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    The wonder of color making it work in your home

     

    Copyright 2006 Melissa Galt Color! It is often the first design element that a homeowner considers in the decorating scheme, and it is also the easiest and most cost effective way to make a dramatic change in any interior. It affects our moods, our look, our health, and even our success. We use colors to describe emotions and our state of mind ("feeling blue," "seeing red," "looking a bit green"). So read on to find out more about how to make the most of your favorite hues and get the scoop on their real meaning. All colors can run hot or cold depending on whether they have a yellow or blue base. Many of our associations with color are historically and culturally based. Not sure what you really like? Check out your closet. Chances are you tend to wear colors you enjoy, and they are also good options for your interior, possibly in different hues. The guidelines for selecting colors include using test boards or wall areas of at least two feet by three feet in two coats, dry. (You’ll need more if it is a dark color.) Not even the pros select from those one inch chips in paint decks! Check the color morning, noon, and night with lamp light and daylight for a true effect. Selecting the right finish is as important as the best color. Lighter colors are best in an eggshell finish, allowing easy maintenance but limited touching up. Darker, richer colors need a satin or semi-gloss finish to really bring out the depth and avoid chalking. Ceilings can be in a flat finish, but they do need to be tinted. White is out. A white ceiling won’t show off your architectural trim if the trim is white also. Consider a warm neutral ceiling color like bone or in children’s rooms and sunrooms a robin’s egg blue. Color is dramatically affected by light, and in fact the same color can look completely different on each wall in a room depending on the light and shadow at play. Most can learn their geographic room orientation without a compass. Just pay attention the where the sun rises and sets in relation to each room. Northern and Eastern light is much harsher, brighter and bluer, exaggerating blues, greens, and purple tones and balancing warmer shades, while Southern and Western light is richer, yellowier, and mellower and will literally make a room feel several degrees warmer without any true change in the thermostat. Homes are often oriented to have a kitchen facing east, to catch the morning light, while a dining room may have a Western Exposure that would feel hot in the afternoon but at night, when used most often, is quite comfortable. This is just the tip of the palette with millions of combinations possible. When looking for a starting point, try working with a rug, starting at the bottom of the room, or a piece of favorite artwork, starting at the top. This will effectively provide parameters to establish a scheme, certainly changeable later. Most of all have fun with color! Ever wonder why so many dining rooms are burgundy? Burgundy is a derivative of red which has been proven to stimulate your appetite and raise your heart rate. For the same reasons and more, many restaurants, especially Chinese, Italian, Mexican and fast food chains, know it can make you spend more money and lose track of time, all while eating more. On a diet? Don’t paint your kitchen red. Looking for a good’s night’s sleep? Keep red out of the bedroom; it doesn’t promote rest. Instead consider the purple family, from lavender to aubergine. Purple is known to slow the heart rate and encourage dreaming, certainly an advantage in a bedroom. On the other hand, it is also a teenage favorite for promoting daydreaming and creativity. If the kids aren’t studying enough or are sleeping excessively and have a lot of purple in sight, maybe a change is in order. Blue and green are the most universally accepted colors, because they are found in nature. Blue is one of the most challenging colors to select for an interior, but it can be used to great effect on ceilings, for a sky appearance, or even in indigo for a night time feeling. It promotes calmness and trust. Remember the expression "true blue"? Green is truly the new neutral, especially in moss, sage, and khaki. It gives the illusion of bringing the great outdoors indoors and is highly livable over long periods of time. It also complements every other color well and is said to generate a feeling of regrowth, renewal and rejuvenation. Green is also a great example of "it’s all in a name"! Many will remember the days of "avocado" and "harvest gold". We have been in a real resurgence of those colors the last five years--renamed "moss" and "moonglow" they are much more palatable. When you want to use a brown and you’re choosing between the colors "chocolate" and "mud", which one are you more likely to pick? Food monikers make it all delicious. Brown is in fact enjoying tremendous popularity in recent years. It’s more interesting than beige and is warm and reliable. (Yes, UPS did know what they were doing!) Brown is a wonderful accent to green, purple, orange and even pink. Mocha, espresso, latte and more are all showing up in homes as often as Starbucks. Yellow gives the illusion of sun and is a wonderful option for dark spaces, back hallways and any windowless room. It can get too bright if not balanced with a bit of black in the mix. Studies have shown babies to cry more in yellow rooms than rooms of any other color (full strength of course). Butter cream is always easy on the eyes, but often electric yellow will prove irritating over long periods of time, as much as we associate yellow with caution and slowing down in daily life. Yellow visually is also known to promote memory skills. Yes, legal pads are yellow for a reason! Orange is indicative of affordability and is said to make us laugh. It also is considered to encourage learning and can be used in classrooms. Peach is still passй, but orange is enjoying a resurgence as tangerine, coral, Hermes orange, Cimarron and paprika in conjunction with browns or pinks most often. Pink isn’t just for little girl’s rooms anymore, but can be found in bedrooms, baths and living rooms leaning toward inviting and romantic rose, quiet cameo blush, orange-tinged salmon and more. Pink is often considered a soothing color, once used regularly in beauty salons. Many can recall when baked goods came in pink boxes, stimulating our desire for sugar. Think of Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts! Need to give your interior a boost and you as well? Try pink light bulbs. They soften the glow subtly, and you may find yourself getting more complements on your appearance! Black, with its inherent associations with elegance and money, is often best in small doses. A gleaming black lacquer tray, a sleek black leather bench, perhaps a cozy black chenille throw, all can add that touch of drama to the right interior. A black dining table, with brass or nickel wheel accents, and upholstered chairs establishes an air of formality. White indicates independence and a free spiritedness. It is best used when an interior enjoys an exception quality of natural light, such as with desert or island living. Otherwise it tends to look like primer and like you just haven’t painted the color on yet! White doesn’t have to be boring, but it needs texture to make it work and a willingness to keep it clean. White can be beautiful, but grungy is not!

         
    There s so much fun with candle fundraising

     

    Candle fundraising can prove to be one of the most fun fundraisers that you can take on, depending on how you approach it. You can make the candles yourself for your candle fundraising or order them from an Internet company, but you will find that making them can be fun as well as profitable. They are easy to make and the candles project can be fun for everyone. Just keep in mind that you will have to use disposable materials for the cleanup as the gel is very hard to get out of things. Start your candle fundraising with gel votive candles. These candles look and smell good and have a long burning time. To make these candles for your candles fundraising you will need gel wax, pretty votive holders, wicks, wax color and scent, scissors, a pot, paper plates, and pencils. Twirl the top of the wick around the pencil. Make sure you have left enough wick to reach the bottom of your container and try to keep it as straight as possible. Put your pencil across the top of your holder so that the candle wick is centered properly. Melt the wax and add scents and coloring as needed and you have made a candle for your candle fundraising project. Working with a group at this can prove to be very entertaining and profitable way of candles fundraising. Of course there is another way to sell your candles besides door to door or at a sale. You can advertise them on Internet fundraising but to do this there are some rules to be followed. Fund raising on the Internet can be very profitable if done properly. Make sure your site doesn’t fade into the background and invisible to the public. You need to make it attractive for your candle fundraising. Make sure the candles you’re selling are featured. You are on Internet fundraising for donations so put the donor first. Always give the donor options for your candles fundraising and show the donor just how their money is being used. Have other activities added to your site that will make it interesting to those who are donating to your candle fundraising event. Make sure you keep your eye on the purpose you are there for don’t add other sales to your site it just confuses the donors. Candle fundraising should stay with candles. You can have assorted or different scented candles but don’t confuse it with other products. Having an easy way of paying for your product will help your candles fundraising. With easy payment options the donations will grow. Candle Fundraising can be lots of fun.

         
    They re fighting for you the aarp

     

    The American Association of Retired Persons, the AARP, is America's leading non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people aged 50 and older. It has over 35 million members, 40,000 of whom live outside the US. Members do not have to be retired; in fact, 40 percent of them work full or part time. Membership is open to anyone 50 or older, and with 25 percent of the American population in this age bracket, nearly half of all people in this group have memberships. The median age of AARP members is 65, and slightly more than half are female. In its mission statement, the organzition says that it is "dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service." The AARP provides information bulletins about news relevent to the older population, acts as a lobby group to advance their interests, promotes community involvement by its members, and offers its members a wide range of products and services such as health insurance. The AARP was founded in 1958 by retired high school principal Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. The AARP grew out of the National Retired Teachers Association, which Dr. Andrus had established in 1947 to promote her philosophy of productive aging and to offer health insurance to retired teachers. In that era, health insurance was virtually unavailable to older Americans, since few private insurers would accept these high-risk clients and the American government had not yet established Medicare, which was only enacted in 1965. This association of retired teachers grew to offer membership benefits to all retired citizens. It is now a world-wide organization with headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland and Washington, D. C., local offices in every state, and over 2,500 local chapters. AARP has 2 affiliated groups. One is the AARP Foundation, which is a charity that runs social programs to help people 50 and older, and also supports AARP Foundation Litigation, a national group focusing on legal issues affecting older Americans. The second is AARP Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of AARP which provides members with products and services such as medical, automobile, home and life insurance, discounts on prescriptions and prescription eyewear, and a travel discount program. Source of Funds AARP receives income from memberships, advertising revenue from its publications, royalty fees from companies providing AARP-endorsed products, and extra fees from member programs. Publications AARP members receive bimonthly the "AARP Magazine" and also the "AARP Bulletin" printed 11 times per year. AARP also publishes "Segunda Juventud", a quarterly Spanish-English newspaper targeting the Hispanic community. The AARP website also offers information on a wide range of topics. AARP also produces "Prime Time Radio", a weekly interview program focusing on the interests of mature people, and the daily "Mature Focus Radio" which has brief discussions on various topics. AARP's Public Policy Institute researches international issues affecting aging and uses the results of these studies to help draft public policy recommendations. The AARP as Lobby Group The AARP has been an effective force in causing the government to become more aware of the interests of the older population. They undertake litigation in cases of age discrimination, pensions, health care, economic security and consumer issues. AARP volunteers often appear before the US congress to testify about the effects of government policies on the elderly. At a local level, the AARP trains volunteers in how to deal with government officials. Though non-partisan, the AARP keeps its members informed on each party's stand on issues affecting older Americans. AARP representatives also participate in international conferences on aging.

         
    Things to check for pest control

     

    As far as possible, this article will focus on pest control tips that would help keep away as much pests as you can. Some of the advises given here will deal on specific pests but some may partly concentrate on the general guidelines. Food storage Disinfection of food items is required by the food authorities to limit the possibility of strayed insects thriving in goods like dog food, flour, and other grains. A good rule of thumb to prevent them from infecting your food in case they happened to be found on some is to completely seal them in air tight containers. This will not only lessen the exposure of food items but may also stop mice from contaminating them. Moisture It is a known fact that all living things need water to survive. This does not exclude rodents, spiders and all insects. For carpenter ants, they never live on extremely dry woods. They will look for materials that were currently damped or a site near to water pies where they may create their nests. Termites generally feed on hard dry wood but they need enough moisture and will most likely set their nests where sources of water are sufficient. Spiders feast on termites and other pests. Though they can practically wander and search for water as often as they want, they still have to live near the food source. And so they are most often sited near moist place where most insects thrive. With these, it is vital to inspect your home an fix it from any leaks. Repairs may be expensive but may prove worth the initial effort rather than expending on more thorough home repairs. Entry Points As already stressed out, inspecting your home is vital in pest control. It will not take big holes in order for pests to penetrate your home. Insects are rather small and they can easily gain entrance from tiny holes. Mice on the other are great escape artists and they would only require a quarter of an inch-sized hole to enter your house. Your house will have a host of entry holes and so you better check on them, inspect your cable lines, telephone lines, garage and especially the attic. Holes in these areas are often forgotten or taken for granted. This is now the best time to see them if you want to gain sufficient control over your notorious pests. Lightning and Screening Any house lights will attract insects and will commonly invite them into your own home. This in turn will lure spiders who will feed on them. Even though you have enough screening, chances are they may still penetrate your home. To get around with this problem, you may use yellow bulbs or any non-insect attracting lights and assure to it that your doors are always closed. All doors and windows and any large entry points must be provided with mesh screens. These should always be kept on their optimum state. If any holes are spotted, it is wise to repair them accordingly to prevent pests from entering your house. Aside from these things, other issues must also be addressed in the quickest possible time for two reasons. One is to prevent insects from entering your home and two to keep them from multiplying right inside your own territory.

         
    Things to consider when building a house

     

    It is everyone's dream to own their own home. For most people, purchasing a home is likely the biggest single investment they will make in their lifetime. With new housing starts at an all-time high, it may be time for you to consider getting into the market. If you are looking for a home that is different from every other house on your street, you should consider building your own house. There are a number of things to keep in mind when considering a new home. The first thing to look at is your financial status. Can you really afford your new house? Take some time and do a proper budget, and meet with a financial adviser. Your adviser will help you evaluate the maximum amount of money you can afford to spend each month. Be sure to allow for some flexibility, as there are likely unexpected expenses on the horizon. The next step is to properly identify the needs of your family. Make a list of your needs, and a secondary list of your wants. Once you have decided on the elements you want included in your new home, it is time to locate a good piece of property. Do you want to live in the city or in the country? In a newer neighborhood or an older, established one? Take your time and shop around. Don't feel pressured to buy right away. You will be much happier in the end, if you purchase a property that your family will love. Once you have secured a parcel of land, it is time to decide on a house plan. Most respectable building contractors will want to see a detailed plan. These plans can be prepared through an architectural firm, or they can be purchased through various building centers and websites. Your local government will likely require a copy of your house plans before they will provide you with the proper permits and authorizations. Upon receiving your building permit, you should hire a building inspector to ensure that your home complies with all of the laws and regulations in your region. Your building inspector can be a very valuable resource during the construction of your new home. Be sure to have proper insurance in place before you break ground. It would be an awful shame to have your project held up due to an injury on the job site. You might want to hire a construction manager, too. This way you will have somebody in place to oversee the project, and ensure that everything is done as it should be. After the surveying has been completed, you will be ready to begin excavating. At this time, your new home is officially under construction. Don't forget your hardhat.

         
    Thinking about dolls

     

    Imagination plays a big part of growing up. Children are fascinated by “acting out” what it would be like to be grown up. Toys play a vital part of this process. Almost anything can be a toy. From sticks and rocks to old socks, if it can be imagined, it can become a toy. I suppose dolls have been around since before written history. Traditionally a toy that girls have used for centuries, dolls have played a vital part in the growing-up process. From learning how to care for a baby to becoming a jet-setting executive, dolls have helped young ladies dream about the future. Just like the children who play with them, dolls come in all shapes, colors, ages and sizes. There are Barbie, Ken, Cabbage Patch, My Little Pony, American Girl and Bratz Dolls, just to name a few. They can be as simple as paper cut-out dolls and as complex, and expensive, as detailed porcelain dolls. For the boys out there, let’s not forget GI Joe and all those “action figures” (come on guys, admit it, they really are dolls, too!). As varied as the types of dolls, so are the materials that make them. Early dolls were made of wood and, later, paper-mache. The finest dolls had china heads and sometimes hands with wooden-jointed bodies. In the early days of the United States many dolls were made at home. Sew a few old rags together, and you have a new playmate. Of course, nowadays dolls are not just for kids. Doll collecting has become a very popular hobby among adults as well as children. There are many categories of collections. Some focus on the ubiquitous Barbie, especially early and now rare editions. Others choose antique dolls, or dolls specific to a period of time. Still other collectors focus on a single manufacturer, country or style of doll. If you do not desire to dig and research, there are many special or collector’s editions of dolls produced today. No discussion of dolls would be complete without a look at the growing hobby of dollhouses and miniatures. This has become a hobby unto itself. Once more, materials and types are as varied as the dolls they shelter. A dollhouse can be made by a child from a simple cardboard box. Dollhouses can also range to exact scale replicas of homes with exact scale furnishings, and even full lighting. Those with limited space may chose to do a “shadow box” that meticulously details one room of a house. It would not surprise me if somewhere some stickler for detail builds a dollhouse with full working plumbing! So, whether Barbie is jet setting all over the world, or GI Joe is saving the world, if you just want to “play” or construct an exact scale model of the White House, dolls and their accessories can take you wherever your imagination can go. They can make a rainy day go by faster, or allow an over-stressed adult a creative outlet. Anyway you look at it, dolls are cool.

         
    Thinking of adopting you can do it

     

    Each year, millions of North Americans consider adopting a child. Unfortunately, many rule out adoption due to lack of knowledge or fears of what they will encounter during the process. As a result, people’s dreams of having a family aren’t realized and children needing homes remain in orphanages or foster care. The good news is that there are many excellent resources available to help guide you on your journey including some that allow you to learn about adoption from experts in the privacy of your own home. Moreover, many of the things that prospective adoptive parents fear about the adoption process turn out to either not to be problems at all or can be addressed if you’re willing to keep your options open. Here are five common concerns and their answers: 1. “I would like a baby, but all our state adoption agency has are older children.” At first, it may seem impossible to adopt an infant or even a child under five. Private agencies, religious-related organizations, private adoptions, and foreign countries often offer infants and younger children. 2. “Local adoption agencies say I’m too old to adopt.” While it’s true that there are rules on age, they vary widely. The age restrictions of your state agency will likely vary from that of a private agency or that of foreign countries such as Russia, China, Korea, and Guatemala. Some look at the ages of both of the perspective parents, others only one. If you keep your options open there’s almost certainly a path for you to adopt. 3. “Will I be able to handle a special needs child?” The answer to this question largely depends on how much time, knowledge, and energy you have to devote to a child and how involved his or her challenges are. Usually you can get the knowledge you need to raise a child with special needs from your doctor, specialists with your local school district, and from online sites parents and professionals have created. Of course, the most important part is to know what you’re prepared to handle before you adopt, and work with your adoption professional to find the right match for you and your new child. 4. “How will a child fit into my family?” Adopted children blend into a family just like a biological child does. Once you get past the initial getting acquainted period, your adopted child will seem as naturally a part of your family as any child ever could. Plus, there are plenty of families with both adopted and biological children. 5. “How will an adopted child impact my life?” Virtually everyone says their child enriched their life far more than they ever imagined. There are very few “sure things” in life, but the joy and love an adopted child brings you are about as certain as anything can be. Most people have lots of reservations when they start thinking about adoption. Adopting an older child, a child with special needs, or a child of another race or nationality all bring their own questions and concerns. Let me assure you that this only normal – and you are not alone. However, do not let these fears keep you from exploring your dream of starting or growing your family. Adoption is one of life’s most wonderful endeavors. If you are thinking about adopting a child, please take time to get answers to your questions. There are a number of top sites, fellow parents, and accessible experts who are ready to help you.

         
    Threatened with homelessness

     

    THREATENED WITH EVICTION?? If you are threatened with or made homeless, call into the Housing and Money Advice Centre as soon as possible. You will be given advice on what your rights are and where to find help. You have a right to apply to the Council’s Homelessness team based at the Guildhall. Ask at the reception to speak to the person who deals with homelessness. If you are 16 or 17 years old and have been in social services care in the past the Leaving Care Team of Social Services will probably still have a responsibility to provide accommodation. If you are 16 or 17 years old and have never been in Social Services care, or you are 18, 19 or 20 and were in Social Services care before becoming 18 you will have a priority need for emergency Council housing. Speak to staff at the Housing & Money Advice Centre or apply to the Homeless Team at the Guildhall THE HOUSING & MONEY ADVICE CENTRE The Housing & Money Advice Centre provides a free and confidential service to the residents of Northampton on housing and debt issues. Types of help available at the Centre for those who are homeless or those threatened with homelessness are : - · Accommodation lists giving details of privately rented accommodation in and around the Northampton area. · Use of a telephone to contact landlords for accommodation. · Information and leaflets on most benefits. Staff are available to discuss your situation and offer advice on a range of issues such as: · Finding and keeping accommodation. · Renting in the private sector · Benefits and budgeting advice. Assistance is given with completing housing benefit and housing application forms. HOUSING ADVICE SERVICE Looking at your housing options and advising the best move in the short, medium and long term. Helping prevent homelessness by advising and supporting you, including attending Court and talking with other agencies. TENANCY RELATIONS SERVICE Provides advice and assistance to tenants in the private sector who are experiencing difficulties and aims to prevent illegal evictions and harassment by landlords. REMEMBER: IF THE LANDLORD ASKS YOU TO LEAVE OR GIVES A NOTICE OR LETTER SAYING YOU MUST LEAVE, GET ADVICE STRAIGHT AWAY. DEBT COUNSELLING SERVICE Offers advice and assistance on money and debt issues relevant to you and your home. These include: Rent – mortgage – council tax – hire purchase – electricity – gas – water – banks – catalogues – credit cards – finance – loans – bailiffs – court fines – county court judgements – repossessions. HOUSING OPTIONS Once you have found temporary accommodation, you will need to consider your future housing option. You may consider LODGINGS This is where you live in someone’s house and pay them an inclusive amount for accommodation and some meals or where you live in a hotel or guest house. Remember housing benefit does not cover meals or other services SHARED HOUSE / FLAT This type of accommodation is available to let from private landlords. You could get together with one or more friends and rent a house together sharing the living room kitchen and bathroom. It can be difficult sharing with people you do not know, so make sure you feel comfortable with the other occupants before you agree to share. The rents can be high as landlords can ask a ‘market rent’ and lettings are often on short term. Never sign an agreement without seeking advice first. If you are going to claim housing benefit remember it may be restricted if you are paying above the market rent. Staff at Housing and Money Advice Centres can help you decide whether you can afford this type of accommodation and whether or not a particular bed-sit offers you value for money. LIVE IN ACCOMMODATION Some types of employment offer accommodation, such as hotel work, if you are a student, the college may have accommodation COUNCIL HOUSING Anyone over 16 can apply to be housed by the council. Application forms are available from all Borough Council housing officespleted forms can be returned to any office Once you have made an application don’t forget to notify the Council of any changes in your circumstances, especially if you change address. Contact Northampton Borough Council on 01604 837890 or the Housing and Money Advice Centre for information and advice on the housing register. HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS (REGISTERED SOCIAL LANDLORDS) These are organisations which own and rent flats, houses and bungalows. Some specialise in housing for young single people. A list of local Housing Associations is available from the Housing and Money Advice Centre. Most vacancies with Housing Associations are given to people on the Council’s waiting list. WHERE TO LOOK AND WHAT TO CHECK OUT · Talk to friends · Look in the local papers and shop windows for property to rent ads. · Northampton Borough Council has a waiting list, try to register on this. The accommodation may be cheaper than private rented but you will probably have to wait some time for council accommodation. This also applies to Housing Associations. · If you are a student, contact your Welfare or Accommodation Officer or approach your student union representative · The Housing & Money Advice Centre has accommodation lists. Landlords advertise there because it costs them nothing and landlords love free property advertising If you are offered somewhere to live, don’t be afraid to ask the landlord a lot of questions, especially before signing an agreement – try and have a really good look at the place. REMEMBER - private landlords nearly always require rent in advance and a damage deposit Questions you should ask the landlord · You should ask for a written contract and seek advice before you sign it · Who pays the electric and water rates? · Does the landlord live on the premises? This will affect your rights · Who is your landlord and whereas does he/she live? Landlords are required to by law to provide you with this information · Is there an inventory? If not make your own and give a copy to the landlord. List everything in the rooms and what condition it is in. The inventory should be signed by you and the landlord. · Find out exactly what the rent is, what you have to pay and what it is for. · Ask for a rent book and receipts for any money you pay to the landlord or agent. If your rent is due weekly, the landlord should by law provide you with a rent book. · Ask to see the Gas Safety certificates for any gas appliances i. e. gas fire, heating Contact the Housing and Money Advice Centre if you have a problem with this NEVER SIGN A TENANCY AGREEMENT UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. IF IN DOUBT GET PROPER ADVICE PROVISIONS FOR THE UNDER 18’S COMMUNITY SUPPORT TEAM The Community Support Team is part of the Resources Team. They offer a service to young people between the ages of 16 and 17 They are based at 196 Kettering Road. They assist in finding accommodation and give advice on many aspects of young peoples lives i. e. health, education, emotional and behavioural development, identity, family and social relationships, self – care skills or are able to signpost to other agencies For an appointment contact 01604 620343 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 4.30 pm MONEY MATTERS If you unemployed, are sick or on a low income you may be entitled to claim benefits. These could include Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit etc If money is tight you may benefit from budgeting advice from a debt counsellor at the Housing & Money Advice Centre. Most benefits are paid weekly or fortnightly in arrears and in some circumstances a Crisis Loan can be considered if you have no means to support yourself until your first benefit payment is due. This is discretionary interest free payment that will have to be repaid via deductions from your benefit A Budgeting Loan can be considered when Income Support and Income Based Jobseekers Allowance have been in payment for 26 weeks. Budgeting Loans can be allowed for household items and rent in advance. Like a Crisis Loan, a Budgeting Loan is a discretionary interest free payment that will have to be repaid via deductions from your benefit To enquire about benefits and for advice on how to make a claim contact the Job Centre at the following address: Jobcentre plus Frances House 21 Lower Mounts Northampton NN1 3LY Telephone 01604 446100 Benefit Enquiry Line 0845 6004258 Social Fund Line 01900 221379 EMPLOYMENT It is difficult to find work if your are homeless. Casual work may be easier to find but look for permanent rather than temporary work Most employers expect new employees to work at least a week before paying any wages and you might not always find work that will pay enough to cover the rent. You may still be entitled to other benefits – Housing & Money Advice staff can advise you of this. Jobcentres also provide information, advice and various leaflets which you may find helpful in your search for employment HOUSING BENEFIT Many people not working or on a low income can claim help with their rent and should apply to: Northampton Borough Council Benefit Services The Guildhall Northampton NN1 1DE Telephone 01604 837700 Application forms are available from the address above. If you claim Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance you should complete the enclosed housing benefit (NHB1) and council tax benefit forms and hand them to the DWP. However, you will still need to complete the Council’s Housing Benefit Form. PLEASE NOTE You should complete a Pre – Tenancy Determination before you sign a tenancy agreement with a private landlord. This will tell you if Housing Benefit will cover all the rent the landlord is charging before you commit yourself and move in. Forms are available from Benefit Services and the Housing & Money Advice Centre. Housing Benefit does not cover any charges included in the rent for food, heating, hot water, lighting or cooking. You must pay these from your other income / benefit. When you move into your new accommodation complete a housing benefit form immediately and return it to the Housing Benefit Section. Do not worry if you cannot supply all the proof and information required on the format once – you can send it in later if you delay returning the form you may lose benefit, and get into rent arrears. SINGLE CLAIMANTS UNDER 25 Most single people under 25 who live on their own in self contained privately rented accommodation will not be able to get the full amount of rent paid by Housing Benefit The Benefit will be based on the lower end of a single room rate assessed by the Rent Officer Service. This is a market based valuation for a single room with shared toilet and kitchen facilities and this will be the maximum amount of rent that can be used in calculating new claims PAYMENT OF HOUSING BENEFIT IN ARREARS All new claims and changes of address claims for privately rented and Housing Association properties now have their Housing Benefit paid in arrears PRIVATE RENTING Landlords who let any sort of property usually take a DEPOSIT from the tenants. This is kept to cover any costs the landlords may have if the tenant has caused any damage to the to the furniture or fittings. There are no benefits available to help you pay a landlord any deposit money, try to negotiate. Sometimes it is worth, if possible, paying the deposit in instalments. Even if a landlord does not expect a deposit the chances are he / she will want RENT IN ADVANCE. The amount can vary, and again do not be afraid to negotiate . If you are in need of rent in advance because you have nowhere to live you can apply to the DWP for a loan. The Housing & Money Advice Centre may also be able to assist. ADVICE & HELP It is important to remember you are never alone. There are many sorts of advice available in Northampton. The Library or phone book are good places to find out what is available locally. The following are just a few places where you can get help and advice. SHELTERLINE 8.00 am – 12 midnight telephone 0808 800 444 CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU 72A St Giles Street Northampton tel 0870 120 2433 SAMARITANS 2 St. Michaels Avenue Northampton tel 01604 637637 ( Available 24 hours ) THE LOWDOWN ( Advice & Counselling 16 – 25 year olds ) 3 Kingswell Street Northampton tel 01604 622223 NORTHAMPTON BOROUGH COUNCIL The Guildhall St Giles Square Northampton tel 01604 837837 RELATE Hazelwood Road Northampton tel 01604634400 WELFARE RIGHTS ADVICE SERVICE 3 / 7 Hazelwood Road Northampton tel 01604636112 THE JESUS CENTRE 2 Lower Mounts Northampton tel 0871 8712121 NORTHAMPTON GAY & LESBIAN ADVICE CENTRE tel 01604 528986 LONE PARENT HELPLINE tel 0800 018 5026 SUNFLOWER CENTRE tel 01604 233684 NATION DEBTLINE tel 0808 8084000 NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL TEL 01604236236

         
    Three fun birthday party ideas at no or very little cost

     

    : When you get into planning a birthday party, ideas pop into your head and the most common thought is one that will be cost effective and fun at the same time. Birthday party supplies can cost more than the actual gifts but not if you look around and see what you can get for your money. The most common thing that people want to do now is throw a birthday party with a theme. Birthday party themes come in all shapes and sizes, from sports to theater to Barbie and super heroes for children’s parties. The following birthday party ideas are meant to be cost effective for the party thrower and fun for the party goers.

    Instead of buying supplies, try making your own decorations and cake. If you have a computer, you can use one of your programs to make your own “Happy Birthday” banner. This will save on buying a banner or special ordering a banner so that the name will be included. Other decorations can be made from paper plates that have been drawn on and colored, as well as using blank white or colored paper that has been drawn on and colored as well.

    These homemade decorations can be hung up with cheap cloth string that can be bought at the dollar store or can be hung up with fishing line. As far as the cake goes, you can buy a nice brand of cake mix, some frosting and sprinkles, then bake and decorate the cake yourself. This won’t only be fun for you; this will also mean more to the person whose birthday it is. The second birthday party ideas should be to make your own theme. If it is a child, find out what their favorite sport is or their favorite color. A university student once chose to have a “Rubik’s Cube” theme party. With this theme, he called everyone who would be coming to the party and asked them to wear an outfit where each piece of clothing was a color from the Rubik’s cube. The object of the night was not only to celebrate his birthday but also to see if everyone could end up in an outfit of entirely one color of the Rubik’s cube by exchanging clothing. His made up theme for his party ended up being a huge hit for not only himself but also for all of his friends that came to celebrate his birthday. Finally, when making decorations or creating your own theme is out of the question due to time constraints, your local dollar store will have everything you need. Different color streamers, ribbons, and balloons can be bought for less than ten dollars. Though these decorations will only last for one party, they will be cheap and fun for all.

         
    Three ways to save fuel and energy with magnets

     

    Copyright 2006 Dr Phil Hariram The theory behind using a powerful magnetic field to improve fuel burn in combustion engines is nothing new. Magnetic fields were use to improve the combustion of fuel as early as 1940s. The US air force used magnets on their Mustang aircraft and produced greater range and performance from poor quality fuel. In 1952, Felix Bloch and Edward Mills Purcell were jointly awarded a Nobel Prize for their work on magnetic fields on solid, liquid and gas substances. There are three ways magnets save energy and fuel. Attach a magnet to the fuel lead pipe of your burner. The magnet conditions the fuel allowing greater combustion. This happens immediately. You produce more heat for the same amount of fuel and harmful emission is cut. I have Calorgas (Liquid Petroleum Gas) central heating. Since attaching a magnet, my direct debit has been cut by 110%. If your boiler is old and inefficient, instead of buying a new boiler, try a magnet first. In addition the cleaner burn means that the boiler will need less servicing and lasts longer. If your boiler is already efficient, then the benefit will be less. You cannot create energy during a chemical reaction. Magnets, however, allow as close to 100% combustion. Instead of buying an expensive new boiler, attach a magnet. Attach a magnet to the fuel feed of your car and your save fuel, energy and reduce emission. The magnet improves combustion. This produces better miles per gallon, more power and a smoother running engine. In 1992, The Warren Springs Laboratories, the UK Government DTI's own vehicle testing department, were commissioned to carry out extensive trials on the benefits of magnetic fuel on motor vehicles and were very surprised by the results. Their 16-page in-depth report confirmed increased power, improved fuel economy and a reduction in harmful emissions. If your car is old with poor emission levels, the magnet will slowly clean the engine. So initially the emission will be higher than expected but eventually the level will drop significantly. A friend of mine tows a caravan with his Peugeot 2L HDi Partner Quicksilver. Since attaching a magnet his mpg has jumped up a further 10 mpg. Normally you would expect about 10% improvement. Magnets stop and reduce lime scale. Lime scale forms because the solubility of calcium carbonate decreases with increased temperature. As calcium carbonate separates out, lime scale is formed. Lime scale affects heat transfer. A layer of calcium carbonate 25mm. thick can decrease heat transfer by 95% and a 0.5mm layer of silica causes a decrease of 90%. In addition if lime scale collects on the heating element in your hot water tank, the element will not last long. Lime scale causes problems in washing machines. If a magnet is attached at an angle perpendicular to the flow of water, it stops the lime scale deposits and breaks down the deposited lime scale. No one knows exactly why this happens but the magnet keeps calcium and magnesium in solution and stops them separating out and producing lime scale. It also lowers surface tension and stabilises pH. The magnetised water will protect your washing machine but will not stop lime scales in your kettle. This is because the magnetic effect is neutralised when the kettle is boiled. So there you have it. With fuel prices going upwards at regular intervals, attach a magnet to your boiler, your water system and your car and save energy, save fuel, save money, reduce emission and prolong the life of your boiler and car. With global warming a major current issue, it is up to all of us to do our bit. In Germany, if your boiler emission level is too high, your pay a fine. One day it will come to Britain and USA. If you have emission problem, a magnet will quickly solve it. The right magnet will keep its magnetic properties for 100 years and you take it with you when you move home or change cars. It needs no maintenance. You just simply forget about it.

         
    Thrift store shopping tips

     

    If you are tired of seeing the same old clothing styles at mall department stores and boutiques, it may be time to add a little spice to your wardrobe. Rather than looking just like everyone else, thrift stores offer access to unique items not found anywhere else - at least not in the last twenty or so years! Not only are thrift store clothes relatively inexpensive, but they can also be ultra hip. If you approach it the right way, you may be able to create your very own personal style by mixing the old and the new. When you first decide to embark on a thrift store shopping spree, there are a few things to remember. Firstly, a lot of thrift stores only take cash, so if you are used to grabbing Daddy’s credit card and going to town, you’ll have to make other arrangements. Some stores do take checks, so you might want to have your checkbook handy. Secondly, a lot of thrift stores do not have dressing rooms, so you’ll probably want to wear a light t-shirt so you can try on your finds right where you find them. And most importantly, you are probably not going to find anything that fits you absolutely perfectly. You can’t go in looking for “your size.” You will have to try on what looks promising and see if you can alter it in any way if needed. Believe it or not, thrift stores in the hippest parts of town generally have the least hip clothes. This is because there are hundreds of people just like you who are picking through their stock of wearable items every day. If you want to find authentic vintage clothing at inexpensive prices, you’ll have to drive to the most uncool parts of town. This could mean the suburbs, and it could mean farmland, depending on where you are located. You will find, however, that it is well worth the drive, and that your treasure is definitely another woman’s trash. Shirts are typically the easiest items to find at thrift stores, because they allow more flexibility in the fitting department. You can find some excellent western shirts in rural areas, and there are always witty t-shirts on the little boy’s racks. If you are looking for a good pair of jeans, however, you might want to check the men’s section. Thrift stores typically stock a plethora of pleated-front tapered-leg acid-washed jeans in the ladies section, so you will rarely find anything cool on those racks. However, the men’s section can be filled with surprisingly girlish slacks in interesting colors and textures. There have also been known to be great pairs of vintage Levi’s hanging in the men’s racks. If vintage dresses are your think, you will have a field-day going through the strange fashions of yesteryear that you will find in any thrift store. Once you make your way past the obnoxious flowery Sunday dresses and the strange lime green pleated skirts, you may find one or two keepers. Don’t give up until you looked at the last one, because chances are there will be a diamond in the rough there just waiting for a little nip and tuck from your sewing machine. Thrift stores are also an excellent place to find work clothes for a job interview or a new office job. If you’d rather save your money for more fun items, you can always replenish your work wardrobe with some inexpensive black skirts and dress shirts from the local Salvation Army or Goodwill. Work people will never know that your new suit only cost you five bucks. They’ll just be happy that you’re not wearing your favorite club get-up to the important meeting again.

         
    Throughout the ages a celebration of moms

     

    The average consumer in America is planning to spend nearly $100 for Mother's Day, most likely to shower his or her mom with gifts, flowers and candy. Mothers have been honored in this way throughout history. During the 1600s, for instance, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday." Traditionally, it was a day when children who worked as servants were given a day off to visit home. They would bring special cakes to their mothers, who then would give blessings to their children. The custom was called "going a-mothering." Today, many countries around the world -- including Mexico, China, Turkey, Finland and Russia, to name a few -- have special celebrations to honor mothers. Here are some facts you may not know about Mother's Day here in America. In the early 1850s, Anna Reese Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker who never married, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community. She believed this cause would be best advocated by mothers and called the event "Mothers' Work Day." In 1905, after Jarvis' death, her daughter, also named Anna, began a campaign to memorialize her mother's work. She lobbied prominent businessmen and politicians, including Presidents William Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, to support her campaign to create a special day to honor mothers. She hoped Mother's Day would increase respect for parents and strengthen family bonds. The first Mother's Day observances were in church services honoring the elder Jarvis in Grafton, W. Va., and Philadelphia on May 10, 1908. By 1911, every state held its own Mother's Day observance. Then, on May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother's Day as a national holiday. As Mother's Day became more commercialized, however, Jarvis became upset, and even was arrested for disturbing the peace at a convention for a war mother's group. Before her death in 1948, Jarvis is said to have confessed that she regretted ever starting the Mother's Day tradition. Most Americans are glad she did, however, and they have been thinking of creative and fun ways to honor their mothers ever since. Whitman's Chocolates, founded in Philadelphia in 1842, became one of the first confectioners to provide Mother's Day assortments. Its stores were crowded each year with people looking for just the right Mother's Day assortment. Many chose its famous Whitman's Sampler of fine chocolates. Today, the Whitman's Sampler remains one of the most popular gifts given on Mother's Day, with one sold every 1.5 seconds in the United States. - NU

         
    Tiffany celebrates 150 years of stylish jewellery

     

    Copyright 2006 Tatstar You’ve seen the images of Audrey Hepburn in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, epitomising diamond allure and American chic. Well, Tiffany’s stylish jewellery has stood the test of changing times and this year celebrates 150 years of its journey through jewellery design and craftsmanship with a special exhibition at Somerset House. From the early 1830s, Tiffany’s had a humble existence as a souvenir and fancy goods store. In one its first catalogues, the range of French jewellery was tucked behind a host of goods; fine stationery, French perfumes and French sugar plums. Right from the very start, Tiffany’s creator, Charles Lewis Tiffany was an innovator not just in jewellery design but the way it was sold and made sure that there was something for everyone, whether it was a parasol for $10 or a diamond brooch for $1000. Tiffanys started off keeping it simple; silver jewellery in understated styles. By the 1830s, European designs had become hugely fashionable with a richness and diversity of jewellery styles that lasted throughout the nineteenth century. People started to travel more, there were international exhibitions and crafts of other countries were being recognised. Tiffany kept up with the trends particularly with the discoveries of precious materials throughout the century and consistently kept to designing silver jewellery. In 1840, Tiffanys popularity escalated. Tiffany profited from the revolutionary turmoil in France when diamonds and jewellery were being sold at very good prices. By the nineteenth century, the emerging middle classes and the commercial elite wanted to enhance their status by owning possessions and looked to the aristocrats and royalty for inspiration. Tiffanys had a distinct American style but looked to Europe and the courts of Europe for patriotic items of jewellery like silver spurs with matching stirrups. Womens fashion further influenced jewellery designs. In the 1850s, jewellery became bold and brassy and towards the end of the nineteenth century when the corset and lighter dress fabrics evolved, there were more lighter jewellery designs; diamond jewellery mounted in platinum with a move away from silver and gold. After the first world war and the art deco period, women were no longer seen to follow rigid social code and conventions; they wore shorter skirts, applied makeup in public and smoked so jewels were schematic colour combinations. For Tiffany the history of success has repeated itself. Tiffany of acclaimed international fame has never failed to stun the world with its great international exhibitions of innovative jewellery. The Tiffany brand has combined the aesthetic of European fashion with an original and distinctly American chic. Even though diamonds have been the heart of the Tiffany, one of the exhibition highlights is the exquisite diamond and pearl designs of the 1870s. At this exhibition, ugly designs sit alongside beautiful ones, making this one of the greatest displays of wealth ever created.

         
    Time to think about clocks

     

    Who does not have a few clocks in his or her home? Everyone needs them and we all use them each and every day of our lives. There are many different kinds of and most of us own several. There are many different clocks, wall, grandfather, the ever popular alarm and, of course, my personal favorite Coldplay. Clocks are simply a part of our lives the whole world round, there is even a world clock and an atomic clock. We just cannot escape these infernal, yet useful machines. The history of clocks goes far back into the past of humans. The sun dial was an early form, it was a rather rudimentary design but it was accurate and it worked for people back then. Now of course we are even busier and we need to be more precise about everything that we do. We are always rushing off to somewhere and without clocks we would not be able to get there in time. In fact it seems as though time runs our lives these days. Wall clocks are a great addition to any room in your home. They are attractive and they do not take up any floor space. Most of us are lacking in the floor space that grandfather clocks need so we make do with wall clocks. Wall clocks are also nice because they are easy to make room for. They come in all different shapes and sizes, which make them perfect for squeezing in on even a busy and full wall. Wall clocks look great in any home with any dйcor. There are all kinds that are plain enough to match anywhere in any room. These are the most popular of all and thankfully the least expensive as well. You can find some pretty exciting looking clocks as well. If you like to make a statement then you will want to choose ones that are a little different from the everyday. This means looking to clocks that are perhaps bright and colorful or even large and full of fantastic art forms. Strange and unusual shaped ones are a big hit as well and your home could definitely benefit from these. Grandfather clocks are something that many people have had passed down to them from past generations in their family. Other people go searching for them. These are some of the most fantastic and glorious clocks in the whole world. They are generally large, though how large may differ from one examplt to the next. Some of the best grandfather clocks are the older generation. These can be found in antique stores or online auctions and they are generally very expensive. In fact, all of them tend to be quite expensive but they are always well worth the money that you spend on them. They make wonderful heirlooms for you to pass down in your own family. This is a clock that your great grandchildren will feel honored to receive down the line.

         
    Tipping for the holidays who to gift and how much

     

    The holidays are the time of year to share your love and appreciation to the most important people in your life. For many, that includes those people who provide support and services throughout the year. From your favorite babysitter, housekeeper or the hair stylist who always gets your cut just the way you like it, a tip - enclosed in an envelope with a handwritten note - is sure to be appreciated. But how do you know how much to tip? Holiday tips will vary according to your means, the city in which you live and the type of relationship that you have with the person being tipped. That being said, here are some general guidelines for a few of the outstanding individuals who might be on your list: * Newspaper person: $15-$25 for daily, $5-$15 for weekend * Doorman: $25-$100 * Building Custodian: $20-$30 * Building Superintendent: $30-$100 depending on building * Housekeeper: A week's pay or more * Babysitter: Two nights pay, or a small gift * Hair stylist: The cost of a session, plus a small gift * Personal Trainer: $50 * Parking Attendants: A half-month's garage rate divided among attendants; or $10-$20 per person If giving cash doesn't feel quite right, is too formal, or policy prohibits it, why not give a small gift? Of course, the challenge of finding a gift for someone you might just know professionally or see only occasionally is you might not know what one item they would appreciate most. Gift certificates are a versatile and personal way to show your thanks. And while the USPS does have a policy against monetary gifts to postal carriers, nobody said that you can't put a gift certificate in the mailbox. But how do you decide from which store to buy their certificate? Imagine giving a gift certificate where your recipient can choose the store! GiftCertificates offers a SuperCertificate® that lets the person receiving your gift pick from over 200 top stores, restaurants, spas, jewelers and more. It's the gift that's always appreciated because it also gives the gift of choice. Other people who might enjoy a SuperCertificate® include: * Teachers * School Crossing Guard * Mail carrier (USPS Policy: "Cash equivalent can't exceed $20") * Co-workers * Your Administrative Assistant By giving the gift of choice, you can make the holidays shine bright for someone special with your goodwill. Those who work so hard all year to make you smile are sure to appreciate and remember your generosity.

         
     
         
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