French Interior Design for Today

French Interior Design

There’s something romantic about French interior design. It reminds you of an era of nostalgic extravagance and exquisite glamor.

The elements embrace the unforgettable age of royalties, when kings and queens, dukes and duchesses, and sires and ladies of the court, smoothly glided within grand ballrooms with elaborately adorned ceilings, gilded wall panels of gold and expensive wood and tall engulfing arc windows.

We cannot let go of such a hauntingly beautiful past, so we go to great lengths to hold on to what is long gone, to recapture the things that made it inescapable and merge them as part of the present world. The timelessness of the design retains its appeal, withstands modern influences that might ruin it and acknowledges the ones that enhance it.

Unlike French palatial villas during the 14th to the 16th century, contemporary homes are not as massive and grandiose in architecture. They do not inspire awe with their low ceilings and straight structural lines and edges. In order for these homes to maintain a semblance of the rich and fancy interiors of that period, the intricacy of the details should be modified.

They must be carefully transformed according to the mold of modern architecture albeit incompletely so as not to lose their distinct allure. For this to be possible, the overwhelming details should be broken down and applied moderately in the interiors. A Baroque ceiling with trompe l’oeil paintings within large coffers and multiple cornices on the edges is a bit too much for a house with an 8-foot high ceiling.

You can create an adaptation of it by putting egg-and-dart moldings in a smaller scale crisscross pattern onto the flat surface of the ceiling. Instead of a padded lambrequin with floral design to cover the window opening, you can use an attractive arc-shaped valance to hide the top edge of the drapery and the curtain rod.

Infusing an adequate dose of French design elements in new residential houses can enliven the steely and impersonal atmosphere of their modern interiors. Three of the most dominant periods of French interior design are Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassic. They each have their own unique characteristics that can be applied in today’s modern interiors.

Simplifying exaggerated Baroque

The use of heavy wall paneling, classical architectural features such as arches and columns, and pompous and dark-colored furniture pieces characterize Baroque interiors. The design elements are generally perceived as massive and masculine. These overpowering features can be toned down in a modern interior. The use of columns with stylized designs should be minimal and bulky furniture pieces can be added, but the application of the design should stop there.

The rest of the interior should be light in structure. You can mix in clear glass partitions, and a neutral color palette should be integrated, so as to lessen the mass of the interior. The end-result will make the Baroque elements stand out therefore, creating an effective and appealing fusion of the old and the new.

If however, you are determined to have a strong dramatic period interior, then you can incorporate the design elements in the main indoor architecture such as the walls, floor and ceiling. You can have a shallow ceiling dome constructed with the dining area beneath it. An elaborate chandelier at the center can be an excellent focal point. Indulge yourself with rich dark oak paneling in natural finish for the walls and large marble slabs for the floors of your main salon or private library.

Distinctly Baroque sofas with detailed carvings and cabriole legs and matching coffee tables and console cabinets can be placed in the living room. The upholstery of the seating furniture pieces should make use of materials like damask, velvet and tapestry. The piping and trimmings of the time consisted of fringes, tassels and silver nail heads. Be comfortable with altering the details and materials of these furniture elements to adapt with the entire look of the interior.

Enhancing feminine Rococo

The emergence of the Rococo period left the heavy and masculine designs of the Baroque era and traded them with lighter and more feminine characteristics. The enormous rooms of the former period were replaced by smaller-size rooms thereby affecting the scale of all the other design elements. Femme arabesque patterns and delicately sinuous forms came forth. The color schemes favored light and earthy colors that exuded classic elegance.

Suddenly, everything became curved and rounded. You cannot see sharp edges in the furniture pieces and room corners were eliminated by semi-arc shapes. Perhaps this period retained its glory even to this day because the elements that define it are graceful and stylish.

Rococo furniture pieces are quite popular up to the present. Their contours embrace the feminine figure quite exquisitely. They provide comfort and luxury with their incredibly delicate form and voluptuous upholstery. The classy shape of their sofas and wing chairs with their floral-patterned seat cushion are staple accents in a posh living room of a large apartment and contemporary mansions have them in sets.

Their frames and cabriole legs are a feminine version of the Baroque ones with simpler carvings and flowing form. Dining tables were commonly round but simpler in design because they were almost completely covered by fabric. The free-standing cabinets and armoires of this period have genuine marble tops and bulging fronts called bombe which is again a tribute to the female form. They are valuable consoles for foyers and bedrooms, and as buffet cabinets for the elegant homes of the nouveau rich.

The Rococo period didn’t focus mainly on the French style. It also permitted the fusion of Oriental design in its interior structures such as the hand-painted wallpapers decorating the wall panels.

Furniture pieces adapted the designs of Chinese pagoda, ladders, mandarins and foliage in their chair backs and table stands. This development increased its global appeal. They are now reproduced by suppliers for hotels and restaurants all over the world.

The original ones are considered valuable antiques and are collected by art enthusiasts. A piece or two of these furniture pieces will work well with your French-inspired living room and they are awesome pieces to combine with any room with an eclectic theme.

Modernizing traditional Neoclassic

This particular period welcomed the revival of the classics. It introduced straight lines as an enhancement to the overly feminine forms of the Rococo period. Simplicity became apparent as a reaction to the detailed forms of the previous era. The columns and arches became dominant once again and extended their influence not only to the interior architecture but also in the furniture pieces.

The chair backs and legs manifested columnar designs and the curved cabriole legs were eliminated. Table and case furniture pieces had straight and rectangular wood or marble tops. Even the wall panels no longer used curved lines but became rather rectangular in their shapes. The ceilings were made simple by leaving them flat or hand-painted with clouds and azure skies.

Neoclassical designs initiated the adornments of walls with hung paintings, festoons, hunting paraphernalia, clocks, barometers, etc. The walls were painted light shades so they served as backgrounds for the wall ornaments.

These wall hangings are interesting details to be added to your living room. You can even personalize them by inserting your own pictures to the carved frames. They will merge the artistic creations of the past and unify them with the present.

Modifying the old to fit the new

The simple and inexpensive means to beautifying your home with the use of French design is to accessorize. A contemporary sofa with plain upholstery can be spiced up by throw pillows with floral patterns in coral pink and sunny yellow. You can add a curvilinear floor lamp and a modified bergere armchair with cabriole legs and damask upholstered seat to recreate the classy look of a Rococo-inspired living room.

A simplified version of plush over drapery with arabesque patterns and curvy swags in full-length windows is a delightful way to bring in a bit of romanticism to a simple dining room. Try looking around in antique shops and secondhand stores for oval-shaped mirrors with detailed carvings or wall décor of garlands and festoons to put at the top portion of your fireplace or your mini gallery.

A one-of-a-kind crystal chandelier in your foyer leading to the staircase is an interesting conversational piece for parties. Embrace the Neoclassic era with a sky mural in your den and install simple borders in your walls to make it seem like it has been detailed with paneling.

New Year’s Rulin’s

In 1942 Woody Guthrie opened up a book of ruled paper and wrote an ambitious and charming list of New Year’s Resolutions. 72 years later, these resolutions are still pretty relevant. I guess when someone is looking to improve the way they live their lives, there are bound to be common themes that never go out of style.

Normally, when the New Year comes, I don’t succumb to the trend of resolving to do things better, faster and/or more efficiently. Generally speaking, I don’t document my resolutions because I believe that making them is a way of just setting yourself up for failure. I mean, who am I kidding? I won’t lose 30 pounds, I won’t stop having diabetes, I won’t stop living paycheck to paycheck and I won’t write the next award-winning play/novel. Does that make me a realist or does it make me a pessimist bound to fulfill her own prophecy? Hard to tell.

This year, I’m going to do things differently. Why the hell not? 2016 sucked balls. 2016 sucked big, hairy, smelly moose balls. Dreams died, people failed me and, even worse, I disappointed myself. Thankfully, I have the ability see the silver lining: I am employed, I have a roof over my head, my family is awesome and, for the most part, I’m healthy. But this year, as I’ve done in years past, I didn’t eat lobster or crab legs on New Year’s Eve because apparently, it’s bad luck. Also, I saved the pork and kraut for tomorrow, because eating it for the first meal of the New Year allegedly brings good luck. (Can you tell I love food?) So, whilst in my rebellious state of mind, I decided that I would make resolutions. Perhaps changing it up is the way to go. For what they’re worth, here they are in black and white. I hereby resolve, before one and all and in alphabetical order, to do the following in 2017:

  1. Be accountable for my actions and the impact those actions have on my life and on the lives of others.
  2. Be more honest with myself and with the people in my life. Especially myself.
  3. Be more relentless about saying “I love you” to the people that matter.
  4. Clean the basement and attic and utilize the space for something that is more effective than being a hiding place for our junk.
  5. Complain less. Comparatively speaking, I’ve got it pretty good.
  6. Do more jigsaw puzzles.
  7. Eat more fruits, vegetables and seafood. Eat less fatty meats, cheese and carbs.
  8. Eliminate jealousy from my life and realize that another person’s success does not mean that I have failed.
  9. Invite my friends into my home more often, for no special reason, and not worry about how clean the house is before I do it.
  10. Knock the socks off of the people I work with. Impress someone and get that long overdue promotion.
  11. Learn to say “no” more.
  12. Learn to sew using my sewing machine – even if it’s just basic things like placemats, pillows or the hem on a pair of pants.
  13. Let go of the need to do more and be more and realize that, for today, I’ve done the best I can, and that’s enough.
  14. Limit alcohol intake to weekends and special occasions.
  15. Lower my A1C.
  16. Master my “fancy camera” and learn how to take really good photographs.
  17. Read more books.
  18. Resist the temptation for the following behaviors on Facebook: vague booking, passive aggression, attention seeking statuses or self-deprecation. Better to say nothing at all.
  19. Save $20 a week and use the money to fund one of the following in 2015: a writer’s retreat to Oregon for myself or a short cruise with my husband.
  20. See more movies at the movie theatre with a big bucket of popcorn in my lap and someone I care about by my side.
  21. Send more handwritten correspondence.
  22. Spend no more than a half an hour a day on social media.
  23. Take more chances. Take those chances with the understanding that the answer might be “no” and that being told “no” is okay.
  24. Volunteer somewhere I am truly needed that is a place that will remind me of how blessed I am.
  25. Write every day.

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night…

While the scant eight posts I’ve made have eluded to this fact, I feel the need to proclaim to my readers early on that I am, at the core of my soul, a writer. Or, more accurately, I am a storyteller. Saying you are a writer implies that you earn your living putting words to paper. While I have, indeed, earned money for my writing skills, it is not my primary source of income. I do strongly believe, without pause, that I am a storyteller. I feel there is a tremendous importance to telling stories and there is an affinity I feel towards people that make it their life’s work to tell stories: writers, directors, performers, illustrators, cinematographers and the list goes on. I have assumed several of those roles in my lifetime and, if dreams were to come true, I would earn my living by being one or more of them.

I come from a lineage of writers. My paternal grandfather was a disciplined writer. From what little I’ve been told of his early years, his service in World War II was as a correspondent of sorts. After his service, he was an English professor and, as my father likes to tell it (with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek), my grandfather would write every day. His regimen was so rigorous that he would write only a specific number of words each day, no more, no less, even if it was mid-sentence. I asked my mother about this and she scoffed at that assessment, scoffing, I’m sure, because it came from my father and she believes that recollection is tainted marital discord or the fact that my father has a selective memory.

My father, also a writer, raised me from the age of six onward. He, too, was an English professor. He also identifies himself as a writer. To the best of my knowledge, he has published a book of poems and has had several of his plays produced but, truth be told, he is no more a writer than I am.

My father’s father was also a writer of sorts. Perhaps not a writer with a capital “W” but he had the critical element of discipline nailed. He kept journals for years. Every morning, as part of his routine, he wrote in his journals before he attended to the tasks of the day, which are still a little elusive to me.

I am 45 years old. My father is 70. My grandfathers are dead. As I see it, I am the only one that stands a chance to make a living as a writer/storyteller. Since I think 90 is a reasonable age to die, I am going to presume that I have half my life yet to live. Since the last 20 or so years of my life will likely be encumbered by illness or some other old-age malady, I think it’s safe to say that I have roughly 25 years to become a writer. A writer with a capital “W.” One that makes their living putting stories on paper.

When my mother left, my father was teaching and, as best I can tell, was in the prime of his writing career. So, there he was, a promising writer in the 70s, abandoned by his wife and left to care for two very young girls. Over the years I’ve heard several excuses for why his writing career never took off, including having to care for me and my sister, having to deal with his alcoholic wives, having to pay the bills, having to take his mother-in-law to the hairdresser, having to fill in the blank.

I love my father. I do. However, I can see the writing on the wall and I want to erase it. I want to take a gallon of Oxy Clean and wipe it away before it is written. I don’t want to be the one to say, “I could have written the great American novel if it weren’t for the fact that I have three kids, a chronic illness, a mortgage and an affinity for martinis.” Hemingway had all those things and he did it, why can’t I? Oh, wait, he shot himself. Maybe not the best example. But at least he won the Nobel Prize before ending it all. The point is that I don’t want to blame my lack of fortitude on anyone or anything. Instead, I want to push through it.

Writing is a discipline. It is easy to find an excuse not to write. From what I gather, the great writers of our time write in the morning, before the follies of the day take hold. Perhaps that is the key. Perhaps I need to stand up while writing. Or apply some sort of “stream of consciousness” exercise to get the juices flowing. Some of my favorite contemporary writers have habits similar to the greatest writers of all time, so there must be something to it, don’t you think?

Can I commit to setting the alarm for 5:00am and write 500-1,000 words before the rest of the household awakens? Tomorrow, I will set my alarm. While it isn’t with the specific task of writing in mind, it will be to head to the city to spend the day in a creative writing workshop and being inspired by art and artists that speak to me.

Tomorrow I am winning. Because tomorrow I will be writing.

Leverage Your New Sewing Machine To The Max

Following on from our earlier article on getting the right sewing machine. We now look at what you should do with it.

Having bought a new sewing machine, the next challenge is to actually set it up and use it. This sounds easy, but the reality is that modern sewing machines are complex and if you have very little experience with them then they can in fact be quite daunting. You have taken the big step of purchasing one, but now you have to take the next step and actually use it. For more on getting a great sewing machine go here.

How To Avoid Most Problems With Your New Sewing Machine

The problem that most people with new sewing machines face is that they want to do high quality sewing on their new machine, when in fact their first efforts are actually likely to be fairly poor with many mistakes. This is not something that should worry you. No-one gets to professional standards without lots of trial and error along the way and it will be the same for you too.

The key is to pick an easy first sewing project. What does easy mean? Well, basically you want to do something that is not too important, something that does not use expensive material and if it all goes terribly wrong then you won’t be too concerned.

Pick The Right First Project

The first thing you should think about is the type of material you use. Not all material works the same on a sewing machine. So you want to make sure that you learn with an easy material. Our recommendation is for that choice to be cotton. Cotton is relatively easy to get hold of and not too expensive.

It is available in lots of colors and patterns. It takes stitching well and perhaps best of all it does not stretch when being run through the sewing machine. This is an important point as you will have your concentration fully on other areas and with your first sewing project you want to keep the number of controllable variables down to a minimum.

You should try to pick a project that has lots of straight seams. This is an extension of the controllable items point above. Straight seams allow you to get used to using your new sewing machine without having to concentrate on curves and angles when stitching.

The final aspect of your first sewing project is to make it small. Not necessary small in size, but make sure that the project is easy to finish in a relatively short period of time. This will boost your confidence and ensure that you do not get too frustrated as there are lots of areas relating to setting up the machine and getting the stitching right which will cause you some concern at first.

One suggestion for an ideal first project is to try doing pillow covers.

Not necessarily the external pillowcase, but a cover for the pillow which would sit over the pillow but inside the pillowcase. This is relatively easy, lots of straight seams and the finished product would be out of sight, if everything is not quite right, at least it wouldn’t be in full view. If you are feeling a little more ambitious, then a simple skirt is also a good starter project.

Weed Eater Buying Guide

Living in a house provides more rooms and space, but also more work to do. The yard is a reason for which many couples prefer it, especially as it is a perfect place for children and pets. Many people know and have already experienced how fast the grass grows. However, it is mandatory to keep the yard look nice and for this, you require a practical tool to suit your needs. The best weed eater is the one that manages to ease your work. Purchasing the right one for you may be a bit challenging as there are different types with certain functions. This means that choosing one randomly can only provide a negative experience and can turn out to be useless.

weed-eater-3The weed eater is a versatile tool that can help you keep the yard tidy. It has an intelligent design, allowing you to reach even small places and get rid of unwanted bushes. The operational system is quite easy, and you must not be a professional in order to use if effectively. The grass is cut by a nylon string that is spun by a motor at a very high speed. Remember not to get fooled by the material as it is very powerful, and you can easily cut yourself if you do not pay attention. Fortunately, it can be maneuvered with ease, so there should be no problem keeping it at a safe distance from your body. In order to make sure that you choose the best weed eater for your house, check out this guide to learn more about this product.

Advantages of Best Weed Eaters

The main purpose of weed eaters is to cut of grass and weeds. Besides this basic use, there are other great advantages of owning such a product:

  • You can cut even thorny vines without hurting yourself, thus prevent them from  spreading;
  • You can trim at an optimum size small shrubs and bushes;
  • You can mulch leaves. All you need to do is to hold it against the ground for a few seconds;
  • You can carry it with ease. This is also available for the best string trimmer, as it allows you to move freely in every corner of the yard.

Types of Weed Eaters

Before choosing the right product for your yard it is important to understand how it works and how it can be efficient for you. To be more precise, the three types of weed eaters are:

  • Electric
  • Battery powered
  • Gas powered

Electric weed eaters

weed-eater-2Electric weed eaters are a perfect choice for small yards and lawns. Their mobility is restricted by an electric cord. In order to choose the best string trimmer remember to calculate the distance from the outlet to the end of the yard. Make sure that the extension cord can cover the whole surface.

The main advantages of owning such a device are the fact that they are lighter in weight than the other two types, and they are also quieter. In order to start them, you only need to press a button. Another great thing about electric trimmers is the fact that they are environmental friendly as they do not emit any type of gas.

Battery powered trimmers

Battery powered trimmers are very light and do not make any type of noise. The main advantage of these devices is their portability. They can be taken anywhere and are helpful tools even in prolonged power outage situations. It is important to know that you will need to replace the battery once it is dried out. Furthermore, it is strongly advisable to own an extra one, especially if there is much work to do, as it may burn.

Gas powered weed eaters

Gas powered weed eaters are the most powerful among the three types. This means that you can use them for a heavy duty without worrying that they may burn. The motor is powered by gas or a mixture of oil and gas. If you want a certain type remember to check the model’s details. The main advantage of gas powered trimmers is the fact that they are not restricted by anything and can reach even the most distant edge of the yard.

They are also a perfect choice for fields near the house or for homes with a wide yard. Remember that the string can break due to the heavy use so it is highly advisable to buy extra nylon cord when you purchase this type of weed eater. The main disadvantages of gas powered devices are the fact that they produce a louder noise and are heavier than the other two models.

Tips for Choosing the Best Weed Eater

In order to choose the best weed eater you must start by analyzing your needs. This implies the surface that needs to be trimmed as well as the quality of the grass and weed. Besides these aspects, remember to consider the following tips:

  • Decide on a certain type. There are three types of weed eaters available: electric, gas powered and battery powered. The first one requires to be connected to a socket in order to be functional, while the other two are 100% independent.
  • Decide on the features. Each design comes with certain features included in order to ease your work. An important aspect that must not be neglected is the ability to be adjusted. This includes both the height and the handles. If you have small children make sure that there are safety measures included in order to prevent unwanted injuries.
  • Make sure that it is useful. The utility is extremely important, and this includes the weight. If you know that you have some back problems, or you are not allowed to lift avoid purchasing a heavy device as you may not be able to use it. Remember to check the measurements and specifications and see how the motor in powered, and if it is convenient for you.
  • Check the reviews. The best indicator of a product is the reviews of people that have actually bought it. Once you have decided on a certain product remember to check if what you buy is what you receive.


Trimming the yard is a common activity. It provides a safe playground for children and also enhances the aspect of your home. Choosing the best weed eater can turn out to be pretty easy if you consider certain aspects. Their purpose is to ease your work by providing a fast and effective usage. Avoid making a purchase without analyzing the surface of the garden and the frequency you need to trim it. These devices are designed to last as long as you use them as indicated. Remember to choose a product that it is covered by a convenient warranty.

HVAC Maintenance and Replacement

In our last article we looked at the benefits of using a space heater to warm your home. Summer is on the way and even though everyone knows it arrives every year, many are caught ill prepared to handle the sometimes sudden onslaughts of intense humid heat that can happen during summer months. HVAC and AC maintenance are essential to keep your home’s systems running efficiently and reliably. There are a variety of basic inspections and replacements that should be performed every season and should be performed by a qualified technician.

Older HVAC systems can become less efficient over time. Ductwork can become loose, filters get dirty, refrigerant levels run low and seams or seals throughout your home can also break down. Electronic components can short out and stop working properly or run low on batteries. These things make it more difficult for an HVAC system to heat or cool your home and make the system work harder than it needs too. Consumers can usually replace or repair minor system problems to prevent major break downs later.

Even if your HVAC system is new it still needs routine maintenance. Qualified professionals specialize in air conditioner repair. Professionals will be able to inspect refrigerant levels in your AC unit, inspect and change filters, lubricate moving parts, inspect condensate drains, inspect your furnace for gas or oil leaks, adjust blower components and ensure the overall system is running efficiently. Many companies can even perform these services on wall AC units.

There were dozens of heat and cold related fatalities across the United States in 2009 and record temperatures are being recorded for many parts of the U.S. for 2010. Take the time to have your HVAC system checked in an off season to ensure it gets maintenance and is functioning properly. Qualified technicians will know what needs replacing and what you can rely on for another hot or cold season. Many businesses offer free quotes on repairs or replacement of HVAC equipment and work on many different brands of HVAC systems. We recommend if it is time for your air conditioner to be serviced you get hold of a professional today.

Looking For A Space Heater For Home Working

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working in the study at the back of my house. It’s a room that is quite small, I think it is nearly 10 foot square, but it has the disadvantage of having three external walls and two windows, one of the windows is a large window in the back wall the other is a much smaller one in the side wall. This is not to give you a detailed description of my home, but that when I’ve been working there I’ve noticed that I’ve become very cold in the morning after only an hour or so. In a similar way to my water softener article I am trying to get the most out of the environment in which I both work and live.

So I thought I’d get myself a new portable space heater, and as a result I did a bit of research into what makes a good space heater, and in keeping with my intention to document some of my experiences on this blog I thought I’d share something of what I’ve learned over the last week or so about space heaters.

There are essentially two types a space heater a convection space heater and a radiant space heater.

A convection space heater works by the exchange of heat from the heater itself into the surrounding air. Warm air tends to rise so convection heater tends to be positioned in a room at a low level and as the air is heated it rises and is replaced in turn by cooler air. The whole process tends to be very passive and doesn’t require any mechanical moving parts in the particular space heater that you using.

The other type of space heater that you can get a call radiant space heaters. A radiant space heater tends to have a hot element which heats, not the air, but the objects surrounding the heater. A good analogy of what is meant by radiant heat is the heat that you feel from the sun. Although the sun doesn’t that warm the air to on a sunny day if you stand with your face up to the sun you will definitely feel warm radiating from the sun itself. This is in effect how a radiant heater works.

The most common type of heating element these days that is incorporated into radiant heaters is a ceramic heating element, although metal covered courts elements are also used quite frequently. Infrared heaters often use a heat exchanger in order to heat the air too and in order that it doesn’t get overheated they incorporate a fan to move the air away from the heater which in turn is replaced by cooler air. This tends to mean that when in operation a radiant heater is not completely silent, whereas convection heater often makes no noise at all.

At first I thought I would go for a convection heater, as I thought that that would be the best option for the room that I was in. However the convection heaters tend to be oil filled radiators, which are anywhere between 24 inches and 30 inches high and are essentially similar to wall hung radiators but are manoeuvrable because they have wheels which allows the radiator to be wheeled around. They are also reasonably large and very heavy and having examined one in the store I decided that the oil filled radiator was not for me.

Some helpful advice on safe space heating choices:

A site I found called Space Heater Pro also has some really good advice on safety too.

Not only that but I found that the oil filled radiators were actually quite a lot more expensive than many of the much smaller and equally effective ceramic space heaters.

Lasko Space Heater On Desk
My New Space Heater

In the end I went for a very cheap option I chose a Lasko 753200 oscillating ceramic space heater with a fan remote control as my selection. This little heater, which is able to heat my small room in less than 15 minutes as all the functionality that I wanted from heater but is contained within a box that is no more than 10 inches high. It can easily fit on my desk without taking up too much space or if I’m feeling indulgent occasionally I put it next to my feet to get my feet toasty and warm.

The best thing of all is the only cost $25. It has a thermostatic control which means that it turns off when the temperature in the room which is the level that I wanted to get to, and perhaps best of all it turns back on again when the temperature falls back below a certain threshold. Anyway I’ve been really pleased with my new portable space heater and will thoroughly recommend it to anyone.

Starting A Sewing Business

Although this is predominantly a site about poems and creative writing, we occasionally intend to cover some topics that both interest us and think are useful for our readership to know about. In this instance we are covering a topic we know is close to the heart of all budding poets and writers; the ability to make money from home, leaving them both the time and the flexibility to write as well as earn a living. Read and enjoy.

Are you thinking about starting a sewing business from home, but how do you go about turning your skill into a successful business?

There is no point in ignoring one of the most basic steps – that is a business plan as you need to know where you are going, what to do if things go wrong and what your aims are.

The Entreupreneur SlipcoverIf you are working from home, the only extra finance you may need will be for a heavier duty sewing machine, perhaps one with all the ‘bells and whistles’. However, your existing machine should do to start with.

You will need insurance if you work outside or inside the home. Just think about the possible consequences if you spill paint down a wedding dress on th eve of the wedding! Liability insurance is not always that expensive, but could prove a lifesaver.

Contact your local government offices to check to see what licences you need to work from home. These may differ dependant on where you live. Make sure you always keep financial records of everything safe, and try and get in the habit of doing your accounts regularly so you don’t get a build up.

An important consideration is to set your pricing correctly. You need a realistic but competitive pricing structure that allows you some flexibility. Make it clear up front that this is a price for the work they have asked for and that if anything extra is done, you reserve the right to charge accordingly. People will try these things so be aware.

If you are starting a sewing business you need to consider your marketing plan. There is no need to pay out thousands of dollars to launch a home-based sewing business but you really should invest in some business cards to give out to everyone. Have some flyers printed and get them out locally so people know you are in business.

Although it may not get you a lot of work, an Internet presence these days is almost an essential to display your work. Most people know someone who is good at putting together at least a basic web page so just ask. However, word-of-mouth will be the most important way to get business so make sure you treat your clients properly and they will refer you and keep coming back.

Changing your hobby into a business and starting a sewing business from home is a good way to exploit your skill. Business may take a while to take off but hold on, word-of-mouth takes time to populate. Good luck!

For more information check out this useful video:

The Problems of Hard Water

Hardness generally refers to the sum of the calcium and magnesium ions in water expressed in milligram/liter of lime stone, CaCO3. These ions combine with ordinary soaps to form insoluble calcium-magnesium soaps which are ineffective for cleansing purposes. Very little cleaning occurs until these ions are present. Therefore, the soap is deactivated quantitatively and much more soap is required when hard waters are used for cleansing purposes.

Hard water also interferes with almost every cleaning task including laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. Water flow may be reduced by deposits in pipes.

Before looking at the occurrence of hard water, it is worth stating that despite these problems, the introduction of a water softener system can deal with many of the problems at source. There are many options available for such systems and we recommend you review the options on sites such at this one (

Occurrence of Hard Waters

eifelCalcium and Magnesium which are the main constitutive of hard water dissolved from limestone, dolomite, and other minerals when water comes in contact. Ground waters generally contain much greater concentrations of hardness than that found in surface waters. An example of hard water occurrence in nature can be seen in Figure 1 where a layer of 20-centimeter thick is formed in Eifel aqueduct in Germany during 180 years where calcium has precipitated gradually.

A portion of the ancient Roman Eifel aqueduct in Germany. In service for about 180 years, the aqueduct had deposits of scale up to 20 cm thick along the walls.

Problems of Water Hardness

  • Increased soap consumption in hard waters is probably the most disadvantage of hardness. Much of this disadvantage has been eliminated by the increased use of synthetic detergents, but where soaps are used the increased cost is significant.
  • Process waters containing hardness when used in textile, paper, canning, and other industries can cause considerable deterioration in product quality.
  • Boiler feed water containing hardness can cause scale buildup.

In boilers, the precipitation will damage and slows down the flow of heat into water, causing the heating efficiency and allows the metal boiler to overheat. The damage caused by calcium carbonate precipitate differs, for example, calcite or aragonite (magnesium ore).

  • Health considerations. The World Health Organization says that “there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans” In fact, the United States National Research Council has found that hard water can actually serve as a dietary supplement for calcium and magnesium. Recommendations have been made for the maximum and minimum levels of calcium (40–80 ppm) and magnesium (20–30 ppm) in drinking water, and a total hardness expressed as the sum of the calcium and magnesium concentrations of 2–4 mmol/L. Hardness in water can clog skin pores
  • Hardness in water stain fabrics
  • Hardness in water can clog skin pores
  • Hardness toughen and discolor vegetables