Choosing and using outdoor furniture

July is the month for backyard parties like one I’m planning for my family. I decided I would need more chairs, but the price of yard furniture at my local home center was too high for my budget.

Then I thought about making some furniture out of 2-by-4 lumber, which is not all that expensive. So that’s what I did, using Wolmanized Extra, a pressure-treated lumber that resists snow and rain and won’t rot.

I also made chaise lounges, tables and a serving cart. All are as easy to make, and you can buy Replacement Seat Cushions in the Internet. My total cost was about half what I would have spent to buy lawn furniture.

The very best outdoor furniture is welded together, not bolted. Acrylic seat cushions will last longer than cushions of polyester. Wrought iron is ever popular for a traditional look but may require periodic touchups to prevent rust. Wicker looks nice outside, but it doesn’t always weather well. Resin weave is a hard plastic that looks like wicker but lasts longer. Cast aluminum is a long-lasting material if properly coated. Some aluminum furniture is coated with a baked-on polyurethane powder coating; others use a textured finish. Teak is a good choice for fans of wooden furniture and for locations where the wind is strong. It ages well and needs little care. Care is needed with any piece of furniture that faces the elements. Keep your outdoor furniture clean and put it indoors or under wraps during inclement weather. Wash aluminum, steel and wrought iron furniture with mild detergent and water; rinse and dry thoroughly. The Casual Furniture Council recommends coating once a year with automobile wax. To clean wood furniture, wash with soapy water. On resin furniture, make a good lather with dishwashing detergent and warm water to sponge on. Do not use an abrasive sponge. For heavy stains, use a solution of bleach and water.

Air Duct Cleaning

Air Duct Cleaning Business has come of age. Techniques and equipment have advanced, so consumers now can get the service they are entitled to, and are paying for.

Air duct cleaning is a valid part of indoor air quality. Make no mistake, IAQ can often go well beyond cleaning the ductwork. This is no business for amateurs. Beginners can still make the mistake of offering to solve all indoor air problems, when what they are really doing is delivering clean ductwork.

There are four main commercially available methods of duct cleaning. One method is the “high volume vacuum,” which is normally truck mounted. Another technique is the “contact method,” involving the use of hand vacuums. A third duct cleaning method uses “mechanical brushes,” which are flexible brushes with a vacuum hose attached. The fourth method of air duct cleaning is the “air sweep.” Simply defined, the air sweep is a push/pull system. The vacuum is connected near the furnace pulling the air through the ducts while high pressure air is used in each duct to push debris into the vacuum.

The road to fitness

Most of the established running shoe manufacturers make footwear that helps prolong endurance and prevent injuries. More than 90 percent of running shoes are now bought by people who are not serious runners but want to look fit. Taking advantage of the potential market, many new shoe makers have entered the field although they don’t have the foggiest idea how to produce shoes that are good for runners. They simply make good-looking junk.

When you run, your heels hits the ground with tremendous force. Your foot strikes the ground on the outside bottom and rolls inward, twisting the lower leg inward, too. The combined force and inward rolling can cause a wide range of injuries, from shin splints to runner’s knee. Therefore the best running shoes are made with features that reduce the force of the foot strike and inward rolling motion. Bad running shoes don’t have these safeguards.

Training tubes (also called resistance bands) are a great way to strengthen and tone the major muscle groups in arms, legs and back. The elastic tubing can be used at home or easily packed for trips. The bands come in different widths and tension levels. Rubbery and resilient, they come in enough styles and strengths to challenge anybody from the beginner to the strength-savvy veteran. But unless you combine them with anatomy-altering chemicals, forget those Mr. and Ms. Universe contests.

If you don’t have a carpeted area in your home, spring for an exercise mat. A roll-up mat, especially a nice padded one with a nonskid side, is a must if you have vinyl, tile or hardwood floors.

If you plan to combine several sports or activities in your fat-burning workouts, choose a multipurpose athletic shoe, such as a cross-trainer. You can easily buy running shoes and resistance bands online.

Fake nails making style mark

Sure, they’re tacky, but fake nails – particularly those adorned with faux jewels or airbrushed designs – are hot, and their sales are rising, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

Fake nails come in three basic forms: acrylic, gel, and silk or fiberglass-wrap.

Acrylic nails, the most popular, involve a four-step process of cleanser, primer, then liquid and powder acrylic. Dental research led to the chemistry behind acrylic nails, which revolutionized the artificial-nail industry when they came onto the scene 25 years ago.

The cleanser removes all oils from the nail so the chemicals will stick, according to Annie Trecker, supervisor of Nails Now! in Dallas. The primer is most often an etching substance that removes some of the nail surface to make it rough and porous, which also helps the chemicals adhere.

To get the right shape, the nail technician may apply a nail tip and then combine the acrylic liquid and powder on top.

The other option is a sculpture, in which the tech will place a sticker around the fingernail being set. The sticker allows the nail to show through and provides a surface on which the acrylic can set. It also lets the tech shape a rounder or flatter fake nail and adjust a nail that’s too wide or too narrow for the standard-sized tips.

The sculpture is more durable, which may not be a good thing. “(With a nail tip), if you hit the nail, the tip will come off easier,” says Rita Lewis of Spud’s Network Hair Salon in Dallas. “With the sculpt, your whole nail could be in trouble if you hit it too hard.”

You could spend 20 minutes to two hours having artificial nails acrylic or any other type applied. It depends on how leisurely the client wants her appointment to be and how experienced the nail tech is, says Trecker of Nails Now!

“One of the setbacks is that some people may have an allergic reaction,” Trecker says. She emphasizes that acrylic nails do not cause allergies, nor do they cause the fungus and mold that sometimes develops under a fake nail.

“You can’t blame it on the acrylic because it has to do with the person’s neglect of the nail,” she says. Mold occurs when water seeps into cracks in the nail, and fungus may spring up if you hit or otherwise traumatize your nail. If a fungus goes untreated, it can cause you to lose your entire nail.

Gel nails, the rarest of the fakes, are made from a pre-mixed chemical that is painted on the way polish is and then hardened under an ultraviolet lamp. The price range is about the same as for acrylics, as is the maintenance.

“There are less chemicals being applied on the nail, so gel works better for someone who might have allergies,” Trecker says. Some nail techs chemically etch the nail first, but others just cleanse it with alcohol before applying the gel.

Technicians are likely to be very meticulous in applying gel nails because the gel is so runny, Trecker says. The process involves application of three layers and hardening each one under the UV lamp.

Hand garden tools

Only few days until Christmas! In case you’re like me and haven’t started to think about gifts here are a few ideas for that green-thumb friend.

Now would be a good time to take inventory of your hand garden tools and get them ready for the weeks of hard work ahead.

Just look at the site

Quality is the name of the game when buying all garden tools and equipment. If secateurs are lightweight and top-of-the-range they will last a lifetime. Pruning saws should cut on the forward and backward strokes.

Add a spade, garden rake, long and short-armed loppers, a garden hoe, cultivating tools, edging shears, a leaf and gravel rake, mattock, digging and gardening fork, wheelbarrow, bucket, trowel, a garden weasel, broom, watering can and small hand-digging fork.

Really serious gardeners would be delighted with a shredder, electric hedge shears or lawn trimmer.

Winter is a good time to sharpen blades and change oil and filters, unless you did all this work before putting the equipment away for the winter.

Power equipment should get plenty of attention before the season starts. Follow owner’s manuals for getting lawn mowers, tillers and the like ready for spring use.

Give all lawn and gardening equipment a “once-over” before tilling the garden or mowing the lawn. Longer equipment life and a safe work environment will be your reward. Inspect for loose bolts and screws. Lubricate moving parts. Check for frayed electrical cords and broken insulation. Be sure that all extension cords have three prongs. Change the oil even if it looks clean and clean or replace the air filter. Sharpen the mower blade. Replace spark plugs if they are fouled. Hard-starting engines probably were stored with gas in the tanks, and a visit to the repair shop will be in order. Read the service manual. If you totaled the cost for all the power and hand garden tools you own, it would represent quite an investment. Protect that investment by spending one day of service this spring for hours of trouble-free performance.

Rainwater Catchment Systems

Rainwater Catchment systems collect and store rain water for future use. Summer is the right season to install necessary pipelines and build a tank that would help storing the rainwater for few months. The empty tank can be later on used for storing water sourced by other means.

To build a Rainwater Catchment structure, one should ideally have glazed tile chips laid on the roof floor, rather than a cemented floor. The water discharge outlets which are given at different places on the roof can be connected by a network of pipes to the storage tank, in the ground.

Some of the practitioners give slope to the roof-floor so that water gets accumulated easily towards the flow side, saving water from being accumulated. In order to tap clean water, first few showers of rain and storms should be avoided, as such water might carry contaminants.

However, there are a number of precautions that one should take before collecting rainwater. All the exposed surfaces, from where the water is collected should be thoroughly cleaned. Screens or filters should be fixed in the drainage pipes on terrace to filter out large particles.

What is hookah

The hookah or shisha, which is part and parcel of Eastern culture, has been used for pleasure throughout the ages. A hose called a “marpuc” is used to inhale the smoke of the tobacco, on which there is a small fire, and the smoke is filtered through a reservoir of water. It is believed that the sight and sound produced as water bubbles up is rehabilitating. This is the easiest way for people who like metaphysics to embark on a trip to the stars. The journey of the spirit away from the body and the eventual union of spirit and body is only one of the pleasures of the hookah.

Though it originated in the Middle East 400 years ago, the hookah is a tobacco pipe with a long tube that cools smoke by drawing it through water. First, the tobacco is put on a small, ventilated plate on the narghile, then burning pieces of charcoal are placed on top. Sucking on the shisha pipe then draws smoke down into the water-filled bowl and out again into the mouth.

Connoisseurs describe it as a “sweet” smoking sensation because the nicotine is taken out by the water. Traditionally, flavored tobacco – consisting of dried fruit pulp mixed with tobacco leaves – is used.

With the shisha, you can choose from an oriental orchard of flavors. Shisha smokers can choose from a variety of flavors, including apple, apricot, strawberry, mixed fruit and mint. There is, it has to be stressed, no outlawed substance inside the hookah tobacco. Shisha adepts consider the elaborate preparation and total attention required part of its relaxing effect. Shisha, they say, is for contemplation, not stimulation. Decor notes for your hookah smoking area: go with big pillows, oriental rugs and lots of couches to create that Night at the Casbah motif.

Mitsubishi vehicles

The first cars sold under the Mitsubishi nameplate, displaying the three-diamond logo, were introduced to the American market in 1982. Prior to that, Mitsubishi supplied Colts and Sapporos to Chrysler, but in an effort to expand its overseas sales, the company decided to make a move to establish its own identity here. From a modest beginning, Mitsubishi has steadily increased its dealer network, and improved and expanded its product line until it now covers a rather significant portion of the automotive spectrum.

From the moment you get into the Mitsubishi Galant, you get a solid feeling. It is a highly advanced machine that stands on wide alloy wheels and is surrounded by a rippling metal casing that all works together for a remarkable performance, every time you drive it.

Though similar on paper to many other cars in the same class, the Lancer has a touch of quality and driving feel different from most of the others. Build quality is very good on all models and Lancers have a reputation for long life and reliability. Repairs are reasonably easy to carry out, even for the home handyperson, and spare parts are still readily available and competitively priced.

Mitsubishi’s first entry-level crossover, the Outlander, has characteristics that people want to see: low price, compactly sized, has higher ride height than a car does, doesn’t require a big climb up to get inside, easily fits in a garage, versatile interior for hauling people and cargo. offers you auto news, reviews and advices. There you can find Mitsubishi gallant specs, lancer specs,  outlander specs, photos and a lot of information.

Attic improvements

The attic is the one great source of potential new living space in many homes. The first step is to decide how you want to use the space, and to see if it’s practical. Adding new bedrooms is a good use of a converted attic. Gaining extra sleeping quarters is the reason most people convert an attic.

Whatever your decision, consider consulting a builder or architect while developing your plans. A professional can tell you whether your budget is reasonable, and what permits, inspections and variances you will need.

A typical, small, uninsulated cover on an attic-access opening can lose more heat to your attic than the insulated ceiling over an entire large bedroom. Additional energy is lost to air leakage around the cover. Since heated indoor air naturally rises, the air leakage is greatest in the winter. This not only drives up your utility bills, but it creates chilly drafts inside your home. One of the most effective methods of reducing the energy loss is to install attic stair covers.

Get ready for in-home computer gaming

There’s no flashing neon, no floor show, no musically clinking coins when you pull the handle on a slot machine in cyberspace.

Instead, the computer mouse in the quiet room goes clickety-click. And the lemon, the grapes and the banana blink onto the screen, with a message that says, “You win!”

You need not travel all the way to Las Vegas or even Goa. Play poker, online black jack, roulette, craps or online slots and even sports games and horse racing on your PC from anywhere in the world. Online gambling takes care of everything, right from betting and playing to collecting money. Typically, the Net offers two types of gambling and wagering opportunities: casino games and sports bets. Millions of people could boot up, log on and gamble from their homes.

Online gambling works like this: users log onto the Net and go to a particular site that offers online gambling or any other wagering opportunity. While some online casino usa sites are ‘ready-made’ for playing with special Java applets or HTML format, other sites have special software that must be downloaded before playing. Users can register themselves as members and set up an account with an initial deposit. There are different ways to make deposits into your account: credit cards, American Express Money Gram, Western Union, moneybookers and other. Credit card deposits are processed online-within a minute-so one does not have to wait to start playing! As you gamble, money is credited or debited depending on whether you win or lose. And if you have had enough of wagering and want to close your account, all you have to do is fill out a withdrawal request form which is available online, and the funds are transferred to you. The mode of transaction entirely depends on your preferences.