Archive for เมษายน, 2011

How to Store Patio Umbrellas

Patio umbrellas create a small oasis of shade during sunny months. But when the sun hides and nasty weather invades, what will you do with an 8-foot-long umbrella?

Leaving it outside in the weather is not a good idea. Even a weatherproofed umbrella will wear out more quickly when exposed year-round to sun, wind, rain, or snow. If you wish to preserve the appearance and usefulness of your purchase, follow these steps for storing yours at the end of the season.

1. Cleaning Patio Umbrellas

End-of-season cleaning will be easier if you perform maintenance cleaning throughout the months you use your umbrella. Instead of allowing stains to set it, clean spills immediately. Wipe away dirt as soon as you notice it accumulating. Keeping up with cleaning will make your job easier when you prepare the umbrella for storage.

To clean your umbrella for storage, first hose it down. Next, use a rag and soapy water to remove all soils. Hose it down again to remove the soap. Allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step. Wipe all metal parts dry. Ensure that any wood parts have also dried completely. Otherwise, the dampness could foster mildew.

2. Folding and Covering Patio Umbrellas

When the umbrella has dried fully, fold it up. Check that parts are locked into place. Your umbrella may have come with fabric ties to hold the canopy in place during storage. If not, you could use lengths of rope or string to secure the canopy. Overlap one fold of the canopy over the next, all the way around; fasten the ties to hold the folds in place.

To protect it from dust and insects while in storage, you may cover your umbrella with a number of different materials. Some stores sell polyester or vinyl covers designed specifically for patio umbrellas. However, you could easily use a garbage bag, old bed sheet, blanket, or other item you already own. Cover or wrap the umbrella.

3. Storing Patio Umbrellas

After cleaning, folding, and covering it, place the umbrella in a sheltered area, such as a garage or shed. If you don’t have a garage or shed, store it in the best place to keep it out of the elements. Perhaps you could store it in your attic, the corner of your laundry room, or in the back of a coat closet. A location away from moisture and sunlight should preserve the umbrella longer.

You will want to avoid storing it on a shelf. Laying patio umbrellas down can lead to warping of the frame. Be sure to store yours upright to avoid this possibility. You could prop it against a wall, hang it from the ceiling, stick it in a can, or move your weighted base inside during the winter.

If you have invested in an umbrella, make it last. Keep it clean and store it dry whenever you’re not using it. Then it will be ready to use when the sun comes out again.

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By Laurence Mason

In moderation embarrassment is useful; it is what stops us (most of us) from running naked in the street or hitting some questionable dance moves. It is a learned response, but can sometimes be misplaced. Should you be embarrassed by normal dance moves, or being unexpectedly thrown into conversation, you might already be aware of it.

Are you doomed to crippling anxiety in social settings forever? Or lying awake at night stressing over why you simply can’t enjoy a night out? Read on…

Social embarrassment is a normal emotion which has become amplified. In social situations it can be nurtured into a endless cycle that’s difficult to break out of. Extreme self consciousness puts you into the circle, and the stress that follows cements you in, making you even more self conscious for the next social encounter.

To learn a different response to these situations is one way to tackle the problem. If you feel self conscious, it will help to try and direct a conversation towards the other person. Ask intuitive questions, not those which require a yes or no answer such as: “Do you enjoy pop music?” but instead: “Do you prefer James Blunt or Britney Spears?”

Conversation is surprisingly difficult, and because of the effort required to ask the right questions, you’ll feel very good about yourself when this happens. (and it will happen, trust me). What is certain is that when you begin to ask the correct questions you will simply know. Humans are adept at picking up subtle gestures and nuances. With practise the art of conversation will put you at ease and break the circle of social anxiety.

Always smile, and avoid using bad language wherever possible. Even if you force yourself at first, you can’t help feeling good about it after a while. It is also surprising how many people smile back. Those that do will perceive you as friendlier and more open. Dress as your best and, go to town on the accessories. Aftershave or perfume, make up (ladies mostly) and at least a clean face for men. Chew freshmint gum.

Practise a few starting points for conversation at home. And try to extrapolate a few responses which leave you open for variation. You won’t be able to cover every eventuality, but knowing that you are flexible removes the feeling of doubt that comes with conversation. Compliments go a long way; and even if they don’t, rest assured that the sort of people who won’t take compliments are probably not worth talking to anyway.

99% of confidence is acting. Nobody need every know your secret if you’re not trembling at the knees. Practise in front of a mirror with your charisma and gestures. The more you practise some new ideas, the more natural your behaviour will seem to come. Crucially, once you reach a certain stage your real confident self will shine through. And you really will have changed yourself as a person.

At the beginning it’s unlikely that very single chance encounter will be successful. Learn to see the positives in every situation. My art teacher at school would always say that there is no such thing as a bad painting. From each one you can learn and move on; improve for next time. Every social encounter will teach something new. Things that work, improve on and elaborate. Maybe tell some more sophisticated jokes. Visualise yourself with your friends laughing with you and having a great time. Try and re-live the moment where your worries melted away in the punchline of a joke.

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