic type who does some of the work yourself - whether it be painting, laying tile, landscaping the yard - you can count on another five to ten pounds of weight loss. Just think, you may be miserable, frustrated, exhausted, nd down right cynical about the good of the humankind, but your jeans will fit nicely!

2. Write checks as aerobic exercise.

These workouts are great for toning the wrist and fingers. Usually done in hectic spurts as you race out the door in the morning while the contractors are breathing down your neck and your kids are beating each other with the lunch boxes you just prepared, the stress and frantic activity are sure to raise your heartbeat for a good hour. Grumbling under your breath that the plumber, electrician, or you name it, isn't really worth this much money adds greater intensity and calorie burn to this little publicized exercise regime.

3. Save money through shopping burnout.

Yes, even the most die-hard shopper will come to dread setting foot in any store. This affliction starts innocently enough as you go to look for light fixtures. How hard can it be? Hard! Either the light you want is being shipped from Yugoslavia and won't arrive until your youngest child buys his own home, or you just can't find the one you want. You'll shop every lighting and electrical store you know. You'll search Home Depot. You'll haunt hardware stores. And then there's plumbing fixtures. Sink centers, faucet handles, finishes, special orders. What's all that about? And the cost. You'd think you were outfitting the palace for a former third world dictator. Of course, there's carpet, tile, hardwood, stairs, siding, windows. Enough already. And you thought it was a pain picking mints and sweet table treats for your wedding.

After your 1000th trip to Home Depot (or Lowes or Menards or whatever), in addition to all the other trips you've made for items that shouldn't count as shopping (toilet seats, for example), you've had it. Your friends won't be able to bribe you to check out the latest sale at Bloomingdales. You'll think it will be better when you can pick out "fun" things like paint, wall paper, drapes, fabric, furniture - but don't bet on it. At this point, the pressure to make your home look like something other than an empty rat maze will counteract any joy in shopping. Spending this much money has never been such a miserable experience. As a result, when your home becomes half-way presentable, you'll refuse to shop again - even for groceries - for at least six months. The money you save during this shopping hiatus will be sufficient for you to resume this previously pleasurable past time once more without guilt.

4. Impress your friends with obscure facts.

Only someone that has built or remodeled their home can explain the fluid dynamics of a proper toilet water swirl. Or cite the International Building Code that calls for no more than 6' between electrical outlets. Or brag that triple glazed windows are really the wave of the future for light emitting device technology. See what I mean?

5. Pride yourself on your new creative skills.

You'll discover a creative side that you never knew existed. Like how to wash dishes in the bath tub. And how to make a full course meal for a family of four using nothing more than a toaster and hot plate. Or how to fit an entire family in a house smaller than your first apartment. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. That's probably true, but I also think that the only thing that separates modern and pioneer life is just one kitchen or bath remodeling project.

6. Yell at someone other than your kids - and not feel guilty.

Honestly, as a modern woman trying to juggle the running of our homes, possibly a job, and the future Olympic soccer aspirations of our children, you have the primal need to yell. At someone. Anyone. Often our spouse and children suffer from this need of ours to release pent up negative energy generated from nothing more than some miniature human leaving smelly gym shoes on the kitchen table. (Ok, that probably deserves a bit of yelling - we eat at this table!) But when you remodel your house, you have a whole cast of characters - and believe me, they're characters - that often deserve a good scream from time to time. Like when they tell you that they tore out the fireplace because they didn't think it looked right. Or when they show you a mistake made three weeks ago that now requires half the house to be torn down in order to fix. Yelling isn't immature or a result of too much estrogen, it's therapy.

7. Throw out (finally) your significant other's treasured [fill in the blank] from his bachelor days.

You know what I mean. It could be the semi-nude poster he won't get rid of. Or his collection of exotic beer cans. Or all of his Sports Illustrated magazines since the Chicago Bears last won the Superbowl. Now is the perfect time to get rid of it. If you need to move out of your house while the remodeling is done, or you are moving to a new home, such an opportune time may never occur again. Say it won't fit in the rental house. It's either this or his golf clubs. Gently remind him that the sentimental item really serves as a reminder of his advancing years. Anything. Get rid of it. It will be one positive you can remind yourself of when the stress of remodeling makes you feel that this project was the biggest mistake of your life.

8. Grow closer to your family through forced bathroom sharing.

The saying goes that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Perhaps that wise pundit had to share a closet sized bathroom with three kids and a spouse. In reality, there's no greater way to create intimacy in a family than by all trying to get ready for the morning in the same 7'x 5' space. You'll learn new exciting things about your children - like toilet paper is purely optional for little boys. You'll discover that there is no bond quite like the one created when the entire family brushes their teeth together over the same sink. You'll realize why the older generation of your relatives only washed their hair once a week instead of facing communal bathroom time. But most importantly, you'll no longer need to yell at your kids to hurry up for school - they're standing right next to you.

9. Earn free flights from all of your purchases.

In what is admittedly (and somewhat sheepishly) the only practical survival tip on this list, get an airline mileage credit card. Charge everything on it - lights, plumbing fixtures, windows, doors, lumber, carpet. The windows alone can get you close to one free trip. Whether you decide to share your miles with anyone else in the family or to escape on your own to a world of quiet solitude and, preferably, an open bar, is entirely up to you.

10. Hire some good looking contractors and feel like you're 15 years old again.

Hey, guys get a whole chain of restaurants and bars where the main attraction is busty waitresses in tight t-shirts (Hooters). Why can't us gals have some eye candy once in a while? Besides, it's a productivity tool. You'll be more likely to inspect the job or meet the architect if some young, fit, good-looking men are there - especially in the summer months when shirts tend to become optional. For example, we once hired a roofing crew of male model wannabees for a house we built. My husband called them the "Beefcake Roofers." They created quite a stir in the neighborhood that summer. Let me tell you, it made rushing to stop by the house to go over notes with the trades first thing in the morning a bit more interesting ... and much more fun!

Finally, remember, the end result of your new house will be worth the aggravation of the process. Plus, think of all the good stories you can tell!

About The Author
Julie Lohmeier
Along with her husband, 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 Or sign up for her free email newsletter at:
@copyright 2005-2006, Julie Lohmeier,

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