Category Archives: News

What Is Washi Tape: Functional and Decorative Washi Tape Uses

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So what is washi tape? Many people have heard the term but are unsure of the many potential decorative washi tape uses, and how it can best be employed once it has been purchased. In fact it has dozens of uses, and many use it as gift wrap or as an everyday item in their home. We shall explain here what this type of craft tape can be used for, including its sealing tape and decorative properties. Fundamentally, it is a type of Japanese paper. In fact the name itself indicates that: Wa + shi = Japanese + paper.

How is WASHI Tape Made?

Washi tape is produced from the pulped fibers of a number of plant species. Among these are fibers from the rice plant, hemp, bamboo, the mitsamuta shrub and gampi bark. The source is largely irrelevant to its main properties, which are fundamentally those of a regular paper masking tape. It is easily torn, can printed and possesses adhesive properties light enough to be peeled off the substrate but strong enough to be of use for packaging.

Unlike normal paper made from wood pulp, washi tape possesses a semi-translucent quality, so that you see light shining through it. Two of the main reasons why it is so special are that it can be printed in an unlimited range of colors and patterns, and it offers a beautiful option for those seeking a strong craft tape that can also be used for packaging. The tape can even be peeled from tissue paper if done carefully.

Washi Tape Uses

There are many washi tape uses. It can be printed with single solid colors, or with any beautiful design for use as a decorative tape for craft or functional applications. Because of its unusual strength for a form of paper, this unique tape is used to decorate and secure a number of household items where a strong bond is not essential.

Some use it to fix notes to their freezer or wallboards, and it is also useful for sealing small gifts. However, because washi tape can be peeled off, there is a compromise between its sealing power and removability. It is not recommended for sealing bulky or heavy packages, but is a lovely way to seal light packets intended for special people.

When using it to seal light packaging always make sure the substrate is dry and non-greasy, and that your hands are clean when you apply it. It is not a good security tape, but its decorative properties are excellent!

Washi tape is a popular decorating medium for items such as flower pots, vases, lampshades and tablet and laptop covers. It is also useful for decorating cups, saucers, tumblers, glasses and other forms of tableware because it offers a degree of water resistance. However, there are many different types of this tape, and not all will resist being washed with water unless done very gently.

Many Japanese use washi tape to decorate their chopsticks. You can use the tape to identify your own cutlery and crockery in a student flat, or to turn an ordinary table or desk into a beautiful work of art. The uses to which this decorative sealing and craft tape can be put are limited only by your imagination.

Craft Tape or Cosmetic Tape?

Washi tape has a number of cosmetic uses. You can brighten up your personal appearance by using adhesive washi tape on your toenails and fingernails. Brighten up your bicycle frame and decorate your car or van with this extremely versatile tape. You can use it on any smooth surface, even glass. If used on your windows, its semi-translucent properties will literally make the design glow.

It is because it is available in a wide variety of beautiful designs and vibrant colors that it has become so popular worldwide. Yes, it can be used a packaging tape for small parcels (though check its strength on these first), and it has several more functional uses that you can likely think of, but it is for their beauty that such tapes are popular.

You can’t go wrong by using washi tape for any decorative or craft purpose. It has not been so popular all round the world for no reason – washi tape speaks for itself and you will be astounded by its beauty when you first use it.

Washi Tape Summary

So, what is washi tape? It is a Japanese craft tape that can be used a sealing tape or for decorative purposes. It can easily be removed and reused for another purpose. It can be cleaned with a damp cloth, but only if you treat it gently and do not rub it hard. Its translucent properties offer a number of opportunities for its use to decorate lampshades and even fluorescent light tubes. Quite frankly, the potential uses of this beautiful tape are limited only by your imagination… and it seals packages!


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Why I Have Gel Manicures Now

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I used to get acrylics whenever I would go to the nail salon. That changed not long ago when my manicurist asked me if I wanted to have a gel manicure in Singapore instead. She said they were running a special on it to promote it. I used to get acrylics because they are cheaper, but also because if I broke one I could just fix it at home on my own. The only things I knew about gel nails was that they were more expensive and harder to fix at home if one would break.

I am not in the habit of breaking my nails, and in fact had only broken two in the last few years. Continue reading

Natural Soap Colorants

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There are many options when it comes to coloring your homemade soap. Artificial colorants are often more vibrant than natural colorants, but many people like the idea of using all-natural ingredients in their soap.

There are also safety concerns with some artificial colorants, and they can have some unanticipated effects on the final soap product. If you decide to use natural colorants for your soap, there are endless possibilities to choose from, and you can give your soap almost any hue you desire.

Many of the natural materials you can use to color soap can be found in your kitchen, or local supermarket, and many are already used to color food and drug products.

These dyes can easily be extracted from fruits, vegetables, spices and even your morning coffee.

For example, beets will yield a dye that is bright purple, and depending on how much you use, will turn your soap pale pink to a deep red. To make the dye, cut the beets into half-inch slices, and boil three cups of beet slices in two cups of water.

Red onions will produce a red dye that will turn your soap reddish-brown; to make the dye you’ll use only the skin, so the onions can be used for cooking later.

Remove the outermost dry layers of skin, and the first moist layer; boil two cups of skins in three cups of water.

Red cabbage, oddly enough, produces an inky blue dye, which can be used to color soap pastel to deep blue.

Shred one head of cabbage, and boil it in two cups of water until the cabbage itself is a pale blue.

If the dye you get using these methods isn’t concentrated enough for your tastes, simply boil the mixture longer to evaporate more water.

Be sure to strain the liquid through cheesecloth before use, to ensure that any vegetable matter is removed.

Typically, you will add your homemade dye at trace, or when hand-milling a batch of cold-process soap.

You can use spices to dye soap as well, but the dye needs to be oil-based, instead of water-based.

Making an oil-based dye from spices involves three simple steps. First, mix two teaspoons of the spice with two tablespoons of oil. Let the spice soak in the oil for a while.

Next, heat the oil and spice mixture in the microwave for one to two minutes. Finally, strain the mixture through cheesecloth, or a coffee filter, to remove the spice particles, and you’ll be left with an oil-based dye that retained the color of the spice you used. Here is a list of some common food-based, homemade dyes, and the colors they will yield in your soap. (Always test dyes before use, to avoid unwanted results in final soap product.)

oAlfalfa – medium green

oAlkanet – deep purple to muted blue

oBeet root – muted pink to red

oGround calendula petals – yellow

oCarrots – yellow to orange

oGround chamomile – yellow-beige

oChlorophyll – medium green

oCinnamon – tan to brown (can be an irritant)

oCloves – brown

oCochineal powder – deep red

oCocoa powder – brown

oCoffee – brown to black

oComfrey root – light milky brown

oCucumber – bright green

oCurry powder – yellow

oElderberries – light brown (steep in lye solution)

oHenna, ground – olive green, drab green, greenish-brown

oIndigo root – deep blues (can stain)

oJojoba beads – come in many colors, and are exfoliating

oKaolin Clay – white

oKelp/seaweed – green

oMadder root – rosy red to purple

oMilk (goat’s or cow’s) – tan to brown, depending upon sugar & fat content

oMoroccan Red Clay – brick red

oPaprika – light peach to salmon (can be an irritant)

oPoppy Seeds – blue-grey to black specks

oPumice, ground – grey (also exfoliating)

oPumpkin, pureed – deep orange

oRattanjot – lavender to purple

oRose Pink Clay – brick red

oRosehips, ground – tan to deep brown

oSafflower Petals – yellow to deep orange

oSaffron – yellow

oSage – green

oSpinach – light green

oSpirulina – blue-green

oTitanium Dioxide – bright white

oTurmeric – gold to amber


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How To Care For Your Mudcloth

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The African mud cloth is an intriguing piece of artwork that has been made for centuries. Originally from the nation of Mali, the cotton-based fabric is a cultural treasure, and the unique designs that adorn it are handmade by African artisans.

Once the cotton strips are sewn together on a loom, they are then stitched together by a professional tailor, so that the cloth becomes large enough to suit various functions, such as for curtains, furniture covers, or clothing.

The delicate process of making and painting a mudcloth involves many coats of using fermented mud which was gathered from local African rivers. The artists use this mud to create the darker portions of their designs, and then use a caustic solution to bleach the areas that are not covered with mud.

Thus, whenever you find yourself with a mudcloth, whether you bought it, are borrowing it, or are just caring for it, you need to keep in mind that it is fundamentally made of cotton– which is a perishable material– and mud, which can be washed off significantly if the cleaning process is too harsh. This is a fabric that needs extra special attention and care to last long. And, if you’re an interior designer, you might be interested in a long-lasting African mud cloth from Acaciawood.

So, the first step in caring for the mud cloth is pre-washing it. This is a simple step used to prepare the cloth for the various crafts or sewing that you might use it for. This pre-washing will remove any excess dirt or dye that still might be in the material. After this stage, the fabric will become softer and smoother to the touch.

Before doing the pre-wash, or any kind of washing of the mudcloth, it is best to test a small piece of any part of the fabric to make sure the cleaning agent and/or detergent works properly. If you have never cleaned a mudcloth before with a certain kind of detergent, it is best to test it. But, once you know that a detergent works well, you can use it on future mudcloths.

Most detergents will work well, but it is best to take the extra precaution. Avoid using the harsher kinds of detergents and soaps as you can never be quite sure of the chemical reaction that might take place with the dyes of the fabric and the cleaning agent.

The precise method of cleaning can be by machine washing, or by hand washing. If you decide that you will clean your mudcloth in a washing machine, the best thing for you to do is place the fabric in a lingerie bag and wash it in cold water. You also want to use a gentle cycle with not too much agitation, and a mild detergent without extra chemicals (as mentioned above). Avoid the warm water and harsher cycles on your machine as this may cause extra wear on the fabric and cause the colors to fade.

Also note that in the washing the water may turn a dark color initially due to the presence of the mud dyes. This is normal, but your washing machine may require an extra rinse before you wash other clothes. To dry, hang it up in the sun, or lay it out flat to dry. The mudcloth can be ironed with a steam-iron if you so desire, although keep in mind that too much steam will wear out the fabric in the long-term. Use the “cotton” setting on the iron or a cooler setting.


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4 Things You Can Make With Metal Beads Besides Jewelry

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Beads are one of the most diverse craft item you can find and use to make all sorts of projects. Metal beads in particular add an interesting accent to any piece. Jewelry is not the only thing you can make with these fantastic supplies however. There are tons of projects you can do as a family, for profit, or just as an interesting pastimes. Here are four things you can make with these beads that are not jewelry.

#1 – Adornments

Adornments, for shirts, hats, purses, and sneakers, are a great thing to use these beads for. Make your shoes really stand out by lacing the beads into your shoelaces and the sides of the shoe. Go steampunk retro by stitching a few copper beads into your white lace shirt. Print out your favorite sports team logo on a ball cap with some beads, and you are sure to stand out at the next ball game. All of these crafts require, is a simple grasp of sewing and a good imagination.

#2 – Ornaments

You can also make whole ornaments and structures out of these attractive beads. Transform a drab and regular Christmas ornament with some lace and decorative beads. Create your own miniature wind chime set by setting larger beads against a metal plate with good resonance. Tassels and ornamental statues can also be spruced up with a well-made metal bead wrapping or seat. These beads also make interesting barrier screens, for those still into beaded gateways.

#3 – Three Dimensional Crafts

Other beads are used for toys and bookmarks, why not metal beads? A beaded elephant toy is fun, and would look even better with a steely beaded body. Mark your place with a beaded bookmark. Industrial flower arrangements with beads look great as well with the right colors. Woven works with unique beads are also a huge hit, you can even make the skeletons of buildings with the right tools. As with other projects, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

#4 – Clothing

Beaded clothing has gone out of style during the last few years, but that is not stopping you from trying on a metal beaded shirt. These fun projects will be the center of your “goofy day” wardrobe. You can make this shirt with all colors and styles of different beads to create a cool color pattern or design. This is a great, fun thing to wear at the club, or goofy casual office days. Be careful if you are allergic to certain metals, as many metal beads are composed of several different metal composites.

Conclusion

The most important thing to remember when crafting with beads, is to have fun and be creative. You can make almost anything with the right tools and an imaginative mind. Next time you are looking for a fun and expressive craft item to try, consider using metal beads in your next piece.


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Saponification – How to Make Soap

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What is saponification? It is a scientific term, often, used when making homemade soap. Saponification is a chemical reaction that occurs between oil and lye. What is it important? Each soap making oil has certain saponification values and properties which contribute to more than making soap. These oils help to form many homemade skin care products such as: soaps, lotions, creams, foot scrubs, shampoos, face cream, lip balms, and more! Understanding saponification, its values and how ingredients work together will help you choose the right ingredients for your homemade skin care products. What should you consider?

Soap making oils contain different acidic ingredients: lauric, myristic, palmitic, stearic, linoleic, oleic and ricinoleic. Each of these ingredients are contained in soap making oils at different percentages. When you consider the percentage values, of each ingredient, it will help you make the right soap making choice for your homemade skin care products. For example, lauric, myristic, palmitic and stearic acids help to provide a hard bar of soap. Most people would rather have a hard bar of soap instead of something soft and mushy. If you want soap that provides a nice fluffy lather then you may consider using a soap making oil containing lauric, myristic, or ricinoleic acids. If you would rather have soap that did not lather, fully, but had a stable, subdued, lather then palmitic, stearic or ricinoleic acids would be a good choice. If you are making soap, lotions or other homemade skin care products with added conditioning properties then linoleic and oleic acids would be beneficial.

Saponification values are given for homemade bar soap with the abbreviations NoAH. They are, also, given for homemade liquid soap with the abbreviations KOH. The science definitions for NoAH is sodium hydroxide and for KOH, it is potassium hydroxide. NoAH and KOH saponification values occur for many different soap making oils. It is important to consider each value before making homemade soap or any homemade skin care product!

Saponification is the key to understanding the scientific formation of soap. Handmade soaps are formulated using a combination of emollient oils and butters, such as: olive, avocado, cocoa or shea butter. The lathering oils may be added such as: coconut or palm kernel oils. All of these oils are mixed together with liquid saturated lye. How will you know when the saponification process is complete? You will know because there will be no more lye left in the mixture. In reality, each type of soap making oil requires a different amount of lye to produce the complete reaction. Today’s savonnier has tools to calculate exact ratios of specific oils to lye.

When making homemade soap or any homemade skin care products you should heed all warnings! Potent chemicals such as essential oils and lye should always be respected. Make sure you take the proper safety precautions before using these chemicals. Large amounts of essential oils should never be used externally or internally. They should never be used straight, but should be diluted in a carrier oil, soap, lotion or other buffering agent. Never use essential oils without knowing what their bioactive compounds are known to do. When handling lye make sure you are wearing proper safety coverings. Lye can cause extremely painful burns if it contacts skin. If you happen to spill lye, clean the entire area with white vinegar to neutralize its effects.

It is important to know, you should not substitute oils in soap making recipes. Why? Each soap making oil has a specific saponification value, which specifies the number of lye molecules needed to turn a molecule of oil into soap. If there is extra lye left in the soap, it will be too harsh and will damage your skin. This is why understanding the meaning of saponification and how it works is so very important when making homemade soap or any homemade skin care products!

If you are a beginner or veteran soap maker you can learn how to make soap, at home, with a master soap maker! You can waste a lot of time, money and energy trying to figure out the soap making process on your own. A master soap maker can help you get started or refresh your memory! Making homemade skin care products is a serious matter, so learn how to make soap from someone with years of experience and plenty of patience! A master soap maker can help save you time, money and lots of heartaches. You can achieve soap making success with the proper guidance!


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Adhesives – Seven Ways to Make Paper Craft Projects Without Using Glue and Tape

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It is very easy to reach for my double sided tape or any of my various glues when paper crafting. One of the things I love about paper is that there are often many ways to achieve the result you want. Adhering things with glues and tapes are just one way of making your elements stay where you want them. Come with me to look at a few other ideas for making things stick!

You can make your project without any adhesives at all. Taking a challenge to do so is a fun way to inspire yourself. Here are seven ways you could make your project without adhesives.

1. Brads

If you have been a paper crafter for awhile, you are probably familiar with brads. They are made of metal and come with a split pin backing that can be pushed through layers of paper to hold embellishments together. You often see them used in the middle of flower layers. There is no reason why you cannot use them in other ways such as to hold mats in place, to place tags where you want them, to bind together a small album or booklet, to make a swing tag to cover hidden journaling, to provide an anchor for ribbon or braid or cord, or as an embellishment in their own right. Use an odd number of brads in a row to draw the eye to a place on your page or card, make a curved line of them, or use them as corner points.

2. Stitching

Hand sewing or machine sewing can add a great deal to your pages and cards as well as being a convenient way of holding your elements together. Stitch together layers of cardstock or designer paper using straight lines or decorative stitching. Stitch around a photo using straight stitch or zig zag or blanket stitch to hold it to its mat (use a paper piercer and grid template first to make way for your needle and thread when hand stitching). Sew buttons onto your layout to hold things in place. Sew pages of an album together to bind them, with threads or yarn or string. Make a folded paper book with a stitched spine. Sew on felt or other materials to make flowers or any other shape you wish and then stitch them in place. Sew ribbon to your page.

Hint: If you use your sewing machine for paper crafting, be sure to keep a needle just for sewing paper. Stitching through paper will blunt your needle a little and may cause snags on fabric items afterward.

3. Clips and Other Hardware from the Stationers

Fossicking through stationery stores can reveal wonderful items for you to use in your paper crafting. Paper clips, little bulldog clips, pins, coloured staples and the like can all be used in place of brads or glues or tapes. Manufacturers are constantly coming out with new little trinkets for the Office. Why not incorporate them into your paper crafting projects?

4. Paper Folding, Cutting and Paper Crimping

Clever ways of folding or crimping paper can help you get by without adhesives too. Make slits in your paper to hold photos or mats at each corner. Make a row of slits and thread through ribbon, paper or a feather. Fold layers of paper together a few times and then punch through to add a brad or stitching. Use origami techniques on your project, folding flaps of paper over and tucking them under other layers of paper. Crimp papers together with a paper crimping tool. Investigate the stationers shop again to find paper binding tools that do not use staples, cleverly cutting and crimping the papers together without metals.

5. Magnets

Using magnets on a metal board or to hold elements in place can make for an interactive display. Using a magnet to hold a small book of journaling on your layout means people can pick it off the page, read it and place it back where it belongs. (Use another magnet on the reverse side of the page). Make paper pins that can be worn for special occasions and use magnets to allow people to wear them on their clothes (check to make sure no one has a pace maker before allowing them to wear a magnetic pin or it could interfere with the mechanism).

6. Velcro

Use Velcro to close your tag albums, make childrens fun books with elements that can be pulled off and placed back on the page at will. Sew Velcro to your page or element to keep it in place. Use Velcro to close a small paper box. Use it to make paper pins that can be worn on clothing, instead of using magnets.

7. Sealing Wax

Back before they manufactured glues and tapes i such abundance, people sealed paper envelopes and scrolls together with wax. There were special stamps and signet rings for pushing into hot wax to make decorative or informative pattern before the wax cooled. Try your hand at using sealing wax to make a special paper project. Use the wax to seal wedding invitations, for example. You can also use it on your cards or scrapbook pages to hold small elements in place.

And there you have it – seven ways to adhere paper together without the use of glues or tapes! There are other ways of making cards, layouts and off-the-page projects without the use of tape and glues. I encourage you to challenge yourself to find new ways of paper crafting and to share your ideas with me if you know if another way or two to make things without adhesives.


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Bamboo Craft – Plane Bamboo Weaving Technique

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The natural, durable and attractive bamboo not only makes mats, baskets and other handicraft but is also used for high-grade packaging, decorative panels, curtains and window blinds. The bamboo window blinds, in fact, not only give a classic touch to the interior decor of a room but keep it cool as well. Bamboo craft is based on its specific weaving techniques. These weaving techniques can be classified as plane weaving, dimensional weaving and mixed weaving. To begin with, a bamboo crafter must know the plane weaving technique for bamboo craft.

Plane bamboo weaving creates two dimensional or plane products like woven mats or carpets. It is different from method of making three dimensional products such as baskets, lampshades, figurines etc. Before weaving, the bamboo culms are processed as follows to make them apt for weaving.

Processing of Bamboo for Weaving

Green skin of the bamboo culm is removed by scraping off its green surface with the help of a blade. Force is applied evenly along the culm surface to ensure uniformly colored bamboo.

The upper edge of the culm section is flattened to facilitate stripping. A sharp knife is used to cut evenly around the edge. The culm section is divided into slivers of an equal width. The number of slivers depend upon the diameter of the culm. Cutting is done carefully from the edge downwards along the length of the culm. The slivers are then completely separated to form individual pieces.

Slivers are striped into fine layers. The knife is held with the blade horizontally against the upper 1/3 of the cross section sliver. First cut is made by nipping the blade into the sliver. Then the blade is placed 0.5 to 1 mm away from the first layer. After repeating the process for a required number of times, the layers are peeled off. The thickness of the layers depend upon the need of the intended woven product.

Layers are separated into fine strips by using both the hands. The strips may be lighter or darker in color from one another. They are arranged accordingly.

The bamboo strips are then dyed and bleached with the help of various materials such as dyes, sulfur, hydrogen peroxide or other chemicals. Soaking, boiling, washing, air drying etc. methods are used for the purpose.

Plane Weaving of Bamboo

Before moving on to the process of plane weaving of bamboo, there are two basic terminology that need to be understood by the novice bamboo weaver. These two terms are – Warp and Weft. Warp is the set of parallel bamboo stripes providing the foundation on which plane weaving is done. They are positioned lengthwise on the work bench or work area. Wefts are the bamboo stripes that are inserted widthwise under and over the warp in order to make a design.

The basic technique for plane bamboo weaving is that of weaving dots into pattern. It involves combining two colors of bamboo- one light and other dark- along the warp and weft of the bamboo strips. Color intensity and contrast in the patterns are created by changing the density of the dots woven under and over the warp.

There are many other traditional methods of bamboo weaving that are also interesting to know.


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How to Make Christmas Birch Branch Reindeer

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Christmas celebrations are unique in the terms of thematic decorations that give a festive face lift to any commercial or living space. This involves placing and redecorating several of the season’s special elements, apart from the Christmas tree. One such interesting addition is a handmade reindeer that can be placed at any strategic spot. Birch tree is the best option for such craft due to their cultural significance, availability, and easy designing. You will need to cut some small logs using saw and fixing some framework. Therefore, this craft is more suitable for the adults in the family, though children may be involved later at the decoration stage. Here are some easy tips to erect your own birch branch reindeer for the coming holidays.

Materials needed:

• Chainsaw or handsaw

• Drill

• Nails and hammer (optional)

• Birch tree branches, slightly thicker

• Thin branches or twigs from the same tree or any other suitable one

• Straight cylindrical rods made of wood or metal (dowel)

• Cotton balls, wool, or small pompoms

• Paint

• Glue

• Googly eyes (optional)

• Large red bead

• Small Christmas bell

• Evergreen branches of a flexible variety or suitable climbers

• Ribbons and laces

• Poinsettia (fresh or dried)

• Glitters

• Colorful berries (natural or artificial), tiny pine cones, ornaments or any suitable stuff used in small wreaths

Steps to make Christmas birch branch reindeer:

• Structure formation:

• Dissecting the branches: Cut the branches into two logs, one-half the size of the other.

• Smoothing: Use garden trimmer or knife to remove excess side branches, leaves, etc. and smooth the logs.

• Making hole: Drill a hole in both the logs, a few inches from one end. These holes should be proportionate to the diameter of the dowel.

• Forming body: Fix a dowel in both the holes in such a way that the larger forms the abdomen and the smaller, the head portion.

• Legs: Drill four holes for the legs and insert dowels. You may also use branches of the trees in place of the dowels.

• Antlers: Make holes for the antlers on the head and place twigs.

• Nose: Fix the red bead as nose.

• Eyes: Paint the entire structure, including eyes, in the natural shade of reindeer.

• Decoration: The main decoration is done to cover the dowel in the neck area and part of the legs. It is created in the form of a loosely shaped wreath.

• Branches: Take evergreen branches of appropriate size and form. Tie the ends.

• Ribbons: Tie ribbons in places around the closed loop.

• Accessorizing neck: Interlace other decorations, like golden painted pine-cones, berries, ornaments etc. Hand the entire adornment around the neck of the reindeer.

• Body cover: Cut a rectangular piece of red velvet cloth and lace it from all sides. Place the cloth on the back of the reindeer to give it the true holiday look!


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Five Kids Craft Ideas – Eggshell Igloos, Puzzles, Construction Set, Paper Hat and Mexican Balero

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Looking for some craft ideas that you can easily make with items around your house? Here are five kids craft ideas!

Eggshell Igloos: Eggshells can be used to make some very real-looking Eskimo houses. Use a pencil to draw doorways on the eggshells and to indicate the blocks of ice from which real igloos are made. Paste the eggshell edges to a piece of cotton so it will look as though the igloos are surrounded with snow.

Jigsaw Puzzles: A series of jigsaw puzzles will make a good present to take with you when you go to play at someone else’s house. Brightly colored greeting cards make good puzzles, especially those printed on heavy paper. Cut each greeting card into ten or twelve irregular shapes, then put the pieces in a clean, white envelope. A good way to keep the puzzles identified is to write on the front of each envelope a short description of the puzzle picture.

Match-Box Construction Set: A collection of match boxes (the kind that are used for safety matches) makes a splendid toy-construction set. The boxes may be used as separate blocks or may be joined together by pushing half of the inside of one box into the covering of a second box. Various building projects can be made with a match-box construction set.

Tissue-Paper Hat: Holiday season is a good time to make play hats because it is then usually possible to find some large pieces of fancy wrapping paper. Try to find a piece of paper that is around twenty inches long and ten inches wide. First fold the paper crosswise and pasted down on one end. Then fold a triangle at the top, and after that fold the peak down. Stickers can be used to hold the hat in place.

Mexican Balero: A home-made version of this toy is easy to make. Use a large spool, a pencil and a flat-bottomed paper cup. Punch a hole in the bottom of the cup and pull a string through the hole, then tie a knot in the end of the string so that the cup will not slip off. Tie the other end of the string to the pencil. The object of playing with this toy balero is to hold it by the pencil and toss up the cup so as to catch it on the spool.


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Five Steps to Making the Most of Enamel Paint

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Enamel paint is the Tasmanian devil of the arts and crafts world. It’s tricky to use, unpredictable when drying, and might even present problems once it’s dried. More than one eager young painter has set out on a craft or modeling project meaning to use enamel paint and wound up bitterly disappointed.

Make no mistake: enamel paint has its advantages. It’s tough as nails, will last a lifetime, and offers a sleek translucent finish that ordinary acrylic paints largely cannot. If you’re willing to work with it, enamel provides incredible advantages, especially when working with metal and ceramics, for example some kinds of models and decorative lawn accessories and handmade enamel jewelry.

The five steps below aren’t presented in order, but following all of them will make the painting more fun and help you protect your project in the years to come.

Prime time is forever.

If your subject is made of metal, wood, or plastic, you should apply at least one coat of primer before even the first drop of enamel goes on. Priming helps prevent mildew, mold, rust and warping while making sure your enamel paint is lustrous and smooth atop the surface of the subject matter. It’ll also prevent stickiness once the enamel paint dries.

Primer is available in both spray-can and liquid formats at both hardware and arts and crafts stores.

Don’t brush off.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that all brushes are all the same. Because enamel paints are oil based, they’ll adhere to the brush you used to apply them just as much as they will the subject matter.

Enamel paints require brushes that can handle their thickness and density. Make sure you have several before beginning your project, and remember to get two of three of each kind of brush just in case.

Thinner is better.

Depending on the color, enamel paint can have the consistency of water or the thickness of molasses. You may need to apply a certain amount of paint thinner to the paint in order to make sure it evenly and smoothly spreads across the subject matter. Paint thinner, by the way, is also used to clean the brushes and to remove unwanted spots and stains on hands, clothing, and other surfaces. However, remember it’s extremely unhealthy if swallowed or put into contact with the eyes.

Good air quality helps.

Enamel dries best in conditions with little humidity and slight but not immense air circulation. You should also remember to practice good ventilation when working with enamel, as the fumes can cause dizziness.

Finish with a sealant.

Sealants help protect the enamel from chipping but also from help repel dust that the oil-based paint will otherwise surely attract and hold like flypaper. Sealants typically come in spray-can format, and can be applied in seconds.

Sealants are available in high-gloss and matte finishes, which can help amplify your finished project’s shine or just give it a realistic texture. Because enamel paint is naturally lustrous, a matte finish should be used when working on subject matter (jewelry, statuary, models) that shouldn’t have a “shine” appearance.


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I Finally Found Something That I Have Fallen in Love with

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I grew up with a family who liked to collect things, and they were interested in a lot of different things that I didn’t care about. I always wondered why I wasn’t the same. My dad really love old trucks, my grandpa love to collect coins, my brother was really big into stamps, and even my mom and sister liked to collect and had interests, too. It wasn’t until I saw a 2015 Ferrari F12Berlinetta in person that I found myself obsessed with something. It was a beautiful sight to behold in person. I saw it at a car show. My buddy, Greg, dragged me there, but after that, nobody had to ever drag me again. I was interested in going on my own from then on out.

My mom collected cats. She took in a lot of the neighborhood that the other people in the neighborhood ignored. She didn’t have all that many, but I love that she took care.of around 7 of them. That was her thing. She was the one that told me that one day I would find something interesting enough to be obsessed with, too. My sister was into high fashion, and dolls. Continue reading

Corporate Trophy is Worth a Hefty Sum

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We were going to use a goblet as an award this year. It was to have a value of $10,000 at a minimum. It is a corporate prize that is awarded with cash for the competitors that are part of the management team. I was asked by the CEO to come up with a nice design for the goblet using smoky quartz gemstones. I found a source online for smoky quartz, and they had a certified gemstone that was almost 2,000 carats in size. It was perfect for use as the central stone in the goblet design that was going to be made of silver with hammered gold bands around it along with more gemstones.

The final cost for the goblet design topped out at a bit over the minimum. I know when they give me a minimum to exceed it but not by too far. I could have done a design using all gold and diamonds, but the budget would have had to be 10 times as much for the trophy. I got to hand it to them that they do not hand out cheap mass-produced trophy items. Continue reading

I Just Got to Jakarta

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I have just gotten here to Indonesia, and of course the company is not really happy to have me there. This is not like any other assignment, since the country has a very strong Islamist movement and large numbers of active militants. So they have me in a rather secure area, I moved in this morning. A place called Logistik in Jakarta moved all of my stuff in for me. I brought along a big container that we had airlifted in from Melbourne. The house is inside a gated community with security, because obviously if you are a Westerner in this country then you have to think about your security. I do not think that the fear of kidnapping is nearly so great as it is in Mexico, which is entirely different. There they kidnap random people and hold them hostage for a couple hundred bucks. It is really difficult for you to not be afraid there, since the level of lawlessness is quite incredible. Continue reading

Tips to Price Custom Jewelry Orders

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Rule of thumb; never give a quote up front. Tell the client that once the custom handmade jewelry design has been approved you will get back to them within a week with the actual cost of fabricating the piece and the work contract. This is n important will give you an opportunity to price the work correctly. The client may want a rough estimate, stay firm and tell them you will give them the correct quote within a week. Make sure to send a written quote along with the contract within the specified time.

Remember to add you time to the final quote. Many times we think that if we charge too much they won’t hire us to complete the piece. Specify that you design time is also included in the final cost. Keep track of the cost of any gemstone and materials that you will be using to complete the order. Don’t forget to include the cost of shipping, particularly when you may be ordering specific part to complete the order. Always calculate the extra time that may take to complete a piece that requires some extra work because of the complexity of the design. Don’t be shy to charge for you work, people know that a custom handmade jewelry piece tends to be more expensive and they are prepared to pay for it.

Preparing a Custom Jewelry Work Agreement

Never work without a contract – A well written contract agreement will save you many headaches and problems when selling your jewelry. This contract has to be well defined and drafted clearly. The contract needs to be detailed enough to save you going into court and dispute and issue.

The contract needs to include the following information:

• You name, company name and information

• Client’s name and date when the order was placed

• Detail information of the jewelry piece you will be completing

• I also attach a copy of the final sketch and a photograph of the stone that will be used

• The contract should also include the amount of materials and their cost

• Include your hourly rate and an estimated amount of time it will take you complete the work. Include your design time and the time spent with the client.

• Always include a return policy in the contract; Custom work that is created as a special order is not returnable. My guarantee is that the piece will match the final design you approved including the dimensions, type of stone(s) and metals (gold or silver). Note that all handmade jewelry will differ slightly due to the nature of the craft and may include minor variations in the overall size of the piece(s) and/or minor

• The specific delivery date:

o Be realistic when setting the completion date. Take into consideration how long it will take for you supplies to arrive, as well as the actual shipping time to send the piece. As you know the unexpected can always happen. If there is an unforeseeable delay, let you client know. Keeping you costumer informed is not only good practice; it is also ethical and will help you keep your professional integrity.

• Terms of payment:

o I highly recommend getting a 50% non-refundable deposit up-front. Make it clear that no work will begin on the piece before the deposit clears. This will protect you in case there is a cancellation. Always wait to purchase any jewelry making supplies until you have received the down payment.

o I recommend including a statement that once the final sketch is approved you do not re-design or modify the piece. Include any measurements in the contract to add clarity to the final specifications. Altering a piece after you complete it is complicated and can be costly.

• Delivery arrangements:

o When a piece has to be shipped out of town, suggest that the client pay for insurance covering the value of the jewelry.

o Always send the item requesting a signature stating that the client received the jewelry. This will protect you in case the client claims that the work never got to them.

o Take a photo of the work before shipping and include the photo along with the packing slip.

o Call your client know that their jewelry is on their way. Follow up with an e-mail giving them the shipping track number. This is always good policy and gives you the paper trail. At the bottom of the contract, include an area for both you and the costumer sign and When this custom jewelry work agreement is ready, present it to your customer. Have two copies ready to be signed and give one to the client. Let your customers know that this agreement protects them as well as you, especially since they will pay you for at least part of the job up front.

Getting more clients to order custom work happens mostly from word of mouth, it is crucial that you build your reputation and make the client happy. Package you jewelry attractively, this enhances your work and the client will remember you. I always follow up with a personal note thanking them for ordering one of my custom handmade jewelry pieces.

In the note I ask if they would mind sending me a picture of them wearing the custom handmade jewelry piece. If they agree to give you a picture, ask if they mind you publishing the photo in your website. This is always helpful to promote and market your custom handmade jewelry and other design work.


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Letting My Daughter Have Some Control Will Help Her in Her Adult Life

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My daughter had a style of her own from a very young age. Now, she dresses differently than most girls at her school, and I love it. She’s very creative. The other day, she wore a black gothic dress and a pair of boots that have cat faces on the front. She looked so cute. Now, there is a growing group of girls at her school who try to copy of her style of clothing. She has quite the following now!

We fought about with things that my little girl would wear to school starting in kindergarten. I often wanted to dress her in the same types of things that all the other mothers. ideas of her own. I would try to put a matching outfit on her, she would. Continue reading

6 Most Creative Housewarming Gift Ideas for Art and Music Lovers

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If you have a friend who sees art and listen to music at all, you know what it is to receive a creative housewarming gift. More often that not, are handmade, the Earth and most importantly, are out of the ordinary. Simply put, they are simple, thoughtful, and directly from the heart. Thus, when it comes time to return the favor, only makes sense do the same thing for lovers of art and music. So what if your mind creatively do not bend as much as yours, shopping for gifts for art and music lovers can enjoy themselves. All you need is a vision of what ‘ impresses at ‘ les and the right place to search for gift ideas. Books

appreciate each artist and musician a book prepared in the field of art and ancient and contemporary techniques. For this reason, they make amazing gifts for all occasions. Since the release of a home is a great opportunity to present decorations to recipients, table Center books is something that can be considered. They not only add an elegant touch to the table, enjoying reading while sipping a hot drink always feels nice. However, is you and the budget that it has been decided by the gift, if you must buy an expensive book. In the event that you want to please your friend, but in a less expensive way, look for binding or copies of the paperback books they enjoy.

music collection

for a loving friend of music, there is no greater gift than the gift of music itself. He or she would likely have a great taste in music, most of what is commonly heard. Different genres, languages, different temperaments, his musician friend might have an inclination towards everything. You can compile his or her kind of music in an MP3 with songs like listen together so that he or she thinks while listening. You can even give them a music gift basket consists of DVDs of famous musicians from all over the world from various genres of music.

wall hanging gifts make ideal housewarming gifts. Please friend or loved one, which has recently bought or shifted to a new home, with a charming wall decor. You can spend a good amount of money in a prepared wall hanging. However, his friend would appreciate hand-made ornaments and handicraft items jazzy decoration. Take kinds of crafts Do It Yourself Online and create something wonderful according to the theme of your interior decoration. Framework

a charming frame brightens up the place the time is displayed. These days, frames are available in a variety of materials. Wood and metal that is the most favorite of all the material, often are preferred with engravings. Make the most special frame as a gift by a replica of the painting framing your favorite artist or someone who idolize him. You can even frame a forgotten the DOS box to bring back memories of the good old days. Tapestry

best of tapestry as a gift is that you yourself can do one and the effort you put into it really shows the complexities. However, Do It Yourself carpet costs more patience that costs money. So, along with it only if you think you have what it takes.

metal art

sculptures enhance the House and the garden with its elegance and rustic appearance. Artifacts of wrought-iron figures of brass, decorative pieces of amazing look in various fields and in all kinds of lighting. Moreover, much older, best the art of metal appears also in shape without effort. Make sure that choose not the first thing you see in the market. Put some thought into it to make your selection.

is advisable to have a set budget to buy are the best. However, if you have a tendency to go overboard you must purchase gifts online. The best quality products are reasonably priced, it is also available in a wide variety.


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Lightening Cream for Skin Around Private Areas is for a Healthy Life

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Though hairs on skins are for protection, skins on our body are another layer of protection from the exposures in the environment around. The exposure damages the skin, which becomes multi-toned, rough, and ugly. These are been taken care by skin professional mildly and regularly at a salon who use skin care products, mostly and importantly creams. People in skin care industry manufacture skin care products. The products include vaginal lightening cream for female. Thus, there are skin-lightening creams for unexposed areas of the body, which needs skin care. They are crotch, armpit, and anal.

Traditionally people who have been using private areas lightening creams are people in the entertainment industry. The change in times has accepted private areas lightening creams for everyone to keep in line with health and hygiene. Dirty and uncared hidden skins around private areas are a major cause of illness, sickness, and other diseases. Continue reading

The Tour is Going Very Well

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I have been doing great, although the band is not really looking to get much bigger than it is now. Jack was burned when he was in another band, they made a record which never sold very much and the recording studio stuck them with a bill for around twenty five thousand dollars for making the album. So he is not interested in making an album unless the label is paying. We are doing great touring, just today we set up our band tent and we made a lot of money selling CD’s and t shirts and posters. Tim’s girlfriend made the posters, or at least she photographed the band and we got the posters made. Continue reading

No More Peanut Brittle for Me

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I love the stuff, but this is all that I am going to have. From now on I am going to have to figure out some other way to get my snack on. In fact I bought the stuff while I was running errands for the boss. I picked up something to drink and got some gas, the peanut brittle was at the counter. At any rate I bit into it and it broke one of my wisdom teeth. Surprisingly it did not hurt at first, but eventually a Long Beach dentist had to pull the tooth so that it would stop hurting. I was pretty happy when it came out, but I really hated the novocaine. That stuff is just awful in my opinion. Continue reading