Review: Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70 AZ Refractor Telescope

Celestron AstroMaster 70 AZ Refractor TelescopeHere’s something a little different. One thing I love in my house, or more correctly, on my back patio is a nice telescope.

It’s a great conversation starter, looks super classy and beautiful and it tells people you have half a brain and are interested in more than lame TV. And what’s really cool is, say you want a cool gift for your special someone. How unique would it be to actually buy a star, Name A Star Live for her and then actually show her where it is on your new telescope? Total class!

So, if you’re looking for a dual-purpose telescope appropriate for both terrestrial and celestial viewing, then the AstroMaster Series is for you. Each AstroMaster model is capable of giving correct views of land and sky. The Celestron AstroMaster 70 AZ Refractor Telescope is for those who want a dual-purpose telescope designed for both celestial and terrestrial viewing. The AstroMaster series creates clear, vivid images of the planets and the moon. Viewing the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter is rather easy.

Features:

  • Quick and easy no-tool setup
  • Permanently mounted StarPointer
  • Erect image optics – Ideal for terrestrial and astronomical use
  • Quick release dovetail attachment – no tool setup
  • Pan handle Alt-Az control with clutch – for smooth and accurate pointing
  • Rugged pre-assembled tripod with 1.25″ steel tube legs – Provides a rigid and stable platform
  • All coated glass optics for clear, crisp images
  • Deluxe accessory tray for convenient storage of accessories
  • The Sky®” Level 1 planetarium software with 10,000 object database and enhanced images

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy Assembly
  • Strong construction
  • Quality lenses
  • Comfortable eyepiece
  • Compact
  • User Friendly
  • Easy Transport
  • Good Value

The Celestron AstroMaster 70 AZ Refractor Telescope has a sturdy tripod and is very easy to get started observing the night sky. Being lightweight, it’s easy to transport and setup.

Cons

  • Lack of slow-motion controls
  • Tendency to drift
  • Limited Viewing

The Celestron AstroMaster 70 AZ sometimes will occasionally drift from the spot it’s pointed at. Overall, the telescope limits what viewers can see. The aperture is 70mm, so nothing outside of the solar system can be viewed with clarity.

Click Here to Learn More About The Celestron AstroMaster 70 AZ Telescope

Customer Reviews

“I saw this scope clearanced in a camera store and figured I’d pick it up. I have seen saturn, the orion nebula, and lots of other easy to find objects. This is my first scope and I feel I’ve gotten my money out of it already. […] The tripod is sturdy, but the clutch slips a little unless you really crank it down. I’m very happy with the scope though.” – Bretttly – Hatfield, PA

“Gave it to my 12 year old daughter for Christmas and she loved it. Very easy to get setup and put into use. The only distraction is the elevation screw; the screw mechanism is somewhat unreliable allowing the telescope to drift off the image while tightening. For the price this is a good unit for someone just starting out…” Stan – Longmont, Colorado

“The scope is easy to set up and use. The tripod is fairly stable. But the motion of the earth takes planets out of the field of view in 10-15 seconds, and there are no slo-mo controls, so you have to loosen the screws, slew the telescope manually on both axis, tighten the screws (which changes to position), and repeat every ten or fifteen seconds. Tedious and frustrating.” – Steve Gulie – Oakland, CA

Jimbo & the Dual Flush Retrofit Kit

bathroom with toilet retro fit kitLeigh Curry of championfiberglass.com contacted Dreamline Colonizer about testing out the Dual Flush Retrofit Kit. Basically the kit is installed in the tank of an existing single flush toilet and turns it into – as the name states – a dual flush model. Personally I have plenty of experience with dual flush toilets, as I have a number of them installed in my home.

However, I still have a few regular 1.6 gpf toilets (the standard in California) in my older units, so I was eager to give the device a try.

Leigh assured me that it was a do-it-yourself type of job, but after opening the package and realistically assessing my handyman skills, I called my plumber.

Jimbo loves me. I’ve put his kids through college. His reaction to my request was, “Why are you always the first one to try new things?” Heartwarming.

Installation of the Dual Flush Retrofit Kit does require that you remove the toilet tank. Novices should be warned that the process can be tricky. Because the nuts and bolts can become rusted together, you “risk cracking the porcelain”, as my plumber put it. Fortunately, no Sawzall* was required and Jimbo was able to remove the tank quickly and easily.

As Jimbo pulled out Dual Flush Retrofit Kit parts and grumbled about hating to read directions, he remarked that, “Whoever made this really thought this out”. The installation wasn’t particularly difficult and an experienced maintenance man could, with practice, probably install it in thirty minutes.

Jimbo spent a fair amount of time bolting the tank to the bowl because the bolts are very long and the gaskets are squishier than he’s used to, but he did note that the Dual Flush Retrofit Kit was “over-designed” to insure against leaks.

The level of water in the tank can be adjusted and Jimbo and I spent a fair amount of time peering into the tank after every test flush to make sure we had the right amount of water flowing with each flush.

I’m happy to report the Dual Flush Retrofit Kit works well and I am now flapper free! Since most toilet flappers develop leaks at some point over their brief lifetimes, I feel pretty lucky to have dispensed with that worry. In terms of the installation or subsequent use, there were no glitches and I am looking forward to lower water bills for many years to come.

Thank you to Leigh of championfiberglass.com for providing a test model. Jimbo was curious about what the kit cost and when I told him $20-30, plus shipping and handling, he said, “It’s a pretty good product for the price.”

Of course, that’s assuming you don’t crack your toilet tank during installation! Test your bolts, if they seem to be stuck in place by mineral deposits or rust, then the Dual Flush Retrofit Kit may not be for you. If you find yourself with rusty bolts and have an older toilet that uses more than 1.6gpf, your best bet is to upgrade to a new high efficiency toilet and there may be rebates available.

On the other hand, if your toilets are in fairly good shape then consider saving yourself some water, money and worry about flappers — remember 1 in 10 flappers are leaking as we speak. Are you flushing money down the drain?

* Sawzall: (1) A reciprocating saw often used by do-it-yourselfers.

Growing Your Own Heirloom Vegetables

HeirloomGrowing heirloom vegetables should be part of every homesteader’s gardening plan. In some cases, these old-fashioned specialties have been almost lost to the world, simply because most people end up growing today’s more common hybrid varieties.

When you grow heirloom vegetables, you’ll have a much larger selection from which to choose, due to the myriad of different varieties and strains that gardeners have grown throughout the past decades. Many people are absolutely amazed at the variety that exists, such as the many different sizes, shapes and colors of tomatoes.

Growing heirloom vegetables on your homestead is a great way of getting back to nature, as well as a wonderful way to enjoy vegetables which were traditionally grown for taste, instead of their ability to sit on store shelves for a week without spoiling.

Planning Your Heirloom Vegetable Patch

PatchOne of the most difficult parts of planning an heirloom vegetable garden is choosing from among the almost endless variations. However, because heirloom vegetables lack some of the disease and insect resistance that has been bred into hybrids, you would do well to do a little research to find out which varieties are especially suited to your area.

Farmer’s markets that feature heirloom vegetable growers in your area are often willing to share their expertise with varieties, if you ask them and let them know you want to learn more. Online sites and gardening forums, especially those which specialize in heirloom vegetables, are also a great resource to utilize. Once you’ve gotten some good ideas about what you want to grow, it’s time to start looking for seeds.

Although heirloom vegetable garden plants are available in some areas, most likely you will need to start your plants from seeds. Shopping for heirloom seeds can be a lot of fun, because you will find varieties that you likely never even knew existed. The internet is a great source for heirloom seeds and seed catalogs.

Starting Your Heirloom Vegetable Plants

Seeds that can be directly sowed outdoors are among the easiest to grow. Vegetables such as beets, lettuce, carrots, corn, beans and peas are almost never started indoors, but are instead planted directly in the ground at the correct time of year. However, some plants such as tomatoes and peppers need an extra head start for the growing season, and require seeds to be sown indoors in most climates. Growing plants from seeds is not as difficult as you might think.

You’ll need a sturdy table, one or more fluorescent light fixtures, planting containers, and growing medium. Always use sterilized growing medium instead of ordinary outdoor soil when starting your seeds indoors, to prevent disease and plant loss.

This is even more important with heirloom plants, since they lack some of the disease resistance of today’s hybrid varieties. Keep the containers moist and warm until the seeds sprout then move them to a cooler location directly under the lights.

As the plants grow, you should continue to raise the height of the light fixture, so that the bulbs remain only an inch or two above the leaves of the plants.

Once they have grown too large for their original containers, repot them so that they can grow more roots.

At this point you should start leaving them outdoors for part of the day, so that they can “harden off” and become accustomed to the outdoor environment.

Then, when the danger of frost has passed, plant them directly in your garden and enjoy.

Suffering from Allergies? Replace Your Carpet with Vinyl Flooring

SneezeSpending the summer months sniffing and sneezing as a result of hay fever can be irritating at the very least; as can spending the winter months in pretty much the same condition due to having a cold. Unfortunately the latter cannot be helped by the décor in your home as this is one of those things which we all have to suffer with from time to time.

But hay fever suffers and those who suffer from other allergies throughout the year can help their elements by carrying out some simple home improvements, such as replacing carpets with an alternative such as vinyl flooring.

Traditionally carpets have often been considered more luxurious than other flooring options, especially during the winter mornings when they help to insulate your home, but a fully carpeted house can also have significant drawbacks.

Two of the main downsides associated with carpet, especially the thicker more luxurious carpets which often prove common within households throughout the Texas area and Houston Heights homes for sale is that they:

1) Show up the dirt, whether it’s mud that’s been trodden in from the children after they’ve finished playing outside, pets leaving muddy footprints following their daily walk or toilet accidents that toddlers and pets occasionally have within the house.

2) Germs and allergies can hide within the fibers, where, despite deep vacuuming they can remain helping to cause flare-ups of allergies and also increase the chance of illness spreading within your household.

Despite the drawbacks to carpets, you shouldn’t necessarily stop reading this and automatically remove all your carpets, because as already mentioned they can help provide warmth during the winter months, along with a luxury throughout the year.

Instead if you suffer from any sort of allergy you should consider minimizing the carpeted areas within your home to specific rooms such as the bedrooms, and then fitting other areas of the home with vinyl flooring or something similar.

Why Vinyl?

Vinyl FlooringFor allergy sufferers vinyl flooring can prove a perfect option because unlike carpet, it doesn’t have the fibers or nooks and crannies in which germs and allergies are able to hide; which comes with the added benefit of reducing allergy flare-ups occurring.
As well as providing flooring which doesn’t offer areas for germs, dust and allergies to hide, vinyl flooring also offers a virtually waterproof surface, which again can help with the reduction of allergies and help with sanitation issues for any accidents your pets or young may have within the home.

Vinyl flooring also comes with added benefits for the home, which should be taken into consideration when looking to fit a new floor.

Potentially the biggest benefit next to its allergy reducing characteristics is the aesthetic qualities that it offers. Whether you’re living in a quaint country cottage or a modern city center townhouse, vinyl flooring can provide your home with a new dimension and aesthetic quality which other flooring options cannot.

It could be said that vinyl flooring takes the best of hardwood/tile flooring’s durability and versatility, alongside some of the warmth which carpet offers.

It’s also a fairly forgiving floor surface, making it perfect for families with young children and/or pets and through your local flooring specialists you’ll be able to find the perfect design of vinyl flooring to meet your needs and requirements.

So if you want to help reduce the sneezing and runny noses throughout the year which are caused by allergies, but you don’t want to drastically alter the décor of your family home, then vinyl flooring could prove to be the perfect cure.

Bedroom Design Motifs with Japanese Influence

Japan Influence

Japanese bedrooms are traditionally designed with a sense of simplicity and tranquility. Minimalism is the preferred overall look in the bedroom, with an emphasis on functionality and a sense of calm. Because of the overall tranquility of the design, the overall effect is one of seclusion from the rest of the world, promoting a restful and serene environment.

Natural Materials
Japan WoodWhen decorating a bedroom in a Japanese style, there should be a focus on natural materials.

Wood is a common material used in Japanese bedrooms, as is stone.

Artificial light is minimized, with a preference towards letting natural light into the room as the primary source of illumination.

Windows are generally large and are usually left open so as to let in as much natural light as possible. Although there is usually a need in modern bedrooms for standard electrical light fixtures, lighting is generally designed to blend into the decorating scheme unobtrusively so that it is barely noticed. The Best property management company in Houston recommends that you don’t make changes that are permanent or can decrease the value of your home due to limiting your customer base.

This effect can be achieved in a number of different ways, including positioning the light behind a translucent screen, or using recessed light fixtures.

By focusing on the natural light or unobtrusive artificial light, the overall serenity and restful effect of the Japanese bedroom is emphasized.

Reflection of Nature

Colors for a Japanese bedroom tend to reflect nature, and usually included colors which are restful and relaxing, including muted shades of grays, blues and greens. These colors tend to promote restfulness and can help to achieve the illusion of being able to escape from the outside world, if only for the evening.

Simple Designs, Clean Lines

Furniture in a Japanese bedroom generally tends to be rather simple in design, with an emphasis on clean lines as opposed to ornate details and carvings. Furniture pieces give the impression of being solid and grounded, and in fact generally sit lower to the ground than typical Western furniture.

The solid nature of these furniture pieces as well as the overall lowness and emphasis on the horizontal plane is very characteristic of Japanese furniture as a whole. Low platform beds are very common in Japanese bedroom designs, with the bed usually placed in the center of the room, often facing an open window.

There are generally very few pieces of furniture in the bedroom besides the bed itself. Most often, the only other items of furniture include a dresser, wardrobe closet, and a nightstand beside the bed. Occasionally a stackable chest known as a “tansu” is also used in Japanese bedrooms, in order to provide additional storage.

Most often the furniture pieces match as far as the type and color of wood, creating visual harmony within the room.

Minimal Decor

Decorating effects in a Japanese bedroom tend to be very sparse, again with an emphasis on simple lines with a focus on nature and inner reflection. Clutter and knick-knacks are rare in Japanese design, since these types of items are generally thought to detract from the restful nature of a bedroom. Decorations are usually confined to perhaps a plant, a scenic painting or print framed on the wall, perhaps of a water scene, and a folding screen room divider.

Walls are usually painted a light neutral color, such as cream, off-white or pale yellow.

Applying Feng Shui Principles to a Child’s Bedroom

Adults are not the only ones who can benefit from feng shui principles.

Feng Shui

Children can also benefit from having better organization and energy flow in their lives. By teaching a child early about the harmonious benefits that feng shui can bring to a person’s life, you will be giving them a gift that will last their whole lifetime.

Feng Shui in a Child’s Bedroom

A child’s bedroom is a very important area for them. Not only is this where they sleep, but it’s also where they often play, visit with friends, do homework, and study.

Therefore, it is very important that a child’s bedroom follow good feng shui principles in order to create a safe and peaceful area for them, says Alizay Spa.

When choosing a color scheme for a child’s bedroom, muted shades of green, blue and neutral skin tones are often the best choice to create a relaxing environment.Childs Bedroom

Choose any wall art for the room carefully, with an emphasis on positive themes such as nature or “good” cartoon characters.

Electronics in the Bedroom

One thing to keep in mind when assessing a child’s bedroom is the disruption that electronic devices can cause in the flow of energy.

While sometimes it is necessary to have electronic equipment in a child’s bedroom, such as a computer so that they can do their homework, you should take care to insure that this equipment is located as far from their bed as possible.

It is also important to teach a child that electronic equipment should always be shut off when not in use.

A desk that is styled in a fashion that opens up to allow the desk to be used, but which then closes behind solid armoire doors can be a great solution to computers and other electronic gaming systems in a child’s bedroom.

On their nightstand, a wind-up clock would be a better choice than an electronic one.

Choosing a Bed Position for Good Feng Shui

Just as in an adult’s bedroom, the bed placement in a child’s bedroom is quite important.

You should always place the headboard of the bed against a solid wall. The wall you choose for the headboard should not have any windows or doors on it.

It is also recommended to position the bed in a way that allows the child to have access to the bed on either side, as this placement will help to enhance the flow of energy within the room.

To insure harmonious sleeping conditions, do not place any mirrors in the room.

If your child does need a mirror, placing it on the inside of the closet door so that it can be closed at night would be a good approach.

Other Feng Shui Tips for Bedrooms

Although children are notorious for having messy bedrooms, you should do everything you can to help your child reduce clutter.

Provide them with shelves and bins to organize their toys and books neatly.

Their desk or work table should have containers to keep everything they need to work in a neat and orderly arrangement.

Not only will this enhance the feng shui energy within the room, but it will help them work in a more organized fashion.

Adding Color to the Entryway

Entryway

The entryway is one of the most important parts of a home. It is the first thing guests will see when visiting and the first thing you will see after a long, hard day at work: In short, it is the first thing that offers an overall impression of your home.

The entryway should be decorated in a way to impress your guests and help you to anticipate a relaxing evening after arriving home from work.

Adding color to the entryway is an easy way to bring a greater sense of style to the entryway.

Clean the Area

In order to add a great color to the entryway of your home the first thing you need to accomplish is cleaning the area deeply.

Wash all doors, walls, and windows with a deep cleaning solution that also smells fresh.

Be sure to clean all carpets with a carpet cleaner after vacuuming as well, so as to be certain the carpet is thoroughly cleared of dirt and debris.

Paint the Walls

Paint WallThe walls of the entryway should first be examined for any holes, dings, or dents that would take away from the smooth finish of the fresh paint.

If needed, fill any holes with wall spackling available at any local hardware stores using a putty knife and allow thorough drying time.

Once the spackling is completely dry, sand it down so that it creates a smooth surface. The next step is to paint the area with a primer to prevent any stains or marks showing through the new paint color.

Once the primer is dry, the new paint can be applied. If the entryway is separated from the rest of the home with doors, try using different colors and patterns in this area than the rest of the house.

The door itself can be painted to become the focal point by using colors that compliment the exterior of the home.

Entryway Furniture

Entryway furniture tends to lend itself to storing your guest’s items while they are in your home.

Items such as a console table with drawers would enable you to place your guest’s coats, hats, or scarves inside the drawer so as to reduce the clutter in the seating area in the home.

An antique dresser can also provide both beauty and functionality much like a console table. The entryway should also be well lit so that it feels cheerful and welcoming.

Accessorize with Color

Decorating the entryway with artwork or photographs is an easy way to bring color into the area without causing too much clutter.

Family portraits framed in decorative frames matted in complimenting colors can create a beautiful centerpiece on any wall.

Mirrors placed on opposite sides of the room can also create the feel of a larger area as well, simply hang two mirrors facing each other and the result will make the room feel larger.

Placing slender lamps on either end of the console table or antique dresser will give the room more light than just a ceiling light fixture can offer.

Go for a modern look in your bedroom

Black and White

If you’re redecorating your bedroom and you’ve always gone for a safe and classic design in the past, you might want to try something more modern this time around.

One of the hottest trends around is feature walls – they’re a great way of adding a bold colour to the space, or just an interesting pattern.

The best thing about this is you don’t have to redecorate the whole of your room to make it work.

If you just want to move a bit of your bedroom furniture around, you’ll be able to get to work on one of the walls in the room. You can either use wallpaper or paint to do this, depending on what style you’d like to go for.

Those of you who have decided a patterned wall is what you want should use paper to achieve the right look. We have noticed an uptick to this sort of design by local Houston home buyers. It’s in.

Unless you’re an amazing painter, this is definitely the way forward. Even though you want a modern design, you could try to put a twist on something classic when you’re redesigning your bedroom.

Why not go for a black and white theme?

WallpaperIt’ll never go out of fashion and it’s so easy to find the right accessories and complementary bits and bobs to make the look work.

Once you’ve chosen the right design for your wallpaper – or you’ve perhaps created a stripy monochrome wall to go in your bedroom – you can put it up then start buying some great things to go in the room.

It’s best to go for an uncluttered look in your bedroom, so you might want to have sofa beds in it, and then you’ll be able to have a seat and a bed all in one – a fantastic space-saving idea.

You could add state-of-the-art things to your room as well to really modernize the space – why not find a stylish music player which can be the centrepiece in your room to finish it off?

Tips for buying the right bedroom furniture

New House

Have you just moved into a new house, or you just thinking about redecorating your home? Do you feel clueless about what furniture to get for your bedroom and what style you should go for? Then look no further.

I’ve got the perfect tips and advice for you to get you started on your design project.

Tips

Beds

First thing you think of when you say bedroom furniture is beds. Undoubtedly the most important piece of furniture which is used for maybe the most important part of your night: sleeping.

So you will clearly need a good quality bed, with good quality mattresses and good quality pillows and duvets.

Then you need to think whether you need a double bed, kingsize bed or maybe even a divan bed and after that you need to think bed frames and which ones you prefer: wooden ones for a classic style, metal ones for a more modern look or ottoman ones if you are willing to take a risk or are looking for a soft or comfortable choice.

Wardrobes

After beds, you need to think wardrobes.

If you own a large amount of clothing and are an avid shopper then you should maybe consider having a walk-in wardrobe or at least a double sized wardrobe.

You also might want to think about having a mirror on your wardrobe, especially if your bedroom is smaller or if yo’re looking for an easy and convenient option.

Bedroom tables

Another thing you absolutely need in your bedroom is bedroom tables or nightstands.

These can really make or break a room, so make sure you pick the right ones to compliment your beds and the rest of the furniture in your bedroom.

Many times people think matching furniture is the best way to go, but sometimes it’s good to have an open mind and one of the biggest trends in interior design today is shabby chic, and if you choose to go for that it doesn’t matter if all your furniture is in different colors and made of different materials, as long as you can tie it all together it will look amazing and it might even look like you hired a professional to do it.

After you sorted out the basics just add small touches like the right curtains, a beautiful bedside lamp, maybe even a fury rug if you’re into that kind of thing and don’t forget paintings and maybe even a small bookcase with all your favorite books.

No matter what you do, just don’t forget it’s all about you and it should reflect who you are and your personality.

So don’t hold anything back and just go for it!

How to Create a Desert-Inspired Sunroom

nice doorwayIn the dead of winter, with the snow drifts piling high against your sun room windows, there is nothing better than sitting in a space that feels like more the desert than a chilly climate.

If you are struggling to stay warm this winter and want to add some desert heat to your own home, use the ideas below to transform your sun room.

They are quick, easy and relatively inexpensive considering how much you will enjoy your new decor.

Flooring

Nothing will feel more like the desert than a warm floor beneath your feet on a cold winter’s day.

Most sun rooms are placed on concrete slabs that have been covered with some variety of indoor-outdoor carpeting.  Instead of keeping the rough carpet, install laminate or hardwood floors over a radiant heating system.

Radiant heat will provide a warm, toasty feel to the room and warm your toes like no other type of heating or flooring can do.

Make sure that the radiant floor heating system is designed for use over a concrete slab before purchasing.

This is crucial, because if the wrong type of heating is installed, it can create a short circuit or be fatally damaged should water seep into the space.

Colors

color-paletteThe color palette of the desert room may be influenced by peach colored sunsets speckled with turquoise and red rock.

Be inspired by a picture or magazine clipping that shows a breathtaking sunsets or desert canyon.

Pull colors like red, peach, plum and gold into the room’s color scheme through the use of paint and fabrics.

While the walls of a sun room are limited, some have half or quarter-walls that would be ideal for painting.  Curtain or valance fabrics, as well as cushions and upholstery should also be in these same colors.

Do not be afraid to use Southwestern prints to help complete the look.

Plants

A desert is nothing without plant life and there is great beauty in the cacti, flowering shrubs and bushes of the desert.

Add potted cacti in the corners of the room, as well as hanging cacti from brackets.  For a wide selection of desert plant life, visit a specialty plant nursery in your area that has plant life from a variety of climates.

With the right plant life, there is no doubt that the space will quickly take on a desert feel.

Accessories

The accessories in a desert-inspired room should be reflective of the artwork from that area.

There are many Native American decorative pieces that capture the beauty of the desert, while also capitalizing on the unique characteristics of the people who live there.

If possible, purchase authentic pieces, as opposed to mass produced pieces, to create a superior look and feel.

A desert inspired sun room is the perfect way to take the chill off a cold winter.  It can quickly become a favorite room in the house, especially with the addition of radiant heating.

Make this season a warm one by turning your chilly sun room into a desert paradise this year.