Friday, January 16, 2009

Picture Framing is a Great Do it yourself Project

Picture Framing is a Great Do it yourself Project

Author: Susan Slobac

If you are an artist, or simply someone who enjoys displaying artwork around your home or office, you are going to need to frame your fine prints. Although you could have the art framed professionally, it is quite easy to do picture framing yourself.

With a few simple materials, you can be well on your way to displaying the paintings and photos that you enjoy. You will need to measure your picture first, so that you can obtain the proper sized materials for picture framing. After that, you will need to get an appropriately sized frame with glazing, mount board, mat board, some way to adhere the art to the mountboard, and a hanging mechanism in order to hang your picture if desired. picture frames come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, including metal and wood.

Usually paintings are framed in wood, while photographs use metal frames, but you can use either according to your picture framing taste and where the artwork will be displayed. Ready made picture frames are less expensive than custom frames, but if you have an unusually sized piece of artwork, custom frames could be your only option for picture framing. Ready made picture frames are readily available in many standard sizes. Picture frames will also need some type of glazing, and this can be sold with the frame or separately. Glazing can be glass or acrylic, and each offer specific benefits. Glass is very scratch resistant, but also rather heavy. Acrylic is lightweight but a bit more prone to scratching. However, it can also provide additional protection to your artwork by bringing ultra violet light protection and reduced glare to the framed art.

The picture is placed on the mount board and is adhered to it in some manner. Although adhesive can be used, it can often damage the artwork if you want to change out the picture frames. Photo corners or hinging tape can be used instead, and these often come in acid-free formulas so that no damage will come to the artwork, which can be removed from the corners easily. Alternatively, the mount board can be taped to the mat board using the hinging tape, with the artwork sandwiched in between. A lightweight but sturdy mount board will help to preserve your artwork. Using acid-free foam core mount board offers a great way to protect your artwork from damaging acids that can discolor its surface. The mat board is an important consideration for several reasons. Aesthetically, mats can be layered to highlight certain colors within the picture. In terms of conservation, mats also help to provide space between the artwork's surface and the glazing, and help to prevent moisture buildup that can damage the art. Utilizing all of these pieces, you can easily practice picture framing your artwork. Ready made picture frames can be used inexpensively, and picture frames can be chosen according to what you like and what works with your decor.

About the Author:

Susan Slobac is an avid photographer.Susan believes a picture frame is more than just fashion; it's a safeguard for something you love. In this article Susan talks about

picture framing.

Article Source:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Building Your Own Brick Walkway

Many of the tools that you will need to make your own brick or paved pathway are familiar to any home repair project. If you have a yard, then you might already have a water hose, rake, shovel, and trowel. It's important for you to have safety goggles and hardwearing gloves for this, and a broom, hammer or mallet, measuring tape, and scissors are also needed. You will need string and poles, along with whatever you want to use for edging (brick, metal, wood, or plastic restraints), 2x4 or pipe sections to use for leveling the levels, and if using wood for edging, a drill and suitable bit. A wheelbarrow may be useful to haul supplies to the elected point. You should be able to rent a plate compacting machine and brick cutter from where you buy the key materials: bricks, gravel, and sand.
Be sure that you use materials specially meant for sidewalk or patio use. Gravel or crushed stone mixtures are an easier choice to a concrete base layer. Do not use everyday bricks, such as the kind found in fireplaces, for this; paving bricks do not have the holes found in everyday bricks, and thus are stronger and safer to be used for ground implementation.

To start, ensure that the area you desire for the brick is safe. Check for any utility lines that may be hidden underground, and tree roots that may be disturbed. Also make sure that there is some sort of slant or decline for run-off water, so that your yard or worse, your house, is not hurt from rain or snow that has nowhere to run off. To estimate the quantity of sand, gravel, and bricks you will need, figure out the square footage of the design. Sand and gravel are usually referred to in cubic yards and one cubic yard is equal to approximately 27 cubic feet or 324 square feet, at one inch depths of coverage. Between four and five 4x8 inch bricks are needed per square foot, depending on the size of the brick and the shape of the design. It's always better to have too much than too little, so get an extra five to ten percent of the full amount of bricks, to allocate for mess-ups, edging, or even practice cuts.

Jump in! Outline the area with yarn and posts, or a hose its if a circular design. Use a flat shovel to remove the dirt, (a trowel for any hard to reach areas), and then start layering the gravel. Use the compactor in between layering to ensure a smooth foundation. Once you start adding sand, use your leveling board materials to check for even levels by laying a couple of segments on the sand and running another piece over. Once smooth, eradicate the pieces and start applying the bricks and edging materials. Only pack down the bricks once you are sure of the layout. Fill in any gaps between the bricks with sand, and rake or brush through to settle it down. Repeat brushing for the first few times after rain, to further strengthen the inlay.

Give yourself a pat on the back! Clay-based paving bricks come in many tones of brown, cream, green, orange, pink, red, and glistening with metallic touches. You can have the traditional rectangular shaped brick or custom cuts, all of which are slip resistant, which is calming when walking in wet weather or barefoot. Common patio or walkway patterns include basket weave, herringbone, running bond, stacking bond, and all modification. Will you use a uniform or alternate model? Whatever you decide on, make your walkway a reflection of your personal taste.

If you are looking for an inexpensive home, be sure to view the San Diego affordable homes for sale or the San Carlos affordable homes for sale or maybe even the Sabre Springs condos for sale. These homes are inexpensive and they are beautiful.

April Walters writes articles on the ins and outs of real estate and home-ownership for her clients. Her real estate SEO sites win her client after client.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How to Handmill Lye Soap

Handmilling is a fun way to vamp up your soap. Handmilling involves grating and melting down some week-old handmade lye soap in a microwave, doubleboiler, crockpot, or in a double-bagged ziploc dropped directly in gently boiling water. Whichever method you choose, the goal is to melt down your soap until it is runny or mushy. Be sure that after you grate your soap (use a cheese grater) that you add a little liquid to help it melt and avoid drying out. You can add water, milk, oil, an herbal infusion, fruit juice, or anything of that nature. Handmilling is far less "precise" practice than cold processing. As with cooking, in handmilling you just add a punch of this or that until the mixture looks about right. For one pound of shredded soap, I usually add about one cup of liquid. If you aren't sure, just add a little liquid as you go until it has the consistency that seems right to you.
Microwaving, while convenient, is probably the worst way to melt down your cold process soap because it doesn't thoroughly and uniformly heat the soap. For example, some parts of the soap can get dry and crusty while other parts are just starting to melt. However, some soapmakers swear by the microwave method. Be sure to microwave your soap in short bursts to avoid overcooking it. It doesn't take much for the soap to expand and spill out of the container.
Making Transparent Soap

Melting down your soap shreds in a crockpot slowly over the course of a few hours is supposed to produce the finest quality handmilled soap. The double boiler method involves boiling water in a large stock pot with your soap shreds sitting in a bowl on top of the pot. The steam heats and melts the soap in about 30-60 minutes. Don't let the pot boil dry. Probably the most popular and relatively simple way to handmill your soap is with double-bagged ziplocs in boiling water. With this method, place your soap shreds and liquid in a ziploc and place that into another ziploc. Place this in a pot of gently boiling water for about 30 minutes until it is soft or liquidy. The ziplocs will feel like they're getting thin in the hot water, but they will survive the extreme temperature just fine. The bags may also fill with steam as they boil—this is normal.

After you've melted your soap, mix in your additives (colorants, scents, dried herbs, etc) and mix well. How much scent or colorant should you add? Whatever looks right to you. Be sure to sniff the soap and make sure it smells a bit on the strong side as the scent will fade when the soap cures. If you are using the popular ziploc bag method, put your additives directly into the bag, seal it, and knead the bag. After mixing in your additives, cut a bottom corner off the ziploc and squeeze the handmilled soap out of the cut into the mold. Tap the mold several times on your countertop to help pack it down and remove air bubbles. Cover your molds with saran wrap and cure as usual.
The Natural Soap Book: Making Herbal & Vegetable-Based Soaps

For more information on this and other soapmaking topics, go to How2MakeSoap.Net. This website also offers free soapmaking video tutorials, pictures of the soapmaking process, free beginner soap recipes, and a 50-page soap “how to” ebook for $12.99. The ebook includes 39 one-pound soap recipes, 60 soapmaking pictures, and details on how to make your own soap recipes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

How to fillet a flounder

Let me tell you how I clean my flounder gigging catch. If you listen and do what I say your flounder should keep in the freezer for months and still taste fresh like the day you caught them. It is best to start keeping your flounder fresh the very minute you put them in the cooler. I put a couple of two liter plastic bottles filled with frozen water in the bottom of my ice box. Then make sure I cover my flounder with plenty of ice and always clean them the next day as soon as I can. To get started cleaning your flounder you need a fish scaler a six inch fillet knife that is sharp and a bowl that is large enough to hold your fillets. Rinse one of the two liter plastic bottles from the bottom of the ice box and place them in the bowl filled one half full of water. Now you have somewhere to put your flounder fillets so they will stay cold and will not dry out.( This keeps the flies and knats from getting on your flounder fillets also.) The first thing you need to do is scrap the scales from both sides of the flounder and rinse. Lay the flounder flat with the white side toward you so you can see a line running from the center of his tail up towards his gills. Using this line as a guide make a straight cut from the tail up to the gills. Now cut under the gills to the outside edges of the flounder making a tee. Make another tee at the tail.Carefully cut under the fillet from one end of the first cut to the other While using only the tip of the knife at an angle.Let the knife follow right against the bone while lifting the meat with your fingers. Repeat this process until you reach the edge of the flounder and cut the fillet from the bones. Check the fillet and trim out any small bones you may have missed. Now you are ready to put this fillet in the bowl of cold water and do the other half of this side using the same procedure. Now flip the flounder over and use the same process for the thick dark side. It may take a little practice to start with but keep practicing you will be a pro in no time. Now that you have your flounder fillets in a bowl I have one more thing that will help keep your flounder tasting fresh. Put enough fillets in a freezer bag for one meal. Now fill the bag with water until the flounder fillets are covered and squeeze all the air out as you seal the bag. Now you should have a bag with fillets and water and no air inside, ready to place in the freezer and enjoy eating later.

How to Test the pH Level of Hand-Made Soap

Soap: Making It, Enjoying It

There are a number of ways to test your soap. The old, at-home method is to simply touch the tip of your tongue to a bar of soap. If it tastes like soap, then everything is in order. If, however, your tongue gets a sting, this means your soap is lye-heavy and should be thrown out. After you touch your tongue to the soap, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. You can also buy litmus test strips to test your soap. The pH scale ranges from 1-14, with bases (alkalis) like lye on the low end and acids like vinegar at the high end. Your soap should be neutral on the pH scale—somewhere between 6 and 10. To test your soap, put a few drops of water on the surface of your soap and rub the test trip on it. Follow the instructions on the package of test strips. You can also buy drops of a solution called phenolphthalein online or at pool supply stores. You will put a few drops of the substance on your soap, and the color it turns will tell you the relative pH. Again, follow the directions of the bottle of phenolphthalein as each brand is different. Soap is notorious for being hard to measure the pH because the surface of the soap often yields completely different results than the center. Measuring the center accurately requires high-tech equipment. If you want to invest in an electronic pH meter, knock yourself out. However, in my opinion, it is easy to see if your soap is safe based on observing its appearance, smell, and taste.
325+ "No Stress" Soap Crafts and Recipes: Beginner to Advanced