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

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

Lasko Space Heater On Desk

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

The Entreupreneur Slipcover

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.

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

Best Headphones for Exercising

Koss Fitclips

On a completely different theme from discussing the problems of hard water we are pleased to provide you with our latest advances on headphone technology, responding the quality and durability to fit best for your fitness routine. After testing extensive models of headphones in all the different ways that exercise headphones should be tested, we found the Relays by Sol Republic headphones as the best for most people. And for those who want wireless, open-ear, or budget picks, we offer our recommendations as well.

The Relays by Sol Republic headphones

relaysThe Relays by Sol Republic headphones offer all plusses for your active times, good sound as well as comfy and staying put. These headphones have edged out all other models in a very hardboiled testing process.

The Sol Republic headphones are noise-free, light and pop straight into place on ears with no chafe and tug. They are resistant to strains, crumble, sweat and rain. They are tested by our listening panel of audio experts. They are your best choice to stand all abuse may a headphone face on your daily activities.

The Relays come with a fit-in-your-pocket small carrying case. Plus, No more freaking out if one of your ear tips disappears in an errant roll across the gym floor. You are provided with a 1-year warranty, and if you register your Relays on Sol Republic’s website after purchase, Sol will send you free replacement tips whenever you ask.

The Relays by Sol Republic headphones are of course are not the best models considering the price range and type. For utmost best sound that $100 can buy, you may want to try our non- exercise headphones, though they won’t take the brutal punishment that we dished out, read our piece here on non-exercise headphones.

Wireless exercise headphones

Jaybird Bluebud XWith Jaybird Bluebud X wireless headphones, you don’t have to keep your head stiff and straight to avoid snagging the cord on your body and popping the buds right out of your ears. You can enjoy your own posture and stride while wearing these Bluetooth headphones.

They have fantastic bass, are light, stay put without chafing, and have a lifetime sweat proof warranty.  They of course require charging for every 8 hours use, extra cost, and the tricky setup, but you will find them a tiny bit better than the Relays in terms of their sound balance.

Open-ear and budget exercise headphones

Koss FitclipsIf you’re on a budget, the Koss Fitclips  will do fine for you , though they don’t sound as great as the Relays. The Koss Fitclips go over your ears and cost about $16. you can spend a little more and get a microphone for taking phone calls on your runs, the $42 Skullcandy Chops are our pick.

You may need to have an intensified sense of awareness of the outside world while you run, bike, or exercise, we recommend you to purchase the inexpensive $20 Panasonic RP-HS34 headphones .

Wrap up

Our objective is your pleasure while listening to your favorite music, podcasts, or other media at your daily exercise, work and other activities. We will keep working hard to promote its technology for your convenience. Keep visiting our site to be updated and feed us back if you like.