Pick Up Your Own Headphones

You’d like to watch and listen to the interesting TV program yours with the high volume, but you do not want to bother anyone, wouldn’t you? So, you ought to pick up the best wireless earbuds yours.

Choosing the best wireless headphones for TV

Why do you have to choose the wireless type? The answer is due to the wireless design that will allow you to be able to sit anywhere in your house as long as you do not pass the limit area. Beyond that, you do not also worry your relatives, who will stick them. It calls this type of headphones, which is the best because you can enjoy the best quality sound and the clearest image.

By What Means Can You Pick Up the Best Wireless Headphones for TV

It will not have any issues if you are busy with something that cannot sit to watch TV. Simply, with the wireless headphones for TV, you may adjust the sound, which fit to your distance. Like that, you can listen to your favorite program or movie anywhere in your home.

To ensure that the chosen headphones are the best, you ought to remember some of the objects below:

#1 The performance

The great feature of this set of headphones is that you are able to listen to the favorite program yours whether the TV is installed at the lowest volume. Your task only needs to put them on your ears and begin hearing everything without bothering anyone in your family; even, you are not disturbed by the outside noise.

The performance of the wireless headphones for TV shows your experience

Nonetheless, depending on the headphones’ the performance, it shows your experience. The requirement with these headphones is the sound both clear and clean. Thereto, the best pair of headphones for TV also needs to bring the comfort, so it forces you to have to consider the shape and weight of them. Let’s remember that you will be able to wear for a long time. It is certain that you do not want to end up with a headache, or an earache.

#2 The coverage

Each of the headphones will have the different distance. Certainly, no one wants to own the headphones with a short distance – just 2-meter in front of their TV. Consequently, you ought to find one with a great range. In that way, you will be able to move around your house easily. Furthermore, whether you move to another room, you may still hear the program that you are watching.

#3 The battery

Fortunately, the majority of the wireless headphones for TV comes with the battery, which is rechargeable. If you do not want to recharge the battery per day with your using level, you should select one headphone that has a longer battery life. Besides, you should also consider the ability to recharge while utilizing these headphones.

#4 The price

The brands and the models always change

Even though the quality is the first priority, your budget will also be a problem. Because the brand and the model always change, you need to consider carefully in order to avoid wasting your money. In particular, you should compare the technological features and their prices. By that way, you will be able to find the right headphones with your budget. Don’t choose to purchase a model with the cheap price. The headphones also need to a long-term investment, so you ought to invest which the wireless headphones for TV are comfortable and relaxed.

#5 The warranty

Another important factor when choosing to purchase one is the warranty. As possible, your chosen headphones will not have any problems during this stage. At that time, the quality and performance of the headphones are going to be reflected clearly. The best selection for you is the pairs of the headphones with the warranty in one year in comparison with the warranty in three months because it often has better function.

Inevitably, looking for the best wireless headphones for TV, apart from these above-mentioned things, you also need to consider other elements such the design, the control options, etc. Meanwhile, it is certain that you will have owned the right headphone for yourself.

BURN – IN METHODS FOR HEADPHONES

Burn – in is the name of a process which tests the brand new speakers of the headphones about the ear pad or the net of the speakers. Before using for an amount of time, the ear pads are still quite hard and can’t reach the minimum elastic requirements. Testing runs will help the headphone’s frames and drivers soften and better functioning. It’s similar to testing runs in cars or motorbikes.

headphonesBurn – in will allow your headphone to sound better than a brand new one. The differences will be found out after a certain amount of time burning – in (at least 24 to hundreds of hours). Burn – in helps the speakers to emit better sounds (softer sounds, better sound range, deeper bass,…) even the best headphones for working out to be burnt – in to achieve the best performance according to designs of manufacturers.

There are 2 basic ways of burn – in:

  1. Natural burn – in
  2. Burn – in using software

NATURAL BURN – IN

In fact, natural burn – in is simply the act of putting headphone on your ears and play your favorite playlist naturally, you don’t need any particular sound files designed just for burning – in or any specialized software. This type of burn – in is used widely by common users naturally and they don’t even know they are burning – in their headphones.

Pros:

  • Easy to process
  • Can access to world of music right away without waiting for hours like other burn – in methods
  • No need to plug the headphone in sources of music for hours continuously.

Cons:

  • It takes time to achieve noticeable results; sometimes it’s very difficult to distinguish the differences between brand new products and burnt – in one.

Notes: With new buy headphones, the ear pads are quite rough therefore you shouldn’t listen to music continuously for hours and better set the volume in average amount just enough for listening to avoid any ear pad damages.

BURN – IN USING SOFTWARE

To simplify and automatic the burn – in processes, recently there are various types of supporting software that enable users to burn – in the headphones without adjusting by hands. One of the most popular one is Burninwave Generator. Here’s the way to use it:

  • Prepare a computer and Burninwave Generator.
  • Plug the headphone in 3.5mm jack on sound card and turn on the burn – in software on the computer.
  • Click on Generator tab and choose one of the sounds below: White noise, Pink noise, Pure test tone and Frequency Sweep. You should choose Pink noise to acquire best results and shorten burn – in time.
  • Tick Enable rest period and set the playing time for 120 minutes after each 30 minutes resting (default by the software).
  • Put on the headphone and hit Play button, then you will hear buzzing sounds just like on lost signal TV channels. Move the Volume ratio bar until when the sound is hearable enough without suffer from any noises (either too loud or too small). Then remove the headphone out of your ears and put it in the box and let it burn itself.
  • After about 100 hours of burning – in (rest time not accounted), you continue to increase the volume for a little but (your ears might have to endure the sounds that are louder than usual) and burn – in for around 70 hours in this level.
  • When achieving at least 70 hours, increase the volume for a little bit more until your ears can’t handle the sound and burn – in for at least 30 hours. It will be the end of the burn – in process.
  • After the sum of about 200 hours continuously burn – in with 3 different volume range, your headphone almost gains the best condition and show the truly essence as produced.

Note: Burning – in for 200 hours is quite time consuming, so you can burn – in daily while working in offices or at home. In case of buzzing sounds that annoy people around you, you had better put the headphone inside the protective bag or box to reduce the noises.

Pros:

  • Burn – in times and rest times are automatically set to avoid any forgets from users
  • No need specialized sound files

Cons:

  • Takes quite long time to complete the burn – in process
  • The process requires long time plugging so it doesn’t work with people who must travel a lot.

Related Posts: A Couple of Value Options with the In-Ear Headphone

A Couple of Value Options with the In-Ear Headphones

When listening to music or any sounds, we want to enjoy the best sound quality. We’d like to mention to the headphones or the speakers, which are used for the purpose of listening to music. Nowadays, the headphones are too acquainted with the majority of music lovers; especially, there are pairs of in-ear headphones. It will actually be a perfect for each person, who can enjoy music without having to share with anyone around if you are looking for the best in-ear headphones under 50.

in-ear headphones

In case you often move on the transportation as buses, trains, or planes, this type of headphones is quite convenient. Beyond that, they are also a good option for the long trips with your relatives or friends; especially, when everybody needs to enjoy their own space, using these headphones is useful. You can hear anything that you like, but this one does not disturb anybody. Even, you can hear well only with the sufficient volume. Like that, it can protect your hearing.

A Couple of Options with the In-Ear Headphones

Option #1: Today, a variety of kinds of the in-ear headphones have released on the market so that everyone can choose one. Generally, the most beneficial model will be concerned so much by customers. Nonetheless, a few of the persons recognize that these headphones are not comfortable because they rarely wear them. Or even, they do not get used to utilizing the same model before.

Option #2: Due to the compact design, so this type of headphones occupies less space. You can carry them everywhere. Simply, it only needs to put them into your bag or pocket. In that way, you can enjoy your favorite music anywhere though moving on the bus or traveling on the train. In comparison with the type of open headphones, these in-ear headphones do not take much space; even, they are not bulky when wearing.

type of in-ear headphones

Option #3: You can entirely hide the cord when utilizing these headphones. One does not make plenty of attention. Another one is to avoid being tangled in. Consequently, a few of people often hide the cord inside their mantle or the same things.

Option #4: When choosing to buy a pair of headphones, an important object is a balanced sound. In fact, the music is not necessarily the kind of the sound, so the proper balance is significant. You can feel trouble if the sound of the headphones is not good.

It is not suspected that it will be very beneficial if the headphones provide a high-quality sound system. When listening to music on the bad system, you cannot also feel an amazing of one song although there is your favorite song. There are plenty of elements, which decide the sound quality of a set of headphones. Apart from the problem from the speakers, the inside system can also affect.

Option #5: If you are utilizing these headphones, you have to ensure that they are affected by the external sound. It is noticed that they must fit your ears. Like that, you do not need to turn a higher volume in order to listen. In addition, it also avoids damaging to your eardrum.

Let’s member one thing – it is not necessary that all music devices (MP3 player, iPod, iPad, and so on) can be adjusted the bass and the treble. Some of the people enjoy hearing plenty of basses and against. Therefore, the good headphones need to have to have the correct balance of the sound unless the music will not be the right sound.

Summary

If you are looking a set of in-ear headphones, you should check out every pair as possible. Perhaps, it is difficult to check them a detailed way if you buy them at the stores or order them online. Nevertheless, you can recognize their features through the comments or reviews from consumers. There is the truest assessment about the products, including the headphones.

To choose the best headphones, everyone is often based on the sound quality and the associated factors – the headphones, speakers, and anymore. Of course, to enjoy the entire music, the sound factor is the most important. Let’s select for yourself the best in-ear headphones under 50 right now!

Let’s Try Cooking with Dutch Ovens

Dutch Oven Cooking

Cooking is a process. Every cook not only needs to have cooking skills but also has to equip the best rice cooker for themselves. The Dutch oven is necessary, isn’t it?

Let’s Try Cooking with Dutch Ovens

Your cooking kit will become shortcoming if it does not have the Dutch oven. Nowadays, on the market, there are countless selections for you. The important object is what is the best.

  • Choosing an oven

Dutch Ovens

The first, you need to know what the Dutch oven. Simply, it is a round pot that is utilized to cook. This type of pots also uses the heat so as to cook the food. In particular, you can utilize in your kitchen or camping. Therefore, it is divided into two kinds. With models in the kitchen, they are designed with a thinner metal. The bottom is flat, so you can place at home. The design of the camp model is thicker, and heavier; even, it still has legs. Consequently, you can lift an oven off the ground and put coal below.

With the camping version, it is made from two main metals that are iron and aluminum. Due to light weight (from 7 to 10 lbs), so you can easily maintain an aluminum oven. It especially suits for canoeing activities. However, the aluminum material does not keep the heat well. Therefore, the taste does not really perfect. If your family often goes camping, an iron oven is the best choice. It has a heavier weight (from 15 to 20 lbs). In addition, it keeps the heat better.

According to these above information, you have known the material of Dutch ovens. At present, you need to consider the size of ovens. You can select ovens with the deep height or the standard height. Generally, the standard oven quickly heats in comparison with the deep oven. Besides, the diameter of ovens is also different. Of course, large ovens will contain plenty of food. For beginners, you ought to use an oven about 14 inches.

On the other hand, for the Dutch oven, it also needs to have additional features. For example, the lid has a lip that helps hold coals on the top. Like that, the food can be heated from above.

  • The use

The first, you should read the manual from your Dutch oven in order to prepare for utilizing. If it was the period of time, you would not need to do this.

If you have recently purchased a new oven, you should wash it. This one is necessary. To keep the Dutch oven without rusting, it is painted a protective layer. With old ovens, you need to remove the rust, if any. Then, using warm water washes again. Let’s remember that only use ovens when hands dry.

Before heating your Dutch oven to 350º, you need to clean it. You ought to put it in the kitchen and wait when the drain.

At the moment, you use an oil layer. You can utilize vegetable oil or olive oil. You must entirely rinse your oven with oil. Next to, you take one hour so as to heat it. Putting the Dutch oven upright, but the lid is ajar so that the air is able to circulate. Now, you start removing your oven and waiting for cooling. When you recognize that the Dutch oven is warm, you cover an oil layer again; then, you also place it in a stove for one hour (350º). Similarly, you also remove and wait for cooling; then, you cover an oil layer. So far, your Dutch oven can use for your camp trip.

  • The heat

This type of ovens uses coals. The first step, you need to choose an area in order to set up your Dutch oven. You are able to utilize a fire pit. To be easy to clean, you can use a pan. Let’s place your pan in a good position. At that time, you can start using coal. The smell of coal is not good for health, so you can avoid a moment until the coal is ready. You pour them into your pan and put one side. In addition, you ought to remember that the food needs to be put in the Dutch oven before beginning to cook. Don’t place the food in the hot oven. Let’s remember that!

With the Dutch oven, it needs both below and above heat so as to bake. In an oven with 14 inches, you can put 11 briquettes on the bottom and 17 on the above. Like that, it can meet the heat with 325º. To reach 350º, you need to supplement a little briquette. Each 15 minutes, you should also rotate both your oven and the lid at the same time about a quarter. You also need to equip gloves to ensure the safety.

In brief, the Dutch oven is also the best rice cooker that you can believe in using. Through the above information, you have essential knowledge about ovens for your next campaign. Good luck!

best rice cooker
Source: Best Rice Cooker

Buying Guide for Discount Furniture and Clearance Offers

Discount Furniture

The demand of using secondhand furniture is very high all the time. In fact, if you are not a person, who knows well about the Internet, or you just rarely use it in finding the furniture and clearance offers, you have missed a huge resource of good condition furniture with discounted prices. In contrast, if you know just a little about the discount furniture market or the yard sales around your neighborhood, it would be a huge advantage for you to find some good accessories for you house with just a reasonable amount of money. For example, the old ceiling fan that is on sale in some website with the discounted prices could be the best ceiling fans for your living room and kitchen. However, not all offers are good for you. In this article, I will show you how to keep the best price and choose the best on sale furniture within your budget.

  1. Stocks those are not popular anymore?

You all know that furniture producers make hundreds to thousands models of furniture annually, but not all of them make profit. Some of the furniture can’t meet the demands of customers; therefore people don’t buy them in large number. Days after days, the stocks became out of fashion and old, so that they are moved into the warehouse. The stores must sell them with a reduced price to encourage customer buying them though it would be a loss to the stores. Then, newer and more modern designs are produced and become the trend.

When you go to furniture stores to spend money on some sets for your living room or other rooms in the house, the salesman would actively lead you to the older ones, so that you could possibly buy them without knowing there would be more modern styles waiting at the back. In case they can’t sell that furniture anymore, they will put the discount from 10% to 30% to the product then place it at a corner of the showroom. It’s your chance now to have it with the most exact price of the furniture.

Don’t worry about the condition. The quality of the furniture is still guaranteed, it’s still under the maintenance contract so you can have free fixes if there’re any problems. You can’t even find any cracks or scratches on the outer of the furniture. It’s still new, but for some reason, that model is not available on the front door anymore. But that’s your chance for having new furniture that suits the room style without spending too much money.

  1. Old stock replacement

The products always change according to time and seasons. So if the time changes, the models have to change as well. And if the stocks change suddenly with a new one, it would be unusual. Therefore, they have to get rid of the old ones and put on a new model. So you could have a question about the old stocks: “Where did it go?”

The answer is Sale off programs. Before replacing new stuffs to the front door, the stores would make some announcements for the changes as well as the sale off for old products. No matter how good the quality of the old product is, it will be put in the sale off shelf with at least 50% reduced in price. That’s an excellent opportunity for you to have high class furniture with a much cheaper price so you could have some money investing to other sets of furniture.

ceiling fansFor example with ceiling fans, the fans are the type of furniture that needs to be replaced quickly because the model changes very fast in a year. The ceiling fans is one of the most important decorative furniture so that if you’re lucky, the first thing you should buy from the discount market would be the ceiling fan. It would be more amazing if the living room is following vintage style. The old and dusty ceiling fans suits perfectly to the theme of the room. Just make sure that the fans are not too dusty and the light color is in good harmony with the color of your living room wall and floor.

4 Steps You Need to Know When Looking For The Best Record Player

Nowadays, the record players gradually become popular on the market; especially, there are developing countries. We easily find the record players with different shapes, brands and facilities. In addition, because of consumers’ demand, the design of them is more and more various. Perhaps, you prefer a belt drive because you would like to own a traditional record player. Other people enjoy listening to the volume up. Several devices will not own these options because they are especially built for DJs. Therefore, if you want yourself to choose the best record player, you should consider these characteristic such as drive (belt drive and direct drive), operation (manual and automatic), ISB interface option and recording capabilities of the record players.

best record player

How to Select the Best Record Player

#1. Belt drive or direct drive

There are two kinds of drives. That they have to be installed on the turntable are an important device in order to spin the disk. In most traditional record players, the belt drive is put right beside the disk and an elasticity belt so as to connect the both of them each other.

In the contrary, the direct drive is a modern model. The equipment is installed under the disk which is allowed rotating backwards by hand (common in DJs). This one helps create perfect sound effects.

Like a common rule, audio will be produce with more isolated and stable in nature by the belt drive. The reason why a shock absorbent effect is provided is operate by the belt. Therefore, it helps reduce the vibration from the engine. By the way, the noise of the motor will be directly sent into the disk. Most DJs choose the direct drive turntable because they own backward spinning capabilities.

#2. Manual or automatic operation

Users would be required to lift the tone-arm and set it into the record by manual players. They are semi-automated in the sense. In addition, a cueing machine will slowly make the tone-arm. After completing, you will have to turn it off by yourself.

The automatic variants are popular. With an automatic unit, the vinyl records have to be put on the disk and pushed a button. Therefore, the tone-arm is lifted. Then, it is moved over to the record and automatically lowered it. When finishing, the tone-arm will return the initial position and itself will shut off.

Although manual devices support more vintage, automatic player is better choice.

#3. USB interface option

If you want to transfer the vinyl record player in our collection onto your computer, you will need a USB interface. It can say that there is a plain and simple unit.

#4. Recording capabilities

Not all units can play all kinds of the record player. At present, there are 3 popular types on the market including: 33s, 45s and 78s. These numbers show you know that the time is taken for the record process in order to spin. Most record players have the ability so as to play 33s and 45s but not at all are able to play 78s.

Before you decide to buy any of these products, you should carefully consider. They have a suitable product for you and their price really has been affordable (from under $80 to over $600). The best record player will own an audio quality. However, they are also too expensive. Today, it has many famous brands about the record players. Therefore, you are able to refer several following brands such as Audio – technica AT- LP1240 ISB, the Stanton ST -150 and the Numark TTX USB in order to be able to select the suitable usb record player for yourself.

Video Helpful


Views on Pressure Cooking

Home Cooking

Home cooking the main task for every household and it can easily take away your precious time that can be consumed on other things, such as:

  • Relaxing or de-stressing after a hard day in the office,
  • Small DIY project related to home renovation
  • Changing cutains, bed sheets or furniture placement
  • Spending time with kids or other family members
  • Watching your favorite TV show, etc

There are some several different ways to avoid cooking, such as:

  • Going to a restaurant
  • Home deliver food, or
  • Microwave the food cooked in the morning
  • Pressure cooking

Apart from the pressure cooking, there is no other way to get the fresh home-made recipe in less than normal time. A part from cooking, a pressure cooker is the best pressure canner for home and professional kitchens.

Modern-day pressure cookers can cook any type of recipe without any human assistance. Obviously, you have to put the ingredients and adjust your pressure cooker according to the recipe, but this doesn’t include in the cooking time.

Anyhow, people have differen views regarding this cooking method and this post compares their views with the functions of pressure cookers used these days. So, if you have heard stories of pressure cooker explosions and belive that nothing’s changed, this post will help you remove a lot of misconceptions associated with pressure cookers.

History of Pressure Cooking

Pressure Cooking

The pressure cookers that we use today date back to 17th century when Frehcn physicist, Denin Papin created a huge cast iron pot. It had the fitted lid (main feature of modern-day pressure cookers). He was successful in increasing the boiling point of water by 15%, due to which he was able to cook meat in a very short time. The meat was very tender and had softer bones.

However, the process of increasing the internal pressure was still quite dangerous, and required proper measures. In 1680, the Royal Scoeity acclaimed Papin for introducing a pressure release valve that had reduced the chance of explosions significantly.

Pressure Cooker Explosions

Now that you’ve understood that every pressure cooker consists of pressure release valve, why do explosions take place? Is it because of the material? Or, is it because of the handling? Correct answer is, BOTH! In fact, there are other things to take care of in order to avoid pressure cooker explosions.

The Material

One of the basic reasons for pressure cooker explosion has been the material. Earlier, manufacturers used cast iron material. Slight error in the composition of iron ore resulted in inappropriate cooking pots and lids. Especially, when the base is not think enough to handle the pressure, explosions are bound to take place.

The real problem arose after second world war. Due to the rise in demand for pressure cookers, companies that had been manufacturing war items and were facing shutdowns, switched to manufacturing cookware. They introduced hundreds of thousands of pressure cookers that were not properly calibrated, which eventualy gave birth to those painful stories.

Even today, defective pressure cookers have been sold for cheap prices and people with no prior information still face risk of such explosions. Therefore, it is vitally important to search for branded models launched by reknowned manufacturers.

Today, you can find aluminum material in the market, but the best pressure canner is made from stainless steel. It has a relatively thicker bottom to sustain high level of heat and internal pressure.

Handling

Pressure cooker may explode due to improper handling, although, the safety features have reduced the impact of explosion to great extent. Here are some important tips to maintain any kind of pressure cooker.

  • Check whether the lid is properly closed
  • The pressure control should giggle jently
  • The upper handle attached to the lid must be secured on top of the pan handle
  • Don’t apply force to open it, because the lid is locked at high temperature. Applying force may release high pressure steam that can cause steam burns.
  • The rubber gasket must be cleaned properly. It should not be broken or cracked.
  • Store the pressure cooker with lid placed upside down on top of the pan
  • Always read instruction manual before cooking anything

Pressure Cooker Benefits

Pressure Cooker Benefits

Best pressure cooker offers so many benefits that only a cook can imagine. Some of the benefits, according to housewives, professional chefs and cooks are mentioned below:

  1. Pressure cooker saves time and helps fulfill multiple requests at a time.
  2. It offers multiple functions and cooks different food automatically.
  3. Pressue cooker can prepare the food in many ways, such as; browning, steaming, roasting, baking, boiling, stweing, braising etc.
  4. Best pressure cooker is always the best pressure canner You just have to can the ready-made food according to the intructions given in the manual.
  5. If you’re new to cooking, you can use pressure cooking recipes and prepare your favorite recipes any time.
  6. You can take an electric pressure cooker outdoors for picnic, and prepare soups, salad, meat, fish, cakes and more.
  7. Modern pressure cookers have at least 10 safety features to ensure safe cooking.

Lessons From a Tag Sale

By now, I’m sure you’re wondering when I’m going to get to the point of this personal saga. Here it is: In this selection process, I created groupings, classifications, color stories, and themes. I was stocking our new home, but it was very much like buying for a store.

When you buy for your store, it should be with an eye to how and where each piece will be displayed.

THE ART OF GROUPING

When you shop in a showroom, items are usually grouped together; the implication is that they should be bought as a group and displayed in the same way in your store. It is expected, of course, that your customer will buy the group as is. Needless to say, it rarely works that way. In reality, there are always some winners and some losers in these grouped selections. If you’ve been in business for a while, you know the difference — that’s why you’re still in business! So select the goodies, forget the baddies, and choose companion pieces for the goodies, keeping color, material, concept, and size in mind.

showroom

For example, if you find a great group of Delft blue accessories, but only five pieces are truly terrific, consider solids to fill out the selection. Look for matching blue pieces, or think about picking either gold, terra-cotta, or lemon yellow accessories to enhance the blue-and-white pieces.

Size counts. In order to create interesting displays, you should try to buy pieces in a variety of sizes. Ideally, there should be a gradation from short to tall and small to large in your table, shelf, or window display.

Lights and darks need to be balanced. If you have a group of all-black accessories, break it up with another solid in a light tone. As my recent experience taught me, black and gold work well together.

The need for balanced colors also applies to multicolored arrangements. If you have a rainbow of colors in one classification and they really work well as a group, check out your brights to make sure they are scattered evenly throughout the display. Yellow and white are the two colors that “pop” and can be used to lead the eye around the display. Don’t concentrate the cools in one place and the brights in another if you want the rainbow look. If the rainbow effect doesn’t work visually, group cools (blues, greens, and violets) together and warms (reds, oranges, yellows, and browns) together.

ONE SINGULAR SENSATION

One-of-a-kind items are great if you have pedestals on which to show them, or windows that allow you to highlight individual pieces with mini halogen spots so that they glow. In some cases, you can find ancillary pieces that work with a one-of-a-kind object and create a grouping. The “find” becomes the focal point, and the extras are there to enhance in glory. The extras should be items that work both visually and practically with the fab piece. For example, if you find a one-of-a-kind teapot, put it on a buildup next to cups and saucers that work with it in terms of color, style, or feel. If you have a ceramic cat, place it next to a (rinsed out, empty) cream carton for a fun display. Unexpected elements add interest and personality to your displays … and your store.

A CASE OF CLASSIFICATION

In preparation for my tag sale from hell, I pulled together pieces that worked as a group. For example, I put together all the silverplated trays, all the Chinese items, all the wood, all the ceramics, all the glassware, all the paintings, and all the lamps. This strategy works well for a tag sale. Unfortunately, in a store it can look pretty boring. However, if you prefer this type of merchandising, there is a way to give it life. If all of your classifications are neatly displayed around the store — on tables near the walls, in the middle of your store, and in focal areas — create boutiqued tables. On one table, place a lamp, a tray, a ceramic piece, a glass, a painting (on a small easel), and other items that work together visually. Combine them through color, theme, style, or just good intuition. These boutiqued tables will teach your customers how to purchase multiple pieces that work together.

THE SECRETS OF COLOR STORIES

Of the more than 100 accessories I had at my disposal for my tag sale, at least 75 were gold or black, in some form or another. You’re lucky in that you have a vast array of colors to work with and can easily keep your displays from looking dull or uninteresting.

color test

There are several ways to pull together a great color story.

  1. The first method is the easiest: Work with only one group from one vendor. That’s simple.
  2. Second, you can opt to do a monochromatic color story showing shades and variations of one color, such as bright orange, peach, terra-cotta, or yellow-orange. Monochromatic color stories are head-turners! The items in this “story” can come from across the board. Use anything that works visually. With this method, practicality is secondary.
  3. Third, you can employ a combination of two neutrals with one bright (yellow, orange, hot pink, lime green, electric blue, or red). This will make for a strong display and will give people ideas for decorating in their own homes. Using contrasting colors can also be effective, provided it is done in small areas. Combine hot pink with lime green, yellow with purple/blue, or red with light blue. Being brave with color can produce some great results. Of course, it can also look awful. If you are unsure of your combinations, ask the opinion of a fellow worker or a customer whose taste you admire. They will usually tell you the truth, and will appreciate the fact that you respected them enough to ask.

A CATCHY THEME

CATCHY THEMEA themed display is much more than just a presentation according to classification. A theme is similar to a boutiqued technique. You want to pull pieces together that make sense, and then perhaps add a touch of whimsy. For example, when I was working with one great children’s gift store in Essex, Massachusetts, I suggested combining all the rockets, planets, stars, moons, and robots for a “space experience” window display.

At Chris’ house, I combined early childhood mementos such as a photo, a silver spoon, and baby shoes with some current memorabilia, including his MBA diploma, a vase, and a bowl. Somehow, all of the items fit together nicely, and told a story at the same time.

On one table, I did a themed display of vases — all sizes, shapes, and colors (although many were black or gold or bore Chinese patterns). To add interest, I threw in some matching bowls (round, but shorter than the vases). I then propped a Chinese print behind the grouping to serve as a backdrop.

After the four-hour tag sale, we walked away with a little over $700. I’m convinced that the displays had something to do with that. Of course, the fact that it was an indoor tag sale held in the midst of monsoon-scale rains may have contributed to our success. But I learned two things about tag sales and decorative accessories that day: One, instead of “early birds,” the people who come two hours early to a tag sale should be called “vultures”; and, two, no matter how bizarre and unattractive some pieces may be, the market for decorative accessories is alive and well.

Linda Cahan is the principal of Cahan & Company, a retail visual design company in Fairfield, Connecticut. She is a member of both the Society of Visual Merc

Love and lifestyles

Gift store operators can generate better-than-average revenue from the proper merchandise of their bridal registries. Some of the items that could be marketed effectively are picture frames for the bridal portrait, rings and jewel boxes, and an assortment of wedding invitations. Retailers can also offer items that will reflect the varied religious and other backgrounds of the couples.

Rings and jewel boxes

Rings and jewel boxes

Rings are an important part of weddings and are one of the oldest wedding traditions. The wedding ring is a mark of both spiritual bond and commercial contract. Usually, it’s a diamond engagement ring for the bride with both bride and groom receiving rings for the popular double ring ceremony. You don’t sell wedding rings? But do suggest that the bride list a ring holder or small jewelry box on her registry. Both are excellent shower gifts. If it is to be a “couple” shower, as so many are, listing a jewelry box for him would be a nice gift suggestion. How about ultrasonic jewelry cleaning machines as an excellent wedding or shower gift?

Invitations vary

WEDDING

One of the greatest changes in the rituals of weddings involves wedding invitations. The classic traditional engraved invitation, with black ink on fine-grade paper, is often by-passed for pastel borders, floral designs, theme-related or photo-featured invitations.

Today, invitations often include the names of both his and her parents, or all parents and step-parents if there has been divorce and remarriage, plus, in many cases, the couple’s names as well, “jointly” inviting you to share in the happy occasion. The joint effort is as old as invitations themselves, but “new” again in this decade.

While many brides will opt for the “new age” invitations, those selling invitations will need to know the “why’s and wherefore’s” of traditional invitations to advise the bride on what is the “preferred” way.

Then there is the matter of showers. Friends throw “him and her,” “his or hers” and “her” showers. A “him and her” gift registry shower list would include do-it-yourself tools or kits and gifts that could serve the couple jointly, such as clocks, cookware, small appliances, games, gourmet baskets, breakfast trays and travel diaries.

“His or her” shower gift suggestions include mugs, breakfast trays, bath and desk accessories and informal patterns of dinnerware, flatware and stemware. Traditional shower gifts for brides include lingerie and personal gifts such as a purse mirror, lipstick caddie and items for her dresser.

Gifts for varied backgrounds

Gift

Couples in 1996 will often celebrate their differences in religion by having a marriage ceremony that includes the blessings of dual officiates and the lighting of a Unity Candle, which brings disparate backgrounds in religion into harmony. Are you prepared to meet these needs by having Unity Candies and pedestals available, as well as a Bridal Mail Box for collecting gifts of money brought to the wedding, shower and guests registry books, pens, wedding planning books, cake tops and sixpence? Marriages today may be multi-racial, multi-religion and multi-family. If there are children from another marriage, do you suggest a family medallion for each child to help the child relate to the new marriage in a positive way.

Since many of today’s brides and grooms both work, couples are pitching in together to make an apartment, condominium or house a home. They blend decorating ideas from their years alone into one creative environment. Cooking, cleaning, children or children-to-be demand their combined energy. Many find that “take out” food is an alternative to cooking as they settle in for some quality time. Wine glasses, lap trays, napkins, mats, napkin rings, fun dinnerware, flatware and stemware are appreciated, so suggest them.

For the do-it-yourself couples, gifts such as coffee, espresso and cappuccino machines, bread-making machines, blenders, mixers, kitchen gadgets or any small appliances make the perfect gift.

Favourite Gifts

The all-time favorite hobby of Americans today is gardening. With many “gardens” planted within the confines of a window sill, patio or balcony, your bridal registry should capitalize on the trend by displaying an array of garden-related items. There are water fountains, bird baths, statuary, bird feeders, planters, cachepots, vases in all shapes and sizes, tools, sundials, wind chimes, watering cans and herb kits with seeds and pots. They should be a part of today’s bridal registry suggestions.

Fiscal reasons for registries

The bridal market encompasses $35 billion, as measured by 159 products and services. Since the bridal market represents only 2.6 percent of all U.S. households, amazingly it accounts for 11.5 percent of small kitchen appliances, 10.4 percent of linens and domestics sold, and up to 75 percent of all fine china dinnerware sales. The bridal couple clearly represents a disproportionately high share of all total retail sales.

There is a reason: high acquisition rates in a short period of time, particularly when compared to established households. The bridal couple must acquire a wide array of products and services within a brief period of time. They have a deadline no other customer has — the wedding date. It’s during this period of compression that marketers must have an impact on these prospects with their messages.

Today’s couples have grown up during a period of the greatest prosperity and affluence in our nation’s history. In entering their lives, their aspirations and expectations have never been higher. Nor has their ability to fulfill them been greater. They belong to a generation of young women and men who are the most sophisticated, highly educated, economically capable consumers in history. Career-oriented, acquisition-conscious, confident of themselves, today’s newlywed couples are determined to begin their new lives together with the best of everything. Is your store prepared to meet their needs and expectations with your bridal registry?

DORIS NIXON, a registered bridal consultant, is director of educational services for the National Bridal Service, Richmond, Va., which provides advertising, training and merchandising services to more than 400 member stores. Mrs. Nixon is co-author of the books “Your Wedding and How to Enjoy It” and “Make Room for the Groom.” A leading retailer for many years, she is considered an authority on creative table settings. She will be happy to answer your questions.

Home sweet office

The great advantage to working at home is that you can put your personal stamp squarely onto your daily work routine. You don’t have to rush for the 7:02 train every morning (or even be awake at 7:02). You don’t have to wear a dry-cleaned suit every day, engage in petty turf battles or drink bad coffee.

home office

It means you can work uninterrupted for five hours and then take a lunch-time stroll with your dog or pick up your child from school. Yet, so often, people who work at home forget that their personal stamp also extends to the work environment they create. Few put the same thought and effort into their home office design that they put into organizing their day. To work at home means you can create your own comer office-a space that’s inspiring, efficient, yours. The key to a great home office is designing an environment that meshes with your work style and is a reflection of your tastes and your home-whether that’s French country, chock-a-block with collectibles, or chic, sleek and urban. So play Rachmaninoff (or rap) as loud you like. Hang a piniata from the ceiling if you want to. Create the space where you can work at your peak. After all, you’ll never be more in charge than you are now.

TWO ROOMS IN ONE

This home office was carved out of a high-tech, custom-designed family media room, The work space fits in neatly with the room’s overall design, using the same color scheme and artwork. At the same time, it is separated physically by a partition that is high enough to hide office clutter and low enough to avoid creating a feeling of claustrophobia.

family media room

Overhead lighting, task lights at the desk and sunlight from a window behind the desk area also divide the work space from the rest of the room, which has much more subdued and diffuse lighting.

A Wall of storage extends the length of the room on the right. At one end, it houses a copy machine, files and office supplies, and at the other, the family’s collection of audio/visual equipment. To prevent overheating of both electrical equipment and the room, a special air circulation duct built into the cabinets draws heat away toward windows and air-conditioning.

Architec: Nunziato Miuccio of Martin E. Rich Architects. Interior design: Bonnie B. Cohen. Desk accessories from The MoMA Design Store. Artwork on walls done by Tom Slaughter.

IS IT A TAX. DEDUCTION OR NOT?

Claiming a tax deduction for a home office has become so common that the IRS now has a form 8829) just for this purpose. An estimated 4 million taxpayers filled it out in April. The form and a publication to help you fill it out, Business Use of Your Home (587), clarify the requirements for claiming a home-office deduction:

Your home work space must be used exclusively and regularly as either your principal place of business or as your company’s second office, which you use to meet with clients, patients or customers in person (but not for record keeping or billing). A home office does not have to be a separate room in your house, just a separate area, such as an alcove.

  1. Exclusive use means that you cannot use the space for any purpose other than your business. (This does not apply if you run a daycare facility in your home, however, in which case regular use is the important issue.)
  2. If you are not self-employed, a home office is deductible only if its use is necessary for your employer’s convenience, not yours.

The new IRS form requires you to calculate the exact percentage of your home used for business (number of rooms or square footage) and base your rent or mortgage deduction as well as any other home-office deductions (utilities, insurance, repairs, etc.) on that percentage. You must list the full amounts spent on these items as well as the percentage that you are deducting. Be sure to keep careful records of all your expenditures. To order IRS Form 8829 or Business Use of Your Home, call 800-TAX-FORM.

ROOM WITH A VIEW

This home office is proof that a work space doesn’t have to look functional to be functiortal. Traditional wood paneling gives the room a country, house ambience. Antiques, rich pattern on chairs, wallpaper and curtains, and copious books lining the wall all add to the room’s warmth. The paneling and bookcases also insulate the room from noise-an important feature since doors at each end of the room open onto the front hallway and the kitchen. The antique refectory table-used as a desk-the wooden chairs and the area rug are all tag sale or flea market finds.

The tranquil view of the garden outside and personal touches like the birdhouses, family photos and flowering bulbs create a peaceful work environment. Late each afternoon this office becomes a study room in which the children of the household can do their homework.

Interior design: Lyn Peterson, Motif Designs. Fabric and wallpaper, from Recollections by Motif Designs

NOW FOR THE PRACTICALITIES

When setting up an office in your home, it’s easy to overlook some of the details, such as telephones, electricity and air-conditioning, that have usually been someone else’s responsibility. But now you have to be your own facilities manager. Don’t forget the following:

  1. TELEPHONES This is your business’s most basic and important equipment. Your professional credibility depends on clients being able to get through to you, or an answering or fax machine, when they need to. Yet failing to install enough phone lines is a common mistake. Order enough to support all your needs including a fax machine and modem. It’s less expensive to get three lines at one time than on three separate occasions. Also, if you request a business account from your phone carrier, it could cost you considerably more, but you are likely to get very prompt repair service when you need it, and you can list your number under your company’s name.
  2. ELECTRICAL POWER Take an inventory of all the equipment you plan to use, and make sure your circuits can carry the electrical load. A computer is likely to consume the largest amount of electricity. It’s often wise to devote a separate circuit to computer equipment. And think about getting an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) device, which will allow you to save items on disks if there’s a power outage. Determining which walls have properly grounded, three-pronged outlets will help you decide on furniture layout. Try to come up with a solution for keeping wires out of sight and under control, like drilling holes into a desk through which you can thread them.
  3. CLIMATE CONTROL Be sure the temperature and humidity of your work space can be maintained at moderate levels and that the ventilation is adequate-particularly if your office is in an attic, basement or garage. These precautions are for your comfort and well-being as well as the safety of your computer equipment, which will not function properly in extreme temperatures or high humidity.
  4. ZONING RESTRICTIONS Find out if it’s legal to work out of your home or if you need a special permit or license to do so. Zoning ordinances, landlords or co-op boards may restrict residential units to just that. Find out about any restrictions before you’ve spent time and money on renovations and advertising for your business.
  5. INSURANCE Contact your insurance broker to discuss any special insurance needs. While you may be able to extend your homeowner’s policy with an additional rider to cover your business equipment and protect you from personal liability, a basic small-business policy will provide much more extensive coverage and is probably worth the few hundred dollars a year it will cost you.

BEDROOM MAKEOVER

bedroom ideas

This home office was created by partitioning the master bedroom of an apartment with a floor-to-ceiling wall. The work space created is small (less than 50 sq. ft.), but a window cut into the wall above the desk lets in natural light from the bedroom windows and creates the illusion of more space. So do the all-white surfaces and a large wall mirror in the bedroom.

Every inch of the office serves a purpose. just behind the desk, which is made from a Large piece of chipboard set on tressles, is what used to be the bedroom closet (see close. up photo, left). it’s been converted, with shelving, into convenient storage for a fax machine and office supplies.

Shelves also line the wall be. side the desk for easy reach of the telephone, answering machine and reference books. A door in the wall to the bed. room and a separate one leading to the apartment’s hallway provide complete privacy and a quiet work space away from family activities.

Architect: Brian Burr File folders from Sam Flax, Shoe Box art files from Exposures. Recycled stationery and bed blanket from Terra Verde Trading Co.