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Build Your Family a Real Castle to Live In


Castles have always been historically attributed to the monarchy that ruled a specific region. They were from their inception an expression of wealth and power. In current times they are not automatically associated with monarchs but still do maintain a similar type of admiration. In fact, people the world over still treasure the beauty and stateliness that accompany a well built castle. If you would like to build your own castle there are a few things you will need to do to make this dream a reality.

Required Tools and Materials


Heavy machinery


Stone cutters






1) Before you can commence you will need to acquire the required paper work. To do this you will need to get in touch with your local government or state building agency to find out what the exact requirements are. These will normally vary by state. Typically you will be expected to meet safety standards, get environmental clearances and so on. Do not begin building your castle until you have obtained the essential documentation and permits. Beginning without proper clearance may lead to fines and certain penalties, which could include the demolition of the newly erected structure.

2) You will need to determine how much you will be spending on the castle. This amount will best be calculated by the professionals including the engineer and contractors. Essentially you will receive a breakdown of the amount of material you will need to complete the structure. You should always make allowances for additional material. It is not atypical for the pre-determined amount to go above expectation.

3) You should choose a site that has a fairly enormous acreage of land and good vegetation. The best place for a castle is therefore the countryside. The more attractive the area the more appealing the castle. This basically means the castle will seem even more inviting and prominent amidst bountiful fields and meadows. However, you should still choose a location that is near enough to modern day conveniences.

4 )You will need to make a moat. No castle could be complete without this defining feature. Once you have dug the moat combine the cement, gravel and sand to form concrete and place around the edges to keep its finished structure in place. You can add fish and stones to your moat to make it more visually stunning.

5) You can start to build your castle by making a solid foundation. A large cement mixer can be used to lay down the concrete at the base of the structure. If you would like a courtyard place a bit of dirt in an appropriate section, preferably in the middle of the foundation.

6) Based on the blueprints, the stones can be arranged using mortar or cement to secure them. The stones you choose should be very large and uneven. Once the stone walls are completed you can erect the doors, guard towers, windows and so on. Your castle should now be complete.

Tips and Warnings

1) Look at castle designs from many different locations. You can incorporate certain features and create a look that involves many stylistic features. There are older modeled castles that used only holes for doors and windows, however if you would like the additional privacy that windows will provide then indicate this in your plan.

2) You should figure out where you will install the water and electrical conveniences before hand. Once the castle is built the wiring can be installed. Be sure to check that the wiring is working properly before you start using the electricity in the castle. It is best that you use a professional to perform the installation of all electrical wires.

3) Get the highest quality materials available to increase the lifespan of your castle. Employ the best people to help you construct your dream home as this will save you money in the long run.


Best Herbs for Internal Detoxification – 5 Channels of Elimination


The case for ridding the body of accumulated waste is a strong one. Powerful natural healers over the years have pointed to internal cleansing time and again as a cornerstone of optimum health. Natural health giants including Dr. Bernard Jensen, Dr. Norman Walker, Ph.D., Dr. Jon Matsen, author of Eating Alive, one of the best natural health primers ever written, Dr. Paul Bragg, Dr. Herbert Shelton, Dr. Paavo Airola have all emphasized the need to cleanse our internal bodies. The list of advocates goes on and on. The question no longer is whether to detoxify, but how.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of Kellogg’s cereal fame and subject of the film The Road to Wellville, offered his guests a variety of cleansing programs at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Later, Dr. Jensen helped thousands of patients relieve a wide assortment of ailments through internal cleansing at his ranch retreat in Escondido, California. But these days it isn’t practical for most of us to drop everything for days, weeks, or even months at a time to “clean house”. We may no longer have the time, but our need to detoxify is greater than ever.

Today, toxins from every direction bombard our bodies. Poisons pollute the air we breathe. They seep into the water we drink and infiltrate the food we eat. There’s just no avoiding them. In 1993 over 271 million pounds of toxic chemicals (phosphoric acid, ammonia, sulfuric acid, methanol etc.) were dumped into our water supply. Agribusiness uses 33 times more pesticides today than 50 years ago. The simple truth is your filtering and eliminative organs were not designed to process such a heavy load. Eventually they become overworked, sluggish and toxins begin to accumulate throughout the entire body.

Staying inside won’t work either. The EPA reports that levels of pollutants inside buildings can be as much as 100 times greater than outdoor pollution levels. Time magazine, December 21,1998, in an article titled This Place makes Me Sick, reported on the escalating problem known as sick-building syndrome, a disease of modern architecture in which sealed, energy conserving buildings have become breeding grounds for some particularly insidious stuff. These include out-gassing of paint, vinyl flooring, insulation and furniture; chemical contaminants oozing from copy machines, fax machines and laser printers; molds, fungi, bacteria and dusts belching from dirty air ducts and inadequately maintained air conditioners. It’s enough to make you sick…and it does.

But if this toxic monster seems unbeatable, don’t despair. Therapeutic, internal cleansing can take the load off your eliminative organs and free them up to do their work. Remember that these poisons are hiding all over your body, in all the soft tissues, organs and systems. Avoid the mistake of concentrating solely on the colon. A colon cleanse will do you some good, but improvement will be marginal. The large intestine is only one of your body’s five channels of elimination, albeit the most obvious one. The lungs, lymph system, kidneys and skin each have crucial roles to play in the cleansing process, and you’ll need to address them all to get maximum results. The liver, the primary filter for the blood stream, will almost certainly need detoxifying. However, unless it is especially weak or toxic, cleansing the liver should wait until you’ve lowered the toxic load on the rest of your body.

Fortunately, modern herbalists have formulated some excellent cleansing products you can use to great effect, without putting your life on hold. Keep in mind, different herbs target different organs and systems. A cleansing product’s design should be comprehensive enough to do a thorough job. The best cleanses activate all five channels of elimination and promote the release of toxins from every nook and cranny. Here’s what to look for.

Channel #1 – The Colon

Unless you are having 2-3 good bowel movements every day you are constipated and invariably toxic.

Therapeutic Herbs

Chickweed to strengthen the bowel.

Fennel seed to relieve gas by improving digestion.

Ginger Root which acts as a cleansing agent.

Marshmallow removes hardened mucous from the intestines.

Peppermint cleans and strengthens the bowel.

Plantain is one of the best herbs for neutralizing poison and breaking up intestinal mucous.

Slippery Elm heals and soothes the bowel (and the lungs).

Fenugreek lubricates the intestines and dissolves hardened mucous.

Health Food for the Colon

Flax Seeds– a gentle bulking agent.

Miller’s Bran– a fiber to help restore peristaltic action.

Whey– to acidify the colon.

Brewer’s Yeast– supplies B-complex vitamins, amino acids and minerals to support nerve supply to the colon.

Yogurt– supplies friendly bacteria.

Super-Green Foods– chlorella, spirulina, and blue-green algae help detoxify and build the entire body.

A colon friendly diet is largely vegetarian with lots of high fiber vegetables, fruits, whole grains, cereals and salads.

Channel #2 – The Lungs

Every time you exhale you are eliminating waste.

Therapeutic Herbs

Black Cohosh helps to loosen and expel mucous from the bronchial tubes.

Fenugreek helps expel phlegm, toxic waste, and protects against infection.

Ginger Root is a cleansing agent for the lungs.

Licorice Root reduces excess fluid in the lungs.

Mullein loosens mucous.

Marshmallow removes mucous.

Slippery Elm is soothing and healing to the lungs.

Lobelia relieves bronchial spasms and congestion.

Health Food for the Lungs

A diet for lung health should be high in vegetable proteins, whole grains, and low in refined carbohydrates and starches. Pitted fruits like apricots, peaches and plums are good for the lungs, as are cultured foods like yogurt, kefir and miso.

Channel #3 – The Lymph System

This circulatory system removes cellular debris from all over the body and is home to a large part of your immune system.

Therapeutic Herbs

Black Cohosh stimulates secretions of the lymphatic system.

Echinacea improves lymphatic drainage.

Fenugreek promotes the expulsion of toxic waste from the lymph.

And because liver exhaustion and stress weakens lymphatic function, support your liver with:

Dandelion Root is a powerful liver detoxificant.

Milk Thistle is very protective and cleansing to the liver.

Health Food for the Lymph System

Too many saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and insufficient water intake makes lymphatic flow sluggish. A colon friendly diet is also good for the lymph. You’ll also want to add some potassium rich foods like broccoli, bananas and black olives. Fresh vegetable juice made from carrots, celery, spinach and parsley is great for the lymph system and the liver. Buy it freshly made at the health food store or, if you are feeling particularly motivated, get a juice extractor and make it yourself using 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, ½ a bunch of spinach and ½ a bunch of parsley.

Channel #4 – The Kidneys

Regulation of water and electrolytes, maintaining normal acid-base equilibrium, retention of vital substances and the elimination of metabolic waste is the kidneys’ responsibility.

Therapeutic Herbs

Burdock Root helps detoxify the kidneys.

Ginger Root detoxifies the kidneys.

Horsetail tones the kidneys and bladder.

Health Food for the Kidneys

Emphasize garlic, onions, papayas, bananas, sprouts, leafy greens, cucumbers, and watermelon- all are healing to the kidneys. Try to avoid heavy starches, red meat, dairy products (except cultured), refined, salty and fatty (fast) foods- they all inhibit the kidneys’ filtering ability. In general, a healthy diet that includes plenty of water will support healthy kidneys.

Channel #5 – The Skin

The body’s largest organ also happens to be the largest organ of elimination, removing over 20% of your body’s waste. If you want to detoxify you’re going to have to sweat.

Therapeutic Herbs

Herbs that cleanse the blood have a beneficial impact on the skin.

Black Cohosh neutralizes poisons in the blood.

Yellow Dock a great blood builder.

Burdock Root one of the best blood purifiers.

Dandelion Root detoxifies the liver and the blood.

Yarrow opens the pores to permit free perspiration.

Health Food for the Skin

Foods for healthy skin include: mineral rich foods like leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, sunflower and sesame seeds, fish and sea vegetables. Cultured foods like yogurt and kefir supply friendly bacteria. Eat lots of high water content foods; fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water, 6-8 glasses of bottled or filtered water every day.

Turbo-charging the cleansing process with herbs and lifestyle modification has helped thousands of my clients relieve digestive problems, lose weight, improve poor skin, eliminate allergies, constipation, fatigue, headaches, brain fog, menstrual problems…the list goes on and on. Chances are, it can help you too.

Sam Rose, CN MS is a licensed and certified nutritionist and owner of Rose Nutrition Center in West Los Angeles. He can be reached at sam@rosenutrition.com or 310-473-8835.



Popcorn Ceiling Removal – Crucial Facts You Must Consider First


If you are thinking about going through the process of popcorn ceiling removal in your home as a way of update aesthetics, you need to be aware of some serious precautions before doing anything. This type of ceiling is also referred to acoustic ceiling, which was extremely popular during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and even into the early part of the 1980s. In addition to being used in homes contractors also provided commercial buildings with a finishing like this. While at the time the look was modern and chic, it was eventually replaced with different materials and innovative designs.

Another reason the popcorn finished ceiling was replaced had to do with the materials used. From the time this type of ceiling was initially installed until the early part of the 1980s, it contained asbestos. As we all know today, asbestos is a cancer causing materials that is extremely dangerous. While asbestos does not pose serious health risk if not compromised, once a person begins to move or scrape ceiling material such as this off, the fine particles become airborne, which are then inhaled. At that point, the individual has been directly exposed to a material known to be aggressive for causing cancer.

Now, this does not mean there is no option to remove popcorn ceiling material just that a few things need to be determined first. Most importantly, the room or rooms with this type of ceiling would need to be assessed by a highly trained professional. This individual would come into the home, remove a small sample using protective hazmat gear, and then have the material analyzed in a laboratory setting. If asbestos were found, the only way for a ceiling covered with popcorn material to be removed would be for a licensed professional to do the work. If no asbestos were found, then you could safely remove the material.

Another aspect of having a ceiling covered in popcorn material removed is that once everything has been scraped off, by law, it must be disposed of in a very specific manner. The reason is that if the material were simply placed in the trash, again whenever moved by the trash haulers, anyone at the dump, etc, the particles become airborne and are breathed in, further causing serious physical risk to anyone around.

When damaged, popcorn ceiling removal by a professional is the only real option. However, if only a small portion of the ceiling was damaged and you did not mind the textured look, the same licensed professional would need to handle the repair. On the other hand, if the material were void of asbestos, you could easily fix the damage. For this, you could purchase a special patch for the ceiling or visit your local home improvement store and buy a can of spray on popcorn like material to complete the job on your own. When done, the ceiling could be left as is or painted, if needed.


Beauty Tips for The Holiday Season – From Eye Creams to Natural Soaps


There are many beauty tips available for the skincare-conscious person. Numerous beauty products lend to great looking skin. One major tip to follow is always be persistent. Even the best eye cream or other product will not give you results unless you use it on a regular basis. This is especially true for anti-wrinkle and anti-acne creams and cleansers. Continuous use is always the best way to achieve amazing looking skin.

Beauty products that can be used should always be natural and/or organic. Natural soap is a great alternative to other, more synthetic brands. Natural soap is made from only natural ingredients such as herbs, milk, and oils. Natural soap will not contain any harmful ingredients that can dry out and harm your delicate skin. People with sensitive skin and allergies will usually benefit from using a natural soap. Some forms of natural soap may even contain oatmeal, sugar, or salt which helps to exfoliate dead skin cells.

Dead sea mud is another one of the natural beauty products available. The dead sea mud contains healthy minerals found deep within the sea bed’s crust. Dead sea mud has been used for hundreds of years to treat skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Dead sea mud is extracted from the dead sea, which is a geographical health spa to many. The bottom of the sea is rich and full of essential minerals that calm the skin of even the most sensitive individuals. Applying dead sea mud will bring any toxins to the surface of your skin to be removed and leave your body looking beautiful and fresh. Many people swear by using dead sea mud.

Besides using natural soap to cleanse your body and face with, you may also want to use a good quality eye cream. An eye cream is designed to work around the delicate skin of the eye area and reduce puffiness and wrinkles. Anyone who is looking for good anti-aging beauty products should seek a high quality eye cream. One of the many beauty tips available would be to use your eye cream at night. During the night, our skin repairs itself. Almost all beauty products that are used on the face will work better at night, and this goes for an eye cream as well as any other beauty products. Eye creams that are made using natural and high quality ingredients are usually the best. Certain chemicals in beauty products may actually cause free radicals to form. Free radicals refers to damage to the skin that is found in air pollution, cleaning products, and certain facial creams and cleansers.

Many beauty tips are available to people looking to feel younger and more beautiful. As stated before, one of the major beauty tips would be to use a product consistently. Always read product reviews before purchasing any cream or cleanser. People will often be unbiased when reviewing beauty tips and products. Making use of these beauty tips in your life will allow you to look your absolute best.


About Plant Fertilizer and Their Composition


I normally discuss Bonsai, but since bonsai are tree’s, that are plants, this subject is appropriate.

A plant is composed of four basic elements. The first three are carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. They form a complex protein called albumine. They represent 94% of a plant composition. The other 6% are composed of 13 others elements. These are classified in two categories. The first one being the macroelements and the last being the microelements.

The first group, the macroelements, is composed of six components and must be present in greater quantities then the rest. Three (3) of them are most common and are often symbolised by “NPK”. They are :

Npk – Nitrogen

Nitrogen will promote leaves development and give them a deep green coloration. Evergreen prefer a high nitrogen content fertilizer because of the acidity and it help keep the needles/foliage deep green. Nitrogen is the vital element of plant growth as it help compose the albumine protein.

nPk – Phosphorous

Phosphorous will give the plant the energy it need to develop cells. It also promote amidon and glucose by accelerating the chlorophyl process. Another role of the phosporous element is to promote roots development. Strong roots are essential for plants to absorb all the mineral and water they can get. Flowering and fructification are also affected by phosphorous presence since plant tend to produce more when fed a proper portion of phosphorous. We can compare phosphorous to the plant as essential as the frame and the fondation of a house.

npK – Potash

Potash salt control all aspect of the plant metabolism. It help prevent diseases and resist to insects by improving the quality of the plant fiber. Altough Phosphorous is essential for flowering, potash will help a plant stay strong while it produce flowers, fruits and vegetables. It also help distribute to roots, branches and leaves, the amidon and glucose produce by photosynthesis.

The three last macro-elements are calcium, sulfur and magnesium. Magnesium is the most essential as it’s the principal component of the chlorophyl.

The remaining 7 of the 13 elements, are the microelements wich consist of manganese, iron, copper, boron, molubdenum, zinc and chlorine. These are present in much smaller quantities but are still necessary for the plants development.

With that being said, there is no doubt that the best fertilizer will be the one that can provide all of the previously mentionned elements. And this is what we will usually find in store. The most common fertilizer are the represented by three number, much like 20-20-20. These three numbers refer to the previously mentionned NPK elements being NN-PP-KK. You will also, find a three numbered fertilizer stating in contain oligo/micro-elements. Oligo/Micro-elements are the rest of the thirteen (13) elements mentionned. As almost all fertilizer are containing the NPK elements, but are containing different oligo/micro-elements it is best to switch fertilizer every other feeding to assure the maximum presence of macro-microelements.

I cannot write without talking about bonsai. Well bonsai are plants, but namely tree’s. Same apply’s for fertilizing bonsai. You must evaluate the needs of each species as they are different, but a general rule with bonsai enthusiast is to use a low content fertilizer and fertilize more often. For example, anything below 4-5 is considered low compare to the regular 20-20-20. Again each tree as it’s needs, as evergreen could require more nitrogen, so something rated like 3-2-1 would be ideal. To the opposite, a flowering and fruiting species, will require more potash and phosphorous content, so a 2-4-4 would be in order.


In Pursuit of the Million Mile Volvo


Irv Gordon is the envy of Volvo enthusiasts. In 1966, Gordon purchased his bright red P1800 from a local car dealership and has been driving the same car ever since. Over the years he has passed a number of important milestones including reaching his first one million miles in 1987. Today, the retired teacher is still driving, racking up more than one hundred and seventy miles a day in quest of his next goal: three million miles on the odometer!

Relentless Automotive Maintenance

Gordon’s pursuit of his next big milestone is well within his reach thanks to some important maintenance tips he offers to all car owners regardless of what make/model they drive. Having just passed the 2.7 million mark, Gordon still checks his oil, transmission and coolant levels religiously, while checking his tire pressure at nearly every fuel stop. The moment he sees signs of wear with the belts and hoses he replaces them, a move he credits with keeping his Volvo roadworthy.

Though Gordon certainly applauds Volvo with building a rock solid car, he knows that drivers need to get in the habit of completing important maintenance tasks at prescribed intervals, in his case every 50,000 miles. Gordon does some of the maintenance himself, but he leaves the rebuilding of the carburetor in the capable hands of his Volvo mechanic, something he has done every 900,000 miles whether it needs it or not.

Fewer Than 50K Units Produced

Rolled out in 1961, the Volvo P1800 was offered as a two door coupe as well as a three door wagon/hatchback model. Powered by a 2.0L I4 engine paired with a 4 speed manual all-synchromesh Laycock overdrive transmission, fewer than 50,000 units were produced throughout the car’s production run which ended in 1973. Thus, the P1800 line is not only hardy, but rare.

One advantage that yesteryear Volvo owners have in helping them keep their rides going is that there are fewer parts powering each car. Sophisticated technologies, including those introduced by Volvo, have been added to every Volvo since that earlier era, which means that much more thorough maintenance needs to be accomplished in order to extend any Volvo’s life. There are reports of some modern day Volvos which have passed the one million mile mark too, though nobody is anywhere close to challenging Gordon for mileage supremacy.

Tracking Down Hard To Find Replacement Parts

The P1800 model employed dual Skinners Union carburetors which although dating back to pre-World War II times, were well designed and highly durable. A qualified and knowledgeable Volvo mechanic can rebuild ancient carburetors while owners may want to consider shopping their favorite online Volvo parts distributor for other hard to fine, but available Volvo P1800 parts including a clutch pedal pad, brake silicone, brake fluid, rear wheel bearing kit, differential pinion seal, ceramic fuses, hoses, tie rods, bushings, head gasket set and more.

While most drivers will eventually trade their cars in for something newer, the Volvo P1800S model owned by Irv Gordon is proof that a well maintained car can deliver years of dependable and satisfactory driving performance.


Business Acumen – What is it and How Do I Get It?


During my 9 year career as in house HR, the term “business acumen” was typically applied to HR in the following ways: “Our HR department needs more business acumen” or “HR has a lack of business acumen”. Inevitably, these statements would come from the company’s business leaders and would therefore ruffle the feathers of the HR leadership team. As a result, there would be “business acumen” teachable moments in our HR all hands and often times “business acumen” would land as an HR strategic priority. The problem with trying to enhance business acumen with these tactics is there was very little context given to the HR organization. Mostly comments would be centered on business acumen as being an important skill set for the HR team but no context for what it was, how to build it, or what the impact of it was. By giving the HR employees concepts with no definition or concrete frame, some individuals often struggled to pull out the pertinent pieces of information from these business acumen lessons and rarely knew how to use the information in a strategic way. To help in understanding what it is and what to do with it once you have it, read on.

To begin we must first define the concept of business acumen. Raj Charan, once said that business acumen is “…linking an insightful assessment of the external business landscape with the keen awareness of how money can be made – and then executing the strategy to deliver the desired results”. In essence, business acumen is the triangulation between, external pressures, internal strategy and commerce. Therefore, to ask the human resources professional to have more business acumen is truly about understanding where the company is going given the external market conditions and the overall company strategy and then linking this knowledge to the impact it will have on the people component of the organization. By understanding where the company is going based on these business components, human resources can impact how quickly the organization remains ahead of the curve.

For example, we often talk about the impact of emerging competitors, but what does that mean for HR. It means being attuned to the impact this will have on the recruiting base, how we retain and compensate current employees, who in the organization might be impacted, etc. In addition to being attuned, a strategy needs to emerge to address these issues quickly and effectively. What this implies is, not only do you need to know where the overall organization is going, but also have an understanding of how it impacts the organizational structure, leadership needs, retention, staffing, etc. and then make recommendations or changes based on all this information. To start, all HR professionals need to understand and internalize their businesses and driving business needs. Below are some tips on how to gain more business acumen within your organization.

4 Steps to Improving your Business Acumen:

  • Understand your company’s business model, structure, products and services. This means talking to people who are in the business. The goal is to understand the underlying organizational system and how you (your group) support it.
  • Keep informed. Read the information that is passed down from your executives including press releases and market analysis. Attend all hands, investor relations calls (if applicable), strategic planning sessions or any other “live event” that will give you the latest company information.
  • Make sure you understand how the business and HR goals link to the overall company priorities and to all the information you are receiving.
  • Spend time ensuring your goals link to the business. If you can’t see the connection between your goals and the HR Goals or Business Goals, you are either not focusing on the right things or are still unclear about the links.

The more you immerse yourself in the language of the business the clearer it will become to you and the greater impact you will have. Once you can see the trends you can begin to offer suggestions at a more strategic level thus having a bigger impact to the company’s bottom line.


What Are Lava Rock Beads? How They Are Formed and How to Make Lava Bead Jewelry


What are lava beads

They are a new type of jewelry-making gemstone that is becoming increasingly popular. Everyone who makes and sells home-crafted jewelry should try some. The inexpensive stone is surprisingly light, making the present fashion for large chunky jewelry, comfortable to wear. The chic usually-black beads are also available in many different shapes and sizes allowing creative designs. Some are even dyed brown, and others brighter colors.

How they are born

Lava beads started life as molten rock over 1,000 degrees Celsius. It takes this high temperature and huge pressure to make rock melt beneath an active volcano. Most rock deep inside the Earth’s interior is not molten. This molten rock is spewed out of the erupting volcano and flows in streams until cooler air freezes it solid. Sometimes the flow can travel as fast as 30 km/hour on steep slopes and reach tens of kilometers, destroying everything in its path. However, usually it moves less than 1 km/hour, giving people time to move out of the way.


Lava beads promote strength and fertility. Bringing stability in changing times, driving away anger – and helping one to understand a problem in order to spring back to a stronger position. A very grounding stone that strengthens our connection to Mother Earth.

Lava bead jewelry

Beads from these rocks make very unusual jewelry. Used as pendants or parts of a necklace, these unusual black beads ooze style and mystique, drawing attention whenever worn. When admiring lava bead jewelry, people will ask, “whatever is it made out of?” This ensures all the mystique and power of a volcano are in your design!

Designing lava bead jewelry

Take advantage of how light these beads weigh, and try making long earrings to match large lava bead pendants for necklaces and bracelets. Mix different sizes and shapes to make the design interesting. Because most are jet-black, they go well with any color or style of clothes, making them more appealing, and so easier to sell. By their nature, these beads create an earthy rustic style – ideal for “wild” outdoor jewellery, especially for late-in-the year or Halloween. And as most are large and powerful in a design, you need fewer beads to make your piece, saving you money.

Lava bead finish

Although looking coarse with tiny holes and cracks, most of these beads are polished to feel smooth, making your jewelry comfortable to wear.


Why We Love Gargoyle Garden Statues


The use of gargoyle statues as decorative garden ornaments has gained in popularity in recent years.

Originally designed as an architectural element in Medieval times, gargoyles were elaborate waterspouts taking the form of elongated fantastic animal or human-like forms that prevented rain water from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar. As time went on gargoyles became purely ornamental and are better know as “grotesques”.

Multitudes of grotesque gargoyles decorated the medieval buildings of western Europe, peering down on the passers by from churches, cathedrals, houses and town halls. It is believed that the frightening nature of gargoyles was partly due to the medieval artist’s responsibility to mold public behaviour through intimidating images. They served as a moralistic reminder of what can happen to sinners, acting as a kind of “sermon in stone” to a largely illiterate Pagan population.

It was also believed that gargoyles offered protection from evil spirits, demons and the devil. Winged gargoyles could apparently come to life at night and would fly around the town warding of evil, protecting the church and the towns folk from harm. Many people use gargoyle statues in their houses and gardens today, placed strategically near the front of the home to act as a guardian, offering protection to their home and loved ones.

Not all gargoyle statues in the Middle Ages were frightening in nature though. Many gargoyles appeared more comical in appearance with amusing facial expressions or contorted bodies, while others could be considered as crude or bawdy. It appears that gargoyles also provided a popular form of entertainment long before the monsters of modern day movies.

Gargoyle statues are still carved today. Their ongoing history appears to be linked to the fact that the macabre continues to exert a powerful magnetism. We humans are attracted to the monstrous, the lurid and the improbable. We are lured by creatures unknown or unknowable, the inhabitants of our nightmares that the mind believes (or hopes!) do not exist. This is particularly evident in the current popularity of horror films and video games where the creators of media monsters seem to compete to create increasingly graphic forms of fright.

Gargoyles appeal to the deep-rooted needs in human nature. They embody images from our subconscious, like part of our inner personality given a visual form. The enduring nature of these creatures may lie in the fact they can be both repulsive and attractive at the same time. The monstrous, the novel and even the offensive do have an odd allure.

Gargoyles appeal to both our imagination and subconscious. These fantastic creatures do not conform to the “norm” for any one known species. Medieval artists often combined features of different animals, both real animals and mythical beasts, with human or demon-like forms. Gargoyles appear to take on our human characteristics and change them into exaggerated forms, often reflecting aspects of our own personalities along with the human qualities of imagination, creativity and humour.

Today we can use grotesque gargoyle statues to add an element of shock or surprise to our garden design. The amusing gargoyles can be used to promote laughter and add a sense of fun while the more whimsical creatures create a sense of serenity. These ancient creatures add a timeless feel to any garden, linking it to the past and transporting our visitors back in time to medieval Europe.


Data Conversion Services – Choosing Data Conversion Services for Business


In modern times, complex applications need multiple systems working in conjunction with multiple databases. Success of such applications depend on the inter operability of the data. To enable communication between different applications and databases, data needs to be converted frequently to make it compatible. This process of making data compatible is known as Data conversion. It includes conversion of documents, xml files, sgml, html, pdf files, cad designs, catalogs and books.

Following are few services that are covered under data conversion:

• Book Conversion: various books, scripts, journals, brochures, magazines, and research papers are converted into digital format.

• Catalog Conversion: manual catalogs are converted into digital format

• Document Conversion: various documents in word, excel, PDF, WordPerfect, MSG, PST, RTF are converted to any desired format.

• HTML/XML Conversion: various documents in word, excel, text documents, paper documents etc are converted into HTML and XML formats.

• PDF Conversion: Adobe PDF conversion incorporates numerous functions like conversion of texts into photographic slides, engineering credentials, micro graphics and electronic files/papers.

It is a non-core activity for any business, so business managers tend to outsource these so as to concentrate only on their core service of operation. Over the years service providers have developed the required skills and computer programs that enable data conversion to be achieved quickly and with fewer resources. Hence these service providers offer a price that proves to be cheaper against the option of getting the work done in house.

Benefits From Outsourcing Conversion Services:

• Avoids paper work

• Cuts down operating expenses

• Promotes business as effectively as possible

• Eliminates data redundancy

• Easy accessibility of data at any time