Gardening

Below, I have categorized Epimedium hybrids by their plant form and flower types in order to help you select the best plants for your site. Other articles in this series contain other groups. Epimediums with Dodecatheon-like flowers Several other favorites that don’t resemble any of the aforementioned species are the clumping evergreen species Epimedium fargesii (1894) (Zone 5-8), Epimedium dewuense (2003) and the slowly spreading evergreen Epimedium dolichostemon (1988)(Zone 5-8). In flower, these more closely resembles a dodecatheon (shooting star). I find E. fargesii to be of the most elegant, understated of all the fairy wings … unfortunately, the lack of commercial demand will probably keep it rare. Epimedium fargesii is represented by the cultivars Epimedium ‘Pink Constellation’, Epimedium ‘Pink Treasure’, and Epimedium ‘Star Shower’. Epimedium dolichostemon which has wider spurs is also prized for its wonderfully mottled foliage. Epimedium dewuense is the smallest of the three with flowers that resemble a small Epimedium fargesii. Other Epimedium Species and Hybrid Groups Other than the previously mentioned species and groups, there are a couple of others which are fairly widespread in commercial production. The European Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum (1903) (Zone 5-8) is a lovely evergreen species, best known in the trade by the US National Arboretum collection from near the Black Sea and later named Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum ‘Thunderbolt’ In cold weather, the foliage darkens to nearly black with a few green veins. Epimedium x warleyense is a hybrid of Epimedium alpinum and Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum. This is one of the few true orange epimediums. Commonly available cultivars from this cross include Epimedium ‘Ellen Willmott’, and Epimedium x warleyense ‘Orangekonigin’. Epimedium perralderianum (1862) (Zone 5-8) is the only species native to Africa … Algeria, in fact. The 1′ tall stalk, held above the foliage is adorned with up to two dozen large bright yellow flowers. A similar looking hybrid to the parent derived from crossing E. perralderianum with the closely related Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum is Epimedium x perralchicum. This cross, also with long spreading rhizomes as it parents, is represented in the trade by Epimedium ‘Frohnleiten’ (reddish spring foliage with green veins and only 8″ tall, yellow flowers), and Epimedium ‘Wisley’. Epimedium Hybrids Despite all of the fabulous species and species selections, some of the most exciting new epimediums are coming from interspecific crosses. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ PP 17,197 is a cross of Epimedium ‘Caramel’ x Epimedium flavum. This amazing hybrid is topped with large floral sprays of large golden flowers. Also from Robin White’s breeding program in the UK is Epimedium ‘Pink Elf’ PP 17,228. This floriferous hybrid comes thanks to Epimedium pubescens with the other parent in question … reportedly Epimedium leptorrhizum, but I’m betting on Epimedium grandiflorum. This is the very first epimediums to flower for us, often starting to bud by early March. The numerous flower stalks create a cloud-like effect of small flesh-colored flowers. There are a number of other hybrids of unknown parentage. Some of my favorites including the Japanese hybrid Epimedium ‘Yohiki’, a later selection with long-spurred white flowers, which have white cups and hot pink sepals. Epimedium ‘Spritzer’ is a wonderful Epimedium membranaceum hybrid from Darrell Probst with heavily liver-speckled, spiny-edged leaves, topped starting in late March with tall spikes of large yellow flowers with contrasting coral sepals. Another one of my favorites of Darrell’s hybrids is Epimedium ‘Domino’ … mid-March flowering vigorous 3′ wide specimen with nicely mottled leaves, topped with 2′ tall burgundy flower spikes that have huge numbers of large white flowers, highlighted by pink cups. Two others that should soon become more widely available are Robin White’s Epimedium ‘William Stearn’ (long pink spurs and raspberry cups) and Darrell Probst’s E. ‘Pink Champagne’ (red mottled foliage and flowers of long light pink spurs and raspberry cups). These are just a sample of the wonderful hybrids that have just begun to hit the market with more on the way including many from our work here at PDN. I hope you find this group as enjoyable as I have and hope your interest in epimediums has been “spurred” to new heights. Again, a final thanks to Darrell Probst, without whom this would not have been possible and without whom many of these great Epimedium would never have made it into commerce.

Home Improvement

Make your house more welcoming and comfortable to live. A heavenly abode, is not a distant dream any more. Online secured home improvement loans help you attain a complete make over of your house. Decision has to be made whether you want to do it yourself or get an expert help to do it. However if your project seems complicated and you dont have much experience with your home improvements, it is best to leave it to the professionals. A budget includes setting aside an amount of money for any eventualities this includes mistakes, any accidental damage inflicted on your home and soon.

If the home improvement requires repairs that are beyond his expertise or skill, does he have qualified contacts to do this or do you want to start from scratch looking for another person to do this? Think, twice before you decide on any home improvement help.

How does Secured home improvement loan benefit you?

Such a home improvement loan will be secured against your home itself. A lender will make use of your house as a collateral which will assure him of your loan repayments on time. With this, you as a borrower will also be benefited as you will be lent a higher loan amount at lower interest rate in comparison to those who opt for unsecured home improvement loan. A lender would be more than willing to lend you a loan regardless of your poor credits too. Incase, your credit report reflects a bankruptcy, County Court Judgement, defaults on loan, a secured home improvement will help you overcome this stained credit status. With a collateral pledged, a lender will be care free about lending you loan despite of your poor credits, as he has the collateral to bank on, incase you default on your loan repayments.

Simply dont hire the first person who shows up at your door step telling you he noticed that your home needs to be remodeled or repaired. Another pitfall that commonly causes any home improvement project to fail is not having searched efficiently.

What can you do with the help of a secured home improvement loan?

You can carry out the following with the help of home improvement loan:

Painting your home
Smaller or bigger repairs of home
Adding a new room
Redecoration
Adding up a storey
Garden
Creating your kids room
A swimming pool or a basket ball court etc.

Landscaping


If you are a gardener, the Garden Design style Guide can get you
started. If landscaping and garden design or horticulture within the
massive extent is your interest, the Landscape style Guide is that the
place to appear for advanced tips, tricks and sensible follow
techniques.


The word “Garden design” is usually employed in 2 other ways. we tend
to might say “design and construction” once we mean to differentiate the
choice on what’s to be done, and also the record of this call, from the
particular doing of the work. we are saying “good much however
unhealthy in design” once we mean, for example, that a building serves
its purpose as a shelter, however doesn’t serve its purpose of giving
visual pleasure. On our web site, we’ll use the word “design” as which
means the art or act of determinative the character of associate object
in order that it shall serve any planned purpose or functions. for
instance, the term “landscape style” are used merely as which means
design in landscape materials.

Landscape architecture and garden
style area unit similar arts with a shared and ancient background.
Indeed, the name “landscape architecture” was made-up by the Scotchman
Gilbert Laing Meason in 1828. Although, architecture tends to agonize
with areas of the massive extent, usually with public product and public
area, it uses the inventive talent of garden designers.

Since
gardens and landscape area unit connected disciplines, you’ll realize
that links on the web site take you back and forth between landscape
style and garden style. Landscape architects share with garden designers
associate interest within the designing and style of outside area.


Gardening ideas Guide – Harmonious colors and sound style differentiate
triple-crown gardens from standard ones. Here we tend to discuss the
assorted issues of color, succession of bloom, and garden style.


Landscape style Guide – it’s formed that unity, variety, character,
properness and end area unit the basic characteristics of any landscape,
– that these qualities area unit final and coordinate, tho’ by no
suggests that equally necessary. every work of landscape and garden
design is to be tested on an individual basis for every of those
qualities.


Most suburbs look an equivalent, right? Right! It’s no mistake. It
happened designedly, or a minimum of by benign intention. The scene
appearance one thing like this: emerald turf from heap line to heap
line, an outsized tree off the corner of the house and a set of carven
or, worse, scalped shrubs lined up against the muse.

The origins
of this tradition may be derived partially to the first writings of
authoritative architect full general Andrew Jackson Downing, United
Nations agency in 1865 was one in every of the primary writers to push a
national landscape aesthetic to a good audience. He set the stage for
what has evolved into a standard yank yard aesthetic.

Despite
the influence of skilled designers and style advocates, the prevailing
commonplace has remained consistent. love it or not, we have a standard
yard. solely by understanding and acknowledging this tradition will we
start to pioneer in our front yards.

Green Lily is one of the
best landscaping and garden design company in USA.There are lots of
other garden design company,provide different landscaping and gardening
ideas.

Home Improvement

Well, you’ve decided to improve your home. Good for you! However, there is so much information that you may not have a clue where to begin. Don’t worry, home improvement tips are here! Listed below are some tips that will help you get started and organized so that you can become a home improvement expert.

Every piece of real estate is subject to building codes; the savvy land buyer will research these codes well in advance of making a purchase. Without proper research, the requirements imposed by local codes and zoning regulations can present a nasty surprise to land holders who intend to build a new home or improve an existing one.

Improve your home by installing ceiling fans in your rooms. Ceiling fans can help you save energy when you need to heat or cool your home. In the summer, the fan can create a breeze that has a cooling effect in the room. In the winter, when the spinning direction is reversed, the fan can recirculate warm air, which means less work is required from your heater.

Remember your environment whenever you are making improvements to your home. Things like adding a sun roof in Seattle would make nearly no sense. Stick with the things that are wanted and keep your projects acceptable to the climate in which your home is in.

If you’re looking to add variety to your rooms with paint you can do it very quickly and cost effectively. Paint one wall a different striking color in your room that doesn’t match the other wall colors. This will create a new focal point in your room and make your space feel like it just had a real update.

If you are short on cash and trying to figure out a way to create a unique backsplash for your kitchen, you can buy some nice patterned wallpaper. Meanwhile this may not be a permanent solution; you can switch out your designs often or keep it until you are able to afford tiling. You can even go as far as purchasing different patterned wallpapers and cutting them into small shapes to design your own wall mosaic as a backsplash.

Before you hire anyone to do home improvement work on your house, carefully check their references. You should view it in exactly the same way as hiring someone to work for you. Do a background check and make certain they have good references from former clients.

When making outside cosmetic improvements to your home, don’t neglect the front door. A cheap, ugly front door can make the whole front appear less attractive. To replace a standard front door, costs less than $200. The improvement you will see in the appearance of your home is more than worth the cost.

Using an area rug not only protects your floor, but helps highlight a piece of furniture. Use a printed area rug to call attention to a piece of furniture such as a nice, sleek sofa or an ornate coffee table that you are proud of. Make sure that the size of your area rug is not overwhelming to the point of highlighting your whole room.

Brighten your kitchen by using new handles and knobs! To give your kitchen a quick pick me up, simply install new cabinet knobs. You can easily give your cabinets and drawers a good Spring cleaning while you have the knobs and handles removed. All you have to do after that is screw the new hardware into place!

If you are renovating your bathroom, consider installing a steam shower. Steam showers have many health benefits, as well as being more comfortable to use than a standard shower. Steam showers are great after exercise, to soothe tired muscles, or for people with asthma and other breathing difficulties. There are even steam shower products that can be added to your current shower unit.

If you travel frequently and leave your house unattended, consider installing timer lights in your home. These lights come on according to a programmed schedule – giving the appearance that the home is occupied – even when it is not. This is an effective deterrent for would-be burglars who look for unoccupied homes when hunting for potential targets.

Older awnings over porches and windows can greatly detract from the appearance of your home. By removing them, you are updating your house with a more modern look that allows its distinctive character to shine through. Furthermore, you will find that more natural light enters your house through the windows, brightening the mood.

Gardening

If you are a first time market gardener, or thinking about market gardening as a career, there are important ‘success secrets’ you must follow for your garden and your business to thrive.

Success Secret 1: Sell before you sow.

There is more to market gardening than just planting some seed in the ground. You have to market, plan and manage your garden as well. Notice that marketing comes first; you should know how, where and to whom you will sell your produce before you plant it.

In fact, the best marketing approach for a small market garden is the Community Supported Agriculture model. In this model, customers basically subscribe to your market garden, paying you in advance for a season’s worth of fresh vegetables. You deliver the vegetables weekly throughout the season, but get the money up front. This is important cash flow early in the season, to pay for seed and supplies.

Success Secret 2: Seed is cheap, buy lots.

Seed will be one of your lowest expenses, so don’t skimp om your seed order. Seed houses often run out of some varieties later in the season, so don’t wait to order, or expect you can find seeds when you need them. Order more than you think you will need up front. Most seeds keep for several years, so little will be wasted if you don’t use it all that same season.

Success Secret 3: Sow frequently.

As a market gardener, your income depends on selling vegetables weekly throughout the season. This means you have to harvest vegetables weekly throughout the season. Sow often, and sow a lot. Make more than one planting of everything, even the crops that produce all season e.g. indeterminate tomatoes, so you have a backup if something happens to the first planting. Crops like lettuce and other greens need to be sown weekly.

Success Secret 4: Stretch the season.

Your growing season will be a lot longer than your harvesting season. You will be starting plants weeks and months before your first harvest. Unless you are in a really beneficial climate, i.e. warm and sunny year-round, you will need a facility to start and grow your transplants. This might be a heated greenhouse or a plant-starting room with heat and artificial light.

You will need to learn to grow healthy transplants in these environment. Remember it can take 8-12 weeks for some seeds to grow into plants you can set out in your garden. If you lose a batch in the greenhouse, you better have another one coming along behind it, or you lose the season for that crop (remember Success Secret 3.)

Success Secret 5: Start now.

No matter what time of year it is, you can get started on your first market garden. You can read about market gardening, find seed catalogs, and start planning and laying out your first garden. You can contact friends, neighbors and co-workers to see if they might like to subscribe to your garden. You can start working on an advertising flyer to market your garden. Whatever the task, don’t wait to get started on your market gardening dream.

Home Improvement

Looking for something new in your mosaic art? Heres a fresh idea. Make mosaics using large stained-glass pieces as if making a stained-glass window, instead of using small pieces cut to the stale, standard shapes of squares, rectangles, and triangles. After following that traditional practice for so long, I grew bored with it and wanted something different. I removed my mosaic-artist hat and donned my stained-glass-artist hat for a nice change of pace. After making a few stained-glass hangings, it dawned on me. Why not combine mosaic art with stained-glass art? My first piece turned out beautifully, better than expected, and I havent looked back since. Lets discover how you, too, can make these wonderful mosaics.

The first critical thing I learned when making mosaics from stained-glass patterns is to cut the base material to the exact size of a standard ready-made open-back frame. This avoids having to pay five times the price for a custom frame. I wait for my favorite hobby store to put their ready-made open-back frames on sale for half price so I usually pay about $25 for an attractive frame, including the installation, paper backing, and hanging hardware. My favorite size is 18-inches by 24-inches. My preferred choice of base material is plain 1/8-inch hardboard, which you can get at your favorite home improvement store. I usually get the sheets pre-cut to 2-feet by 4-feet for about $5. So, for a measly five bucks, I have enough base material for two mosaics, which is good if youre a starving artist on a tight budget. Its important to know that 1/4-inch is about as thick as you can go in terms of the piece fitting properly into a ready-made open-back frame. The base material is 1/8-inch thick and the stained glass is about 1/8-inch thick, which makes the finished piece about 1/4-inch thick.

Measure and then carefully and safely cut the hardboard to the exact size of the open-back frame you plan to use. Lets assume you like the 18-inch by 24-inch size. A table saw enables you to make more accurate cuts than trying to guide a circular saw by hand. If a circular saw is all you have, then it can be done, just take your time and dont rush the cut. Heres a tip. I found a refurbished Skil table saw online that cost only $80 including shipping. When it arrived, it looked and functioned like brand new. I got a fantastic $250 saw for only $80. The key is to search online for a refurbished unit instead of brand new. After measuring and marking the hardboard (measure twice and be accurate), ensure you align the saw blade to cut on your cut-line so the resulting piece is exactly 18-inches by 24-inches. In other words, dont cut directly on the line because the resulting piece will be something like 17.8-inches by 23.8 inches, which may be too small to fit properly in the frame. Every ready-made frame labeled as 18-inches by 24-inches that Ive bought has been within a hair of 18-inches by 24-inches. Theres not much room for error when cutting the base material, so measure twice and align the blade properly on the cut line. If the resulting base material is within a hair of 18-inches by 24-inches, itll fit nicely into the ready-made open-back frame.

When your base material is cut to the perfect size, paint it white. I use bright white ceiling paint primarily because its a lot cheaper than standard wall paint. I usually use two coats so the dark-brown hardboard is bright white. The whiter the base material, the brighter the glass will look when you adhere it to the board. If you dont paint the base material white, the glass will look dull and dreary against the dark-brown board.

Now that your base material is ready, simply transfer your stained-glass design to the board. If you have no drawing skills, find a lovely stained-glass pattern online or at your favorite hobby store and transfer the pattern to the base material. You can find transfer paper at your favorite hobby store for less than $2 a sheet thats big enough to cover the 18-inch by 24-inch base material. The good thing about transfer paper is that you can use it several times before its no good. Ive eked out as many as nine transfers (i.e., nine mosaics and stained-glass works) before the paper no longer transferred the tracing well enough for me to see the lines clearly.

Measure and cut (and grind the edges if you have a grinder) the stained-glass pieces as if you were creating a stained-glass window. I always use highly translucent or opaque glass colors to ensure you cant see through it to see the glue when adhered to the base material. For your mosaic, instead of joining the pieces using lead came or copper foil and solder as you would with a stained-glass work, you simply glue the pieces in place over the pattern on your base material using plain white PVA glue (e.g., Elmers Glue All or Weldbond), leaving about 1/16-inch spacing between pieces. The spacing can vary up to 1/8-inch, but I wouldnt go any wider than 1/8-inch spacing because I believe the wider spacing looks amateurish compared to narrow spacing.

When all the pieces are glued in-place and the glue has dried for at least 48 hours, fill the spaces with your favorite grout color, just as you would if the mosaic were done with the standard small pieces of square or triangular shapes. I mostly use medium-gray grout, but my latest preference is charcoal (black) grout. The more mosaics I do with black grout, the more I like it. Grout color can make or break the final look of your mosaic, so if youre in doubt about what grout color to use, your best bet is to use medium-gray.

When the grout has dried overnight, take the mosaic to your favorite hobby store when theyre having a sale on ready-made open-back frames. My favorite store has a 50% sale every other week, so if its an off week, I simply wait a week. Pick several frame styles and colors, and place them over your mosaic, one at a time. Dont settle for the first frame you find. Ask the clerk which frame he thinks looks best with your mosaic. See which frame helps highlight the colors in your mosaic. I often ask other customers in the immediate area what they think, and theyre always eager to give their opinion. Once you have the perfect frame, the clerk will install your mosaic, apply the paper backing, and install the hanging hardware and wire.

Now you have a beautiful mosaic to hang on your wall or give as a present. The neat thing about it is that its usual, not the same boring mosaic style weve seen for centuries. Its basically a stained-glass window installed in a frame with grout in the spaces instead of solder. You wont see that too often. Well, not until all the mosaic artists in the world read this article and switch to this technique!

Gardening

Anyone who is serious about gardening knows how difficult it can be sometimes. It can be almost impossible to keep your garden organized and orderly. When you get older, or if you have back problems, it is also painful to spend a lot of time down on your knees, digging in the dirt.

For these reasons and more, a potting bench is the perfect addition to every garden. Not only is a potting bench attractive and adds a different element to your patio or yard, but it also is very practical and quite versatile as well.

By using a potting bench, you will be able to have all of your seeds, pots, and gardening utensils within easy reach. You can store items such as potting soil, pots, and planters on the bottom shelf. A potting bench can also be used as a carving area, a work table, or even for serving drinks to your friends.

A potting bench is also a great spot to transplant, prune, root, and cut your plants. You can save your back from unnecessary strain by doing all of these activities on your potting bench instead of on your knees in the garden.

Many potting benches on the market today contain a sort of guard rail on the back to keep your soil on the bench and keep it from falling onto your patio or deck. This feature allows you to keep your work area neat and clean, while still keeping up with your planting needs.

You can either choose to purchase a pre-made potting bench from a furniture company, or if you are feeling adventurous, you can decide to build it yourself. Many companies that will sell you a pattern and directions, the equipment and supplies you will need, and some even pre-drill the holes in your bench. If you choose to build your own potting bench, don’t forget to apply a finish to it when you are done.

In the end, whether you decide to purchase or build a new potting bench, it is incredibly important to make sure your bench is weatherproofed. The most popular weatherproofing finish options for wood furniture are varnish and paint.

Another benefit of using a potting bench is that bending over in the garden can cause injury to your back, causing you a lot of pain. However, when you use a potting bench, you can avoid bending and lifting, and work on your plants at waist-level instead. This alternative is much better for your back than straining your muscles by planting and transplanting on your knees.

Every gardener, from the beginner to the extreme gardening enthusiast, needs to invest in a potting bench for their garden. This piece of furniture not only provides you with an excellent work space for your gardening, but will also save your back from needless strain. Not only will your garden look better if you purchase a potting bench, but you will feel better and be able to enjoy your favorite pastime even more.

Home Improvement

The Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Register is the register of Energy Performance Certificates lodged for properties in the UK, and can be accessed online via the epcregister.com website. The website is operated on behalf of the British Government by the Landmark Information Group, which has designed the site to be easy to navigate so you can quickly find the information you are looking for.

The home page includes a menu on the left, with a description on the right and clickable links for quick access to finding a reputable domestic energy assessor in your area, and to retrieving an energy performance certificate for a property. These options are also available by selecting the appropriate option from the menu on the left.

Find Energy Assessor

The first option after Home on the menu is Find Energy Assessor. This page helps you find an accredited energy assessor near the property to be assessed, or to check whether or not an individual claiming to be an energy assessor is accredited. To find an assessor you will need to select what type of report you require the energy assessor to prepare and the postcode of the property. Full contact details of accredited assessors are only available if they have given permission for these details to be displayed.

If you select the option to find the nearest accredited assessor in the area in which the property is located, select the type of report you want them to prepare. Options are: an Energy Performance Certificate (used for existing buildings), an SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) Energy Performance Certificate (used for new or converted buildings), or a Home Condition Report.

Retrieve Report

There are two options on the menu for retrieving an existing report: Using a Reference Number, or Using a Property Address. Use the first option if you know the RRN (Report Reference Number), which is shown on front page of the EPC. Use the second option if you do not know the RRN but do know the postcode.

In both cases you will need to enter a security code to confirm you are a genuine enquirer and not a spammer, and you will also need to read and accept the terms.

If you do not know the postcode, click on the link to the right instead of entering the postcode. You will then be asked to enter the street name and postal address town. The postcode is then displayed and you can click on it to view the list of available reports.

EPC Adviser

This option enables you to see how you can make your property more energy efficient and less expensive to run. Select this option and enter the RRN and security code. Click Next and agree to the conditions. When you click Next again a list of measures (such as insulation, changes to lighting and heating measures) you can take to improve energy efficiency is displayed. Select the options you want and then click on Calculate to see how much money you could save. You can try as many different combinations as you wish. Click on View Results when you have finished to view a summary and download a pdf.

Gardening

Passion aint easy, but it sure is fun! That’s a motto that I have adapted over the years. Finding out what your passion is can be hard. Figuring out what the one thing is that drives you and makes you want to get up and give 150% every day is no easy task. In today’s world who really has time for passion when you have to rob one bill collector named Peter just so you can make a payment plan to try and pay Paul? Your kids are eating you out of house, home, and anything elsethatthey set their eyes on. I mean you barely even have 30 minutes a day to sh*t, shower, and shave, right? Yup…I get it trust me I do. But in the midst of all of those things that are pulling you lies something called Passion. As fathers we have to not only find out what our passion is, but we are responsible for instilling a sense of passion and purpose into our children. Passion is an emotion that reflects a strong desire or deep interest in something or someone. So before I go any further I want you to take a moment and think about what are the three things that you are most passionate about in life. Maybe a love for your community is the thing that turns you into an outspoken activist when you witness injustice or maybe you have such a strong passion for music that you can’t sleep at night without downloading the latest songs on iTunes. It could be that gardening is your passion. Don’t laugh, there are some brothers out there who are pretty nice when it comes to the green thumb. The things that came to your mind when you thought about your passion are the things that you should be pursuing diligently with every fiber in your body. And if nothing came to mind, don’t even worry,becauseI will cover that a little later. Some people think that just because certain things happen in their livesthatthey can’t find their passion. There are also some folks who find something that they are passionate about, and lose interest once the world gives them a few swift kicks in the backside. Life is life, and things are going to happen that are beyond your control. Some of the stuff that you will go throughwillbe the exact things that you never thought would happen in your life. It’s what you do and how you react to those things that will determine how far you go and what you will achieve. We all get stuck in those ruts that feel like the world is against us. And I’m not saying that finding your passion is going to stop those feelings from happening. But once you start making clear and concise decisions based on where you want to go not based on where you are you will begin to see a world of difference in your life. I’m here to tell you that once you find your passion it’s like an immovable object that will stay with you. The thing about it is passion won’t just come and sit in front of you and say “Hey..whassup?!?! Here I Am” You have to go and get it. You have to find it and make sure that you take it with youwhereveryou go. So, what I have done iscreate six steps that I think will help you find your passion. I know as men and as fathers it can be hard for us to communicate and express ourselves at certain times so you may not know where to go or who to talk to when life gets you down, but once you find that passion and begin to act on it you will have an escapism so to speak when those tough times come.
Here are the 6 steps for dads to find their purpose from my site Thesinglefathersblog.com

1. Start with what interests you – Remember earlier when I had you think about the things that drive you. That was the first step in finding your passion. The things that we are usually most passionate about are usually the things that somehow touch oureverydaylife. So take a moment and write down those things in your life that you just couldn’t livewithout. One thing that I know I couldn’t live without is my daughter. It is because of her that you are even reading this blog. Fatherhood is one of my passions and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. If you would have asked me ten years ago if I thought I would be passionate about fatherhood and issues pertaining to fathers I would have given you a resounding “Hell NO!” But hey, as we grow older our priorities begin to change and the things that were small and minuscule become gigantic and larger than life.

2. Create and establish goals for yourself – In order to work any plan or establish any tangible results you must first define what your goals are. I don’t mean goals like ” I want to be rich in 5 years” or ” I want a 10 bedroom house with Brazilian models feeding me ice cream on Wednesdays and Fridays”. There is nothing wrong with thinking those types of thoughts and wanting them to become a reality, but first we have to figure out what are you going to be doing to achieve those results. I am talking about goals that have to do with helping you to become a better you and also find what it is that drives you. You have to begin to live your life with a sense of purpose. Make a conscious decision that THIS is what you want to do and nothing will come between you and achieving your desired results. When you set your goals you should start off with a big picture and then break down smaller objectives that are going to help you get to the large goal. Keep breaking those objectives down until you get to where you are today and figure out what it is that you can do right now at this very moment to take you to the next step. Once you get to the next step, just keep working on it until you gettothe step after that. Passion is a process. It’s not something that is just going to happen overnight.

3.Go out and play – Once you have figured out what it isthatyou are passionate about and you have set the goalsthatyou wish to obtain, what else is there to do besides go out and start exploring?!?!? If you are passionate about something I am willing to bet any amount of money that you can find someone out in the world who is not only passionate about the exact same thing that you are, but has also been where you are and knows where you are trying to go. You have to get out there and experience things for yourself. Start touching and gathering those building blocks that are going to become the foundation of your success. You have to meet people who have similar interests and are willing to share their knowledge with you. If no one in your circle of friends shares the same interest that you do, then guess what…It’s time to start making a new circle!

4.Share your journey with others- I’m a huge fan of social networks. Today, there is a social network and a website or achat roomfor EVERYTHING!If you don’t have anyone at home or in your circle of friends who shares the interest that you have in your passion, that’s fine. Just take yourself online and document your journey for those who have an idea of what you are attempting to do. When you share your current thoughts and ideas with other people it makes it easier to create new thoughts and new ideas. You would be amazed at how interested people can be when you tell them about something that makes you happy.

5.Forget about the money- A lot of times when people talk about passion they immediately tie it into prosperity. Well I am NOT one of those people. I understand that we all have to make a living and provide for our families. But, passion is the thing that you would do whether you would get paid for it or not. Once you start using money to motivate you, yourjudgmentbecomes cloudy and you begin to do things that could turn out to be the exact opposite of what you stood for in the beginning. I’m not saying that you should not beanastute businessman because in today’s world there is a market for everything. Just don’t let the money determine how you are going to pursue what it is that was meant for you. Use your gifts and your talents and the reward is going to come.

6.Have Fun – As important as I think it is to find your passion, I think the most important thing to do in the midst of everything else is to have fun. Enjoy life…I mean really, no one gets out of here alive. If you find something that brings joy to your heart I think you should do it. It’s important for our children to not only see us chasing our dreams, but to know that we are enjoyingourselves as we do it. If you have something that you are passionate about and it becomes tedious to even think about it, you may want to go back up to step #1 and start all over again looking for a new and improved passion. The thing about life is that we have the ability to change our direction at any given moment. If you go through those first four steps and find out that things aren’t working in your favor then you can go right back and start working on something else. As long as you are growing and learning from each and every experience you are on the right road. The key to finding your passion is motivation. Because as I said before life is going to hit you slam upside your head on more than one occasion. Your desire to succeed and your will to win have got to be greater than any obstacle that may come before you. You have to dig deep…Find that passion and let everyone know that THIS is what you were made to do and THIS is what you will be doing!

Home Improvement

True soundproofing comes into play during the construction phase, using specially designed materials. But if tearing down a room’s walls isn’t in your home improvement budget, try these easy ideas for dampening sound.

Plan A: Soundproofing Your Interior Design

You can dampen noise with some clever interior design choices. Consider these soundproofing home improvement ideas:

* Hang drapes
* Lay down carpet (or rugs)
* Choose rough-surfaced furniture, which absorbs sound

Plan B: Soundproofing Home Improvement Projects

A spare hour or two is all you need to complete these home improvement projects for soundproofing rooms:

* Weatherstrip It. If doors and windows are admitting a draft, they’re also admitting sound waves. Weatherstrip the gaps around the doorway and windows to create an airtight seal.

* Replace windows. Window replacement can do wonders to soundproof a room. Vinyl frames and double-paned windows are designed to keep out the environment–wind, sleet, snow, and street noise. Consult Repair-Home’s directory to find a qualified window replacement specialist.

* Replace the Door. For soundproofing purposes, the best door is a heavy door. One contractor recommends a ‘sandwich’-style door filled with sand.

* Treat the Walls. Any heavy material applied to the walls will help soundproof the room. Manufacturers offer special soundproofing panels designed to blend in, but you can use just about anything–carpet, blankets, even cardboard egg cartons.

* Texture the Ceiling. If the 70s ‘popcorn’ texture isn’t your style, apply an acoustic spray texture or any rough material to the ceiling.

Plan C: Call in the Home Improvement Experts

If these DIY measures don’t do the trick, it’s time to call in a professional contractor, who can address problems such as inadequate insulation, insulation gaps, or holes in the attic.

Everyday noise pollution doesn’t necessarily call for the expensive soundproofing materials used in recording studios or home theaters. Try these home improvement ideas, or call a contractor for expert advice. In addition to keeping noise out, you are insulating the rooms and saving money on your energy bill.