They are soft and submissive. Among their beautiful colors are vibrant blues, sunny yellows, rich greens, glowing purples and juicy oranges. They come in pretty tins, sporty nylon carrying cases and polished wooden boxes. They smell good. Their enameled bodies fit your fingers well and respond to the paper with a willingness that excites inspiration. These are good quality colored pencils–not your normal pencil in any way, shape or form. To grasp one, touch its point to paper is, well, a sensual, artful experience.
Do you like to draw? Do you doodle? Have you thought of taking art lessons but didn’t want to spend a lot on materials? Colored pencils are the answer!
A WONDERFUL ART MEDIUM
Maybe you’ve spent some time drawing–nothing much: caricatures, Disney characters, doodles, etc. Perhaps you’ve even gone so far as investing in a drawing pencil. If you did, you found out that a drawing pencil is quite different from a regular pencil. Its lead is soft and creates dark blacks, solid medium grays and ethereal light grays.
Maybe then you began to think of color, wishing your drawing pencil could be colorful as well. It can be! Out there on the market today are good quality colored pencils that respond well to shading, layering of several colors, blocking in solid colors and making sinuous, expressive lines.
The added attraction of colored pencils, beyond their soft, heavily pigmented leads and willing response to the paper, is their price. A tin of twelve, good quality colored pencils and a good quality 9″ x 12″ sketchpad will be well under twenty dollars. And you are on your way to producing beautiful, brilliant, rich colored drawings that will retain their permanency and color integrity for decades.
ONE, TWO, THREE
Now you have sharpened your colored pencils and you have your sketchpad. What’s next? Start with a doodle. On a new sketchbook page, take one color–it doesn’t matter which one) and draw swirls, lines, dots, dashes, whatever comes to mind. Cover the whole sketch book page. Just take a minute to do it.
Now look closely at the doodle you have done. See what you can find. Trees? Birds? Faces? Whatever you find, delineate the image by going over the image lines by making them darker. Good! Now choose another colored pencil color to fill in the image(s). Now think of the surrounding area of the doodle as the background or environment for your images.
You must choose certain areas to fill in with various colors. For example, if you found, in your doodle, a shape that looks like a fish, color the fish in, than color the area surrounding the fish with various colors. Keep in mind that you want to emphasize the image. How can you do this?
THE POWER OF THE IMAGE
To emphasize the doodle image you can do several things. You can make the image very dark and then fill in the surrounding area with light colors. Or you can make the image very light and fill in the surrounding areas with dark colors. Or you can use contrasting colors, for example, red-image, blue-background–look closely to see that the image is standing out from the background. I recommend that you choose the option that will be most fun for you to do!
SHADING AND HIGHLIGHTING
So you’ve done the doodles and are beginning to learn what your colored pencils can do. If you didn’t experiment with making certain areas solid colors or play around with shading several colors together, now is your chance!
With any colored pencil (color of your choice) draw a circle on a new sketchbook page. You can use a compass or a small plate or other circular object as a template to make the circle. Now imagine that light is coming down on the page from the upper right hand corner. You will want to start shading the circle with a dark color (blue, violet, brown, black) where the light isn’t–that is the left side of the circle. Start slowly, filling in along the left line of the circle. Remember that as you are shading and moving towards the source of illumination (upper right hand corner) your shading will become less. Why? Because your shading, in drawing terms, represents shadow and the white of the sketch book page represent the light.
Amazement! Can you see it? The circle is becoming an illuminated sphere, just by shading. Isn’t it remarkable how we can reproduce the illusion of light and shadow simple by shading and highlighting a simple geometric form?
You’ve gone this far and now you see how cool colored pencils are. You have tapped your imagination through doodling and now you have produced the illusions of space and, consequently, time. How cool is that? Now, go a step further. Where you have produced light by not coloring heavily, bring in a light colored pencil color (yellow, orange, or white.) Now color in that area you left off in shading. Miracles. You will see how the lighter color takes on the role of light–taking over where the white of your sketch book page left off!
YOU ARE A BETTER PERSON
If you’ve gotten this far, you are a better person. Why? Because you have tuned into your innate creative powers which nourish your whole body and mind. You’ve learned a new drawing skill, and most importantly, you have beautiful colors to use to visualize whatever image or a dream comes into your mind! Colored pencils are there, waiting in their lovely little tin, nylon carrying case or wooden box. All you need to do is push some of the busywork of the day to one side, sit down, open your sketch book to the infinity of a clean, white page and dip your fingers into the rainbow of colored pencils. Magic!
Or, perhaps you will want to put your sketch book and colored pencils into your back pack with a bottle of water and a sandwich. Then walk out into the world in search of just the right scene or place to record with brilliant color and artful, sensual lines.
Source by Lois Dewitt
A cordless drill / driver is very important in completing most home-improvement projects around the home. Whether you're hanging curtain rods, building a deck or fence, running electrical wires, or installing shelves in a closet, you'll need to drill holes and drive screws. You've gone to Sears, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowes. They all have at least 20 different cordless drills hanging on display. How do you decide which one is best for you?
Cordless drills have changed dramatically in the last two years and the newest generation features small size, powerful motors and fast charging lithium-ion batteries. Many of today's drills are half the weight and size of the same power drill 2 years ago. Do not let your husband or father tell you otherwise, these new cordless drills will do the work you need them to do. Today's drill / drivers put enough muscle into your hand to tame even the largest jobs without wearing you out from handling them all day. Five important measures of a quality cordless drill / driver are size, torque, speed, batteries, and clutch.
Expect to pay $ 80 to $ 100 for a quality 180 inch / lb sub compact cordless drill / driver. $ 150 to $ 220 for a quality 320 -400 inch / lb compact drill / driver and $ 250 and more for a quality 500 inch / lb full size cordless drill.
SIZE – The physical size of the newest cordless drills is a lot smaller than the drills of just a year ago. The new sub-compact lithium drill / drivers weigh at at 2 lbs. The equivalent nicad powered cordless drill of just two years ago weighs in at 5.2 lbs. These new drills are easier to hold and allow you to get into tight places. All the new drills have lights to help you see inside of closets and work in normal household lighting situations. In fact many of the newest drills will easily fit in your kitchen drawer.
TORQUE – When I talk about a cordless drill's power, I'm really talking about how much rotational force, or torque, it produces. I am not talking about the battery voltage. This rating, in inch-pounds will help you compare one drill to the other and decide if the drill is big enough for the tasks you want it to do. 180 inch / lbs is sufficient Power for most drilling, screwing and repair tasks around the home, 320 inch / lbs is sufficient for most home construction and remodeling tasks. Only consider a higher torque full size drill If you have a lot of lag bolts to set when building a deck, holes to drill in concrete, or using a large specialty attachment like a bulb auger (for planting tulip bulbs) When you're shopping for a cordless drill, read the box or go to the manufacturer's web site and look for the torque numbers on the specification page.
SPEED – Today's new lithium powered drills will have two or more variable speed settings. Usually a 0-600 rpm (revolutions per minute) and 1-1600 rpm. The lower speed is used for drilling large holes, driving large screws and precision tasks. The higher speed is used for drilling small holes, countersinking, and setting large numbers of smaller screws. When using your drill always start on the low speed setting and only switch to the higher speed when you get used to the task and find you can work accurately with the higher speed. Do not buy a cordless drill / driver with just one speed. The one speed is usually too slow for most tasks and many times is an indication of a cheap, low quality drill.
BATTERIES AND CHARGERS – A few years ago, environmentally friendly nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries began replacing the popular nickel-cadmium (NiCd) cells that powered most cordless tools. Those batteries have now been replaced with the same type of battery found in your cell phone, the lithium-ion (LiIon) battery. The new lithium-ion batteries have equal or better run time, half the weight, no memory issues, and the ability to hold a full charge for more than a year while sitting in your kitchen drawer. Prices have dropped on the lithium powered tools so much that buying a NiCad is no longer worthwhile choice. You can now purchase a good, lightweight homeowner drill with a lithium-ion battery for as little as $ 79.00.
Today's latest chargers are energy-star rated and are very efficient. The new chargers will also charge the batteries much faster than before. The newest chargers will charge a battery in 30 to 50 minutes. In most home repair projects one battery is all you need. With the new lithium batteries and chargers you can keep the battery fully charged and it will always be ready to work for you. For larger tasks, if you start a project with two fully-charged batteries, and always keep one on the charger, you'll be able to work constantly as the new chargers can "fill up" a depleted battery as fast as you can drain the one on the drill. You're probably not going to have to wait for a battery unless you're driving screws nonstop. In my experience, when building outdoor furniture I use one drill for the pilot holes and one for putting in screws. The new charges will charge batteries fast enough that I only have to keep one extra battery on charge and I can work constantly without having to wait on the charger.
The cordless drill manufactures have yet to figure out that it would be beneficial to have the battery connect to the drill the same way so you could use the batteries on more than one brand, but a few retailers have developed lines of cordless tools that all work off the same battery. One manufacture has over 35 home repair and lawn and garden tools that use the same lithium battery. I personally would not even consider buying a NiMH or NiCd battery powered cordless drill anymore. Make sure you can remove the battery from the drill. There are a few cordless drills out there that have the batteries permanently attached to drill. This does not allow you to charge a battery while using the drill. This is another sign of a cheap drill.
CLUTCH CONSISTENCY – All of the quality cordless drill / drivers will have an adjustable clutch (A set of numbers between the chuck and the body of the drill.) A clutch stops the chuck from turning when it encounters a set amount of resistance. This prevails the drill / driver from destroying the screw-head, breaking the screw, or driving it too deeply into wood. Most quality drills today have from 16 to 25 clutch settings so you can fine-tune it and set your screws to the proper depth.
Source by Paul Sikkema
Spring has sprung in most areas of the country and the ritual of "Spring Cleaning" has begun. Planting flowers, planting plants and prepping our lawnns for summer, airing out our homes from the winter, cleaning windows, replacing winter window covers with summer screens are all a part of the spring preparation process. Depending on where you live your ritual may vary but one thing we can all do this spring is go greener. It's easier than you think.
It happens every spring, weeds begin to grow, EVERYWHERE; in your grass, in your rocks and up through cracks in the sidewalk and driveway. The simplest way to get rid of these pesky plants is to spray them with an herbicide and you're done. Unfortunately the chemicals in the weed killers are often washed away into our drainage systems and end up in our water supply. Here are three easy ways to go green and control your weed problem
1. Pull by hand. Use a long handle, flat screw driver to dig them out by the root. Not the easiest way but an effective and safe way to get rid of weeds.
2. Pour boiling water on the weeds in the rocks and driveway cracks.
3. Try this interesting weed killer – mix one ounce of white vinegar with one ounce of cheap gin and eight ounces of water, then pour or spray on the weeds.
GREEN UP YOUR LAWN
You can also help control weeds on your lawn by developing strong, healthy root systems. There are a few simple ways to do this that are safe and effective.
1. Mow high-high grass will help shade the weeds and keep them from growing, develop deeper root systems and prevent run off and evaporation of water. If you have a really BIG weed problem mow twice as often for a while. The growing point for weeds in near their tops so continuously cutting off the tops will stunt their growth and eventually kill them.
2. Leave the clippings on your lawn. This will add nutrients back into the soil, help maintain moisture and can help strengthen your lawn.
3. Use an organic, slow release fertilizer. Check your local nursery for fertilizer brands that match the needs of your type of soil. You can also log on to Planet Neutral to find information on the Ringer brand of organic fertilizer or Rich Soil for additional ideas on organic lawn care.
4. Get a spring tune up on our mower, especially on the blades. The sharper the blades the easier it is on the grass. A tune up will also help your mower run more efficiently and cut down on emissions in the air. An even better way to go green is to trade in your gas mower for an electric mower. Many states and cities offer exchange programs with discounts for trading in your gas mower for an electric mower. You can check out the options in your area with a simple Google or Yahoo search for "lawn mower exchange program."
SUMMERIZE YOUR WINDOWS
Nearly half of the heat gain in your home during the summer comes in from your windows, especially those facing east, west and south. The easiest way to cut down on the heat that enters your home is to shade your windows both inside and out.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development studies show the most effective way to keep you home cooler in the summer and cut down on energy bills is to block the sun's heat before it enters the home. Researchers recommend removable shade screens with a low SHADING COEFFICIENT to cover your exterior windows.
Home Depot, Lowes or your local hardware store have do-it-yourself kits that allow you to create screens that fit your windows with a variety of colors and SHADING COEFFICIENTS.
Another more earth-friendly way to shade your windows is with trees, so if you are building a new home or remodeling, look for shade trees that shed their leaves in the winter. This will allow heat to enter in the winter and help heat your home.
Reduce the amount of heat entering your home by using internal window films on the east and west facing windows. You should avoid placing these types of products on the south side because most are permanent and will block heat in the winter. There are a wide variety of products available, although many require professional installation. You can log on to Energy Film for Do-It-Yourself projects that do not require adhesives and can be easily removed.
When it comes to cleaning your home and windows there are a few "green" glass cleaner, floor cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner options. Unlike many of the products on the market today, brands like Shaklee and Holy Cow sell products that are not only safer for the environment but safer for your family.
The spring season brings green colors to many parts of the country and you can participate in this green evolution by taking some of the simple steps mentioned above. So please do your part, join with nature, and go green this spring.
Source by Gary Hillery
When I was an angst-ridden teenager I had many soul-searching days of reflection, anger, confusion. I did not like much of the world. All I saw was desperation, poverty, and negativity.
I asked my mother, "Mum, what is the meaning of life?" She sat for a moment and responded, "To raise your kids well."
This was not the answer I had anticipated or hoped for. I wanted a huge and resonating insight like, "the meaning of life is to end poverty and war in the world". I wanted a thunderclap and lightning bolt for a life purpose. I was also a fledgling feminist and the notion of my own mother suggesting that the meaning of life was to procreate and focus on child repeating ruffled my self-righteous feathers. Surely there is more to life than being a mother.
Being a half world away from my family, and a couple of decades older, I see of course the wisdom and gem my mother was offering me. (It must be incredibly frustrating as a parent to have to wait thirty years or more for your children to 'get' what you are telling them.) Humans are awfully slow learners.
You see what my mum was telling me that each of us has a calling. This is not about achievements, like climbing a mountain, or making a million dollars, or finding a chain of successful superstores.
The calling each of us has is to be the best we can be. To live in our greatness every day. For my mum, her greatness is about being a great mum. She approached motherhood with the love of an artist, with the passion of a sculptor, with the vision of any great businessperson. She believed wholeheartedly in the potential of her children and she nurtured this relentlessly (regardless of the tantrums, the ungrateful spoiled teenage years, and the arguments). My mum expressed her quality through her mothering. She taught us that it did not matter what you did for a living, just being great in doing it.
Mum is a great mum. She is also incredibly talented and creative. She nurtured her own greatness in creating a number of businesses, including an antique store, a visual display contracting service, a bed and breakfast inn (check it out at http://www.silverfoxinn.net ) a tea room, bed and bath retail supplies, and numerous renovations of houses. All her projects are done with exactitude, care, and passion. Her 'achievements' are really expressions of her own inner greatness, her own creative talents.
It is not about achieving the tick in the boxes. It is about being your best, each day, in whatever choices you make.
So if you are struggling with your life's purpose or mission, give up the struggle. Focus on your strengths, your passions, and allow yourself to be great. Whether you bake bread, dance, empty rubbish bins, lead a company, or raise your children- be great. Live in your greatness – happy at last in your own real skin.
Happy 59th birthday Mum. Thanks for all the life lessons. I love you.
Source by Zoe Routh
You’re about to break in your new billiard table. So far, you have invested in cues and balls in addition to the table. Depending on how advanced or amateur you are, you may need a lot or you may not need much at all.
Here are some items that you will need to help your game be more effective and keep your table in good condition:
o Billiard Cloth – Also known as felt, this is what is put on top of the table to help the balls flow smoothly. The cloth used on the table should be of good quality so that the balls can have a smooth roll across the table after each shot. This makes for good accuracy in the hole while playing.
A good quality cloth will stand until the test of time. It will not be subject to scuffs, tears and other damages. Billiard players will enjoy the game more when they know that they’re playing on quality material.
o Billiard Racks – These racks are triangular and diamond shaped. They are used to rack up the balls prior to a billiard game. For the most part, the triangular shaped one is used more often. They are the ones that most people are used to seeing.
They are used for different games of pool, such as eight-ball, one pocket, bank pool, straight pool, snooker and other billiard games. Diamond racks are usually reserved for nine ball games.
o Brush – A brush is needed to maintain the condition of your pool table. It is a great accessory to a pool table and it is not costly. The best kind of brush to get is one that is manufactured from horsehair.
A billiard brush can increase longevity of the table felt. The cloth stays smooth and any chalk residue is brushed away. People that have sensitive skin may not benefit from having this type of brush. The chalk or talcum residue combined with dirt and moisture, can trigger itching hands.
o Pool Table Covers – You must have a cover to protect your investment. Pool table covers are used to protect your table from dust, moisture, humidity. A cover is imperative because it also protects your table from spills and unnecessary damage when it’s not being used.
You must get a cover that is sized right and fits correctly. In order to do that, you will have to take measurements. If you want a cover that provides durability, that’s something to consider. You don’t want a cover made from flimsy material and having to replace it sooner than you want to.
o Rail Rubbers – Rail rubbers or cushions, as they are called, are located on the sides of your playing area. They are used so that the ball can rebound off of them and not get away from the table.
There are other accessories that you can do without or that you don’t need right away. However, the ones just mentioned will help you to have a better game of billiards.
Source by J. Davis