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Drawing takes a lot of time, but it teaches you to be aware of form, proportion, and even color. This is especially true when it comes to pencil sketching – in fact, it’s the first skill you develop when you’re learning.

Here are five tips you can use to improve your sketches:

  1. Hold the pencil properly

Even if you have the best pencils in the world, they’re useless if you don’t know how to hold them correctly.

There are two basic grips for holding your pencil:

  • Tripod – Grip the pencil the same way you would when writing: using your thumb, index, and middle finger. This is useful for detailing small parts of a bigger sketch, and is best used for a smaller sized sketchbook.
  • Overhand – Pick up the pencil using your thumb and all four fingers. All four fingers should be gripping one side while the thumb grips the opposite, and this lets you use the side of the lead instead of just the tip.
  • Mix up shading techniques

Whether you use cross-hatching or patches for your shadows, you can add depth and texture by mixing them up and keep your subject in perspective. This technique is particularly great for backgrounds, but it works on still life and portraits as well.

  • Know when to finish your sketch

You can always overdo your sketches by tinkering with them even after signing your name on them, especially if you look hard enough. This can result with you obsessing to the point where you make too many changes and your original sketch will be significantly changed.

  • Lines aren’t always lines

You’ll almost never see actual lines in the real world in the same way you do in art. In fact, you only see the illusion of them since light contrasts with shadows all the time, creating what looks like lines.

Instead of using lines, your sketches will improve better when you emphasize on adding shading to your subject and background. Keep your light source in mind when doing this.

  • Draw from real life

The best way for you to improve your sketching is to find real-life sources, whether it’s objects, people, or even buildings. You should also allow your hand to wander off and make the occasional mistake – even stray lines can sometimes lead to amazing sketches.

This also includes taking your sketchbook with you and drawing where you can. After all, there’s no better reference like the outside world.

At the end of the day, sketching is something to savor. Whether it’s a quick sketch or a long one, the most important thing is that enjoy what you do while learning along the way.

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  • Maintaining your home’s electrical circuit shouldn’t be too difficult if you know what you’re doing, have the proper tools to fix them, and if you do so with caution.

    Aside from switching off your main circuit panel and every switch at home, approaching your electricals with caution includes wearing rubber gloves and having the right equipment to do so.

    Common Problems You Can Solve

    You can probably solve these electrical problems on your own without the need for a professional service:

    • Flickering lights – This is the result of frayed wiring that results in shorts if the wires are moved. While it’s not a code violation in itself, it can be a hazard that could lead to all kinds of electrical problems later on.
    • Faulty power outlets – This can indicate an exposed wire or a broken circuit in the power outlet, which means that you may have to replace them with new power outlets. Worn out and dead outlets also need to be replaced with new ones.
    • Blown-out light bulbs – While easy enough to replace, you can avoid blown-out light bulbs by making sure they fit well and don’t go over your socket’s wattage limit.

    Problems You Should Leave to a Professional

    While there are problems that you can solve on your own, there are also problems that you should best leave to a professional to do it safely, such as the following:

    • Frequent tripping – If your circuit breaker trips, you don’t actually have to worry since this only means that your home is protected against a sudden overload. However, if this happens frequently, you should call an electrician to fix it.

    The good news is that today, you don’t always have to call an electrician to replace blown fuses since modern circuit breakers can be switched on or off after tripping.

    • Having too many wires – This not only comes off as an inconvenience, but can also be a huge electrical disaster waiting to happen, especially if you have a lot of extension wires as a result of not having enough power outlets.
    • Your home is really old – Old wiring and plug sockets found in homes that are more than twenty-five years old are no longer serviceable and need to be replaced with newer electrical wires and sockets.

    There are also other problems, such as ground faults and electrical surges, which could easily result in a fire hazard for your home, and you can avoid this by having your wires and circuit panels updated to be updated with modern standards.

    Installation should also be best left to a professional electrician to make sure that everything works properly.

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  • When you are finally ready to reward yourself with something designer, like a designer purse, you would want to know that it is the real deal. Unfortunately, counterfeit bags are everywhere and does look a lot like the original ones at first glance. The good news is that there are things you can do to ensure you are not paying for a rip off.

    Get Acquainted with the Authentic

    A tried and tested way to spot a rip off is to know and familiarize how the real one looks (and feels) like. Take a close look at the genuine ones at the department store and notice the placement of the logo, the hardware, material, stitching and other details. Original designers bags are neatly stitched and have clean stamp of their name and logo. If the stitching is far from the logo or the stamping looks like it was pressed, you’re probably facing a fake product.

    Inspect Before You Buy

    It is all in the details. As mentioned, take a look at the stitching and the quality of material. Make sure that the monograms, logos and insignias are properly aligned. Take a very close look at the label. Many expensive handbags have serial numbers stitched, stamped or embossed in them. Keep in mind that when you buy an authentic designer bag, documentation is included, like certification of authenticity and even lifetime warranty.

    Deal with Reputable Retail Shops

    Authentic, brand new designer bags are never sold on street stands and flea markets. Check out the brand’s website to find useful information and to know where exactly these goods can be purchased. The price is a tell-tale sign as well—you just can’t get an authentic designer goody for pennies.

    Why you should steer clear from fake products?

    Fake designer handbags are cheap, which makes them very tempting to buy, but there are several reasons why you shouldn’t fall into the trap of counterfeit products.

    • Poor Quality – Counterfeit handbags look tacky and cheap. The leather looks low-class. The dyes, hardware and stitching look shoddy. The product’s construction just looks poorly made and won’t likely last long. If you cannot afford a designer bag right now, get yourself an authentic local brand one. Authentic local brands are far durable than fake designers.
    • Copyright Infringement – Fake brands infringe on the designer’s copyright in terms of trademark and design.
    • Child Labor – Many rip offs are produced and made by minors in illegally operated factories. Organized crime and illegal enterprises are usually the ones behind the production and distribution of these products.

    Designer brands are known for their unique designs and superior quality. You simply cannot find the same level of authenticity and beauty of a designer handbag from counterfeit products.

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  • You meet with your financial adviser, got a mortgage and bought your very first investment—your own house. The next thing is making it look and feel the way you want it. Whether you need it to be overhauled or just to be redecorated, there is a lot more to designing a property than you might think. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of new kitchen countertop and sleek lighting fixtures, but it’s important to be smart at making decisions for your home improvement to avoid wasting precious time and money.

    1. Doing Things Yourself

    Watching a few YouTube tutorials on rewiring home electrical lines does not make you an electrician; the same thing should apply on general contractor jobs. Accepting a cheap bid can mean working with unlicensed contractor who aren’t able to obtain proper building permit. Plus, you aren’t covered for the cost of damage or further repair if the work is botched or does not meet the building code.

    • Going for Trendy Designs

    That open shelving and farmhouse sink might look great now, but are you sure it’ll withstand the test of time and—most importantly—improve the value of your home? Remodeling your kitchen can be the most expensive renovation you can do to your home, so it makes sense to go only for one or two trendy elements, instead of making that entire part of your home trendy and bold.

    • Falling in Love with Expensive Designs

    According to interior designers, this is one of the most common mistakes of both old and new homeowners. If the design entails a lot lines—herringbone floors, wainscoting, moldings, etc.—it is expensive. The same goes with the opposite: a modern-looking space with no lines at all (no base molding, everything looks sleek and straight) is also equally expensive. Even if you get the less-expensive version of materials used, you still need to invest on quality installation.

    • Buying Cheap Materials

    The old saying “you get what you pay for” holds especially true to home renovation. Sure, your home flowing only cost you five dollars less per square foot, but are you sure it’ll last you long enough? After a year, it may start to crack and need to be replaced, and you’d wish you had just invested in quality materials from the beginning.

    • Skipping the List

    It’s easy to want this and that for your new home. To avoid getting carried away on the renovation and the unnecessary expenses that often comes along with it, create a list of things you need to be done to your home. When everything has been ticked off the list, it’s time to let your contractor go. Otherwise, you could end up paying for a bigger lump sum for the “few other little things.”

    If you are planning of remodeling your home, it’s smart learn from the mistakes of the past. Knowing what to do and most importantly what NOT to do will help you make the most of your resources.

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  • 6 Ways to Beat the Heat

    The hot and humid climate of Singapore is already a given. But knowing how to beat the heat is essential to getting comfortable. Here, then, are 6 ways you can keep the cool.

    1. Draw the curtains

    Close the windows and draw the blinds and curtains earlier in the day or before it gets too hot. Close the ones that come in direct contact with the sunlight so as to prevent more heat from going inside your home. Only allow air in the house in the evening and early in the morning to avoid bringing warm air inside.

    • “Promote” cold air

    Sometimes it just can’t be avoided that the weather is too hot and humid. Even when the blinds and curtains are drawn, there just always seems to be hot air blowing. Fortunately there are ways to counter this and let the cool air out. One simply way is to hang a damp towel on a place where air generally flows, like windows. You could also try to make a DIY Air Conditioner using a fan and a box f ice.

    • Dress for the heat

    Obviously, you would want to avoid clothes that don’t allow breathing space for your body, skinny jeans, thick jackets and long-sleeved shirts. You should also avoid wearing darker clothes as they absorb more heat. More than that, material also helps against the heat. Clothes made of cotton and linen allow cool air to flow easily making them a fit choice to wear.

    • Avoid water that’s too cold

    Contrary to popular belief, you should actually avoid drinking cold water when the weather is hot. Drinking cold water gives the illusion that we’re quenching our thirst and “cooling” our body. But by doing so, our cells will have to keep using more energy to balance out the body’s temperature and maintain a constant level of heat.

    •  Avoid tea, coffee, and alcohol

    Tea, coffee, and alcohol are drinks that have a diuretic effect, which means they increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body through urine. This leaves us dehydrated and feeling more irritated and exhausted from the heat. Our body needs as many and as much water as possible. So not having these drinks can help our bodies cope with the heat.

    • Avoid exercising when it’s too hot

     If you ever feel like jogging or you just can’t go a day without exercising outdoors, do it early in the morning when its not too hot yet. If you do so when the sun is out already, chances are you’ll get tired easily as you exhaust your muscles and rid your body of water via sweating. Although there are many who say they thrive in exercising when its hot, its simply best to take it slow and make sure you’re not pushing your body too much.

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