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how to fix broken ceramics

How to Fix Broken Ceramics

By | Cleaning, Food for thought, Maintenance, Tips

Broken and Beautiful 

There is a beauty in the cracks of an object – seeing the bumps and bruises, the scratches and dents simply adds to the character and sentimental value of a piece.

How many times have you dropped a beloved (or not so beloved) piece and there’s nothing you can do about it?! The plate cracks as you’re packing or unpacking it from the bubble-wrap, the vase which falls to the floor and is shattered, someone brings it out of the cabinet and drops it…so many scenarios! Many times we end up sweeping it and throwing the broken bits out – folded in paper and out in the garbage bag to be forgotten it goes.

Yet, sometimes just sometimes there is the chance to salvage your ceramics in quite a whimsical way really.

What To Do

Fix it. I know what you’re thinking…it’s easier said than done and it will not look the same, but thankfully it’s not supposed to. Unless you take it to a conservator and they will do the job as it is supposed to be done, you have another option.

So how to make something broken beautiful?

It’s called ‘Kintsukuroi’. It is an ancient Japanese method of fixing your broken ceramics, giving them a particular edge as you line the broken bits together with a golden mixture that works like a glue. In the process of fixing the pottery with this gold or silver lacquer you also have to appreciate that the item is more beautiful for being broken.

So before you get angry with yourself (or anyone else for that matter), breathe and try to see it from a positive perspective!

The essence of the practice is focusing one’s intention on life’s hidden beauty and power.

 

You are essentially transforming pottery into a masterpiece. The transformation lies not only in putting the pieces of the broken item together but also in healing the fixer’s emotional state.

Process

You will need

– epoxy for ceramic

– gold mica powder

– disposable plate/paper

 

  1. The Epoxy

A fine balance of ingredients is required. If we add too much gold to the mixture the joints will be too soft to fuse. Yet if we add too much epoxy the adhesive bond becomes too brittle to establish a permanent bond.

Movement is also an issue. Be wary of moving too quickly or too slowly with the epoxy, or you will leave too much or too little of the mixture on the broken edge.

 

– mix a quarter of the epoxy with a pea-size amount of the gold powder

– combine it properly (you can use the end of a matchstick)

2. Examining the Broken Pieces

You need to re-experience every broken fragment to engage in the reconstruction process, so that you will be able to know their exact shape, position and feel. Every single piece must be returned to its original position.

 

– use a fresh matchstick and apply a fine line of the mixture to one of the broken edges

– align the other piece to it and press until the glue seeps between the seam, creating a fine line along the crack

– work in sections if you have a more complicated break

– the glue sets pretty quickly but keep an eye on them as the pieces set together

 

The “epoxy” in the analogy represents our attachment to positive reinforcement or to our expectation of how quickly we should be progressing. Being too attached to only fast and positive movement undermines our willingness to embrace setbacks. We have to be open to setbacks and to the possibility of “cure”.

The “gold” is an analogy for this desire to be healed.

Other Concepts

With this method of fixing you really have this feel of focus being shifted, from the impossible to the possible. Rumi, the great Persian poet addresses such a thought process in this way – The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

 

The process we have just described links to other Japanese concepts, these are a few –

Wabi-sabi: nothing is perfect and that is a good thing

Lki: sophistication without complication

Ma: the space defines what it surrounds and in turn is defined by it

Mono-no-aware: the passing of things

Kanketsu: simplicity through complexity

 

Taking all this is, you can appreciate the thought processes that go into repairing pottery and the art that is involved.

This a great opportunity to be able to combine the old with the more modern elements in your house too. You are literally accentuating the break rather than hiding it – thereby honouring its history.

Garage Storage Benefits

By | Cleaning, Exterior, important, Learning, Maintenance, Tips, Winter

Having garage storage is luxury for some, and an absolute necessity for others. Storing a car in a garage has numerous benefits, not least prolonging its longevity and protecting it from the elements. Here are some more reasons to look at investing in garage storage:

Avoid bird droppings

Bird droppings are acidic and will damage paintwork if left unattended to over a number of days. Storing your car in a garage means that it’ll be indoors for half of its life, so your dearest avian friends won’t be able to come and… relieve themselves on your pride and joy as often.

Halve the risk of break-ins or theft

If your car is kept in a garage overnight, there’s much less risk of a cheeky little so-and-so, who has a penchant for pinching things such as whole cars or the contents of said cars, giving it wholly unwanted attention.

Slow down the rusting process

In a hot country such as the one we live in, rusting isn’t as much of an issue as it is in colder places where roads are salted during autumn and winter to dissipate ice build-up on the roads. With that being said, if you live close to or along one of Malta’s many seafronts and just park your car on the street, you’re leaving it exposed to sea salt. A garage will help you avoid this problem. Garage storage also means that your car stays cooler for longer. Lots of heat means increased oxidation and in turn, rust.

Cheaper Insurance Premiums

Your insurer will rejoice if you have a garage in which to store your car, and this is because it is at less risk of being damaged or stolen than it would be if it was parked continuously on the street. Less risk means a cheaper premium, which means more money in your pocket, so you can buy more stuff you don’t need.

Keep Paintwork Sparkling

The Mediterranean sun shines incredibly strongly here in Malta, especially during the summer months. While you may enjoy basking in it yourself, making your skin all nice and brown, your car doesn’t as much. Using your garage storage for your car  for as long as possible means its bodywork will look newer for longer.

 

If your car is kept in garage storage it must mean a lot to you, let Briiz make it the best it can be with a car clean. Book online today.

Briiz Cleaning Malta

Teak Deck Cleaning

By | Boat, Cleaning, Exterior, Maintenance, Tips, Yacht

Even though you may have a sparkling clean boat or yacht, if you have teak decking which hasn’t been cleaned properly, it can let the whole look down. Teak cleaning isn’t too difficult to get right, however there are some basic steps you must take to get the best finish possible.

First off, it’s time to consider the material you’re working with. Although teak doesn’t rot, it can warp and begin to look dull if not properly maintained. It is however an extremely durable and resilient wood which can be returned to its best in the event that it has been left to the elements for an extended period of time.

A chemical cleaning on a teak surface should suffice to get it looking its best again, unlike other woods used on boat or yacht exteriors which require sanding and scraping. The thing is that you need to be careful with chemical cleaners, because they usually rely on acid to clean teak deeply, which can lead to bleaching on the surface of the wood as well as erosion.

The best thing to do to avoid resorting to using a chemical cleaner altogether is to never allow your teak decking to get into a state where it needs it in the first place.

The First Step

The level of discolouration to your teak will determine how much elbow grease it’s going to need to get it looking right again. Try a mild teak cleaner if the discolouration isn’t so bad – it should do the trick. Give the teak a good scrub with a semi-abrasive pad, ensuring you scrub evenly across the grain.

Once you’ve done this, wet down the area with water, clean with a detergent solution and rinse. If the wood comes out in the right shade, then it’s job done. If it’s still not looking right, then it’s time to go to a more powerful cleaner.

One-Part Cleaners

A one-part cleaner should be the next step you try. These normally come in powdered or liquid forms and contain one abrasive acid and one mild acid. Due to these ingredients, they have increased effectiveness over a detergent solution. Be sure to take care when handling – wear rubber gloves and eye protection due to the one-part cleaner’s acidity.

To use the one-part cleaner, simply wet down your teak deck, sprinkle or brush the cleaner onto it, scrub it down

Two-Part Cleaners

If the above still doesn’t produce satisfactory results, the next thing to do is get hold of a two-part liquid cleaner and use that. These contain powerful caustics and acids, therefore they need to be handled with extra care. They do a great job of brightening even the dullest teak deck, however you should ensure such a cleaner doesn’t end up on your skin or damaging adjacent surfaces.

In order to avoid the latter, wash down continuously with water. It is an absolute essential to wear rubber gloves when wearing a two-part cleaner, as it is to wear eye protection.

To use, wet down your teak deck, apply the caustic part of the cleaner by scrubbing the deck lightly with a bristle brush. Once the surface is a muddy brown colour, apply the second part of the cleaner, namely the acid. Use a bristle brush for this also, however use a new or clean one. Ensure that it is spread evenly. Once the colour starts looking right, it’s time to rinse off and allow it to dry.

A Guide to Car Detailing

By | Cleaning, Exterior, Interior, Maintenance, Uncategorized

While to some people car detailing means can mean a mere wax and wash, to others means a full cleaning and protection service inclusive of an interior shampoo and steam clean.

Start car detailing by evaluating your car’s paint. If its paint is smooth and contaminant-free, then there’s no need to do any other maintenance work than washing it thoroughly once a week. Spend a good 30 or 45 minutes to get a really good finish.

On the other hand, if you find that your car’s paint is stained and rough, then you’re going to need a lot more elbow grease than it takes to get a good finish when simply washing. Think about investing some 30 minutes to three hours of your time to achieve the best result.

Use a paint pre-wax cleaner next, as this will help eliminate any contaminants that are still present on your car’s paint surface. After you’ve gone over it using this kind of product, the next step is to evaluate the paint bit by bit in order to check for scratches and the depth of those scratches, if any. Most scratches will disappear using a good polish. Take one to five minutes on each scratch to ensure that it disappears.

Once you’ve polished your car’s entire surface sufficiently, the next car detailing step is to move on to waxing. Waxing your car should take you about 45 minutes to an hour. Repeat the process four times per year. A deep cleaning and polish needs to be undertaken just twice a year to ensure that your car’s paint looks just as it did when it left the showroom floor many years later.

Last but not least when it comes to exterior car detailing, pay good attention to your car’s wheels. Dull-looking, dirty and brake dust-covered wheels really age a car, so invest in a tyre and wheel cleaner. Have a big bucket of soapy water handy, together with a brush, and prepare to scrub them for 15 minutes apiece for the best finish.

Turning attention to your car’s interior, the first interior car detailing step to take is to evaluate how much effort you’re going to need to get it looking its best. If you’re a businessman who wears suits all day long, then it’s highly likely that you’re going to require less cleaning time than if you’re a mum driving about with two young kids in tow.

Start by vaccuuming regularly. We recommend vaccuuming twice each month for 10-15 minutes at a time. If you clean your car’s exterior regularly, doing so shouldn’t take you long. However, if you clean your car infrequently, then this job might take one to two hours to getting the interior fresh again. Pay special attention to the products you use – use a good interior shampoo for the seats in particular.

So there you have it!

 

If you care for your car to give it this much love and attention with car detailing, let Briiz give you a helping hand with the one of our many car cleaning services.

Vintage Car Cleaning

By | Cleaning, Exterior, important, Maintenance

Owning a vintage car requires that you take extra care while cleaning it due to the added fragility that come with age, wear and tear.

Products

The first thing you need to consider is which products you are using and whether they are suitable for your particular car. Secondly, if you do have a vintage car, you need to devote more time to care and maintenance in order to keep it in tip-top shape.

No Car Washes!

An automatic car wash is never really a good idea when you have an older car, and this is because it could have a detrimental impact to older paint. In addition, if you happen to have a convertible vintage car, then it’s likely that it came out of the factory with a roof that is prone to leakages. Automation is best avoided and traded in with tender, loving care in your garage or other covered workspace.

Gently Does It

If you can’t get a professional detailer to do it, then washing bodywork by hand is always recommended when it comes to a vintage car. All you need is a very soft sponge and a smidgen of gentle, detergent-free soap, together with plenty of time to get the finish right. If you come across any stubborn marks or stains, don’t fret – all you need to do is use a soft chamois leather cloth and rub the affected area as you’re drying the car.

Dry, Wax and Polish

A chamois leather is always advisable for drying because it will prevent any drip or watermarks from remaining on the paintwork. Dry in a circular motion with the chamois loose in your hands.
Next up, a wax and polish on a vintage car never go amiss. Make sure the wax you’re using is both appropriate for the kind of paint on your car, as well as the colour of that paint. Once you’ve done that, start by waxing areas that appear marked or stained. Wax may help loosen such stubborn stains, giving your car a refreshed look. A T-Cut may also be worth considering to restore the top layer of paint at this point.

Finishing Touches

Finally, polish your car with a dry lint-free cloth in a circular motion. Doing so will guarantee you the best finish. Make sure you go over the entire body surface of your vintage car, checking each panel for omissions before you move on to the next bit.

So there you have it!

7 Car Care Essentials

By | Cleaning, Exterior, Interior, Learning, Maintenance, Tips, Winter

This list may seem a little odd to you, but these things do really work! Here are 7 Car Care Essentials:

Nail polish remover

Dilute nail polish remover with a little water to remove any scuff marks from plastic trim pieces or rubbing strips. Wipe off immediately after using.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy will make any two broken bits of a car stick back together again. Use a two-part epoxy resin for the best results. Keep a small kit with you just in case you have a mishap while out on the road.

Penetrating Oil

A low-viscosity penetrating oil, of which WD-40 is a great example, can be used to free nuts and bolts that have rusted together. This is definitely a handy car care product to keep around, especially if you drive something older.

Duct Tape

Let’s say you run your bumper over a high pavement and it comes loose from its brackets. You’re obviously going to want to drive home with it, so a bit of duct tape to hold it in place temporarily will definitely come in handy. A very important car care essential, keep it in your glove compartment or boot/trunk of your car.

Tyre Cleaner

We all love shiny black tyres to complement our newly-cleaned car, so investing in a tyre cleaner allows you to give it the finishing touch it needs. This is the very last step of a thorough car clean.

Hand-held Vacuum Cleaner

Getting into all the nooks and crannies of our beloved rides can be a pain in the proverbials without a having a hand-held vacuum cleaner close by. These are great from removing annoyances from a car’s interior.

Microfibre Towels

The primary use for these on a car is for removing any residual water present on your car’s paintwork after a good wash, however they have a whole myriad of uses because they can be used anywhere and on any surface. Having one around might see you preventing a messy spill all over your car’s interior too. Probably the most essential car care essential of all!

10 Amazing Car Cleaning Tips

By | Cleaning, Exterior, important, Interior, Learning, Maintenance, Tips

In this blog, we’re going to tell you how to clean your car like the pros do. So let’s dive right in with 10 amazing car cleaning tips!

Air Compressor to get into Nooks and Crannies

Number one on our list of car cleaning tips is to use an air compressor to get all of the dirt that’s tough to remove from the corners of the footwells in your car. Blow these fragments into the centre for easy vacuuming.

Clean Air Vents to Keep New Car Smell

Ever wondered what the best way of keeping your smelling like new is? Clean out air vent with a small air compressor to remove dust and dirt. This will get rid of musty smells.

Use a Non-Acid-Based Tyre Cleaner

A non-acid-based tyre cleaner will prevent alloy wheels from bubbling while still making your tyres black and beautiful. Use it to remove brake dust too.

Hand-Wash the Exterior

Notice all our car cleaning tips are all done by hand, that is because going that extra mile for your car is worth it in the end. Hand-washing is the best way to clean a car’s exterior, and that’s the end of it. Don’t use liquid detergent in your bucket of water, because that strips away protective wax layers. Use a dedicated car washing product instead.

Use Paint Cleaning Product to Remove Contaminants

Use a paint cleaning liquid to take off tough pieces of dirt, such as bird droppings, which do not come off with a wash. Use a fine cloth in order to apply this and rub gently.

Give Her a Good Polish

Use an oscillating polishing machine and a market-leading polishing product to get the best finish. Giving your car a good polish in this way can make it look years newer.

Wax for Protection

Either liquid or paste wax will do as they both do the job equally well. Waxing your car thoroughly will keep its paint protected for up to a year before reapplication. Use a damp car cleaning sponge to apply the wax in the event that it didn’t come with an applicator. Giving your car a good wax is one of our most important car cleaning tips, it doesn’t just make her look good but she will be protected.

Reapply Wax Every Season

Seeing as there’s no way to tell if wax has lasted or is still present over your car’s entire surface, we recommend setting a fixed date at the change of every season in order to reapply it.

Make your Glass Shine

Invest in an ammonia-free glass cleaner and buff all your windows both inside and out with a microfibre cloth to finish off car cleaning.

Pay Attention to Detail

Last but not least on our list of car cleaning tips is to go over your car inside and out to make sure you haven’t missed a spot. Repeat the steps above as needed for any problem areas.

 

That is our full list of car cleaning tips, should you not fancy doing it for yourself, check out are car cleaning services and let Briiz do the dirty work for you. Book now: briiz.com.mt/car-bookings

RIB vs Boat

By | Boat, Learning, Maintenance

When looking at purchasing a small watercraft, many people face the same dilemma – whether to go for a rigid inflatable boat, or RIB, or a solid-hulled boat, such as a boat with a fibreglass hull. At this stage, weighing up the pros and cons of the RIB vs. boat debate is highly important, as this will ultimately determine which is the right choice for you.

The primary difference between the two types of vessel is the weight. A RIB will always be much lighter than a solid-hulled boat of the same size, so if you’re intent on carrying either aboard a larger vessel, this is an important consideration to make.

Important Considerations

One problem which you’ll likely encounter with a RIB which doesn’t occur with a solid-hulled boat is leaking inflatable tubes, which make up the RIB’s structure. Usually tubes start to leak after five years or so, with re-tubing being performed at the seven-year mark. Although modern RIBs are much better than those being sold new just a few years ago, it’s still an important consideration to make. Naturally tubes aren’t an issue on a solid-hulled boat, but that doesn’t mean to say that they don’t need maintaining either.

People who have owned both RIBs and solid-hulled boats say that RIBs offer various advantages, such as stability when stepping on and off them, their equivalent performance to solid-hulled boat in rough seas, better seating arrangement for travelling with a number of people on board, and, as aforementioned, their lightness.

RIB Drawbacks and Conclusion

A drawback of a RIB over a similarly-sized solid-hulled boat is that they are designed for continuous movement – they’re not really vessels for laying anchor and doing a spot of fishing on. So while a RIB can be practical in a wide variety of scenarios, there are certain things which they’re not ideal for.

In addition, you’re also more exposed to the elements in a RIB than you are aboard a solid-hulled boat. To conclude, it’s probably best to consider a RIB as a craft you’ll go out on for a bit of fun in good weather, whereas a solid-hulled boat is for those seeking a craft that’s a bit more of an all-rounder.

Correct Rib Maintenance

By | Boat, Cleaning, Exterior, important, Interior, Maintenance, servicing, Winter

As with any type of boat, maintenance of your Rigid Inflatable Boat, or rib, will help maintain both its value and its longevity for many a year to come if done properly.

The most important time to consider rib care and maintenance is at the end of the season, when the full scope of wear and tear incurred becomes apparent. Should you not have the required knowledge, skill or expertise in order to ensure that your Rib is being taken care of properly, then we recommend you bring in a dedicated boat mechanic how will know his way round your rib better than you do.

End of Season

When you take your rib out of the water at the end of the season, ensure that non-lubricated parts of your rib have not become stuck, establish whether any water has entered its tailfin and check that its engine starts without problems.

Apply antifouling if it applies to the kind of material your particular rib is made out of. Check all accessories to ensure they are in good working order. In addition, lubricate any moving parts and preserve petrol in its tank over the winter.

Engine Considerations

With specific reference to your engine, replace its oil and filter if you have a four-stroke engine. The petrol filter should also be replaced. Check your engine’s spark plugs and replace them if necessary. Clean it block if there is any leftover residue, together with applying an anti-corrosion later and lubricating any moving parts. Also change the tailfin oil, check your engine’s propeller and lubricate the propeller shaft. Conduct an engine diagnosis if possible too to check if there is anything wrong which may not be immediately apparent through observation.

Fabric

Also pay special attention to your Rib’s fabric at all times, because it is obviously made out of material which can wear down if not maintained properly.

How to Care for your Boat

By | Boat, Cleaning, Exterior, Interior, Learning, Maintenance, servicing, Uncategorized

Regardless of the kind of boat you own, it’s important to care for it properly in order to ensure your safety and maintain its longevity. Care for your boat with pride! In this entry, we tell you exactly how to do it.

Storage

If indoor storage is an option for you, then we highly encourage you to store your boat indoors. It provides the best protection and care for your boat against the elements bar none. Rain, cold, wind and UV rays in the sunnier months can all cause damage to your boat, so it is best they are avoided it when it isn’t in use. Cover it up to prevent moisture, dust and debris build-up.

Routine Maintenance

It’s important to check over key aspects of your boat routinely and see to them if and when needed. If you don’t have any technical know-how whatsoever, take a course in basic boat maintenance. The most important things to consider are your boat’s bilge pumps, engine, oil, electrical system, propeller and hull.

Regular Cleaning

Think about all the things that could affect your boat’s hull, namely aquatic pests such as barnacles attaching themselves to it, algae, plant growth and rust. Not only do all these things corrode your hull, they also can make you boat perform less efficiently, affecting its performance. Set up a cleaning schedule which is devised according to how much time your boat spends in the sea.

Get Insured

Boat insurance is always a good thing to have in order to care for your boat, because you never know what might go wrong both when it’s moored or when you’re at sea. Take a look at a previously blog entry to find who our recommended insurer is.