How to Strip Cloth Diapers 101

Stripping  cloth  diapers sucks. My partner and I had to learn how to strip  cloth  diapers the very hard way. I have a very vivid and very smelly memory of my first strip. It was about ten weeks into my  cloth  diapering experience, and an internet forum advised me to strip our diapers after my partner and I noticed that walking into the boys’ room in the morning was almost like stepping into an alternative reality and ending up in stable with about one hundred horses. Puuuuh! My eyes would practically water from the strong smell of ammonia. I really felt for my poor dears, having to actually sleep in it.

So we had to quickly learn how to strip  cloth  diapers or throw them away. The throwing away was not an option really, but we made a major mess after mixing dishwashing liquid and bleach (damn you internet!) in the same wash, forcing us to run away from our own home for a weekend, plus we ended up three dozen diapers short. But memories made, lesson learnt and that mistake was never repeated.

Why Strip?

Stripping diapers is essential to remove the buildup of ammonia, bacteria, detergents, minerals from hard water, and oils in diapers. This is because there are parts of the diaper (like inserts and pockets) where sufficient water does not reach during a regular wash. Hot water works to remove this accumulated dirt and bacteria during stripping and will eliminate that funky smell, increase absorbency as well as reduce the risk of rashes and yeast infections for your baby.

Before Stripping

The first rule of stripping diapers is: never to strip dirty diapers because that will leave your diapers looking like junior did an enthusiastic paint job in yellowish-brownish colors. You don’t want that to happen because if it does, you can forget all about your pristine white inserts and liners that were the pride and joy of your diaper drawer.

Clean your diapers before stripping

  1. Remove any solid waste by shaking it off into the toilet;
  2. put your diapers in the washer and run a cold rinse to remove any remaining waste particles;
  3. add a little (quarter to half cup should do) of your regular diaper detergent;
  4. run through one wash cycle with hot water. Run through a warm water rinse followed by a cold water rinse and ‘voila’ your diapers are ready to strip.

Tip: After the wash, you can soak your diapers overnight in a wash pail (or good ol’ bathtub) with a few drops of peppermint oil for an extra touch of freshness after stripping.

Stripping  Cloth  Diapers in a Washing Machine

What You Need

  1. Washing machine (of course!)
  2. An additive (like dishwashing liquid)
  3. Extra hot water that you can heat on your stove in a stock pot
  4. Flashlight (for front loading machines)

Method

Time: three to four hours

  1. Put your pre-washed diapers in the washing machine with a teaspoon of dishwashing Liquid. Do not add any detergent. You should do an average twenty diapers per wash.
  2. Run a hot wash cycle with the most hot water possible and at the highest temperature setting. If your machine does not run enough hot water, heat some water on your stove and add it to the wash during the hot cycle. This only works for top loading machines not front loaders.
  3. Run a hot water rinse if your machine has this setting. If not, run a warm water rinse. Follow this with a cold water rinse and another warm water rinse.
  4. If you have a top loading machine, open the top periodically to check for the presence of bubbles. If you have a front loading machine, use your flashlight to check for bubbles.
  5. Run alternating warm/cold rinses (four to five should do) until there is no more effervescence (bubbles). Agitation bubbles will quickly disappear once you stop the machine but soap bubbles will stay around for a bit, and this means you need another rinse.
  6. After thorough rinsing, take out your diapers and hang to dry in direct sunlight (if possible) for that extra touch of freshness and natural bleaching.

Tip: If dishwashing liquid does not work for you, you can try other additives such as stain removers as a replacement.

More Diaper Stripping Tips

  • With stripping, you will find that you need to try one or two methods before you get the right formula that works for you. If you use a washing machine and the funk refuses to go away, one of these could be the problem:

    • Not using enough detergent during your regular washes.
    • Not using enough hot water during your regular washes or during stripping.
    • The water itself not being hot enough during the stripping process.

Try adding a full extra cupful of detergent when stripping, or adding extra hot water (if you use a top loader washing machine) boiled on your kitchen stove to the wash cycle during stripping.

  • Grapefruit or grapefruit seed extract are effective at killing yeast and can be added to the overnight soak before stripping your diapers.
  • Try to separate natural fibers (cotton, hemp, bamboo) from artificial fibers (microfiber, fleece, PUL) when stripping because some artificial fibers cannot withstand extremely high temperatures and additives such as bleach.
  • Check on warranty guidelines for your  cloth  diaper as some diapers, especially artificial diapers come with warnings not to immerse in extremely hot water.
  • You can use apple cider as an additive instead of vinegar if you have hard water. Half cup of apple cider should do the trick.

Absolute Don’ts

  • Never ever mix bleach with vinegar. The reaction between the two produces chlorine gas which is highly toxic. Either add bleach alone to your wash but not the two together. Do not try this at home.
  • Never use vinegar as an additive during your stripping routine if you use hard water. The various minerals in the hard water will react with the vinegar, and if you thought the stunk in your diapers was bad before, then you will need to fumigate your house when vinegar meets hard water. With hard water, opt for another additive or use a water softener.
  • Avoid soaking your diapers overnight in your washing machine as this might lead to rust build up in some machines.



New Wine, New Wineskins, New Cloth, and Old Wine

“In times past God spoke through the prophets… in these last days through His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1)

Luke 5:36-39 (36) And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. (37) And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. (38) But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. (KJV)

Introduction:

What was the situation that Jesus was addressing when He told these four parables?

Jesus tells four parables in response to two questions. In Matthew 9:9 Jesus calls Mathew to be a disciple (“come follow me”), and the Bible tells us that Matthew got up and followed Him. Matthew was very excited about Jesus calling him. He wanted his friends to meet Jesus and experience the same thing. He threw a feast to celebrate and invited all his old friends to come and meet Jesus. The Bible then states that Jesus was having dinner with other tax collectors and sinners at Matthew’s house when the Pharisees asked, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?

On hearing this question Jesus responds by stating that he did not come to the healthy (self-righteousness) but to the sick (sinners). Sickness is a picture of sin. He said that He did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Those who suppose their souls to be without disease will not welcome the spiritual Physician. This was the case with the Pharisees; they despised Christ, because they thought themselves whole; but the poor publicans and sinners felt that they wanted instruction and healing forgiveness. Jesus was trying to tell the Pharisees that none were righteous (Rom 3:10) not even them, yet they did not hear (understand). There are two types of patients that Jesus cannot heal. They are the ones who will not agree that they are sick and those who will not trust Him for the cure. Jesus then tells His hearers, “go and learn” what it means when He says “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”

These complaints can about because the Pharisees and scribes had a misunderstanding about how God viewed sinners. The Pharisees and scribes believed that God hated the sinners and publicans and therefore would have nothing to do with them. Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He keeps stating that He came to seek and save the lost. In other words the spiritual sick are the ones that need a physician.

Another misunderstanding was that the Pharisees and scribes believed that the people who had wealth were being blessed by God because of their righteousness. By fellowshipping and reaching out the sinner and poor, Jesus were trying to show them that God loved everyone including sinners and that worldly blessings were not directly tied to ones righteousness.

Then John’s disciples ask Him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Then Jesus answers John’s disciples with the same three parables (parabolic expressions) in Matthew (9:15-17), Mark (2:19-22), and Luke (5:34-38) and then in Luke adds a four parable, “And no one after drinking old wine wants the new for he says the old is better.” I believe that all four of these parables are an answer to the two questions:

“Why does your teacher eat with Tax collectors” and “”How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”

In fact Jesus responds with four parables to address these two questions. As we study the parables we will see that it is not uncommon for Jesus to use more than one parable to address a situation, attitude, or question. It is no different when we use more than one illustration trying to communicate a point.

The Bible tells us that John was the last of the Old Covenant prophets. Hebrews 1:1 states, “that in times past God spoke through prophets, but now in these last days God was speaking through His Son Jesus.” Jesus also tells us in Luke 22:20 when He initiated the Lord’s supper, “this cup is the New Covenant, which is my blood shed for you.” In these four parables we see that Jesus is the Bridegroom! He is the new wine!

These four parables also explain His mission of establishing the “kingdom of Heaven”. In these four parabolic expressions we see the gospel unfold. It is as if Jesus made a sandwich with these parables. The first parable is about is the prophecy of both his going to the cross (taken away) and of His return (bridegroom) (fulfillment of Old Testament). The last parable is about His reject by the Jews. The middle two, New Wineskins and New Cloth are about the (new) Kingdom He has come to establish (the church age). The Old Wineskins and Old Cloth represent the Old Covenant.

These four parables are almost like a sandwich, the meat (New Covenant) being the middle two parables surrounded by the prophecy of His coming and the rejection by the Jews.

The first parable about bridegroom proclaims that the Messiah is here. The next two parables reveal what the Messiah was to do. Jesus was going to do away with the old system and replace it with something new, something better. The old system cannot contain it. Yet since God is all knowing the fourth parable of the Old Wine shows that the Jews would prefer the Old and reject Christ.

Jesus used images familiar to his audience, one of patching clothes and the other of making wine. In Jesus’ times, wine was stored in wineskins, not bottles. Wineskins were actually the skins of sheep and goats that were sewn together except at the neck, which served as the neck of the container. The skins were filled, and the neck then sewn closed. New wine poured into skins was still fermenting which produces gas (carbon dioxide). The gases exerted gave pressure. New wineskins were elastic enough to take the pressure, but old wine skins easily burst because they were hard. Old skins would not work, since they had already been stretched and were no longer elastic. Therefore one must use new wineskins for new wine.

In these two short parables Jesus is reminding us of rules of common sense. If New Cloth is used to repair an Old Garment, the new patch tries to shrink when washed while the old garment will not shrink; therefore the new patch will tear away from the old garment.

The people of Jesus day were also very familiar with the fact that new cloth shrank and would pull away when washed if it was sowed to an old garment. I have no experience with making wine, but I understand pressure exerted by a gas. We have all seen a balloon stretch as it is being inflated and sometimes one will burst under the pressure as it inflates. But I do have first hand knowledge of clothes being patched. As a young person I sometimes wore patched clothes and I have seen new patches pull away as they are washed and the fabric shrinks.

In Biblical times, wine was put in wineskins (leather bottles). These new wineskins could expand as the wine fermented and gave of gas. Old wineskins that he previously stretched and dried could no longer stretch and would burst as the wine fermented. The same concept holds true for a patch of new cloth on an old garment. The new cloth would shrink when washed tearing the garment even further.

Jesus tells these parables as analogies to teach that the gospel of Christ (New Covenant) is radical, life changing, and demands certain changes in the way man approaches God. For example Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be “born again” to enter the kingdom. The Bible also tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone belongs to Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away, behold all things are new.” In Romans 12:1-2 the Bible tells us that we are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. That we are not to be conformed to this world but be transformed into the image of Christ.

What did Jesus mean by this comparison? What are the old garment and the new garment symbolizing? What are the new wine and the old wineskins symbolizing? The old garment and old wineskin are Judaism (Old Covenant). The new garment and new wine are Christianity (New Covenant). Jesus did not come into my life to patch up the old man and just give me a new lifestyle. He came to give me a whole new life. He came to give me a new way to approach God. Man no longer had to approach God through a Priest and offer a sacrifice. After Jesus death the Bible tells us the veil between the Holy and Holy of Holies was ripped. Believers now had direct access to God the father.

The Jewish leaders (Pharisees and scribes) were like old wineskins; they were hardened by centuries of rituals and traditions. Jesus tells them in Luke 7:9 that they ignore the commands of God while following their own traditions.

Jesus’ sacrifice, his death on the cross, does away (completes / fulfills) with the Old Testament sacrificial system. The sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament was a type of the real sacrifice of Jesus. The comparison of the Old and New is a comparison of the Old and New Covenant Period. This is a comparison of Israel to the Church, etc.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18, NI V).

Jesus fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies. In fact, much of the Old Testament has been fulfilled, and is fittingly described as the “old garment.” Much of the Old Covenant is a type of the New Covenant. For example, the sacrificial system of the Old Covenant is a type of Jesus’ one sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus died on the cross for our salvation and for the salvation of the Old Testament saints. No one can save himself or keep himself saved. The Old Testament saints were made righteous or Justified by Faith, the same way people are justified today. The Bible teaches that the original intent of the Law was to point one to Christ.

Let us respect both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Nothing God does is faulty. The fault (perceived fault) was with Israel, not the Old Covenant. They did not understand or obey. God was patient and gave them a fuller revelation. The Old covenant could be considered a type, shadow, or pattern of the real. Jesus was/is the real. Every thing in the Old pointed/promised the Messiah! However, we must carefully interpret the Old Testament in the light of New Testament teachings. Jesus, who inspired both the Old and New Testaments, is the key to interpreting both.

In these parables we see His presence, His purpose and His position (either accepted of rejected). Jesus is the New Wine. Those who reject Him fulfil the prophecy shown in the last of these four parables. Those who taste of the wine will prefer it to the new. Jesus is foretelling that the Jews would reject the new covenant and prefer the old.

I. His presence – His first coming as a suffering servant – not earthly king

No one will fast while Bridegroom is with them. You fast after He is taken away.

The disciples of John the Baptist were upset with Jesus’ disciples because they did not fast. Fasting was one of the three most important religious duties, along with prayer and

almsgiving. When asked why His disciples did not fast, Jesus gave a simple explanation that there’s a time for fasting and a time for feasting (or celebrating). Jesus said that you did not fast at a wedding party. A wedding is a time of rejoicing and celebration. Marriage starts with love and ends in joy. To walk as a disciple with Jesus is to experience a whole new joy of relationship akin to the joy of the wedding party in celebrating with the groom and bride their wedding bliss. A wedding was a time of joy and celebration. You could fast after the wedding. Marriage is a love relationship and so is salvation. They both start with love and end in commitment (I will). The Christians’ life should be like a wedding party and not like a funeral.

But then Jesus goes on to expose the two-fold nature of His coming. In this short parable there is reference to Him being the Messiah, His death, and His 2nd coming. This is a split prophecy. If we look closely we can see the split nature of many of the prophecies of the coming Messiah. The period between the first and 2nd coming is the church age (the kingdom of God) which is part of the mystery that has been concealed. During this church (after he is taken) there is a place for fasting!

Jesus was pointing out to John’s disciples that He was the promised Messiah (the bridegroom). So while He was with His disciples was a time of celebration, but a time would come (when He would be taken). Then would be the time of fasting.

But there also comes a time when the Lord’s disciples must bear the cross of affliction and purification. For the disciple there is both a time for rejoicing in the Lord’s presence and celebrating his goodness and a time for seeking the Lord with humility and fasting and for mourning over sin. Do you take joy in the Lord’s presence with you and do you express sorrow and contrition for your sins? There will be times like David where we must express sorrow and contrition for your sins. Fasting was one a very important part of the Jewish religion. It was one of the three most important religious duties, along with prayer and almsgiving.

This is a picture of Christ’s three year earthly ministry and then His being taken to the cross (taken). It is also a picture of His return as the Bridegroom for the Church (2nd coming).

Christ came for no other reason than to bring God’s kingdom to men. His very first public words are exactly those of his forerunner, John the Baptist: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2, 4:17).

In Luke 4:18-19 we see Jesus referencing why He came. He quotes from Isaiah 61:1-3. But notice that Jesus stops in mid verse of Isaiah 61:2. He does not mention the day of wrath. This is a split prophecy. In other words there are two comings of Christ. One as the suffering savior for our sins, the other as king of Kings, and Lord of Lords! The Jews missed His first coming, His role, as suffering Savior is their stumbling block. They refuse to acknowledge their need for a savior a substitute. They feel they can earn their salvation.

His work was finished on the cross. He tells the disciples that he must go away and He would send a comforter. This comforter would lead them to all truth. As He told Nicodemus in John chapter three we must be “born again”. This is what happened at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came and the church age (the kingdom) was initiated. This age will be completed when Christ comes again.

He wants our minds and hearts to be like the new wineskins, open and ready to receive the new wine of the Holy Spirit. Are you eager to grow in the knowledge and understanding of God’s word and plan for your life?

This new wine (New Covenant) is mentioned in Jeremiah 31:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (31) Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (KJV)

In Hebrews chapter 8 we see the writer of Hebrews showing that the Old Covenant was a copy, shadow, example, or pattern for the New. Christ is the New. The Old foretold of His coming! He is the “better promise”, the “better covenant” (Heb 8:6). The Old Covenant was replaced because the Jews were not faithful to it (Heb 8:9). In God’s patient He sent a complete revelation, Jesus Himself, the promised Messiah!

Hebrews 1:1 states that in times past God spoke through prophets, but now He was speaking through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus was that “Lamb” slain before the foundation of the world to reconcile man back to God. He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises of a redeemer. Christ is the new covenant!

The Lord’s supper in Luke 22:20 is another way of looking at the New Covenant. Jesus, during the Last Supper, spoke of a new covenant, which is indeed new and not merely an improved extension of the old. (Luke 22:20) In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” How is the new covenant different from the old? The new covenant is a once-and-for-all sacrifice for sin while the old covenant requires repeated sacrifice for sins. When Jesus spoke of the new covenant, He was referring to His blood as shed for the forgiveness of our sins in place of the old covenant which simply uses the blood of animals. The old covenant required repeated sacrifice for sin and shedding of blood before God would provide for the forgiveness of the people’s sins. When Christ died for our sins, He paid for its debt and satisfied God’s divine justice completely. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

When Christ died for our sins, He paid for its debt and satisfied God’s divine justice completely. There is no need for us to continually offer sacrifices for our sins by punishing ourselves. Hebrews 10:14 because by one sacrifice he (ie Jesus) has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (NIV) Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (NIV)

John 19:30 (NIV) When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Hebrews 10:14 tells us that “The new covenant promises were completed in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin at Calvary.”

In the Pharisee we see a conformer. Wanting status quo. In John the Baptist we see a reformer telling those who heard repent the kingdom is at hand. In Jesus we have a transformer. One who transforms us from one under the Old Covenant to one under the new covenant.

The above is part one of a two part message on the initiation of the New Covenant by the blood of Jesus. Part two continues the explanation of the four parables mentioned above,



How to Design the Perfect Tattoo

There are many ways to search out a design reference for your new ink. The Internet has become an easy resource of information and you can find a lot of images that appeal to you — often a myriad of photographs, drawings and animated images that all somehow relate to the tattoo vision you have in your mind. Magazines, books and all other types of media can contribute even further. But, unfortunately, not everything you’re going to find online or at the newsstand can translate into a fantastic tattoo. The amount of detail, the line work and shading involved and the size of the image will have to determine how Tattoo Friendly your design reference actually is. Often, the images you find will need to be re-worked by a knowledgeable flash artist or tattooist to make them work well when translated to your skin.

To avoid the disappointment of realizing that your “perfect” design isn’t actually a realistic tattoo possibility, bypass mass media searching and go for the most direct method: consulting Tattoo Friendly collections of flash art. These designs were created specifically to be tattooed and will work within the possibilities and limitations of a tattoo needle. Other types of art and images that you find as design reference may contribute to your tattoo vision, but you should be aware of their limitations in advance.

Know your tattoo design resources… and their limitations.

You may find design inspiration in many places, but you won’t always find Tattoo Friendly artwork. Magazines, books, internet searches and all other forms of media are full of images, but you should ultimately rely on artwork that is intended to be tattooed and is created by flash artists and tattooists who understand the limitations of a tattoo machine.

Be realistic about your tattoo design vision.

Skin is a living canvas, so there is a natural limit to what will work and what will not work as a tattoo. Be realistic about the size and complexity of your tattoo design with respect to the size of the tattoo you ultimately want.

Make sure your tattoo design reflects your desire for ink.

People get tattoos for many different reasons – be it identity expression, rite of passage, shock, memorializing, or simply because they like the idea of having one. Think about your reasons for getting tattooed while you work through the process of choosing a design and you’ll find something that really expresses your original desire to get one.

Determine what your tattoo means to you now, later and forever.

Think about the meaning your tattoo will have and how it will apply to you in the future. While some people want their tattoo to always represent them, others will get tattooed to commemorate a period or event in their lives (like a mile marker).

Identify your style.

Identify different styles of artwork you’re naturally drawn to. Many designs can be represented in various ways and you might be more attracted to a traditional and vintage look, modern or urban styles, photo realistic forms, buoyant cartoon designs, delicate and feminine-looking work or “simulation” (designs that simulate watercolor, airbrush and oils).



The Basic Principles Of Landscape Design

Whether you plan to “borrow ideas” or plan on creating your own landscaping design, you should have at the very least a basic understanding of the principles of landscape design.

Don’t feel that you have to apply every principle to every part of your plan. Just having an understanding of these principles can help you generate ideas and increase your creativity.

Great landscaping lies in the eyes of the its creator. So, while the principles of landscape design are great guidelines to follow, don’t feel like they’re the “have to rules” of landscaping. Abstract and creativity are allowed.

Unity should be one of your main goals in your design. It may be better understood and applied as consistency and repetition. Repetition creates unity by repeating alike elements like plants, plant groups, or decor throughout the landscape. Consistency creates unity in the sense that some or all of the different elements of the landscape fit together to create a whole.

Unity can be created by the consistency of character of elements in the design. By character, I mean the size, height, texture, color schemes, etc. of different elements.

A good example would be in the use of accent rocks and boulders. If you’ve ever seen a landscape design that had several different colors and sizes of boulders, then you’ve seen that unity wasn’t created by this particular element.

This is just one example but the principle applies to all other elements such as groups of plants and materials.

A simple way to create unity in your landscape is by creating theme gardens. Creating a theme garden is easier when it’s related to something you’re interested in or have a passion for.

If you’re interested in butterflies for instance, you could create a theme using plants that attract butterflies as well as using statues, ornaments, and other decor that are related to butterflies.

Unity should be expressed through at least one element in your landscape and preferably more. Using elements to express a main idea through consistent style and a specific theme is what creates harmony.

Simplicity is actually one of the principles in design and art. It’s one of the best guidelines you can follow as a beginner or do it yourselfer. Just keep things simple to begin with. You can do more later.

Simplicity in planting, for instance, would be to pick two or three colors and repeat them throughout the garden or landscape. Keeping decor to a minimum and within a specific theme as well as keeping hardscapes such as boulders consistent is also practicing simplicity.

Balance in design is just as the word implies. A sense of equality. There are basically two types of balance in landscape design. Symmetrical and Asymmetrical.

Symmetrical balance is where there are more or less equally spaced matching elements, areas, and shapes of the garden design. With a garden equally divided, both sides could share all or part of the same shape, form, plant height, plant groupings, colors, bed shapes, theme, etc.

You may remember creating something like this when you were a kid in art class at school. Where you take a piece of paper, splash paint on it, fold it in half, unfold it, and then it magically creates an interesting symmetrical design. So symmetrical balance or design is somewhat of a mirror image or reflection.

Asymmetrical balance on the other hand is one of the principles of landscape design that’s a little more complex. While textures, forms, colors, etc. may remain constant to create some unity, shapes and hardscapes may be more random. This form of balance often has separate or different themes with each having an equal but different type of attraction.

Asymmetrical may be better understood as actually being unbalanced, abstract, or free form while still creating unity and balance through the repetition of some elements.

A good example of this would be where bed shapes or paths differ on both sides of the landscape dividing line while still sharing some of the same elements and plants. One side could be curved with a sense of flow while the other side is straight, direct, hard, and completely opposite. Again, unity and balance will be created through other elements.

Contrast can be very interesting and this type of form can create a neat contrast. Flowing lines are pleasing to the eye but the bold contrast of a curve combined with a straight line can be very interesting.

Asymmetrical balance isn’t dependent on the shape of your garden. It can be but generally it’s not.

An example might be where one side of the garden is mostly large shade trees while the other side is predominately a lower growing flower garden or even a mix of both examples. Like I stated earlier, the landscaping can be abstract while still maintaining unity through other elements such as rocks, plants, and decor.

Contrast and harmony can also be achieved using plants. Fine foliage verses coarser foliage, round leaves verses spiked leaves as well as color compliments and contrasts.

Plant height, color, and texture may be varied from one area to the next but each area should stay consistent within its own theme.

You’ll hear me talk about “themes” a lot. Many successful do it yourself designs follow a basic theme to achieve most of the principles of landscape design described on this page. It’s a simple starting point for do it yourselfers that can be added to later.

Color adds the dimension of real life and interest to the landscape. Bright colors like reds, yellows and oranges seem to advance toward you and can actually make an object seem closer to you. Cool colors like greens, blues, and pastels seem to move away from you and can make an object seem farther from you.

Grays, blacks, and whites are considered neutral colors and are best used in the background with bright colors in the foreground. However, to increase depth in a landscape, you can use dark and coarse textured plants in the foreground and use fine textured and light colored plants in the background.

Colors can also be used to direct your attention to a specific area of the garden. A bright display among cooler colors would naturally catch the eye.

Natural transition can be applied to avoid radical or abrupt changes in your landscape design. Transition is basically gradual change. It can best be illustrated in terms of plant height or color but can also be applied to all elements in the landscape including but not limited to textures, foliage shape or size, and the size and shape of different elements.

In other words transition can be achieved by the gradual, ascending or descending, arrangement of different elements with varying textures, forms, colors, or sizes.

An example of a good transition would be a stair step effect from large trees to medium trees to shrubs to bedding plants. This example is where a little knowledge of proper plant selection would come in handy.

Transition is one of the principles of landscape design that can be used to “create illusions” in the landscape. For example a transition from taller to shorter plants can give a sense of depth and distance (like in a painting), making the garden seem larger than it really is. A transition from shorter to taller plants could be used to frame a focal point to make it stand out and seem closer than it really is.

Line is of the more structural principles of landscape design. It can mostly be related to the way beds, walkways, and entryways move and flow.

Straight lines are forceful and direct while curvy lines have a more natural, gentle, flowing effect.

Proportion simply refers to the size of elements in relation to each other. Of all the principles of landscape design, this one is quite obvious but still requires a little thought and planning. Most of the elements in landscape design can be intentionally planned to meet the proper proportions.

For instance if you are creating a small courtyard garden, an enormous seven foot garden statue placed in the center would be way out of proportion and a little tacky to say the least. Or a small four foot waterfall and pond placed in the center of a large open yard would get lost in the expanse.

Don’t misunderstand this to mean that if you have a large yard you can’t have smaller features or garden decor. Proportion is relative and elements can be scaled to fit by creating different rooms in the garden. The goal is to create a pleasing relationship among the three dimensions of length, breadth, and depth or height.

A small water feature can be proportionate if placed in a corner or on the edge of a large area and becomes a focal point of the larger area while creating its own distinct atmosphere. An entire room, sitting area, or theme can be created around it. Other rooms and themes can be created as well. See small gardens for ideas on creating rooms and creating illusions.

Also, special consideration and study should be given to proper plant selection to avoid using plants that are out of proportion.

Repetition is directly related to unity. Its good to have a variety of elements and forms in the garden but repeating these elements gives variety expression.

Unity is achieved by repeating objects or elements that are alike. Too many unrelated objects can make the garden look cluttered and unplanned.

There’s a fine line here. It’s possible that too much of one element can make a garden or landscape feel uninteresting, boring and monotonous.

However, unity can still be created by using several different elements repeatedly. This in turn keeps the garden interesting.



Start Your Home Design Using These Home Design Tools

You’ve decided you want to build a new home. Where do you start? First, we suggest you purchase your land, as this will surely impact the design of your home. Second, start putting your ideas together before visiting your architect.

Start with a vision of your new home. Is there a certain architectural style you prefer? Colonial? Cape? Saltbox? Farmhouse? From there, start with the basics in home design. How many bedrooms will you need? Do you want a Master Bedroom with or without a Master Bathroom suite? Will it be located on the first or second floor? If this is a vacation home which will become your retirement home, you may prefer to have the main rooms located on the first floor for easy access in later years. Do you want a large, eat-in kitchen or a separate dining room?

Are you planning to entertain small or large groups of people in your home? Is a cathedral Great Room on your list of priorities? Will you need a living room or media room separate from your Great Room? Do you have a specific hobby or interest that requires a separate room or area?

Compare all of these areas with your current home. Does the space you have now fit your needs? Write down the measurements of your space and then mark whether or not the space is adequate. Wherever possible, look for areas to reduce the living space. For instance, if you have a large laundry room now and you only really use half of the space, mark it as a potential space saver. Anytime you reduce the square footage of your new home you will save money in initial material costs, but in energy costs over the life of the home as well.

A home fulfills many purposes, but it can also satisfy numerous personal, aesthetic, and emotional requirements that can be difficult to describe in words. In starting to imagine your home design, it will help your architect if you identify and communicate how you want each space to feel. How?

You may find it a challenge to explain how you want a room to feel. Start by doing some simple exercises. Pick up a home magazine or imagine a home you are familiar with. Find a room you like. What do you like about it? The way the afternoon sunlight casts shadows within the room? The room’s intimacy or its abundant space?

Think about other spaces you enjoy – the park, the library, your friend’s home. How does the space make you feel? What creates that feeling? Be specific, and write down what you like about it. For instance, you might write, “I like how the room’s color tones change as the sun sets” or “I love how the outdoors is brought inside”. These small realizations will help the home design to evolve from a floor plan to a custom home that is an extension of your life philosophy.

Do this for each room in your home design. It is also helpful to describe what you don’t like about certain floor plans, rooms, or space. For instance, if you are not fond of having to walk through your closet to enter your Master Bedroom, document this. Perhaps you like the great room in a magazine photo but you don’t like the television being the center of attention. Or, you may like the space but find it lacks the intimacy you’re looking for in your home – a cozy corner where you can chat with another couple, a well-lit reading area, or a secluded spot for your cell phone chargers, mail and telephone. Keep all of your notes together. Cut out full pages or small photos that describe your likes and dislikes. As you go through this process, you can update your thoughts with text and photos. Eventually, you will come to a good understanding of what you want your custom home to look and feel like. Bring your notebook to your first meeting with your architect. Starting with your vision in hand will expedite the design process while guaranteeing success.

Your custom home architect will spend time with you to guide you through this process and will translate your ideas into a preliminary design for your consideration and review. The result will be much more than a home with a standard floor plan – you will have a custom home design that matches your philosophy and lifestyle, a reflection of who you are, your dreams and aspirations.



Top Ten Fonts for Website Design

The top ten fonts for website design might change in order, but for the most part the fonts that make up this list stay the same due to their popularity. In general, the top ten list includes Arial, Frutiger, Futura, Gills Sans, Helvetica, Lucida, Optima, Palatino, Agfa Rotis, and Univers.

The reason these fonts are so popular is because they are simple and easy to read on computer screens with low resolution. As a result, most of the time fonts that are unique, wild, and distinctive are not used on web pages so as not to distract the reader from what is trying to be said and communicated through the font on the page. Since the website uses content to get the point across, it is prudent to use fonts that are easy to read. If you make it difficult for a visitor to read the content, they will more likely leave than put forth the effort. Consider the following points as well when developing your fonts for your website.

– Big Fonts

This is your web page and likely your livelihood, not a term paper or research project that has a defined style. Because of this, you can use big fonts, bold them, make them stick out and attract the reader. You can drive your point home with larger fonts and they also will be significantly easier for your visitor to read. The object of your website is to present information that is easily seen, read, and found by visitors. So, go ahead and increase the font size even in regular text that is not in a heading or title. Many of your visitors will thank you because they will not have to put on their glasses or strain to read the text. Sometimes bigger is better.

– Sans Serif

If you have no idea about fonts, how they translate to your web page, or how they will affect your visitors and ultimately sales, then you should definitely stick with a san serif font. The reason for this is that these fonts are the most legible and provide the best readability for visitors in a low resolution atmosphere. Don’t take risks with your fonts, go generic and use a sans serif font. Your visitors will thank you for it and your sales will not suffer from it.

– Simple is Safe

Again, don’t let yourself get carried away with your fonts and designs. Instead, keep the thought in mind that simple is safe. If you want to be bold and brazen in your website design then don’t take that route with your fonts. Keep it simple, basic, and easy to read, and you will benefit significantly more than if you try to mix it up.



10 Tips to Save Even More Money – Cloth Diapering

In this post, I would like to give you some tips on saving even more money with  cloth  diapering.

It’s quite clear that using  cloth  saves you a great deal of money, compared to disposables. Your one-time cost when going  cloth  is about 600 euro. Taken on account that children take longer to potty train when they’re on disposables, you’re looking at 2,5 to three years of disposables which comes down to 1400 euro.

Those 600 euro for the  cloth  diapers last until your child is fully potty trained and might even serve for a second or even a third child (hey, I even reused my old diapers from the eighties as burp  cloths , talking about getting a lot of mileage out of them). Sure, they can wear, but they can often be repaired too.

TIP 1

When your velcro is worn out, simply take it off and replace it. You can even choose to replace velcro with snaps, and you don’t need to be a professional tailor to do so.

TIP 2

Cut up some cotton or sponge towel to use instead of baby wipes. I have a little plant spritzer with water I use to wet the squares and that’s all you need. If you have a tap near your changing space, you can opt for using a washcloth too.

TIP 3

Fabric liners are another easy thing to make. Cut them out of fleece, sponge towel or thick ribbed cotton jersey. Be creative, you can even reuse worn T-shirts if you layer them. You can either make square pads or more ergonomic ones. And again, for this job, you don’t need a lot of experience sewing.

TIP 4

Paper liners can be washed too. I always wash mine if she has only peed on them. They even was two or three times.

TIP 5

When you are making your initial buy, shop around. Google it, nose through webshops, ask your friends. You might find some sales, you might get some handy-downs. Sometimes small mommy-run businesses make good quality diapers for less than the bigger brands. Plus most of the time these are customizable, so all the more fun. Trial packs can also be a good idea. Often they are cheaper and it’s a great way to test out a few brand before sticking with one.

TIP 6

Don’t buy everything at once. If money is short, this is a good way to split the cost. Your child only needs size S the first 5 to 7 months, you can postpone buying size L until later. This will also give you the time to find out if you are happy with the brand you own.

TIP 7

AIO’s (all in one) are a great way to avoid having to result to disposables when you’re out and about and might save you some $$.

TIP 8

Buy enough diapers. Now this might seem counter intuitive, but the bigger your stash the less frequently you have to wash, the less they will wear and the less work you have.

TIP 9

Let them run around bare bottom every once in a while. It’s not such a big deal to clean a pee or a poop off the ground (if your flours aren’t carpeted, of course). They also learn a little about themselves this way, and in the end, that’s some less diapers to wash and iron.

TIP 10

Use soap nuts or a bio wash ball. I haven’t tried the bio wash ball myself, but I’ve heard some great things about them. I can however vouch for the wash nuts. We’ve been using them for over two years now and our clothes are still squeaky clean. It costs about 14 to 17 euro for one kilo and we only use two bags a year (and I assure you, tropical climate dirties up your laundry like nothing else, and add to that a hubby squeezing himself into narrow oily and dirty shafts half the time for a living and who spends the other half of his time climbing dirt piles…). It also spares you the fabric softener; we only use white vinegar and the odd drop of essential oil.



5 Ways to Spot Fake Designer Clothing

1. All clothing fakes have low prices in comparison to genuine clothing. Before purchasing browse around and see the normal prices for designer clothing. For example, fake Prada Jackets are selling on eBay for less than £60! These are fake as Prada jackets can’t be bought (even direct from Prada) for anywhere near this amount. Outrageously low prices should make you cautious.

2. When buying clothing from a website, check the contact details and the terms & conditions. It is now a legal requirement for all websites to have full contact details (Address, Telephone, Email etc…). If there are no contact details just a form to fill in be cautious as they may be hard to trace if you are unsatisfied with your goods. I would also suggest avoiding eBay as this has a lot of fake designer clothing listed on the site from foreign sellers.

3. Once of the biggest giveaways of fake clothing is the material of the product. Nearly all fakes are cheaply made using low cost and inferior materials in comparison to genuine designer clothing. If possible examine the garment and if buying on line look in detail at large photographs of the product. Fake designer clothing the stitching is normally of poor quality and details such as the brand name on labels will be missing. Look closely at the fine details.

4. The majority of fakes are imported from cheap mass production countries such as China, Thailand, Japan (mostly Asia). Try and buy directly from the UK. Even though there are fake designer clothing sellers in the UK you are less likely to become a victim of illegal fake designer clothing by buying from the UK

5. Know your rights. In the UK if you unknowingly purchase fake designer clothing, through the ‘Distance Sellers Act’ you have 7 days to return the goods without penalty (full refund). Also if you use your credit card you can request your card issuer to do a cash back as the products was not accurately described.

If you follow the above five tips you should be able to avoid fakes such as the common fake Lacoste Polo Shirts. The easiest way is to purchase mens clothing where the prices are the one of the lowest in the UK and all products are 100% authentic.



How To Date An Asian Lesbian

I believe all lesbians, being that we’re all women, want and need the same thing. Lesbians all over the world experience the same prejudice, oppression and discrimination. We all go through the same phase of self-discovery, acceptance and challenges as we present ourselves in the society. It is never easy for any gay individual to live the lifestyle because there will always be someone opposing to it. Fortunately in the west, they have stronger laws that protect homosexuals from harassment and discrimination. Where as in Asia, well… let’s just say we are not as fortunate as our sisters and brothers from the west. Aside from our culture and tradition that favors men; we are also governed by religion.

The lesbian scene in Asia is pretty stereotyped. Most Asian lesbians practice the butch and femme labeling but then again, there are some who don’t. So before making your move on Lesley, make sure if she’s into the traditional role playing and if so, which one is she playing. As a precaution, please know that butch-to-butch relationships in Asia are pretty rare – if not taboo. Once your lesbian categories are settled, you may now make a move.

Talk to her. This is also a good opportunity to find out if she’s out of the closet. Most Asian families are still in the dark when it comes to homosexuality and will still try to control their precious daughter even if she’s already 25 years old. In Asia, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Parents will still try to control you to prevent you from bringing shame into the family and try to lead you into the “normal” life. But then again, there are some Asian families who have embraced homosexuality as part of the norms and encourage their daughters to love freely.

So you’re going on a date. What’s your first step? Take a bath and make that body of yours squeaky clean. Hygiene is very important. Trim and shave that muffin because we’ll never know where this date is going to lead you. We want you smelling nice and clean so spraying light scented cologne will be great. Wear neat clothes and brush your teeth.

Pick a place where you’re both comfortable. If she’s still in the closet, ask her where she prefers to stay. We don’t want her mother making a scene so it’s best that you stay somewhere safe.

The thing with us lesbians is we treat each other fairly well. But do not forget about chivalry especially if you’re dating an Asian femme lesbian. Hold the door open for her; carry her purse etc. – the whole “gentleman” practice. It would be nice to bring her flowers on your first date but if she’s not out and still lives with her parents, that might not be a good idea – maybe something small but special that she can bring home and keep instead.

Women love to talk so I’m pretty sure we won’t be having any problems in the conversation area. Topics will be the standard “getting to know you”. This is a good opportunity to drop some compliments since we tend to be insecure about our race around foreigners. But don’t over do it because we might think you’re just experimenting with us.

Most out of the closet Asian lesbians are a bit loose in terms of conservativeness. We wouldn’t mind a bit of public display of affection (PDA). We’d hold hands and kiss you in public but don’t expect a hot torrid kiss – a short and sweet French kiss is probably as far as you’re going to get UNLESS we’re in a lesbian crowd (i.e. exclusive lesbian parties). So if you score at the end of the date, congratulations! You’ve snagged yourself a Mulan girlfriend.

In a country where women are supposed to be a virgin till her honeymoon, sex is a big deal for us. Not a lot of Asian lesbians would have meaningless sex. Dildos and vibrators are a bit costly in Asia and due to our conservative culture; there is not a lot of places that sells them so do not be surprised if the idea of sex toys are a bit of a taboo to us Asian lesbians. We do everything the good old classic way so wash up before anything else.

Asians have close family ties so if your Asian girlfriend is out or would brave her family (and relatives) and introduce you to them, just relax. Behave your best and be polite to her family – even if they aren’t at their best. Don’t give them reasons to dislike you. Bring something for the family when you come over preferably something edible like a good cake or pastries that you can all share while they get to know you.

Asian women, regardless of their sexual orientation are faithful, caring and very loving. When you win an Asian woman’s heart, you also gain a lifetime partner. She will take care of you and love you through thick and thin. You will always be her priority and will consider your betterment before anything else. So if you end up with an Asian woman for a life partner, take care of her and make her happy. She’s worth every effort and emotional investment.



The Best Metal Detectors

The secret to the best metal detectors ever made is often overlooked by those searching to buy those elusive best metal detectors. The true secret is really to find a detector that you are comfortable with, thus you will be more likely to learn the machine and be able to use it proficiently.

Being comfortable means different things to each metal detector user. To some, best metal detectors indicate those of a certain brand like the more popular White’s, Garrett, Tesoro and other manufacturers. To others, it is the physical feel and balance of a metal detector. It can also be a correlation to what the metal detector cost. Each of these will be explained below.

Probably the most recognized best metal detectors factor is how well the machine performs in the field, especially in terms of how deep it will detect. Typically, a comparison of major brands per price range will show little difference in capability. On occasion, I have found pronounced differences between two metal detectors of the same brand and model!

Some users, especially those that have been metal detecting for many years, classify the best metal detectors as those of a specific brand or brands. Like myself, I prefer some of the older models because I have had good luck with them in the past. This is all individual preference based on lengthy use and becoming familiar with certain machines. Each metal detector manufacturer uses their own circuit design, thus the audible and visual response to targets can vary between brands. This has been a factor in my best metal detectors decisions, especially when it comes to the tones emitted. Some brands just don’t sound pleasing to my ears, and I would miss targets because of it.

An important factor in finding the best metal detectors is to find one that physically feels good in your hands. One with a good balance allows you to swing it all day long without getting tired. The metal detectors of today have come a long way in this aspect. Most of the newer detectors are balanced really well. If you find an older, heavier detector that you must use, consider converting it to a hip mount configuration so you can relieve the problem of swinging a heavy weight. I converted a White’s Coinmaster 6000D Series 2 to hip mount and loved it! It was one of my best metal detectors for many years.

How complex a metal detector is can play a role in finding the best metal detectors to buy. Some people want a simple machine to just turn on and hunt and may be intimidated by a bunch of knobs, controls and programming. Many modern metal detectors of today are computer controlled, complex devices but most are made so even the new user can turn them on and go. The extra features are there in case you want to grow with the complexity of your detector as you gain more experience. With that said, it is advisable to not let this factor decide your best metal detectors.

The type of hunting you will be doing will play a role in discovering your best metal detectors. You may find that one brand is better for you to find old coins while another will be better at finding rings on the beach. For instance, some treasure hunters prefer Minelab metal detectors while searching for gold nuggets and switch over to Nautilus metal detectors when looking for Civil War relics. Some manufactures do target specific niches with their metal detector designs. Finding the best metal detectors for each of your treasure hunting interests may mean a different brand for each.

The actual cost can be of importance to some people when formulating their best metal detectors decisions. It is like the saying of you get what you pay for. Buying the top of the line metal detector made by a manufacturer may be all it takes to find your favorite. This can be true in some cases but the top machine from one company may not hold a candle to a mid-range model from another. Also, some of the best metal detectors I have used have been older models that are not even made anymore.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when finding the best metal detectors. It will vary from person to person and can only be found through use. A user may swear by one but it may not be right for you. You may need to use several over a period of time to find your best metal detectors but don’t give up. With practice in the field, you will find them!