How to Find a Reliable House Painter

You’ve decided it’s time to bring in a professional to paint your home but how do you find a reliable house painter? There are many things to consider when making the important decision of who will paint your house. While it might be easy to find a painter it’s not easy to know which ones are qualified and reliable so you know the work will be done to last.

A couple of places to look for a painter:

Ask around – have any of your family members, friends or acquaintances recently used a local painter? If so, go check out the work they did – there’s nothing like seeing it with your own two eyes to determine if that painter did a good job.

Check for advertisements in the local community and regional newspapers.

Check with a few local contractors, real estate agents and your local paint store.

Once you’ve found them you should probably:

Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints against the painter you choose to hire.

Word of mouth is a powerful thing – ask around to see if anyone you know has heard anything negative about the painter you choose.

Ask for references – any reputable painter will gladly provide contact information for previous clients.

Ask the references or the people that referred the house painter if they were happy with the work, if the non-painted surfaces were protected and how the painter was to deal with, were they pleasant, on time and reliable?

Ask the painter to come out and see the scope of work and request a quote. Make sure the quote has details such as which areas will be painted and how many coats of paint will be provided at the price he’s providing.

Once you’ve found a few painters that gain your initial approval and that are within your price range, there are a few key things you should be looking for.

Your house painter should have extensive knowledge and experience with regard to the tools they use like brushes, scrapers, tape and rollers. They should know how much paint and primer a job would require and what type of paint to use. They should also know things like how to remove wallpaper and how to properly fill a hole.

A responsible painter should have business insurance as well as worker’s compensation insurance. If your painter doesn’t have insurance and accidentally breaks something or hurts themselves it would be your responsibility to incur the charges associated with the accident. Ask for proof of insurance before hiring your house painter – it could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Also inquire about preparation of the area to be painted – will your house painter take all necessary actions to ensure the painting job is done correctly? Will holes need to be filled and sanded prior to painting? Will your painter be able to tell if an area will need to be primed before painting? How many coats of paint …

Three 'I's For Success in Life

Everyone likes success in their life. However, Success is not a fairy tale that revolves around the element of miracle and imagination. Rather, a person has to pass through the realities of life to understand what is success. As the two eyes are essential for biological life, there exist three 'I's which are indicative for successful life. Certainly, the possession and employment of them ensure achievement and contentment of any individual. They also help to bring discipline and efficiency in all walks of our life. The three 'I's are discussed hereunder.

Interest : A person should develop the interest in whatever he does. Else, not only the efforts and time spent will be in vain but breeds discontent among the surrounding people. In the same way, over-enthusiasm is also not preferred. Maintaining the interest in anything needs grit and tenacity of the person.

Initiative forms the second step in reaching the desired target. Having interest alone does not suffice to get the result. One should take efforts to plan well and expend the resources, including the time and faith in others. Moreover, one must take new and consistent steps to overcome any foreseeable adversities. Remaining optimistic with a positive mindset tends to produce new ideas.

Involvement . This is the crucial stage for guaranteeing success, and it refers to 'Staying alert and sticking to the set course of actions.' In case of any setback or deviation, there will not be any loss of interest or initiative. Rather, the determined mind keeps faith and moves ahead with confidence. Because Persistent efforts produce success absolutely.

Simply having interest would not yield results unless a person takes concerted efforts to stick to that and continue in that direction without any loss of focus. The effects of the three 'I's can be understood with an example.

A gardener keeps working without bothering about who visits the garden and how much wages he gets. Because he has a deep interest and attachment to the task and takes all initiatives to grow all species of plants and trees. His involvement in the garden is immense that he never feels it as a work or duty but enjoys it. Naturally, the owner of the garden is not only bound to appreciate and reward his sincere servant but bears the responsibility to take care of the welfare of the gardener.

Success by itself Can not be the life but sweetens the latter. Anything that helps in the spread of peace and happiness in the world amounts to success. …

A Fun Place to Visit Is Spokane’s Manito

Residents say, “If you like gardens, flowers and plants, don’t miss Manito Park and Botanical Gardens” and they will also tell you, Manito Park has a feel and spirit all of its own. The name “Manito” in fact means “Spirit of Nature” in the Algonquian Indian language, so it is not surprising this lovely recreational park and gardens make for a great place to visit in Washington’s charming city of Spokane.

With five immaculate gardens, a conservatory, sparkling duck pond and much more Manito Park is Spokane’s garden showplace. Besides Duncan Garden, planted in a European Renaissance style, the grounds include a perfumed scented Lilac Garden, the flower that makes Spokane the “Lilac City”; a perennial garden; a classic Japanese style garden; Rose Hill, an old-fashioned rose garden with bushes representing more than 150 varieties and an All American Rose Selections test garden.

The three-acre symmetrically formal Duncan Garden is considered by many the centerpiece of the park. Duncan Garden houses a large granite fountain that was added in 1913 and a gazebo built and dedicated in 2004 to honor the park’s centennial (1904-2004) year. Both the fountain and gazebo in Duncan Garden are situated beside walking paths offering cultivated calm and charm.

Gaiser Conservatory is filled to overflowing with beautiful tropical plants and flowering displays, as well as cacti and seasonal flowers throughout the year. Some of the park’s visitors enjoy sitting quietly and feeding the ducks. The Duck Pond is located at the Northern end of the park and is home to ducks, swans and Geese. Another popular park activity is bird watching.

Spokane enjoys a claim of being a city that loves its parks and its residents visit them often to be part of the close to nature lifestyle the parks grant. Manito is one of the few botanical gardens in the nation offering such varied flower displays. It is among the Inland Northwest most visited parks, not just for its lovely gardens, but also for its walking and biking paths. The park is soothing, tranquil and infinitely distinct.

Originally named, “Montrose Park,” Manito Park was officially deeded to the city of Spokane in the spring of 1904. The gift’s unveiling came with a number of specific conditions, the most important being that the park “must be forever used for the sole purpose as a public park.”

Much of the park that is not planted as garden is left wild, with trails for bicycling and hiking. In any season, the recreational area presents breathing space from the hectic world beyond. During the winter, the grassy hills of Manito are popular destinations for sledding.

Attracting more than 150,000 visitors each year, Manito Park and Botanical Gardens covers some 90-acres of meticulously manicured lawns, picturesque gardens, topiary shrubs, greenhouse conservatory and walking paths and those who come more often than not discover their lives enriched by the park’s beauty and natural attractions.

Manito Park is open year round and there is no admission fee to either the gardens or …

Star Gardening: A Guide to Gardening by Starlight

Gardening by the signs of the zodiac

The first farmers were probably the first practical astrologers. Their crops appeared to respond to the signs in the heavens and this became a convenient method of ensuring good harvests and provided a functional approach to husbandry.

Modern agriculture echoes many of these ancient principles.
Certain seasonsought changing conditions which seemed to either help or hinder the growth of crops. Each season presented different alignments in the constellations and these patterns would evolve into horticultural astrology as it is often practiced today. The following is a brief outline of the zodiacal roots of gardening by the stars and signs of the zodiac.

Pruning

It was believed that in order to insure against infestations when pruning vine crops, trees and woody growths the following formula applied. The Moon must be full in the constellations of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Sagittarius. When pruning is done during this period the plants will not suffer from parasites nor disease.

Grafting

Ancient gardeners were believers in never grafting plants or trees when the moon was waning or not visible. Decreasing moonlight or the total absence of moonlight was considered crucible in the successful propagation and grafting of all types of vegetation.

Harvesting

Crops and other plants that were to be preserved for future use were always cut while the light of the moon was decreasing. This was believed to aid in the length of time that produce could be stored without spoiling. This was especially true of timber which was to be used in construction. If wood is cut at the end of the winter and during the decline in moonlight it will be hard and durable.

Plant Regeneration

When cutting or gleaning crops and plants that produce more than one yield the moon should be waxing and in its first quarter. Also, the moon must be high in the sky at this time and in conjunction with the planets Venus or Jupiter. When this equation is followed yields will increase and new growth will be rapid.

Sowing

Sow or plant your garden when the moon is in Taurus, Virgo or Scorpio and is near Saturn. This is the time of maximum benefit for seeds and transplants which, if planed now, will grow with strength and vitality. Also, when the moon is in Libra or Capricorn it is a good time to weed your garden and trim trees and shrubs.

When to Avoid Planting

Never plant any type of vegetation when Saturn is in one of the fixed signs of the zodiac. This will cause poor crops and limited harvests. In ancient times this stellar alignment was associated with famine and death.

The Stellar Gardener

Planting and husbandry by astrological signs should be examined by any gardener as an insightful way to round out on knowledge of horticulture. The ancients studied the natural order of things. It worked for them and it will still work for us if we care to heed these echoes from the past. …

Irish Christmas Traditions and Customs

Ireland is a magical country, filled with tradition and folklore dating back many years. Christmas in Ireland is an especially magical time of year. Many Irish Christmas traditions have become part of the Christmas celebration of many nationalities and have made their way into main stream American Christmas customs.

In Ireland people say “Nollaig Shona Duit” pronounced NO-Lihg HO-nuh ghwich. This Irish Christmas greeting literally translates to Happy Christmas.

One beloved Irish Christmas tradition is that of the Christmas plum pudding. The traditional Irish Christmas plum pudding has had humble beginnings. Plum pudding was originally a porridge flavored with scraps of leftover meat or fish, thickened with bread crumbs and bound together with eggs, fruit and spices. During the Tudor and Stuart period in England, dried prunes were added to the pudding mixture which became known as a plum porridge. Eventually becoming called plum pudding.

Another very common Christmas custom in Ireland is the candle window. The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas Eve is still practiced today and has become an American Christmas tradition as well. The candle in the window has a number of purposes. One of its primary meanings is as a welcoming symbol to Mary and Joseph as they traveled looking for shelter. The candle also indicated a safe place for Catholic priests to perform mass during the penal times when Catholic masses were not allowed. Another part of the tradition is the candle should be lit by the youngest member of the family and should only be extinguished by a girl bearing the name Mary.

In Ireland celebrating the Feast Day of St. Stephen’s is usually accompanied with the Wren Boy Procession. Saint Stephen’s Day celebrated on December 26th, also know as the Day of the Wren is a national holiday in Ireland.

During Penal times there was a plot in a village against the local soldiers. The soldiers were surrounded and about to be ambushed when a flock of wrens pecked on their drums and awakened them in time to defend themselves. The plot failed and the wren became known as the “Devil’s Bird”.

On Saint Stephen’s Day a procession takes place where pole with a holly bush is carried from house to house and families dress up in old clothes with blackened faces. In olden days an actual wren bird was killed and placed on the pole. This custom has largely disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephen’s has survived and is a large part of the Irish Christmas celebration today.

Last but not least a fabulous Irish Christmas tradition that hasn’t made its way to the states is called “Women’s Christmas”. In Ireland on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, is when traditionally the Irish finish celebrating Christmas. It is also known as “Nollaigh na mBean” in Irish or “Women’s Christmas”. Tradition has it that women get the day off and the …

Circuit Breaker – An Important Safety Measure for Your Home

Circuit breakers are now popular device used in residential and commercial premises because of great advantage over fuses. It is a device that automatically breaks an electrical current whenever the circuit gets overloaded or an abrupt short circuit happens. Circuit breakers have a defined electric current load capacity which when broken results to automatic circuit power cut.

Overloading happens when an electric in wires is stormed and conducts an electric charge beyond wires' capacity. Whenever this occurs, the wires heat up and inevitably burst or an electrical fire erupts. But by installing a circuit, risk of electric fire can be avoided to a great deal. Unlike a fuse which work once and then has to be replaced, a circuit breaker can be reset (either manually or automatically) to resume normal operation.

Currently, wholesale electric are available in different capacities, from small breakers that guard an individual household appliance up to large switchgear designed to protect high voltage circuits feeding an entire city. They are also available in varying sizes and are usually used according to the electric load required to run the appliances.

Now, circuit breakers are the ideal replacement of fuses, in fact considered as the preferred device to handle electric loan and protect circuit. The major advantage of this has over fuses is that you do not have to put too much effort to reset them. And like fuses, you do not have to place a new one every time an appliance draws excessive current. Moreover, when a breaker closes off the circuit, it will not work unless you throw it all the way to the off position before you turn it back on again. One more feature of electric circuit breaker is that it is air-ambient compensated- the hotter the air around them gets, the sooner they will trip.

In addition, if you are choosing circuit breaker for common living areas, choose an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) breaker which is designed to cut electric shocks if certain wires became worn or damaged and create an electric spark. You can use these home circuit breakers for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and foyers.

No matter what kind of home you choose, but do not forget to verify that it meets National Electrical Code (NEC) standards. The NEC points the safety standards for electrical systems throughout the home and all licensed electricians must adhere to these codes during installation. So, while buying the product, check whether it is NEC-compliant. These days, the typical house carries either a 100 amp or 200 amp electrical services, so you should choose a home circuit breaker that can handle electric load of such capacity and able to distribute the power properly through the house. …

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Property

Everybody dreams of owning a house at one point of time. But possessing a house is no joke. It requires careful consideration and planning to make such a heavy investment. A lot many things have to be kept in mind before buying any property. The main concern is finance but there are so many other things that are directly related to it.

Here are some factors that should be considered before buying a property:

1) Stability of income: Doing well in your work and earning good money may excite you to buy property at the moment. But it is very important to analyze your financial condition before making any big purchase. How stable your job is at the moment, will your salary increase in some time, what are your other expenses and how safe is it to invest in an asset are some of the most important questions to answer. If you’re uncertain of your future income situation, then picking up a mortgage isn’t a really good idea at the moment. Wait for some time and save more money for down payment.

2) Credit Score: A credit score is a statistical number that depicts a person’s creditworthiness. Lenders use a credit score to evaluate the possibility of a person to repay his debts. It also determines the rate of interest at which the mortgage will be given if it gets approved by the bank or creditors.

3) Personal commitments: What are your personal goals? What expenses do you see in the near future? Are you getting married or planning a baby? What are the expenses that may delay your mortgage buying? All these events will incur heavy expenses and may delay your property buying task. Ask these questions to yourself and consult your dear ones before planning to take such a major step.

4) Real Estate scenario: What is the real estate trend in your area? Are the property prices going upwards or are in a stable state. If the prices have gone up, will your finances allow you to make that purchase? Some area of your city may be attracting a lot many builders hence the rate of property might be on an upsurge. If the prices are going down, you may be lucky in buying your desired property at affordable rate.

5) Expectations from the property: Buying a home may be for different purposes- it could be for your own use or may be your second home i.e. investment. Since investing in real estate is considered to be the safest bet, a lot many people buy homes and put it on rent to get returns. If you are buying it for your own purpose, you may prefer a specific locality or a specific area, but if buying for investment, you may overlook such points and just concentrate on buying a property that may suit your budget.…

Winter Is Coming – And So Is the Mould

As the pending Southern Hemisphere winter knocks on our doorstep we are faced with many minor headaches throughout our properties; but none are more annoying than the build up of mould in bathrooms and laundries.

Last season was an exceptionally cold winter for us and the amount of heavily built up mould that I saw in bathrooms and laundries was at monumental levels. The crazy thing, it doesn’t have to be! There are a few simple tricks to keeping mould from taking over your bathroom and potentially damaging paintwork (which could create bond issues for tenants) and more importantly health.

Mould removal should be part of any cleaning routine and must be kept in check to reduce its likelihood for growth. After 10 years in Tropical North Queensland, Australia, one thing I have had a lot of experience with is mould; we used to get mould in everything, and I mean everything. If you are old enough to remember back to VHS video tapes, even they would get mould in them.

So, what to do about controlling mould during the coming winter? – If you have a bathroom fan, make sure you use it. Always turn on the bathroom fan while you shower and be sure to leave it run long enough after you have finished to help moisture leave the bathroom.

For those of you who are lucky enough to have the good old IXL Tastic (heat, fan, and light) make sure you have it on, the heater globes will help keep the moisture build up to a minimum while the fan will carry out the obvious work.

If you only have a window, then be sure to make sure to open it a little. I know the thought of this is not much fun in 2 degree weather, but its paramount to keep the moisture build up from steam to a minimum – this of course goes for laundries too, especially while running dryers. Another good idea while running a dryer is to make sure the laundry door is open, it will not only allow for ventilation but assist in keeping the home warmer.

Finally, if (and when, as you won’t always be able to keep mould at bay) have a spray bottle of bleach, not the expensive stuff, but the simple homebrand bleach. It costs near nothing and a few short and sharp squirts on the affected area will generally kill the mould in its tracks. No need to spray and scrub, just squirt on and leave, ideally when the area is dry, not just after a shower as it will dilute and be less effective.

These simple tricks should help you survive the mould attack that has become so prevalent during long and chilly winters.

It’s also worth noting that as a tenant you may very likely become responsible for any damage caused by mould. If not controlled and left unchecked, mould can eat through paintwork and even the walls. So control any mould that is …

Managing Bad Debts Through Consolidation Debt Loans

How will I ever save money for my retirement when I am paying so much for my credit card debt? How will I ever get back on my feet with so much debt to pay? How will I ever save money when all I earn is just enough for my mortgage, debt and food? With all this student and college loans hanging over my head, when will I ever save? With all this debt and loans hanging over my head, when will I ever get my life back and get back on my feet again? It Is Very stressful! Does It? But do not worry you are not alone! Heard of consolidation debt loans?

We are not created equal with the ability to successfully manage our finances. But your debts and finances can get the professional help of a financial manager or counselors.

What these managers and / or counselors do is to less all your debt related financial burdens and concerns. Managing your debt is a process where you can consolidate, reduce, and eventually eliminate or eradicate all your outstanding debts.

This can be done and completed through the help of a credit counselor from a debt management department of a financial institution or a debt management agency. These professionals will guide you on all your debt management needs.

Let us face it, you will not be reading this if you are managing your debt properly and efficiently.

These financial institutions that hand out these loans and credit cards do not really want you to get out of debt. And that is until you are a greyed old man! If you are drowning with unpaid bills and life is on a downhill. Get Help.

First: You have to honestly acknowledge that you have a debt problem and that you truly (in your heart and in your mind) believe that you are going to resolve and deal with your debt problem. And if you are serious about taking back your life, then it is high time to start the process.

Second: Make a calculation on how much is your total take home income (net income). Just make sure all monies that you received should be part of your calculation.

Third: Prepare an inventory of how much is the total owed. You need to make a list of every debt you have including the smallest because all your debts played a big role in determining how you will succeed in managing your debt. This list should include; the name of the financial institution, the amount, and interest they charge. Again, make sure to include all your debts.

Fourth: Make an inventory or list of all your expenses. This will take a lot of effort on your part but believe me it will be worth it. This part, you have to be accurate and accurate so it will not be a thorn later. Make a list of all the stuff at home.

Including small items such as, soap, tooth paste, bathroom tissues, …

Weight Loss Diets for Men – Important Facts You Need to Know

Diets were never a man's thing. The word "diet" almost has a feminine claim to it that men do not like to consider themselves as being "on a diet", even if they are trying to cut their portions so they can lose the extra pounds. They were better off using exercise to lose those extra pounds. Lifting weights, running, bicycling – all these were more masculine and hence had more appeal. If you are closely looked at weight loss programs, you'll notice that a lot of them use female models, utilize female facts and paraded female success stories.

You could possibly blow it on man's physiological makeup. By nature, men could burn off fat easily because their metabolisms work faster. They also lead more active lifestyles, especially where sports are concerned. And because of this, they need more calories. Here, they can never live on the tightly controlled, thinly-sliced ​​portions on women's weight loss diets.

But times are changing. Whether you have Hollywood to thank for that by showing extremely ripped bodies of Brad Pitt in Troy or the growing vanity thought about by the steady commercialization of the multibillion dollar fitness industry, the truth of the matter is that men are now, hold on to your seats, dieting! Even if they do not like to admit that what they're doing is dieting, they are now very conscious about buying smaller plates, eating smaller meals and weighing themselves on the bathroom every now and then.

You can not blame them. After all, men are not spared the bulging midsections thought about by sedentary lifestyles and overeating. Hypertension, diabetes and other cardiovascular conditions are also enough reasons to get them to be concerned about what they eat. But do weight loss diets for men really exist?

It's really a difficult question to answer. The most common diets practiced today (Atkins, South Beach, GI Diets) were not specifically tailored for men. South Beach was originally developed by Dr. Agatston for his heart patients. GI Diets are based on the glycemic value of foods rather than on gender considerations. And while Atkins seem like the ideal diet for men because it allows lots of room for mayo, red meat and butter creams, the high-protein low fat content of the diet still poses a lot of unresolved health issues.

Losing weight, whether for health or aesthetic reasons, is always a worthy goal. Thus, the more important issue is whether there is a particular weight loss diet for men. For men, any diet that focuses on eating a well-balanced meal from a variety of food sources, drinking lots of water and spreading out the meals taken everyday, is the weight loss diet. It does not mean severely limiting portions to the point of hunger, but it means cutting down a bit. If the voracious eater in you used to eat one big slab of steak at dinner, dieting means halving it down gradually until you get used to only one of the sizes of a …