Over the years, many luthiers have traveled from China to Europe to learn the fine art of violinmaking from reputable schools in Germany, France and Italy. Some of the more highly trained and talented violinmakers set up workshops where they created quality instruments and trained new makers. One of these luthiers was Xueping Hu, founder of the Snow workshop in Beijing, China.
Though Snow is noted for its violins, the workshop also produces other handcrafted stringed instruments including violas, cellos and basses. As his six-worker shop grew into more than seventy craftsmen, Xueping Hu and his brother set up Snow Stringed Instruments, a wholesale company whose purpose was to distribute to retailers instruments hand-crafted solely in the Beijing workshop.
Snow’s produces a line of violins categorized into four types: basic, advanced, professional and performance. Most are based on Strad & Guarneri models. The basic models are high quality student violins to lower intermediate violins that retail from between $1,200 and $1,700 depending on whether a player orders a SV200, SV300 or SV400 model. Perfect for students, all SV models sound warm and resonant and are antiqued with hand-rubbed varnish and feature a top made of spruce and a back crafted from maple.
The PV models, or “advanced”, are crafted for higher intermediate and advanced violin players and range in price between $2,200 and $3,700 depending on whether one purchases the PV800, PV900 or the PV1000. These intermediate violins are made with higher-quality and longer-aged European tone woods. The varnish is higher-end, and offers the player more varied tones of color.
Snow violins are shipped from China to New York in ready-to-play condition. Once in New York, they undergo a battery of quality control tests by specialists to assure that the set up, tone and overall quality is up to standard. This is done before shipping the violins to retailers across the country.
Interestingly, even though these violins are set up and tested, most violin shops who stock snow violins will take the time to set up the violins yet again, according to the standards of the shop. This may include relocation of the sound post and new strings. By the time the violin reaches the hands of the player, it has received much attention from several craftsmen.
Many retail violin shops will pair Snow violin with different types of violin bows, cases and basic violin accessories in order to sell the Snow violin as an outfit. Prices will vary depending on the quality of the case and bow, but it is typically a good value to purchase an instrument as part of an outfit assembled by a knowledgeable maker.
You may find the thought of eating coffee grounds unpalatable, but they are full of antioxidants also called dietary phenolic compounds. These compounds promote heart health, perhaps more so than drinking coffee.
Antioxidants combat free radicals in the body which can cause cancer. They also help to protect our skin from the aging process.
Antioxidants can be found in many fresh foods. For example, spinach, beets, red cabbage, artichokes, kale, raspberries, strawberries, and pecans. Even dark chocolate is a source of antioxidants. In fact, it contains more antioxidants than blueberries and raspberries. If you eat cocoa-rich products such as dark chocolate, they can lower your blood pressure.
Coffee grounds are also useful for other things, so don't waste them. If you really don't think you could eat them (and why should you?) there are many things that you can do with them.
In the garden, coffee grounds are an excellent bug repellent, and nutritious for plants like roses. They are also a fertilizer and you can add wood ash or lime to the grounds to make a really good fertilizer. If you have a compost heap, add your coffee grounds to it because they are rich in nitrogen. It seems that worms are attracted to the grounds and so the soil in your garden will benefit from their activity.
Did you know that carrots just adore coffee grounds? If you mix your coffee grounds with your carrot seeds, you'll boost their growth. You'll get bigger and better carrots than ever before.
You can use the grounds in the house too. They absorb smells, so if you put some in an open container, they will neutralize food smells in your fridge and freezer. You can happily leave the container for a few weeks and the grounds will continue to work their magic.
The grounds are abrasive, so if you have stubborn stains on your kitchen counters, you can sprinkle some grounds onto a cleaning cloth (preferably an old one) you can scrub the counters without damaging them. You can also use them to clean dishes which have food stains that are tough to shift.
If you make your own candles, you can add the grounds to the wax and make coffee-scented candles.
You can even use coffee grounds to exfoliate your skin or make a facial with them. If you add the grounds to warm water and add a natural oil, you will have an excellent exfoliator. For a facial mix, try mixing 2 tablespoons of grounds to the same quantity of cocoa powder, a tablespoon of honey and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or whole milk.
There are many uses for coffee grounds, so don't throw them away even if you don't want to eat them!