Tuesday, 25 May 2010

10 Tips For Wirework

10 Tips For Wirework

10 Tips For Wirework

By Vexia Michele

Want to make your own jewelry and accessories?

Here's the deal, getting to grip with some of the materials and techniques can be complicated! Need some tips to help you out? Here are 10 tips that you can do!

1. Gets some good jewelry making pliers! Yup, the ones with cushioned grips which are comfy to hold. They good for crimping successfully without hurting your hand!

2. Be prepared to have "awful" hands. You see, when you do a lot of wirework, eventually you'll develop calluses where your pliers rest. Broken fingernails and your hands will be covered in pricks and scratches.

3. Be prepared for your wire to snap! So, know it well! It takes time to get to know your wire and be able to tell when the next twist is a twist too far.

4. Use glass beads, not plastic. Why? 2 reasons! First, glass beads look much nicer and second if you miss thread the wrong bead and notice 20-30 beads later, you can always break the rogue bead off with some heavy pliers.

5. Get more space! Even though all the bits of this hobby are relatively small, all your beads, wire and tools can take up a unexpected amount of space. It probably won't all fit in one drawer!

6. Develop quick reflexes. Wire can go ping at any second! Be ready to move your face out of the way to evade getting your eyes scratched. Wear safety goggles is wise! But it kind of impossible to work with tiny beads with something over your eyes.

7. Get some good storage! Better the one with each compartment self contained, with its own lid, to avoid accidental jumbles.

8. Buy a bead board. They're cheap and worth every cents as they keep you beads and materials safe.

9. Don't work with cold or sweaty hands. Dry them out before you get busy!

10. Don't get your beads out in a room with deep pile carpet. You'll lose half of them and end up breaking your vacuum cleaner.

Know more tips for wirework in Secrets for Jewelry, or you can visit our website http://www.db-dp.com/wire-work-secrets.

Creating a Fundraising Cookbook For Your School

Creating a Fundraising Cookbook For Your SchoolBy Jeff McRitchie
Creating and selling a cookbook is a great way for a school to raise funds. Here are some tips on how to get started.
You are going to need a number of volunteers in order to get this project completed. Ideally you should have a committee with two or three different departments. There should be one department that is in charge of gathering the recipes, one that is in charge of data entry, layout and design, and one that sells advertising in the book (optional) or that is in charge of deciding how the cookbook will be marketed once it is finished.
You can use the heads of these separate committees as a de facto steering committee as well, and together you can decide such things as: who you will want to contribute recipes to the cookbook (students or faculty and staff, or both), how large you would like the cookbook to be and how many you are going to print.
Some school cookbooks have recipes from every student and faculty member. This is always a great way to go, as you will be ensured full participation, and the more everyone feels involved, the more cookbooks you will sell, as your first line of attack when selling a fundraising cookbook is always the contributors themselves.
Gathering Your Material:
Once you have decided who you will include in your fundraising cookbook, the work of collecting the recipes begins. To do this, you will obviously need the cooperation of the teachers and faculty. Contact each teacher and explain the project if they haven't heard about it already (you may want to ask to speak at a faculty meeting just to give them a heads up), and set up times that you can visit each classroom.
You will then either want to hand out forms asking for favorite recipes, or conduct short interviews. For the younger children, it can be a lot of fun to do the latter. You can ask such questions as what their favorite food to cook is (even if it's cereal), how they cook it, etc. The answers can be pretty amusing and make a nice (if not terribly instructive) addition to your cookbook. The older students can put some more thought into it, and of course, the teachers and faculty will have the best contributions.
Organizing the Recipes:
There are a few ways to go about organizing your book. You can either go by class or by the type of dish (appetizers desserts, main dishes, etc.), or you can do a little of both. You can arrange the book by dishes and start with the teachers' recipes and work backwards to those of the kindergartners, or vice versa.
Make sure that your recipes have been proofread for grammatical and spelling errors (except those you are leaving in for comedic affect) before you go to print. Make sure your proofreaders are different from those who keyed the recipes into the computer.
Printing and Binding:
In order to cut costs, see of you can use the school's resources to print and bind the cookbook. If your school doesn't have a binding machine, consider purchasing one, as many models are quite inexpensive, easy for even beginners to use, and will usually save money over the cost of a printer.
If you are interested in more information about how the right Binding Machine can help you with your fundraising cookbook, you might want to visit MyBinding.com. They offer a great price on binding equipment and they even offer Free Shipping on orders over $75.00. Plus, they carry a full line of Binding Supplies, in all brands and capabilities. Check it out today!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

How to Sew a Tea Cozy - 7 Tips on How to Read a Sewing Pattern

How to Sew a Tea CozyBy Jini Pinto
Reading patterns are a task in itself. Instructions written by experts for experts because they presuppose you have sewing experience as much as they do and a language which they understand. Hence, it becomes imperative you understand the nuances of pattern reading and the below is aimed to help you get it started.
1) Find a project you like and based on your own experience. If you are new to the world of sewing go for patterns marked "Easy". Next find the company that makes the pattern and the pattern number.
2) On the pattern envelop you will see the picture of the finished project. Observe the picture. This is how the project will look after you have finished sewing except of course the size which will depend on you. The size on patterns are different than ready-made garments hence you need to read the back of the pattern envelop to see the exact size you are looking for (which usually is given in different measurements for US and European sizes)
3) At the back of the pattern envelop you will see diagrams of the same project but in different styles or "views" as in if you are sewing a top then a picture of the top without sleeves would be one" view" or style, with half sleeves another "view" or full sleeves and so on forth to give you an idea as to the different projects you can sew with the same pattern. Also a little more detailed description of the back view of the project will be added.
The back of the pattern envelop will also mention the recommended fabric texture (heavy weight, sateen, organza), the minimum width of the fabric required for a particular size and the style or view you are sewing. It will also mention any extra fabric required in case if your fabric has "nap".

Do not be afraid to reconfirm the width of the fabric with the store clerk to match the requirements of the pattern.
4) Inside the pattern envelop you will find Pattern pieces usually printed on large pieces of tissue paper for different views. Handle them carefully as they may easily tear. For some projects you may even find "master patterns" printed on sturdier white paper. Master patterns and other pattern pieces can be reused for different sizes by tracing the size you need on another tissue or pattern tracing material. This enables you to trace another style or cut the fabric according to a different size without losing the master pattern or the pattern pieces.
5) On the front page of the pattern, there will be an illustration of the front and back of the project. Directly under the front and back of the project diagram will be the diagram of each pattern piece marked with numbers. A List of the pieces according to the numbers will mention whether the pieces are for the front, back, loop or anything needed for the project.
Next you will notice the step by step sewing instructions to put the project together.
6) Cut the pattern pieces you need depending on the size you want. Take care to cut along the proper lines for most the challenge in sewing is about cutting it right. Cut all the pattern pieces as illustrated and pin them to the fabric so it is similar to the diagram in the pattern. Transfer the circles, points, casing lines etc mentioned on the pattern onto the fabric with the help of a fabric marker. After you have cut the fabric according to the pieces, leave the pattern pieces pinned to the fabric until you need to sew them according to the instructions.
7) Glossary: A glossary for new sewers to learn the sewing terminology will be listed at the end of the pattern.
If you need more information and tips on how to sew a sash or how to make a homecoming sash, how to sew a tea cozy, sew beauty pageant sashes, how to sew a headband or hair band, or simply learning how to sew, visit at http://www.step-by-step-sewing.com You can instantly download video tutorials to teach yourself to sew at the comfort of your home.

Knit a Rose Bud Dishcloth

Knit a Rose Bud Dishcloth

Cast on 38 Stitches and Moss Stitch 4 rows.

Then keeping the borders of 2 stictches (knit) on either side correct as indicated, begin to work the pattern for the dishcloth. The white squares should be stocking stitch and the grey spqares should be stocking stitch in reverse.

When you have completed the pattern, work 4 rows of Knit, and cast off and weave in your ends.

Click Here to Download this Valentine Dishcloth Knitting Pattern Pattern

Sunday, 9 May 2010

How to make a Tudor Prince Hat

A great costume accessory, that is really easy to make. Ideal for dressing up, re-enactments, plays or Medieval wedding costumes. Follow the step by step guide to make a Tudor prince hat either with a feather or with braiding.

To make the Tudor Prince hat you will need...
Fabric (thick fabric which folds its form is great.)
Feathers and braiding to embellish.

Make yourself a pattern. The main part of the hat is simply a circle of 18.5 inches or 47cm in diameter.

The head band is a rectangle sized 12 inches or 31cm by 5.5 inches or 14.5cm. The smaller edge should be placed on the fold of fabric so that you end up with a piece that is double the length.

Cut one of each pattern piece from the fabric.

Sew a row of running stitches around the edge of the circle and draw up slightly. leave the thread hanging for later.

Take the headband and pin it with right sides together to the gathered edge. Arrange the gathers so that the circle raw edges fits the top of the headband. You may need to gather more or let some gathers out. Once pinned into place, sew the ends of the headband together to complete, fold the seam out flat and pin to the main part of the hat.

Sew the head band to the 'circle'.

The headband should now be folded in half so that the right sides are out, and the raw edge folds inside the hat. Make a hem fold on the raw edge and place the fold just above the previous row of stitching. Sew this hem into place.

If you wish to add some gold braiding, pin it into place close to the fold on the headband, and sew into place making sure the braid ends are at the back of the hat.

Or you can add feathers or tassels to the front left of the hat. Sew neatly into place.

This pattern size is to make an adults hat with a head circumference of 24inches.

How to make a Tudor Prince Hat

Medieval Snood - Hat Pattern

Medieval Snood Pattern
Follow the step by step instructions of how to make a Medieval Snood a hat for ladies that hid their hair and also kept their heads warm.

To make a medieval snood you will need...
Fabric (fabric with a nap is great and if it has a bit of stretch this is also beneficial)
Braiding or other decorations.

First you need to made yourself a pattern. You need to draw a 'D' shape. The height should be 12 inches or 31cm (this is the head opening). The length should be 15 inches or 38.5cm. Draw a curve at the end that perturbed about 4.5 inches or 12cm.

From just before where the curve starts on the top edge to the centre of the curve, mark with dashes to indicate that this part needs gathering.

Two of this pattern need cutting from the fabric, making sure that the nap runs in the same direction.

The head band is a rectangle sized 12 inches or 31cm by 5.5 inches or 14.5cm. The smaller edge should be placed on the fold of fabric so that you end up with a piece that is double the length.

When you have cut out the fabric, sew the two 'D' shapes together with right sides together. Sew along the long edges and around the curve, leaving the head opening un-sewn.

Stitch a row of running stitches from just before the curve to the centre back of curve and draw up and Finnish off firmly to hold. (this is the top edge of the main part)

Turn right sides out.

How to make a Medieval Snood
Take the head band and open out the fabric. If you are using braiding or Piping, you need to sew this in place now. With right sides together, sew the piping to one of the long edges (the top) of the head band. Omit this part if you are not adding braid.

Next pin the head band top onto the head opening of the main snood.

The centre of the headband should be on the centre of the forehead, and the top edge of the snood with the gathered seam should be placed on the centre of the headband. Right sides should be together and raw edges should be level. Sew the two head band ends together and fold the seam out flat and pin to the main snood part.

Sew the head band to the snood. Try to keep the stitches as close as possible to the braid for that professional look.

Fold the head band in half so that the right sides are out and the raw edge is in the inside of the hat. Turn in a 2cm hem, and pin above the previous row of stitching. If you are using a fabric with a nap, this might be too think to sew on a machine, so neatly herringbone the headband into place.

Your snood is complete. If you are a wealthy medieval lady you may with to adorn your snood with a few establishments.

A snood is a netlike cap that is worn by women to keep their hair in place. It can also be worn just for adornment, or to add interest to a low bun. Snoods date back to at least the medieval era, although versions might have been worn even prior to then. They were especially popular during the Renaissance, when they might be worn under a cap or hood, covering an intricately braided hairstyle.

This pattern size is to make an adults hat with a head circumference of 24inches.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Templar Paper Helmet

An inspirational video from YouTube

Shade Loving Perennial Garden Flowers

By Michelle Day
Perennial garden flowers can add beautiful elements of color to shady areas of your garden and landscape. Many perennial flowers are shade tolerant, and some even prefer shady areas, but you must be sure that the flower you are planting is appropriate for the amount of shade your garden is receiving.
There are essentially four different shade categories that are suitable for different plants and flowers:

  • Light shade (also known as "filtered shade" or "thin shade") generally refers to areas that receive two to three hours of shade daily.

  • Medium shade (also called "partial shade," "half shade" or "semi-shade") is an area that has four or five hours a day without direct sunlight.

  • Full shade is an area where there is no direct sunlight at all during the day, although there is indirect or reflected sunlight available to plants.

  • Deep shade (also known as "heavy shade" and "dense shade") are regions where there is no direct or indirect sunlight during the day.
Once you know what kind of shade you are gardening in, you should be able to select the appropriate shade loving perennial flowers for that area. Here are some suggestions of some of the best shade perennial flowers for light, medium and full shade conditions.
Light Shade Perennial Flowers
Daffodils/Narcissus (Narcissus). From fall planted bulbs you will have beautiful orange, yellow, or white flowers that do well in light shade.
Foxglove (Digitalis). A tall light-shade, perennial flower, the Foxglove blooms in late summer, sending up spires of flowers that can easily reach four feet in height.
Columbine (Aquilegia). Native to the woodlands, columbines can grow up to three feet tall and come in a wide variety of colors. They generally bloom in May and June, and thrive in areas with light shade and moist, well-drained soil.
Medium Shade Perennial Flowers
Hardy Begonia (Begonia grandis). There are many varieties of begonias that grow in tropical climates, but this hardy, medium shade loving variety is an excellent choice for Northern gardeners up to zone six. Their beautiful flowers generally bloom in the fall.
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra) - This beautiful plant has heart shaped flowers that bloom in May and June. Bleeding heart plants range in height from just over a foot to nearly three feet tall and prefer medium shade conditions. The plants are poisonous, however, so care needs to be taken to ensure they are not planted in areas frequented by children or pets.
Daylily (Hemerocallis) - Beautiful bright orange flowers that thrive in medium shade and can be propagated easily. In some areas they are classified as a noxious weed because of their quick, spreading habit.
Full Shade Perennial Flowers
Hosta (Plantain lilies). Although hostas are often grown for their wonderful foliage, most hostas also produce beautiful lilylike white and lavender flowers that bloom in late spring until late summer.
Foam Flower (Tiarella). This wildflower has white flowers that grown up to 12 inches tall and are very tolerant of shady conditions. They can be easily naturalized in shady and moist areas (such as along stream banks) or planted in mass to create a beautiful ground cover.
Michelle Day is an avid gardener currently living in the Pacific Northwest. She has written extensively about perennial flowers and perennial shade gardens.

How to Make Homemade Parrot Toys

How to Make Homemade Parrot Toys
By Robert Markman
Homemade parrot toys are an excellent substitute for pet shop bought toys as long as you know what entertains your parrot and you keep their safety constantly in mind. Parrots rely on toys to keep themselves amused as well as for a lot of their mental stimulation and ability to carry out their natural instincts like foraging, burrowing and exploring.
It is a good idea to initially buy some manufactured toys from the pet store so you can get a good idea of the correct size of toys your parrot can play with safely as they normally have a size guide on the parrot toy packaging. Also you can see how your bird reacts to the toys and what style of toy your bird really enjoys. As parrots naturally explore and play with their toys they will bite, chew and gnaw on them and eventually they will break and disintegrate until they are unsafe for the parrot to play with anymore and this is when you can replace them with your homemade parrot toys.
You should always have your parrots safety at the forefront on any homemade toy design so you should only use materials that are safe for your bird which normally means no artificially coloured materials or materials treated with chemicals of any sort. This leaves you with materials such as cardboard, rope, towels, certain types of paper, certain types of plastic and certain types of metal chain ( although zinc plated metal should not be used as it is toxic to parrots).
If you have experienced parrots before you may already know of their fondness of any and all jewelry you may be wearing as well as your hair and pretty much anything they can grab or play with about your person. A good way to combat this is to make an activity blanket or shirt. You take an old comfortable shirt or towel and sow everything from buttons, coloured strings and beads all over the front side. Now when you take your parrot out of its cage it will quite happily play with all of the shiny sown on items. Just make sure after each session of play that you check to make sure all of the buttons and beads are still securely in place.
Other popular toys involve placing a cardboard box in the parrots cage covered in paper so that it presents the opportunity for your parrot to burrow and explore what is their new 'cave' and hiding a treat inside just adds to your parrots pleasure. Another popular toy is constructed using a thick rope that is knotted in various places as this makes an excellent toy for your parrot to grab and chew on. Other popular toys can be made out of bubble wrap, empty brightly coloured soda cans, squeaky dog toys etc
The only real limit to homemade toys is your birds safety and your own imagination and with that advice you should be able to come up with and make many many enjoyable and entertaining homemade toys for your parrot.
Robert Markman is a homemade parrot toy expert and has been caring for parrots for over 18 years.. For more great information on homemade parrot toys visit http://www.parrotadviceguide.com.