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Summertime is just around the corner and itâ€™s time to start getting our outdoor space ready for entertaining. In the previous years, you may have purchased, built or installed a bamboo fence to add a tropical flare to your backyard. However, over the past season perhaps this once tan or cedar colored fence has weathered to a silvery gray and perhaps this new â€śworn inâ€ť color does not match your island themed perceptions. Not to worry, bamboo can be easily restored to close to its original color with a few quick steps.
First of all, it is not recommended to stain bamboo until at least after its first season of weathering. The waxy cellulose fibers that cover the cane do not absorb stains or seals very well; the stain requires a grittier texture to adhere to. If desired, you can sand new bamboo with sandpaper and then apply stain; use lower grit sandpaper for a more thorough application. After sanding, be sure to wipe the bamboo clean with a tack cloth or rag.
To stain, dip a rag or a sponge into the stain, seal or varnish and apply directly to the bamboo. Before the liquid dries on the bamboo, wipe it off with a clean rag. Allow the stain to dry and gently sand the surface to ready it for another staining. Repeat until the color is to your liking.
To avoid weathering you will need to repeat the sealing/waterproofing process up to annually. This will also protect against rotting, water damage and bug infestation. However, if you donâ€™t mind the silvery gray weathered color, no maintenance is required for a bamboo fence to last multiple seasons -Â given correct installation and appropriate climate.
Summer is exactly 3 months away. As we start getting our backyards and outdoor rooms ready for outdoor entertaining, we should seriously start considering getting ourselves ready for days spent in bikinis and nights in flirty summer dresses. Here are 5 tips for making a fitness plan, sticking to it and ensuring your body is as ready to go for summer as your backyard is:
Set specific goals. Take a measurement of your basic features (waist, hips, and chest) as well as weight, resting heart rate and how many pushups and sit ups you can do in 30 seconds and set out to improve these â€śstats.â€ť Decide on an ultimate goal, but set up smaller ones along the way to make it seem less daunting and reward yourself for reaching them. For example, in an effort to improve your diet, try giving up buying coffee in the morning for a week and buying yourself a non-food treat with the money you save.
Create workouts you enjoy. Your exercise regimen will never be more than torture if you canâ€™t stand the activities youâ€™re doing. You donâ€™t have to spend hours in a gym to get a good workout. Dancing, hiking, playing basketball, kayaking, surfing and playing wii all burn calories while youâ€™re having fun. Grab a friend for a power walk around your neighborhood and chose a grassy spot to do some resistance training like sit ups and pushups or even join the kids at the playground. With the weather warming up for spring and summer, the outdoor opportunities are endless.
While terrifying news of earthquakes, tsunamis, fires and a potential nuclear disaster keeps pouring in via the newsrooms, newspapers, Facebook and Twitter, we canâ€™t help but be shocked and horrified about the events of the past week; everything looks so bad. Being thousands of miles away may put our minds at ease for our own safety but most of us are over whelmed with feelings of sympathy, empathy, helplessness or even pity. But how do we help Japan? Here is a partial list of some organizations that are accepting donations in order to respond to the disaster caused by the Japanese earthquake:
The Red Cross - Operates 2000 shelters in Japan to which 370,000 people have been evacuated; has handed out 46,000 blankets so far; deployed 95 medical teams; provides psychosocial support to survivors from trained nurses. To Donate: Visit Redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.
ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) â€“ Provides food and shelter for train passengers stranded in Tokyo after the earthquake. To Donate: Visit adra.org.
Operation USA â€“ Encourages corporations to collect bulk shipments of health care supplies to be shipped to the disaster region. To Donate: Visit OpUSA.org.
Other organizations standing by with emergency teams, staff and supplies include: International Rescue Committee, Peace Winds Japan, Convoy of Hope, AmeriCares, AMURT, Islamic Relief USA and World Vision. Visit any of these organizations websites or visit networkforgood.org to donate.
In times of crisis, the international community showcases the very best of humanity. If you have the means, we highly encourage you to help Japan cope with this disaster.
As summer keeps giving us little tastes of what is to come, we canâ€™t seem to stem the anticipation of outdoor barbecues, hot summer nights outside and all the glory that is the warmest season of the year. So as we sit in eagerness, we might as well get a jump on the outdoor decorating that is sure to make our backyards, porches and outdoor rooms perfect summer venues. Outdoor lighting is going to be a key component to extend the beautiful summer days into the warm summer nights, even if the sun says out past 8 pm. Here are some tips to get your outdoor space up to par for nighttime entertaining.
Illumination. Make sure to light treacherous areas of your yard. Your guests will appreciate it. Hazards include changes in terrain, abrupt directional shifts, steps, curbs or inclines/declines. Also light pools or any water featureÂ for safety purposes.Â Trails or walkways can be lit with small â€śpathwayâ€ť lights, placed close enough together so that the small pools of light overlap. Interesting focal points such as fountains, statues or particularly beautiful foliage should also be illuminated .Â
Mood Lighting. An outdoor space or yard used primarily for throwing big parties will require more and brighter lighting while a space for small scale gatherings may only require the dim light of a fire pit or a few well-placed solar lamp posts. For a brighter scene, consider using Christmas lights in shrubs, to line a fence or intertwined with an umbrella or patio posts; white twinkle lights will add elegance while colored ones will add life and vibrance.