November 23 2013 - HOW TO
Christmas is the season of love, peace and family. Preparing and decorating our home for the Christmas holidays is a way to involve the whole family, a reason to gather and joy for all.
If you have decided to spend the Christmas holidays at home, a very important part of these holidays certainly is the Christmas’ Eve dinner .
A house full of love and warmth, a beautiful decorated Christmas tree, a lovely crib, are all things that fill the mind with peace and serenity.
A well laid table and prepared with flair , just adds to the festive atmosphere even a touch of elegance and class and will be something that everyone will appreciate is that you consume Christmas Dinner with your family, whether you have guests ..
Obviously to properly set the Christmas table must be well organized in advance.
THE TRADITION OF THE CHRISTMAS’ LUNCH, CHRISTMAS’ EVE DINNER
We do not intend repeat what everybody already know about Christmas, in fact all over the world there are different customs and traditions on how to celebrate Christmas Holydays.
- Someone is used to have the big dinner on the evening of Christmas’ Eve, often based on fish dishes, reserving for lunch, on December 25, only a lighter meal .
- Others, however, are traditionally used to have a light snack after midnight Holy Mass and then the great Christmas Lunch on the next day.
What definetely they all have in common is the preparation of a special table and an extensive delicious menu.
HOW TO PREPARE THE TABLE FOR CHRISTMAS
Whether it’s Christmas’ Eve dinner or Christmas luncheon, the care of the table, the decorations, the way you set the table, the choice of dishes, glasses and all the rest are of particular importance to time and we think we must put our best attention to that if we want to try to impress our guests, counting that reciprocate in a future occasions.
A minimum of programming certainly is essential to have a good result. It may be helpful to take a few notes to make sure you do not forget anything.
As always, on important occasions like this, is best to set the table in advance, for example, early in the morning for the Luncheon or in the early afternoon in case you will have a Christmas’ Eve Dinner.
The tablecloth can be white, embroidered tablecloth or the classic Christmas red tablecloth, but the important is that it is of the right size to hang from the table at least 10 inches on each side.
About the napkins, although those of tissue are obviously always the most suitable, if the situation allows it, you could replace them with paper napkins duly folded as triangle, possibly matching the tablecloth. But, please, never use the current white fastfood type napkins!
To mark the places at the table, find some placeholders, they are very useful so you will immediately know if your table is sufficient or if you need to provide several extensions.
There are several types of placeholders, from the simple stiker-holder to small trinkets, perhaps as a edible figurines of bread dough or almond (very nice! After identifying your place, you can eat it!). Another just as cute idea would be to use as markers, small anphoras in which put two-three teaspoons of cream and two cherry mozzarella with a little fork or a toothpick. Guests will love them!
Of course the etiquette tells us how they should be positioned cutlery. Although we are not too formal, proper disposal as well as functional satisfies the taste of the more refined connoisseurs of good taste. Therefore:
- The right to spoon and knife,
- Left for Forks,
- Fruit and dessert cutlery above
glasses slightly to the right front of the plate, next to the placeholder.
The dishes style should be appropriate to the type of interior decoration and the house’s style, without exceeding, but also without running out (and take also into account for some emergency, especially if there are children!)
Another not secondary element is the centerpiece (one or more, depending from the length of the table). A beautiful composition of dried or fresh flowers or fresh, made by yourself would definitely be of a great effect .. and it is nothing difficult.
Even some Christmas decoration placed here and there on the table would help to add a touch of cheer to the Christmas table denoting the care of the hostess to detail.
THE MENU OF CHRISTMAS, HOW TO PREPARE A CHRISTMAS MENU
Technically this is not part of the preparation of the Christmas’ table we are talking in this post, however the menu is an important part of the Christmas celebrations and it must be prepared according to the above tips in order to have a very well laid table.
Obviously we are not talking about the contents of the menu, for which we refer to other articles with the relevant recipes and ingredients, but specifically to the menu’s paper itself.
The menu is just an ‘accessory’ but it could come useful, especially if there are many guests and visitors and if some are vips. The writing of a particular menu, in any case, can be nice even among friends.
We may divide the type of Menu depending on the context of which we discussed above, you can then prepare
- a witty menu
- a more formal menu
In both cases, you can set the list of the courses on a normal white or colored paper, folded in half and placed in a horizontal direction, listing on the left the appetizers, main courses and to the right the desserts, drinks and coffee. And everything cheerfully decorated throughout.
To give more consistency you can also use some sort of thick paper, like a cover of a book, in which will be inserted the menu’s sheet. To keep nicely the two together you can use a piece of red ribbon.
Another possibility is to use a sheet on which we can try to imitate an ancient parchment and then roll up and fix with the usual red ribbon.
The Menus should be prepared one for every two guests. Very chic and humorous effect may be to make a copy of it in a bigger size to be placed on a coffee table next to the dinner table or, if you have it, on an easel or something similar, that you may put at the room entrance.
These are steps that can be very nice for a beautiful Christmas Table, however everything is still to be assessed at your own discretion , according to the confidence with the guests and the kind of atmosphere of the event, in order not to be ridicule, but rather to pleasantly surprise guests so they may keep a nice memory of Christmas past from you.
The SALT DOUGH is a material that can be easily used for many small craft projects, like to make an unusual Christmas brig.
But, what is the Sald Dough exactly? and how do you prepare it?
TO MAKE THE SALT DOUGH is not difficult. It is a material that, although its origins date back to the dawn of time , IT can be considered as timely as ever.
OBJECTS MADE WITH SALT DOUGH
To mold various kind of figurines and objects, normally are used materials considered more ‘noble’, like Das, terracotta, clay, plasticine or chalk, but perhaps, not everyone knows that one of the most popular materials used as today is just the salt dough which is the same ‘poor’ material used by our grandparents in the past. The reason of the choice of this type of material is to be found in its low cost and easy production.
In fact, to prepare the salt dough for the creation of figurines, characters or gifts is pretty simple, just need to make sure that the mixture has the right consistency.
PREPARATION OF SALT DOUGH
It should mix the ingredients in an accurate manner, following the guidelines below, you can change the quantity, but the proportions must be observed, and so:
- 1 pound and 16 onces of flour type ’00′
- 14 ounces of fine salt (or marine salt)
- 14 ounces of fresh water
- 1 tablespoon of white glue (or vinavil glue)
- 1 tablespoon of oil
To prepare the mixture to make the dough Salt you should mix all the ingredients, making sure to dissolve completely the salt into the water and then add to it, little by little, the flour to make the mixture homogeneous (same your mom does when she prepares a cake), at the end add the glue and the oil (the latter is not strictly necessary, but many suggest it, in order to make more workable the dough).
Mix, knead and knead and mix and knead again with patience and making sure that your hands are always wet, keep it up until you obtain a homogeneous mixture.
At this point it would be preferable to divide the dough into loaves of 7 to 12 ounces each and then wrap them in plastic wrap so to preserve the material from drying out. With this you can use the dough also at a later time.
HOW TO PAINT YOUR OBJECTYS OF SALT DOUGH
As a technique the painting can be done in two ways:
- first paint the paste of salt and then held divided the various quantities of different color to be used for modeling the parts of the figurine according to the colors you need.
- first you may mold the figurines or objects and paint them in a second time.
Once the work is finished the objects can be cooked in a microwave at 122-140.00 ° F, ensuring that reaches the right consistency without going overboard to avoid the formation of cracks.
November 20 2013 - HOW TO
THE NATIVITY OF SALT DOUGH, AN ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS CRIB
For Christmas time, especially among the peoples of the Mediterranean basin, but not only them, it is very common to prepare the Crib, the representation of the Holy Nativity of Jesus.
For the construction of this small picture of the world of over 2,000 years ago the tradition would suggest the use of various typical materials. These materials range from traditional products such as cork, wood, paper-mache, cardboard, etc., to get to more modern and innovative materials such as plexiglas and polycarbonate or even few as ancient as ….. bread dough!
Indeed, among the various materials with which you can model your crib, few would probably have thought of using …. salt and flour.
An excellent result with little expense to create a nice crib that remains over time and that, year after year can be also enriched with new elements and characters: the crib of salt dough.
To realize a very uncommun crib, you just must have a little bit of fantasy and a certain manuality for this kinf of DIY work .
Now you may start to make your own original crib version of
THE NATIVITY MADE WITH SALT DOUGH
The base material to build your crib is obviously represented by the salt dough paste, a compound that is obtained by mixing flour and salt chopped the most end as possible with the addition of water and a few teaspoons of wallpaper paste or vinavil glue to obtain an easily workable paste. In addition to the salt dough we will also need some materials that will be useful to build statues of the Nativity’s scene and the various objects, such as sticks, straw, wire, and so on.
The tools needed to work the salt dough are the same used to work Das or clay and, ultimately, also to prepare homemade pasta:
- rolling pin,
- the wheel for the ravioli,
- the garlic press.
STEP BY STEP HOW TO PROCEED TO BUILD THE CRIB IN SALT DOUGH
In order to mold the Nativity’s figurines usually they begin by forming a kind of cone or pear for the body and a small ball for the head. For the characters’ hair you can use the garlic-press that produces a kind of vermicelli of pasta suitable for this purpose. Then we take a little well-stretched dough with a rolling pin and form a kind of canvas on which cut off with a boxcutter as a atelier’s fashion designer in a cloak, a scarf, a collar, sleeves, and even a girdle, shoes, caps, etc.
Then you will assemble the parts to form the shapes of various characters. Similarly a layer knead a little thicker to build the hut and houses, cutting rectangles for walls and roofs which then you will join with the touch of your fingers, maybe helped by two drops of glue.
REFINISHING OF OUR CRIB MADE WITH SALT DOUGH
At this point it is possible to leave the natural color as it is, which has an all its own charm, to do this you have to put the statues to bake in the oven after having brushed them with a little egg yolk to give the typical amber color.
The alternative is to color each figurine. In this case you may follow two ways:
- coloring small amounts of salt dough with various colors depending on what you want to build , or
- after the figurines and other objects (houses, palms, etc) have been duly shaped, you will paint them, one at a time, by using a brush.
Now after the work, beside your beautiful Christmas tree you will also have your own, unique and very special Christmas Crib.
November 20 2013 - HOW TO
ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATION
Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is struggling with the preparations for the most important and beautiful holiday of the year.
As the time is running fast it is definitely our deep desire to make our home full of a cheerful and comfortable atmosphere with characteristic made of scents, colors and flavors that we carry in our heart since childhood. On the other hand, as usual, we should always deal with the portfolio and therefore with the the need to save money, without renounce to things we like .
ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
Here are some simple tips that might come in handy to decorate our Christmas tree in an original way, without spending a fortune .
Take some oranges and lemons, possibly beautiful, firm and without blemishes.
On a kitchen cutting board, using a sharp knife, slice them to get several thin medallions, avoiding to make them too fragile.
Then we will put all the slices so obtained, well arched and spread out on a plate, on a cutting board or a wooden board that will be placed over a stove, a heater or any other heating surface, even the floor of the fireplace it would be fine as long as the heat does not burn.
Let the slices on this heating surface for a sufficient time to disidratarle very well the slices.
At this point we already get a first result by filling the house with a pleasant aroma of citrus fruits that begin to create the Christmas atmosphere of which we talked about earlier.
Once the slices are well dried, we make a small hole on each of them with a little nail, a needle or the scissor’s tip, through which we pass a golden thread or a ribbon to hang the slices on our Christmas tree getting an astonishing effect, with very little expenses and with a job that surely will leave excited your friends so that they appreciate a beautiful ecological and fragrant Christmas Tree.
It also must be said that the orange slices that you do not have used for the Christmas tree decoration are not useless. In fact you may use said slices to prepare a lot of lovely home decorations like a beautiful Christmas Wreath or centerpiece for the Christmas Eve’s Table.
November 6 2013 - DIY
, HOW TO
If you have a piece of land or a little garden, no matter how small it may be, it would be nice to realize a corner in which you can build a small greenhouse where you may have the possibility to preserve and grow your preferred plants during the cold season.
Moreover, given the prices of vegetables, as well as being an enjoyable and relaxing pastime the taking care of your plants could even be beneficial as a hobby.
To build a small greenhouse it’s not so difficult and, on the other hand, you can get a lot of satisfaction.
Let’s see how we can build our own greenhouse without spending a lot of money, operating in the field of the magic DIY, maybe even trying to reuse the materials that we have in the garage or basement (this certainly make both, your wife happy and your wallet less empty).
MATERIAL REQUIRED TO BUILD A SMALL GREENHOUSE
(example for a 10×40 ft. greenhouse)
- A plastic black sheet for soil of same size of the land’s surface (10×40 feet).
- A transparent plastic sheet about 37 ft. width and 50 ft. lenght (basically the width should be approximately 3 times the land’s size and the length is same of the land plus something for the front and the rear of the tunnel
- hydraulic plastic hoses with a diameter of 3/8 of an inch and elbow-cross pvc fittings
- Aluminum stakes camping
- Nylon rope
All the above materials are easily and readily available at any garden shop or DIY store. It should also be said that some of these materials may come from reused waste of carpentry, adding a pretty good additional savings and -let us say- a benefit for the environment.
To get an idea a little bit more precise we say that the length of the tubes must be a total of about ten feet less the width of the transparent cloth, keeping in mind that in the sense of the length, for every three feet it must be put a transverse support tube.
INSTALLATION OF OUR GREENHOUSE
It is necessary to connect with one another plastic pipes by using a plastic connecting pipe slightly larger or a piece of rubber hose 10 inches long which must be fixed in between of two plastic pipes.
So far, the plastic plumbing pipes are very suitable for this purpose because they are flexible enough to be forced as to arching the vault of our tunnel and at the same time they are very robust and offer a good resistance to the wind.
We will have to prepare eleven tubes each 51 feet long, achieved by linking (as mentioned in the previous paragraph ) pipes through rubber tubes.
We will plant into the ground one end of the first tube for approx. 7 inches and then arch the pipe so that the distance between the two ends of the arc is about 30 feet.
Then we’ll do the same thing with the second tube and we set it up approximately at 3 feet away from the first and go on.
So each arch will be spaced from the other about 3 feet to form a tunnel 40 feet long and 10 feet width. (Let us say that, obviously, the measures adopted are just indicative and therefore, keeping more or less the arches proportions, it’s possible freely modify the size of the greenhouse, according to our available space).
On top it would be appropriate to connect the top arches by using pvc cross fittings that will steady on the longitudinal lenght the entire framework of pvc.
Then we have to lay the breathable fabric to cover the entire rectangle of 40 by 10 feet of the surface of the ground inside the tunnel securing it with 4 pegs.
To reinforce the seal of each end of the tubes, close to the point where the tubes are planted into the soil we may fasten to the ground each pipe with two pickets contrasted with the tie rods linked to the same pipe so that an adequate seal is exercised to make a good wind resistance.
Finally we put the clear plastic over the arches, starting with one of the two ends of the tunnel, putting attention to leave a section of plastic (about 3 feet) to close the opening like a tent with the overlapped edges.
Once you have completed these steps, in order to give stability to the greenhouse it shall be appropriate to tie the tie rods at a height of approx. 4 feet from the ground on the tubes alternately, one and one not, staring at the tie rods on the ground with the stakes camping by passing the rod through a piece of wood drilled in order to regulate the draft as they usually do for camping tents.
It should be noted that the point where we will have drilled the plastic sheet in order to fix the tie rods will be the weak point where the fabric is more prone to tear, so it may be useful to reinforce it with small pieces of electrician tape.
To further refine and give solidity to the entire structure of our greenhouse it would be also advisable, if possible, strengthen the perimeter with bricks, placed as a little curb, or even with river’s round stones which will give also an aesthetically pleasant aspect.
Painting our house is something that we do periodically and every time we are facing the same problem: what color is the most appropriate for our house?
PCMS (Pantone Matching System Colours)
Guess what will be the most fashionable colors for furniture and for home is a very difficult exercise. Difficult, but not impossible.
There are many people (more than we may think) who take their own choices mostly based on what the trends of the moment say, according to the mood and the market sentiment or based on some guru’s feeling that establish what is good and what is’nt, as far the color it concerns.
But who really dictates the trends, who determines the color or colors that will be trendy next year ? Obviously in this field, like in the fashion world, fortunately everyone can freely express his own opinion and, at the same way, you can take it into account or not.
Of course if the suggestion of what are the best combinations or what will be the preference in terms of colors for next year comes from a professional, probably that is correct and this means that in effect what he says is really the attitude of the market. After that is up to us to decide to be trendy or, instead, be original or even countercurrent.
Just by having in mind these concepts we must say that there is a point of reference, universally recognized as a valid and reliable professional which will inspire all those who, for one reason or another, need to know what the standards of the market are with regard to the world of colors.
We are talking of Pantone, mostly known as PCMS (Pantone ColoursPantone Matching System), the international standard for the determination of the colors themselves that, as we all know, in their variants are derived from the mixture of the four primary colors (magenta, cyan, yellow and black) or six colors (the previous with the addition of orange and emerald green ), giving rise to 1144 colors coded in a reference catalog .
If we are planning to remodel our house or renew the color of the walls of our kitchen or the color of the master bedroom or also we want prepare the room for a newcoming baby, so we may want to know which is the better color to use, the most popular and appropriate color paint or combination of colors for our Diy work.
So, what is the trends for 2014 are, according to Pantone ?
As every year the world ‘s authoritative body color, Pantone Inc., an American Company established in the mid-nineties and now belonging to the X-Rite Group, a global leader in color calibration technology, outlines what will be the tones of colours that will characterize the coming year.
Pantone indicates not only the colors, but especially precise combinations in a variety of color palettes that offer the chance to choose between different nuances for their creations to art lovers and interior design experts.
The trendy colors for 2014, the color palette to which it should revert anyone who is planning of tinting his own apartment or intends to remake or renew the furniture to make it more modern and contemporary, are substantially nine:
- Techno – Color palette includes colors that related in some way to the technological world, frequently used on reflective surfaces. These include silver, emerald green, methil blue, tillandsia purple, majolica blue, dark citron, jet black and orange exuberance
- Physicality – energetic colors counterbalanced by the alternance of calm colours leading to a quiet sentiment. Therefore a forged iron, satellite gray, antique moss, olive green alternates with colors like herbal lavender, purple grape, rose brown and a foggy gray
- Sculpted Simplicity – neutral tones with colors ranging from white to gray, but also purple and silver gray or anodized brown elegantly harmonized
- Fluidity – this color palette is a melting of water tones and also bright and vibrant colors for a house full of life and emotions. Colors like fusion coral, dewberry purple, dazzling blue, absinthe green, until a warmth samoan sun
- Collage – similar to the previous one, but with colors a bit less bright, denoting in each case a sound of familiarity, warm and nostalgic palette with colors like reddish, tea rose pink, margarita green, aquamarine, pumpkin spice, provincial blue
- Intimacy – pastel colors, delicate and, as the name implies, close, lovable and soft with a white gardenia, rose and lotus blossom pink, opal and colored pale lavenders gray
- Moda- looking for attention, a palette of voluptuous tones displaying fashionable flourishes not without glimmering and glamor. So we found red dahlia, cranberry purple, amber green , blue corsica and magenta haze opaque colors typical of high fashion
- Tribal Threads : a palette that looks to the tastes and sensations with tribal characteristics typical of a community to which we belong always. Color combination simple and complex at the same time, goblin blue with rose dusted cedar shade, bleached sand, gray incense and arabesque orange to end to kangaroo brown
- Eccentricities – color palette irreverent , playful, giving also a sens of adventure and also evocative of contrasts. So we have warm colors such as nectarine orange, rouge red or neon green flash or blue skydiver and strawberry ice or bold blue, brown caramelized or even red hot.
The world of the colors is a wonderful world and there is room for every initiative to improve the perception of the beauty of the things around us, making it a better place to live in. It is proved that an environment with well-coordinated colors helps to give a sense of well-being in people who live there and this results in an improvement of the relations among people.
-photo by courtesy of Pantone Inc-
The comfort of a cozy home, the warmth of a nice floor, maybe also with a nice fireplace, are all elements of a framework that everyone has in his heart, because the house is the place where you feel safe, calm and in total peace of mind. and this is how it should always be.
To make sure that our place has these requirements, these features, which make of it ‘our’ sweet home, there are many things that you can do.
The important is to try personalize it, to make it unique, with furniture chosen by us for us according to our sensibility and our emotionalism, in short… to represent us.
But there are also many other elements that may contribute to give a touch of personality and warmth, one for all is the floor…. yes people, the floor!
Do we like a floor where we may walk barefoot even in winter, a floor able to transmits to us the feeling of intimacy of the house? Do we?
Why don’t think of a nice wooden floor with wooden planks in? This is one of the warmest and attractive types of flooring and presently it is also trendy, you will see with your friends!
The laying of a floor planks is not a very complicated work and we can also perform it by ourselves.
TYPES OF WOOD FLOOR
To choose the appropriate type of wood floor that better comply with our desires, it is better to consider some key factors for the choice:
- The thickness available we have
- If we have the need to isolate the room from the thermal or acoustic point of view
- What is the current coverage of the floor on which we have to install the wooden planks
- The ability of those who provide for installation of the floor as well the availability of suitable equipment (for instance for sanding wooden floor)
- The amount of time we intend to spend on tghis work
- How much we have in mind as a budget
one last detail that we have to take into account is the possible existence of a system of underfloor heating (which drastically alters the way to pose). For semplicity we will talk about in another post.
After having told these considerations, we have to add that there are different types of wood flooring:
- Floating floors
- Flooring with wooden planks
about the first two types we have already discussed in other posts, therefore now we want to concentrate on the laying of the floor plank of wood.
LAYING OF STRIPS OF WOOD, INSTALLATION OF WOODEN PLANKS
- LAYING-STRIPS OR WOODEN PLANKS FIXED WITH GLUE
Installing Wooden Floor Planks, as of today there are no longer problems like in the past, linked to deformation and settling of the planks of solid wood. This is thanks to new products such as silanic glues (which are gradually replacing the two-components glues) that make easier the pose, in addition to that the second important aspect is the care of the fund which must be absolutely smooth and ‘primer’.
The planks can be pre-polished and pre-painted with paints without VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) with the advantage that the floor will be usable in a relatively short time, without having to wait days, as in the past, and there will be no release of hazardous fumes.
Usually, professional installers prefer to have wooden planks rough and then proceed to the polishing and painting on site.
For our part, we will choose the type we prefer according to the equipment that we have, and bearing in mind that when laying flooring planks you have to wait ten days after gluing and then proceed to fill all the boards and, after being sanded, you must pass through some cotes of natural oil that should be well absorbed by the wood and evaporated.
2- wallnuts stripes
3- hydraulic mortar screed
- LAYING WOODEN PLANKS TO BE NAILED
The laying of planks to be fixed with nails is certainly simpler and more healthy because there is no gas fumes neither compounds spread out in the air .
Of course, to be able to use the technique of nailing it will be necessary to have a suitable primer base, prepared by placing strips of chestnut (or wallnut) on it, into a screed of hydraulic mortar.
The nailing system also guarantees against the risk of deformation of the planks.
- INSTALLATION OF FLOATING WOODEN FLOOR
As we have already seen under the floating floors or parquet, also the wooden planks are packaged in pre-sanded and pre-painted kits, ready to be installed. Those kits are available everywhere at any DIY shop.
The only important requirement for this kind of flooring is that the ground is perfectly flat and smooth. It should be better to put on the bottom a Jute fiber mat to prevent the decline of the plank when you will walk on it.
This is a quick and reliable way to install a floor, but it has some drawbacks, infact it is not particularly suited for laying a solid wood plank
How to build a wrought iron gate in your backyard
Unfortunately, nowadays security requires us to sacrifice our innate sense of freedom that should suggest to us keeping windows and doors open, but instead we are forced to defend ourselves even in our homes by keeping us safe through the protection of an alarm systems and various fences.
It ‘s definitely something regrettable, but unfortunately it is the way things go.
Building a wrought iron gate is a job that requires a certain knowledge and a deep commitment.
Then it comes to trying to minimize the costs for such features in order to ensure our security.
Today we don’t want talk about alarm systems because this has been already the subject of other posts, while instead we dedicate this post to see what we can do for enhance mechanical barriers and set up a metal fence.
To realize our wrought iron gate we should refer to professionals, an architect for the aesthetic aspects of the iron gate, a blacksmith and a mason for assembly and installation work, but at this point a question arises……. why we cannot do everything by ourselves? making a wrought iron gate diy?
Making railings or iron gates to ensure a certain security is a demanding job, but as a counterpart we will get a great satisfaction from this and, we add, an exclusive safety.
In fact it’s not uncommon that after the installation of burglar alarms or barriers against thieves, you receive the unwelcome visit!
And even if we want to say loud and clear that the vast majority of professionals is undoubtedly honest and reliable, … you never know!
If we consider that to do these works some small temporary demolitions are necessary, we will easily realize the savings entity that you can make if you do it yourself.
The material needed to build our railing can easily be found at the DIY centers (as The Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc) or, if you are more experts, at the blacksmiths or hardware shops with obvious further significant savings.
There are several ways to build a railing or an iron gate:
- it is possible to weld the iron rods and then cement the perimeter of the door frame that can be screwed linking the various components with the screws having the foresight to flattening the head of each screw in order to make impossible the unscrewing
- There are also simple and inexpensive assembly kit composed of iron rods that have a joint system that binds them together without welding screws. Obviously, the rods must be cut in order to adapt to the measures we need
We have talked about pergola, gazebo, porch and garden furniture, we want now to say something about another useful garden tool, the barbecue, which could be even considered almost the free time symbol.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON HOW TO BUILD A BARBECUE
How many times browsing through the stands of a shopping center or a center DIY we have seen a barbecue assemblage kit for which the price is mostly over hundred dollars and even up to a few thousand?
Well, it is not too difficult to build one by yourself, in fact it is not necessary to be great builders or skilled masons to do it, all you need is a bit of fantasy, a little patience and a lot of free time.
But if you do it, what great satisfaction!!!
SOMETHING BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO BUILD THE BARBECUE
As usual, as we know very well, also for build a barbecue is necessary to draw a sort of little project, keeping in mind some basic things such as:
- the position where we want to build our barbecue
- the kind of use of it (if it is for frequent BBQ parties with 30 guests or more, or intermittently for 5 or 6 people) in order to avoid building unnecessary large barbecue.
MATERIAL REQUIRED TO BUILD A BARBECUE
- river stones
- metal grilles
- level and plumb
HOW TO PROCEED TO BUILD A BARBECUE
Starting from a basic process to build a barbecue, you can then make variations and add items as you wish according to their imagination and according to your preferences.
For the foundation normally is enough making an excavation of 5 feet x 5 feet and 8 to 12 inches deep, depending on the texture of the soil. (it is quite understandable that if we work on a concrete floor or a floor with a balcony or a courtyard, the foundation is not necessary unless you are working on a very large barbecue
We start by building a small formwork using planks of recycled wood that we nail so that it will protrude from the ground level for at least 4 inches.
Then we will make a first concrete pouring with a little dense entering (if we want to save even more) also small stones and gravel, and in which drown a 2 inches mesh of liquid concrete up to reach the framework level.
CONSTRUCTION OF A BARBECUE
After a couple of days necessary to dry the foundation we may start with three simple brick parapets blocked alternately with cement mortar to a height and depth of 2 feet and 8 inches.
The two shoulders will be placed parallel to the sides of the foundation, starting from the edge, while the third will be placed at 2/3 of the distance of the first two, in a way that the hollow tiles, of a 2,8 feet x 1,8 feet which will be that of the work plan and the other of 2,8feet x 25 inches which will be the barbecue itself, will represent the base of the barbecue.
Now we have the base with three supporting walls that give rise to two spaces that are carefully shaped and can be used as storage for the wood or for shelter for cooking utensils, etc.
Above the base we have to build the compartment where it should be placed the grate for the charcoal and grill for cooking.
To do so we have to build two more shoulders of refractory bricks that we connect with a wall that will be the rear of our grill.
When we build with bricks the side walls, we may create the grooves (by simply placing the bricks staggered by 1/2-1 inches) in order to lean on them both the grate and the grid (for the latter will be useful to provide different positions so that the height of the grill from the coals will be adjustable as needed).
Among the grate (or perforated plate) and the base of the slab will be put a metal drawer for the purpose to recover the ash (in order to save it is possible to use an old square pan for cakes)
The worksurface of the barbecue can also be tiled by using the normal stoneware tiles or otherwise can be covered with a single slab of marble. This last solution is obviously more expensive, but highly effective. Another very effective and economical solution can be to use used tiles to be broken and pasted with tile mastic to pull at giving a mosaic effect.
Everyone would like have more space in his house or at least everybody would like to try to rationalize the available room of their homes. That’s not always possible, but a smart way to save space in your home probably consists to explore the possibility of using the vertical room (space), looking for additional volume by creating a false ceiling (also known as counter ceilings or counter tops).
Very often corridors, hallways and closets are already fully filled of stuff, but at the same time, the upper part of the room is not used, therefore from this comes the need of looking for new room by lowering the ceiling and creating closets where is possible to store many things like linen, clothes, blankets, shoes, tools for house cleaning etc. The result is that you may have more living space available for you.
You can also choose to make a lower ceiling for your entrance or for your bathroom to give more concentration or install a lighting system without forget the appearance.
It is understandable that we are mostly talking of a owned real estate property because if you are renting that house, it is absolutely necessary to ask the prior approval of the owner and especially that he agrees with the redelivery clause of the property.
STRUCTURE OF FALSE CEILING
Obviously it is necessary to make a statement: in fact, depending on the purpose for which we want built a low ceiling, the ceiling must have a structure more or less consistent as it is different if it is only for aesthetic reasons (to hide spotslight, ducts of the air conditioning system or electric wires) or if you want to create a walkable environment on which is possible also put heavy furnitures.
Of course for a ceiling of the latter type we must have a certain familiarity with building work and a good building knowledge otherwise it would be certainly more appropriate and recommended that you hire professionals.
After have said the above, we here want to deal with a soft solution that is designed to make more ‘intimate home, by customizing it and at the same time also allowing you to hide plant service, pipes, wires, etc.
We will use a frame of wood strips along the complete perimeter of the room. The strips will be fixed to the wall with screw anchors screw.
On this frame are then set other transverse strips to create a lattice on which we screw out the compressed chipboards or plasterboard or chipboard yet.
If the distance between the walls exceeds 2,5 yd would be preferable to have a point of vertical fixing that is achieved by using an expansion anchors (Fischer type) with screw ring to which will be hooked a steel wire fixed at the other end to a point of intersection of the strips.
For rooms sizing 2,5-3 yd x up to 3-3.5 yd it should be enough a central support. For bigger rooms it is better to distribute more points of support on the entire surface of the ceiling.
CONSTRUCTION OF FALSE CEILING
It is necessary calculate so that the bottom surface of the ceiling arrives at least to 1,5 – 2 inches above the door jambs.
Once it has been decided the height from the ground, we have to report this measure on all four room walls, using two small nails per side to tend a light string to get a straight line.
Check the horizontality of the frame.
As regards the strips of , we can orient on strips from 4 yd from 0,8 x 1,6 inches or 0,8 x 2 inches that will be cut accordingly. If they are slightly poor, don’t worry because the frame structure will be invisible. The strips are fixed to the walls, as mentioned above, by means of expansion plugs ranging spaced approximately 11 to 15 inches.
At this point you can start to set up the transverse strips.
The distance between the strips depends from the type of coating chosen. In fact there are prefabricated panels made of plastic materials that are generally sold with invisible hooks, otherwise if you want to use playwood laminates, these will be screwed to the battens with wood screws which will then be made invisible with plaster. All these materials are readily available in DIY centers like Home Depot, Crest, Ace, etc. of different sizes and for different uses.
Before screwing the panels we may proceed to drill the holes for the spotlights (but it is also possible to drill the holes for the spotlights after having installed the panels).
An alternative to this type of ceiling is represented by those structures that are mainly used into modern offices. They are easy to assemble and are very lighthtweight solutions that allow easy access to the air to change light bulbs, pull wires or making simple inspections.
Metal stripes, generally in aluminum, are available for sale in the most furnished Diy stores. The kits consist of metal or plastic stripes that can also be alternated with plexiglass so that they looks like light points.
The advantage of this solution is certainly the versatility as they are quick and easy to be assembled and disassembled and also they have a good aesthetic result.
In conclusion, the low ceiling system serves to make your home more pleasant, functional and personalized and lends itself to solutions that depend only on your imagination.
An original way to use a partial ceiling set is into a bathroom as well as over the apartment entrance to get a sort of cabinet ceiling, but, really, the solutions are virtually endless, funny and always little expensive.