Julies Blog

Keeping ashtrays clean

by Julie Finch-Scally

Most countries around the world have legislated against cigarettes being smoked in public places.  Many smokers now go outside a building and congregate in an area some distance from the building entrance to enjoy their cigarette.  But for those smokers ashtrays are still the best way of collecting the cigarette butts instead of stamping them out on the ground. Some people carry little metal boxes into which they can ash the cigarette and place their butts. 

Because a cigarette is combustible, once used it has to have its own receptacle. Many buildings have metal canisters hanging on the wall near the entrance for butts to be placed, and several trash bins have a special section for cigarettes to keep them separate from the rest of the garbage in the bin.

But if you are having a guest over and they are a smoker, although they will walk outside to smoke, they will still need an ashtray to dispose of the butt when they have finished.  And, when the guest has gone home the ashtray needs to be cleaned.

Many years ago when smoking was still allowed in pubs, clubs and restaurants, there were ashtrays on tables and shelves around the rooms.  One person used to walk around the rooms on a regular basis and empty out the butts into a container.  That container would have been taken outside and tipped into the large garbage bins in the back lane.  Every night the ashtrays would be collected and put through the dishwasher.  As most ashtrays were made of glass this was an easy procedure.

In fancy restaurants, if a cigarette was placed in an ashtray the waiter would put a plate over the top of the ashtray, and replace it with a clean one.  Presumably the dirty ashtray was taken to a special area, emptied and the ashtray and plate washed for re-use.

Having a glass ashtray is the answer for keeping them clean.  The stubbing out of the cigarette on the bottom has no affect on the glass itself, and because it is made of glass it is washable.  The smell from the tobacco will not penetrate the glass and won’t leave a stain.

If you or your friends smoke, then glass ashtrays are the answer.  But always have more than one.  That way you can replace the dirty one while the other is being washed.  With this system you will always have a clean ashtray on hand for any one who smokes. 


Photos of houses for sale

by Julie Finch-Scally

I am in the habit of thumbing through magazines that have homes for sale looking at all the pictures.  Taking photos of a home to promote it for sale it an art and many photographers go to a great deal of trouble to adjust the rooms so they look perfect.

In a magazine this week I actually saw a pair of men’s slippers placed under the coffee table.  On further investigation the slippers actually added depth to the photo.  The room was pretty sparse and paintings were laying against the wall instead of being hung to create colour.  Because the photo had been taken with a wide angle lens and there was a large expanse of carpet at the bottom of the frame, the slippers helped to focus the eyes on the lounge setting.  

In the same magazine a photo had been taken of a small sitting room making it look larger by seeing through to the dining area.  The interesting part?  The sofa was wooden with bright blue material seating.  To set that off there was a stand alone coat rack at the edge of the frame which had bright caps, hats and coats hanging from the wooden hooks.  There was a bag hanging over the top of the coats of a similar colour to the sofa, tying the two items together in colour.  Yes there is an art to setting up a room to make it look livable, fresh and homely.

But: things can go wrong and should never be allowed to happen.  In a recent magazine I saw a picture of a kitchen.  It was fresh, clean and tidy, but right in the middle of the frame was the oven where the handle was attached to the door by only one screw.  In other words it was hanging down one side.  A missing screw is easy to replace, and in this case it was up to the Real Estate Agent to make sure the owners had repaired it before allowing the picture to be taken.  If the handle was falling off the oven door, what else was wrong?  Did the oven actually work?

The most amusing and intriguing picture was one I saw of a bathroom.  The room had full length windows and you could see the fog and trees outside.  The intriguing bit?  The bath was full of water.  Had the owner just been about to take a bath when the photographer arrived?  As the fog was still around the photographer could have arrived early.  Of course the bath could have been filled to obtain reflection of outside and light up the room.  Either way I was amused to see the bath filled and will be looking to see if this trick is used again.

When it comes to having the photo shoot of your home to use as promotion for sale of your property, you have just as much responsibility as the photographer to make your home look as presentable as possible.  If there is something broken, like the handle on the oven door, fix it.  People easily get the wrong impression when seeing silly little things unrepaired.  Remember with Home for Sale Photos you are trying to promote your property as the perfect place.  Try and make it look that way.  

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