A Starter Guide To Getting A Great Crib Mattress For Your Baby

Your baby’s crib is likely to be covered in wonderful, quality linen, and dressed up to look like the perfect sleeping place for your new child. However we should never forget that underneath all this wonderful fabric should be a reliably function and high quality crib mattress. In the excitement surrounding the arrival of your baby unfortunately it is often so very easy to overlook the importance of the mattress.

And yet, it is the crib mattress that provides the support for your new child and it is important that it is both firm and well ventilated. So, when although you may be happy to spend hours selecting your crib furniture and the fabric that dresses it, spare some time to consider probably the most important aspect of your crib; the crib mattress.

The crib mattress is so important that it probably only ranks behind the purchase of a car seat in importance; from the perspective of your baby that is rather than you. After all, your baby will not really care what color or style the bed or furniture in its new room is, and even if it did it may well be a long time before it is able to express any such views.

But think of it like this, the mattress that you buy for your crib is likely to last your child until it grows at least into the next size of bed. From my experience this can be up to 4 years, and then if you have more than one child it is quite likely that you will pass the crib mattress, along with the bed of course, onto your next child thus extending its potential usable life even further.

And remember, when babies are very little, they will spend an awful lot of their time lying down, sleeping (hopefully) or not. Indeed, even when your little one gets a bit older they are likely to need a good 12 hours sleep every day in order for them to develop properly.

So, at this time, literally a formative time as their bodies grow rapidly, you really should make sure that in making your choice of mattress for your baby to sleep on that you do your level best to buy the best crib mattress that you can afford.

The fact that you are reading this site is great because it means that you have both worked out the importance of the crib mattress and are hopefully looking for some idea as to what the best quality crib mattress you should buy; be it foam construction, or with innersprings, or be organic in origin, I hope that you will get some of the answers that you are looking for on this site.

And not only that I have provided a great way for you to purchase that preferred crib mattress quickly and easily, by offering some select crib mattress products available to purchase at Amazon. If you like the look of anything you see on this site, try clicking the image; it will take you through to that product page on the Amazon site.

So what are the different types of Crib Mattress?

Well, the vast majority of crib mattresses available on the market today are made in one of two ways; they are either made from polyurethane foam or they are made with an innerspring construction. The most significant question to ask therefore; perhaps before you have even started the search for particular products, is which type of crib mattress is the best, foam mattresses or innerspring ones?

It would nice of course if life were simple and the answer to this straightforward, but actually the reason there continue to be two essentially different manufactured types of product available on the market is a reflection of the fact that both types of crib mattress can be good. And of course, both types can be bad, and some potentially completely unsuitable for use as a crib mattress, although fortunately these days such unsuitable products are rare indeed.

For anyone looking for a simple theme therefore you should take away the idea that it is not necessarily the material the crib mattress is made from that is of overriding importance; rather you should concentrate on making sure that the crib mattress you do select is a good quality crib mattress, indeed it really should be the best quality crib mattress that you can afford.

So, how do you know if a crib mattress is good quality or not? Ah, well… this is a bit more tricky. It easy, unfortunately to be fooled. Because we spend such a relatively short amount of time buying such products there is little in the way of stored up experience in any of us. We may thing that a soft crib mattress is the most important thing, and in doing so completely overlook the fact that the material should be breathable.

This fact reinforces the need to take time and care over the purchase of your new mattress. This is the reason why it is always better to go with products made from well known high quality brands rather than simple price. Take your time, know what is important and therefore what you really want from your product and then buy it from a reputable manufacturer and for that matter a reputable retailer.

So, remember, there are two different types of crib mattress the foam mattress and the innerspring mattress, but the other important component of your mattress is the crib mattress cover. We will now look at each of these components in turn, providing you with information and insight as to what is good and what is not good.

Foam Crib Mattresses

Foam has been used in the manufacture of all mattresses, not just crib mattresses for many years now. Fortunately in that time the foam product has developed beyond recognition from some of those early foams. They used to get hard over time, and because of this hardening they would be liable to get broken into chunks within the mattress outer. This would significantly impair the essential ability of the mattress to provide comfort and support.

Thankfully foams are made nowadays that are far less likely to exhibit this sort of characteristic. However, there remain some products on the market, some foam crib mattress products that in order to be made at the lowest possible cost do still use cheap and inferior foam within; you should be on the lookout for this, especially when looking at cheaper crib mattresses, if that is where your price point should happen to be.

In short there are three factors to consider when determining the quality of the foam within your chosen crib mattress. These three factors are density, firmness and resiliency. Of them, perhaps density is the most obvious sign that your crib mattress is made from quality foam.

In essence, the more dense the mattress foam, which will be relatively easily determined by its weight, the better the quality. So when looking a foam crib mattresses always make sure that you pick up the mattress and test its weight.

Next comes the firmness. It is easy when thinking about the surface that your baby is to sleep on to make the wrong assumption that soft is better. This is not necessarily the case. Remember, the foam will give way when your baby is placed upon it already.

What you do not want is for it to compress too much and end up retaining heat and moisture that could make your baby uncomfortable.

Finally, test your preferred mattress for resiliency. Resiliency really means springiness, or the speed at which the foam after being compressed returns to its original shape.

So in summary, when looking for a foam crib mattress, concentrate on a firm, heavy foam that feels springy to the touch.

Innerspring Crib Mattresses

The construction of an innerspring crib mattress is by definition more complex than a foam crib mattress; almost self-evidently as what could be simpler than foam as a mattress choice. This additional complexity means there is more to understand when trying to determine the quality of one innerspring crib mattress as oppose to another.

The basic construction of all innerspring crib mattresses, indeed of all innerspring mattresses generally is to house a number of springs in various pockets within the mattress body. These springs are spaced out and sometimes interlinked so that they provide proper support to any body that is place upon the mattress. In effect the wire springs push back against the babies body to ensure it is held in proper alignment.

The interlinking of these pockets, together with the outer support rods called border rods, which create the overall shape of the mattress, ensures that the mattress provides a good even amount of support wherever the baby is placed on the mattress and it also means that there is no sagging, or the creation of a soft spot in the mattress which could cause your baby some discomfort over time.

It is commonly thought that the greater the number of coils or springs within the mattress, the better the support and the longevity of the mattress is likely to be. However this is not in fact the case. The fact of the matter is, as in the case of foam, the quality of the innerspring mattress is difficult to precisely determine, but it is perhaps best to look at the load deflection results, for the edge and center especially, which all reputable crib mattress manufacturers should be happy to publish and make easily available.

Above the innerspring section of the crib mattress you will get another layer called the insulator pad. This is a layer of material that lies between the innerspring unit and the soft cushioning unit of the crib mattress. It’s purpose is to prevent the upper soft layer from being distorted by the spring layer below.

The insulator pad can be made from any number of different products; the essential characteristic is resilience and durability as the quality of this layer will largely determine the useful life of your crib mattress. At the top end of the market you should be looking for the insulator pad to be made from a material called coir fiber, which is a natural material made from coconut shells.

However, many other products are good too; indeed scrap cloth, which is cleaned and compressed into a single fabric layer, similar in look and feel to felt, is a popular product for use in the insulator pad; although it is not as resilient as coir fiber.

The final layers used in innerspring crib mattresses are the layer that provides the mattresses softness; the cushioning layer. The product most usually used in the cushioning layer is some form of foam, to provide support and springiness. The foam layer may well be supplemented with other material which provides a natural barrier between the foam and the sleeping surface of the crib mattress, such as cotton.

Crib Mattress Covers

The cover to almost all crib mattress, whether they be foam crib mattresses or innerspring crib mattresses is made from vinyl. This allows the mattress to be washed easily and quickly and prevents staining and other damage associated with various bodily fluids that are emitted from time to time from all small babies, and toddlers too for that matter.

The attention given by the crib mattress manufacturer to the vinyl or crib mattress cover is telling. At the cheap end of the market the mattress cover is quite likely to be made from a simple single vinyl layer. Better quality crib mattresses might have two covers, either both vinyl or one simple vinyl layer and one perhaps strengthened with nylon, thickened or perhaps even quilted. The very best type of crib mattress might even have a third layer.

You may well have some concerns about vinyl being used as the crib mattress cover, but before looking for more natural alternatives you should be aware that when it comes to bedding products the word “natural” does not sit that comfortably with the government required treatment with boric acid or other such nasty chemicals in order to ensure it meets the standards of flammability resistance.

A number of mattress covers include vents, whether they be eyelet vents or standard mattress vents. Not all covers have such vents and the reason is that there is no real consensus on whether they make a difference to the overall quality of a mattress and if they do, whether that difference is for the better. However, despite this vents do tend to be used on the better quality crib mattress and so it is worth taking note when looking around to see if your preferred crib mattress does indeed have such vents.

Finally, look at the quality of the stitching on the edges of the crib mattress cover. The stitching of a good quality product will look neat and strong especially around the corners. This can be an easy way of dismissing some covers straight away as of inferior quality and therefore less likely to last long enough for you to get full value.

Hopefully, that has provided you with a good idea as to what to look for when examining the crib mattress products available. Remember, with foam crib mattresses, the key to look for is weight, firmness and speed of returning to shape when compressed. With innerspring crib mattresses the key is to check the load deflection test results for various areas on the mattress and the quality of the materials used in the insulator pad and the cushioning layer. And for the crib mattress cover, the quality of construction together with the quality and layers of the vinyl used are important.

Check your Crib Mattress warranty offer

Although warranties do not necessarily confer the assurance that the particular crib mattress you have selected is a good quality one, the absence of a warranty offer on your preferred product should certainly set alarm bells ringing.

Remember only this however, rather than have to rely on a manufacturer fulfilling their warranty obligations in the event that something does go wrong and the inconvenience, time and expense that such a claim might require of you, the best advice is to take a little bit more care in the purchase of your crib mattress up front and reduce the likelihood of the frustration and time lost in making a subsequent claim.

In short buy the best quality crib mattress you can afford from the most reputable retailer you know. In this way, hopefully you will never have to read the small print of the warranty offer after you have bought your crib mattress.

Finally a word of warning when buying a Crib Mattress

Earlier in the article I suggested you err towards buying your crib mattress from good quality manufacturers or brands. In general this remains good advice, however the manufacture of these crib mattresses is sometimes awkward and costly for some mattress manufacturers. The result is that they tend to outsource or licence the manufacture of crib mattresses to other suppliers. These other suppliers may not be as reputable as the main manufacturer.

So it pays to make sure that you know exactly who or which manufacturer is making the mattress you are thinking of buying. This is perhaps another example of the warranty warning above, make sure that you both know who makes the crib mattress and whether they are indeed up to the job of producing a quality product.

This article has covered quite a lot of topics, hopefully the article should have provided you with a good overview of the different types of crib mattress available, how they are broadly constructed and how to go about determining whether they are good quality crib mattresses or not. If I have not succeeded then please leave a comment with your thoughts, or if you prefer send me an email using the contact form on the contact page.

Full Size Headboards, Getting the Most

Full size headboards are the best way to complete the space around the bed and in the bedroom. They give the bed a full profile and create a look that finishes the room, rather than leaving it blank and dull. It creates a focal point around the center piece of any bedroom which allows the individual to feel welcomed and at home in their own room.

Full size headboards are effective in complimenting other pieces of furniture in the room as well as being the stand alone piece that is the center. Getting the right shape and color for the room is what separates the good rooms from the great rooms.

Full size bed headboards are just as the name implies; headboards for a full size bed – it does not wish to say a headboard that is of the size “full” or larger or complete but rather the specific size of a full bed. The shape of headboard you choose and the height of the full size headboard are determined by the look you are going for in the room itself.

There is also a level of functionality you can add to a room by choosing full size headboard that has different shelves and cabinets for storage. This will allow you to further decorate the bedroom while removing necessary clutter at the same time.

There are different materials to consider for your headboards, there are composite materials, there are wood full size headboards and there are plastic headboards as well. In order to make sure you get the right material for your bed consider how much use the bed will be getting and where it will be located in the house.

A guest room for example will not see too many users and can probably be made of plastic or composite. While on the other side a headboard being use for your teenager should be made of solid wood or even metal depending on the look you are going for.

The full size bookcase headboard is a great tool because it will hold books and remove other clutter from the room while framing the clutter as decorations adding to the functionality and the fashion-ability of the headboard itself.

You can use the headboard for any type of bed you choose, whether its a latex foam mattress or a memory foam mattress – either way, the headboard is matched to the size of the mattress and not the make.

What You Don’t Know About Water Softener Systems

hard-water

Soap scum.  Stiff clothing.  Clogged pipes. No matter what you try, it’s hard to get your surfaces clean.  Scale builds up.  Dishes come out of the dishwasher with spots on them.  All of these problems occur because of hard water, a frustrating but fixable situation.

The term, “hard water,” refers to water with a high mineral content. The most common minerals that cause water hardness are calcium and magnesium.  As water is absorbed into the ground, the minerals are pulled from the earth and eventually end up in a household’s water supply.  Hard water can clog household plumbing.

Water hardness, or how much of a mineral is present in water, is measured in grains per gallon (GPG), parts per million (PPM), or milligrams per liter (MG/L).  Water up to 1 GPG is considered soft, water; from 1 to 3.5 GPG is considered moderate, and water 3.5 to 7 GPG is hard water. Kits used to test water hardness can be purchased at a pool supplier or from a water softener dealer.

Many water softeners plug right into the household water supply.  Ionic exchange water softeners consist of negatively charged plastic beads, a brine tank, and a regenerating system with a timer or other monitoring device.  Sodium or potassium chloride is added to the brine tank when regeneration is necessary.  Home water softeners range in price from $400 to $1,200, and the salt ranges from $5 to $7 per bag.  Price depends on type, size, and type of softening agent. Alternatively, magnetic water softeners consist of only 2 magnets attached to the outside or inside of water pipes. Find out more about the options available here.

Water softeners work by replacing ions of the minerals that cause hardness with “softer” ions.  Water is filtered through charged plastic beads and the magnesium or calcium ions are replaced with sodium or potassium ions.  In the case of magnetic water softeners, magnetic energy causes chemical changes in the minerals.

Using water softeners poses no health risks, except for those who are on sodium-restricted diets.  Keep bottled water on hand for cooking and consumption, or use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride to soften.  Potassium chloride is more expensive than sodium chloride. There are also no health risks associated with choosing not to soften water.

Magnetic Water Softeners

magnetic-water-softenersWith the array of choices we have for softening hard water, it can be difficult to decide which method will work best. Therefore, cost is one factor to consider as well as how the unit is set up, its size and its softening capacity.

Testing water hardness is as simple as getting a water test kit from a pool supplier or an establishment that sells water softener systems. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (GPG), parts per million (PPM), or milligrams per liter (MG/L). Water that measures 3.5 to 7 GPG is considered hard water.

Magnetic water softeners rely on the use of ordinary magnets. The magnets are mounted opposite one another, either outside or inside a water pipe. The water flows between these magnets, through the magnetic field, which affects the ions. A chemical reaction takes place, altering the molecular structure of hard water minerals.

This reaction will take one of two forms: Magnetic or electrostatic. During a magnetic process, the collision process of magnesium or calcium ions is sped up. This takes place in a cool environment, and as a result, lessens the buildup of scale. In contrast, during an electrostatic process, an electrical charge forces the ions to repel one another. The ions are not able to bond and form scale. The main functions of magnetic water softeners are applicable in heating and cooling.

Magnetic water softeners are the subject of much debate, and magnetic water softening systems cannot usually be purchased via retailers. The effectiveness claims made by manufacturers are often backed up by anecdotal evidence, though scientific studies have been done. The outcomes are inconclusive. While it is acknowledged that magnetism does, indeed, alter the hard minerals, the exact effects on the water are unclear. The consensus is that scale formation can be reduced by magnetic treatment; however, the reduction of scale appears to be minimal, roughly 10 percent. An advantage to using a magnetic water softener is that it is a non-chemical treatment.

When it comes to magnetic water softeners, being an educated consumer is the best policy. Explore different types and manufacturers. Compare prices. Other things to consider are what type of environment the water softener will be set up in, the size, installation, and construction of the unit.

Ionic Exchange Water Softeners

ionic-exchange-water-softenersIt can be difficult to decide which method for softening hard water is best because there are a number of choices available. Cost of a water softener system – from $400 to $1,200 — can be a factor, as well as how the water softener unit is set up, its size, and how much water it will soften before requiring maintenance.

Household water can be tested using a water test kit from a pool supplier or a water softener vendor. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (GPG), parts per million (PPM), or milligrams per liter (MG/L). Water that measures from 3.5 to 7 GPG is considered hard water.

Ionic exchange water softeners consist of a brine tank, a filtering unit, valves to direct the flow of the water and a meter or timer to indicate when the filter needs to be recharged. Recharge cycles can be set to occur at certain times, based on water demand for the household, or it can be done manually. There are also semi-automatic systems, which let the user know when the softener needs recharging.

Ionic exchange water softeners work by replacing ions of the minerals that cause hardness, calcium and magnesium, with sodium or potassium ions. This occurs when water is filtered through negatively charged plastic beads, which have been soaked in brine. The magnesium or calcium ions are attracted to the negatively charged beads, which are flushed with brine, driving off the calcium or magnesium ions and replacing them with sodium ions. Finally, the water containing the hard ions is discarded.

Using ionic exchange water softeners poses no health risks for most people. But those who are on sodium-restricted diets should either keep bottled or non-treated, filtered water on hand for cooking and consumption or use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride to soften their water. It should be noted that potassium chloride is more expensive than sodium chloride.

Summary

As you can hopefully see, there are a number of options for softening water in your home and if you think you need such as system then it is well worth doing your homework before committing. We recommend checking out specialist sites, such as Water Softener Authority (http://www.watersoftenerauthority.com) for up-to-date information and product reviews.

The Great European Fishing Getaways

So you’re thinking about going for a trip somewhere where you can consume the beautiful scenery as well as catch some thing slightly dissimilar to the pain you are used to. Do you know the best European fishing holidays you could take? On this page, I’ll supply you with a couple of choice selections to consider.

Spain

salamancaThere are lots of possibilities to go fishing vacation. Even with a reputation like a dry and hot country, it is possible to fish in lots of in the natural parks and quite a few in the rivers too.

The rivers are rich with salmon but additionally large carp and catfish. For these latter two fish, the River Ebro is a good position for fishing.

You can also go off-shore and hire a boat to be able to catch swordfish at the end of summer to early August.

Scotland

scotlandflyfishing210Scotland is a good place to go fishing. Despite a few large cities, a lot of the country is countryside and is largely untouched and preserved.

Salmon and trout are located in rivers and lochs. You can also go fishing from the west coast and get a number of fish for instance mackerels, bass, dogfish, pollock plus more.

In the event you prefer, it is possible to combine fishing with hiking as the Highlands offer great vistas and walking them is definitely an expertise you will never forget. Otherwise, you happen to be best off with a hire car to obtain from your to B.

Slovenia

sloveniaCentral and East European destinations are becoming increasingly popular currently. Many of these countries are beautiful in their own right and provide great and previously unknown opportunities for fishing.

Most of Slovenia is mountainous meaning that you’ll find so many rivers and possibilities to go fly fishing. The waters listed below are clear indeed. Marble trout include the main target here.

Nearby Croatia also provides similarly good fly fishing opportunities. The river Gacka comes with a superb worldwide reputation for the grade of its brown trout.

Poland

polandA lot of people do not think of Poland when contemplating fishing holidays, probably since they have images in the cold winters there. The summers, nevertheless, less complicated nicer and temperatures often exceed those involved with northerly parts of Western Europe.

The very best action are located in the west of the United States, in the Lubuskie region that will lie upon the Polish/German border. This region features many lakes where huge carp and catfish could be caught. You can also execute a amount of water sports and also other activities. The accommodation this is more developed and plentiful.

How to Take Better Digital Photographs

better photos

Digital cameras are super easy to use and great fun but we don’t always take the best pictures, partly because we can snap away without using up expensive film, until we get a decent picture! Taking the time to perfect a few techniques can make all the difference between an average and a brilliant photo. Here are a few tips that will improve your photography enormously.

better digital photos

  1. One of the most important and often neglected is to to be aware of the background. When you look in the viewfinder you tend to focus on your subject and ignore what’s behind them but when you see the picture, a tree growing out of someone’s head is hard to ignore! Try not to take pictures where there are moving vehicles behind your subject or objects that will focus the attention away from the subject of your picture.
  2. When taking pictures of people try not to aim directly at their face but slightly to the side so that you get a three quarter view. If you aim the camera down slightly it will have the effect of slimming the subjects face.
  3. Remember to adjust your camera for the available light. If you can read a book in the light it will be enough to use your camera without the flash. It’s best not to use a flash unless really neccessary as they tend to make people look paler than they are. If you are indoors and it’s a little dark move to a window and use the feature on your camera called fill flash. This will force the flash to fire and fill in deep shadowed areas.
  4. Focus closely on your subject. Make sure the frame is filled so that the subject is the most important part of the picture.
  5. Always place the subject slightly off centre. if you are taking a crowd picture imagine a line through the centre of the group then aim slightly to one side.

With these few tips in mind next time you aim your camera we hope your photographs will be, if not yet up to professional standards, much better.

Cooking Rice the Right Way

rice

Cooking rice is quite challenging. You have to get the amount of the ingredients right. Then you have to set the right temperature for boiling. You have to keep stirring the rice so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Why do you have to do all this? You can simply use a rice cooker. It works simply. It is extremely easy to use. More importantly, it gives you the most delicious rice you have ever tasted.

How It Works

Rice cookers are appliances that have a main container and a pot inside them. They are directly plugged into an electric socket, so you do not have to worry about leaving the cooker on the cooktop.

All you have to do is put the rice in rice cooker and add some water. Then you simply have to push a button. Your rice will be perfectly cooked in just a couple of minutes. You do not need to guess the temperature. You do not need to keep stirring the rice either.

Washing is as easy as a kid’s game too. The pots are usually made from a durable non-stick material. You just have to rinse the pot and you are done. In case of stainless steel or clay pot use a dish brush.

How about Cooking

The capacity of rice cookers varies dramatically. You can opt for a model that prepares only 3 cups of rice. However, if you have a big family or cook for party crowds, you can readily opt for an appliance that can cook up to 20 cups of rice.

Using a rice cooker is not only simple. When you put the rice inside the pot there is an extra amount of pressure applied to the food. In addition, the steam produced during the boiling stays inside.

In turn, the rice cooks faster. It is much softer and extremely delicious. The pressure cooking allows for the preservation of all the nutrients inside the rice beans. Apart from being tastier, your rice meal will be healthier as well.

Beneficial Features

Most rice cookers come with a steam tray as well. You can steam anything on it – vegetables, chicken and fish. This means that you can prepare any kind of meal using a rice cooker.

All modern day appliances of this type come with a keep warm function. You can just push a button and keep the perfect temperature of the rice until you serve it on the table.

The delay timer is another feature that most cookers come with. You just have to set the time for cooking and the process will begin automatically. This is extremely beneficial when you are busy in the kitchen.

There are also more technologically advanced rice cookers. They come with a specific sensor technology. It allows for the automatic adjustment of the boiling temperature depending on the type of rice being cooked.

Making the Right Choice

You can choose any kind of rice cooker depending on your preferences and requirements. You can opt for a classic pot-style model or for a digital cool-touch appliance. Do not miss out on getting a cook book with all sorts of delicious rice recipes as well.

Knife Sharpening Angle Guide

nested-knife-set

An area that many knife connoisseurs will need to be skilled in, but can rarely find good training for is knife sharpening. It goes without saying that a set of kitchen knives will eventually need to be sharpened, but many people either do not really know what to do, or if they do then they do not achieve the best outcome due to inexperience

Folks can either be confused by not understanding the proper angles at which to sharpen their knives, or they might not understand knife sharpening techniques at all. Since not everybody is familiar with how to sharpen a knife, it is important to start this knife sharpening guide by reviewing some basic knife sharpening techniques.

Knife Sharpening Techniques

There are several different knife sharpening techniques that use a variety of different tools and skill sets. Some people might prefer one knife sharpening technique for its convenience, while others might prefer another technique that gives their knives the best sharpness.

The first knife sharpening technique is to use a whetstone or a diamond stone. When using this method, it is important to establish the angle at which you want to sharpen your knife. If you don’t know which angle you should use, don’t worry about that. We’ll cover knife sharpening angles later in this guide.

Your first step should be to lubricate the whetstone with a tiny amount of honing oil. This oil makes it easy for the knife to slide across the stone and also keeps the steel shavings from clogging the stone pores. It is important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for your particular whetstone. Although honing oil works beautifully with many types of stones, it can cause serious damage to others.

Once you’ve lined up your knife at the appropriate angle against the stone, drag it across the gritty end of the stone. Make sure that you are dragging the knife towards your body and across the thin side of the stone. Continue this process until you’ve ground roughly halfway through the steel and then flip the knife over and repeat until a new edge is formed.

When the new edge has been created, flip the stone over and grind the knife steps along the finer side of the stone in alternating swipes. This will eliminate any burrs that might have been created along the blade and create a smooth edge. When both sides are smooth and meet at an even angle to create a sharp edge, you’ve finished your task.

The second method of sharpening a knife is to use a honing rod (also known as a sharpening steel). It is important to use a honing rod intermittently between whetstone sharpenings. This will keep the knife sharp and increase the life of the blade. Honing rods remove indentations, nicks, and flat spots from the edge of a knife. Unlike a whetstone, it will not remove a significant amount of metal.

Start by holding the honing rod in your non-dominant hand. Hold the rod at a comfortable angle, pointed away from your body with the tip elevated above the handle.

Place the knife in your dominant hand, making sure that you have a firm grip on the handle with your thumb resting along the spine. Keep your fingers far from the blade’s edge.

Choose an angle at which you would like to sharpen the knife. It is important that you use this angle consistently throughout the process or the honing rod will not smooth out the metal as effectively.

sharpening

Once you’ve placed the knife at the proper angle, draw it back towards your body across the top part of the honing rod. Start the process with the honing rod pressed against the heel of the knife and end with it resting on the tip. Now, without changing your grip, place the knife against the bottom half of the rod and maintain the same angle. Draw the blade across the rod the same as before.

When both sides have been drawn across once, that is considered to be one revolution. A full cycle on the honing rod is usually anywhere between 6 and 8 revolutions.

Knife Sharpening Angle Guide

Now that we’ve established the basic knife sharpening techniques, it is important to review the angles at which a knife ought to be sharpened. Each different angle will give the knife a unique level of sharpness and durability.

One important thing to keep in mind during this whole process is that the angle you choose will be the angle that each individual side is faced away from the edge. A knife with two sides both sharpened at 20 degree angles will ultimately create a knife with a 40 degree angle.

The higher the sharpening angle, the sharper the knife will be. However, sharpness is generally achieved at the expense of the knife’s durability. The key to finding the best knife sharpening angle is to find one that strikes an ideal balance between sharpness and hardness.

Knives that are sharpened at 10 degrees or below are very sharp, but not very durable. Since they are so easily broken, they are only ideal for cutting soft materials. This kind of angle is usually seen on straight edge razors, which are sharpened to about 7 or 8 degrees.

maintain-angle

A sharpening angle between 10 and 17 degrees will still leave a knife relatively sharp. Knifes in this category are frequently used for slicing meats or cutting soft items. Their fine edge makes them too weak to do most types of kitchen work such as chopping or dicing.

The most common range of knife sharpening angles in the kitchen is between 17 and 22 degrees. This is generally considered to be the “sweet spot” of knife sharpening angles. The balance between sharpness and hardness is ideal for most jobs around the kitchen. Japanese manufacturers will often sharpen their knives to 17 degrees, while most western knives are angled at 20 degrees.

Pocket knives and hunting knives are usually sharpened between 22 and 30 degrees. These angles will provide enough sharpness to make consistently powerful cuts, but they also allow for enough durability to handle a heavier, non-kitchen workload.

Knives that are sharpened at or above 30 degrees are primarily used for heavy-duty cutting that requires large amounts of force. Axes and machetes are both sharpened to over 30 degrees to accommodate the force that is put upon the blade during the chopping motion. While they may not be razor sharp, they are very durable and can withstand heavy amounts of force.

This knife sharpening angle guide will help you figure out the knife sharpening techniques and angles at which you should prepare your knives. It is important to consult a knife sharpening guide before breaking out the whetstone or sharpening steel. Attempting to sharpen a knife without fully understand the techniques or angles can permanently damage an entire set of knives.

2016 Trends in Interior Design

Floral Patterns

floral patterns

(source: http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/news/g2873/interior-design-trends-2016/?slide=5)

We have noticed a distinct move towards lovely floral decorations, both in accent pieces and soft furnishings generally. We wonder how this will develop going forward.

Heated Entranceways

heated flooring entrance

(source: http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/news/g2873/interior-design-trends-2016/?slide=5)

Another interesting development. We have long thought the entranceway to many homes needs work. It is the first impression that is made on guests and as a result very important in making a good impression. We like soft lighting, and airy feel and most especially we like the trend towards heated flooring.

Black Stainless Steel Kitchens

black stainless kitchen

(source: http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/news/g2873/interior-design-trends-2016/?slide=5)

We’ve had stainless steel finishes in kitchens for a number of years now and although we do not think they are getting old we do believe that black stainless steel is a really interesting development. What do you think?

Airy Living Spaces

open and airy

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html)

This is a very popular trend. Modern living just demands an open, light and airy feel. Light colored walls with clean lines and hard floors are very much the preferred choice for all homeowners. We like the feeling of space that these light and airy rooms are able to provide, even when space is limited they work well.

Contemporary Lighting

contemporary-lighting

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html)

We love lighting. It is such an effective way of making a statement in a room. You might have guessed that we also love the move towards new and contemporary lighting designs. Modern techniques mean that lights are no longer functional but also now make a real statement in your home.

Reclaimed Materials

reclaimed materials

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html)

Recycling materials is an increasingly popular production technique. But gone are the slightly shabby reclaimed items of yesteryear. Now reclaimed materials can be made into fantastic original pieces that look great and are good for the environment too.

Contemporary Powder Rooms

contemporary-powder-room

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html)

A little bit tongue in cheek, but we do believe that the powder room is often overlooked in homes and it is high time that we threw something of a spotlight onto it. Making your toilet a pleasant place to be will pay you back handsomely so don’t overlook the simple steps to improve your powdering experience.

A New Space Heater – Some Background Research

If you are looking to purchase a space heater then it is good to know something about what you may be getting. This post has been written to provide a brief introduction to the many types of electric heaters you can buy these days.

Generally different types of space heater have been designed for different needs. However, they do boil down to a relatively few overall categories.  Essentially the most common ones that are energy efficient include portable space heaters, wall heaters, bathroom heaters and baseboard heaters. For detailed reviews and discussion of individual model strengths and weaknesses go here.

Choosing The Best Electric Space Heaters Can Help You Save You Money

Portable_space_heaterMost home heaters use electricity to generate heat and since it is readily available anywhere in the world, using electric heaters can actually save you money on your household energy bill. Moreover they don’t require much maintenance from you. Any electric heaters wall mounted ones can be your best electric heaters as some electric heaters reviews show.

Portable Space Heaters

As the name portable space heaters implies, this kind of electric heaters are usually small and portable and functions to heat up small spaces in your rooms; or if the main heating system is not performing the heating adequately. Many people found this type of heater to be one of the best electric heaters.

Bathroom Electric Wall Heaters

Bathroom electric wall heaters are commonly used in smaller rooms like your home bathroom. They are usually built-in types nicely recessed in the wall cavity between two wall studs. In some models such heaters have a fan inside the heater while others used an electric coil to work. Could this be another one of your best electric heaters?

Baseboard Electric Heaters

These energy heaters are quiet and safe and do the job of heating the room through convection which primarily is generating heat without using a fan. There is a safety thermal device that automatically turns-off the electric heater when there is overheating and reactivates later when the temperature cools.

Safety Tips for Using You Electric Heater

fireThe best safety measure you should take for your newly found efficient electric heaters to prevent any accident caused through the use of them is to ensure adequate distance between your electric heaters and any source of combustion. They are what you can find in any home – your usual furniture, paper based products or any flammable liquids.

Also never keep a portable heater in use if it close to water. There is a very real danger of fire or electrocution in such circumstances.

Never use an electric heater on an extension cord, the ratings of the heater and the cord may vary which can cause overheating and a fire risk.

All in all space heater safety is a matter of common sense. Apply this and you can easily ensure that portable electric heater remains safe to use and to serve you a lifetime for you and your family.

Understanding Household Allergens

What are common household allergens?  To adhere to the concept of allergen avoidance, you have to know what can cause an allergic response.  The major household allergens are the dust mite, pet dander, cockroaches, and mold mildew.

The optimal allergy free home environment is one that minimizes these common household allergens.

The dust mite is a microscopic creature which eats dead flaked-off skin cells.  They live in warm humid environments such as bedding, carpeting, and pillows.  Take a look around your house.  You can probably identify pretty quickly the things that are dust collectors.  It is those things that need to be cleaned (on a regular basis) or removed entirely.  Our home is decorated with simplicity in mind and with things that are easily removed for cleaning.

Pet dander is among the  common household allergens.  Pet dander from either cats or dogs can penetrate carpeting and bedding surfaces and is very difficult to remove entirely.  It is recommended that if you have a cat or dog allergy, you should consider having your pet stay outside the home.  I understand how difficult this can be.  I grew up around pets and we always had multiple animals living in our home.  I once even shared my bedroom with my cat!  If you just cannot keep your pet outside the home, then at the very least do not allow your pet into your bedroom.  Try to keep this one area of the home as allergy-free as possible.

Cockroaches are also listed among common household allergens.  The key here is to eliminate them from the home.  Make sure they don’t have a place to hide or access to food.  Since a water source is of primary importance to the cockroach, look for those places first.  Check for leaky faucets and pipes.  Some electrical appliances such as space heaters can encourage them. Be sure to eliminate food sources by sealing up food and removing garbage containers to the outside.

Also on the list of common household allergens are mold and mildew.  Some individuals have mold spore or mildew allergy.  Mold grows in damp environments.  It can be present in basements, shower stalls, humidifiers, and house plants.  A good cleaning routine can help prevent an overgrowth of mold.  A furnace humidifier or a dehumidifier can provide the correct humidity level for your home.  True also if you use other types of space heater.  For allergy relief at home reduce or remove the sources of common household allergens.

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