Danger Lurks in the Laundry

Red lights bounce off my bedroom walls and wake me. Two fire trucks are parked in front of my house—my neighbor’s house is on fire! Outside the house, a fireman wrestles the dryer through the side door. “It’s another dryer!” he shouts. My neighbor suffers smoke inhalation and, sadly, the house is a total loss.

A 4-year legal battle ensues with the insurance company. My neighbor is a responsible homeowner; she cleans the lint trap after each load, vacuums behind the dryer once a week and cleans the dryer vent hose every Spring. But, without a receipt for the work, she cannot prove it. Because a recipe from a dryer vent cleaning Dallas is not produced, the insurance company claims the fire is due to her negligence.

The Stats

It is a wake-up call for me. My house sustained damage from smoke and a tree which caught fire and fell on my privacy fence. I had to file a claim through my homeowner’s insurance.

Online there are many articles about house and apartment fires caused by dryers. The National Fire Protection Association keeps statistics on washer and dryer fires. Dryer fires caused 13 deaths, 444 injuries and $238 million in property damage between 2010 and 2014.

Those numbers do not include injuries or deaths to first responders or residual damages like those sustained by my home. Of all major appliance fires, 92% are dryer fires with 26% of those caused by lint ignition in the vent pipe. Equipment failure is responsible for 24% of dryer fires and the top cause of equipment failure is improper dryer vent cleaning.

What to Do

Located in the basement, my dryer is vented with a metal pipe out the window. It was hooked-up less than 5 years ago by a professional installer. I inspected it the night of the neighbor’s fire and discovered the vent pipe was detached from the vent exhaust opening in the window and my dryer wasn’t venting at all. It could have been me.

Emptying the lint trap after each load, vacuuming behind the dryer and inspecting the outside of the vent for bird or rodent nests, need to be done; but, it’s not enough. I called a dryer vent cleaning service and they cleaned the dryer and fixed the disconnected pipe. The amount of lint removed past the lint trap gave me nightmares. Going forward, I will have them out each Spring.

At the End of the Day

Your home is where your life happens. One fire can destroy more than possessions. Have the dryer vents professionally serviced at least once a year; more if you have a large family or have pets. Clean the lint trap after each use because it decreases the amount of lint in the dryer. Keep a fire extinguisher in your laundry area. Landlords and owners of multiple family dwellings also need to be vigilant. It’s cheaper to clean the dryer vent than to clean-up after a fire.…

How to Choose Window Treatments for Irregular Windows

Finding the right window treatment for strangely or distinctively shaped windows can be a huge challenge. But if you’re determined enough to make it work, designing treatments for your unique home windows can be a snap. Whether you’re trying to make the most out of an oddly-shaped opening or hoping to make a stylish statement with the irregular windows in your home, here are a few ideas to get you on the right track.

Use Patterns

Even if you’ve inherited your oddly-shaped windows and you’re not a huge fan of their shape, there’s something distinctive to be done with every awkward window under the sun. Sometimes it’s not about the shape of the blinds, panels, or shades you use. It’s about complimenting the irregularity of your window by hanging a vibrant, exciting drape to set off your window’s unique angles and striking strangeness. Dealing with a high-up irregular skylight? Try to hang a few festive curtains to let the light funnel down softly into the room. Hoping to make an impression by showing off your geometric loft window? Choose a brightly-colored custom shape and pattern for your blind to show off your window to its best advantage.

Dome Blinds Let in the Light

If you’re thinking about installing windows with intriguing geometric patterns, let the style of your Renewal NC inform your treatment. Irregularly-shaped windows like dome-shaped or half-moon arches at doorway openings don’t need much to look stunning. However, when you pair them with a beautiful, custom style of blinds, you can control the amount of light that travels into your cloakroom. Choose blinds that are custom-made to fit your irregular windows rather than trying to find something that will fit.

Don’t Obscure: Reveal

If you’re looking for a way to use the power of suggestion to change the shape of your irregular windows, all you need to do is get a little creative in the window dressing department. If you’re not a huge fan of your windows as-is, use blinds that mute your window’s awkwardness while revealing its beauty. Using panels and sectioned drapes is a great way to hide certain parts of your window while revealing others. You’ll be creating a type of optical illusion while using your window to its best advantage.

Shutters, Shades, and Sheers

If you’re working with a tight budget, opting for easily customizable materials like shutters, which can be custom-cut to fit any dimension, gauzy sheers, which add a sense of luxury at a low price, and simple shades to mask your window’s flaws. Mixing and matching materials to create a multi-layered treatment is also a great way to call attention to your window’s striking beauty without making it stand out. If you opt for custom-cut shades or multiple layers of rich, sumptuous sheer fabrics, you can also use interesting patterns to set your window treatment apart. No matter how you design your window treatment, you’ll be able to raise your irregularly-shaped window to the level of art.

 …

Celtic Hair Styles, Grooming Decor and Hygiene

A lot of people have asked me about Celtic hair styles for both men and women. They want to know about everyday lives and how they looked.

Celtic Soap – The Romans noted that the Celts were very particular about bathing and grooming habits. They smelled great, as they we know they washed their hands and faces with soap in the morning, as well as bathed fully with soap in the evening. Afterwards they applied oil with scented herbs on their skin. In the Brehon laws there is clear descriptions as to when the elite ‘security’ warriors have to bath as well as foster children’s brats had to be washed every other day. A brat was a kind of cloak Almost ritualistic in belief. It is said that it is the Celts who introduced soap to the Romans who used the oil and sticks to scrape off their dirt previously.

Celtic Hands – In Ireland, the hierarchy persons had to have their fingernails kept well-groomed. The warriors were considered hierarchy and would be shamed if he kept his nails ragged. Women sometimes dyed their nails crimson as we see from the story of Deirdre who makes a statement that crimsoning her nails refers to joyous occasions and thus she will no longer do this when some boys die.

Celtic Facial and Body Hair & Makeup – Make Celts were sometimes with or without a beard or moustache, depended on the tribe and position. Some soldiers and lower class Celts had moustaches, often curled up at the ends, but without the beard up to the medieval period. The beards were often forked – Irish artwork very few others show an unforked beard, and instead with a square cut to the bottom. Other beard styles show one single long beard on chin, sometimes with a square cut to the bottom.

Prominent persons were either clean-shaven or had both a beard and a moustache. The moustache later became know to the aristocracy and worn alone, which carried through to the medieval period. Diodorus of Sicily – “Nobles shave their cheeks, but they let the moustache grow until it covers the mouth.” As said there are several tribes so this all depends on the area. Caesar noted that the Celts shaved their bodies except for the head and upper lip.

In the myths we can see many things they did, but one must read through the many to find these gems. For example – Berry juice, would sometimes be used for ladies eyebrows black. Irish missionary monks were also known to paint or dye their eyelids black. The cheeks were reddened using a plant called ‘ruam’ — could be alder berries but it is unknown. It is not clear whether both men & women reddened their cheeks.

Celtic Hair was long according to Cesar and a few other sources by the free classes and for both men and women – Irish artwork.

Warriors, on the other hand – (Roman sculpture of the ‘dying Gaul’ …

Surreal Art Like That Done By Joan Miro Can Be Perfect Nursery Decor

The work of Joan Miro has been referred to as having childlike organic forms, though not exactly childlike in form his images none the less have a huge amount of appeal thanks to their organic yet flat and solid nature. Because of their colorful and solid composition such works of art can make good decoration for your nursery, and would defiantly make such a room unique among those of children. Such paintings as his however need a frame unless your walls are a neutral color as one of their primary compositional powers comes from the internal color scheme and so can be detracted from by external colors.

For many the idea of using such surreal art as wall art for kids seems strange however pictures do not necessary need to add a story to add interest. The Painting “Daybreak Tagesanbruch” is a strongly composed picture of green, red, yellow, and blue who’s flat simplicity makes it both easy to examine and fascinating as a design element. Like a little creature standing between the worlds of dawn and night as the sun on rising this painting has a strange energy that could fit very will in any child’s room.

The “Melancholic Singer” like the painting “Daybreak Tagesanbruch” is a multicolored series of shapes, however it has a larger area that could be considered a sort of odd negative space in which the paint of the picture can dance like a wild flock of birds. One of Miro’s more interesting paintings “The Melancholic Singer” typifies the type of imagery normally associated with the painter, a strong work of art its power lays in the its unique way of moving across the page, a form of movement that would add energy to any nursery décor.

“Lune Verte” like the “Melancholic Singer” dances across the page as a series of broken images coming to overwhelm the negative space that is so much larger then they are with pure energy. However in this picture the solid flat images normally associated with Miro’s work have help from what is perhaps one of the few times he truly did what a small child would do. This painting is dominated by yellow scribbles that circles over his many flat organic forms. The sheer energy of this painting helps the viewers to see how much fun Miro had painting it, like any child has just placing color on a canvas, yet unlike most children one can see how firmly Miro plans or at least understands the composition of his paintings and how such things move the viewers eyes around the canvas. It is this skill that makes Miro a great painter, the ability to.

It’s interesting to note that although Miro’s most powerful compositions do seem to be the broken dances across negative space, this is not necessarily his most common form of painting composition. His painting “Compositions” though in color and style choice is much like the two previously mentioned paintings it is much more solid, as it …

Interior Design Business Secrets – 5 Tips to Tame the Paper Tiger, Stay Organized, and Make Money

Working with design professionals on their businesses, it seems too many are operating off of random piles, post-it notes, and a chaotic office. Organization saves precious time, creates greater confidence in your business, and allows you to always know exactly your success position. There are simple, proven techniques for getting and staying on top of the paper tiger.

Mastering Client Files

Each file folder should be clearly marked with the clients name, address, and phone contact, email also. To make it truly easy use project management folders, available at any office supply resource. These provide a chart that you can log your client visits and progress on the face of the folder. Keep all job receipts, samples, product tear sheets, and client notes in the file folder. When a job is complete, move the folder to inactive but follow up regularly!

Organizing Business Receipts

Non-client related receipts, such as those for marketing, office supplies, auto expense, insurance, employee meals and more must be filed monthly if not weekly. Simply you can use either an accordion file folder, or if (as mine do) you have far too many, then use 6×9 manila envelopes in a file drawer and label each clearly with the category of expense and the year. You can then easily deliver these to your bookkeeper or accountant in time for tax preparation and financials annually as well as quarterly.

Conquering Purchase Orders

While if you are truly on top of your game, you will do all of this electronically, it is very difficult to avoid paper from vendors! So print out a copy of each order, keep it in a three-ring binder with dividers by month, staple all relevant paperwork to each order. This makes it easy to track and follow up. Be sure to record the name and date of anyone you have spoken with regarding the order on the original P.O. In addition for quick reference you can keep a log book of all orders including the date, the PO number, the vendor, the goods ordered, expected due date, and date received. Old fashioned, but it works, yes you can do this in an excel spread sheet also! For ultimate ease, I make my own PO numbers, they are sequential, but I include the client’s initials before every number.

Tracking Your Time

Yes, most of us work at least on a partial or full hourly basis whether consulting, creating, designing, coaching or project management. You’ll make more money with a daily log than a once a week or once a month mental download. Create either an excel spread sheet in your laptop or PDA or on a green columnar pad and keep it in your car. Assign values to the time being spent (down the left side), is it consulting, resourcing, design, space planning, installation, project management? Assign project names across the top and then record dates and hours. The increment you work in is up to you, some do 15 minutes, others 30 minutes or …

5 Major Tips for Choosing a Roofing Contractor

Are you planning to get a roofer for your home improvement project? Below 5 major tips that can help you find the best one in your area.

No. 1 – Check roofers’ compensation and liability insurance.

Before anything else, ask your contractor about their workers’ insurances, particularly compensation and liability. This is to ensure that all the roofers working on your property are insured whenever something happens in the course of their duty. With the contractor’s compensation and liability insurance all set and ready for their workers, you are excluded from any consequences that may arise due to work. You will not be held liable for any compensation claim due to work injury and other related cases.

To make sure that the contractor indeed has valid insurances, ask for their certificates and then contact their insurance provider to validate the information.

No. 2 – Patronize local contractors.

Another great tip is to build a list of contractors local in your area. Just don’t mind those great contractors you’ve heard coming from the neighboring localities. But why? Simple because the more local the contractor, the easier it is to validate their claims. If they operate in your local area, for example, the people will surely recognize them for their quality work whenever you do a quick survey and referral or recommendation hunt. Also, they can easily be held accountable for whatever happens to the project. If the owners live in that town, then they it is easy for you track them, whenever necessary.

Just consider those instances where homeowners are not able to find their contractor the time they need them the most because the business has stopped, has transferred or has disappeared. So better yet, choose those who are locally known. It is easy to put everything in a written instrument but when the time comes for getting the services included in the warranty period, the contractor can be very hard to find.

No. 3 – Consider other factors and not just solely the cost.

In your selection process, it is a big no-no to go for a contractor simply because it offers the lowest price among your several options. Never ever do that or you’ll end up regretting. The truth is, cheap offers pull down the roofing market and those contractors that include overhead cost and right insurances in their overall bid are the ones needing to establish pricing in order to cover those cheap offers.

Yes, part-time roofers can give you a cheaper price but as time goes on, you’ll get the kind of work you’ve paid for. Many of those who decide merely on the price find themselves spending more in the long run, which would have been covered by a establish roofing contractor’s workmanship guarantee.

No. 4 – Always choose established roofers.

You can of course talk to those roofers who are going around the neighborhood of a storm affected area, but don’t let yourself be enticed by their offers. They are just on the hunt …

How to Start a Profitable Home Improvement Referral Service

Home improvement referral services are cropping up from New York to California. They are taking the time to do the legwork to find reputable and reliable contractors and these businesses are reaping profits from good work.

It really doesn’t take much to start. A home improvement referral service business takes only a little money and not more time than a regular 40 hour a week job. They can actually start making money within the first year of business.

The first thing to consider is what types of home improvement businesses your will refer. This can include gutter cleaning and replacement, remodeling, building additions, fencing, lawn maintenance, and many others. Remember, all though you may like to paint a client may not like it or have the time. Therefore, no business should be overlooked.

Once you have an idea of the types of contractors for your referral service business, you will need to call the local, county, and state government offices. Get the regulations and requirements regarding licensing, bonding, business registry, and insurance for each type of contractor. This is the first step to building your list. Any contractor that does not meet government regulations should not be on your referral list.

By knowing these requirements and using them, your home improvement referral business will gain credibility with your clients. They will know that if the contractor doesn’t meet these requirements, they will not be on your list. It makes the client feel more sure the job will be completed professionally and correctly.

Another way to ensure creditability of your referral service business is to only look at contractors that are recommended by their past happy customers. But this is not the end of the screening process. Recommendations are not enough.

Once a contractor is recommended to your home improvement referral business, you need to check out his or her service. Talk to them, explaining your referral service business. Many contractors will give you the needed information happily. Ask to see their licenses, bonding information, and insurance to ensure they are current and up to date. Ask for a list of services they provide and the cost for these services. Finally ask for references you may speak to.

Now you have gotten your contractor referral list started. While working on creating this list, you should have started thinking about a name for your referral service business, advertising, office area, office equipment, and ordered a phone line for the business. You may want to use a computer right away, but an index card or file system could work just as well and for a fraction of the cost, until your company grows. Keep in mind that as your company grows, the office space, office equipment, and referral list system will probably need to become computerized to save time and money.

Since your referral business is going to begin locally, check with local newspapers and periodicals to see if they would be interested in doing an article about your business. Make some flyers …

Top 10 Methods for Advertising Your Home Improvement Business

People often ask us the same question: “What’s the best way to advertise my Home Improvement business and gather leads?” We’ve compiled a handy list of the 10 most useful tools to advertise your business and see results.

1. Build a Good Online Presence

For what may seem like an obvious necessity for most, some companies still don’t value the importance of a good website. While most companies do have an online presence, it may not be attractive or user-experience optimized. A good website should convey the businesses’ goals, experience, qualities, and services in an easy to read way. There should be a blatant call to action, and sufficient information for the viewer. If the potential client can glance at your page and get all the important information needed, you are that much closer to reeling them in.

 

2. Search Engine Optimization

Many people think that SEO is solely related to building links and advertising your website link. A large part of search engine optimization is related to the way your page is set up. Are you taking advantage of meta keywords and titles? Are you using headers properly? Does your site have a large amount of unique content optimized for targeting certain keywords? These are all important things to consider.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist is a great way to advertise your services. You can hire a designer to create a small ad for you to embed into your Craigslist post, or simply use HTML to format a nice, easy to read, eye-catching advertisement. Re-post as per Craigslist’s guidelines and keep your business’s name out there.

4. Adwords

Google provides a great PPC (pay-per-click) advertising system which will target related websites that use Google Adsense to display your ads. You can target your chosen demographic, choose how much you’d like to pay for every click, and modify the appearance of your ad. They offer text ads, image ads, and rich media ads (flash, animation).

5. Social Media

These days social media is becoming the leading the way for advertising and creating a “friendly” relationship with your clients and fans. Create a Fan page on Facebook, establish a Twitter account, or create a blog. these are all great methods to attract your customers.

6. Blog Commenting

Find blogs related to your industry. Search them out, and post meaningful, relevant comments in the comments section. Be sure to add a link to your website, with a keyword that you’d like to target in the search engines. Slow and steady is the key to seeing results; keep at it on a daily/weekly basis and in due time you’ll see results.

7. Local Advertising

If your business is based locally, an ad in a local magazine or newspaper is a great option. Some companies provide direct mail advertising, which allows you to localize your advertisement in a demographic of your choice.

8. Content is King

Creating and publishing unique content will provide your website visitors with an interesting read, a potential link-back, and will improve …

How to Protect an Interior Wood Threshold

Thresholds are sometimes unnoticeable. Not every doorway has them and those that do don’t always stand out. However, thresholds can be a nice addition to a doorway, especially if the floor at both sides is distinctively different from its neighbor and needs a separation barrier instead of abruptly meeting each other.

They can also be good for stopping drafts or preventing air, either warm or cool, from escaping or entering.

But what kind of maintenance do indoor thresholds need?

There are several things to consider such as staining, sealing with urethane, or painting. Each is a possibility but the final decision depends on you. The truth is a threshold needs some kind of coating to protect it from getting dirty, being marked up, or damaged.

If you have hard wood floors you could stain the threshold:

1. Lightly sand the threshold leveling it out on all sides.

2. Prepare stain.

3. If you want to match the color of the hard wood floor apply stain slowly in coats.

4. Once you’ve finished apply a sealer giving it several coats for extra protection.

If you want to paint the threshold:

1. Lightly sand the threshold leveling it out on all sides.

2. Prepare paint. It should be oil-based for the best shine and to be longer lasting.

3. Apply at least two coats letting it dry in between.

4. Once you’ve finished apply a sealer giving it several coats for extra protection.

If you like the wood color of the threshold you may want to leave it in its natural state. In that case you should still give it a varnish to protect from foot traffic.

1. Lightly sand the threshold leveling it out on all sides.

2. Prepare oil-based varnish.

3. Apply at least two coats letting it dry in between.

Finally add some caulking around the edges of the threshold to prevent dirt from getting caught in any open spaces. After all, the threshold will be crossed by many feet carrying all kinds of gook that may just stick around if given the chance.…

Kitchen & Cooking Safety – Tips To Prevention And Treatment Of Cuts & Wounds, Burns, Falls & Strains

Injury or accident can occur at any place, at any time, be it in the work place or at home. These injuries (in this scope covers the minor injuries likely in a cooking environment) can be possibly prevented, and where it could not but happen can be effectively handled.

Below are the practical measures that should be observed to prevent or at least reduce to the barest minimum: cuts, falls, burns and strains. And where it occurs, some first aid measures (treatments).

Cuts: Always keep knives and use the right knife for the right job.

– Take precaution with sharp instrument; keep your fingers and other parts of your body from blade (sharp edge) or point.

– Keep shield on the sharp edges of tools and when not in use, store away in save place. Never keep knife loose with other cooking implements in a drawer.

– When cutting or chopping, ensure you do that, not on a stainless steel table, not even on your hand but on a board, and away from your body.

– Place a damp cloth under the board, where board slips and never try catching a falling knife.

– Never fool around with knife. Should you pass a knife to another, keep it pointed at the floor and not upwards.

– Wipe knife from the blunt side.

First Aid Treatment:

In the case of a minor cut, rinse wound under a cleaning running water or wash using clean water with an antiseptic like Dettol or Salvon until wound is clean, then put on a protective glove to avoid contamination.

Falls:

– Clean and dry the floor. The floor is usually slippery when wet or when fats, scraps, soap splash and drop or when nylon papers litter the floor.

– Wear non-slip shoes. Let your shoes have a good grip on the floor.

– Look where you walk. Avoid carrying large items as this might block your view and may cause you to lose your balance.

– Be sure to clear your runway of boxes, equipment, hose and wires, etc.

– Keep your mind on what you are doing. Walk purposefully but don’t run.

Strain: this means pulling the muscle in a wrong way or too suddenly, so the muscle gives way. This could be very painful as it can cause damage to the muscle. A strain in a pace like the stomach or chest could cause rupture of the internal lining, which can cause hernia that might require surgery. So

– Don’t lift heavy object without help. Use the trolley instead.

– Bend your knees, not your waist. Keep your back straight.

– Fetch it, don’t stretch for it.

– Don’t show off your strength. Work gradually, don’t go it once. Lift from floor to the chair and then to the counter.

First Aid Treatment For falls and Strains

Make the injured as comfortable as possible, apply cold compress (ice in a cloth). If any doubt about injury, treat as a fracture.

Burns Prevention

Unless …