Tag Archives: crafts

Making Your Own Bead Jewelry

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Creating your own bead jewelry is a creative hobby that allows you to produce unique pieces for yourself, family and friends. Here is how you can get started.

If you ever asked yourself “couldn’t I do that myself?” as you looked through rows of bead bracelets, necklaces or earrings at a trendy boutique, the answer is “yes”. Beading is a creative and entertaining hobby that not only will have you produce unique, handmade items of jewelry, but will also be a great source of gift ideas for family and friends.

The first step would be to find a good local bead shop. While there are wonderful mail order catalogs and websites that will sell you all the supplies, nothing substitutes for the support and advice of experienced sales personnel. Ideally, this store would also offer a number of beginners’ classes that would help you learn basic techniques (if there is no bead shop in your town, some introductory books such as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beading will have to do).

Start with a simple project, such as a bracelet or basic necklace, and do not go overboard with expensive beads and findings (clasps, hooks, etc.). You might be wanting to use Swarovski crystal, sterling silver and semi-precious beads right now, but you can work up to that later. Some stores will even offer packaged starter kits that include a beading board (which helps you with project layout and measurements), some basic tools, beads, wire, findings and a how-to-book.

You should then set up your “beading space” – preferably an uncluttered, well-lit area. You might have to invest in a good lamp, maybe one combined with a magnifying lens. Remember, you will be stringing some rather tiny objects! Make sure you have plenty of containers to keep different types and colors of beads separate – nothing will spoil your joy of beading like having to hunt for a single bead in a jumbled pile. Beading stores will sell you various storage systems (including beading bags for the beader-on-the-go), but you can also experiment with inexpensive plastic containers meant to hold small hardware or fishing tackle.

Well, there you are ready for your first bead jewelry project! Don’t forget to protect your beading space from curious cats and toddlers. Happy beading, and have fun waring your hand-crafted jewelry!

A Brief History of Quilting

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The art of quilting is not something new to this world, it has been around for centuries, but still there is no confirmation about the exact origin. According to the historians is that the history of quilting, piecing and applique was widely used for clothing and decorating stuff at home in ancient times. There is a common belief that quilting originated in China and Egypt at the same time. The oldest quilted garment found till now dates back to somewhere around 3400 BC.

Back in the 11th century, the crusaders picked up a type of quilting from the Middle East and brought it back to Europe. During that time, quilted piece of cloth was used by the Knights to give them extra cushion under their armor.

The Romans were the pioneers in introducing quilted bedding, which was used as mattress. Europeans got hold with this idea and they stuffed sack between two combined mattress. It was in the 15th century when the Europeans found quilting as a necessity when they were troubled by cold winds in the winter season.

The very first quilts were made of few layers of cloth that was attached together with running stitches. Quilt Frames came into existence as it was difficult to stitch many layers of cloth together. Europeans, blessed with these frames started to create quilts that were more decorative, more finely stitched.

19th century marked a great period of quilting in Europe and America. People in villages would come together and make one or more quilts in an afternoon. Women were very pleased with this as they could come out of the boundaries of their home and could contribute in doing something useful.

 

5 Ways To Keep Your Scrapbook Safe

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One of the most devastating things that can happen to a scrapbook-er is for their creation to be ruined. So many hours, time, energy and money have been exhausted in putting together a work of art that brings back those memorable moments in time. There are plenty of ways that your book can get destroyed. With just a few simple precautions, you can make sure that your book will be around for years to come for your grand childrens and family members to enjoy.

1.  Liquids obviously will destroy memorabilia, photographs and negatives. To avoid disasters, store your scrapbooks supplies, albums, photographs and negatives in a dry, cool place where water from broken pipes or overflowing toilets cannot reach them. Also, keep food and drinks out of your work area. Over time, sunlight can diminish photos, negatives, layouts, and album quality. Keep all supplies out of direct sunlight.

2.  Extreme temperatures damage photos, negatives, layouts, page protectors and albums. Always store all items in a regular-temperature area and in an area where there is low humidity.

3.  Although it may not be an immediately apparent problem but fingerprints on photos, negatives and layouts become visible over time. Oil from skin is the cause of this problem. To prevent this deterioration, handle all photos carefully, touching only the outer edges. Wash hands frequently or use acid neutralizing wipes but make sure your hands are dry before handling any materials. Use lightweight cotton gloves if available to ensure those pictures stay perfect.

4.  Handle and store your photos, negatives, and layouts carefully. Improper storage increases the risk of scratches, tears, and bends. Store and seal your photos and negatives in a sturdy container, in plastic sleeves that fit into a 3-ring binder, or in acid-free envelopes. Keep in mind that not all plastics are alike. In fact, some sheet protectors, binders, photo enclosures, and photo corners will eventually damage your memorabilia more than if you had not used plastic protection or enhancement at all. To avoid this, do not buy materials containing PVC or PVA, buy your materials from reputable scrapbook stores. Yes, it may cost you a bit more but your scrapbook will last so much longer. Look for acrylic or polyester materials as an alternative.

5.  Finally, paper and cardstock you find in your local hobby store are not necessarily acid-free unless stated on the packaging. Also realize that just because a manufacturer’s lighter colored paper is acid-free does not guarantee the darker colors will also be. Your best bet is to test any paper that is not specifically marked ‘acid-free.’

Now that wasn’t hard at all, was it? And you’ve earned a wealth of knowledge, just from taking some time to learn from another scrapper enthusiast.

Duvet Covers – For a Quick Bedroom Makeover

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Duvets or comforter covers are very versatile on a bed. If you want something that is different for your bedroom makeover, you may find expense is an issue in fancy, unique, well made fabric. Designer labels are pricey, especially if you aren’t shopping during a white sale. The versatility of the duvet makes them worth having and a necessity for a comforter. Transform an inexpensive comforter into a stylish work of art with a unique duvet cover. Duvets are great for your kid’s rooms. As the child grows, change out a print or pattern. A teddy bear duvet might be good one day but you blink and he’s ready for a NASCAR print. Find fabulous duvets online and in your favorite bedding stores.

If you can’t find exactly what you want, consider making it yourself. Even a novice can pull this off this sewing project. The magic of Velcro and fabric glue can also eliminate the sewing. Just think of a duvet as a giant pillow case with some sort of closure at the end. That doesn’t seem too hard does it? A pillow case keeps the pillow clean as you sleep on it, and the duvet does the same thing. All types of bedding should be soft and supple since it is next to your skin. You are going to be making this yourself, so don’t scrimp on fabric. Find good quality fabric in a soft cotton or blend. I love flannel on the bottom and it is available in lovely colors and prints.

It will be repeatedly washed so look for one that is yarn dyed. You can even find two sheets on a clearance table that are a steal. This would be the easiest because no cutting is involved. Wash and dry either fabric or sheets before you begin, as this will curtail shrinking disappointments down the road. If you have not already purchased a comforter, think about how it will look on the bed. Do you want more of an overhang on the sides or is your partner prone to stealing the covers? If so, you might want to buy a size that is a little larger than your size of bed. The completed presentation might look more finished if you do so.
• Measure your comforter and add one and a half inches to the width and three and three fourths inches to the length allowing for seams and hems. If you have sheets, just look at the dimensions on the package.
• If you have chosen sheets, I would suggest not buying two of the exact same thing. Make things more interesting by buying complementary patterns and colors so it can be turned over for a new look. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little.
• If you have chosen fabric, you must piece it together as you won’t find fabric with the width you need. Here is where creativity comes in. You can choose lots of matching patterns and colors and stitch them together to make the top of your duvet, just measure how big you want your “blocks” of fabric to be and go from there until you have enough for the top of the duvet. If this sounds like too much work, just use one or two fabrics and do the measuring.
• Place the wrong sides together and stitch with a quarter inch seam along the top sides. If a sewing machine is a foreign thing to you, there are many types of glue on the market that will do the job as well.
• You can create a fanciful closure by sewing large buttons at the top, folding it over and stitching ribbons to the other side of the top. Make sure it represents a nice fold and tie the ribbons to the buttons. Nothing could be simpler. For a more country look, take strips of torn fabric and stitch them where you placed the ribbons. They will fray, but that’s the point. Your duvet cover will take on a shabbier chic look.
Let the creative side come out and makeover your bedroom in the style and color that you choose, and save money at the same time.

The Basic Clothing Every Camper Needs

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The appropriate clothing is critical to your comfort during your camping trip. Dress in layers. Wearing layers of clothing enables you to have the luxury of removing layers when the weather is warm and piling on the layers when the weather is cold. Without layers, you may find yourself sweating profusely in the heat or shivering in the cold.

Wind is usually a factor when you are out in the wilderness. Therefore, it is recommended to bring a wind breaker jacket. Most camping stores will provide a wide variety of wind breaker jackets that are also water proof and provide ample amount of pockets for storage. Synthetic materials also fight against the winter elements. Synthetic materials ward off cold and also dry up any moisture you may release if you sweat. Try several jackets on until you find one that is not only comfortable, but seals off any drafts to the outside air.

Sturdy hiking boots that are waterproof is a must. Experienced campers wear sock liners in addition to wool socks. Your feet may retain moisture which can dampen your camping experience. Sock liners will help keep your feet comfortably dry. Don’t forget to bring extra pairs of socks!

Make sure to cover your face and head with a hat and scarf. Most of your body heat is lost through you head. Plus, a hat and scarf can shield you from the harmful and tiring effects of the sun and wind. Wear thick gloves, water proof gloves that provide thorough insulation for your hands.

Let’s talk about your sleeping bag. Finding the right sleeping bag is critical because it is the camping “clothing” you will be wearing when you are resting. Therefore, don’t use the sleeping bag that has been hiding in your attic or basement. You need a sleeping bag that is specifically designed for camping. The sleeping bag should have adjustable straps so you can fit it snuggly around your body. Many sleeping bags have a liner which gives you added protection against the wind and cold.

When you are ready to use your sleeping bag, keep the following things in mind. First, wear your hat to bed. Don’t lose heat through your noggin! Second, don’t wear the same socks you have worn all day to bed. They are no doubt stinky and may be wet. Put on a fresh, dry pair of socks. Third, you can add extra insulation and comfort to your sleeping bag by placing a down comforter inside of it. Wrap yourself thoroughly in the comforter and sleeping bag. Tie up any loose ends or drafty areas to prevent unwanted cold and moisture from seeping into your sleeping bag. Follow these tips and you will have a restful sleep.

There you have it, the basic clothing you will need for your camping trip. Do keep in mind that you should take into account where you are going camping and what time of year. Your clothing choices will vary widely if you are just going to the local campground versus heading out to the uncharted trails of a mountain. Either way, “Be Prepared”!

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