Easy Steps to Help You Break Through Your Creative Wall

No matter how experienced, we all hit the creative wall at one point or another in our career. If gone unchecked this creative block could go on for months at a time threatening projects or even careers (let’s hope it doesn’t get or hasn’t gotten this far!). The easy answer is to break down the wall that’s in your way, but the hard part is finding a way to do that. Everybody is different and so are the reasons behind your creative block which is where the difficulty comes in; however, by following some of the steps in this article, you’ll be able to find out what’s causing your creative block and how to successfully break though it.

Realize what is causing your creative block

In order to successfully tackle your creative block you must first realize what is causing it. You can’t overcome a problem if you don’t know what’s causing it. You may be able to work through it or sidestep it (more on this later), but In the long run, If you don’t figure out the cause you will basically be putting a band aid on an open wound. It will continue to bleed, you will get distracted again and you’ll be back at square one or in an even worse situation. Unfortunately, this is where I can help you the least. What I can do is give you ideas on what the most common causes of creative block are. As a preemptive note I’ll mention that everything below causes stress which is why I don’t just list stress on this list. I’m trying to get down to the real issue.

Lack of Sleep: If you are tired your mind wanders more. This is scientifically proven and anyone who has sleep issues can relate here. Do yourself a favor and get some sleep. There’s no magical number for how much sleep you need, though there are plenty of studies that have been done on the proper amount which I’m not going to go into it here; I’ll just say get a good nights rest.
Over-tasking: If you are overwhelmed by too many projects your mind wanders (do you see a pattern here?). If you can’t concentrate on one thing, it’s will take you forever to get one thing done. Even if you are a great multi-tasker, the fact of the matter is if you concentrate on one thing you will get it done faster.
Personal issues: Maybe there’s something else that’s bothering you: financial worries, relationship issues, you’re hungry, whatever. These are the things that will cloud your mind and cause it to wander which can lead into creative block.

You can’t overcome a problem if you don’t know what’s causing it.

If you haven’t noticed the common theme throughout the last few notes I’ll paraphrase for you here: If your mind is not fully focused on your project, you won’t get it done. To get through this you need to locate the cause of the creative block and get rid of it or at the very least come to terms with it so that it isn’t on your mind preventing you from working.

If your mind is not fully focused on your project, you won’t get it done.

This is all well and good, but what if you can’t find the cause of the block? Well, then you’ll just have to do your best to jump start your creative juices. There are many methods of doing this both forcibly and non-forcibly. Below I’m going to give examples of how to do this in each category. It’s up to you to figure out which works the best for you.

Force Yourself To Work

Just Do It: Nike said it best. Sometimes you need to just sit down and start working on something. Work on anything. Maybe the doodles or playing around with a plug-in will spark your creativity and something will come of it. You’ll never know until you try.
Make a design/sketch: Maybe you need to take a few steps back. Start by grabbing a pen and notepad or a Wacom tablet and open Photoshop and just start sketching ideas or writing down words. One of these ideas is bound to grab you and then you can dive into it more.
Set deadlines: Maybe you’re giving yourself too much time to work. With too much time you start to become looser and completing a project becomes less of a priority which begins to become a problem. Give yourself a deadline on a project or at the very least only give yourself a specified amount of time to work on the project during the day. You’ll be surprised how much pressure will spark your creativity.

Get Your Mind Off It

Do something different: Perhaps the problem is you’re too comfortable. We all fall into patterns during the day and this does not lead to creativity. Get out of the house and go for a walk, go out to dinner, play sports outside, go skydiving(!); get your mind off of your project by doing something completely different.
Inspire yourself visually: Maybe you just need some inspiration. Check out some reels online, watch a movie, listen to music, read some magazines or a book or view some websites. You would be amazed where inspiration can come from and how little it takes to actually become inspired.
Sleep: Sleep again? Yes. Dreams are inspiring. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a crazy idea in my dreams that I needed to get down in real life. Your dreams should be your biggest inspiration. Following your dreams is what got you to where you are now, right? Why stop there.

By properly using one of the techniques I mentioned in this article you will be able to overcome your creative block and continue on your project. These are proven techniques which have worked for me and many others in the past and continue to work to this day; however, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, everybody is different and some of these options may not work for you. What they will do is give you an idea of the steps you need to take to locate and break through you’re own creative block.

Writer’s Block? Hit the Creative Wall? Tap Into Meditation, Prayer and Nature

I have to say that I am pretty fortunate as a writer that my mind is constantly spinning with creative ideas. But, inevitably, we all hit the wall – the wall of writer’s block. That’s when you sit down with your pad of paper or plop down in front of the computer and nothing comes.

When that happens, you can’t sit and will your brain to spew out lovely prose. It just won’t happen. In the world of true creativity, you can’t force things. That’s when you have to tap into some Divine creative power.

During a trip to California, my husband and I visited the Monterey Aquarium. There was an exhibit with 32 different varieties of sea horses. I had no idea there were that many kinds of sea horses. One variety resembled a beautiful plant. It was amazing.

Not long after we returned from our trip, the television show, CBS Sunday Morning, dedicated an entire program to “Creatures.” They reported that there are 1.8 million known species in the world!

While I have always admired God’s handy work in the form of sunsets, clouds, mountains – I had no idea how many species God created. And there are more we haven’t even discovered. This solidified for me the mind and creativity of God. It gave me a new meaning and appreciation of God as the Ultimate Creator.

All writers and artists experience being blocked. One way to tap into this Ultimate, Creative Source is to practice meditation. If you have never practiced meditation, it is a powerful tool. Being stuck, or blocked can mean having clutter in the mind. Meditation clears that clutter away. Practicing to be still and to clear anxious thoughts allows space for new, creative thoughts.

Of course, prayer is always good too. A heart felt, “Help me please,” has always worked for me.

If you are in an office, go outside and take a walk. Or go outside and sit somewhere and look at flowers or trees. Notice the formations of clouds or the details in a blade of grass.

So the next time you hit that creative wall, spend some time looking at God’s portfolio. There’s a lot of creative power to tap into. Did I mention that there are 14,000 varieties of ants? Ants! God’s creativity is amazing.

Quick Home Maintenance Tips

If you have been looking for some home improvement tips that won’t take more than a few minutes from your precious time, you are on the right page. This article is for you, especially if you are a busy homeowner. Read on.

Fixing a chair

Are you trying to fix an old chair? If so, we suggest drilling pilot holes and driving screws via the rungs bottom and into the chair legs.

Vinyl Door or Window

If your vinyl doors or windows don’t open properly, the channels may have accumulated gunk. At times, even clean doors and windows may bind. You may spray dry spray lubricant on the target areas and then use a rag to wipe it off. Using oil lubricants is not a good idea as they can catch dirt damaging the vinyl.

Repairing a Shutoff Valve

If the shutoff value is faulty, you can get it replaced. But if you can’t, you should go to the nearby hardware store to buy a good replacement washer. Remove the grit from the valve and fit the new washer. This will fix the problem.

Loose Showerhead

If you want to fix a problematic showerhead or a wobbly pipe, you can use some expanding foam. With the foam, you can encase the pipe and fix it. This will remove the wobble.

Use a Smoke Detector

If you don’t have enough time or money, you may want to cover the ceiling hole with a smoke detector. You don’t need to patch the hole.

Cabinet doors

If your cabinet doors don’t stay shut, all you have to do is use a magnetic door catch. You can also go for a roller-style one.

Squeaky Floors

If you want to repair a squeaky floor, use a stud finder to find the floor joists. Next, you can drive in a screw via a pad, carpet and the subfloor to reach the floor joist. Just make sure that the upper part of the screw has no threads. Ideally, you may want to use trim screws since they have bigger heads. If this is the case, you may want to pull up the screw and then tighten it again.

Remove Water Stains

Before repainting the ceiling, you may want to try out this trick. You can use a mixture of water and bleach and then wait for a few days. If the stain is old, you can try a mold and mildew product. The stain will be gone within 24 hours. This trick may work both on textured and flat ceilings.

Wallpaper Seams

To fix a wallpaper seam, you can soak a rag in lukewarm water and then apply the paste around the seam. You may want to hold the rag for a couple of minutes and then open the seam a bit for more space for the seam sealer. Put the liquid into the gap and then push the paper against the wall using a roller. Then you can use a sponge to remove the sealer.

So, these are some quick and easy home improvement tips.

Qualities of Great and Professional General Contractors

If you want to become a great and a professional one General contractor at a managerial level, then you need to possess these qualities in you. To complete your project in a great way, to complete hundreds in some specific tasks in prescribed time, to possess leadership qualities in you, this is what great and professional Home contractors do! Here you will know that which are those main and crucial abilities if you want to count yourself as the best and great one contractor’s at the managerial scale:

Communicate clearly and in an effective manner

It is always seen that the best and reliable contractors, they pass clear communication messages to their team members. They effectively communicate with their teammates be it they work on small projects or big projects. If you know the importance of understanding effective communication and applying effective communication between your project, then you can become a great Builder at the managerial level. To execute and plan for your project and activities, it is this effective communication that matters. How can your teammates be able to perform on projects if you will not tell them precisely that what exactly you want! Your subordinate will fail to show their abilities if they do not get clear messages and instructions from their manager contractor. Most of the projects performances get completely and wholly derailed because of poor and worst communication skills from the sides of General Contractors. To become a great manager related to construction projects, you should know how to transcribe minor and intricate project details to your teammates.

Delegate the tasks

A professional and a senior Builder do not take the credit of the whole success of a project. He is the one who equally gives credit to his team members as well. A successful General Contractor delegate tasks and assignments to his skilled workers. He alternates their duties, assigns different tasks to them so that each of the workers gets equal chance to show the best part of their abilities.

They furnish references

All professional general contractors are registered. If you ask them for references, then they furnish it instantly. They always promise and assure a professional job. They do not feel hesitant to show a satisfied and happy list of their clientele to share with you. If that list shares their good and satisfying experiences with you, then that general contractor should be chosen by you.

They show certificates

Professional general contractors do not have to boast and brag about employing and hiring highly professional qualified technicians for your project. If he is a licensed contractor, then he will not hesitate to show his certificates to you. Reliable contractors are insured and also registered as well.

Problem-solving potential

A smart General contractor comes with problem skills as well. It is true that each and every construction project, they come with huge in some challenges and obstacles, hidden problems. He is the one who has this ability to identify each and every worst-case scenario and then makes his project to come out from that worst-case scenario as well. At times, construction projects do experience many of the additional problems like that of community backlash and political opinions, because of these issues the progress of any project gets also hinder and stops. A smart and sharp General contractor can easily handle these additional problems too.

Teamwork spirit

Anyone actually realizes the importance and significance of team work, then it is this smart and clever enough General contractor who understands! Any project cannot have success without the cooperation and coordination of rest of team workers. If any project gets accomplished and successful than a friendly General contractor does not forget to give credit and praise his teammates as well. He has this belief on phrase “let’s work together”! He develops and creates the environment of trust and also an appreciation for his workers. It is just a welcoming feedback which employees love a lot.

To call yourself as the smartest Contractors at the managerial level, you should not disregard these skills of communication and teamwork, problem-solving skills and delegating the tasks. To get this assurance that your project will get a success and too high return on investment, you need to possess these abilities in your personality then.

Reasons Why Using Outdoor LED Signs Is a Good Idea

The use of LED signs outdoors is a great trend in today’s world. What you should know is that it has become a very important part of business today. The signs have actually been proven to increase awareness in the community as well as sales.

The outdoor LED signage can be applied for any kind of business, especially the medium and small sized kind of companies that don’t have a lot allotted to advertising. When a LED sign is in full color, then it promotes the business in a more effective manner regardless of the kind of business is in question. When electronic signs are compared to billboards, radio, newspapers and other traditional mediums, then they appear to be so much cheaper.

When you use the outdoor LED signs, you have in your hands a very powerful and very dynamic medium of advertising for the business. Your target audience and potential customers will definitely see it and take note.

Reasons why you should use the signs

Bright

Many people choose the signs because they are brighter than other kinds of signage. The bright signs attract attention and can be seen from a great distance, making them so attractive even in the sun.

Cost effectiveness

When purchasing the LED, it can be rather high priced. However, you will notice you save a lot in the long run. You will not spend anything when making changes to the display. The signage also consumes very little energy and you will need to do very little to maintain it.

Durable

Durability y is the other thing the outdoor LED signs are able to offer. The materials used to make them are not breakable and they do last a long time. You only need to do very few repairs as well as maintained. The LED modules come with a long lifespan.

Versatile

The LED signs are versatile. You can update them from your own computer just by a simple click. The changes can then appear immediately on the signage. You can also give scheduled messages.

Attractive

Use of visuals and graphics usually attract the attention of many and they are able to convert lots of information than would be the case if words alone were used. The aesthetic appeal of a place is also improved and this is why the signs are so widely used in airports, train stations and malls.

Less consumption of electricity

One of the main strengths of LED signage is the fact that power consumption is kept at a down low. LED sign boards consume less electricity than other signs that use incandescent bulbs and neon. It is therefore quite environmentally friendly as the carbon footprint is reduced.

Customized advertising

The use of LED signage helps one to keep pace with all the current situations like weather and so on. You can simply change the advertising message so as to customize it for the target audience. You can change the signs, text, messages and graphics at will so as to match the prevailing business goals.

Tips In Using Pre-Blended Mortar Mix

Most individuals plan DIY tasks to make their homes and properties appealing and strong. And, individuals use reliable materials when building such as cement. However, there are cases when cement is not suitable for such areas. Or perhaps, there are better alternatives for cement like pre-blended mortar mix.

Pre-blended mortar mix is designed for both professional and DIY persons since it is easy to use. In addition, this type of mix is suitable for brickwork, blockwork and stone laying needs. Other than that, homeowners can also use mortar mix in creating letterboxes, paving, retaining walls and garden beds. But, in order to create all of these, it is imperative to know how to use pre-blended mortar mix. To help you, below are some tips you need to know.

Mixing Tips

When mixing mortar, make sure your project is properly laid out with all the necessary tools at hand.

  • Next, individuals need to pour the required amount of mortar into a wheel barrow or a clean bucket. It is important to ensure you use contents as soon as possible after opening the product packaging.
  • After which, calculate the amount of water you will need. For each 10kg of Mortar add 1.6 litres of water.
  • Add water gradually and mix thoroughly to a stiff consistency (e.g. until the mix just slips off the trowel when lightly flicked). Note: Excess water can ruin good mortar. Should too much water be added, leave the mixture aside until it thickens to a workable consistency.
  • Finally, the mortar is now ready to trowel onto bricks or blocks.

Storage Tips

In case that you have not used all the pre-blended mix, it is imperative that you store it properly.

Most of the time, can be kept for up to six months if kept in a dry environment, off the ground and providing the bags remain sealed. Individuals must be aware that factors like high temperature and high humidity conditions may reduce the storage life of the product.

Safety Precautions

When using mortar mix, it is also best that you how to safely use it. Below are some safety tips.

During use, avoid inhalation of dust and contact with the skin and eyes. Wear suitable clothing, gloves, eye protection and respiratory protective equipment since it contains cement powders which can be harmful to the skin.

If contact with the skin occurs, individuals need to thoroughly clean the area with plenty of fresh water and soap. Meanwhile, in case of contact with the eyes rinse with plenty of fresh water and seek medical advice. And, if swallowed, seek medical attention immediately. Do not induce vomiting.

These are only some of the essential tips that individuals need to know when using pre-blended mortar mix.

3 Reasons to Love Glass Stairs

It’s not hard to see why glass staircases, in particular glazed side panels, have become so popular in recent times. As new-build houses seem to get smaller and smaller, and rising prices force many buyers to settle for modestly sized properties, home owners are finding creative ways to make the best of what space they have.

Using glass instead of wood or metal in your stair banisters can bring several benefits:

Light

The hallway is often the darkest part of the house, which isn’t ideal for making a good first impression on visitors. A traditional staircase balustrade, consisting of a handrail and base rail connected by wooden or metal spindles (also called balusters), will contribute to the gloom by blocking precious natural light. Using glass panels as the banister infill will instantly brighten the room by encouraging light to flow more freely.

Space

It’s amazing the way glass can make a room feel so much bigger. A transparent balustrade offers little or no barrier to the eye, increasing the sense of space. This is particularly useful for staircases situated in a living or dining room, as clear panels make the structure seem less obtrusive.

Style

Glass is much favoured by interior designers at the moment, and will suit almost any age of property. It can improve the look and feel of a modern house, boosting its contemporary credentials and bringing it bang up to date. At the other end of the age scale, glass can offer an interesting twist to a period home. A dark cottage with beamed ceilings and small windows, for example, can be brightened up and made more appealing by replacing solid wooden balusters with light-enhancing glass panels.

Which type of glass should you choose?

Good quality glazed panels should be made from toughened safety glass at least 8mm, and ideally 10mm, thick. Large single panels will create the most impact and allow maximum light flow. These normally have to be made to measure, so be prepared to wait a bit longer and pay a bit more than for standard sizes. Installation can be complicated, and is best left to professionals. Small panels are less showy, but more versatile and often the best choice for awkward layouts. They can also be combined with wooden or metal spindles if desired.

How is the glass fitted?

Depending on the staircase design and personal taste, you can usually choose whether to fix the panels to the balustrade with metal clamps (either at the top and bottom or at each side) or slot them into pre-cut grooves in the handrail and base rail. It is sometimes also possible to attach the panels to the handrail only, without using a base rail, so that the glass is suspended just above the steps. From an aesthetic point of view, fitting the panels directly into the wooden banisters results in a cleaner outline, but some people prefer the contemporary look of shiny metal clamps, or brackets. These are most often found in a chrome or brushed nickel finish. You can also use stainless steel discs if you’re after a particularly striking design.

Which handrail?

Wooden handrails are the most popular, and the most comfortable to use. A low profile (small and narrow) style will produce the most streamlined, modern effect, whereas a chunkier design may be more suitable for period properties. Metal handrails go well with glass for a contemporary look, and can be attached using brackets or grooves.

What about other glass stair parts?

Treads and risers are both available in glass. Treads can be made in a variety of thicknesses, usually between 20mm and 40mm. The glass should be toughened and laminated for extra strength, and include a non-slip finish. Glass risers are growing in popularity too. They can be fitted to the back of glazed treads or, more unusually, to wooden ones. This is guaranteed to produce the wow factor, letting light shine through the steps while keeping the safety benefits of a closed tread staircase.

Summing up

When it comes to creating a light and airy feel in your home, glass stairs are ideal – and the panels are available in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes that there’s a good chance of finding something to suit your particular circumstances. Just keep a cloth handy after installation, as smudges and fingerprints could spoil the impact of your stunning new staircase.

Types Of Mounted Mailboxes And Their Benefits

Keeping belongings safe is a must. Because of this, more and more homeowners invest in storage items like cabinets and drawers. Apart from that, individuals can also make use of other storage units to secure their items. For instance, when receiving mails and packages, it is best for homeowners to own a mailbox.

There are numerous types of mailbox individuals can choose from. These include freestanding, brick in and even mounted mailboxes. As of now, homeowners prefer to make use of mounted mailboxes. Of course, installing such box can be stressful. However, this type of letterbox can provide wonderful features that can benefit you. To know more, below are some of the most popular mounted mailboxes and its benefits.

Post Mount

One of the most common mounted mailboxes homeowners make use of is the post mounted letterbox. When using such letterbox, individuals are required to use a post and mounting board. As of now, post mounted letterboxes are made from galvanized steel for maximum rust resistance and durability. Apart from that, these boxes also feature a powder coat finish to make it more appealing. With regard to security, it is equipped with a lockable rear door. And, it is very visible which helps individuals send your mails and packages to your home easily.

Fence Mount

Another popular mounted mailbox is the fence mount. This type of letterboxes can be mounted into wood, brick and steel fences. Other than that, fence mounted boxes are made of sturdy galvanized steel and powder coated for added durability and style. These mailboxes also feature a stainless steel face-plate to make it more visible. Finally, a fence mount letterbox also has a key lockable rear door for better security.

Wall Mount

Finally, homeowners can also make use of wall mounted mailbox. This type of letterbox is installed into walls. With this mailbox, homeowners are rest assured that their mails are secured since it is created from sturdy 304′ grade stainless steel construction for durability & rust protection. Plus, it also features a weather shielded wide mail slot for all your A4 mail & documents.

Of course, there are cases when installing mounted letterboxes can be difficult most especially if you do not have the right fitting items. Fortunately, reliable providers can provide you with fitting items to help you make tasks easier and more efficient. Some providers also offer other home improvement products to make homes more appealing and valuable.

How Do I Make My Asphalt Look Better?

Your asphalt pavement is important to you. It was a significant investment intended to increase property value, safety, and curb appeal. So it is no surprise that you are interested in learning ways to enhance the appearance so that it looks the way it did the day it was installed. Whether you have an asphalt drive way or parking lot, the options for making it look better remain fairly the same. Continue reading to learn how you can make your asphalt pavement look like new again.

Asphalt Overlays

If your paved surface is old and faded, an overlay is a great investment. As long as the existing pavement is in good structural condition, a new layer of asphalt can be poured directly over it, rendering a fresh, brand-new paved surface. Not only are overlays efficient and cost-effective, they are long-lasting. If your paved surface is not structurally sound, you can get the same results by removing the old pavement and repaving the entire surface with new asphalt. These two options are the most invasive and significant investments, but they are worth the overall value you receive long-term.

Do-It-Yourself Tips

If you are not interesting in a pavement renovation, you can still benefit by implementing some do-it-yourself strategies to keep your lot or drive looking great. First, routine debris removal is important. This involves picking up trash and litter on a daily basis. It also involves prompt leaf and snow removal every season. Not only does this prevent unsightly stains, corrosion, and hazards, it makes the lot look clean and fresh. If you have a large lot or complex, it is wise to invest in a street sweeping machine to make this chore more efficient.

Preventative Maintenance and Repairs

Whether you choose to overlay your existing pavement, remove and repave your asphalt, or implement DIY strategies, preventative maintenance and fixing minor damages is a must. Catching small problems early on can save you money and maintain strong pavement. This includes crack filling, pothole repair, line striping and painting, grade repairs, drainage adjustments, and more. You must always be maintaining your paved surfaces, regardless of condition or square footage.

Sealcoating

Every paved asphalt surface should have a protective coating. Asphalt needs to be seal coated every 3 to 5 years, especially in regions that are hot and dry most of the year. This thin, clear protective layer shields harmful sunrays, which prevents it from prematurely fading, cracking, and more. It also creates a waterproof barrier that prevents corrosion, crumbling, heaving, and more.

Attic Ventilation – Ensuring Enough Attic Air Circulation

Your home has a number of critical areas that need all the attention they could get. The attic for instance, plays an important role in ensuring that your roof lasts as intended. Proper air circulation of the attic is essential in keeping that the roof remains structurally sound over the years. You can determine whether there is adequate ventilation in the attic or if it is lacking. If you happen to notice some sort of musky smell in the attic, it is often not caused by the items being stored, but because of insufficient airflow. Fans are commonly used to resolve this problem. However, do roof ventilation fans work? Let’s find out.

How can I know that there’s enough air circulation in my attic?

Your attic, like most areas of your home, requires proper air circulation. There different ways on how to achieve enough airflow in this particular area. A homeowner can buy ventilation solutions in the market of apply different techniques to ensure there is sufficient air flowing through the attic.

What are my options?

Should you find signs of poor ventilation in your attic, you should consult professionals immediately. The sooner you find and fix the problem, the better it is for your home. There are a number of solutions available, but there is no single solution for everything. The homeowner or the professional paid to fix the problem must assess what type of solution would work best and for the long-term. Here’s a number of solutions for your home:

1. Ridge vent – this type of solution is, as its name suggests, a vent installed along the ridge line of your house. Before this type of vent is installed, roof decking is cut to allow air to flow through. It is highly essential that no other areas of the home block air from coming in or out.

2. Soffit vents – every roofing system needs to have air entry and exit points to keep it cool and dry. The soffit vents also work in conjunction with ridge vents and let air pass right through. However, in areas where the roofline meets the attic floor, insulation baffles must be put in place to prevent airflow from being restricted.

3. Attic fans – this solution is quite better as it does not rely on natural wind to ventilate the attic. Fans can be installed on the roofing system which sucks the air out when needed. Some newer models incorporate a thermostat which automatically turns on the fans to keep a stable temperature in the attic. Solar powered fans are also available, which would be beneficial since this would mean the fans can be self-sufficient. However, the costs associated with this solution raises a couple of questions. So, do attic ventilation fans work at all? The answer is yes.

As it is commonly known, fans dedicated to ventilate can easily introduce air or push air out of a home with ease. Unlike natural, free-flowing systems, these fans work at a much more efficient pace. There’s also the option for users to control the temperature within certain areas to prevent moisture buildup and other problems caused by stale air.