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Dishwasher-Loading Techniques Throughout History

The proper technique for loading a dishwasher is far from a settled matter, despite whatever you know who might say. Over the millennia, cultures have brought their own unique traditions and innovations to the task, and history has proved that various methods of arranging the dishes have worked just fine and have not been so stupid after all.

Paleolithic Age

Paintings on the walls of the Lascaux Caves, which date back some seventeen thousand years, depict a man and a woman standing on opposite sides of a grid that is almost certainly a single dishwasher rack. Dinnerware is arranged in rows: large plates at the front, saucers next, then bowls, mugs, and cups. The female figure has her arms folded.

Ancient Greece

Plato reasoned that the positioning of cups, bowls, and utensils was of secondary concern. He believed that an ideal cleaning could be achieved only through a precise placement of the plates in a circle, on the bottom rack. It’s how he got his name.

Ancient Americas

The Incas were slow to adopt the dishwasher because of their ornate ceramic plates, which they feared might be hand-washable only. The Maya engaged in ongoing warfare (yaoyotl) over whether to place all the spoons together, all the forks together, and so forth, or whether to mix them all up in the silverware basket. Many died in battle.

Dynastic China

Confucius suggested that scraping off the food and pre-rinsing dishes in the sink was not always necessary but always wise.

Age of Enlightenment

It’s hard today to believe that Copernicus could have drawn so much criticism for conceiving his system of facing cups downward rather than upward so as not to retain the soapy water. In retrospect, it’s really the only way that makes sense, but it was blasphemous in his time to alter any aspect of the accepted arrangement.

Renaissance Italy

Sketches attributed to Leonardo da Vinci indicate that he tested multiple dishwasher-loading configurations and at long last determined the nearest together you could place two plates before at least one of them really wouldn’t get clean and you’d have to run it through again.

Elizabethan England

In Shakespeare’s sequel to “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Much More Ado About Nothing,” Benedick and Beatrice, now betrothed, argue energetically in several kitchen scenes. Benedick protests that he should be excused from loading the dishwasher because he isn’t very good at it. Beatrice cheerily mocks him: “If cloddishness allowed a leave of tasks, I fear your job behind our chamber door.”

Colonial America

Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase “bottom-rack-safe.”

Colonial India

Gandhi opposed detergent cubes, as they concentrated too much power in one place.

Were Analysts Bearish Howden Joinery Group Plc (LON:HWDN) This Week?

Out of 14 analysts covering Howden Joinery (LON:HWDN), 8 rate it a “Buy”, 0 “Sell”, while 6 “Hold”. This means 57% are positive. Howden Joinery has been the topic of 52 analyst reports since August 12, 2015 according to StockzIntelligence Inc. Below is a list of Howden Joinery Group Plc (LON:HWDN) latest ratings and price target changes.

22/07/2016 Broker: JP Morgan Rating: Neutral Old Target: GBX 390.00 New Target: GBX 420.00 Maintain
21/07/2016 Broker: Liberum Capital Rating: Buy Old Target: GBX 500.00 New Target: GBX 500.00 Maintain
21/07/2016 Broker: Peel Hunt Rating: Add Old Target: GBX 535.00 New Target: GBX 535.00 Maintain
14/07/2016 Broker: Liberum Capital Rating: Buy Old Target: GBX 575.00 New Target: GBX 500.00 Maintain
01/07/2016 Broker: JP Morgan Rating: Neutral Old Target: GBX 570.00 New Target: GBX 390.00 Downgrade
29/06/2016 Broker: Jefferies Rating: Hold Old Target: GBX 530.00 New Target: GBX 400.00 Maintain
09/05/2016 Broker: Liberum Capital Rating: Buy Old Target: GBX 540.00 New Target: GBX 575.00 Maintain
29/04/2016 Broker: Beaufort Securities Rating: Hold Maintain
29/04/2016 Broker: JP Morgan Rating: Overweight Old Target: GBX 550.00 New Target: GBX 570.00 Maintain
25/04/2016 Broker: Goldman Sachs Rating: Neutral Old Target: GBX 515.00 New Target: GBX 515.00 Upgrade

The stock decreased 0.33% or GBX 1.42 on July 29, hitting GBX 431.48. About 1.84 million shares traded hands. Howden Joinery Group Plc (LON:HWDN) has declined 17.87% since December 29, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed by 23.17% the SP500.

Howden Joinery Group Plc is engaged in the sale of kitchens and joinery products, along with the associated manufacture, sourcing and distribution of these products. The company has a market cap of 2.72 billion GBP. The Firm offers products in categories, such as kitchen collection, including inclusive kitchens, cabinets, kitchen accessories, kitchen handles and kitchen taps; appliance collection, including ovens, hobs, extractors, refrigeration, dishwashers, laundry, Bosch appliances and Leisure appliances; doors and joinery collection, including internal doors, sliding wardrobe doors, external doors, door frames, linings and casings, and moldings; hardware collection, including door handles, door furniture, door security, and tools and accessories; flooring collections, including laminate flooring and flooring accessories, and bathroom cabinet collection, including bathroom accessories, bathroom handles and bathroom worktops. It has a 14.78 P/E ratio. It operates approximately 620 depots.

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How to stage a home for millennial buyers

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Most buyers want a home that’s light, bright and sparkling clean. Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 1995, also want a home that’s move-in ready, modernized and furnished with all the colors and comforts of a Pottery Barn store.

“No millennial wants to buy Grandma’s house,” says Melinda Bartling, a home stager and real estate agent at Keller Williams Partners in Overland Park, Kan. “And a lot of them don’t want to buy their parents’ house. It needs to be hip. It needs to be fresh.”

Virtually all newly built production homes offer this look. But many older homes don’t even come close. That presents a dilemma for sellers: How can they update their older residence to appeal to these younger buyers?

The answer involves staging, says Paige Elliott, a real estate agent at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate in Park Cities, Texas.

“Sometimes,” Elliott says, “it’s as simple as tweaking what they have. Sometimes they end up remodeling the kitchen and bringing in all new furniture.”

THE LOOK

Sellers of older homes ignore millennials’ wants at their peril, because these buyers comprised the largest group of homebuyers in 2013, 2014 and 2015, when they accounted for 35 percent of home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors.

What’s more, according to the Realtors group, the typical home purchased in 2015 was 1,900 square feet, had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and — here’s the important point — was built in 1991, just 25 years ago.

Like many buyers, millennials want clean-lined furniture, uncluttered spaces, light-colored walls, dark-colored floors and bold patterns and colors. But even that’s not enough to grab their interest.

“They want that glamorous, this-could-be-a-movie-set look,” Elliott says. “They like that because they’re young and they want the lifestyle.”

NO FIXER-UPPERS

Outdated homes that don’t offer the look millennials want might be outright ignored by this big segment of social media-savvy buyers.

“To compete, you almost have to present your home that way,” Elliott says. “They may change it after they move in, but at least it looked really cool when they went to look at it.”

Millennials aren’t just picky. They want updated homes because they don’t have the time, money or desire to fix up a home themselves, says Kathy Streib, a home stager at Room Service Home Staging in Delray Beach, Fla.

“They’re both working. They don’t have the discretionary income. They say, ‘We saw our parents spend every weekend working on their home, and we don’t want to do that,’” Streib says.

UPDATED DECOR

While the seller’s furniture typically doesn’t stay with a sold home, stagers say removing old decor and accessories can help to create the right impression.

Items on Streib’s hit list include shag carpeting, original light fixtures, heavy draperies that “just scream ‘old’” and mirror walls.

“Nothing dates a home worse than a wall that’s full of mirrors. You walk in, and it immediately says, ‘I was built in 1980,’” she says.

Once the old is gone, owners can put in hardwood floors, blinds and contemporary light fixtures to update their home’s appearance.

All-white walls are also out, though Realtors usually advise against strong personalized paint colors for resale purposes.

Streib suggests muted colors that aren’t stark, but are still neutral.

Bartling also has a list of items that date an older home and turn off millennial buyers:

n Doilies

n Flowered wallpaper

n Quilts

n Chenille bedspreads

n Old recliners

n Collectibles like cookie jars, salt-and-pepper shakers and Precious Moments figurines.

Sellers don’t need to trash their personal possessions; just pack them up and put them out of sight until they’re resettled in their new residence.

“Buyers aren’t there to look at the curio cabinet,” Bartling says. “They’re there to look at the house.”

EQUITY DRAIN

Elliott offers sellers who don’t want to bother with updating and staging some compelling data: sales prices of comparable homes that were and weren’t presented to appeal to millennials.

“We say, ‘If you keep it as-is, here’s your price. If you want to get the most (money) out of it, you’re going to have to do the following things.’ We make suggestions. We know what it needs. Then we bring in a stager. You can often make more money if you’re able to do these things,” she says.

Indeed, the bottom line is, well, the bottom line.

As Bartling puts it: “Sellers are giving up their equity, and it’s their own fault. It would behoove them to get the right mindset about ‘We’re moving on. We’re packing up. What can we do to spiff this place up?’”

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12 tips for beautiful organization

Taking time to organize your home, including a messy bedroom closet, can help alleviate stress.

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Jeffers: I don’t need more stuff

We used to think our grandparents were just being incredibly modest, or humble, when they told us over and over that they didn’t want anything for birthdays or Christmases.

Ignoring their repeated remonstrances, we usually gave them ever more caps, lacy handkerchiefs, vases, tools and so forth, that we eventually had to clean out when they died.

Now I know what they meant. I don’t need any more stuff! Truly, I’ve told my children, relatives and friends, I don’t require additional jewelry, pocketbooks, clothes, books, figurines, music boxes, cute signs or kidneys.

I’m all set until I die, or run away with the circus, whichever comes first. (I may need a new tutu if the latter occurs, because my current one has a mustard stain on it.)

Overwhelmed by all the rubble in the house last spring, I enlisted the help of my unsuspecting youngest son to cull out all our drawers and closets.

A low estimate of 22 large black garbage bags full of clothes, cookware and various tchotchkes, all mercifully left and hopefully found their way into the arms of happy thrift store customers.

Every time I clean up, I’m firmly reminded that I am overly favored with paraphernalia. A few possessions are normal, but if I had all the cash either I, or those who’ve shared with me over the years, have spent, I could give Donald Trump a run for his money.

Why in the world do we persist in such goofy, ludicrous and acquisitional behavior?

I know it’s fun to get a new necklace, or shoes from this century, but I honestly have enough pants to dress several fluffy centipedes. Ironically, I usually rotate among my three favorite pairs, one of which sports a safety pin because the elastic waist is shot. I love the way they feel and hang, and I can order cheesecake with impunity.

Now at the terribly advanced age of 60, I have garnered enough wisdom not to need tons of stuff. Most of it just means more to keep up with, more to dust or more to give away.

It seems appropriate here to also voice my generally unflattering opinion of “designer” items. When children are starving, or when the elderly have to give up real necessities, do we honestly need $500 pocketbooks?

It appears to me that, as in most things, moderation is the key. The very minute what someone wears or drives takes precedence over everything else, we’ve lost sight of what really matters.

One can enjoy eating off fine china without needing 10 sets of it. A lovely ring is a treasure, but must we flash one on every finger? A cell phone that calls someone is sufficient, isn’t it? Does it have to lock my doors and photograph every morsel I eat?

Now pared down to the most precious belongings, my world is incredibly satisfying. De-cluttering superfluous stuff has spread into other areas of my life, too. I won’t tolerate committee meetings that just meet to plan the date of the next meeting, parties made up of folks I never really cared for, or foods and books that are nauseating. They aren’t worth the calories or the time.

Life is short. Junk, physical or emotional, can rob us of what’s legitimately meaningful. To use a cliché, I think they call it baggage?

And yes, I do love that top I saw on QVC, and my white earrings are chipped, and ….

Be strong, Sister-Woman. You don’t need any more frying pans, even if they don’t stick.

Mindy Jeffers is a Columbia County resident and a retired high school teacher. Reach her at mindyjeffers@hotmail.com.

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Many shades of gray: More than meets the eye to painting walls with the new neutral

Diana Nollen

The Gazette

Gray is the new beige for any room in your house, from kitchen to nursery.

However, there’s more than meets the eye when rolling one of the many shades of gray onto your walls. Some have warm red or brown undertones, others have a cool blue or purple. Green undertones can be either warm or cool, and some grays look more beige, hence the trending term “greige.”

These subtleties may not even show up until you see an array of paint chips side-by-side or paint different swatches on your walls at home, next to that maroon sofa or dark woodwork.

So how can the everyday DIY homeowner select neutral wall colors wisely and well?

“You have to be very careful when choosing grays — very careful,” said interior designer Aaron Murphy, who owns and operates Spruced Up Staging in Cedar Rapids. He and husband Brian Kipp chose a gray palette for their midcentury home in southeast Cedar Rapids, recently featured in The Gazette.

“I know it seems trendy for everyone to go and jump on the gray bandwagon,” Murphy said from his downtown office. “But really, if you have personality in your furnishings and your artwork, gray or off-white are wonderful ways to set that off, and have the pieces that you collect be the statement in a room.”

PERSONALITY PLUS

“It’s so easy to say, ‘Well, I have a big personality, I’m going to paint my living room orange.’ And then you realize that you have a red sofa and yellow pops of artwork. Well that’s just not gonna work. It’ll look like you’re walking into hell,” he said. “Gray and off-white and greige are wonderful ways to make your personality a statement.”

Wall color — even neutrals — can liven up a room, too.

“If you have a brown leather couch, and you have brown end tables and a brown coffee table or mixed woods and no other contrast in that room, well there’s your opportunity to do color (on your walls) or skew more toward a warm green-gray or a cooler blue-gray. Then those (furniture) pieces start to speak a little bit more,” Murphy said.

“If you’re not a designer, it’s easy to say, ‘Just put gray on the walls, and it’ll be perfect.’ A designer walks into a room and says, ‘Out of the 700 different grays, which one is gonna speak best in this room?’ That’s the big difference.”

But even designers make mistakes.

“Not to say that color theory is the easiest thing for someone to learn. There’s trial and error that I’ve experienced, even in our own house,” Murphy said with a laugh. “I’ve repainted walls several times. Or I’ve gone in to clients and said, ‘This is probably the right gray for you,’ and I’ll bring in a large sample board and we move throughout the room and in the light — and I’ll change my mind.”

LIGHT PLAY

Light sources play a critical factor in paint color selection, from natural light to the various kinds of light bulbs used in housing.

For instance, Marsha Lynch, an interior decorator at Klinger Paint and Interiors in downtown Cedar Rapids, points to a perpendicular wall in the showroom that looks like five different colors, depending on where you stand. Paint colors and appearances are affected by shadows, windows and proximity to floors, ceiling and wood trim, she said. “And they’re going to look different in your home on a rainy day or on a sunny day.”

Murphy’s home has a long, narrow hallway with no window, so he painted the north facing wall a granite boulder color, and used a shade three times lighter on the south-facing wall, to give “a nice visual contrast.”

“However, when you walk down the hall, you cannot tell that they’re different paint colors,” he said, “just because of the light — which I think is fascinating.”

In one of his guest bedrooms, two walls look purple and two look gray, even though they’re all painted the same color, he added.

TIPS in store, at home

Out of the 3,000 paint color samples in Klinger’s showroom, it’s the grays that are flying off those walls and onto their customers’ walls.

“I’ve been here one year and it’s all I’ve sold,” Klinger interior designer Amber Coberly said. It’s been a strong trend for at least three years, Lynch added.

Since most shoppers are decorating around existing furniture or flooring, Lynch and Coberly advise them to take pillows, cushions, sofa arm covers or bedspreads to the paint store to help figure out what shade of gray will best complement their decor.

Buying several paint samples that you can take home and brush on your walls, for about $7 each, can be an inexpensive way to save yourself from costly errors, Coberly noted.

“It’s difficult to tell the difference until you see them side by side,” Lynch added.

Apply the samples near the trim and ceilings, too, Coberly said, and in spaces that have a lot of shading or direct sunlight.

“Trim is a big part of it, too,” Lynch said. “A lot of the colors that you see on House.com have rooms with painted trim. In the Midwest, we have a whole lot of people with oak trim. You don’t see as many of those rooms on House.com. And sometimes, because oak is a form of brown, I like the grays that are a total departure from it, because it doesn’t look like you tried to match and missed. A lot of oak can be very orangy.”

“That’s a big reason why people pick these grays and take them home and paint them against their big yellow-oak trim,” Coberly said. “The grays look extremely blue.”

That may not be to the liking of Midwesterners, who gravitate toward the earth tones, Lynch said. “Blue shades are more popular elsewhere, especially where they use white trim.”

Having some contrast between ceiling, floor and trim keeps a room from looking muddy, washed out or too monochromatic, all three designers said.

COST

Changing from beige to gray can be a big leap for people who have lived with beige for 30 years, Lynch said, but “it’s the least expensive way to get a gigantic change, with a quick remedy” if you don’t like the end result.

A gallon of quality paint can range from $35 to $57 and cover 300 to 350 square feet. So depending on how many coats you apply, room size, plus primer and the application equipment you’ll need, the costs may range between $200 and $300.

Preparation plays into the paint choices, as well. Condition of the walls is a prime consideration when selecting the sheen, Lynch and Coberly said. Flat/matte and eggshell are the most popular finishes and will hide the most flaws, whereas the shinier satin and semi-gloss will draw attention to imperfections. With improvements in paint quality, all the finishes are easy to clean, Lynch said.

Before painting, be sure to clean the walls, knock off the cobwebs and fill in all the nail holes, Lynch said, and if your walls have water stains, she advises using oil-based paint so the stain won’t bleed back through. Speaking from experience, she said it’s best to call in the pros if you have old plaster walls that need to be repaired.

Grays are even showing up in hardwood floor stains and new wood flooring and tiles with a wood-grain look, Murphy said. “It’s how you get out of the oak you’ve had for years and years.”

ACCENTS

It’s easy to add pops of color to gray rooms. “Teal, green and navy are big right now,” Coberly said, as well as purple. Gray and teal are popular combinations for bathrooms, kids’ rooms and kitchens, she added. Pink also goes well with gray, to bring traditional touches to a little girl’s room.

Colorful pillows, rugs, curtains, bedspreads and small items like vases are simple ways to spice up a room. Painting a vibrant accent wall can add drama or whimsy — but can be challenging if you put your house on the market, Murphy warns.

He recently staged a house that had a lime-green wall, surrounded by light gray/off-white neutral walls.

“I went in and had lime-green accent pillows, I had lime green accessories, and I used copious amounts of white and neutral colors to really ground out that accent wall,” he said. “Would it have been easier to repaint? Absolutely. But it would have cost that seller a little bit more, and it was something I could work with and make funky.

“But for anyone else, just repaint the wall. It doesn’t cost that much to repaint,” he said. “From a staging standpoint, it’s best to have a neutral palette.”

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Music mainstay closing in Bethlehem

Before Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services allowed us to access massive music collections within seconds, CD and record stores served as indispensable hubs to collect our favorite artists’ tunes.

While the U.S. music industry for the first time last year made more money from online streaming than from CDs or digital downloads, physical disc sales still contributed 28.8 percent of a total retail revenue of $7 billion, according to data from the Recording Industry Association of America.

For those who have a fondness for physical albums, a handful of these shops remain in the Lehigh Valley area — from Allentown’s Double Decker Records and Bethlehem’s Compact Disc Center to Easton’s Used Grooves and Kutztown’s Young Ones.

Unfortunately, in south Bethlehem, the shop where I purchased the latest Weezer, Green Day and Dave Matthews Band albums in the 1990s, is calling it quits.

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