5 Helpful Acrylic Painting Tips for Beginners

Acrylic is great for beginners for a lot of things. It’s cheap, water-soluble, and dries quickly, which makes it easier to handle than oil paints. These qualities also make it the most forgiving medium compared to others.

Here are five crucial tips for anyone looking to get into acrylic painting:

1. Don’t worry too much about the brushes.
When it comes to this medium, there’s no need to go overboard on expensive brushes. You can simply start with cheap brushes you can get anywhere and work your way towards a collection of them that you’re comfortable using.
This is because the drawback is with the paints themselves. Student-grade is fine to start with if you’re on a budget, but if you want a higher pigment level, artist-grade paints are the way to go.

2. Create families of colors.
You need to be precise when mixing paints to get the exact hue that you want, so having a good knowledge of the color wheel is a must for any beginning painter.

Different amounts of the primary colors mixed together gives different secondary colors and browns. For instance, red and yellow results in different hues of orange, and by adding a small amount of green in the mix, you get a wide range of brown and burnt umbers.

3. Paint in blocks of color.
One quality that makes acrylic painting forgiving for beginning painters also makes it a challenge to work with – and this said quality is its fast drying time.

You’ll have to work fast to get any textures or fix any mistakes that you’ve made on the canvas before the acrylic dries on the canvas. However, you can make painting much easier by starting with the largest blocks of color first before working towards the finer details.

4. Bring a water mister for outdoor painting.
Acrylics can dry out a little too quickly, so if you plan on painting using this medium outdoors, be sure to bring a lot a water mister and give your layers a light spray to keep slow down their drying time a little bit.
However, be careful when using water, as too much will make the paints too runny and feel more like watercolor instead. Paint under a shaded area as much as possible.

5. Always prime with gesso!
Whether you’re starting out your paintings on canvas or hardwood boards, what’s important is that you prime them before proceeding with your underpainting.

Acrylics are primed with acrylic gesso (not to be confused with traditional gesso), a type of white paint containing latex that provides a smoother, surface that’s resistant to leaching, which lets you push the paint around better.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

4 Helpful Oil Painting Tips for Beginners

Oil painting has been around for a long time, and continues to be a popular medium because of its qualities, such as versatility and color.

While it seems easier to get started on oils rather than acrylics, the drawback is that the solvents you will be using are toxic. Oil paintings also take hours to dry and can be smudged easily if you’re not careful.
Here are a few helpful tips for beginners in oil painting:

1. Invest in high-grade paints and brushes.
This is where the difference between oil paint and acrylic starts. With oils, paintbrushes can be just as expensive as the paints themselves, and you will also need to shell out more for solvents and oils (linseed oil, safflower oil, etc.).

Oil paints also take a while to dry and can be pretty messy, which is all the more reason why you should take care of your brushes. Wipe them off with a rag after cleaning them off with turpentine or solvent.

2. Start small.
If you’re starting out with the medium, it’s usually a good idea to start with smaller paintings and sketches, and work your way through bigger canvases.

This serves a lot of purposes. When you’re only starting out, you need to develop your eye for color, composition, and your own sense of style. This is best done with a smaller painting as opposed to larger ones, which can be easily intimidating.

Smaller paintings are also cheaper to do since they require smaller canvases and use less paint, which means you can allow yourself to make mistakes and learn more as you improve.

3. Your workspace matters.
Being able to paint well also depends on the space you paint in. When you paint in oils, be sure to set up somewhere well ventilated (oil solvents and thinners can be toxic if you’re not careful) and well-lit, and with enough room for you to keep your paintings visible.

Organizing your workspace also keeps everything you need in one place and makes you want to paint more often. If you do, you’ll notice that your art will improve more rapidly.

4. Paint order is key!
Always start by priming your painting surface with gesso! This prevents the oil from seeping into the surface and lets your paint slide more easily.

Once your painting is primed, prepare a limited color palette (no need to use all colors at once – start with a painting of only one hue and its different shades) and start with an underpainting that consists of a color and an odorless turpentine substitute.

Use thinner paint and less oil in your first layers, and move to a greater ratio of oil to turpentine as you add layers and details in your details.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

Nails vs. Screws: What’s Their Difference and Which One Do You Need?

Nails and screws are the most popular fasteners carpenters use in their projects, but because they’re used in really similar ways, it can be hard to determine which type of fastener should be used for which project.

So which one is more suited for your needs? To find out more, it’s important to know the difference between nails and screws, as well as how they’re used.

Nails
Most nails tend to be made of mild steel, but you can also find nails made from all kinds of aluminum and brass.
Nails have been used for all kinds of construction and woodworking projects for a long time. They’re generally used for most projects since they’re easy to use and work with, and they save time in the process.

However, the drawback for them is that they don’t work well alone, and in some cases, even need the use of adhesives in order to really fasten the two pieces of wood together.

Nails come in different sizes and shapes to suit different purposes, such as the following:

• Common nail – Your everyday nails used for rough, construction work.
• Box nail – Thinner than common nails, which are less likely to cause wood splitting at the cost of structural strength.
• Finishing nail – Used for finishing work since their barrel-shaped heads can be driven below the wood’s surface.
• Casing nail – Casing nails are slightly bigger than finishing nails, and are used for attaching window and door casings.

Screws
Screws are usually made from brass and stainless steel. They are best used for furniture that will separate from top to bottom, and are great for working with plywood and MDF boards because of their holding strength. They are also better suited for projects that are more than six of seven feet in length, such as tables and chairs.

These are the different types of screws used in carpentry projects:

• Drive screw – They can have smooth, round, or mushroom-shaped heads, but have a shorter shank compared to other types of screws.
• Masonry screw – These screws have a blue coating and are inserted to pilot holes in masonry projects.
• Wood screw – Used to attach wood pieces together, which is explains the partially-unthreaded shank.
• Concrete screw – For fastening materials to concrete, these screws are made of stainless or carbon steel.

Conclusion
Nails tend to be used for exterior projects, so if you plan on doing indoor work, you might benefit better from using screws.

This is because while nails have a better shear strength compared to screws, screws have better tensile strength. The former refers to the resistance to perpendicular stress, while the latter refers to its resistance to opposing forces pulling against each other.

So the next time you walk into a hardware store anywhere in Singapore, don’t feel intimidated by the countless little bins of shelves housing thousands of screws, nails, and bolts.

How to Find the Best Light Bulbs for Your Home in 4 Easy Steps

Lighting may not seem like it, but it’s such an important aspect of modern life that when you get it wrong, it can give the wrong atmosphere and ambiance that will make your condo or HDB flat in Singapore feel uncomfortable and not a great place to relax in.

In fact, the wrong type of lighting can even throw you off when you’re trying to concentrate or read at night, and damage your eyes in the process.

But the good news is that you can avoid that mistake. Here’s how you can choose the best light bulbs for any area in your home:

1. Consider brightness and color.
While you can’t simply choose any old light bulb, this should be the first thing to keep in mind when looking to find the best lighting any area in your home.

Brightness and color can be broken up into a few criteria:

• Watts and lumens – This refers to the brightness in your desired area. The higher the wattage of your light bulb, the higher the lumens, and the brighter the light will be.
Keep in mind that watts is great for old, incandescent light bulbs, while lumens are used for more modern LED bulbs.

• Kelvin – This is used as a guideline for the color scale of the light emitted by the bulb. A lower kelvin number indicates warmer colors closer to orange and yellow, while a higher number indicates that the light is more bluish in color.

• Color rendering index (CRI) – Light bulbs tend to be given a CRI score, which measures how the light source accurately represents different colors. Lower CRI bulbs are great for most lighting needs, but for illuminating things such as paintings and work surfaces, higher CRI bulbs are the way to go.

2. Consider the right fitting.
When out shopping for new light bulbs, be sure to bring your old one to give a good idea on the type of fitting that you need. It also helps to write down the fitting reference number and compare it with the different bulbs.

3. Find the right bulb shape.
Just as there are many fittings and colors for light bulbs, there are also many shapes that can influence how the light will spread across any given area in your home.

The most common ones include spirals, candles, sticks, and even golf-shaped bulbs, but you will also find downlight-shapes and bulbs that have the traditional shape.

4. Don’t mind the initial cost of LED lights.
While modern LED bulbs seem expensive at first, keep in mind that they have a lower wattage requirement and will last you longer than other types of bulbs in the long run, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFL’s) or halogen bulbs.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

5 Unique Dining Experiences Around the World

If you thought eating in chopsticks is already exotic, then what about a toilet as a food bowl or a gigantic sea creatures swimming overhead while enjoying a fancy dinner? Take your travel adventures up a notch with these unique and out-worldly dining experiences around the globe.

1. Singapore Flyer (Singapore)
Got an appetite for high altitude? The Singapore Flyer, the second largest observation wheel in the world, can arrange a posh butler-serviced dinner for you in one of their private capsule. As you rise 540 feet above the famous landmarks such as Collyer Quay and F1 Circuit, indulge into a sumptuous four-course meal with the city’s signature drink, the Singapore sling

2. Modern Toilet (Taiwan)
Perhaps, you’ve asked so many times to the waiter or waitress where the toilet is every time you try a new restaurant. But if you give this restaurant in Taiwan a shot, you won’t even be thinking of asking the same question, for sure. At Modern Toilet restaurant, you’ll be sitting on a toilet and your food will be served in a toilet as well—or rather in toilet-shaped serving bowls. The original idea is to serve only chocolate ice cream in these unique food bowls, but because of its fast growing popularity, they expanded it to include full meals.

3. Labassin Waterfalls Restaurant (Philippines)
If you are one of those who love the outdoors but not much of a thrill-seeker to jump off the world’s tallest waterfalls, this one-of-a-kind dining venue is for you. Take the adventure down a notch and dine under a gorgeously gushing waterfall instead of jumping off from it. At Labassin Waterfalls Restaurant, you get to experience traditional Filipino lunch buffet, while your feet are soaked in running water. That sure makes for a relaxing and unforgettable experience.

4. Ithaa Restaurant (Maldives)
Imagine eating caviar in the middle of the ocean. Well, you can certainly do that at Ithaa Restaurant in Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort. The resort’s restaurant sits 16 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean and displays a 180-degree underwater view of marine life. Indulge into a six-course modern European dinner underwater without getting a single finger wet.

5. El Diablo Restaurant (Spain)
Dine in a restaurant seated on top of a volcano, no big deal. You just get to see the chef grilling meats on a giant griller laid over layers of basalt rock right above the bubbling lava. If you wish to experience this unique dining hub, El Diablo Restaurant is located in Timanfaya National Park in Spain, the home to the volcano that last erupted in 1824, so hopefully the possibility of it erupting while you’re enjoying your bbq is remote.
There are so many unique and unbelievable dining experiences around the world, but these by far have made to our list. Have you been to any unique restaurants before?

Keep the Fire Burning: Venture Out of Your Comfort Zone

Romantic relationships need constant effort to nurture the bond between two people. During the early stage of the relationship, you spend a lot of time knowing each other more. Once the relationship finds its stride, the extra effort slowly diminishes and you may easily find yourselves in a bit of a rut. Take advantage of the ‘boring’ feeling to abandon your routine. Step out of the ‘usual’ and do something that’s out of your comfort to reconnect with your partner.

Work Out Together
If exercising together is not a usual habit for you and your partner, it’s time to take this healthy route together. Enrol in a gym class (one with childcare, if you have children to take care of) or simply jog together before you start your day. If you like the challenge of CrossFit or a spinning class, having your partner with you to cheer you on will make you two feel more connected and supported.

Get Cooking
If drive-thru is getting old or ordering the same child-approved meals are making you sick, try a new take on your daily meals. Instead of debating what to have for dinner, start planning your meal in advance. Get a new cookbook and make your own meals with your partner. Take your everyday routine of cooking meals as an opportunity to bond with your partner, or at least schedule a night or two to bond in the kitchen instead of dining out.

Buy Some Tickets
Purchase tickets to some exciting events Tickets to a vacation, a concert or an amusement park in Singapore that you have never been to offers a wonderful opportunity to do something new and spend some alone time with your partner. You may be amazed by the things you learn about your partner when you are in a new environment.

Enjoy the Outdoors
Studies show that people who spend more time outside have more positive outlook in life. Imagine the same principle applies to relationships. Stepping outside with your partner will lift your spirit and the positivity of the nature will bring you and your partner closer together. Go camping, stroll along the shore, lie in the sand or go on night picnics uphill where you can bask in the beauty of the stars.

Write Your Feelings Out
Let’s kick it old school and start writing love letters for your partner. Short love notes that can either be romantic or goofy will bring back that giddy feeling you once had when you first started dating. Surprising your beloved with a hand-written note in their lunch is a small romantic gesture that can re-ignite the fire in your relationship.

If you are (or have been) in a long-term relationship, you know pretty well that there comes a time when you feel idle with your partner. Bring back the spark and spice in your relationship by doing something new and more exciting things together.

5 Questions to Ask Your Future Wedding Planner

Planning your special day can be overwhelming if you’re planning on doing it alone – which is why it’s important to choose a wedding planner who can see things your way and see that vision through. Here are a few questions that you should ask a potential wedding planner before hiring:

How long have you been in the industry?
It could be a disadvantage if your planner is rather new, but this doesn’t mean that they’re not capable at all. What you’re really looking for is their portfolio. You could also ask them more about the types of weddings that they’ve done previously as well as the vendors that they know and work with.

What’s the cost of your average wedding?
There are wedding planners that need a minimum budget that could be higher than what you can afford. Asking them about their costs is a great way to gauge whether or not they are within your price range, as well as getting a good estimate if you don’t have a budget yet.

Be sure to work with a planner that can adjust to your price range, and not vice versa. You should also keep in mind to be more open about the budget that you have and how much legroom you have to spare.

What’s their philosophy towards weddings?
Most planning professionals should have their mission statements already stated on their websites, so this question should be a piece of cake. However, this question should give you a good idea as to their general outlook on what weddings should look like, and this can differ from planner to planner.

Some, for instance, would like to furnish you with opulent venues, while others specialize in more rustic themes and centerpieces while trying to minimize costs to keep up with your meager budget.

How do they deal with difficult family members?
You might want to ask this question in particular if you know you will encounter these kinds of guests from either side of your partner’s family. If they haven’t encountered difficult family members in their previous weddings, be sure to ask them about their experiences as an alternative question.

Are you available on *insert date of wedding here*?
You really shouldn’t bother wasting time if it turns out that they’re not available. If the date is flexible and you’re willing to wait for a few days to work with someone that you know or whose style you really love, then by all means do work with them to finalize your wedding date.

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