Bridal Roses 101

Roses are one of the favorite flowers for weddings. They have a classic appeal and a year round availability that makes them a wonderful option for many different types of weddings. If you are not familiar with the various types of roses that are available, this handy primer will soon have you feeling like an expert.

There are some misconceptions about roses. Many people think that roses are always going to look stuffy or too formal; some brides think that because they are so popular, roses cannot be used to create unique or original floral displays. They think that roses are only appropriate for brides who are wearing elaborate custom bridal gowns with traditional bridal jewelry. In fact, these things are not true. Because roses are grown in such an incredible array of varieties, you will be able to find roses that are more relaxed or have a quirkier charm than you ever might have expected.

The most commonly used type of rose is the hybrid. These are the roses that probably spring to mind when you picture a rose, with their petals arranged in concentric circles with a higher center and a long stem. Classic hybrid roses are the ones that you are most likely to see in the florist’s display case. They are particularly popular for weddings thanks to their hardy nature and year round availability. Many of the most classic wedding roses, such as the rich red Black Magic or the lovely white Bianca, are hybrid tea roses.

The hybrid rose is an ideal choice for a bride who loves roses precisely because of their classic style and grace. A round bouquet of a single color and type of rose would be the prefect complement to a wedding gown with a full skirt and pearl custom bridal jewelry. Hybrid roses also look fabulous in combination with flowers such as lisyanthus and hydrangeas.

If you love flowers like lush peonies, then you will adore the large full look of garden roses. These roses are generally bigger than hybrid teas and have an incredible plucked from the garden look, often with a heady scent to accompany it. These roses are gorgeous for centerpieces that are overflowing from garden urns, and work wonderfully with loose and trailing greens. If you are designing a wedding with a romantic English garden flavor, garden roses would be perfect. Garden roses do have some limitations, however; they are more expensive and fragile than hybrid roses, and they are not available in the winter.

This brings us to the spray rose. Spray roses are flowers that grow in clusters of four or five, rather than a single blossom on one long stem such as the hybrid roses have. Spray roses combine beautifully with hybrid or garden roses to add texture and interest to a rose-based bouquet. They are often paired with hybrid or garden roses in the same color. Since they have several blooms on every stem, spray roses are a very popular addition to floral arrangements when you want to quickly add more fullness. They are available in virtually any color, making them even more versatile.

Finally, there are the miniature roses, which just as their name suggests, are small roses. As with the spray roses, mini roses are a wonderful addition to a hybrid rose bouquet or centerpiece. Their petite size adds a nice contrast in scale that will make your displays more interesting. Mini roses are also very sweet for boutonierres and make adorable bouquets for flower girls.

The beauty and availability of roses has made them the gold standard for wedding flowers. From the classic hybrid, the lush garden, the versatile spray, to the darling mini rose, there is a type that will have just the look that you want. Whatever season and whatever your style, there will be a rose that is just perfect for your wedding.

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Cymbals 101

Cymbals are some of the basic percussive instruments for musicians. These metallic disks are round, and make an indefinite pitch when played. Cymbals are used in a variety of genres and in bands of many sizes from a full sized orchestra, to a three man rock band to a high school marching band.

The average drum kit uses at least three cymbals: the suspended cymbal and two hi-hat cymbals. Some of the most trusted brands in cymbal manufacturing are Zildjian cymbals, Sabian cymbals and Meinl cymbals. These cymbal purveyors are likely to start off a beginner’s kit right.

A suspended cymbal, one of the important additions to a drum kit, is a horizontal cymbal that creates a “crash.” These cymbals should be played with sponge or cord wrapped mallets, and are a favorite among drummers for their sharp notes when struck and spooky notes when played quietly. Drummers use the suspended cymbal to create the tremolo, or drum roll. The suspended cymbal is usually used in tandem with the bass drum, because the instruments combine high and low frequencies loudly.

The hi-hat cymbal is played by striking the foot petal and the foot petal at the same time. Two cymbals are mounted one on top of the other cymbal, with a rod that connects the cymbals to the foot petal. The bottom cymbal never moves, while the foot petal moves the top cymbal, with each press of the petal causing a collision between the two plates. The cymbals are easily adjusted for different heights. Changing the tension of the unit can alter the tone of the hi-hat cymbal.

The anatomy of the cymbal dictates the sound it creates. Suspended cymbals and hi-hat cymbals alike feature a hole in the center used to mount the cymbal. The raised area that surrounds this mounting place is called a bell, cup, or dome. This section of the cymbal creates a higher pitch when played. The area beyond the dome is called a bow, and is separated into the ride and crash areas. The ride area is the thicker area of the bow, closer to the dome, and it creates a deeper sound than the crash area. The crash area is the thinner edges, and these create a higher pitched sound.

When choosing a cymbal, keep thickness in mind. Thick cymbals are louder and deeper, and can maintain a sound for longer. They will be heavier, create a more crisp sound, and are easier to play. A thin cymbal sounds more full than a thick cymbal, and responds more quickly to being played.

Some of the smallest cymbals, the crotales, are based on designs of ancient cymbals. Cymbals found in Egyptian tombs were much smaller than normal cymbals, and produced a specific note when played. These cymbals are thicker, creating a sound that is much higher than the sound of normal cymbals. The timbre of the crotale is completely different than normal cymbals, sounding similar to hand bells when struck on the side.

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Motherboard Components 101

If you ever took an Information Technology class in your life, then the word motherboard should not be foreign to you. Many regard it as the central nervous system of a computer and just like what the analogy suggests, without the central nervous system, the human body would seize to exist and so without the motherboard in full-swing operation, that computer would seize to be useful! But is that all we are able to tell off hand about a motherboard? Considering that it is such an essential component of a computer system and more importantly, so prevalent in many households, shouldn’t the average Joe be able to tell how it looks, its basic functions and capabilities? Yes!

But the average Joe has no idea where to start to learn about the motherboard, and the search engines all prove to be much ado about nothing! So what’s the next option? Well, how about our great little crash course that you have already started, which might I add is on the house! So let us take you from the dungeons of “No Computer Knowledge”, to a place where terms like CPU, RTC and RAM all seem like a part of your native vocabulary!

So what’s the first thing a computer dummy would need to know about a system’s motherboard components? Well, a definition of a motherboard would be helpful! Certainly, it is the main circuit board of a computer which comprises of many components, mainly the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) and the chipsets. Additionally, there exist sockets, memory chips and a clock generator that all work hand in hand in the daily operation of one’s computer system. A bit flustered with the above mentioned terms? Why would you when these all will be explained in a jiffy!

But first it should not be mistaken that the motherboard is limited to only computers, as it is also found within electronic devices such as stop-watches, mobile phones as well as clocks! Yes, I know what you’re saying now; all motherboards and more importantly, motherboard components are not the same size due to the devices in which they are placed! See, you’re learning already!

Now, back to our regular programming, the CPU or as it is more commonly known, the processor (like in those Dell ads, ‘the Intel processor’), is a key component of a computer system that contains the circuitry necessary to interpret and execute program instructions. In essence, the CPU performs mathematical and logical operations through the ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) and the CU (Central Unit) regulates the activities of the system. Additionally, the motherboard uses the CPU to communicate with the rest of the system. Follow? I know you would!

Moving right along to the BIOS, as introduced earlier, is another critical constituent of the motherboard that controls the operation of the system. It is responsible for booting up one’s computer while it also initializes the hardware, making sure it is working and ready for use. In lament terms, the BIOS is in charge or starting up one’s computer. Another main component, include the chipsets. As they are grouped in pairs, they carry out different functions as the north-bridge links the microprocessor with very high speed devices such as graphic controllers and the south-bridge links the microprocessor with low speed buses such as the PCI, APM and the real time clock. Notwithstanding all this, the interface, which is another motherboard component, allows the average Joe to connect instruments such as hard drives and peripheral devices including printers, microphones and cameras!

Well that is all the time we have for today but I trust that this lesson proved beneficial and an eye-opener to the many average Joe’s in internet land!

Getting Traffic – Keyword Optimization 101

Getting your website listed in the search engines requires the optimization of each page of your website with the correct keywords. If you have an HTML based website these keywords will be in the tags. If you are using a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, there are some great plug-ins that will assist you.   

Choosing the right keywords for initial site optimization is crucial. Phrases are often better than words. As you are starting a new site, if you want to get decent page rank, check out the competition for your term. A term with heavy competition is going to leave your website buried for some time to come. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What words or terms would they be using to find your offer, service or product?  Ask any present customers, family, friends, and associates what terms they would use. You might get some surprising answers that reveal valuable keyword phrases you would not have thought of.  Make a word game out of your search and add, subtract, and mix words up.

Research your competition. Do a search on a search engine using the keywords you have chosen and visit the sites from the results. You can view the source code of these sites to see what keywords they use in their Meta tags. To view source code, go to “View,” then “Source” in Internet Explorer, or “View,” then “Page Source” in Mozilla Firefox. You can then view a text document with the code with their Meta tags.

Bread Baking 101

Baking bread doesn’t have to be complicated or hard, but there are a few tips to make sure the loaf you bake will turn out just right. Sure, it’s easy to go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of sliced bread. Anyone can do that, of course. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on the back of the package? It’s full of scientific words that I can’t pronounce. At least I know what goes into my bread: flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Pretty basic and that’s the way I like it.

The best piece of advice I have is: Practice, practice, practice. My first loaves of bread were hard and better used as baseball bats rather than baguettes. I learned my lesson and sought to improve my baking skills. I think I’ve learned more through trial and error than in baking class in culinary school. More than anything, kneading dough by hand connects you to your food. Even though I use a mixer to knead most of the time, some days I give the mixer a break and knead the dough by hand. Not only is it a great workout, you really learn what a good dough will feel like and appreciate it more.

For all intensive purposes, the best flour to use is bread flour. It’s high gluten and will produce good results. There are many flours out there. Once you get familiar with baking bread, you can experiment with other flours. If you want to use whole wheat to make a healthier bread, I suggest substituting half of the bread flour with whole wheat.

Yeast: It’s alive!
What is yeast? I’ve been teaching my daughter how to bake and she’s always intrigued by the yeast. Since I use SAF instant yeast, I don’t really need to bloom it but it’s a fun experiment for an 8 year old girl. Blooming yeast wakes it up and makes it come alive. Adding sugar to it makes it grow even faster since it’s an organism that loves to eat (and eat and eat).

However, it can be kind of fickle.

Yeast likes:

Warm water (not too hot or too cold — this will kill it)

Yeast hates:

Salt — salt is extremely important in bread baking because it provides flavor and it helps keep the yeast in check (retards it, basically). If salt wasn’t added to the dough, the yeast would over indulge and eat too much. It doesn’t know when to stop. Salt steps in and calms the yeast down — like the bouncer at a club.
Extreme temperatures

For years I used Fleishman’s yeast or Red Star. Both work well, but I switched over the SAF yeast which comes in a larger package and is used by professional bakers.

I was a given a 15 year old starter not too long ago. Quite possibly this was the best gift I’ve ever been given. Ok, so I sound a little strange, but now I can bake sourdough bread once a week and eat some of the best sandwiches and toast known to man. It’s all about the bread.

I’m sure you’ve had sourdough. Famous for its bread, San Francisco sourdough tastes different than sourdough in Chicago. Why? It feeds on natural yeast in the air and the air in Chicago is different than San Francisco. My sourdough starter has been living here in Montana for 15 years. I’m sure it has a different taste than one created in Ohio.

If you want to make your own starter, here is a basic one:

Honey Starter
1 package dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water (105º-115ºF)
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour

Combine the ingredients in a quart jar with a tight fitting lid. Seal the jar and let the mixture ferment in warm place for 5 days, stirring daily. Store in the refrigerator. Replenish the starter with water and flour in equal portions.

Starter tips:
It’s a commitment and fed. When you use a cup of starter for a recipe, you need to replenish what you took out by adding 3/4 cup water and 3/4 flour. Allow it to sit at room temperature for a day before refrigerating. Plan on baking bread about once a week or at least once every couple of weeks. Make sure you feed it about a tablespoon of flour and water each day or every other day.

A sponge is a type of starter that use usually not kept around, so it doesn’t have the classic sour dough flavor. Sponges are left to grow overnight and used the next day in the loaf.

What does Mother Nature have to do with baking bread? A lot, actually. If it’s humid and rainy, you’ll need to use more flour. If the weather is dry, then you use less flour. This a reason I don’t measure the flour when baking. By feeling the dough, I can tell if enough flour has been incorporated. This goes back to the advice — practice.

Armed with a little knowledge and a few good recipes, you can bake your own bread that will be tastier and healthier than the ones sold in stores.

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Home Decor 101

If you have never done any decorating before you may feel like you do not know how or where to even begin to start. Then again if you have decorated a hundred times over then you might not know where to end. Whether you are an amateur or an old hand at it, the thing is, you are going for a brand new look and want to be able to get it started. There isn’t any question really about what element to end your decorating regime with but there are a lot of things that you can select to start with. Since paint is one of the most inexpensive parts of the project and can be selected in any single color you shouldn’t buy your paint upfront, but wait until you have identified other things that you want to start with.

So, what is it that you should start with first? Do you start off by buying an entire roomful of nick knacks and furniture or do you choose a few throw rugs that you absolutely love? You can actually start wherever you want and mix it all together into the plan. But it really does make a difference when you start with a plan and a color scheme. You’ll want to find your sources of inspiration and then be able to work your way through your decorating. You’ll be happiest with your results whenever you make a plan.

Put your plan on paper. Draw up a statement for you to do at home project. Identify your style and then pick your color scheme to work around it. Are you a formal or casual kind of person? Does cottage or gothic style strike your fancy? Spend time identifying the style that suits you best and add them to your plans so you’re able to successfully bring them into your space.

For most of us it’s not possible or practical to be able to start decorating with a completely barren room. So, you have to be able to start with what you have? Do you have any decorative pieces? You more than likely already have a piece of furniture that you are not ready to part ways with. Focus on the things that you already own and love and make those your focal point. If you have a collection of rustic birdhouses, delicate china, or gorgeous crystal, then you can use these as the start of your plan of decoration.

You can always start with a brand new or old area rug in your home decorating plan. With patterned rugs you are able to keep all the other elements simple as then the rug becomes your focal point. Focus on a beautiful rug instead of the paint or fabrics. Pick colors from the pattern of the rug and use them throughout the entire room when it comes down to the accessories, furniture, fabrics, and even painting the walls.

You can also start with an art piece that you love and make this your focal point. It will now depend on the style of the art as to what type of decorating that you do.

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Webkinz World -101

Webkinz are small stuffed animals that were introduced by the Ganz gift company in 2005. Each one has a special code of their own which allows the owner to go to the internet site, the world of the Webkinz, the code allows one to adopt a digital version of the stuffed animal. When the Digital version of the pet is created, they are able to interact with it. There are also younger brothers and sisters of the Webkinz called Lil’Kinz. The Lil’Kinz are as said a smaller version of the Webkinz but are exact copies in smaller scale.

The Webkinz are a new age Beanie Baby, as every Webkinz is only made for a time and then discontinued. There will be a lot of rare Webkinz and this will of course make the prices higher for all these rare collectors items. The retired Webkinz include: the unicorn, gray and white cat, the cheeky dog, and the cheeky cat. There has been over 2 million webkinz in circulation already,

Each registered Webkinz is awarded a room in the Webkinz world, one item of food, a balloon to welcome them, Webkinz world currency in the amount of 2000 Kinzcash, and some furniture for the digital Webkinz. KinzCash is the going currency in thr Webkinz world. Each Webkinz in the Webkinz digital world has a specified amount of happiness, hunger and health wich will decrease if the user doesn’t spend time with the pet. The levels are increasing by playing, exercising, bathing and feeding with the pet. If the levels are lowerd to much, special medicine is needed for the pet, the medicine can be aquired in the virtual clinic. The game play mostly revolves around earning KinzCash and of course spending it. Earning KinzCash is a matter of playing games and answering questions in the form of quizzes. Earned Kinz cash goes toward buying stuff for the digital pet which will make it happy and promote its well being. A registered pet grants one year of game play time in the virtual world. After the year is up, they must register a new pet to extend the play for another year.

Some concerns have been raised over the unsafe chat system incorporated in the Webkinz World. There are very good rules for all the people who chat, with restrictions on the way messages are sent, and there is a dictionary in place to stop bad language from the chat boards and messages. Youngsters can only answer through a drop down menu containing some 900 phrases that are all pre screened and can only be used as such. They will not be able to type on the system at all. Concerned parents can take an animated tour of the Webkinz World.

Kids will like having their own digital pet to take care of. From customizing the room it will live in to buying food, clothes and furniture for your pet, and it is even possible to buy new Webkinz at the Webkinz Store. A multitude of stories and games are their to be read and played, the Webkinz World and its upkeep is certified to keep expanding and making sure that no on ever will be able to try everything out.

One of the shinier moments for all kids, so far. Teaching them responsibility and giving great focus. Learning computer skills at a young age will make life easier in the coming years.

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Coleman Flashlights 101

What is the one thing that an outfitter can never leave their house without? A pocket knife? A complete set of tools perhaps? Although a few people might consider the two items that were just mentioned, a good number will have one thing in mind, a flashlight.

How important is a flashlight anyway? Apart from providing an immediate source of light in a campsite, it is a convenient tool that should always be kept handy. Flashlights in all shapes and sizes are available everywhere. We can find them in hardwares, groceries and even in department stores. There is a reason why they are so visible. It is because flashlights are not only for campers, dads, housekeepers and moms, they are also made for kids, just like they are made for executives, workers, nurses and everybody in almost any profession.

Coleman has produced flashlights for camping since time immemorial. In its entire 50 years of existence, the company may have made a flashlight conceivable for every trip, purpose or occasion. Thus brings us to Coleman Flashlights 101.

First of, did you know that a flashlight derived its name because the prototypes of this handy electrical lamp cannot produce a steady light until the late 1800’s to early 1900’s? Today, the more advanced versions of the primitive hand held lamp proved to be a vital addition to every American household.

This brings us back to our main topic, what exactly can a flashlight do? How important is it to us?

Flashlights for camping are specifically designed for immediate illumination of a camping site. Then again, it is wrong to think that they are made for that sole purpose. For example, Coleman flashlights can be a help to somebody whose car just broke down in the middle of the night. It can be a perfect scuba diving companion. It can be a guide for our little boys and girls who loves to explore the nature a jogging companion for those who love to jog at night and a handy tool to help us search for the earring that we may have dropped. It uses are countless!

So how exactly do you find that one Coleman flashlight that is perfect for you? Simple, determine what you are going to use it for. If you are up for night jogging, something small that can be tied around your neck will be practical. Picking one with a radio may also be wise. Although these things are generally cheap, we do not want to end up buying the biggest and the most expensive one in the display. Know exactly what you need and base your decision from there. After all, a Coleman flashlight is not our basic cylinder with two batteries and a small light bulb anymore. It can have a radio, a clock, a thermometer, a Morse code button and at some, a compass for ease of navigation. It’s design and make can also vary. From aluminum to colorful plastic, from LED lights to wide beams, from smaller sized key fobs to the bigger barrels and from battery powered flashlights to dynamos, Coleman has them all. Coleman flashlights can be your “light” amidst the “dark”.

Solar Panels 101

Using the energy from the sun has always been used among humans for centuries. With the growing interest of power saving, solar panels have become all the hype to buy.

What are solar panels?

To understand what these are, you need to understand how solar energy works. Solar energy is the use of energy through the sun. The sun is the closest star and this is where we can get our energy. Solar energy has be used for centuries and has been a source of energy for many modern usages today. Some ways we use solar energy is when we do laundry and we dry the clothes by placing them outside in the sun. The sun dries the clothes. In some countries, they also use solar energy to warm up their food and ferment grape juice to make wine. The sun offers a good deal of benefits.

Like solar energy, solar panels generate electricity to preserve energy for the night. These can cut your electricity bill down by half each month. Many argue that they are too expensive. To this argument, you need to see how much you are spending on your electricity bill each month. There is a one time price for solar panels and then your bill is cut in half. If you calculate through that method, you will be able to see the savings of solar panels.

Remember, they are environmentally safe. They pose no harm to your home and actually help your home become a power saver. Most homes today are being built with them pre-installed, saving you the trouble of installing the panels and already saving you the money on your electric bill each month. And they have advanced to not only giving you light in the dark, but also heating your water and running your air conditioner. There are many advances as society changes. The regulator helps balance the refraction from the panels. Now that you know a little bit about solar panels, read up a little more and make the informed decision to switch to solar power. Solar paneling is the next best thing.

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Basement Remodeling 101

We all have a favorite room in our home. For some it’s a warm cozy kitchen. For others it’s a sumptuous living room or a comfortable bedroom. When is the favorite room ever the basement? You can transform a boring basement into a getaway room and create a new favorite place. Upgrade that lost space and get more out of your home’s square footage.

Did you know that the cost of remodeling your basement is significantly cheaper than adding on an extra room? The savings are even higher if you are able to start with a dry basement. With the average cost of a basement remodel at about $ 20 per square foot, basement transformations are a real space solution for some. There are a few things to consider before starting a basement remodel. If you are unsure about where to get started, it’s wise to consult a local general contractor. Estimates are usually free.

The Official Basics

Most city and county regulations require basements to have 7-foot ceilings. Without the right ceiling height, you might have a difficult time getting a building permit. If your ceilings come close to that height, check with a local contractor. They will be able to offer you some ceiling solutions that can help you find more head space. Don’t be too concerned about overhead pipes and wiring. Pipes and wires can be moved or drop ceilings can be hung. It’s also great to have a qualified contractor who can educate you on building codes for your getaway room. He’ll be familiar with what’s important to local inspectors.

Damp or Dry?

The next concern should be basement dampness. Some older homes have significant dampness and even occasional flooding. Of course, it would not be wise to remodel your basement without addressing these serious issues first. Flooding occurs mainly because of runoff problems. You’ll have to reroute drainage away from your basement. You may also have to make gutter repairs to keep water away from your home. Any foundation cracks will have to be addressed as well. Cracks in your foundation will allow rainwater to accumulate in your basement. Repairing and installing drains are important too. Also have your contractor check for radon before building. Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that can be found in settled water like underground pipes. It would be a good idea to check for radon before beginning a basement remodel.

Ventilation in Your Getaway Room

Ventilation is a must in your newly remodeled basement. You’ll need cold air returns and heating. Your contractor will be able to run ducts, set registers and adjust any outflow piping. Or you can purchase a basement ventilation system. Check with your contractor about which is right for your situation.

From Dark to Light

Your getaway space will need some light! With windows out of the question in many basements, recessed lighting is a great way to fake natural light in your new room. Check local stores for lighting fixtures that best suit your overall decorating scheme.

Fabulous Flooring

To fight a damp feeling in your new room, you may consider installing heated flooring. What a cozy way to keep your feet warm! However, there are tons of great flooring choices available from hardwood to tile. Even carpet is a great accent and brings a level of coziness to your new room.

Which Room?

You can change that dead space into a busy family room or create a home theater. Underground game rooms and party rooms are also popular choices! You should also consider a workout room, an extra guest room or just your very own artist’s retreat. Whatever you choose, your getaway room will be perfect with a little help from your local contractor.