Decorate Roll Up Shades to Add Beauty to Rooms

Homeowners often install roll up shades when they first move in because they're an easy, affordable way to cover windows. However, just because they're inexpensive and convenient does not mean that roll up shades have to be dull.

Since most roll up shades are made of vinyl or cloth, they can be easily decorated using fabric markers, acrylic craft paint, ribbons, stencils or fabric cut-outs. Most roll up shades are white or some light neutral such as ivory, cream or beige. Think of this kind of shade as a blank canvas for your creativity. Even if you've installed colored shades, there's still plenty of opportunity to turn that open space into a work of art.

When choosing paint, spend some time planning the look you want. Whatever colors you might choose, it's important to complement the room's décor – unless you've given your teen-ager free rein to decorate his or her roll up shades as desired. Then be ready for some glaring colors and outlandish effects. (You might even want to set some ground rules about potentially offensive designs before your start).

For decorating purposes, the shade should be unrolled and held down using some type of clean, heavy weights. Without you plan to work in abstract, it's a good idea to pencil in the design before using paint or markers. The choice of design is up to you, so do not be shy; let your imagination roam freely.

Stencils can be a big help if you're not good at drawing. You could try a plant motif for a living room, fish or seashells for the bathroom, or blocks and teddy bears for a baby's room. Children especially like the chance to choose stencils for the shades in their rooms.

Put a finishing touch on your decorated roll up shade by attaching ribbons or fabric to the edges using fabric glue on cloth or spray adhesive on vinyl. Once the design is dry, you can hang your new creation with pride. …

My House and Garden

A Fondue Party is ideal for an informal evening with friends. This popular dish comes from Switzerland where villagers in the mountains had to rely on local produce, like cheese, wine and home baked bread during the long winter month. The name fondue comes from the French word "fondre", which means to melt or blend. Fondue meaning melted cheese in wine. You will need a chafing dish over a spirit stove and long fondue forks. Place the heated fondue dish on the spirit stove in the center of your table and hand out a fork to all your guests. Everyone spears a piece of bread onto the long fork, dips it into the fondue, turns it once or twice before eating it. In no time the ice will be broken and the party in full swing with everyone trying not to drop the bread form the fork. The custom is that anyone who looses a piece of bread in the dish must supply a bottle of wine. Even the experts find it hard, especially after a few glasses of Kirsch. Fondue Parties in Switzerland are a lot of fun with its warm atmosphere.

Lots of other delicious variations exist now, eg Fondue Bourgignonne made with Fillet Steak accompanied with Mustard, Tatar, Bearnaise, Tomato or Curry sauce and so on.

Swiss Cheese Fondue:

Ideally a rustic wine and small glasses of Kirsch and a crispy salad are served with this. Suitable for Vegetarians.

350g (12oz) Emmenthal Cheese, grated

350g (12oz) Gruyère Cheese, grated

45cl (3/4 pint) dry white wine

3 tablespoons of Kirsch

3-4 flat teaspoons of corn starch

grated nutmeg to taste

1 clove of garlic

pepper to taste

crusty firm bread, like French bread, cut into bite size pieces

rub the fondue pan with garlic

pour in the wine and heat very gently over the cooker

when hot add a small amount of cheese at a time, stirring continuously

bring it gently to bubbling point

add the kirsch mixed with the corn starch

let it simmer for another 3 minutes, stirring continuously

now place it on your fondue stand with a lit flame and serve

Tip: corn starch is a white type thickening flour and not the yellow maize variety …

Avoiding Fuel Poverty and Saving Energy by Insulating Hard-to-Heat Solid Wall Homes


Do you remember the saying “It’s the ECONOMY, stupid!”. It is a statement that has gone into political legend. But as far a global warming is concerned we need to recognise that “It’s the HOUSE, stupid”. In fact individual homes in Western Developed Nations are responsible for up to 50% of global warming – and hence climate change – problems.

Heating causes most of this because a great deal of the energy used comes from burning fossil fuels. It doesn’t matter whether this is in the home or at some remote electricity generating station. Wherever the fuel – the coal, gas, wood, oil and so on – is converted into energy it gives off carbon dioxide gas – the main “green house” gas that helps cause global warming.

In fact 25% of all the UK’s CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions come from household energy use, with 70% linked directly space heating and hot water.

Because the problem is so urgent the UK Government has decided this must be reduced by at least 20% by 2010. But at the same time it has committed to ending fuel poverty by 2015.

Both are tall orders.


Let’s first take a look at fuel poverty – where any household has to spend more than 10% of disposable income to make their home comfortable to live in.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) regards 21°C as being an adequate temperature for Living Rooms, and 18°C elsewhere. However, if it’s 2°C or less outside, 18% of UK homes fall way below this, recording only 16°C in their living rooms.

It 2000 AD there were over 5 million such homes in the UK, more than 3 million of which were solid wall properties – i.e. buildings that do not have cavity wall type construction..

Significantly 83% of people suffering from ‘fuel poverty’ are considered socially and economically ‘vulnerable’. That is to say older people, families with children and those who are disabled or have long-term illness occupy properties that are the most fuel inefficient.


Because many of them don’t spend enough on heating to reach even minimum comfort standards, their homes may be cold and damp – conditions associated with ill health and early deaths.

People living in rural areas often face additional problems, like no gas network, higher heat loss from detached properties, more solid wall construction, and general lack of good quality housing for those on low incomes.


In the UK over 60,000 cold-related deaths are recorded in the UK each year, some 40,000 of these in winter. Thus it is reckoned that exposure to cold is responsible for 30% more people dying than need to.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for 50% or more of these ‘excess’ winter deaths, while respiratory diseases are responsible for 30% or so. Although hypothermia itself is only responsible for less than 1% of these, for every degree C below the UK winter average there are 8,000 extra deaths.

Contrast this with …

Natural Cleaning Products – Keep Your Kitchen Clean With Baking Soda

The average kitchen contains a number of different cleaners for different appliances and applications. However, you can reduce the number of cleaners in your cabinet, saving you some time and money, if you use natural cleaning products such as baking soda. This one product can do a number of jobs around your kitchen.

Clean Coffee Makers
Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of water, and use this solution to clean up your coffee maker. After scrubbing, wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove any traces of cleaner. You can also run a cycle using this solution to clean out the coffee maker and help keep your coffee tasting good. Run two cycles of plain water afterwards to remove any remains of the solution.

Degrease Pots and Pans
Use baking soda sprinkled on a wet cloth or sponge to cut grease on your stainless steel pots and pans. This natural cleaning product will also help loosen the stuck-on burned food from your cookware. Create a paste with water and spread it in the bottom of the pan, leaving it for a few hours before scrubbing.

Clean and Deodorize Plastic Containers
The same method for degreasing pots and pans also works for cleaning plastic containers. It will help remove stains and take out the lingering spaghetti smell.

Clean and Deodorize the Dishwasher
Sometimes even your dishwasher needs a good cleaning. Use baking soda as a natural cleaning product to help the appliances that clean for you work even better. When your dishwasher suffers from a buildup of soap and is starting to smell even after the dishes are cleaned, run a cycle with it empty, replacing the soap with baking soda. …

Spruce Up Your House by Gardening!

It's a good time to start thinking and planning ahead for your garden. A neat and tidy front yard can enhance a property, but a beautifully planned one can really make an ordinary house look special.

Some accessories that will make your yard look really good can be very inexpensive. Most of us are on a budget, especially these days when we never know how much it will cost to fill up our gas tank. Sometimes at this time of the year, you can find last year's garden accessories discounted. Benches or garden lights may be listed for sale before the new stock comes in.

There are some basic rules which apply to every garden. Before you start you should try and afford a soil test. This is quite inexpensive and either your local nursery or the Internet will tell you how to go about it. You can also buy do-it-yourself kits. The second thing is to dig compost into your garden, and now (winter) is a good time.

If you are having a soil test carried out, you will know from the results if you should add any other nutrition to your soil. A soil test will mean you will not be buying the 'wrong' shrubs, plants etc for your soil type.

There is one last thing that you should monitor: how long and where the sun shines on different parts of your garden. Plants can thrive without direct sunlight, but only if you plant a type that likes the shade. This can still include many bright, colorful plants (ie impatiens), so you can still brighten up dull areas.

Once you decide to buy, you do not want to waste your money by having the plants or shrubs die on you. The soil test will curb some of these mistakes. The other thing to do is to look up, on the Internet or from a book, your particular growing zone. If you live in an area where, for instance, you come into the 'Hardiness Zone', it will enable you to pick the type of plant that has the best chance of surviving in your type of climate.

Always put short and stocky plants in front of taller ones. Remember to check the expected height to know this information – do not decide by the height at purchase time. Remember that short and stocky plants are generally tougher and more tenant, so choose more of these.

Try to resist buying plants in bloom at the time of purchase. The ones that still have to bloom will probably be stronger for the transplant process. If you have more shady areas than you wish, think about drastically trimming a tree to get more sunlight onto certain patches. Remember that some plants like a lot of water, so group these together to make the watering less laborious for you.

There are many small accessories that will really make your yard stand out. Obviously a strategically placed bench -or chairs and small table- under …

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is not only a tourist spot but this house is a representative of beautiful continent-Australia.

This wonderful was thought and predominately built by a well known Danish architect named Jørn Utzon; it was awarded with ‘Pritzker Prize’ in 2003, which is the a great recognition of an architecture work. This masterpiece was opened in 1973, and it is enlisted among the most unique buildings of the 20th century. This beautiful art centre was by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973

This marvelous Opera House is exactly located on Bennelong Point that reaches into the harbor. The skyline view of the Sydney harbor, Sydney Harbor Bridge, and the Sydney Opera Housees, is really an amazing and spectacular sight to see.

This art centre building has several performance venues in which nearly fifteen hundred performances are performed every year.

The performance venues of Sidney Opera House include the Concert Hall with 2,678 seats, Opera Theatre with 1507 seats, Drama Theatre with 544 seats, Playhouse having 398 seats, the Studio with 400 people, the Utzon room with 210 seats and the Forecourt which is a open-air venue most used for outdoor performances.

Apart from shows and performances, some kind of conferences and parties are also happen in this art centre. Being the most visited tourist spots it attracts about 7 million people each year.

Some of the important and interesting information of Sidney Opera House are:

• War and Peace by Prokofiev is the first performance performed in the stage of Opera

• The amount spent to construct this building is about $AU 102,000,000

• Every year nearly3000 events are conducted in the Opera

• This art centre holds about 1000 rooms in it

• The length of the house is 185 meters long and the width is 120 meters and its roof has about 2194 pre-cast concrete parts and the roof holds nearly 1 million tiles

This beautifully designed House was entered in the National Heritage List in 2005, and in 2007, it is included in World Heritage List.…

Exploring The World Of Interior Design Ideas

If you were to ask a mere layman to come up with some interior design ideas, the chances are that they would refer you to the traditional or contemporary side of the street. These particular styles are, after all, used as the benchmarks of interior design by many who are, truth be told, not all that creative. Of course, we know that anyone who is reading an article about interior design is a lot more creative and adventurous, yet it's still amazing to learn just how many different styles are available to you and as you find out what your options are it often makes you even more enthusiastically for the upcoming project.

Let's consider some of them. Maybe your direction will be influenced by where you live. Some people choose to live next to the seashore, as they find great inspiration from anything to do with the ocean. You can choose a Coastal style, focusing on the bright and airy. Emphasize thosemed accessories and try and bring the magic of the seaside, inside. If you are rural at heart, then sometimes you want to evoke a Country style as part of your project. This focuses on the rustic, with a lot of light colored woods, muted and pastel colors, with the occasional brilliant accent, as if to celebrate the arrival of spring time.

Maybe you would like a sundrenched life if you could choose it and you might want to go for a French or Mediterranean style accordingly. Frequently a particular type of fabric or shade is repeated throughout the project, but it is always rather fanciful and decorative. A textured look is commonplace here and your furniture items tend to be a little more ornate.

The modern look is somewhat different to the contemporary approach. If you choose Modern, then you will be minimalistic, with the emphasis on "clean" rather than cluttered. Your furniture style might evoke the 1930s. Some people confuse modern or minimalistic with Art Deco, but there are distinct differences. The latter may also be traceable back to the roaring 20s and 30s, but features a far more streamlined and accented approach with lots of hardware, glass and mirrors.

If however you're still falling somewhere between Contemporary and Traditional, maybe you should opt for Transitional? This is a really exciting look, blending the ornate with the futuristic and certain to label you as a style maven when all your friends come around to visit.

Western, Oriental, Moroccan, Mid Century or Eclectic – there is something for everyone and a method to everyone's madness, even though it may appear in some cases as if certain styles are just thrown together.

If you are really in the mood to create something inspiring and different, you should get good advice from some luxury interior designers who will be able to blend different styles and come up with an ideal "look" just for you. You never know, maybe you will be able to create your own landmark style that …

Chandelier Lighting and Improving Your Home Interior Design

Many homeowners are very ignorant about their home interior design. They devote a great deal of effort in designing and decorating their homes as a way to enhance their home's ambiance and appeal.In this way they can win the admiration of their guests for their home with no trouble, which is a big thing for any homeowner . Furthermore, family members and other household members can also take pleasure from staying inside their good looking homes.

A home interior design should have all the essentials to look great and striking enough.Many homeowners are paying more attention to their home furnishings and decorations as their way of improving their home interior design. However, a home interior design that is fully furnished and well-decorated is not complete without the presence of other elements including proper lighting. A complete home interior design must not only be relegated to the choice of furniture and other decorations to go with them. For a complete and remarkable home interior design, homeowners must also pay attention to the ability of lighting fixtures in making their homes look more impressive and appealing.

Many home interior design experts are claiming that lighting fixtures play a vital role in a home interior design. A certain portion of the house will lose its value when it is poorly lighted. No matter how intrete or creative the design of a room is, it would not have any value if it does not have an appealing lighting fixture to complement it. Whereas, appropriate amount of lighting from an impressive lighting fixture can enhance the appearance of certain portion of a house.

One of the best choices for a lighting fixture for our home is the modern chandelier. Chandelier lighting since it was first used has been one of the most beautiful lighting fixtures of all time. Chandeliers provide a distinct appeal and beauty that no other lighting fixture can match. Chandelier lighting is naturally capable of transforming a certain place into a stylish and elegant looking one.

The modern chandelier is now a common lighting fixture in mansions, hotel lobbies, and palaces; places that people find expensive and luxurious. As a result, chandelier lighting is typically identified with wealth and elegance. This is the ultimate reason why chandeliers are perfect for our home. We can transform our homes into a place that can promote a rich and glamorous environment that can clearly win the admiration of our guests for our homes and have them nod in approval.

Chandeliers are widely available in the market in varying designs and styles including wrought iron chandeliers. Purchasing a chandelier for our home is easy. These popular lighting fixtures are available at many online furniture shops. As homeowners, it is our responsibility to choose the certain style and design of the chandelier that can be appropriate to our home interior design. …

When to Use a French Drain

For many homeowners, businesses, and builders, issues with property flooding can be a serious problem. French drains have been used as a water drainage system since 1859. This is a trench lined with rock or gravel that redirects groundwater and surface water away from an area. The pipes of this drain are normally made from PVC. A French drain can have perforated hollow pipes along the bottom which rapidly expels the water that leaches through the upper rock or gravel. Filtration fabric is placed on top of the pipe to keep debris from blocking the holes. An installed drain has a slope to help with drainage. The drainage process works on the law of gravity. That is, water is carried from a high elevation to a lower elevation.

French drains are primarily used to prevent ground and surface water from seeping into building foundations, however, are many reasons why people will install one to redirect surface and ground water. These drains are often used to remove excess water from low areas, or extremely wet areas of the property. This type of area is often located in the back of a home, at the foot of a slope, and in places where too much run-off is directed to a property area.

A French drain is used for drainage in gardening. For a garden, this drain redirects ground water run-off to a garden irrigation system. As well, this drain is often used to protect the foundation of a home or other structure such as a storage building or garage. It will to keep excess ground or surface water from flooding the structure.

These have been used to drain water away from a septic tank and it has been used as a back up for a retaining wall by providing ground water pressure relief. As well, it is often placed along property lines between two adjoining lots. The drain will carry the water from the higher area to a lower area as it flows through the pipe.

By installing a drain, you have the ability to select where the water will flow. Compared to other drainage systems, French drains are quite inexpensive. They are also quite easy to install. To make sure you install it properly, it may be a wise to hire a professional, particularly if you are not sure if you have the knowledge to properly perform the installation.

When you install a French drain, it will collect the groundwater and redirect the water to a lower area of land of your choosing. The most effective French drain design is a design that permits the water to flow freely from the trench to the surface of the property area. A French drain is a very affordable and easy method of diverting groundwater and surface water from an area that can flood and cause damage to property. If you are having problems with water excess and flooding, a French drain may be the solution for you.…

House Training Dogs

There are many reasons an adult dog may not be house broken. It could vary from a medical condition (a virus or a parasite), to never being taught, to even just a behavioral issue. If your dog is suffering from a medical condition, treatment should solve all house training problems. Most house training issues are behavioral issues and are easily remedied.

The very first step in house training an adult dog is to begin crate training him immediately. Crate training your dog will teach him the boundaries and rules of your home. It is also the most effective aid for house breaking and it provides your dog a safe place to comfortably relax. On top of all of these great things, crate training also gives you a reliable location to leave your dog while you are not home.

The second step in how breaking an adult dog is never leave food and water accessible to your dog all day long. By implementing a feeding schedule, your dog will be eating twice a day, once in the morning once in the evening. Like you, when your dog eats at regular times, he will have to go to the bathroom at regular times.

So now it is time to go outside. To make your life much easier, choose a specific location in your yard you would like your dog to use as his own personal bathroom. This actually gives your dog some more consistency and if you bring him to that specific area every time he has to get to the bathroom, he will quickly become comfortable and much more willing to relieve himself there.

The key to any training is in the praise. All dogs want to please their masters. When your dog behaves in a way that makes you happy, let him know by giving him generous praise (lots of scratches and "good boy!"). When he knows what exactly makes you happy, your dog is much more willing to do what makes you happy.

When you are breaking your dog, you must expect accidents. This is a trial and error process for your dog, so when there is an accident, do not get mad. Make a loud noise to make your dog stop relieving himself. Once he has stopped, calmly and quickly bring him outside to where he is allowed to go potty. When he finishes reliving himself outside, praise him. Be sure to thoroughly clean where the accident was, you do not want you house smelling like doggy poo! …