7 Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your Home Faster

Looking for ways to spring clean your home in no time? Good. I’ve got some tried and tested ways that I’m going to share with you. Spring cleaning is one of my favorite things about the spring season, but unfortunately, I can’t enjoy it to the fullest since my schedule is always overloaded. So I’ve found a few ways to spring clean my home fast that are also great for those who don’t like cleaning.

1. Clean mini blinds
Yes, I want to start with the worst part about spring cleaning. I’m sure many of you would agree that cleaning mini blinds is a great pain. However, I’ve learned a small tip that makes it really easier. Just take your mini blinds down and wash them in the bath. They’ll be cleaner in no time!

2. Wash your walls
If you used to wash your walls by hand, this spring try washing them with a mop instead. This will save you a lot of time, I promise! Now that I know this little trick, washing my walls isn’t a big problem anymore. Give it a try and you will never think of washing the walls as a great pain.

3. Clean your oven
I don’t understand those people who clean their oven by hand when they have a self-cleaning one. A self-cleaning oven works amazingly and is so easy to operate. If you have a self-cleaning oven, just turn it on and it will do its thing. While it’s cleaning, the oven gets extremely hot and there can be a terrible smell, but you can go outdoors to avoid the smell, or do another chore to complete your spring cleaning faster.

4. Give your carpets to the professionals
If you have carpets, I suggest you to hire them done. It’s better and easier. It’s also incredibly time-saving. The professional knows what they’re doing and they can be more experienced at stain removal than you are. If you can afford, give your carpets to the professionals.

5. Purchase a ceiling fan cleaner
Purchase a ceiling fan cleaner so that you don’t have to climb up and take it all apart. Indeed, there’s a great device that you can purchase that cleans the ceiling fan. It’s like a duster but created to fit over every blade. While you still should clean the globes, it helps save you immense amounts of time and headache.

6. Clean your curtains
If you have trouble cleaning your curtains, I recommend doing all of your curtains at once. Take the day, take your curtains down and wash them. After washing, hang your curtains back up. Don’t forget to check the instructions and learn how to properly launder them. Maybe your curtains are dry clean only ones. Follow the instructions on the label and you won’t have any problems.

7. Don’t do it alone
If you share a home or if you have a big family, don’t do your spring cleaning alone, it’s just too much for one person. Have everybody muck in and help and you’ll get it done quicker and you will even have time for a spring picnic or family BBQ.

Follow these tips and you will do your spring cleaning faster and easier. Which tricks do you use to do your spring cleaning quicker? Share them with me, please, I will certainly try them all!

7 Creative Ways to Decorate Blank Walls in Your House

You must agree that our home is our sanctuary where we rest, communicate with our family and it should give us the peace of mind. You need to see things you like around you to feel comfortable. But blank walls in your house can’t help you to relax. How to add some comfort to our homes by decorating blank walls you may find out in the following tips.

1. Shelves
Shelves can add a lot to the decoration of your house. It is the perfect way to decorate a blank wall. Not only can you fill the empty wall with them, but you can also put your favorite items on them, such as photos, vases, flower pots, etc. It can be a good idea to rearrange things on the shelves once in a while to refresh the view. To decorate your wall like this you need very little, just a shelf itself, couple of nails and hammer. And there are a few ways you may need nails and hammer while decorating. So keep them handy!

2. Pictures
Pictures are the first things you think of when it comes to decorating walls. But don’t just put pictures on the wall, as everybody does. Use your imagination! You can organize them in groups, or put a lot of small pictures into one large frame like a collage. Besides, a lot of interesting ideas can be found on Pinterest! Put on your wall the image of something or somebody you like and it will help you to feel relaxed and cozy.

3. Paint your wall
Great tip is to paint your colorless wall! One of the decorating trends of today is painting one wall in color that will match with the rest of the room. It is the way that will work if nothing else does! And you can always add items later.

4. Canvas Art
The canvas art is one of my favorite ones and they are great in decorating walls. They can add soft and sophisticated touch that is why I have some of them at home. And they are quite contemporary. Just try to use them and you will like them just as I do!

5. Inspiring Quotes and Proverbs
You must have seen them before, the pieces of art with the inspiring quotes on them. They can be used for decorating blank walls as well. You can choose any piece of art you like or even write the quote on the wall yourself. It is easy to do as there are a lot of calligraphy stencils that you can find in various craft and art stores, or order them online.

6. Large Clocks
Large clocks are one of my favorite items to decorate a blank wall. It is really convenient to put it somewhere where you can see it when leaving home and arriving back. You can buy clocks of different designs, and they can be pretty stylish. If you still don’t have a nice clock to decorate your house just go and buy one! You’ll love the way it fits to your wall.

7. Lamps
My favorite lamps are those that attached to the wall. They can be a great decoration for the wall as well. If you install a lamp on the empty wall it will light the space around and will make it more cozy and bright. You can also put a floor lamb beside the wall; it will look good and can help you to feel your house a home.

So what are your tips for decorating the blank walls? Could you share them with us?

8 Wallet-Friendly Updates to Make to Your Home

Looking for a cheap, simple and DIY way to enhance your home’s beauty? I’ve got a few wallet-friendly yet creative ideas for you. When it comes to upgrading any house – be it modern or old – the possibilities are endless. However, most of us don’t even think of any home improvement when we make ends meet only and don’t have extra bucks for new furniture or luxury decorations. Stop worrying about money. All you need is tons of creativity and a little bit of cash. Try some of these ideas and enjoy your hard work but beautiful house in the end.

1. Make some DIY decorations

One of the cheapest ways to improve your house is to add some bright and unique decorations. If you have kids, ask them to help you create some unusual things that they think will make their rooms and your entire house more beautiful. It can be your new family tradition to decorate your home at the beginning of each new season. If you live alone, it’s still a great tradition to establish. Pick some bright leaves when walking in the park today and let your creativity and hands do their job.

2. Add a splash of color to your old sofa
If you can’t afford to purchase a new sofa, why not upgrade the old one? Add a few colorful pillows to it and your sofa looks like new. There’s no need to throw your old pillows away. You can either alter them or purchase some bright pillow covers. Of course, the best option is to make your own ones, but it takes some time and effort.

3. Paint your flower pots
If you have many flower pots, consider updating them to make your windows look brighter. It takes time and efforts, not to mention that you’ll need to spend a few bucks on paints, but the result is well worth it. Certain flowers improves our health while beautifully decorated flower pots can make the house look more comfortable.

4. Add a shelf with books
DIY shelves beautify many homes these days. If you don’t have any open shelf in your house, it’s time to make a few to keep all your books in one place as well as display all your DIY decorations, knickknacks and pictures. You won’t recognize your room, I promise!

5. Paint your walls bright colors
Painting a room doesn’t take much time or money, and you can always paint it over. The trick is to choose bright colors like light green, orange, yellow, turquoise, coral or light pink. Actually, you can choose any color that you are sure will boost your mood this fall season. If you don’t have time or desire to paint the whole wall, add a splash of color to it. From circles, rhombus and triangles to flowers, animals, skies and sun, you can draw and paint whatever you like.

6. Hang a new set of curtains up
If you don’t have time for crafting, purchase a new set of curtains to give your home an absolutely new look. Again, look for bright mood-boosting colors to make your house a positive and happy place to live in.

7. Paint your front door an eye-catching color
If you want to draw more attention to your house, paint your front door a bright color of your choice. If you have some drawing skills, use them to make your front door the most creative one in your neighborhood or even the whole city. Purple, mint, green or light blue are a few options to consider.

8. Install crown molding
It’s easier to buy modern crown molding, but you can make your own one. Crown molding can bring harmony, elegance and comfort to any room of your house. It takes some time and effort, but you will be highly satisfied with the result of your work. Ask your husband or neighbor to help you install crown molding. Not only will you add visual interest to your house, you’ll add value as well.

These are just a few simple updates you can make to your home this week. Home improvement doesn’t have to be expensive and difficult. With a little bit of creativity, cash and effort, you can make your home feel and look cozy in a matter of a few hours. What are your wallet-friendly home improvement ideas? Let us know in the comments section.

10 Best Techniques for Shaping Your Nails

Fingernails come in all different shapes and sizes, but sometimes we aren’t happy with the hand (literally) we’ve been dealt. The good news is that nails are easy to form into just about any shape you desire. Some people shape their nails for cosmetic reasons while others, like classic guitar players, shape their nails for functional reasons. The following techniques will help you shape your nails easily, safely, and effectively no matter what your motivations.

1. Straighten Side Walls
Straighten Side Wall
If you want square, oval, rounded, or almond-shaped nails, then you need to start by straightening the side walls. All of these shapes begin as a square and that requires you to file the sides of your nails until they are perfectly parallel to one another. When you have straightened the sides of your nails, then can you begin shaping the tips.

2. Square First
Square First
After you have shaped the side walls of your nails, you can go ahead and file the top off to make a perfect square. Some people sticks with this shape, but it can be difficult to pull off. Square nails are better suited to long, narrow fingers because they tend to make fingers look shorter. Square nails are also the starting point for most of other shapes (except the pointed shape). A square is most easily achieved with a medium-grit (150) file. So make sure you invest in a high quality file first.

3. Squoval
The squoval is just a rounded-off square and is a common shape that many people use. The squoval is a nice adaptation of the square for people with shorter fingers because it doesn’t make them look stubby. Start with the square as above, then gradually take off the corners until you are pleased with the look. Be careful to alternate your filing, taking a little from each corner and rather than just filing one down to where you think it should be and then moving on to the next. Alternating between one side and the other will help you get the shape you want without taking off too much nail.

4. Oval or Almond
Oval or Almond
The oval and almond shapes are pretty much the same. To produce either, start with the squoval and file in toward the center of the nail with each stroke. Work slowly, these shapes are hard to make even and if you take too much off of one side. It may help to create a pattern out of paper and then trace that onto your fingernail with a pencil to ensure you get the shape you want.

5. Pointed
The pointed nail is the only one that does not start with side wall straightening first. It is also the least common shape in the West, having gained more notoriety in Eastern Europe and Russia. The pointed shape is used to make short fingers look longer and more slender.

To create the point, it can be useful to sketch the desired shape onto the nail with a pencil. Start filing slowly, taking care to never file through the marks you have made. You want to file right up to them, but never through them. This will produce an even, perfectly tapered point.

6. Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade
When it comes to shaping nails, if you want to do it right, you need the right tools. Start with an orange stick, which you use for pushing down cuticles (never cut your cuticles). Next purchase several files of differing grits. Whether you go with metal or emery board is up to personal preference (cushioned boards are easier on your nails), but choose quality tools either way. Decide if you want to use manicure scissors or clippers to trim your nails. Scissors offer more precision, but are also more difficult to use. You are more prone to injury with scissors, so use them with caution.

7. File at an Angle
File at an Angle
Always angle your file so that you file more of the under part of the nail than the surface. This will help to bevel your nail, which will protect it from chipping and peeling. Angling the file also helps to ensure that you don’t take off too much nail with any one stroke.

8. Direction Matters
Direction Matters
Never saw back and forth on your nails. Sawing will not only make it difficult to obtain an accurate shape, but can actually weaken your nails. Instead of using a sawing motion, start at the outer edge of the nail, push the file in toward the center, and then move to the other side and do the same. This will keep the nail even and prevent damage.

9. Moisturize
Moisturizing your nails may seem to have little to do with shaping, but there is a connection. Hydrated nails are less prone to cracking, peeling, and hangnail formation, all of which make hydrated nails easier to file and shape. Moisturize daily and immediately after filing. You should also moisturize your hands and nails every day before you go to bed. You hands will look younger for many years to come.

10. Nail Polish
Nail Polish
Putting a clear polish on before you file can actually make the job easier. The polish will protect your nails from cracking and peeling while providing a little extra substance to slow down your progress as you file. Using a color may even make it easier for you to see the shape of your nail.

The key to good looking nails is patience. Use a fine grit file as much as possible so that you take less off with each stroke and to reduce the risk of cracks and chips. Before you start to file your nails, take stock of your finger shape and length. Some nail shapes, as mentioned above, are more suited to certain finger shapes than others. If you aren’t sure which shape is for you, start with the most conservative, the square, and modify that shape until you are happy. What are your techniques for shaping your nails

8 Home Office Decorating Tips

Working from home is highly common these days and most people would love to seize an opportunity to work whenever and wherever they want. Apart from the actual benefits such as gas, money and time saving, working from home provides you with less stressful environment, productive and calm atmosphere and no geographic boundaries.

However, sometimes it’s really confusing to decorate a home office that works for you. You may find it difficult to concentrate on the task in the homey environment with the mass on your desk. But a very professional decorating style can be uncomfortable too. Keep on reading to learn how to incorporate coziness and professionalism into your décor and get the biggest benefits from your home office.

1. Office nook
I live in a studio and there is no chance for me to carve out a separate room for my home office. But the majority of time I spend working at home and having a comfortable workspace are essential for me. That’s why a spare nook has been transformed into the most productive place of my lodging. In fact, any spare surface can be converted into your working place. Go over your layout again and think how to make it more functional and practical.

2. Opt for natural materials
Why is it so important? Well, not only are they harmless to our health but they’re also more solid, pleasing to the touch and high-quality. In era of plastic and other synthetics it may sound outmoded, but natural materials are classical and never out of fashion. Don’t overlook wooden furniture, natural fabrics and glass.

3. Illumination
It’s perfect if your working desk is located near your window, but mine is not. That’s why I had to look for a good lighting. A well-lighted working place can improve both productivity and inspiration. For better effect I supplied my room with various kinds of light sources like chandelier, table lamps and floor lamps. Lanterns and decorative lights are great options as well. They provide my studio with ample light and cheerful mood.

4. Double-duty details
When you have a limited space, every detail becomes a focal point. Try to minimize the amount of furniture with savvy built-in desks, Murphy beds and various niches. Do not overlook your bare walls; they can be a super-functional space for your shelves, wall organizers, posters and numerous knickknacks. You can invest into a custom-made desk. Not only will it suit to your interior, but it will also reflect your taste and individuality.

5. Flower power
Indoor plants are extremely versatile helpers! Everybody knows that plants purify air, reduce our stress levels and stimulate our brain to work better. But, it’s actually plants that make our house a home and if your work desk and window sills are still empty, I strongly recommend you to consider having greenery as a part of your home office décor. A couple of flowerpots will undoubtedly introduce a splash of life into your working interior.

6. Wonder walls
Photos, memos, newspaper clipping, and chalkboards are all super-functional office accessories, which both liven up the décor and provide you with visual image of your aims and wishes. My walls are swamped with motivational quotations and tips, my photos and just lovely knickknacks. It helps me reinforce my productivity and keep my attention on the task. Moreover, they help keep in memory all my appointments, important affairs and things to do. Want to create your inspiration board?

7. Go bright: color story
When you want to differentiate the space, adding some color is the right idea. Adhere to the common furniture style, but introduce some colors to give the space some specific features. Invigorating and cool color palette will surely speed up your work! Zippy spots such as a lemon vase, turquoise shelves and bold pattern insets are funny things to pay attention to every now and then! Remember to refine bright colors with neutral vase or black and white palette. Floral wallpaper or animal print rag will add another kick of color to your interior.

8. Keep it simple
Considering everything above-mentioned, I will also say that your home office shouldn’t be cluttered up. For those who love rational and reasonable style, ergonomic minimalist décor is definitely the best option. It looks classy and stylish, it is unpretentious in terms of materials and it is easy on your eyes. Well-defined lines, dull colors and simple models are all signs of minimalist home office design. Many designers advocate “less is more” trends and philosophy, so if you want to have a chic and sleek home office, keep it simple!

With a nice home office you won’t even mind getting your work done! However, arranging a functional and comfortable working place is a challenging yet feasible task even if there is no spare room for that purpose. There are hundreds of creative and rational solutions for organizing a savvy home office. Give these 8 tips a try, and if you have any other tips don’t forget to share them with us.

Physicists Discover That Lithium Oxide On Tokamak Walls Can Improve Plasma Performance

Lithium compounds improve plasma performance in fusion devices just as well as pure lithium does, a team of physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has found.

The research was conducted by former Princeton University physics graduate student Matt Lucia under the guidance of Robert Kaita, principal research physicist at PPPL and one of Lucia’s thesis advisors, as well as the team of scientists working on a machine known as the Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX). As part of his dissertation, Lucia investigated how lithium deposited on walls of doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks affected the performance of LTX. Like the plasma within a tokamak, the plasma within LTX is shaped like a doughnut. The plasma, a soup of charged particles, is surrounded by a copper shell with an inner wall made of stainless steel.

Lucia used a new device known as the Materials Analysis and Particle Probe (MAPP), invented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and installed on LTX. The MAPP system lets scientists withdraw samples into a chamber connected to LTX and study them without compromising LTX’s vacuum environment. MAPP lets scientists analyze how tokamak plasmas affect a material immediately after the experiment ends. In the past, scientists could only study samples after the machine had been shut down for maintenance; at that point, the vacuum had been broken and the samples had been exposed to many experiments, as well as to air.

Lucia used the evaporation technique to coat a piece of metal with lithium, and then used MAPP to expose the metal to plasma within LTX. As he expected, Lucia observed lithium oxide, which forms when lithium reacts with residual oxygen in LTX’s vacuum chamber. He was surprised, however, to find that the compound was just as capable of absorbing deuterium as pure lithium was.

“Matt discovered that even after the lithium coating was allowed to sit on the plasma-facing components within LTX and oxidize, it still was able to bind hydrogen,” said Kaita.

“For a while, we were thinking you had to have high-purity lithium because we thought that if the lithium already has a dance partner — oxygen — it’s not going to dance with hydrogen,” said Mike Jaworski, research physicist at PPPL and co-author of the paper. “We thought that once it was oxidized, lithium would be chemically inert. But in fact we found that lithium will take all the dance partners it can get.”

Lucia’s results are the first direct evidence that lithium oxide forms on tokamak walls and that it retains hydrogen isotopes as well as pure lithium does. They support the observation that lithium oxide can form on both graphite, like the tiles in NSTX, and on metal, and improve plasma performance.

The results support past findings involving PPPL’s National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), a tokamak. In 2010, scientists placed a large metal ring coated with lithium on the floor of NSTX’s vacuum vessel. This device, known as the Liquid Lithium Divertor (LLD), was the first attempt to create a large lithium-coated metal surface inside NSTX. Later, after the NSTX divertor had been exposed to residual oxygen in the vacuum vessel, scientists studied the divertor’s surface. The researchers heated the divertor and detected deuterium. The finding hinted that the deuterium had been trapped by the lithium oxide in the LLD, but the evidence was not definitive.

These new findings indicate that lithium within tokamaks may not have to be as pure as once thought. They also show that if the carbon tiles in NSTX, now the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U), are replaced with metal tiles and coated with lithium, the plasma performance should not decline. “The key thing is that we can keep on using lithium evaporation if we go to metal walls in NSTX-U,” Kaita said.

The team has to do more research to determine whether these findings will apply to future plasma machines, which might have flowing liquid metal walls that could contain both lithium and lithium oxide. “If we want to extrapolate our results to a fusion reactor, we have to ask whether the experiments are indicative of the performance we could expect in the future,” said Jaworski. The next step in this research would entail measuring precisely the hydrogen retention rate of both pure and oxidized lithium, and comparing them rigorously.

Drone maps underground caves by deliberately bumping into walls

CC BY-SA 3.0 ESA, Natalino Russo

In a couple of decades when astronauts finally make to Mars, there will be an unlimited amount of jobs to do. From setting up some type of livable space to doing some broad and very detailed explorations, the astronauts will need an array of technologies to help them with their tasks.

We know that 3D printers will definitely be onboard and now it’s very likely that some lightweight but tough drones will be too. The European Space Agency (ESA) has been using Flyability drones to map underground caverns with the ultimate goal being to prove how these flying robots can navigate and map spaces that are too dangerous for humans, like inhospitable environments on other planets.

Caves, because of the lack of sunlight, the cramped spaces and reliance on equipment for safety, mimic the environments astronauts may encounter on other planets. The ESA has been using the drone to explore the La Cucchiara caves near Sciacca, Sicily and hopes to get astronauts involved in more caving expeditions.

“We now want astronauts to take part in existing scientific caving and geological expeditions – scientific exploration does not get more real than this,” said ESA training course designer Loredana Bessone.

The drone for its part in the training was deliberately bumped into walls to map the tight spaces. The drone’s thermal camera led it around the cave, as it created a map of all of the cave’s features including an area with water was that was unreachable by humans.

The team involved sees how these cave explorations can not only help scientists with the understanding of these underground environments but how they will one day be used to explore lava tubes or other tight spaces on Mars.