Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
The feng shui Creativity and Children sector is located in the western part of any room or home (between the sectors of love and helpers).
It is responsible for the success of your creative work and for the birth of babies. It can also help children. If you want to succeed in your creative expressions, discover new abilities, have a baby, bring good luck to the life of your child, or improve your relationship with your children, you should try to boost the energy of this particular sector.
To activate this sector, you can use the following objects: posters, paintings, collages, photographs, images of children, and children's drawings; artistic materials and tools (paint, applied arts); whimsical figurines and toys; objects in white and pastel shades; round, oval, and arched objects; objects made of bronze, steel, tin, silver, gold, aluminum, copper, etc.; quotes and sayings about posterity and creativity; homemade things, and pleasant memorable things from childhood.
For permanent activation of the feng shui Creativity and Children sector, you can place a metal piggy bank in this sector, and put coins in the piggy bank every once in a while. Another good symbol to use in this sector is a bell, which will bring joy and luck every time you ring it.
The following colors are preferable for the interior of this zone: white, golden, sand and silver. Use red in small amounts. In the interior, use metal shelves, frames or vases. You can also consider placing a round table or round chairs there. Another good idea is having plants with round or spherical leafs in this area.
This is the best area for creativity, where you can gain inspiration and success. Thus, try to engage in creative work particularly in this area of your home. Here, you can set up a work zone with all the necessary tools and materials. For instance, if you are an artist - you can put brushes and paint, and hang one of your successful paintings on the wall.
One school of feng shui, called the Black Hat School also recommends the use of certain affirmations, which will help you quickly reach your goals, as they will direct your thoughts. This school works with thoughts, to make them come to life. Please find some good examples of statements (affirmations) below.
"I express my creative abilities easily and happily. My creative ability develops freely. I am a talented and unique personality, one of a kind. My child is happy and safe. I happily support my child, helping them develop and express their abilities. I rely on my own wisdom and reveal my potential in all available ways. I am filled with sincere faith in my creative impulses and always give them the opportunity to come to life."
You can think of any other statement that would fit your goals best, write it down and place it in the feng shui Creativity and Children sector. Prior to placing it in the sector, thoroughly read it and imagine that what's written, is reality, and then it will come to you.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
It is a fascinating project to learn even a little about antique wall clocks with their unique styles and outstanding workmanship and to marvel at how they have endured for sometimes centuries.
Many owners of their parents' or grandparents' clocks have no idea of their value or collectability because they have always taken for granted that these magnificent pieces have graced the homes of their relatives all their lives.
Sometimes the chiming of the clocks or the sounds of the cuckoos are actually a nuisance to people rather than being appreciated and prized as heirlooms.
Cuckoo clocks date back to the 1880's and were seen as technological advances. A trademark stamp put on the clock somewhere can be researched to determine its age, where it came from, and who made it. The true antiques are worth thousands of dollars and are works of art. A side benefit to some is to look inside carefully to see if someone hid money or valuables along the way, which used to be a popular thing to do!!
Antique wall clocks add elegance to a room with their fine craftsmanship creating a topic of discussion by visitors.
Because each piece of the clock was lovingly and well made, the clock normally continues to work well after all these years, even those wound with a key and depending on weights and a pendulum.
There are numerous clock designs, many of which are unusually beautiful and unbelievable.
A rare Stromberg Self Winding Master Clock, for instance, has a temperature compensating mercury pendulum visible through two glass jars and a brass bob pendulum, and it still keeps perfect time!!
Many mahogany cases are beautiful. and bronze was a favorite metal to use whether as decorative areas on top of or on the clock or the hands or perhaps even as the clock itself being a solid cast bronze.
There are antique wall clocks made specifically for sportsmen such as golfers, a sconce clock with twin candle holders, those depicting train stations and many other scenes, the ever popular grandfather clocks, and I even found one that honors the Savannah Botanical Society founded in 1913 by plantation women!!
Many clocks have Roman numerals as their numbers, and knowing those symbols is becoming a dying art as most school children are not taught what those mean these days.
Treasure these precious timepieces and pass them along to your heirs for their continued enjoyment.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Tuscan kitchens are amazing spaces. Many homeowners have fallen in love with the look and feel of Italian style kitchens. The reason is often because of the fresh air feeling that Tuscany kitchens give off. The secret to creating authentic Mediterranean kitchens is as simple as reflecting on the hillsides of Tuscany. The selection of materials used in the design plays a major roll in this warm kitchen. After reading this article, you will learn the key elements that will make Tuscan kitchen transformation come alive.
1. Color selection: An easy way of choosing colors for your Tuscany kitchen is by referring to a favored Tuscan art piece. Something in the likes of an Italian painting or a Tuscan ceramic piece. This is a simple and effective way of having a quick color pallet for your décor.
2. Walls: Choosing your wall color is an important part of decorating Tuscany style kitchens. This part of decorating can be challenging for some, but if you have started out with a color pallet that you enjoy, you can select the wall color easily from it. Colors like golden yellow, browns, terracotta, rich reds are ideal-your walls should be representative of the warm air of Italy. For an effective way of adding Old World charm, consider applying a texture on the wall like a faux finish. Addition of murals and moldings help to finish off the design.
3. Tuscan cabinets: In Mediterranean style kitchens, the cabinets are typically worn looking. Many opt for the distressed look. The kitchen cabinets often have open shelving to display dishes, ceramics, utensils and spices. Many homeowners are able to pull of their kitchen design by having glass paned doors which continues to provide a feel of openness.
4. Tuscan kitchen backsplash: Backsplashes can be created by selecting mosaic designs and patterns. Many homeowners choose to have them custom made, often inspired by a favorite Italian painting, while some choose to create them on their own. Tuscan kitchen backsplashes are not only beautiful but extremely functional. With careful selection, it can be an amazing focal point in your space.
5. Counter tops: The counter tops in a Tuscany kitchen are often made of solid natural materials. Granite and marble are popular stones of choice. Ceramic tiles are also used for counter tops in an Italian style kitchen.
6. Flooring: The flooring in a Tuscany style kitchen implements natural solid materials as well. Terracotta clay tiles, or clay tiles are often used in Tuscan kitchens.
7. Sink: The sinks are typically large farmhouse style. These are commonly white ceramic although many homeowners choose to go with marble.
8. Windows: In a Tuscan style kitchen, the windows are often left bare. If any, very little draperies are present. The aura in an Italian kitchen is sunny and bright. Sheer panels can be used for privacy.
9. Accessories: Tuscan kitchen canisters are great ways to add to your kitchen space. Decorative pieces that introduce the hues selected throughout your kitchen design. Additional accessories such as copper pots and pans, and olive wood bowls quickly add to the desired look.
10. Furniture: A major part of a Mediterranean kitchen is a large center island. The island is used as an area for gathering of family and friends. It is a common object that is functional for cooking as well as entertaining. These islands, as well as other pieces, like additional floor cabinets, are often stand alone. Furniture pieces are mis-matched and are worn looking to maintain the Old World look.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Solar powered garden fountains are a relatively new type of solar product on the market today, but products that make perfect sense. A fountain is merely a reservoir of water and a pump that keeps the water flowing. Solar Fountains use a small solar panel that generates enough energy to power the pump, so no AC cord is needed. Newer solar fountains are using a small battery to store the energy, so the fountain will even work at night.
The solar panel for the fountain can be mounted in a couple of different ways. Some manufacturers use a patented, integral, underwater solar panel. It would be incorporated in the top part or bowl of the fountain and would face directly up towards the sun. Still other fountains use a remote solar panel that has a roughly a 10 foot cord attached. This allows greater flexibility when considering where to place the solar panel. The remote solar panels can be mounted on a wall or using the stand provided, on a flat surface. They can also be stake mounted into the ground.
The solar panel needs to be positioned in direct sunlight for the fountain to operate properly. If you have a shady spot where you want to install it then a fountain with a remote panel would be the best choice. If the solar panel is mounted in the top of the fountain then it would need to be located where it would get direct sunlight. Proper placement is critical to the operation of these products.
Solar Powered garden fountains are usually constructed of glazed ceramic, terracotta or stone cast resin. The stone cast resin material will have a grey stone, black iron or bronze finish. Some of the fountains are made of more exotic materials like slate or copper. There are also several types of solar fountains to be considered. Two tiered and three tiered are very popular but there are cascading fountains and pouring fountains as well. Solar powered birdbath fountains are very attractive and have also become quite popular. All of them will create the soothing sound of running water using power from the sun.
Solar fountains are really not all that complicated so installation is a breeze. There are no costs to operate these fountains because they use the sun's energy. They require no external electricity, are environmentally friendly and enjoy a very long life. To maintain them just clean the fountain with a mild soap and water solution from time to time.
Prices range from $79 to $250 and there are not a lot of extra options to worry about. One such option is an AC adapter so they can operate in the winter or at night. Not all solar fountains have this option but it is a consideration for the ones that do. Solar powered garden fountains provide the sound of running water creating a cool, relaxing atmosphere. They do this at a reasonable price with virtually no operational costs, all in all another great use for solar power.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Nowadays there is a trend in trying to change the image of the house as soon as possible. Regarding this tendency, the interior designers revealed several tricks which can be used to change as little as possible and manage in creating a totally different atmosphere to the same old room.
The easiest item to be changed is the curtain. It is the easiest way to change something as it practically does not last too much to make the change, unless the choice of the curtains is too difficult and it should not cost as much as the refurbishing of the entire room. With a certain type of curtains a room becomes "fresh", with a different pattern or "sober" if a different texture and color is used.
One of the first things you can change at the curtains is the color. A room becomes more vivid with red or orange curtains. On the other hand, if you just want to rest, use tones of white, grey or blue and you'll start de day as fresh as possible. Always take into account the other colors in the room. Choose curtains of earthy tones like green or brown if you want pleasant tones. Do not count only on how much you like a color. Try to see if it matches with the room and what effect the fabric has both during the day and night.
Color is essential for the curtains but the impact curtains might have upon a room also depends on how long they are. Long curtains, up to the floor, give an elegant image to the room and makes it look longer. On the other hand, shorter curtains give a less official look to the room and give the impression of more space. Another essential element is the fabric. In case more light is desired, the fabric should be silk or laces. In case you want to have a mysterious room, with a diffuse light, thick fabrics should be chosen.
Of course, these are just some tips that might turn your room into your private heaven-like corner. For more details, specialized shops are more than welcomed to measure your desires. The moment you step inside the shop, the curtains will be there ready to serve you. They were made just to make your day, day by day!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Moving into a new home is always an exciting time but a new house can also feel impersonal at first. Of course once you get your own belongings moved in with you, a house begins to really feel like home. There are a few other things you can do to speed up the process of making your new place feel like home sweet home. Probably one of the easiest ways to add your own tastes is by changing the hardware. This includes things like door handles and cabinet knobs.
New kitchen and bath cabinet knobs can tend to be pretty generic. By changing them out with something of your own choosing you can begin adding your own signature to what might otherwise be an impersonal space. French country cabinet knobs will add a touch of old world charm and can make a home feel established and lived in while stainless cabinet handles will make a space appear modern. When changing the cabinet knobs or door handles it's important to keep your over all kitchen design in mind. Most cabinet styles will allow for a wide variation in hardware but there are limitations. You probably won't want to add stainless cabinet handles with obvious modern lines to white bead board country cabinets.
Make Your Front Door Hardware Say Welcome
Another place to make some changes is in your door hardware. Your front door can really make a statement with the right door handles and locksets. Consider painting your door a dark color and adding brass door hardware or try a white door with black wrought iron door handle, lockset and decorative knocker. You don't want to forget your interior doors and these can be as plain or fancy as you want. Colored glass or marble door knobs can be a nice surprise. Just try to stick with one color and style for your interior door handles or your door hardware could end up just looking mismatched.
Maybe you haven't actually moved but are planning some home renovations. If you're installing custom cabinets this is a great place to show your creativity with the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls you choose. Or if you have stock cabinets, you know the hardware is usually nothing fancy so try upgrading to something that really represents your personal style. When it comes to home improvements, adding new cabinet knobs and door handles are an inexpensive way to add a big impact. You can completely change out the hardware in your kitchen and not spend a lot of money.
Replacing Your Hardware to Create Personal Spaces
Don't forget the bathroom. Whether you're moving into a new home or simply adding some home improvements the bath can prove to be a haven after a stressful day. So spend a little extra time and money making it your own. Stainless cabinet handles, drawer pulls and matching fixtures and towel rods can make your bathroom feel like a European spa. Go with oil rubbed bronze and you can create your own Grecian bath. Keep the same type of metal finish throughout, meaning if you have stainless steel shower head, faucets and towel bars you'll want your cabinet knobs and door handles to match.
Home means many things to many people and whether you own your home or rent you can still make a personal statement by changing your hardware. Just remember if you rent to save the original cabinet knobs and door handles to put back when you move. So wherever you call home have fun with your hardware, get creative and show your style.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
From the moment people began to organise themselves into groups they had to have a place where they could meet and make decisions on matters of common interest. Such places demonstrate the existence of a community life: they were the public squares. We don't know what they were called in pre-historic times; we do know that the Greek word for such a place is agora, from the verb agorevein (speak), which shows clearly its initial function. With the growth of trade and the use of speech in buying and selling, the verb agorevein lent its form to agorazein which acquired the meaning of "purchase", to reflect new needs. Similarly, the movable table for transactions was then called "trapeza", the modern Greek word for bank.
In pre-historic times, when the first settlement was established on the protected southern side of the Acropolis, the northern side was used as a necropolis, or cemetery. In a well from the neolithic period, a statuette representing a headless semi-reclining woman was found dating from the 3rd millennium BC. It is a marvellous example of primitive sculpture with the characteristic abundant flesh indicative of fertility. Many examples of Mycenean pottery were found in the same vicinity as well as a number of large jars (pithoi). Among the funeral customs of antiquity was that of enclosing the bodies of very young children in such jars, which were then buried; older children were laid straight in the ground. Only after puberty was the cremation of the body permitted. As the city grew, the graves were moved to the Dipylon area which was the potters' district, Kerameikos, so that very few graves remained in the area around the Areopagus hill after 1000 BC.
Thus were the Agora and Speech related. Plutarch reports that the Agora first began to function as a meeting place for the residents of the federated townships during the rule of Theseus, when a Prytaneion was established. The altar bearing the sacred fire of this first official building became the symbol of newly constituted state. Other important buildings were the Bouleuterion, the Eleusinion sanctuary and the temple of Aphrodite Pandemos. The latter was a tribute built by the municipalities to the goddess with the great power over human nature. There was a great deal of traffic in the area, making it suitable for the practice of the oldest profession; the women were dedicated to the goddess thereby giving the term "pandemos Aphrodite" its meaning of prostitute. We do not know the precise location of these early sites, although they must have been somewhere in the clearing between the Areopagus and the northwestern corner of the Acropolis.
After the monarchy was abolished and the citizens acquired the right to express their opinion, a need clearly arose for more public buildings and a larger place in which the citizens could gather. The level ground east of the Areopagus was regarded as being the most suitable location for the Agora which was to have several new sanctuaries and public fountains. While the Acropolis was devoted exclusively to religion, the Agora from the very beginning assumed the function of a civic and administrative centre. No trace of these first public buildings has survived up to our time, since they are underneath the present, densely populated district of Plaka.
The establishment of colonies, which the orator Isocrates would later refer to as the best possible solution to political problems, and the resultant growth of trade made it absolutely essential to have a more convenient place to do business. Thus, early in the 6th century, Solon selected the most appropriate spot for the Agora, i.e. the site we know today. The flat ground north of the Areopagus formed a triangle with its apex facing northward and its western side protected by a plateau. On the east was the main road which started at the Dipylon Gate, the entrance to the city, and ascended to the Acropolis. In addition, the roads from the outer townships ended in this lowland near a little creek called the Eridanos.
From the first moment, it proved to be an excellent choice. The plateau was named Agoraios Kolonos, and on its slopes the first public building was erected, very possibly a council chamber. Small temples followed, as did a Bouleuterion (Council House) and a Prytaneion. Solon chose the entrance to the city as the best position for a portico and gave orders for the written laws to be kept there. The Agora was beginning to take shape.
In the second half of the 6th century, during the tyranny of Peisistratos, the site was provided with a water supply and drainage system. A monumental fountain and rainwater duct were built. Like all dictators, Peisistratos was not especially keen on the idea of increasing space for meeting and voting; instead, he filled the city with projects to benefit the public. During the years of his rule, the great road followed by the Panathenaic procession took on its final form. On the south side of the Acropolis, the people's courthouse of the Heliaia was built and, at the northern crossroads, the Altar of the Twelve Gods.
The Persian campaign left much of the city in ruins which began to be cleared away after 460 BC, when Kimon was in power. Many new buildings were put up then, including porticoes with shops, a large Bouleuterion, special places for meetings of military leaders (strategoi) and civic administrators (prytanes), as well as altars and monuments honouring local heroes. On the highest point in the Agora, the temple of Hephaestos, the blacksmith god, was built. This Doric temple preceded the Parthenon, and also housed a statue of Athena, goddess of wisdom. Thus were the two gods brought together showing the association between philosophy and art, teaching that intellectuals and artisans cannot live one without the other.
During the years that followed, the Agora became the true heart of the city. Although decisions were made in the Council of the Deme and in the neighbouring Pnyx, the draws to determine who would take part in the administration of the state were held in the Agora. The laws, their enforcement, the penalties imposed on violators, the minting of currency, buying and selling - all had their own particular spot in the Agora. Processions, races, auctions and feasts were all characteristic of this political, civic, cultural, commercial and sometimes religious centre. The streets of the growing city may well have been narrow and full of hazardous potholes and the wooden houses may have had but one ground floor room with perhaps a wooden addition above. The walls of these houses may have been brick and susceptible to thieves. Cooking fires may have been lit on the road and the lack of proper sewers may have been responsible for epidemics. But when the Athenian citizen entered the Agora, he felt that he was participating in and contributing to the miracle of his times. Philosophers, orators, politicians and citizens caused Demosthenes to say, in the 4th century, that the customary greeting between Athenians meeting in the Agora was: What's new? At the end of the Hellenistic period, the Agora was crowded with buildings, including a recent graceful portico donated by Attalos of Pergamum. The Romans who followed began competing to build other edifices which caused the Agora to spill out beyond its initial bounds. Altars, temples, a library and gymnasium, porticoes and colonnades, all of which were open to the public, made Saint Paul say that the Athenian citizens and metoici did nothing but stroll around the Agora discussing politics. Athenaios from Egypt was also highly impressed, and wrote in his Deipnosophists that in the Athens Agora, one could find with equal ease: fruit, false witnesses, complaints, pap, pedlars, honeycomb with honey, peas, trials, lotteries, roses and irises, laws, hydraulic clocks, pimps, informers, myrtle branches...
The weakening of the Roman Empire brought barbarians. In 267 AD, the Agora was sacked by the Herulians who respected only the temple. A wall was built from the rubble of the buildings, but it could not save the Agora from Alaric's Goths in 396. This total devastation was followed by reconstruction which kept the site functioning until 529. This was the year of the final blow against Athens, when the Byzantine emperor Justinian ordered the closing of the philosophical schools, which the new religion regarded with such hostility. The Agora was abandoned, its monuments fell into disuse and then decay, the site was gradually covered over by earth and mud because there was nobody to keep the drainage ducts cleared. During subsequent centuries, houses were built of the plentiful debris. On top of the buried antiquities, the lovely Byzantine church of the Holy Apostles was built in the year 1000. Meantime, the ancient temple of Hephaistos had already been consecrated to St George.
Throughout the 400 years of Turkish rule (1456-1829), the Athenians lived perched on the north side of the Acropolis, where the heart of the Polis had once beaten most proudly. Many houses were destroyed during the Greek War of Independence, especially during the siege of Athens by Kiutahi Pasha. But with the designation of the city as capital of the new Greek state, new homes were soon built on top of the ruins of older ones. The architects Kleanthis and Schubert, who had been assigned to reconstruct the capital, vainly proposed that the new city be built some distance away from the old one so as to leave the ground free for future excavations. Short-sightedness, pettiness and profit, however, proved stronger than reason. The first traces of the ancient Agora were revealed in 1859, when foundations for houses began being dug. Much later, in 1931, the American School of Classical Studies undertook regular excavations which continued until after 1945, with constant appropriations of property. It is estimated that more than three hundred thousand tonnes of earth and rubble were moved in order to bring the Agora to light. Today the ancient heart of Athens, spread out as far as permitted by the surrounding modern buildings, reveals its beauty, its eloquent ruins and its rich memories of days past, days of eternal glory.
The most impressive monument in the ancient Agora is indisputably the great Doric temple which dominates the site. Built on the top of a plateau, known as the Agoraios Kolonos, this temple is the best- preserved ancient building in Greece, having survived a great number of adventures, threats and changes including the alteration of its original name. For centuries, this temple was known as the Theseion, as it was believed to have been a temple dedicated to Theseus, a conclusion drawn from its sculpted decoration depicting the hero's feats. This restless prince of prehistoric Athens was mythified by the Athenians, as the Attic counterpart of the Doric Hercules. Tales were invented about his birth, his achievements, his wanderings. It is said that he fell in love with the beautiful Helen when she was still a child and he an old man, and that this love pitted him against her brothers the Dioscuri, which forced him to seek refuge on the island of Skyros. There the local king Lykomedes killed him by throwing him off a cliff. After an oracle from Delphi, Kimon went to the island in 469 BC to fetch the bones of the founder of Athens and bury them properly in his ancestral city. A temple was built on Theseus' grave and was called Theseion, which Thucydides mentioned as a place where hoplites would gather. Aristophanes used the mocking name "Theseion-frequenter" to denote people who, having nothing to do, would wander about aimlessly. Plutarch wrote that the Theseion was a refuge for slaves, but its precise location is unknown.
Pausanias refers explicitly to the large temple in the Agora as being dedicated to Hephaistos and indeed he even described the cult statues there: one of Hephaistos and one of Athena with blue eyes. The celebrated Roman orator Cicero greatly admired the bronze statues which had been sculpted by Alcamenes just after 421 BC, praising the artist for his skill in presenting the lame Hephaistos standing upright without showing his physical disability. This testimony is the only trace of these statues that remains today.
The temple was built after 449 BC, based on plans by an unknown architect, similar in size to the temple of Poseidon at Sounion and that of Nemesis at Ramnus, near Marathon. It is indeed remarkable that, despite all the disasters that befell the Agora during the years of the barbarian invasions, the temple was left intact. Later, under Byzantine rule, it became a church consecrated to St George. An apse was built on the eastern side, and a door was opened on the west. In about 1300, the original ceiling collapsed and was replaced with the present-day vaulted brick one, which stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the building. It may even have been due to these changes that the temple escaped destruction, particularly during the years of Ottoman rule. It used to be said that in order to permit services to be held in the church, the Turkish governor would demand the weight of the key to the building in gold. At that time, keys were huge and gold rare, which was why the building only opened once a year. Services were held solely on the feast of St George, a fact which lent the building its picturesque name: St George the Akamatis (Lazybones).
In the early 19th century, during the Revolution against the Ottoman Empire, the temple was called "thirty-two columns"; it was used to chant the Te Deum when King Otto arrived in the capital in 1834, signalling liberation from the Turks. A marvellous painting of the period shows us the young king being welcomed by the awestruck crowd, as he started out unsuspectingly along the road to his destiny. Services were held in the church for the last time in 1934, on the 100th anniversary of the new Athens; two years later its restoration as an archaeological monument began.
The temple of Hephaistos stands firmly on a foundation of three steps, the bottom of which is poros stone, the other two are Pentelic marble; the columns are of the same material, 13 on each of the long flanks and six on the facades. Outside the columns there are traces of pedestals of votive offerings and statues. On the east side, is a carved representation on the floor beside the columns which shows that some lazy people used to spend their time either playing something like modern board games or scratching the marble with the age-old destructive mania of bored people.
Although the external dimensions of the building are typical of the classical age, the interior was an unsuccessful effort to achieve the perfect symmetry of the slightly later Parthenon.
The pronaos which once existed had two columns which were removed when the building was converted into a church, and was more spacious than the corresponding opisthodomos on the west side. Another equally unsymmetrical element could be seen inside the temple, where the inner Doric columns, five columns on the flanks and three on the west, were very close to the outer walls, and appeared to diminish the space. In front of the three columns on the west side a base of grey stone shows where statues of the gods had stood. Nothing has remained of the initial marble flooring, since for some centuries now it has been the custom to bury famous citizens here. On the interior wall of the north side one can still see an Englishman's gravestone bearing an epigram by Lord Byron.
The sculpted decoration of the temple has not been well preserved since for centuries it has been exposed to the weather and changes of season. The pediments have suffered most of all: on the east the sculptures have been lost altogether, while on the west some animal hoofs have remained which might have been part of a representation of the battle with the centaurs, a subject directly related to Theseus. The eastern metopes narrated the labours of Hercules while on the north and south side there are four relief slabs again depicting the feats of Theseus. On the exterior wall of the temple proper, there was a frieze on the facades alone, not on the flanks. On the eastern side Theseus was presented fighting against his kinsmen the Pallantides, who had disputed his hereditary right to the throne of Athens. To portray all these fighting figures, the sculptor used the entire width of the cella facade. By contrast, on the opposite, western side, the classical battle of the Centaurs and Lapiths occupied considerably less space.
Around the temple there were two rows of shallow pits at regular intervals. Even today, on the south side one can see traces of enormous clay jars half-buried in the ground; they were flower pots for the ornamental plants that adorned the site during the Hellenistic and Roman age. In a dry city like Athens, plants have always been welcome; we know that in an earlier age, Kimon himself had taken care to plant myrtle and plane trees in the Agora. There was once an enclosure round the sacred precinct of the temple, but not a trace of it remains. The same is true of the access point from the Agoraios Kolonos plateau to the lower level of the Agora; the grand staircase which used to be there has been completely destroyed.
Just north of the temple, but at a somewhat lower level, traces were found of an enormous colonnaded structure which had been almost entirely hewn out of the natural rock. Archaeologists believe it to have been a 4th-century building that was either related to the Athenian army or, because of the large number of Panathenaic amphoras found there, a storehouse for sacred oil. But the existence of strongly- built walls and a system for collecting rain water in underground cisterns makes it difficult for scholars to identify this strange building and its function. There was another building, too, on the Agoraios Kolonos: the little temple dedicated to Urania Aphrodite, the ruins of which were discovered accidentally in 1890, during the building of the railroad that was to link Athens with Piraeus.
We know that Aphrodite was a very ancient deity. The personification of love and fertility, she began in Babylon where she was worshipped as the all-powerful Ishtar. In addition to temples, the inhabitants of Babylon with its mythical wealth, had dedicated even the main entrance of this heavily walled city to their powerful protector. This is the gate which we can see restored today in the Museum in Berlin. The same divinity was called Astarte in Phoenician regions while the monotheistic Semites feared her as Ashtaroth: a divine but extremely dangerous woman who made it difficult for them to observe the strict rules in their lives. Herodotus reported, in the third book of his history, that in the land of the Phoenicians the all-powerful goddess had another name as well: Alilat. The Sumerians called her Inanna and the Persians Anahita for whom she was protectress of the water, which in their dry country was life itself. The influence of this supreme goddess spread throughout the entire Mediterranean, carried by Phoenician seamen who brought her as far as the city of Eryce on the western tip of Sicily, where she was worshipped on top of a steep rock. In the other great Phoenician colony, Carthage, she was called Tanit.
This goddess with the many names was worshipped according to the needs of the society in which her sanctuaries were located. Not only were her names different, but so were her rites: orgies, sacred prostitution, even the sacrifices of first-born children, as was the case in Carthage in the worship of the bloodthirsty Tanit. It is worth noting that the symbol of this Carthaginian goddess can be seen in Delos, on the threshold of the house of the dolphins, like a magic charm to keep misfortune away from the householders.
From clay slabs found on the coast of Syria, we learn of the correspondence of an Ugarit chief with his counterpart in Alasia, as prehistoric Cyprus was called. These relationships explain the way in which the Eastern divinity was carried to the island of Cyprus, where as early as the 12th century BC, there was a sanctuary dedicated to her near Paphos. But here the insatiable goddess changed form. She became identified with the sea and was named Pelagic.
In his Cosmogonia, Hesiod wrote some strange things about how this universal heavenly power came to be in the Helladic world. He said that Kronos castrated Uranus and threw the immortal parts of his divine father into the sea somewhere near Kythera. On that spot, a great foam was created out of which emerged the beautiful goddess. This accounts for her name in Greek, as Aphrodite means "arisen out of the foam". The waves embraced her and brought her gently to Cyprus where she acquired yet another name: Cypris.
Associated with humankind's most powerful emotion, Aphrodite was worshipped everywhere with zeal, as her cult conquered one region after the other. She enchanted both gods and mortals, accompanied by a retinue consisting of the mischievous Eros, the Graces, Desire and Lust. She was by her nature a fateful goddess, who could not stand to be spurned; she punished the unloved harshly, as she did Hippolytus, son of Theseus. The proud goddess tormented him and led him to his doom because the rash young man dared to prefer to worship the virginity of Artemis. In Sparta, Aphrodite was worshipped as a martial goddess, in keeping with the paramount local values, and in Athens she was exalted as Urania, heavenly protectress of the noblest form of love. There was of course the other sanctuary, in her Pandemos form, but it was as Urania, her refined form, that she was honoured on the Agoraios Kolonos, alongside the temple of her husband Hephaistos who had gone through so much during their married life. Pausanias referred to the sanctuary of the goddess and to its cult statue, a work by Phidias from choice marble, but today only a few stones have been saved on the slope of the hill beside the train tracks. In order to build this central communications line, the ruins of the greater part of this ancient building were sacrificed.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
You may have tried feng shui principles in certain rooms in your home and have noticed a difference in the way you feel when you're in that space. If you've decided that you want to live in a feng shui home completely, here are a few tips that will show you how to achieve this balance in every space of your home.
Entry/walkway: The 'mouth of chi', or front of the home, is the first thing people see when they open your door and it will be the first scene to greet you each time you return home. So, you'll want to make this space as welcoming and relaxing as possible.
For instance, if you have a stairway that is facing the front door, that will naturally be where you (and your guests) will focus your attention when entering the home. So, bold colors (fire and some earth tones), along with tasteful, eye catching art will help to keep the focus downstairs for a while.
If you have a one story home, the color and art will help to brighten your entry way, but you may also want to add a mirror that is facing the inside of your home, so that the energy or chi is not lost whenever someone opens the door to enter or exit.
Bedroom: Color and spacing are some of the most important elements of feng shui for your bedroom. Shui art is great to use in the bedroom. Choosing from colors like brown, black or metallic shades like bronze or copper can bring a calming and tranquil feeling to any bedroom, especially if you are sharing it with a spouse.
The images in the art are also important. Photographs of lovers who are happy or picturesque nature scenes are best. The position of the bed is also important if you are trying to achieve a feng shui home. You should make sure that the bed in centered in the room so that you have space for other furniture; a bed in the corner could make one or both partners feel trapped or cornered.
Living room: Since this is the center of your home and the place where every member of your family will spend time, you should make sure that the living room space is warm and inviting.
This is perhaps the core of a feng shui home, so warm neutral colors and soft fabrics are key. Even if you have leather furniture, using cotton or velvet throw pillows will help to soften the room and make it more comfortable for everyone. You may even want to include a fountain or rock fixture for tranquility and balance.
One of the best ways to create a warm and natural environment for your living room is to incorporate a bamboo fountain as a design element. A bamboo fountain is a combination of two power feng shui elements: flowing water symbolizes prosperity and abundance, and, bamboo symbolizes longevity and friendship.
Decorating your home with above mentioned feng shui principles would help you enhance the feelings of harmony and integration in your home as well as your personal life.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Located on the coastline overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Lima is the largest city in Peru. Very often people bypass Lima with the mindset that it's just stopover city on the way to some other destination. However, Lima is a city rich in culture with beautiful architecture awaiting those who take the time to find it out.
A great place to start out would be Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) which is the main town square and it was once considered to be the heart of Lima. Many visually stunning and important buildings such as the archbishop's palace built in the 1920's, the Cathedral, Palacio Nacional and Palacio de Gobierno can be found here. What really captures attention though would have to be the magnificent bronze fountain in the middle of the Plaza dating back to the 1650's.
If you're just heading out around noon, then head for the presidential palace (Palacio De Gobierno) to witness the changing of the guards at noon everyday. It's basically the same thing that happens at Buckingham Palace but a lot more lively and entertaining. Watch the palace guards do some of the highest kicks you've ever seen while they march into positions with their funky plumed hats and bright colored uniforms.
Famous for its Peruvian museums, Lima makes an excellent place to check out historical art and monuments. Try visiting Larco Museum which is housed in an 18th century mansion surrounded by luscious gardens. Galleries here showcase over 4000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history with supposedly one of the worlds largest pre-Columbian art pieces. Most visited exhibitions include the Gold and Silver galleries and the lithic exhibition room.
If you're looking for an activity to do together as a family, then go down to the The Parque de las Leyendas (Zoo). Get an up-close look at the wildlife native to Peru and discover more about this beautiful city. The animal's exhibits are categorized into the different natural regions of Peru like the highlands, coast and the Jungle.
One of the newer attractions in Lima but nonetheless something to really go for would be the Magical Water Circuit. This park is filled with dozens of fountains, some in sync with the music, and some based on interaction. The world's tallest fountain which reaches heights of 80meteres is really something to watch. However, to really capture the beauty of the fountains, I suggest you head there during the night where the magical display of colors with the musical water fountains makes it a real spectacle to watch. Be warned though, the interactive fountains have random timings with their spouts of water!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Dancing water fountains, like the world famous Dancing Waters of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, have been a real crowd-pleaser in many of the world's resorts for decades. With computer-controlled timing, lighting, and music, the performances of dancing water fountains are choreographed as carefully as any Broadway musical, and are often scheduled as an accompaniment to holiday fireworks. While dancing water fountains must be professionally installed, they can be customized for individual use..
While large dancing water fountains are inappropriate for home gardens, they can add a unique touch to an office courtyard for a business or restaurant which wants to impress potential clients. Their expense, however, can make dancing water fountains more of an investment than an entertainment, so they should be installed only when there is a financial incentive for doing so. But when programmed to put on their displays to lights and music at scheduled intervals, they can be a drawing card, especially for restaurants.
The Bellagio And The Fountain Of Angels
The dancing water fountains of the Bellagio set the standard for dancing water fountains the world over. Measuring a quarter of a mile in length, the Bellagio fountains contain twelve hundred separate nozzles capable of shooting sprays of water to heights of tow hundred and forty feet. They also have more than four thousand lights, and are programmed to "dance" to different musical selections on a fifteen to thirty minute schedule.
While they are not the dancing water fountains of the Bellagio, the Fountain of Angels in Carthage, Missouri is a twenty-minute water light, and music extravaganza from dancing water fountains which contain more than two hundred bronze sculptures , a candelabra fountain with sixty water jets, and an eighty foot high screen of water. Because the dancing waters of the Fountain of Angels perform to Gospel music, they are especially popular with area church goers.
Fountains For Your Home
If you really love dancing water fountains [http://www.topfountains.com/category/tabletop-fountains], and have the room and cash to spare, eight hundred dollars will get you a fifteen-inch diameter floating fountain which in all likelihood cannot be programmed to dance on command. They will never approach the performance of the gigantic dancing water fountains, but they can still dance, and add a unique feature to your home.
Regardless of whether you install your own dancing water fountain or plan you vacations to visit the cities around the world which have their own, you are just one among millions for whom dancing water fountains are the definition of drama and beauty.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Screw threads can be cut by hand using taps and dies. A tap cuts an internal thread to take a bolt and a die cuts an external thread on a piece of bar, usually to take a nut. This technique can be used for cutting threads on almost any piece of suitably shaped metal. Taps for cutting a thread from scratch, three taps are needed:
o a taper tap to start the thread. This is tapered for approximately two thirds of its length
o an intermediate (or second) tap to follow the taper tap. This is tapered for approximately the first third of its length and it continues and extends the thread started by the taper tap
o a plug (or bottoming) tap is the final tap. It is parallel along its length except for a small-angled lead and is used only for blind holes. For holes passing right through the metal, only the taper and intermediate laps are needed.
To use a tap, a hole of the correct size has to be made first - you will need tables to look this up in. Taps have square heads which should be gripped in a tap wrench.
The tap needs to be held perfectly square to the surface and the squareness checked regularly. Turn the tap a quarter of a turn at a time and then turn it back. If you try to take too large 'bites' the tap will break - getting broken taps out of blind holes is not easy. When tapping a hole in aluminum, lubricate the tap with paraffin; use a light oil lubricant when working on bronze, copper and steel. A lubricant is unnecessary for brass and cast iron.
Dies Two types of die are normally used for cutting new threads circular split dies and pipe-thread dies.
Circular split dies have a limited range of adjustments and usually come in sizes below 13mm. When using one of these you should be particularly careful to make sure that the die is perfectly square to the bar being threaded when you start.
Pipe-thread dies are circular dies filled with a guide bush to make sure that the die is square to the bar. With both types of die, chamfer the end of the bar before cutting the thread. A die nut is used with a spanner - for cleaning up old or rusty threads.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Foot rails are very common today in bars. They're used in the home or in commercial bars. They are fixtures that make your feet comfortable and they can make any bar look classy.
Apart from its aesthetic sense, foot rails have a purpose. By its name alone, it's meant to provide comfort to the feet whether a person is standing or seated on a chair. It can be quite tiring to just stand with both feet on the ground but with a foot rail in place, you can stand with the other feet elevated for added comfort.
Foot rails can also be added to trucks. To succeed in the installation process, you have to get the proper measurement and read the instructions well. Holes will also have to be drilled on the truck's body or chassis to attach the rails using screws. The purpose of foot rails in trucks is to serve as resting place for the feet. It also makes for a unique look.
It's amazing how the plain tubing has been made into a more functional fixture. Without this material, the bar could have remained simple and a drab. The fact is, foot rails are available today in different materials which means you can match it with the theme of your interior space.
Wood is a popular and classic choice but other materials have evolved to provide people with more choices. There's the metal foot rail that has become a preferred option these days. It can be made from stainless steel, aluminum or brass. The brass rail evokes an elegant look because of its yellow finish that resembles the color of gold. Finishes vary as well such as the polished copper, bronze, brass, stainless steel, satin stainless steel, satin nickel and powder coated colors.
Foot rails need not be a straight line all the time. With so many companies manufacturing this fixture nowadays, customization is the current trend. There are those that can expertly bend and miter foot rail tubings to fit any bar measurement especially those that have corners. Foot rails can also be ordered in specific lengths for people who want to install the fixture on their own.
Other components are required to complete any foot rail project. These are the end caps, flush fittings, flanges and the post and floor brackets.
The end caps complete the look of your foot rails. They can be flat, round or decorative depending on your preference. This component is easy to install you just need to slip it on the end of the tubing. But you can use a strong glue to keep it secured.
Foot rail brackets come in different types as well. The combination type is one which can be mounted to the floor and to the bar itself. These are secured using the screws. For one foot rail, you will need several brackets which should be placed at a distance of six inches from the end of the tubing or at least three brackets for an eight-foot rail.
Preparation is key to installing a great foot rail. This ensures that the measurements and your materials are correct.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Most town halls are non-descript buildings where bureaucratic drones work. Florence's Palazzo Vecchio is definitely not that kind of town hall. It's a work of art.
The Palazzo Vecchio was once the home of Cosimo Medici, one of history's great power brokers. Construction began on this edifice in 1299 and it was not finished until the 16th century. In the interim, it was expanded and revised so that now it is one of the world's great art storehouses. While it is a functioning city hall, most of its visitors come for the art.
Be sure to pick up a guide book to the facility. You don't want to miss any of the fascinating details about what you will see.
Among the treasures to be scene here is the Salone dei Cinquecento, once Cosimo I's grand hall. This room has some beautiful frescoes that honor his conquests. Cosimo's wife, Eleonora of Toledo's apartments also have lovely artwork as does her chapel.
Florence has a long relationship with Austria's Hapsburg dynasty. Cosimo de Medici married the sister of the Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian. References to this relationship abound in many frescos and tapestries that can be seen throughout the facility.
Florentines in the city's golden age were very interested in Greek and Roman mythology. The Hercules Room has a fabulous ceiling that depicts this mythical hero's adventures. The Jupiter room has wonderful tapestries on the walls and an imposing tribute to that deity on its ceiling. Tourists come from everywhere from the US to Benidorm Be sure to see the Room of Cybele to see beautiful cabinets of tortoise shell and bronze. The Ceres room houses many beautiful tapestries.
How many town halls do you know of that have artworks by the great masters? The Palazzo Vecchio has a replica of Michelangelo's David. Michelangelo was a Florentine and there are many tributes here to the city's most famous native son. There is also a fresco by Bronzino from the 16th century.
These are just some of the many artworks to be seen here. But if you've had your fill of art, there is still a lot to see. The courtyard has a fountain with putti and dolphins that is a delightful sight. The water for the fountain comes all the way from the Boboli Gardens, quite an impressive engineering feat. Go up to the Terrazzo di Saturno on the second floor for a wonderful view of the complex. Stop in the Sala delle Carte and see the collection of historic globes and maps painted on leather that depict the world as it was known in 1563.
Visiting Tuscany's Palazzo Vecchio can easily take an entire day, as you investigate everything from its enormous dome to its smallest corner. Your visit there will surely be your most memorable to any city hall.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Rome attracts tourists and visitors from a cross-section of society. It has something to offer for all ages. The attractions are varied and multitude such as piazzas, churches, ruins and architectural masterpieces. Rome has rightly earned the name of 'Eternal City' for its magnetism. Rome is an art lover's delight. The sounds and music of Rome reverberate from dawn into the lasting hours of the night. The bustling streets lined with boutiques and shops are a craze amongst the people out for a gay time. The attractions of the city are classy as well as traditional which add a certain mystique charm to the city. The monuments of Rome are gigantic reminders of its importance as one of the greatest centers of Western Civilization whence it was once said that all roads lead to Rome.
One of the chief attractions the tourists can indulge themselves in is the 'Circus Maximus', which is an elongated oval complete with a 250,000 seat arena for gladiator style action. It is next in size to "The Colosseum". The Colosseum even today remains one of the city's greatest architectural legacies. This elliptical structure with a seating capacity of 50,000 was founded in A.D. 80 wherein bloody combats between gladiators and wild beasts were witnessed. The Golden House of Nero made on some 200 acres of land remains one of history's most opulent palaces. One of the ancient Roman buildings which still stand intact today is the Pantheon which was built in 27 B.C. The building rests in a cylinder which measures 142 feet wide and 142 feet high. It is believed that Michelangelo first studied this once gilded dome before beginning his venture of designing the St. Peter's cupola. The tourists' fond of architecture will be amazed by the sheer width of the walls which are 25 feet thick with the weight of each bronze door weighing 20 tons.
The Palazzo Barberini National Gallery is rated as one of the finest baroque palaces whose beautiful collection of bronze urns complete with engravings is spectacular. The travelers who love to stroll around for some relaxation time will find a visit to Palatine Hill unearthed from the 9th century B.C. an excellent place to wander around on foot. An attraction worth visiting is the 'Trevi Fountain'. This beautiful oasis located on Via del Tritone features mythical sea creatures and lovely cascading waters. The films made on the site have made it one of the best known wishing wells in the world. According to legend, one is assured of a return journey to Rome when one tosses a coin into the fountain.
The St. Peter's Basilica whose foundation dates to the year AD 319 is reportedly near to where the Circus of Nero was in ancient times. The Basilica is a tribute to five of Italy's greatest Renaissance artists (Bramante, Raphael, Peruzzi, Sangallo the younger and Michelangelo) who died while toiling away on the new St. Peter's. The hotels in Rome are suitable to a cross section of travelers with the cheap hotels in Rome catering to the budget travelers. Rome hotels are well situated and provide the finest of facilities and amenities required by the modern day traveler to ensure their comfortably pleasant stay in ambient surroundings.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
When planning a garden, it's a great idea to start with the larger trees and shrubs, to ensure you'll have year-round interest, balance the size of your home, and bring attention to key areas of the garden. But once you've chosen some all-stars for the trees and shrubs, you can begin adding dashes of color and really have fun experimenting by introducing groups of smaller accent plants.
Here are some of my favorite accent plants to help highlight the beauty of your larger trees and shrubs:
-Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' is a flowing golden grass which adds a bold shot of color to a shady garden area. The cascading foliage rustles gently in the breeze and has an airy, billowing effect in the garden. Hakonechloa or Japanese Forest Grass is just over 1' tall, and spreads politely to about 3' around.
-'Aureola', another Japanese Forest Grass, just won the 2009 Perennial Plant of the Year Award, so that will tell you what a superstar it is! I love to plant these en masse under trees or between shrubs, and they look fantastic with rich blues or purples nearby.
Speaking of rich blues and purples, there's a wonderful dwarf Hydrangea that gets only 2-3' tall, called 'Pia'. If you have a place where you've been wanting those gorgeous blue mophead flowers, but didn't think you could squeeze a Hydrangea in, then give 'Pia' a try. With the acid soil you provide your Rhododendrons and other evergreens, she'll turn a series of blues and purples with a bit of reddish-pink thrown in, while with alkaline soil she's a lovely pinky-red. All mophead Hydrangeas make long-lasting cut flowers.
-Calluna vulgaris or Scotch Heathers are the heavy-hitters of the year-round garden. Blooming in late summer when so many perennials have petered out, they also provide a striking evergreen show of foliage interest. You may have seen the fiery winter reds of 'Firefly' or the golden tones of 'Pat's Gold', but did you know there are also silver Scotch Heathers?
-'Velvet Fascination' is a silvery-grey looker with bright white flowers August to September. The silver foliage highlights so well against deep green, bronze, or purple-toned foliage. 'Silver Cloud' is another stunner, with amethyst-colored flowers. I like to plant Scotch Heathers in groups - nestle in two next to each other, and then continue the theme with a third one further along the garden bed.
-Iris Louisiana is another beauty that can be tucked in between larger plants. The fresh green spikes of 4' tall foliage look great with colored conifers and deeper green Rhododendrons. And the flowers! You won't believe the vibrant, dark blue-purple blossoms from May-June. Place them near a yellow or orange-blooming Rhododendron like 'Golden Gate' for a spectacular show.
-Dwarf conifers like Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Golden Fern' also make great companions to larger plants. 'Golden Fern' False Cypress is a 2' tall evergreen with foliage that really looks like the fronds of a fern! It's even better than a fern, though, because it is evergreen and has a lovely golden color that makes it really pop. In sun it is a bright gold, and in part shade it takes on shades of chartreuse and blue.
-Pinus densiflora 'Low Glow' is another great dwarf conifer. It has such tightly mounded foliage that it hardly even looks like a pine! The green color is bright and fresh, and it makes a wonderful balance to plants with darker foliage or variegation. It prefers full sun and will get to only 2' tall in ten years.
I hope these plants inspire you as they do me! Experimenting with smaller accent plants is a great way to try wild new combinations and bring year-round color and cheer to your garden beds.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010