Composting Tea Leaves and Teabags

If you drink tea and have a garden, composting used tea leaves is an easy way to promote sustainability, even if you do not compost any other material. Tea leaves are rich in nutrients and loose tea makes an outstanding mulch which can be applied directly to the soil in your garden. The tea can be collected in a container and placed directly on your garden daily or every few days. Composting tea leaves turns a waste product into a valuable resource, which has two main benefits:

  • Reducing waste
  • Enriching your soil for free and without using any synthetic fertilizers

Composting Tea Bags:

While loose-leaf tea can be applied directly to your garden, teabags require slightly more effort. Many teabags are not biodegradable. In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of nylon teabags. Nylon is a synthetic material which will not break down if added to compost. Some teabags are made of paper but are not compostable because they contain metal staples or other non-biodegradable materials.

Even with fully biodegradable teabags, one must exercise caution. Many tea companies claim that their teabags are biodegradable and compostable, but say nothing about the amount of time required for decomposition. Some teabags, especially the higher-quality ones marketed as “tea sachets”, are made of silk, which is natural but decomposes slowly. Even paper takes longer to decompose than most kitchen waste. Whereas the leaves inside a teabag are suitable for direct application to a garden, depending on conditions, the bag itself may take a year or more to fully decompose–much longer than most fruit and vegetable compost.

Break Open Tea Bags:

Breaking open teabags is a good practice whether your teabag is biodegradable or not. While in the long-run, it is best to avoid purchasing tea packed in nylon bags and other non-biodegradable packaging, if you do drink such teas, you can compost the contents of each bag and dispose of the bag in your normal trash. If you are drinking tea packaged in bags that are biodegradable but decompose slowly, breaking open the bag can allow you to separate the leaves, suitable for direct application to your garden, from the bag which will likely take a longer time to decompose. A time-saving trick for breaking open tea bags is to let them sit overnight to dry out; when dry, the leaves will no longer cling to the inside of the bag.

Drink Loose Tea:

Lastly, if you are interested in sustainability, drink loose tea. Not only does it taste better and save money, but it also saves energy. The packaging process for making teabags is involved and uses energy and materials that are unnecessary. Not only will using loose tea make it much easier for you to compost your tea leaves, it will improve your tea-drinking experience and help you promote sustainability in other ways as well.…

Facts About the Four Major Feng Shui House Types

Classical feng shui students learn about the four major house types within the first few days of instruction. These house s are described in broad brush strokes. Two of the four are supportive for health and relationships and two are not. Two of the four are supportive for financial luck and the other two are not. But to place too much emphasis on these four categories of house types, is like judging a book by its cover or a painting by its frame.

In the 20th century, these four house types were given catchy descriptions, translated from more non-literal Chinese terms, wherever we have one house type that is now labeled "good for people / good for money" (aka Wang Shan Wang Shui). The exact opposite house type is referred to as "Reversed," as in the reverse of the best house. Then there are the two mixed house types, with one being deemed "good for people / bad for money (Double Sitting) and the other one" good for money / bad for people "(Double Facing.)

In reality, we know that life is more complicated, and yet we all know someone who is wealthy, but unhealthy or wealthy but very unhappy. We also know of people who are strong physically and mentally, with loving family members and close friendships, but maybe chronic financial struggles.

So it is easy to assume that these four major house "personalities" cast their influence on the occupants to create these real discrepancies. In studying Xuan Kong Fei Xing, there are actually 144 different house charts, but these 144 "flying star charts" can all be grouped into the four major categories. These categories are determined based on when a house was built and what direction it is sitting or facing, so it is not like seeing a house with certain physical characteristics which would be so obvious.

One of the most frustrating things I encounter frequently is a prospective client who wants me to assist them in house hunting and they have heard about this "good for people / good for money" house and they only want to live in that house type and no Others. This is a very myopic way to go house hunting since what qualifies as good Feng Shui overall is based on a lot of criteria which is not determined based solely on the house's orientation or year built. In fact, there are so many instances when a floor plan lay-out is flawed, that it seriously undercuts or over-rides the nature of the so-called best house of these four major categories.

For example, I had one client whose house was deemed this "Wang Shan Wang Shui" (Good for people / good for money house type.) Meanwhile, the actual floor plan demonstrated that the bedrooms, entrance and home office were in the worst parts Of the house. To backtrack a little, it should be understood that no house on the planet has all inherently areas. On average, there are about four of the …

Knife Safety in the Kitchen

Most people do not know the proper way to handle a knife, whether it be in the kitchen or some other everyday use.

I have worked in a kitchen as a chef for 25 years now and it never ceases to amaze me how carelessly people handle a knife; one of the most used and dangerous tools in the kitchen. A knife is not a toy and it should not be used as one. Always respect a knife. It is also not a can, bottle or jar opener. It is also not a screwdriver, as this can cause damage to the tip of the blade and possibly slip and injure the user.

Always hold a knife in your dominant hand. If you are right-handed, hold the knife in your right hand. Likewise, if you are left-handed you would hold the knife in your left hand. You should always have the angle of the blade away from you. Never slice anything in the direction of your body, as you have a better chance of cutting yourself.

Never cut anything while holding it in your hand. Always use a cutting board with a damp cloth underneath it whenever you are slicing, chopping, or dicing. This will stop the board from slipping or moving on the counter top.

Also remember to keep your knives sharp at all times, as a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife. A dull knife will jump or slip off the item your are cutting and possibly cause serious injury to the user. That is why it is a important to own a honing stone or a knife sharpener.

Most people do not know the proper way to pass a knife to someone else. Some people will hold the knife by the blade while others will hold it by the handle. Each of these methods is incorrect. What if someone was to bump into the person receiving or passing the knife, this is an accident waiting to happen. The only proper way to pass a knife to someone else, is to lie it flat on a table with the edge of the blade facing away from the other person so they can pick it up themselves.

When walking through the kitchen, you never carry a knife loosely in front of you. The only way to carry a knife in the kitchen if you must, is by the handle, at the side of your leg with the sharp edge facing the back.

You should always hand wash your knives yourself after each use. Never put a knife in the dishwasher or sink with sudsy water as someone may reach in and cut themselves not knowing a knife was there.

Make sure you always use the proper knife for whatever job you are doing. Paring knives for coring or cleaning products, a chef knife for chopping or dicing and a slicing knife for slicing. Serrated knives are only to be used for slicing bread or sandwiches.

Always store …

Good Ventilation a Basic Requirement of a Good House

Ventilation is one of the basic requirements of a good house. As fresh air is a must to ensure the health of those who live in the house good ventilation is a must. In tropical climes it is not difficult to follow ventilation options when building a house. You can incorporate a lot of windows and they will provide the necessary ventilation with natural wind blowing. In countries where there are harsh winters it is not possible to have many windows in a house. Even if you do have you must close then and stay indoors during winter.

Now you are faced with a problem on how to ventilate your house. The best way is to expel some air from the areas where the air gets contaminated or become stale. Exhaust fans are most suitable way to expel the stale air from the house.

Kitchen is one of the places where the air gets polluted due to air being contaminated with cooking. If you are using a gas stove naturally some oxygen will be burnt. Unless you have a chimney from which the carbon dioxide is expelled into the out side of the house it will remain in the kitchen polluting the air. You must force this polluted air out with a window exhaust fan to allow fresh air to come into the house.

Your bathroom is the other place where the air will become damp and stale. Here too you must find a solution. The smells of soaps deodorants washing powers and everything else used in there will get mixed with air and the moisture from the evaporating water will make the walls damp. To solve this problem the best thing is to fix a window exhaust fan and make proper ventilation.

Once the ventilation is ensured in those places where the air gets contaminated your house will be a better place to live.…

Backpacking Vs Organized Tours – A Decision Every Traveller Faces

In planning my RTW adventure, I have been giving considerable thought to the options of backpack solo, or booking into an organised tour. In my past travels, I have done a combination of both organised tours and backpacking solo and both have their good and bad points.

ORGANISED TOURS – THE GOOD…

Time Poor – If you only have a limited amount of time to go travel, then an organised tour is great as you will be able to get around and see all the things you want to, without the hassle of organising the trip yourself.

New Friends – Generally people who book an organised tour with a specific company all have similar interests. I have made some amazing friends through doing organised tours and still, to this day, keep in touch with them.

You can be lazy – Once you have booked your tour, paid and packed your bag, you don’t need to worry about a thing! You are in effect paying the tour company to take care of transportation, meals, accommodation and all the hassles involved in travelling.

ORGANISED TOURS – THE BAD…

Socially inept – Every tour has someone on the tour who will drive you nuts. When in India, I was travelling with two girlfriends and because there were 3 of us in total, we had to alternate sharing a room with another female. Unfortunately this female was an older woman who had no self awareness and was clearly an inexperienced traveller, some of the “interesting experiences’ we had with her included:

  • She did not shut the door when she went to the bathroom, I would NEVER go to the bathroom with the door open, especially when I had only known the person for a matter of weeks…
  • She did not bring adequate first aid and medication supplies, unfortunately she came down with a mild cold / flu and proceeded to use everyone else’s medication and she never offered to replace it. When we went past a chemist, she was that inconsiderate that she didn’t even think to buy her own supplies.
  • She forgot her torch, now on this tour we were camping along the Ganges for several days and a torch was essential. So every time she went to the bathroom she borrowed my head torch, the problem was that she put this on her sweaty head and handed it back to me wet.. YUCK!
  • She hung her underwear up all over the bathroom and on my chair and bed, it was not a pleasant experience having to relocate her over sized bloomers every time I wanted to sit down…
  • She would leave the hotel with the key, there were several occasions when I was stranded outside of my room and had to wait for her to return, rule number 1 of an organised tour is ALWAYS leave the key with reception when you go out.

People who don’t read the trip notes – Of the tours I have done, I have encountered two …

7 Important Components Of A Great Office Interior Design

Do you agree that interior design plays a massive role in improving the productivity of the business and the overall attitude of workers? Nowadays, offices are being taken to a whole new level of beauty and functionality. Most companies aiming for competitiveness and dominance in the industry invest in smart office designs.

But what are the things you should look into when designing your office? Listed below are the important components of a good interior design for offices:

The Floor Layout

Different activities are accomplished in the workplace daily. Note about comfort and function. Make sure that work tables and other equipment are placed just right for the employees occupying a particular space. You would know that you have a smart floor layout if this allows the smoothest flow of operation.

Noise Reduction Implements

Soundproof glass windows and walls and other noise reduction features should be implemented. The sound of traffic outside, the click-clicking of women’s high heels on the floor, the conversations going on in a different room, etc are distracting. These sounds can be irritating to workers. Concentration is lost and quality of work is reduced.

Quality of Light

This is very important in any workspace. The quality of light should not strain the eyes. Choose a combination of natural and artificial light sources when designing your office. Natural lighting is eco-friendly and best of all help you save on electricity. Artificial light on the other hand are smart ways to illuminate an area effectively.

Windows and Curtains

Workplaces should not be blinded by darkness. Allow enough sunlight into the office by having enough numbers of windows in appropriate sizes. Big windows will give the room enough illumination and ventilation during the day. When designing, place the windows systematically into the direction of the sun. To control the amount of light coming through the windows, install curtains, shutters, or blinds. These interior pieces are part of the office decoration so make sure that you choose curtains that complement the overall theme.

Walls

Wall colours in particular can affect the productivity of employees. To create a calm setting, choose neutral colours for your walls.

Ergonomics

Studies show that physical stress can be reduced and body aches are prevented using ergonomic fixtures. Buy ergonomic chairs and tables for your office.

Shelving And Compartments

Aside from the stock room, provide storage for your employees. They usually have a lot of things to keep. To avoid clutter, shelving and compartments are needed to help them organize their things properly.

Work with the best interior design companies to ensure that your workplace can help you achieve your business goals. They know how significant it is to carefully put together your interior while considering both function and aesthetics.…

Interior Design Ideas for Modern Homes

Interior design is the most interesting concept that is subject of much enjoyment for home owners and home builders. If you like playing with floors, ceilings, kitchen area, wash area, furniture and spaces, interior design is for you. Today, it has greatly revolutionized and home owners with builders are designing innovative and creative interiors through marble. They are continuously using marble products for more efficiency and beauty.

The great thing about marble interiors design is that you don’t necessarily have a deep knowledge about it. Home builders give exceptional ideas to change your interiors and apply marble in it. It certainly gives genuinely modern look to the houses and adds more value to it. Modern home builders also help you choose the best place to apply marble stone.

Today, one of the best ways of interior designing is using marble products. Marble interiors look stunning and redefine its value. One can have nearly limitless designs through marble stones. It simply offers a wide variety of opportunity of creating new interior designs. More number of homes is utilizing soft marble stone to their houses for balustrades, statues, staircases and medallions. Being beautiful in looks, it is modestly used in countertops, vanity tops and statues.

Nowadays, interior designers and builders are widely using marble stone to richly facelift traditional or old homes. They conclude their interior designing projects with marble flooring. In fact, it is the most unique feature of modern homes. They also use wide variety of marble products for stunning looks and aesthetic appeal.

Kitchen and Bathroom Interiors Ideas

Kitchen and bathroom interiors are the major part of any facelift project. These are the main areas of a home that needs to be addressed first. Both granite and marble can add extra appeal to kitchen and bath space. One of the most vital uses of marble is as countertops that can be installed in both kitchen and bathroom. It provides exceptional beauty along with a magical durability. Marble sinks and flooring are additional components adding uncompromising beauty to kitchen and bathroom interiors.

Today, marble interiors are becoming very popular amongst modern home builders, homeowners and architects. In fact, manufacturers are also offering superior marble products for homeowners’ use. To serve the daily rising requirement of interior designs, interior experts and architects are now including magnificent marble products in their design strategies. Manufacturers also offer different types of products for both commercial and residential applications.…

Top 10 Methods for Advertising Your Home Improvement Business

People often ask us the same question: “What’s the best way to advertise my Home Improvement business and gather leads?” We’ve compiled a handy list of the 10 most useful tools to advertise your business and see results.

1. Build a Good Online Presence

For what may seem like an obvious necessity for most, some companies still don’t value the importance of a good website. While most companies do have an online presence, it may not be attractive or user-experience optimized. A good website should convey the businesses’ goals, experience, qualities, and services in an easy to read way. There should be a blatant call to action, and sufficient information for the viewer. If the potential client can glance at your page and get all the important information needed, you are that much closer to reeling them in.

 

2. Search Engine Optimization

Many people think that SEO is solely related to building links and advertising your website link. A large part of search engine optimization is related to the way your page is set up. Are you taking advantage of meta keywords and titles? Are you using headers properly? Does your site have a large amount of unique content optimized for targeting certain keywords? These are all important things to consider.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist is a great way to advertise your services. You can hire a designer to create a small ad for you to embed into your Craigslist post, or simply use HTML to format a nice, easy to read, eye-catching advertisement. Re-post as per Craigslist’s guidelines and keep your business’s name out there.

4. Adwords

Google provides a great PPC (pay-per-click) advertising system which will target related websites that use Google Adsense to display your ads. You can target your chosen demographic, choose how much you’d like to pay for every click, and modify the appearance of your ad. They offer text ads, image ads, and rich media ads (flash, animation).

5. Social Media

These days social media is becoming the leading the way for advertising and creating a “friendly” relationship with your clients and fans. Create a Fan page on Facebook, establish a Twitter account, or create a blog. these are all great methods to attract your customers.

6. Blog Commenting

Find blogs related to your industry. Search them out, and post meaningful, relevant comments in the comments section. Be sure to add a link to your website, with a keyword that you’d like to target in the search engines. Slow and steady is the key to seeing results; keep at it on a daily/weekly basis and in due time you’ll see results.

7. Local Advertising

If your business is based locally, an ad in a local magazine or newspaper is a great option. Some companies provide direct mail advertising, which allows you to localize your advertisement in a demographic of your choice.

8. Content is King

Creating and publishing unique content will provide your website visitors with an interesting read, a potential link-back, and will improve …

Critical Analysis of the Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges is an acclaimed author of Latin American Fiction. He is known for the style of presenting his works through the literary device of magic realism. Throughout his works, he is fascinated with incoherent magical gaze of time, the multiple realities existing in labyrinths and he is adept to write commentaries on imaginary books which do not exist.

In the Garden of Forking Paths, the protagonist is a spy and the story is written on the backdrop of World War 1. His task is to transmit a secret message to his German counterparts. He is being pursued by Madden. He takes a journey by train to the house the renowned Sinologist Dr. Stephen Albert. There the discussion revolves around an unfinished book written by the Father of the protagonist. In the book multiple plots exist. For example: in one situation a man is a friend and in another an enemy and then rivals meet and shoot each other and then escape. The surprising part of the story is that the protagonist shoots Albert and then gets arrested by Madden. Borges reveals in the end that he is able to deliver secret of the bombing of a certain town by the Germans.

The narrative structure of the story is a straight forward one, going from the beginning to the end. The story follows the traditional lines of storytelling. The plot is not a very convincing one and reveals the struggle of the literary author to create it.

The protagonist who is a spy rather than being true his tradition is portrayed as a person who is interested in Literature. He is constantly contemplating about and incoherent manuscript of his ancestor, a created labyrinth. The author’s interest in labyrinths is a paradoxical fictional ambiguity. Is there a ‘trace’ of meaning when one over throws or delves into the semantic structure of meaning. One comes to the emptiness of sign and what alone rests is a literary adornment. The writing of the authors resembles more of a commentary than a work of fiction.

The meaning of time is contemplated fictionally. Borges attributes multiple conjectures of time. First of all, there’s time in the book which is linear one. Then there are many time zones of fiction where time is a made into an antic comic gesture of literary playfulness. For Borges, time is like Zeno’s arrow, though moving, is stationary at every path. Yes, Borges has given to us the literary aspect of time, the internalized one that revolves around the ontology of being a human one of experiences. The time of Borges resembles that of the surreal painter Dali’s melting clocks.

Though not many tropes are created, Borges goes to the extent of suggesting the metaphor. The whole story revolves around the symbolism of a metaphor. People, birds, sun rise, labyrinths and even time become metaphoric intrusions of the author’s creativity. The story becomes an imaginary encyclopedia where fictional space is imaginary as well as resting on an exaggerated hyperbole …

How Heat Can Escape Your House and How You Can Prevent It

As the cold season approaches, energy bill goes up. This is mainly because of the need for heating systems on winter months. But not all the heat generated by your heating device stays in your house. Some, or in certain occasions, most of them escape from your house. As a result, your heating device has to work harder resulting in unwanted increase in energy consumption and cost.

This can be avoided by effectively seeking out the root cause of the problem, and dealing with them accordingly. Follow these simple do-it-yourself methods and save hundreds or perhaps even thousands of dollars on energy cost.

Doors and windows

Doors and windows usually have gaps and spaces on them where heat can escape. Although they may not be that much, if you consider how many doors and windows there are in your house, they collectively result in a huge loss which will reflect badly on you next month’s energy bill. A simple remedy to this problem is covering the gaps with curtains, drapes and/or sheets. You can also use rugs and door sweeps to cover the gap beneath your door.

Electrical and cable ducts

Electrical wires, telephone wires and internet cables and others of the like enter your house through holes and/or ducts. And through these channels, heat can escape. You can easily remedy this by installing outlet gaskets or stuffing the holes and ducts with certain materials such as foam.

Cracks, gaps and leaks

First, you need to find where they are, but looking for them just by sight can be very tricky. You can use a lighted candle and move it near suspect places. The flame of a candle is sensitive to airflow and will sway at the minutest air movement. When you see the flame swaying at a certain spot, there must be an air leak there. Once you have found the cracks, you can seal them by using a caulk. But make sure to apply it both on the inside and the outside.

Attic and ceiling.

A popular physics law states that “hot air goes up”. This is also true inside your house. The heat produced by your heater is likely to accumulate on the ceiling and you attic. This will only result in wasted energy because people don’t normally stay on those places. You can prevent this by making sure that the gaps and cracks to your ceiling and attic are sealed. You may want to check your folding attic stairs if you are using one. You can use weatherstripping and caulk to remedy the problem.

Heat only certain areas

You may ask yourself: “do you really need to heat the entire house?” Maybe there are areas in your house that are not frequented by people and do not need to be heated. If you can manage to limit the range of your heater only to places that are frequented by people, and avoid places such as hallways, storage rooms, attic, and others of the like, you can …