Tips for artwork

Professional framer Andy Parks teaches all you need to know to frame your own artwork in "The Picture Framing Handbook."

Parks covers matting, mounting and framing techniques for everything from simple photos and prints to three-dimensional objects. The book also covers advanced techniques such as decorating a mat with watercolors and gilding a frame, and it gives tips for displaying art effectively.

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"The Picture Framing Handbook: Matting, Mounting, and Framing Techniques for Professional Results" is published by Watson-Guptill and sells for $24.95 in softcover.

Wake up easier

Waking up is already hard enough, and an annoying alarm clock only makes it worse.

Philips Wake-up Light, an alarm clock that simulates natural sunrise, helps enhance the quality of waking. The light gradually turns on 30 minutes before your programmed wake-up time, preparing your body for the day. Once the 30 minutes are up, there is the option of four natural sounds, FM radio or music from your iPod or iPhone (Music version only).

The alarm also features a dusk simulator that can be incorporated into a nighttime routine to help you prepare for sleep. Wake-up Light Premium is $169.99 and Wake-up Light Music is $199.99.

Live greener

They are all over the Internet, those lists of things you can do to live greener in 2010. Here's one more, compiled from several sites, in case you've ignored the others.

n Take reusable grocery bags to the store. It cuts down on the use of hundreds of plastic bags per person, per year.

n Buy reusable water bottles, above, made from stainless steel or aluminum. It takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic container for a one-liter bottle of water.

n Use recycled disposables such as Reynolds aluminum foil and paper towels.

n Avoid unwanted catalogs by visiting to put a stop to them.

n Go "unplugged" and reduce your consumption of electrical energy by unplugging electronics when they're not in use. Phone chargers draw energy all day long when they're left plugged into the wall, and electronics can use 40 percent of their regular running energy when plugged in on standby.

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