Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The History of the Pet Rock

(ed note: I found this article online and thought that I would share it with you. If you are old enough to remember the "Pet Rock" enjoy the nostalgic walk back to a simpler time. If you are a member of the younger generation have a peek into the past and find out what occupided the minds of the pre-iPod Baby Boomer generation.)

In 1975, Gary Dahl, an advertising executive, launched the sale of a fad that would make him a millionaire. This great profit is even more impressive when one takes into account the short time in which the rocks were sold, only six months, and also the low cost of the product, about four dollars. Dahl's ingenious marketing involved commonplace gray pebbles, bought from a construction supplier, which were then sold as live pets. The idea was inspired by the hassle, mess, and money that pets such as cats or dogs or fish required. And so, Dahl began the productio,n and sale of the Pet Rock, which did not need to be walked, wouldn't cost hundreds in vet bills, and would not poop on the floor.

Specifics of Production

Dahl named the company "Rock Bottom Productions," and sold the rocks for $3.95 a piece. The pebbles were imported from Rosarito Beach in Baja California, Mexico, and then packaged in a small cardboard box, designed like a pet carrier. Dahl also created a "Pet Rock Training Manual," containing instructions on how to properly care for one's pet, including how to house train one's pet: "Place it on some old newspapers. The rock will never know what the paper is for and will require no further instruction." The instruction manual included such commands as sit, stay, roll over, play dead, and come.

Why would anyone ever buy a pet rock?

"If there were more fads, there would probably be a lot fewer psychiatrists." -Ben Hakuta, creator of Wacky Wall Walkers

Indeed, pet rocks give us more pleasure than we know. These pets support this argument through their very existence, showing us that it is not an actual item that brings joy to the child in the human mind, but merely the idea of the item. The pet sits in a niche in the mind, created by the power of the owners' imaginations. It is in the actual exercise of the mind that such pleasure is found. It is quite a valid point that finding such productive and effective uses of recreation time can be more preventative and beneficial to the health of our minds that even the most advanced psychological treatments.

People who purchased these unusual "pets" often gave them names, talked to them, petted them, and taught them to perform simple "tricks".

Pet rocks still live on

Like most fads, it never totally died out. There are memorial pages, spin-offs, and one can still purchase such a pet, though new manufacturers have given their rocks new features and looks. For instance, not many plain gray pebbles are sold any more. One can buy rocks that are inscribed, painted, and decorated in many a manner, lending the rock much more personality than afforded Dahl's creation. One can purchase a rock with an agenda, or one can buy a rock that is individually painted in memory of any dearly loved pet, or one can still purchase that rock that is completely void of previous perception, and let its idea grow in the mind.

Our line of polished and unpolished river stones are today's Pet Rock! Personalize your rock and make it special. We have hundreds of styles, shapes, and etchings available for your pleasure.

Stop by today and check out our extensive line of of river stones!

The Secret To Cheap Landscaping

Spring is in the air! Families can be seen leaving their homes and making their way to their yards. And who wants to spend time in a poorly groomed yard? No one! Make sure that this year's yard season is spent in the most beautiful surroundings possible with the help of a landscaping contractor.

There is only one no fail tip to cheap landscaping, and that is to use what you already have. Improvising is a key skill in life that can help you to save money on just about everything, especially landscaping. Very few yards are truly bare; they have natural dips and hollows, trees and maybe even some rocks. These can all be used to make your home beautiful and for a fraction of what it would cost to get a landscaper to come in with all his fancy flowers!

No matter what kinds of trees that you have in your home, they can be used to add splendor to the entire look and feel of your home. If they are small fluffy looking trees then use them as others use flowers. Their color can be a great selling point for your yard. If they are tall and majestic, that too can work for you. Trees are the most natural beauty in the world. By simply planting some flowers around them you can bring them to life! Another great idea is to build a simple bench under them. This bench is going to make it look like your home is a glorious park. What a great place to sit and read your favorite book!

Rocks, they are something that many people complain about but if used the right way they are great for the looks of your yard. Did you know that there are people who go out of their way to spend big bucks on rocks for their hardscape? It is true, and they are paying for the same kinds of rocks that you already have in your yard! Use what you have and you are looking at real cheap landscaping costs.

The best way to plant a rock so that it looks natural is to dig a couple of inches down. I know that sounds funny the looking natural part. I mean, if they are already in your yard, they are natural right? Wrong, they may be natural but that does not mean they look it. Good landscapes have rocks that are planted into the ground a bit. This way they do not look like they are sitting uncomfortably on the soil, they look like they are snuggled right in there. It makes a huge difference on the overall effect they are going to give.

Our engraved stones make for a beautiful addition to any backyard garden. Give a look

Who Else Wants To Learn How Landscaping With Rocks Can Make Your Garden Look Wonderful!

More people are becoming interested in the ways that the use of landscaping and rocks can improve open spaces. Landscape gardening is a catch all term that can be applied just as well to your back yard as it can to extensive parks and estates.

If you plan to start landscape gardening, then there are a few basics that you should be aware of first. Location is all important and swampy land should be avoided if possible. The best ground for landscaping is rising land that has good drainage which sloughs off the surface water. Landscaped gardens do better where there is a breeze circulating the site, there should also be exposure to plenty of sunlight.

If you do plan on getting involved with landscaping and rocks, then once you`ve established what type of land you have, you need to assess its size and shape. It`s no good coming up with some great landscaping ideas and then finding they`re too ambitious for the size of the land you are working on. Use rocks wherever the land is not good for plants and shrubs. There are plants that survive in rock gardens but they must be in a sunny space.

If the rocky part of your garden is on a slope and shady then there are numbers of woodland perennials and ferns that would be great. You can be quite clever in using landscaping and rocks because if you put your rocks on a slope then you won`t have to mow it.

Landscaping and rocks is a lot more successful when you take care over choosing your rocks and stones, as well as your plants. The stone that is native to your area may look the best because that is its natural habitat it will also be inexpensive and easy to obtain. Look for rocks and stones in different shapes and sizes, use a combination of shiny, matte, and pitted surfaces.

Start with the larger rocks in a variety of shapes, look for some that have natural dips or depressions in them, as you will be able to fill them with soil and plant moss or sedum (a ground cover plant with pink or yellow flowers). Whenever you go to get new stone and rocks, take a photograph of what`s already been done, that way you will know the type of rock or stone that will fit in your landscape and what won`t.

When you landscape a garden, you must let the natural conditions of the land guide you. It is no use putting sun loving plants in a shady spot and your rocks and fern in the sunshine. Take care when arranging your stones. If you have stones that are covered in moss then make sure that they are all facing the same way. Whatever characteristics your stones may have make sure that they are all together and facing the same direction. This gives your garden the look of the surrounding landscape it looks as though it belongs there, rather than it looking like a piece of ground where someone has dumped a load of rocks and stones.

If your garden is on a slope, fill in behind each rock as you work your way up the slope. Make sure that the pockets of soil are deeper round the larger stones. Then you can put small shrubs in between. After all the rocks are in place, then let them settle for a few days. Then stand back and take a look around just to make sure that you are happy with the layout before adding any plants. Above all, have fun with landscaping and rocks.

If you love landscaping as much as we do you have to check out our latest arrivals of river stones for your garden.

Look to the Ocean for Landscaping Rocks

There are many reasons why homeowners might want to incorporate landscaping rocks into their home. Some choose pebble-sized rocks to augment paths or gardens. Others choose larger rocks and use them as the centerpieces for certain areas of their yards. Regardless of their choice, homeowners who have access to an ocean should make use of it, as it provides lovely landscaping rocks.

Bringing a Bit of Nature Home

The best yard is the yard that makes use of natural elements in its design. While there are endless uses for landscaping rocks, the thing that matters the most is how those landscaping rocks complement the yard, and that is why rocks from the ocean are a wonderful choice.

When one thinks of ocean rocks, it is typical to think of the jagged rocks that result in sore feet while walking along the shoreline. However, while these jagged rocks can make for great landscaping rocks for a more modern style, it is the rocks often found beneath the sand that make for the real landscaping rock treasures.

The most beautiful ocean rocks are generally found just off the shoreline and beneath the sand because they have been smoothed by the tides. These rocks are thus often surprisingly ovular and come in many different sizes for any yard design one might wish to accomplish. In fact, their versatility as a landscape decoration can often be seen in the yards of homes that are near the ocean.

Beach rocks are often preferable to other types of landscaping rocks, because one disadvantage to the smaller types of landscaping rocks is that they tend to travel. Beach rocks meanwhile are preferable because of their unique shapes, which thus require only several of them for decoration at any one time.

Popular uses for these rocks are usually in the form of liners for front walkways, under trees, or as decoration for gardens. While these rocks come in natural white, beige, and blue colors, sometimes people choose to paint the rocks as added decoration.

It is important to note that while it is generally alright to take several rocks from a public beach, there are some beaches that do not allow people to take rocks from it, so it is important to obey the environmental rules above anything else. However, for those that live near a beach that has no strict rules, then take advantage of these wonderful natural landscaping rocks.

Spruce up your garden with our custom made landscaping rocks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

50th Wedding Anniversary Gifts

By: Jen Carter

The 50th wedding anniversary has been labeled the
"golden year" for a reason. Traditionally, the gift given to a
couple who have been married for fifty years, is gold. There's a
lot of history behind a couple that has been married for fifty
years. A ton of laughter, tears, and memories. Couples that have
been married this long deserve the best. Every spouse should see
that their significant other receives the best too.

As a tradition, gold is the ultimate choice for this
anniversary. But what should you purchase? A ring, earrings, a
pendant, bracelet? It can be a very difficult choice.
Nevertheless, a very popular choice is a ring. If your spouse
doesn't have a "mother's ring," a 50th anniversary provides an
excellent time to receive one. The birthstones of all the
children will be set into the ring. She'll absolutely cherish it.

Anniversary rings make an excellent gift to give or exchange
with your loved one. You can purchase a single ring, or a
ring-set to commemorate your vows to one another. The circle,
which is an infinite symbol, is a spectacular way to confirm
"forever." There are many different styles of anniversary rings
to choose from. Some are plain gold, others are fancy with
stones set into the ring. Shop around a bit before you commit to
a specific ring style.

The contemporary craze seems to be white-gold. Men and women
alike have been seen sporting white-gold wedding bands for the
last ten years. Sometimes the rings employ traditional yellow
gold in their design as well. The combination can be very
exquisite. Especially if it's simple and subtle. If the ring
looks tie-dye it's completely over done. A ring should be
detailed yet elegant. Consider that when shopping.

They say that diamonds are a girl's best friend. While it may be
true that women love diamonds, there are a lot of gorgeous
stones out there to choose from. Sapphire rings are very
elegant, as are Emerald and Ruby. Onyx, as bold and dramatic as
it is, just doesn't seem appropriate for an anniversary ring. An
additional choice which is light and subtle is an Amethyst
stone. Amethyst looks great with a combination of white-gold and
small diamonds.

Before choosing a stone for your spouse's ring, look through
their personal jewelry when they're not around. What type of
stones do they like? What type of gold? Most importantly, what's
their ring size? Once you've compiled these answers, shopping
should be a breeze.

But if rings aren't your fortified cup of tea, you may opt for
another form of jewelry. What about a personalized charm? Did
you know that they can actually take a picture and scan the
image into the gold? Because the image is actually etched into
the gold, you won't have to worry about the image fading, like
you might with a locket. The image can be current, or it can be
an older image. Many couples decide to go for a "remember when"
type of image. The photograph displays them at a much younger
stage. Although the idea is very modern, it has a beautiful

About the author:
Jen Carter is owner of My Wedding Blog, free wedding planner.

Our etched river stones make great bridal party gifts as well as personalized place cards for the reception. The riverstones can be engraved with your guest's name on one side and the happy couple's name and date of the wedding on the reverse side; making it a unique keepsake for many. many years to come.

Landscaping Ideas For California Modern Homes

By: Jason Sisilli

Joseph Eichler has made history, re-defining the American dream
home and pioneering the California modern design. Today, there
are countless ideas and approaches to landscaping, and the warm
California climate provides limitless possibilities for your
California modern home. But, to compliment the distinct
architecture of Eichler and other modern homes, there are some
landscaping guidelines that, if followed, will bring a beautiful
balance of nostalgia and modernism to your dwelling's outside

Mid-century modern architecture owes an obvious debt to Asian
design principles. This influence is observed in the rectilinear
geometries, open floor plans, multi functional rooms, and the
all-important direct connections between the interior of the
house and the adjacent garden. By following these three key
principles of an authentic Japanese garden, we can begin to
create an outside space that perfectly suits the mid century
modern design: simplicity in material selection and detailing,
appropriate plant choices, and design restraint.

Some examples of landscaping ideas that follow the above

- Allow the geometry of the home to guide the overall plan.
Resist the temptation to add elements that will distract or
cover the key architectural design elements of your home.

- Consider a mix of materials that provide an interesting
textural contrast inherent in the indoor-outdoor element of
Eichler design- think rock, stone, pavement, metal, mixed in
with lush grass grasses, moss, plants and trees.

- Play with simple, but striking geometric patterns and
contrast- think rectangular paving stones next to linear stalks
of bamboo.

- Balance the interplay between all elements. Repetition of
patterns is often signature. For this effect, first narrow the
scope of elements you wish to work with. You can then use these
well chosen elements in distinct ways. Good artists can create
masterpieces, using only a few colors.

- Select water-wise plants that maintain their foliage

- Consider a water feature, like a fountain.

The following is a list of possible plants, shrubs and trees to
consider using as accents and ground cover.

Accent Plants, Trees and Shrubs:

- Horsetail reed, Cape Rush, Papyrus and Feathergrasses

- Sedge, New Zealand Flax, Cordyline, Fountain Grass and Blue
Oat Grass

- Bamboo, Japanese Maples, Weeping Atlas Cedar, Smoke Trees,
Weeping Cherry, Purple Hop Bush

Ground cover: Grasses, Moss and Stones:

- Irish Moss, Baby's Tears, Dead Nettle, Black Mondo Grass

- Mexican Pebbles, River Rock, Pea Gravel, Decomposed Granite

About the author:

MarinDreamHouse provides you with an excellent guide to href="" target="_blank">Marin
County real estate and href=""
target="_blank">Marin County realtors. We are dedicated to
helping consumers understand the market, at a local level.

Stop by today and check out our extensive line of garden river stones!

Garden Stones Personalized

For thousands of years, humans have etched messages into stone. Whether it's symbols or artwork depicting history, or the modern equivalent of graffiti, stone art remains a popular form of expression today. One favorite use of natural stones is to mark and decorate gardens. At, you can decorate your garden with your name, your family name, names of flowers or plants, or any other word or symbol you'd like. Choose from our standard phrases or we'll engrave your own personal idea into a stone.

Because stones will stand the test of time, so will any message you engrave into them. For example, a bride and groom might use stones as wedding favors with the date of their wedding on them. Or, you could use it to propose to somebody or as a birthday gift during a milestone birthday year.

They make meaningful gifts and are a unique way to communicate messages. For instance, some churches like to hand out pocket-sized stones to their congregations. The stones are engraved with inspirational words like "love," "truth," and "wisdom." People can carry them around as a reminder whenever they need inspiration.

If you have a special request or a customized image you would like engraved onto a stone, please contact us. We will gladly give you a price quote for your specialized custom order. Celebrate your special occasion or give your customers a memento for visiting your city, state, casino, or hotel.

Welcome Spring with our personalized garden stone.