Engineering

A Crash Course in Live Recording From the Engineer's Perspective

With the birth of digital recording equipment, live recording is becoming more feasible. In its simplest from, live recording can be a laptop connected to a microphone. Whether it is a complex 16 or 24 channel interface with a multitude of microphones, or a cheesy stereo microphone attached to an old tape recorder, preparation is key during a live recording.

Since you only have as much time as the band to set up, you must work quickly. It helps to have all of your microphones and microphone stands set up before the band goes on, that way you can just plop the microphones in front of their corresponding instruments. Find out ahead of time if you need to split the lead vocals microphone signal and the PA. If you do not have a microphone splitter, try to set up a microphone next to the singer's microphone (which connects to the PA) and ask him to sing into both. By the time you place the microphones in front of the guitar amplifiers and lead singer, and wire these back to your interface, the drummer should be done setting up his kit. This is your cue to run in there with the overhead microphones and kick drum microphone. To avoid confusion, you should memorize the order of the tracks in your recording program and which microphone they are connected to. For example, track 1 and 2 are the drum overheads, track 3 is the kick drum, track 4 is the bass guitar, etc. If you wire your microphones in the same order each time you do a live recording, it helps remind you which track is assigned to which microphone and what order to connect it to the interface.

Now all of your microphones are connected to the interface and in place on stage. However, you cannot relax yet. Boot up your interface and start a new session for the live recording. It is best to invest in an external hard drive, that way you don't have to worry about running out of space during the show. Another trick to avoid a potential crash during the show is to increase the hardware buffer (usually 128, 256, 512, or 1024), which would increase the latency between the sound and the recording, but it would increase stability, which is everything in a live recording. So instead of using 128 during a track by track recording, I use 256 for an all at once, live recording. Plan to record straight through the entire set, and try to mix the tracks quickly during the sound check. Once you get the mix to a comfortable level, take note of any instruments or singers that may need special attention during the show. I like to keep one hand on the volume for the lead singer, as in live shows, the dynamics of the voice tend to be too loud or too soft. If your interface is powerful enough, you could run the vocals through an auxiliary compressor track, but this may risk an interface crash which would totally ruin the recording. It is best to run the minimum amount of plug-ins possible and stick with the minimum amount of tracks as well. Some other things to look out for would be the use of effects by the band, which may or may not increase the volume of the track. Most guitarists match the volumes for their clean and distorted channels, but you can never be sure.

So the tracks are mixed nicely and you are recording into the second song, can you relax yet? Not really. You should constantly monitor the levels of the tracks and also check up on the microphones, for some may get knocked over or repositioned in some of the crazier shows. I find that the kick drum microphone is the hardest to keep still. After the set, you still have to be on your toes in order to break all the equipment down in time for the next band. The best routine is to disconnect all the microphone cables and start moving the microphones off stage. After you have gathered all of the stands and microphones, start winding up your microphone cables. "Snake" cables and snake boxes are best for live recording because it organizes all of your cables on stage to meet at one convenient box, which has a multitude of microphone cable inputs. If you had a snake cable, then this would make the breakdown process easier as well as provide you with more distance from the interface and the stage. The hardest part of the breakdown is to stay out of the musician's way as they get their gear off the stage. Just make sure you are constantly moving your gear off the stage to a open spot next to the stage, where you can break down your gear in peace.…

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Hobby

Tips for Organizing Hobby Supplies

No matter how different they are, most hobbies have one thing in common – they require a ton of supplies or gear. Whether you are a photographer or a quilter, you need to figure out a great way to organize your hobby supplies. Organized hobbyists protect their investment by keeping gear and other stuff from being ruined and save money because they don’t have to go buy a duplicate of a misplaced item. They also get more enjoyment from their hobbies when they don’t have to root around in a jumbled mess for the things they need to use.

Set Up a Hobby Supply Area

Depending on your hobby, your supply area can be as small as one plastic storage bin or as large as a garage. The important thing is having an area where you can put all of your hobby equipment. I have what was a pantry before the kitchen was moved to the other side of the house back in the 1950’s as a mixed media studio supply closet. All of my supplies fit into that space or into the studio area set up directly outside the closet. I also have a one car garage sized space for my photography equipment and studio. My quilting and needlework stuff fits into half of a small chest of drawers. The important thing about all of these spaces is that all of my equipment, supplies and even my instructional books and DVDs for each of these pursuits are stowed together. I don’t need to spend half a day hunting through every room in the house if I need a filter for my camera lens or a large embroidery needle so I can embellish a tea towel.

 

Make a Decision About an Organizational System and Stick to It

An organizational system with pieces that belong together looks neat and streamlined. Twenty pieces from twenty different organizational systems look like a yard sale gone horribly wrong. Choosing one system and sticking to it will help you keep things looking nice. Of course, if you can’t afford to buy ten wheeled carts, fifteen baskets and five sets of drawers all at the same time, it can be a lot harder to do so.

If you buy storage as it goes on clearance or as you come across something inexpensive, but functional, you can still get a cohesive look for your storage. Stow rolling carts under a table or counter and hang a curtain in front of them or stick hodge podge containers into a closet or cupboard. Since the odd items are out of sight, everything will look as though it goes together at first glance.

Label Everything to Keep Hobby Supplies Organized

Label makers are a great tool for hobbyists. Putting labels on every container that list the contents means that a search for items doesn’t need to involve opening every single container in the storage area. Make sure labels stay up to date so the system doesn’t lose its effectiveness.

While it can be tough to keep supplies for some hobbies organized, there are a vast number of hobby storage options available that try to help hobbyists keep them as neat and tidy as possible. Look around and experiment with different systems and soon your hobby area will be as organized as a library book shelf.…

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Internet

Product Review: Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky is well known as an excellent anti-virus program and now you can get the best overall security in a suite of programs designed to protect your computer including firewall, anti-malware and anti-spam along with its award winning anti-virus.

Ease of Use, Performance: 24/25
Look & Feel: 24/25
Features 25/25
How much I enjoy 25/25

Total: 98/100

I received another full internet suite of computer protection programs in the Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 program that protects your PC from viruses, malware and other threats. Like my review of Trend Micro's Security suite I will not be testing the program on its detection and removal of known viruses and malware like professional testing companies.

Unlike those companies and sites that test and use viruses and threats to rate and certify the program I will see how easy the program is to use and install like your average user. While I will add comments about the certification and other testing results to show if the program works well at virus, malware and other threat detection and removal I will also see how user friendly the program is.

Run the installation and you will have everything you need for complete internet security including anti-spam and firewall protection that includes parental control and most importantly that award winning antivirus. Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 is a full suite of computer protection programs including anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-phishing, anti-banner and identity theft protection.

The program really does make use of a full suite to protect all your activity including things you might not realize but find a comfort when you do find out about it. I had heard of a virtual keyboard and when I saw the feature when looking at the Kaspersky Internet Security suite it makes perfect sense to include it.

A virtual keyboard protects you from yourself as you type by blocking key stroke recorders from recording your passwords, personal information like social security numbers and more. This is just one protection as the program has plenty more to help keep your identity safe and your computer secure and it really works well.

I was taking screenshots of the program for the review and started the virtual keyboard to take a picture of that and could not take any screenshots. With the virtual keyboard activated the screenshot program does not copy pictures of my desktop at all which just adds to my confidence in the security features of Kaspersky's programs.

Installation is simple and pretty much a one step process unless you want to install it to another location other than the main drive. The computer does not require a reboot after installation which is a nice surprise and you should perform a full scan once you have it installed.

Kaspersky does things a little different in how it runs not only its spyware and attack detection but its general behavior for detecting access from programs and how it detects these. Kaspersky uses heuristic analysis to detect attacks instead of already known threats which preempts threats, blocking them before the Kaspersky company even knows about these attacks.

If you look for already known threats you are always behind the attacks and playing catch up, only looking for known viruses and other threats while heuristic analysis looks at problems before they are well known. Kaspersky programs detect the problems and risks then weighs whether they are a threat before alerting you while their white list of known programs helps you as well.

A white list of programs that Kaspersky records and uses through updates tells the security program what programs you have that are not threats and allows them access without you having to do anything. When you allow a program it tells the Kaspersky company that it is a safe one and they further investigate the program to see if adding it to their white list would be beneficial for other users.

You not only get protection from the Kaspersky program but help them in evaluating other threats and safe programs for continued protection and security. The program does not have many popup warnings that ask if a program should be allowed like other security suites I have recently used such as Trend Micro's.

Once you have Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 running it will integrate itself into your email program like Outlook Express, Outlook 2007 or Thunderbird. The program adds an anti-spam toolbar which you can easily tell by the red and green flags you use to mark emails as spam or not spam.

If you have an email you've received and it goes to a spam folder or your junk folder simply tell Kaspersky that it is or is not spam using the flags. All you have to do is highlight the email in your folder and click on the appropriate flag and the program will not only mark it appropriately but continue to use that designation for the same types of mail and from the same address if you keep getting more.

The program learns as you use the flags and will not bother you as much by marking emails with the flags as you mark them yourself. When I first started using the program a lot of my emails were marked as spam but after only a few days the number of false marks dropped significantly.

The same can be said for many of the functions like the pop-ups when you use a program or access the internet through a program and Kaspersky questions the access or use. Once Kaspersky Internet Security figures out your habits and routines as well as the programs you use it will learn from this and hassle you less and better monitor your system.

The program works well for spam, anti-virus and general protection both from outside attacks and from your own actions like visiting bad websites. The program has won several awards recently for antivirus and anti-malware so the program is not without its accolades from others as well.

Checking some of the professional anti-virus and security testing that is available the Kaspersky programs are well liked and among the top performers. West Coast Labs and ICSA Labs are both independent testing labs for anti-virus and certify the Kaspersky anti-virus program.

West Coast also adds checkmarks to say the program does well with detecting Trojans and malware as well as the program receiving the highest rating for malware removal and detection of threats from AV-Comparatives.com. I also found the program did well at detecting and removing malware as well as viruses but do not have the knowledge or programs to test these features myself like the professionals.

I wanted to review the program and test it out for general use as my average reader would and use it just like any person to see how easy it is in regular everyday use. I found the Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 works very well and is easy to use, a bit easier than other security programs like Trend Micro's.

On the bad side of the program I did find it slowed down my system just a bit when using but not enough to be a hindrance or even a downgrade in rating. I am so used to previous versions of anti-virus programs on lower systems like the AMD Athlon 62 X4 5000+ that would make the system almost unusable when scanning for viruses.

Using the current tri and quad core systems with Windows 7 or Windows Vista would make the system much faster and being able to still perform image editing or website editing while performing scans is great. I now run scans and updates of my antivirus while doing web surfing and other work like image editing using Photoshop and even watch television on my PC.

Before changing to the better AM2+/AM3 processors I would not be able to run scans and do work but now with the better processors I can do both. Kaspersky virus and malware scans do not hinder the system enough to make a computer unusable but it does make it slightly noticeable when doing other CPU intensive work like image editing.

While watching television using a TV tuner card it does not slow down the system but for CPU intensive things like the image editing you notice a slight hesitation and just know something else is running. Using Windows Task Manager you can see that the scan uses about the same memory but varies at CPU usage for at least one of the cores.

I saw from mid 20's to mid 50's percentage of CPU usage while running the virus scan that amounts to some slow down of my system but not enough to make it unusable. Other than this I did not notice any problems with Kaspersky Internet Security 2010, I actually like the program better than Trend Micro's similar security suite.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 makes for an easy to use and simple to install all around suite of protection that it does rate high with me as well. Using the program is simple for the easy stuff but is also simple to use for things like allowing programs access through the firewall.

The program has main menu pages that are very easy to understand and even includes a few extras like a privacy eraser and rescue recovery disc creator. The rescue disk allows you to create a backup of the security suite so that if you get a virus or other threat and the system becomes unusable the recovery disc can be used to repair and remove the threat and return your system to normal.

The disc will boot your system into a Linux recovery mode that will update the virus scanner, scan and remove any viruses and then restart into your usable operating system. This procedure is a bit confusing if you have never done anything like it before but is easily spelled out in both the disc creation process and the use of it when you do have problems.

Running the disc creation is simple and should be done as soon as you install the security suite, it is straightforward while the use of the disc is just as easy but does take a little time. The program when you are having a problem will boot as a simple black screen with steps on what to do and you simply follow the steps to a final reboot then, hopefully Windows will boot normally.

If you do have problems with the RescueCD creation or any other part of the program you can use the help section or ask Kaspersky themselves through their support. I found the website and help sections easy to use to find answers and their support is also easy to get the help you need.

Kaspersky has a knowledge base and forum to ask questions of both the company and users to get answers and help as well as a chat and telephone support. You can contact them 24 hours a day seven days a week as well as chat from 9 AM to 9 PM any day of the week except on holidays.

Kaspersky is a great and highly respected company in anti-virus and internet security and the latest 2010 release is another highly regarded product. I highly recommend Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 so much that it earns my Blue Ribbon for Excellence.…

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Fashion

5 TOP FASHION MAGAZINES

My Top 5 Favorite Fashion Magazines.

Cosmopolitan- I love reading this monthly excerpt into what guys think and love. Sometimes they do get it wrong, but most of the time it is spot on. Cosmo does tend to have the same articles over and over again but with different titles but I tend not to care much. I love the columns that appear on a monthly basis like confessions, guys talking sex, bedside astrologer, and of course the quizzes.
• I like confessions because laughter is good for the soul and reading other people's often times hilarious high jinks have me busting out. And there is scientific research showing that laughter makes you look younger.
• Guys talking sex because hey if you're a heterosexual girl reading the mag than you would get a lot of useful tips on what to do and not do in between the sheets. And who the hell does not need advice about that from the source!
• Bedside Astrologer because I'm into that. If you're not your not, for me personally I chart my life according to the stars but that' doesn't mean I take whatever they say to heart.
• The quiz's waste time and are a lot of fun. There are some you can take with your man and others you can do by yourself. Either way, you might get a different perspective on things.
Self-What woman between the ages of 30 and up are not trying to lose any significant amount of weight or just wants to revamp her eating habits? That's why I love mag's like self and shape. But I think Self is a lot better personally because it's more…well…personalized. Or should I say it is not generalized like I think Shape is. The columns I most especially like?
• The nutrition section. Because no matter what your diet is or isn't, you can always find helpful tidbits here.
• The health section. They always have the latest update information about everything affecting us today from the HPV virus to the common cold.
• The happiness section. No matter what area in your life, you will always find something you can improve on to make you happier. Because no one person is always happy throughout their life. Someone always has one of the seven deadly sins they can improve upon and this section is here to help.
Glamour-For the young adults who are upwardly mobile in life, who need much more stimulation than Cosmopolitan can give them. They even have political articles for the young woman who is into the campaigns.
• How to do anything better guide. Whether it's tuning up a car or just playing up the best feature of your face. This section is here every month for us.
• Dos and Don't. I can't leave this out! It is always on the back inside cover, on the very last page. And it showcases fashion's flops and fashion styles.
• Hair. There is ALWAYS something interesting in here about a new way to style your hair, a new color, a new cut. It doesn't matter. If it's in Glamour, you need to try it. But just make sure it's the best style for your face shape.
Real simple. Fine. It's not really a fashion magazine for the body, it is more a fashion magazine for your life and who doesn't need that! If you're unorganized like Iand countless other Americans, this magazine will attempt to help you regain sense of your clutter.
• Recipes. Yes, all magazines have recipes but Real Simple has really good recipes. Try steak with arugula and balsamic mushrooms or even different ways to cook basic chicken.
• New tricks on old treats. Okay okay, so I made the title up, it being close to Halloween and all. But you know what I mean you ever peruse the magazine at all. I think it's called new uses for old things or something like that. Anyway, it's amazing what you can do with an old soap dish or even an old handkerchief.
• Cutting cost. The grocery store is a major place where you can cut cost and Real Simple shows you exactly how and where to do it.
Essence. Even though I am a woman of color, I really do not read this magazine. I don't know why, maybe because I grew up in a white environment and I basically like white guys. I really don't read the all too frequent articles how to score with a black man. But I do like the articles on how to lower your debt. And I really like the down home southern recipes even if I don't cook big meals like that; I can still appreciate can't I?

These are the five magazines I read most although I have been seen reading allure a lot lately. Good shopping tips, steals, and deals.…

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Engineering

National Guard, Army Corps of Engineers Arrive to Break Ice Jam Causing Bismarck Flooding

Bismarck, North Dakota — A major winter storm turned into an unexpected disaster in Bismarck when ice jams blocked the Missouri River and caused flooding in the Fox Island and Southport neighborhoods. Governor John Hoeven called on the Corps of Engineers for assistance, and they began arriving Monday night, during the blizzard, along with a team from FEMA.

Governor Hoeven asked the Corps to slow the flow from Garrison Dam, about 35 miles above Bismarck on the Missouri, when the river began to rise and fill roads in the southwest part of Bismarck. By Wednesday, the Corps completely stopped water flow into the river, something that has never before happened in the 50+ year history of Garrison Dam (the largest earth-filled dam in the country). The rising waters were caused mainly by large chunks of thick ice that entered the Missouri from the flooding of two tributaries, the Heart and Knife rivers. The large chunks came together and made a large ice jam.

On Wednesday, March 25, an Army Corps of Engineers expert in ice jams, along with an expert in explosives, were set down on the ice by Black Hawk helicopters flown down by the Minot Air Base. They also dropped air boats, since the edges of the ice jam were dangerously thin. In the portions of the jam that were between 2 and 3 feet thick, the engineers drilled between 76 and 80 holes in two parallel rows down the length of the ice, and filled them with C-4 explosive matieral. Their hope was that the result would be a channel through which river water could flow downstream. The first explosion went off at about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The National Guard protected the public by maintaining a boundary 3000 feet away from the east bank of the river.

The first explosion caused some deterioration of the ice, according to National Guard General Spryncznatyk in a press conference Wednesday night. To improve the river flow, the team of engineers, helicopter pilots, and National Guard returned to the ice at around 8:00 p.m., and repeated the process, using lights set out on the ice. They exploded the C-4 at about 11:00 p.m. A third explosion is planned for this afternoon.

Meanwhile, more flooding started in other parts of the city Wednesday morning when river water caused storm drains to back up. Three trailer parks in south-central Bismarck were evacuated, and a fourth put on alert. Pumping trucks owned by the city, along with two more provided by the National Guard, started pumping Wednesday afternoon and are still hard at work. Meanwhile streets south of Expressway and west of Washington remain impassible, along with portions of University Drive, south 12th Street, and other streets in southeastern Bismarck, where streets are still flooded, although the water level has dropped over a foot in the last 24 hours. My sister was one of those evacuated from southwest Bismarck on Wednesday morning. She's staying in a hotel, but three public shelters have been set up in the northeast part of the city on higher ground. The shelters are in three large churches, and are being manned by volunteers along with the Bismarck Red Cross staff.

City engineering and public works personnel were able to get into Fox Island by foot this morning, and have been checking each home for water level, structural integrity, and the safety of electrical and gas lines. They'll be followed by a environmental team who will check those homes that had, or still have, water, and were tagged by the first teams. Residents can begin returning to Fox Island this afternoon, unless their homes are tagged. The streets are still flooded, however, so anyone returning will have to wade to their homes. Southport homes are next on the list to be checked.

Since Tuesday night, over 1.5 million sandbags have been filled by volunteers from the city, including high school and college students, along with National Guard personnel. These sandbags have been provided free of charge to home owners whose property is threatened by rising waters. People who have taken them are asked to keep them, even if the need has passed now, because more snow is on the way and the amounts and effects of that precipitation are still unclear. There is also a large ice jam north of the city, near DoubleDitch, which may break on its own, causing a large amount of water to move quickly into the Bismarck area. The city is keeping over 50,000 sandbags in its shop building, in case they are needed if more storm drains start to back up.

It's possible that ultimately these sandbags will be sent to Fargo or Grand Forks, where the Red River is threatening to crest at a level higher than that of the hundred year flood in 1997. National Guard and FEMA personnel, along with volunteers, including some students from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, have been sandbagging on top of the Fargo dikes. Over 1.3 million sandbags have been placed. In Grand Forks, the river is high enough that only one bridge remains open between Grand Forks, ND, and East Grand Forks in Minnesota. The Red River is expected to crest this weekend in Fargo, although weather could cause a change in the estimated time; Grand Forks residents can expect the Red to crest there sometime next week.

It's not just people who are suffering. In the Linton area, where most of the town has been evacuated, it's calving time on the surrounding ranches. Livestock loss estimates vary, but are probably over 100 cattle, and at least that many calves. Some hope was given to ranchers when the Black Hawks inspecting the ice reported seeing some cattle on ice in the river, but whether or not they can be rescued isn't known.

President Obama has declared North Dakota a disaster area. City and state governments still have no estimate of the cost of the damage caused by snow and flooding so far; their emphasis is on the safety of residents of the state. Governor Hoeven stated in a press conference at 11:00 a.m. this morning that it could be weeks before the full extent of the damage, and its cost, is known, but he believes it is enough that the federal relief package will include help for individuals who have lost their homes or suffered severe damage and financial loss.

North Dakotans are expressing gratitude for all the help from the National Guard, many of whom spent a 24-hour stretch filling sandbags, often with bare hands; the Corps of Engineers ice experts, explosive experts, and the men who dared to walk on the ice in the dark; the personnel from the Minot Air Base who came down to do "something they've never done before" together with the Corps; the 25 person team from FEMA, and most of all for our neighbors, because everyone is to be pitching in to help in whatever way they can.

(Sources: http://www.bismarck.org/city_departments/department/news_detail.asp?dID=4&ID=1175 , http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=47798 , 3/26/09 press conference with Bismarck & Mandan mayors, Congressman Earl Pomeroy, National Guard General Spryncznatyk, and City Commissioner Connie Spryncznatyk I attended at 11:00 a.m. today)…

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Fashion

Fall Fashion: Best Belts

Sash Belts

A hot trend for Fall fashion is the sash belt. It is less structured than the more tailored styles of belts which have been popular recently. Sash belts are made of fabric and casually tied at the side or front. This trend is very easy to achieve. Try using a wide silk scarf or vintage fabric to create your own sash belt.

Opt for a rich sumptuous color of sash belt which compliments your whole outfit. For instance, a chocolate velvet sash belt is a perfect match for a simple cream silk dress.

The great thing about the sash belt trend is that it only requires a simple bow or knot to finish the look. Alternatively, accent the fabric with a large buckle in gold or copper.

Cinch Belts

Still popular this year is the 1940s style cinch belt. It is an easy way to make a dress look instantly more sharp and tailored. It also accentuates the waist. Choose a cinch belt in a simple classic color such as black with a large, bold buckle.

Bohemian Belts

Another big trend this year is a colorful, bohemian look. 'Artsy' bright floral dresses look great with a loose fitting belt in a complimentary color. A colorful bohemian belt may be made of woven leather or beads.

A similar style is the low-slung lace or crocheted belt which is a great accessory for a peasant style blouse or tunic.

Ribbon Belts

Very delicate ribbon belts are another popular trend this year. Ribbon belts are the perfect accessory for the trend of delicately detailed blouses and dresses in sheer fabrics.

Ribbon belts are easy to make from a length of pretty ribbon which you can find at fabric store. Sew a snap fitting into the ribbon to make it easy to wear. Another clever idea is to sew the ribbon into a blouse or dress. Leave the ends of the ribbon free so that you can tie it into a bow.

Finally, here are some tips for finding the best belt for you. Sash belts are very forgiving because you can tie them in tightly or more loosely on the waist. They are a great all round style for many women. Ribbon belts can sometimes look too small when tied around the waist. However, they look great as part of a high waisted dress or blouse, tied just under the bustline.…

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Fashion

Oscar Fashion "Hits"

There were more than a few stars that did Oscar proud on the red carpet in 2010. While I still think the Golden Globes eclipsed all the award shows when it comes to fashion, Oscar didn’t do bad either.

Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner, Mo’Nique, looked elegant in a royal blue satin gown that was cut to accent her considerable curves. While I might have dispensed with the gardenias in her updo, it was easy to see that this star can pull anything off. She is just gracious and beautiful all the way around.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sq00bA357I

Queen Latifah almost never fails to awe with her red carpet choices and she didn’t this year either. Her pale orchid satin gown set off her lovely skin and the bling added to its one-shoulder and around the front bodice was sheer perfection. She polished off the look with flawless makeup and an elegant updo. All hail the Queen!

Oprah Winfrey completed the African-American trifecta. The talk shown queen never looked more regal in a midnight blue satin gown that was cut to accent her curves. Soft flowing hair and makeup completed her stunning look.

Anna Kendrick’s pale pink goddess inspired off the shoulder gown was a vision to behold. Perfectly draped and swept, it looked like Venus had descended to earth once again. Even her hair and makeup seemed to scream “Greek work of art.

Had anyone by Demi Moore picked that flesh colored ruffled gown for the red carpet, it might not have worked. But on her tiny, well toned figure all that ruching and ruffling didn’t distract. I wasn’t a fan of the hair but thought the makeup did her justice too.

Rachel McAdams went out on a limb with a floral inspired multi-pastel colored strapless chiffon gown. On her; however, it worked in spades. She never looked lovelier. Her perfectly coifed updo and makeup polished it perfectly.

Some people loved and others hated Sandra Bullock’s silver vintage beaded gown. I thought she looked lovely and every bit the movie star she has become. With her dark hair pulled of to one side and this season’s hot red lip, she shined in more ways than one.

Helen Mirren continued her long line of classic Hollywood looks with a delicate pale lavender that was, well fit for a queen. This woman gets more breathtaking with every year and her sweet spirit and kind soul shines right through her eyes. She is so unassuming and humble that one can’t help but think she deserves to rule over Hollywood for many years to come.

TV Guide fashion hostess, Carrie Ann Inaba, managed to look demure in her pale pink ruffled gown, long wavy hair and perfect makeup. I personally think she never looked lovelier.

Her ABC counterpart, Sheri Shepard was also looking good in a one-should black gown that hugged her curves and screamed “I am woman and proud of it!” Her lovely soft hair and makeup polished off the look with perfection.

Cameron Diaz made a comeback in a beautiful gold trapless gown that set off the color of her soft wavy blonde hair. She looked absolutely magnificent.

The guys weren’t looking too shabby either. I didn’t note any major fashion faux pas on behalf of Oscar’s men. In fact there were few worth mentioning.

If there was one male I would loved to have changed it would be Quentin Tarantino. I found the super thin tie distracting and too casual for the Academy Awards. I know skinny ties are in but his was practically non-existant. On the other hand, he is Hollywood’s bad boy and he looked the part.

Jake Gyllenhaal easily outshined his sister in a perfectly cut tuxedo. On him, even the scruff looked darn good.

Tim McGraw showed up in support of his “Blind Side” costar, Sandra Bullock. He left his cowboy hat at home and actually looked reasonably comfortable in his well-cut tux and bow tie. Of course he had one of the best accessories of the night – – his beautiful wife Faith Hill.

Matt Damon looked unusually hunkalicious this year. I’m not sure if it was the tux, his clean cut grooming, or just the big smile on his face. Whatever it was, he surely made hearts swoon. I’m not a big fan of his but I have to say that even I did a double take.

Avatar’s star, Sam Worthington, had on a nice fitting tux and he looked okay overall. I’m just not a big fan of the scruffy looking beard or the spiked hair; not for formal occasions anyway.

George Clooney was, as usual, handsome and debonair. Who would have expected less from this Hollywood heartthrob?

Jeff Bridges wasn’t looking too bad either. I have to say that I’m digging the gray in his hair. However, the Buffalo Bill look was a bit odd.

Robert Downey Jr. broke from tradition and wore a blue blow tie with his impeccably cut tuxedo. I thought it worked. I found it refreshing and a bit kookie – – like the actor himself.

Gerard Butler. Need I say more? This is one man who can look scruffy any time he wants. It just suits him. It is who he is and he owns it. It isn’t a tough sell.

Keanu Reeves was a sight for sore eyes in spite of his unusual beard. It was a bit too Wolverine for me bit at least it was polished and groomed.

Young Hollywood was looking good in the well-suited hands of Zac Effron and Taylor Lautner. They did their group proud.

There you have it; my picks for Oscar fashion hits. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to check out my Oscar fashion misses.…

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English

How to Pass English 101, or the Equivalent, at Your University

It's your first semester in college. Your course schedule probably looks something like this: English 101 and about three other required courses – maybe an elective if you're a daring freshman. You're thinking to yourself, "English 101? Come on! They'll probably make me read some Shakespeare or something and I'll buy my paper online or write it quickly on my way to calculus." Wrong! Take it from someone who teaches English 101 – if you fall behind in the beginning, you stand little chance of making it up toward the end. You want to make sure that you keep up with the reading and the homework, because just because the number 101 is after the course name doesn't necessarily mean it's the easiest course in existence. Actually, this is a comomn misconception. English 101 is not a course you breeze through, paying little attention and putting little effort into the assignments. It's a prerequisite for about a million other classes, so you need it for that reason, but English 101 will also help prepare you for the rest of your academic career and is not to be taken lightly.

In today's day and age, English 101 is not just seen as a college course where students read and then write about what they read. There is small group work, connecting texts to one another and paper revisions to deal with. I will touch on each of these subjects seperately because they will each help you to be able to pass English 101 with flying colors. (Remember, I am not an expert on ALL English 101 courses in the country, but I did take one, I do teach one, and I have read much pedagogy on the subject. Trust me or not – either way, these hints will never hinder you from doing well.)

Small Group Work and Participation
Chances are, your English 101 professor, at some point, is going to break the class into small groups and ask you to work together. There could be many different reasons for this. Maybe your teacher wants you to work with students you don't know, or maybe he/she wants you to brainstorm ideas without his/her assistance. When you are in these groups, participate! You are not there to let someone else do all the work for you and trust me, your professor will notice if you're putting all of the work on others. A big part of English 101 is participation, and just sitting there waiting for class to be over most likely isn't going to cut it. Look at it this way – it's an excuse to meet some new and interesting people!

Connecting Texts
Yet another reason for your teacher to put you into small groups for brainstorming, this is an important part of what you'll learn. As far as my experience, this practice of "intertextuality" denotes the great conversation among texts, and in English 101, your professors want to introduce you to this conversation. When you read your assignments, really read them – underline, take notes, look words up and write down any questions you might have. This kind of productive reading will make it much easier to connect essay #1 to essay #2 and when your professor asks you to connect them in your paper, you'll already have ideas. Remember, you're not just going to read a story, an essay or a novel and then forget all about it. It will come up again and again, most likely in conjunction with other works, so do your reading!!!!!

Revision
This is a very important part of the writing process. You should never just write a paper, hand it in and forget about it. A big part of English 101 is writing drafts for your papers and then improving on them. This is another very good reason for small group work in college. I, for one, enjoy putting my students in groups and asking them to comment on each other's papers. The key here is to not feel bad telling someone that you think he/she needs to fix something in his/her paper. The commments you make should be constructive criticism and should help the paper along. Also, you should revise on your own. After all, we all like what we see right after we write something. Take some time; give yourself some distance and then go back and look over it again. The odds are you'll find a few things you should change or expand on and then your paper has traveled another step toward that elusive A.

English 101 is not a throw-away course. You're going to have to work and you're going to have to work hard. Look at it as a learning experience – you should use the values you use in your first semester of college in all of your other classes. Put some work into it – use some elbow grease! Brush up on your grammar or ask for extra help if you need it. After all, who on earth wants to take English 101 twice? Work hard and it will pay off!…

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Family

The Family Values of the Unplanned Summer Break

6 Unexpected Ways We Pass On Our Family Values | Birth2Work

I have watched the criticism of the large family on television lately. I am not the reality show sort. The last reality show I watched was one in which the families were trying to live like families on the frontier in the 1880s. I think it was on PBS. I am a self-professed trendy TV-culture nerd.

Yes, I do not live in a cave and even news of “Octomom ” reaches the pop cultural void of rural Indiana. I am not a fan of unemployed psychologically disturbed women doing a high fertility tech version of “cheaper by the dozen.” Still listening to news commentators comment on the sin’s of having too many children in this day in age was a little bit much for me.

I have only birthed two off spring. This is a decision I actually gave pause too well every few days when they both were teenagers. There is a reason they are born cute instead of acne ridden, gawky, and smart mouthed. Mankind would have slipped quietly and rather quickly into the evolutionary fog of time if our young came out as teenagers.

Still there is something uniquely nostalgically American for me about very large families. I grew up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood. One of only two small protestant families of the block that was small. The neighborhood Methodist and Episcopalians had a child count of two. Even the couple of Jewish families on the block had at least three.

Most families in my neighborhood ranged in size from 5 to seven children . We had three families including the ones who lived in back of us that had thirteen. These families always fascinated me. There parents actually rang a dinner bell to call the kids in to eat in shifts. One ring meant group one and well two the next. Still you could always “eat” at their house. One more mean just cleaning off an extra place. Huge bowls of pasta , bread, and vegetables adorned the tables and noise was deafening. Everyone seemed to always talk at once. Yet , in the chaos there was order. The table was cleared and the kitchen cleaned as fast as it was cluttered as the older kids knew exactly what their roll was. There was not fighting on whose turn it was to do the dishes or mom complaining that you did not scrap the food off the plate good enough for the dish washer. The dish washer was a couple of older kids who joked and chit chatted while they washed and dried.

Now mind you my friends from large families were always interested in eating at my house. Dinner with a guest was at the dinner table with glass dishes. My mother almost never served on evening meal on plastic. Pasta rarely graced our table. It was usually roast beef or steaks on the grill. Dinner conversation was sedate and polite . We carefully cleared plates and made sure the good silver did not make its wait to the dish washer.

Then there was the summer day atmosphere of the neighborhood. Lots of little girls playing Barbie on the front lawn ;while older kid’s road their bikes on the side walks dodging old ladies out walking little dogs. Impromptu games of kick ball , badminton, and flash light tag. We were out from early in the morning till the sun went down somewhere near nine. We showed up at our own house or someone’s house for lunch or dinner. Sometimes a parent would with other parents plan at last minute trip to the pool, drive in, or ice cream parlor to break the summer break monotony. It really never mattered whose kid you were. Most good parents slipped their kids a few bucks to off set the cost of the host parent , but no child was ever left behind.

In the social order of things it was boy against girl until the age of ten. Every big sibling would defend any younger sibling in a fight. Any older sibling having a crush on anyone would have the news announced the neighborhood by a younger sibling. This was true of families large and small.

Summers were spent building forts. The boys would egg the girl’s fort and visa versa. When we started to all grow up some of the childhood romances blossomed and some stayed around. Lots of the kids from the really big families moved away to more important places to do more important things. Most when it came to having families had small ones and lived in lovely suburban places.

So many neighborhoods in the suburbs are silent. Everyone is in there perfectly ordered house and not out on their perfectly ordered lawn. Play groups are organized and day camps that teach important skills are chosen for our children’s summer break. Children play safely in the air conditioned indoors in front of screens. You don’t know the adults in the house three doors down and you certainly would not let your children go off with a neighbor without performing a background check.

Yes ,large families in close knit not so rich neighborhoods are going the way of the outdoor games and the joy of trusting people. It was not neat . It was dangerous too . I remember the blood on the mouth of the kid who got his braces caught on a laundry line during a game of flash light tag. Our parents were playing bridge or listening to ball games with the other parents when they should have been making us come in. My parents made lots of trips to the emergency room with gravel in the knees and cuts that required stitches. I suppose they were not diligent enough to protect us from all things that could leave scars. Still we scar our children with isolation and order never letting them know the joy of never ending summer days and life time friendship formed in childhood.

I am lucky I moved to a town where the summer lives and big families flourish . I watch it from my balcony. I was so surprised to see it. It is a Hispanic Catholic neighborhood and the girls ( many whom are cousins of some sort) play Barbie on a picnic table while the older kids ride their bikes. The youngest kids run somewhat semi supervised under the eye of an older sibling or grandmother( often not their own grandmother but just a neighborhood one.) Last minute games of soccer happen and yes someone always loads a van at the end of the day for an outing to a local dairy queen and it does not seem to matter whose kids belong to who when the van is loaded up.

Yes, it is somewhat dangerous to watch a boy about five out riding his bike in his pajamas with his friend out this morning riding their bike. One was riding a pink bike that was not doubt his older sisters. They made their way across the parking lot to the dumpster . The one in his PHS climber on top of it bare footed and retrieved an old discarded lamp shade. I was about to go down and say something , but they ran back to the sidewalk. The one in the PJs gave the lampshade to his friend who put it on his head.

There was this five year old riding with a lampshade on his head on his sisters pink bike on the side walk. I did not interfere as there was no emergency room run produced by this activity. One older lady came out walking her dog and chastised the boy’s in Spanish and returned the lampshade to the trash heap.

I just felt happy watching kids being kids in a place it is still well relatively safe to produce not so serious emergency room visits for small boys. Close knit neighborhoods and close knit families are much more serious things to lose than some of the “family values” a lot of people like to talk about. I really do not care if little boys climbing trees in my neighborhood has two mommies or parents who” just live together”. I care that we have communities in which we know our neighbors and trust them to buy our kid an ice cream cone or have dinner at their house. I want children to know the lovely chaos and joy of “unplanned ” summers.

I want our society to once again know that we learn to be good employers, good employees, and good parents and lovers by learning to have friends of all sorts in childhood. We learn to risk a few falls for fun of no so safe play. I want our youth to have the chance to truly be young and carefree. These are the real family values large families and close knit neighborhoods produced and they are the family values that matter.…

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Decor

Interior Decorating for Assisted Living: Ideas for Creating a New Home for the Elderly

For most people the transition from a home to an assisted living center is pretty difficult. It’s not easy to leave a spacious home that you’ve lived in and loved in behind after many years and move into a much smaller place with less autonomy. But there are some benefits to assisted living that make it really worthwhile and usually after the transition is over, the residents love their new carefree life surrounded by peers and friends.

So the key is making the transition from a home to an assisted living center easier and more seamless for the resident. Believe it or not, interior decorating can be the key to making this happen.

Keep it Familiar

Rather than going out and purchasing all new bedding and linens, keep it familiar by using whatever linens you can from the old home. In many cases you can actually select your own bed so bringing the one from home is a good idea. Sleeping can be difficult during the transition phase so by keeping the bed and linens the same you’ve added an element of comfort and a feeling of home.

Size Matters

Most assisted living facilities feature very small apartments so not all of your home furniture is going to fit and you don’t want to go out and buy new pieces that are too large as well. Keep track of measurements as you shop and create a template on paper so you can visualize the furniture in place before you make a purchase.

Safety Concerns

You want to keep safety in mind when you make all of your purchases. Sharp edges on night stands or coffee tables are just asking for trouble. In fact, coffee tables are probably totally unnecessary as they cut down on floor space and provide an obstacle that may be difficult to maneuver around. Rugs can slip so they need proper backing or you should skip them all together.

Conversation Starters

Moving into an assisted living facility is a little bit like starting kindergarten. Everything is strange and unfamiliar and there are a lot of new people to meet. Take a lesson from kindergarten and create a show-and-tell with conversation starters. Use photos, souvenirs, and other mementos from the resident’s lifetime to give visitors a glimpse into their lives and a jumping off point for discussions. Change these trinkets and photos up frequently to keep things interesting.

Storage Options

There is no way you can cram everything from the home into the new living unit, in fact you’ll find it might be difficult to even store the essentials, so when shopping for furniture and accessories make sure you look for pieces with the best storage options. Plan to store items that may be needed frequently nearby and in easy to reach locations. Things that aren’t needed often can be stored in harder to reach spots but the resident must be willing to ask for help when getting these items.

Splurge

Buy one extravagant statement piece that feels like a luxury to the resident. There should be something new that they can take pride in and appreciate and be excited about owning. Make sure this is something the resident will really love.

Remember when using interior decorating to ease the transition into an assisted living facility always keep the resident in mind. You want them to be safe, comfortable, happy and feel at home.…

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Internet

5 Ways to Make Money On Instagram

There are several ways to make money on Instagram, but it’s important that you only use methods that don’t violate the terms of service agreement of the site.

This includes anything that asks you to buy, sell, or try to alter the way that the site works in any way.

While a lot of people have made some quick and easy money through ads on the right side of the page, there are limits to what can be done, so you should only dabble.

The best strategy is still to build your followers and turn them into buyers by promoting the products that they want or love.

You can get a better feel for how to do this by reading the rest of this article.

Sponsored posts:

Some companies will pay you to promote their product on your page.

You don’t have to do all of the work, but some companies will throw in an extra post for free if you do.

For example, if you like pizza, they might send you a sponsored post on a monthly or quarterly basis.

You can also make money through sponsored stories, which allows you to write about someone who uses their product and give an honest review.

Photos and videos:

This is the bread and butter of Instagram marketing, you can read more at SMM World.

People enjoy visual content, especially on a site like Facebook where there is so much content already there for you to look at.

Take a lot of pictures from different places and post them to your account.

If you are into videos, make sure to post some to your page as well.

People love watching videos, so you’ll definitely have people following your updates if you can provide them with something interesting to watch.

The trick is to provide content that people will want to see on a regular basis, so keep your page updated all the time.

Business feeds:

You can set up a business feed that shows customers the latest products and deals that you’ve found on the web.

Most of the time, these feeds are updated manually by Instagram staff, but you can help them do this by adding links to your products on your page.

Business feeds can turn into huge profits for you, especially during the holiday season.

With so many people shopping on Black Friday and Christmas, make sure that you are one of the first people to show up with deals on these holidays.

Private messages:

You can make money through private messages on Instagram.

You can send other Instagram users messages that will only be seen by them.

You can sell anything that you want on your page, and you can even put coupon codes so that people can save money when they buy products off of your shelf.

Make sure that you read the guidelines carefully before you start sending messages so that you don’t get in trouble.

Engagement levels:

When you follow people on Instagram, you’ll increase your chances of them following you back as well.

The best way to attract followers is to make sure that your page is fun and engaging.

People love interacting on social media, so if you want to make money, make sure that you keep your page updated at all times.

If you constantly stay away from updates, then you’ll only have a handful of followers.

Tips:

There are also many tips that you can find on the internet to help you make money.

One of the most popular ones is using coupon codes.

Coupons are great because they can save you some money on whatever you’re purchasing.

Make sure that you research each code thoroughly before you try it out on your page.

Instagram may seem like a gimmick at first, but you can make real money on it.

There are many different ways that you can go about making it work for you, though it helps to have a clear plan in mind before you get started.

Follow the above-mentioned tips and you should be able to make a lot of money off of your page in no time at all.

It’s a great way to share your pictures and let everyone know what you’re up to.…

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Engineering

Is test and tag a profitable business?

We’ve all seen the commercials and ads for test and tag businesses.

In this blog post, we’ll explore whether or not these companies are a viable option for business owners.

First, let’s look at what these types of companies do: they’re in charge of testing homes’ plumbing systems to ensure that there is no leakage from pipes or fixtures.

Next, we’ll examine the pros and cons of starting a test and tag company so you can determine if it would be a good fit for your own personal goals.

Finally, we will discuss how much money you could expect to make with this type of company once it has been up-and-running for five years based on different factors such as location, number of employees, etc.

In Australia, when we talk about the testing and tagging industry, we could be talking about a $100 million business or one that earns around $5 million to $10 million – depending on who you ask.

It’s difficult to define exactly how much revenue is brought in by companies involved with this sector because there could be many not-for-profit organizations running testing and tagging programs for schools, sporting clubs, and other groups barely turning over any profit.

However, there are certainly plenty of commercial operators making a tidy sum from their businesses.

For example, Brisbane-based company Toxguard runs tagging programs for thousands of children each week and has various outlets spread throughout the country.

This type of business is also supported by businesses such as Service First, which supplies equipment to firms in this sector, including cash registers and point of sale systems.

Mark Hewitt is one individual who has worked hard to carve out his own business in test and tag.

His company’s official name is National Electrical Safety (NES) Services, but he recognizes that these sorts of companies need an edge over their competition to ensure they can survive.

Mark tells us more about how he set up the business below:

“When I first started my electrical tester training course I had no idea there were so many opportunities out there for people with the right skills.

I had always worked in construction so I never really considered being a tester or testing company as an option, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I was able to use my electrical skills along with my qualifications to get my business off the ground.

Once you know what the industry is about and how it works, then opportunities will start to become apparent through your own research into the specific test and tag companies.

Being a sole trader didn’t seem appealing at first because of the lack of security.

But when you find something you love doing it’s all worthwhile.”

“My advice to anyone thinking about setting up a test and tag business would be not to rush into things too quickly, if you decide to start a test and tag business in Australia, call your service something like “Testing and Tagging Melbourne“.

No matter what your market segment maybe, the whole idea of electrical safety compliance is pretty simple: make sure equipment used by others has been safely tested and indicate that it meets Australian Standards.

In manufacturing, there are two types of testing, Factory Mutual (FM) and Heavy Industries Science And Technology Association (HISTA).

With FM you are required to test or check that all installations comply with Australian Standards at least once every six months.

Has varied depending on the type of equipment being used in your business – whether it’s power tools, forklifts, or other plant equipment.

The main advantage of hiring an electrical tester is that you don’t have to buy your own test and tag equipment.

However, if you do decide to set up your own business as a testing company then there are various forms of equipment needed such as lockout gear, plug testers, and earth fault loop impedance testers.

You can get all the necessary equipment from Service First Electrical.

Mark Hewitt says it’s important to stay close with customers so they know exactly where their maintenance funds are being spent.

This also provides the opportunity for businesses to create good relationships with clients so they can be given higher priority in any emergency situation.

“It’s really important to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to industry trends because this way you will always be the first to hear about market opportunities.

For example, if you’re in the area of power tools then it would be wise to know what other types of equipment companies are using.”

“All information is good info when it comes to this business, so I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned it’s you shouldn’t try and tackle all your problems by yourself.

Sooner or later these things will come back and bite you if not resolved properly.”

“You’ve got to stay ahead of the game even though the basic idea might seem simple enough.”…

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Family / Posts

What Car Should I Buy: A Beginner Guide!

What car should I buy for a beginner?

There are several cars you can start with, starting with an economical small car towing a light trailer behind a truck.

It is best to find at least two cars that are affordable and will get you on the road.

Once you know how safe a car is to drive, you can work your way up to a more powerful sports car.

The type of car you should buy depends on your style of driving, safety concerns, your wallet, and your needs as a driver.

When you consider what cars to buy for a beginner, the first thing you need to consider is the safety rating of the vehicle.

Is it worth buying or should you stay away?

How safe is it?

This question is most important when it comes to four-door sedans.

If the car has a low rating, it may not be worth buying, especially if the car will be used for transporting children.

A safe driver can get good grades in school, but that doesn’t mean you can take your car out on the highway without knowing how to drive it.

In fact, some people who are involved in an accident don’t even know how to fix their cars.

That is why it is so important to purchase a safe car.

There are so many different makes and models available on the market today that finding one that has been well maintained can help you avoid any costly repairs in the future.

Before you even begin thinking about what car to buy for a beginner, you want to think about what level of driving you plan to do.

Are you just learning to drive for pleasure or do you have a goal of becoming a safe, dependable driver?

Even if you want to become a safe driver, you can start by selecting a safe car from the beginning.

This is a great way to begin learning how to drive because you won’t have to worry about losing money if you get into an accident or have an accident that costs you lots of money.

The first and best thing you need to do is find out how safe the car you want to purchase is before you even begin looking.

You should first try to find out how much damage each vehicle has been through.

In most cases, vehicles that are sold for cheap are known to be unsafe because they have been abused.

Ask friends or family members if they can recommend any reliable dealers who sell cars for cheap.

If you don’t have anyone who can give you advice [click here] you can always check online to see what other people have said about various dealers.

Another way to find out about the safety of a particular car is to ask around your community.

People living around you will be able to tell you if a car is safe to drive or not.

Of course, you have to take their word for it, but it’s a good idea to ask around.

What car should I buy for a beginner to help them become a safe driver?

It would also be a great idea to find out from your local police force if they know of any reliable dealers in your area.

Ask them for advice.

What car should I buy for a beginner to help them become a safe driver?

If you are new to driving, you should get a vehicle that has a high safety ranking.

High-ranking cars are known to have a reduced chance of having accidents, which means that they are less likely to cost you a lot of money in repairs.

Now that you have found out what car should I buy for a beginner, you should make sure that you are ready to go out and drive it.

You never know when you might have an accident, and it would be horrible if you had an accident while on your first trip with your new car.

You never know when something may happen that could have unforeseen consequences.

That is why it is important to make sure that you are insured because if you get into an accident without insurance, you could owe a lot of money and be unable to get any money to fix the car.…

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Fashion

Zipper Fashion Rosettes

Supplies:
Metal zipper
Fabric scrap
Scissors
Hot glue
White glue

You might have been saving zippers to sew into other garments, if those zippers go bad, but sewing zippers into clothing isn’t the only way to reuse them. Cut zippers up and use them in an unusual way to make embellishments for fashions and home decorating projects, rosettes for crafting, and other fanciful items. If you already have zippers, you won’t pay a penny for the rosettes, which can be used in many different ways.

Unzip a zipper and cut it, straight across, to remove the zipper pull, and to separate the two sides of the zipper. Since each piece has fabric stitched to it, it’s necessary to remove the cloth. Cut the stitches to remove the biggest part of it; use a lighter to burn off the rest. Remember to hold the zipper with a potholder because the zipper will get hot as you burn the fabric off.

When all of the cloth is off of the zipper it’s the easiest thing to turn it into a rosette. Simply lay it flat on a table and begin winding it around itself. Hold one end down, and wrap the other end around and around the stationary end. You’ll make a flat circle of zipper teeth, which is metallic and lovely. If you want the rosette to be larger than it is when you finish wrapping, use a dot of hot glue to hold the end in place, and start wrapping another zipper-half around it.

The rosette you make is a flat one but you can give it dimension by making another one on top of it. The top rosette should be a bit smaller than the bottom one. Add another rosette, and another, to create the depth that you want; make each rosette smaller than the previous one.

The zipper rosette will be easiest to attach if you glue a piece of cloth or felt to the bottom of it. Glue the finished flower to a purse, a garment, a lampshade, a mirror or picture frame corner, or even a hat. Attach it to a piece of fabric to make a curtain tie-back, or make a large zipper rosette, and turn it into a coaster.

Don’t like the metallic color of the rosette? Paint it! You can easily spray paint the zipper before you start, or paint the rosette when you’re finished. That gives you many options for coordinating colors on your fashions, or for your home decorating.

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