The first time I stated started painting with, I damaged several electric sharpeners before I could get satisfied with the pastel point. The pastel would cut off and get jammed inside the sharpener, and I couldn’t access the blades to dig them out nor get them out completely. I visited several bookstores and online shopping platforms looking for a pencil sharpener that suit my needs and I settled on Creative Mark MultiPoint. After one year and a half, the blades became dull and wouldn’t sharpen well.
Evidently, I needed a new pastel sharpener as workmanship of my work is very critical. While I was planning to order another MultiPoint Pastel Sharpener, I came across Ray’s videos on YouTube talking about her pencils. Check the video out if you haven’t seen it yet. She had an eye catching review and her pencil points were very nice and I was tempted to ask her about the amazing sharpener she used. She told me that she uses the X-Acto Powerhouse Sharpener. I was intrigued to buy one and right now I am using one of them which I bought yesterday.

You might be in a dilemma on which type to use. Well lean back and let me explain the advantages and disadvantages of each sharpener to help you make an informed decision.
I will begin with the MultiPoint Sharpener which I bought at Tony’s Artarama for approximately $25.
• It accepts pencils of standard to thick lead from 8mm – 12 mm in diameter
• It accepts either triangular, round or hexagonal pencil shapes
• It gives you the choice to have a flat – razor shape point
• If a pastel lead cuts off, you can poke it out with a sharp object by opening the shavings receptacle
• It is very rare that a pencil will break off
• The clamp is unstable and I couldn’t get it to stand on anything. Most of the time I used to put it on my knees while sharpening.
• The claim that it’s a “one hand operated” is a joke. Yes, the automatic feeding clutch works (most of the time), but since the clamp isn’t stable, one hand is forced to hold the sharpener in place.
• The clutch chews up the exterior part of the pencil, which may or may not be a bother to you.
• It is programmed to give a certain sharp point (not what you want) and stops sharpening automatically
• It has no warranty therefore prepare to replace it every year and less than a year if you are a frequent user.

Having talked about MultiPoint Sharpeners, let me embark on the X-Acto Powerhouse which I Purchased from Office Max at $33.

• The sharpening results are amazing
• It is designed with suction feet that make it stand firm on the working table.
• It features high performance motor that sharpens even the tough wood with precision and speed.
• It has a Safe Start that prevents blades from functioning when the receptacle is removed.
• The manufacturer offers 2 years of warranty
• It doesn’t accept different standard of pencil sizes

So far I that’s the only disadvantage I could identify.

I also bought different brands of pencil to add to my stock of pencil/pastels. I have a full set of Creatacolors, Pitts, Contes, General, Derwentsand CarbOthellos. When you get used to one brand of pencils you might think it’s the only one in the market with superior qualities. Well, you might need to rethink that and try out the above brands.

Just to mention some properties, CarbOthellos fit very nicely to the sharpener, Derwents are snug but will go in with some force and it takes some other force to remove them as well, Pitts go in faintly easier than Derwents, but not as CarbOthellos, Creatacolors and general go in with ease, and Contes will not go in at all.

The sharp tip produced by the X-Acto Powerhouse is exciting and the two years warranty is attractive. I might buy another MultiPoint as a backup, and for the Pitts pencils if I have to buy another set (Those Pencil are very superb!). Enjoy any pencil/pastel by always keeping them sharp and shaped.


Perineal massage involves gently massaging the perineum, which is the skin between the vagina and the anus. Perineal massage is done during pregnancy’s last few weeks. Perineal massage has been shown to reduce the occurrence of episiotomy. Perineal tears too during childbirth too reduce.

Most women individually decide whether an episiotomy is required or not. However, this decision must be postponed until crowning. The doctor can assess the perineum and offer a reasonable solution. A slow delivery that is controlled is crucial for the perineum to remain intact. This reduces the chances of laceration. It is important to minimize fetal distress. The woman and her partner must closely follow the doctor’s recommendations on when to push and when not to. Perineal massage reduces the risk of laceration. The need for episiotomy is also reduced.

Perineal massage causes the perineum to become elastic and supple. This reduces the risk of perineal tearing. An episiotomy, too, would not be required. Perineal massage prepares the mother for sensations of pressure and stretching, when the head of the baby begins to crown. Becoming aware of these feelings is crucial to the mother’s relaxation. This can also lead to a quicker birth. Tension in the body will delay the birth process.w2

Following a perineal massage, the mother may experience new emotions. You can always discuss these feelings with your partner. This can lead to mutual appreciation. Some of the most common emotions include fear, love, excitement and uncertainty.

Perineal massage prior to labor eases the muscles around the head of the baby when it begins to crown. It benefits the mother as well as the child. The perineum is highly sensitive during childbirth. Hence, perineal massage is always advisable.

Perineal massage can be performed by the mother or her partner. There are several tips that partners should keep in mind:

Good listening skills
Enjoy the time of being together.
Take responsibility for household chores.
Communication is vital. Discuss your feelings, and clarify all doubts.
Pamper your partner.

There are several things that you should keep in mind before a perineal massage:

Wash your hands and choose a comfortable place, such as bedroom or bathroom.
Be seated in a comfortable position. A bath with lukewarm water will do wonders for relaxation of the perineum.
Use a lubricant that is water soluble such as KY Jelly. Alternatively, you can use vegetable oil, olive oil, or Vitamin E oil on the hands and perineum.
The thumb needs to enter the vagina slightly.
Apply little pressure toward the rectum till a sensation of tingling and burning is felt.
Take a deep breath
Massage the sides of the vagina, and follow a U-shaped movement
Repeat for one more time.


There is fetal development week by week. Fetal development week by week is a remarkable phenomenon. Prenatal development is spread over three trimesters. In the first and second months of pregnancy, the fetus is called an embryo. The embryo comprises of three layers, which lead to the development of all body organs. Fetus is a term used during the second trimester. In the third trimester, the term baby is used.

First Trimester

Month 1:
Fertilization takes place. The ovum descends to the uterus. Cell division takes place with the embryonic disc formation. The embryo has three layers: ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm. The uterus has a special cell layer that forms the placenta. It is through the placenta that nutritive substances are passed from mother to baby. Cells form amnion which encapsulates the embryo. The nervous system is formed. By the end of the first month, the length of an embryo is one-fourth of an inch. The embryo has a crescent shape.
Month 2:
The size of the embryo increases. There is development of bone and muscles. Face and neck are formed. Features of a human being are developed. The forehead gets prominent. The brain develops at a fast pace. There is elongation of the limp buds. Cartilage and muscles tend to develop. There is formation of the sex organs.

Month 3:
The fetal period begins. There is further differentiation of sex. The sexual organs become prominent. Foundation for teeth is laid down. Vocal cords are developed. There is activity in the digestive system. Cells of the stomach secrete fluid. Liver begins to secrete bile. Kidneys start to function, and the urine begins to seep into the amniotic fluid. There is spontaneous development of arms, legs, fingers, and shoulders.

Second Trimester

Month 4:
There is rapid development of the lower part of the body. Straightening of the back takes place. Hands and feet are formed. The skin becomes dark red because of the thin layer of skin. Muscles become mature, and reflexes get more active. There is a lot of movement of arms and legs.

Month 5:
The fetus begins to develop skin. There is development of the sweat and sebaceous glands. Nails, hair, toes and fingers begin to develop. The fetus weighs nearly one pound.

Month 6:
Complete formation of eyes takes place. The eyelids begin to open. Appearance of taste buds on the tongue.

Third Trimester

Month 7:
Organism is capable of independent living. The complete brain is covered by cerebral hemispheres. Each fetus is capable of variegated responses. The fetus weighs nearly three pounds.

Month 8 and 9:

Different organs are fully developed. The wrinkled skin is smoothed by the body fat. Reddish pigmentation of the skin disappears. Heart rate increases. Excess waste products are eliminated by the digestive system. On birth, the baby excretes meconium. The uterus experiences violent contractions, leading to the birth of the baby.