Financial Crisis, economic slow down, downturn in the housing market has an impact on home improvements that can benefit the homeowner.

Consumer confidence is close to the lowest it’s been since the late 80’s. Home prices are dropping, foreclosures are rising, and fuel costs are high. While the news can be depressing, the impact can benefit homeowners planning home improvements. The housing slump is affecting home remodeling contractors and the home improvement stores that supply the construction materials.

Many home improvement and lumber merchants are starting campaigns to mark down prices. “This is providing the homeowner with more bargaining power and less expensive home improvement projects.” Said Debra, owner of Westmoreland Contractor Referral Service, in Greensburg. Pa. The housing slump is introducing new competition into the remodeling arena. Smaller homebuilders are actually diversifying their businesses to survive the downturn. Construction companies are looking into every aspect of their business and making adjustments. The result for the homeowner is lower material costs and reduced overhead cost, which results in an overall reduction in the cost of home repairs and remodeling.

Contractors are feeling the impact of the economic slow down which provides a unique benefit to the homeowner. Contractors can now purchase materials at lower prices and are able to pass these savings along to the homeowner. The slow down gives the homeowner the added benefit of contractor availability. A few months ago, a phone call might not have been returned as quickly as it will now. Contractors are working hard to find new business and keep their employees working. They’re literally looking for more business that they normally would pass on. “Homeowners now have more remodelers to choose from.” Debra said. “However, caution should be taken to ensure that the contractor is insured and is qualified to do the project.” Debra is the owner of Westmoreland Contractor Referral Service, which is a company that provides a free service to the homeowner by matching a prescreened qualified contractor based on the project specifications.

Homeowners that feel good about their equity situation should consider a home improvement project now. The benefits of home improvements can include not only savings on the cost but also can add value to the home and depending on the type of project can help to make a home more energy efficient.

Prospective homebuyers are now holding off on purchasing a new home and are finding that home updating, additions, and renovations are a more economical decision. “Instead of buying a new home.” Debra said. “They are adding on and renovating.” Even in severe downturns, people need to update and maintain their homes. Where some home improvements were not affordable a few months ago, now they are and homeowners can cash in on the deals. “Bottom line, if you have been putting off the home remodeling project and have the cash, now is the time to start that project.” Said Debra.

Lemongrass, sweet basil, spicy basil and other herbs were growing wild all years round in Northeastern Thailand where I grew up . My grand-father planted mango trees, papaya trees, tamarind tree, giant bamboo tree and other countless trees everywhere. I remembered running out to collect ripped mangoes that had been knocked down by the wind just before the heavy rain. Other kids in the neighborhood also joined in with big buckets in their hands. Nobody cared who took them, they were plenty for everyone. One of my roles as a young child was to help picking and finding whatever herbs my mother told me to pick before she did her cooking. Lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves to make curry paste or spicy basil for stir-fry spicy chicken. I would ran off to the wood behind the house and came back handful with herbs for my mom. Sometimes, she complained that I was little too rough with those herbs because I bruised them. But most of the time, she was pleased. Those were good memories and I had no idea that I would miss such things as picking herbs. One of my vivid memories of lemongrass was that I used to bathe outdoor from a huge clay water container which stood next to lemongrass bush. The bush was there sucking in all the soapy water running off my body. It survived the alkaline water!

In cold climate areas such as Northern USA, lemongrass can be grown outdoor in Spring with the rest of herbs and plants in the garden or as decorative plant itself. I usually plant my lemongrass outside in the garden with my vegetables. These day, you can pretty much buy lemongrass from most of the nurseries. They usually sell in a small pot with one lemon stalk per pot. You’ll only need one plant or two to get started. You’ll be amazed how many stalks they will reproduce by the end of the Summer. Lemongrass prefers well drained soil and good sun light. Give it some water when ever you water your garden. If you plant it indoor,you could get by with watering it every 3-4 days. Lemongrass is an easy plant to plant, after all they don’t call it “grass” for nothing. It doesn’t require much care and it is disease resistance as well. Plant Lemongrass in Spring after frost and by mid Summer, you’ll have lemongrass ready for cooking.

I keep my lemongrass in the freezer and use it all year round. I do this by harvesting lemongrass at the end of each Fall. I would dig out the whole plant which by this time, I should have a whole big bunch of healthy looking lemongrass stalks. I would then leave about five stalks with roots attached, chop of the leaves and plant them in a pot indoor. This would be used as my starter for up coming Spring. I then would clean up the rest of the stalks by cutting off the roots, trimming off all the leaves and peeling a layer or two of the stalks leaving nice and clean white and light green part. I prefer slicing them in little pieces and pack them in zip lock bag. I use lemongrass for soup,curry and stir fry. If you like lemongrass tea, you can also save those leaves that you trim off from the stalks. Chop them up in little pieces and let them air dry. Store it in a ziplock bag or a jar and use it for making lemon grass tea which is a very good relaxant, by the way.

Now, the Spring is not too far away. My Lemongrass plants are sitting in the pot waiting to be replant again. Look like I will have many lemongrass bushes to harvest next fall.

Ratcha Chambers is a stay-at-home-mother of twin girls. Visit her knitting website at; www.to-knit-knitting-stitches.com

and her blog at: Asia Mom Blog

Nowadays land owners, capitalists, Realtors and brokers make use of architecture three-dimensional visuals for a combination of needs. If you have been in the property publicizing sector for some time, for sure you have realized how important this visualizations are for construction selling campaigns. Due to the excellent benefits that they are producing, they are conquering a lot of business that camera portrayals had in the past.

An intelligent strategy is to outsource three-dimensional renderings to a qualified team. Architects that have worked with 3d software for a long time will have the potential to recreate every area of your project with a hyper realistic touch. So, What are the main leverages of architectural rendering productions if we compare them with the camera depictions that photographers prepare?

Good Examples of the Pros Gained by Builders From Architecture Digital Renders

As a base to create impressive renderings, computer digital architects will mainly use a quality environment image in combination with a pleasant daily blue sky, or what about a sunset depending upon the variety of construction, its location, and the main area being created. In comparison, photo shoots from traditional cameras are dependable on the environment.

For street pedestrian perspectives, the most prepared specialists are qualified to provide high-quality exterior ornamentation. They currently have complete libraries of many types of outdoor and indoor plants, and outside equipment. In an actual good picture session the place should be adjusted, and much more cash will have to be dedicated for trees and shrubs, each equipment that could be broken, aged painting, and high yards among other important things.

Maybe the current home’s kitchen is out-of-date and needs a lot of home improvement. A new property or home render definitely will generate the colorful kitchen you want to acquire in a few days. This will add value to the properties before you start expending on them, and sometimes though the purchaser may see the kitchen 3d graphic doesn’t necessarily match the real one, he would have no doubt about how it can look like if he decides making an investment on it. Because of this and other important reasons, we can potentially agree with the fact that 3d renderings really buy precious time. With this example just described, an actual picture shoot will price your projects far less, since the original home’s kitchen is old fashioned and the photos will be of little assistance to attract buyers.

A great home improvement would comprise of myriad of elements, out of which certain areas need special consideration and extensive planning to give your home the dream look. The basics of home design embrace colors, step by step designing of rooms, kitchen remodeling and last but not the least bathroom remodeling. While the process may seem daunting as you have so many things to consider, but trust me decoration is all about creating beautiful environment with collections, art, and furnishings.

Kitchen Remodeling

While it is the loveliest place for a woman, it is also one of the visited parts of your home. So kitchen remodeling should start with painting. Painting could hide the stains and instantly give your kitchen a brand new look. How do you think would add a spark to your kitchen if you add a cabinet or hardware in place? Try it; it works. Next, floor tiles can also offer a facelift to the kitchen. Nonetheless, new utensils, a new fruit basket, kitchen wallpaper, and glass panes can add an extra note to your kitchen. Kitchen remodeling can change the overall appearance of your place if you can match the dcor with the color of the paint.

Bathroom Remodeling

Creating a better bathroom design is not just a matter of indulgence; rather, its a smart way of living. The best way to improve the existing design is to add a second full bath to the existing one bath house, or you can modify the existing bath too. Please note, a remodeled bath can add a new dimension. Apart from painting the bathroom with your favorite color, bathroom remodeling also involve configuration, style, and size alteration. Consider if the space you have is enough to accommodate two people, or you need enough store or counter space. If you are planning for simple redecoration, your own imagination would be enough. If you want to take it to a whole new level, you might want to talk with bath design professionals. With new construction, it is easier to fit a master bath within the master bedroom or a bath near the child bed room. Remodeling a bathroom may involve relocation and fixtures with accompanying drain or vent pipes, moving windows and doors, and even occupying space from nearby bedrooms and closets. You may also need extra supply of fittings and fixtures to give the bathroom a nostalgic appearance with contemporary performance. It all depends on how you want to do it.

Whether it is kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling or an overall home improvement, every element that goes into it requires extensive planning and creative use of imagination, even if you are hiring an architect for it. After all, its your dream home and you and your family should be a part of the home improvement project. Whether its remodeling of the existing home, or building a new one, process for both are same.

Different plants have different life spans. Annual plants live only one year. Perennial plants live for many years.

There are two types of perennial plants; woody perennials, which are shrubs and rose bushes, and herbaceous perennials, which make up the bulk of the perennial flower plants.

Annuals

Annuals generally propagate by seed and can be easily grown from seeds. Local garden centers also carry a variety of annual plants that can be easily transplanted into your garden.

Established annuals should be planted in the garden in the spring after all danger of frost is past. You can find out typically when the growing season begins, in your area of the country, from your local garden center or possibly from a farmer’s almanac. Another good source of information for growing seasons in different areas of land would be the farmers association accessed through your local chamber of commerce or library.

Each variety of annual will have different needs for sun exposure and water. Making sure that you give your annuals the proper sun exposure and water will give you longer lasting plants and more colorful blooms in your garden.

Perennials

Many perennials also propagate by seed and are easily grown from seed. However, unlike annuals, some perennials may not bloom the first season and will not reach their full growth for at least two years and often for three to four years. Perennials offer great advantages in the garden for their brilliantly colored blooms and because they do not need to be replanted each year.

Like annuals, perennials also have specific needs for sun exposure, watering and fertilizing.

Bulbs, Rhizomes and Tubers

Bulbs, rhizomes and tubers are part of the root systems of plants like Day Lilies, Iris, Tulips and many other perennial plants. Unlike annuals and perennials that are planted from seed, the bulbs and rhizomes must have at least two months at temperatures below 40 degrees F in order to bloom.

Therefore, these plants should usually be planted in the fall. Perennials may sleep like bears in the woods, throughout the entire winter, but will flourish and blossom come the next Spring.

London Garden Design
Designs in London have to take into consideration a number of factors. As with any other gardens outside of London, the size and function of the garden has to be considered. What must also be taken into consideration is that though there are a variety of gardens in London from large to small, from courtyard to front garden, from roof garden to balcony garden they are all surrounded by the city, itself. This means that the majority of London gardens are affected by limited sunlight, particular soils and the surrounding buildings and neighbouring gardens. London gardens are surrounded by the city and it is difficult to merge them into the landscape (although there are good views from some gardens) and they are usually enclosed and shut off from the city and its surroundings.

Designing a Sanctuary
Enclosed gardens in London are popularly regarded as a retreat, a haven, a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. It is perceived that they should be separate from the city and rather than reflect London occupy a quiet space that contains qualities the city does not appear to possess.

One way in which to create a sanctuary in London is to create an exotic garden. This is done through clever plantation strategy. Ornamental rather than vegetable plantation will create a scene of colour. This can be done with a variety of gardens from rock garden to formal flower gardens. Rock gardens are best suited to courtyard or at least ground level gardens. It is unlikely that the garden will have a natural rock formation in London so it is best to consult a professional designer about creating an artificial formation as these can be a complex creation. Flower gardens are usually informal in the country as there is greater access to wild plantation which gardens may even blend in with and extend the garden. A formal flower garden in London will bring it colour and life and carefully chosen plants will ensure colour in all seasons.

Container Gardens
Container gardens also work well in London areas in roof gardens and balconies. Containers of plants can look cheap and messy but carefully chosen plants, stylish containers and complementary features can make a garden very attractive. Herb gardens also work well in container gardens and flower gardens as they are functional and add interesting scents. Garden designers can now provide and install features for container gardens such as a water feature in a trough to be placed on a roof garden. This type of garden design is ideal for roof gardens and balconies as the materials used to create the garden need to be light and feasibly moved to a roof or balcony.

Water Water Everywhere
Water designs are very popular as they can both provide a garden of peace and tranquillity and add some exoticism. Persian gardens, for example, traditionally use water features for irrigation, display and sound. These water features can easily be replicated and reproduced in modern gardens. Water designs are ideal for London gardens as they inspire a place of quiet reflection away from the loud and cluttered city. There are a range of water features to choose from. Ponds work well in ground level gardens but need to be carefully located away from child’s play areas and the sizing needs to be very accurate as it is difficult to change once completed. Water features like ponds can also be functional as seating can be incorporated into this (and other fixtures) with the addition of a wide brim making effective use of space. However if the garden is not suited to a pond, fountains, mists and pools are amongst a wide range of water features to choose from. It is now possible to have a water garden anywhere as there are a large number of materials available to construct them. Water pumps, sand, pebbles, hoses, cement, reservoir tank, stone, spirit level and tile are the types of construction material used to create the feature. Garden designers can both advise on the use of such material and also install water gardens. Once the water feature is installed it requires little maintenance creating a lasting impression that does not fade upon completion.

Let There Be Light
What is also key to a garden in London, regardless of planting design and features is the creation of light. Most gardens in London are naturally overshadowed by the surrounding conglomerate of buildings. It is important to introduce light and colour into these gardens to make them look good. This can be done through the painting of the fencing and fixtures in either bold, strong colours or in light colours which artificially enhances the brightness of the garden and can be applied to any type of London garden. Fixtures and fencing are also easily supplied if not already in place and there are a range of designs from stone, fencing, iron railings, hurdling, wood and hedges that can be sourced and used.

In addition to painted fixtures the garden can be lighted artificially through the use of electric lighting. It is important to involve professionals in the installation of garden lighting as it must be protected from water used for plant irrigation and can cause enormous expense if not done properly. It is recommended that ordinary bulbs are not used but solar bulbs and lights chosen from a range of garden lighting. It is also important to remember to ensure the garden does not resemble Christmas all year around and that lighting is effectively used to highlight. Lights for occasional use such as oil lamps for visitors can be used in conjunction with permanent lighting for entertainment purposes.

Lightening and brightening a London garden and creating a luxurious yet tranquil space in the City will create a good London garden

Many different troubles are likely to occur in your garden. That is reality. The nature of the plant is significant here, some hardy shrubs might stay trouble free all their lives, an old-fashioned Rose might be host to an assortment of pests and diseases every season. The weather is another basic factor, there will be slugs when it’s wet, greenfly when it is dry, frost damage when it’s cold and red spider mite when it’s hot. So both expert and novice gardeners can expect problems.

The big difference is that the expert knows what to look for, takes steps to cut down the likelihood of pest and disease attack, and tackles trouble the moment it appears. Garden troubles are tackled in two basic ways, culturally and chemically. One method cannot replace the other, they both have their job to do in a well-tended garden.

Pruning properly:

You must learn this indispensable art. It is obviously essential for ensuring fruit and flower production, but it is also essential in the war against pests and diseases. Cut out dead wood. Remove congested branches to ensure adequate exposure to air. Paint large cuts with Arbrex.

Choose wisely when buying plants:

Reject soft bulbs, lanky bedding plants, aged seeds, unhealthy looking shrubs and disease-ridden perennials.

Plan carefully:

Be certain that your plant is right for your site. Avoid sun loving plants if shade is an issue – avoid tender plants if the garden is open and susceptible to frosts. Rotation of crops is also important for a lot of vegetables.

Spray to avoid disease:

Fungicides tend to be protectors rather than cures. This means you should spray as soon as the first spots are seen. In some cases (e.g black spot, peach leaf curl) you are required to spray before the disease is seen.

Remove dead plants, rubbish and weeds:

Rotting plants can often be a source of infection, some actually attract pests into your garden. Boxes, old flower pots etc are a breeding ground for slugs and woodlice. Weeds rob plants of food, water, light and space. Hoe them out or pull them out – take care if you use a weedkiller.

Guard against animals:

Use netting to safeguard seedlings, vegetables and soft fruit from birds. A cylinder of wire-netting all around the trunk base is the best way to keep squirrels, rabbits, cats and dogs far away from the bottom of trees.

Always follow the rules of excellent cleanliness under glass:

The humid environment in your greenhouse is a paradise for pests and diseases. Control is often difficult, so again, prevention is better than cure. Use compost or sterilized soil when planting. Ensure the house is adequately ventilated; dry air encourages pests and poor growth, saturated air encourages diseases. Try to avoid sudden fluctuations in temperature; water regularly. Water during the morning, although you can water in the early evening if the weather is warm. Remove dead leaves and plants without delay.

Feeding your plants properly:

Shortages of nutrients often leads to numerous problems, poor growth, undersized blooms, lowered disease resistance and discolored leaves. But take care, overfeeding can cause scorch, and unbalanced feeding with too much nitrogen can lead to lots of leaves and very few flowers.

Prepare the ground painstakingly:

A strong-growing plant is more likely to resist pest or disease attack than a weak specimen. Water-logging as a result of insufficient soil preparation is a basic cause of plant failure in heavy soils. Add a humus maker when digging. Remove perennial weed roots. Add Chlorophos to the soil if pests have gnawed roots in a different place in your garden.

The Cisco IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) Structure Skills shows knowledge the IP NGN architecture, from revenue to support. The Innovative IP Next-Generation Network Structure Skills is not currently required for qualifications, but is optionally available for Gold and Leading qualified associates. We are also flying the addition of this specialization as an option for Gold Certification.

Is your organization interested in taking full advantage of the Cisco Innovative IP NGN Structure Skills for Gold Certification? If so, deliver an email that contains your associate organization name and a member of the program staff will contact you with more details.
Cisco IP NGN Structure Skills helps your company:

Develop revenue, specialized and service abilities for incorporated social media solutions

Increase specialized proficiency internally

Gain identification as a specialized associate in the Cisco Partner Locator

Explore IP NGN resources
This specialization also allows you to a range of additional benefits. You can:

Participate in Cisco route motivation programs

Receive invites to Cisco subsidized associate activities

Access Partner Knowledge Connection

Use My Cisco to customize web content and get details quickly

Send an argument stating your accomplishment

Visit the Cisco Design Area for examined styles and configurations
Exam 650-756

Examination 650-756 includes 60 concerns and time permitted to finish this exam is 60 moments or 1 time. This exam is available in British terminology. Candidates can sign-up for this exam at any Pearson VUE middle.

The 650-756 Innovative IP Next-Generation Network (NGN) Structure Area Professional (PANGNFE) examinations will determine a learner’s understanding of the Cisco IP NGN architecture and capability to map specialized alternatives to company needs. You will also need to show a knowing of the different foundations of the Cisco IP NGN architecture. This exam is a need of the Innovative IP NGN Structure Expertise for Area Technical engineers. Quality will determine a learner’s capability to provide an obvious and powerful concept around the functions, functions and advantages of the Cisco IP NGN architecture in business-focused conditions. It will also analyze a learner’s capability to evaluate typical problems throughout a company that Cisco IP NGN architecture can help fix and efficiency in introducing company influencers for Cisco IP NGN architecture programs.
650-754 Exam Topics

The following subjects are typical recommendations for the articles likely to be involved on the examination. However, other relevant subjects may also appear on any particular distribution of the examination. To be able to better indicate the 650-754 material of the examination and for quality requirements, the recommendations below may modify whenever without observe. They include:

Describe Cisco IP NGN conditions and advantages
Describe Cisco IP NGN alternatives and how to arrange them with client needs
Describe typical client objections
Describe the aggressive surroundings and how to place Cisco IP NGN solutions
Describe how to create and existing Cisco IP NGN alternatives as a company situation to the customer
Describe the company and specialized advantages of the Cisco IP NGN architecture
Describe the company individuals for Cisco IP NGN structure applications

If you have a garden or yard, then you probably know that your plants need a little more help during the summer heat. In many cases, the best way to keep your garden healthy is to water the plants so that they are getting the moisture they need to grow. However, if you do not water your plants properly, you might find your garden dead rather quickly. Use the following tips to water you flowers and plants in the best way possible.

Tip #1: Regulate the watering.

One of the most common mistakes people make is to turn their sprinkler systems on a timer, which takes the guesswork out of watering. However, this is generally a bad idea, since it can lead to over-watering. Why? Well, it might rain some times, making the ground already saturated. Your water will just add to the problem. You should take every day as it comes. If your plants need water, water them, but if they do not, let the natural water in the environment take care of the situation. Using a timer might be easy, but it is generally not an effective method for watering your plants.

Remember, a timer can be effective if you are going away on vacation. During the summer months, many people like to take time off, and if you are leaving for vacation, set up a sprinkler system on a timer so that you can be sure your plants get the water they need while you are away.

Tip #2: Know your plants.

How much water does your rose bush need to survive and thrive? How much does your lawn need? How much does your lilac bush need? Every plant is completely different. You would not water a cactus on the same schedules as you would water a patch of grass, right? Well, although the differences might not be quite as drastic, knowing your plants allows you to make sure that each gets the proper amount of water during the summer. You can do research online or talk to your local garden center professional to determine how much water your plants need. With a bit of preparation and planning you can take steps to ensure that your flowers and plants will be properly watered and healthy.

Tip #3: Create a drainage system in your garden.

If you have a good drainage system in your garden, using good planting patterns, slopes, and runoff ditches, the plants will not run the risk of being waterlogged. This is especially important if some plants in your garden need more water than others. A good drainage system is actually pretty easy to install in your garden, and it should not cost too much extra money.

Tip #4: Prune your plants.

What does pruning have to do with watering? Well, when you prune plants, you are getting rid of dead leaves as well as excessive growth. It is that excessive growth that should worry you. A plant needs less water when it is the correct size. If it gets too big, it will demand more water and the plant will not be as healthy. Make sure that you prune each plant carefully, especially if you want the biggest and best blooms.

Today, many homeowners prefer to work on their own home improvement projects and so the DIY or Do-It-Yourself way of life is becoming increasingly popular. One of the possible reasons is that information and basic home tools are easily available at the local general store. If you are skilled with building trades like woodworking and can follow diagrams and instructions, it is a very good way to translate your know-how into making useful items for your home.

Use basic home tools to assemble “flat packs” or “knock-down” furniture with minimal effort. You can also choose to work on larger projects like walk-in closets, wall racks and mounts, or lawn and garden sets with a bit of expertise and high-power tools. Nowadays, it is easy to find tools that cater to more specific tasks. While having the right tool for the job is a good thing, it is more practical to look through your local general store to stock the bare essentials first.

Hammers are available in different forms and sizes, but a good claw hammer made from forged steel is one of your basic home tools that can be a versatile addition to your collection. When choosing hammers, ensure that the side of the head that is used for pounding is a straight, smooth or textured surface. A ball-pein hammer has a side with a rounded surface and is mostly used for metalwork. Screwdrivers and drills come with a wide range of head styles, the flat and the Phillips-head being the most popular. As the screws come in different sizes, a set is preferable. Another option is to look through a general store for an electric screwdriver with interchangeable bits. Opt for a cordless drill as that can allow you to work more efficiently. Cordless drills that come with both drill and screwdriver bits are a good inclusion in your DIY kit.

A lot of ready-to-assemble furniture like racks and computer tables come with bolts and nuts that need to be screwed in using a “hex key” or Allen wrench. As hex screws are very popular, having a set of chrome vanadium wrenches is ideal but an adjustable spanner/wrench will be enough. Other essentials that should be a part of your DIY kit are wood saws, tape measures, levels and pliers. Use a leather mason bag to keep all your tools organized and makes them easy to tote around.

Authors Profile: Martin Pitt is a certified interior designer and runs his own interior decoration consultancy. Martin especially loves decorating a home in wooden furniture and believes that nothing gives a home as warm and cozy a touch as all-wood furniture and decor. Martin loves reading up on new design ideas, and has a special interest in space saving techniques. Here Martin writes about general store and basic home tools.