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    Quilting bees are back and now meet online

     

    Quilting bees, those time-honored gatherings where quilters practice and share their craft, have never quite gone away. Thanks to thriving online communities, quilters are continuing to find ways to connect with each other in today's busy world. For centuries, neighborhood women in the United States used the bees not only to make quilts, but also to socialize and catch up on the news of the day. Unfortunately, the popularity of these quaint gatherings peaked in the 19th century and interest in the craft slowly faded. In the past 20 years, however, quilting bees -- and the craft in general -- have seen a huge resurgence in popularity. It is estimated that one in seven U. S. households now boasts a quilter. Many attribute quilting's revival to the nation's bicentennial, when interest in American folk arts and crafts surged. As with nearly every other segment of society, today's quilting bees have embraced technology. According to a recent "Quilting in America" survey, 84 percent of serious quilters own a computer and half have broadband access to the Web. The Internet is now populated with hundreds of online discussion groups where people help each other with quilting challenges, post pictures of their latest projects and share life's ups and downs. These conversations take place 24 hours a day and span the globe. In addition, sewing and quilting machines are being designed to take full advantage of technology, making the home computer as indispensable to the craft as the quilting frame. In 1999, the Janome Sewing Machine Co. introduced the first sewing machine that could be updated via software through a built-in USB port. Today, its Memory Craft 10001 quilting machine, a favorite among advanced quilters, has three ways to connect to a computer and comes with flash memory cards. While busy schedules have made it more difficult for quilters to regularly work in groups on a single quilt, the new machines have made solo quilting much easier. The MC10001 includes special quilting features like a "walking foot" that allows even stitching across multiple layers of fabric, a "Start/Stop" button that lets quilters stitch for hours without getting tired feet, and a knee lift that allows them to raise the presser foot without taking their hands off of their work. Because embroidery and quilt designs can be sent as computer files, quilters are able to collaborate on their creations electronically. Connected to a computer running Janome design software, the MC10001 can create in stitches virtually anything you can imagine or download from the Internet.

         
    Richly scented candles what exactly does this mean

     

    Richly scented candles are the ones you need to buy if you want to enjoy the scent of the candles outdoors as well as indoors. These candles do not lose their scent when you light them outside on the patio table. Richly scented candles do not contain essential oils, but rather they contain fragrances similar to perfumes. You can have floral scents, fruit scents or the scent of home baked goodies. The scents from richly scented candles are perfectly safe to use in your home and are balanced evenly throughout the candles to give you even effects when you burn them. When you buy richly scented candles, experts will tell you that it is healthier to buy soy candles. This is because artificial candle scents in soy wax will liguidify and the candle will burn all the way down. You have less soot with soy candles than with richly cented candles made from paraffin wax. Beeswax is also another great choice to make when buying a richly cented candle. This is an all natural ingredient that is healthy to use in your home. There are many different candle scents you can choose from when buying or making richly scented candles. Some of these scents sound very strange, while others conjure up ideas of tropical holidays in the sun. Some of the scents used in making richly cented candles may take you back to the days of your childhood in such scents as bubblegum, popcorn or different kinds of candy. There are various berry scents you can have wafting through your home when you light a richly cented candle. You may find yourself experimenting with a lot of these scented candles before you find the scent that you enjoy most of all. Richly scented candles are also odor eliminators because they can help hide the smell of cooking or pet odors. The warm glow of a burning candle along with the various candle scents can transform the atmosphere of any room. The long lasting aroma will stay in the air long after you extinguish the flame of a richly cented candle and in most cases you don’t have to light the candle to benefit from its wonderful scent. Richly scented candles usually contain fragrance oils, such as those you find in lotions, soaps and shampoos. However, there is only so much fragrance that you can add to candle wax. If you add too much it will run out. When making your own richly scented candles, you do need to keep this in mind so that you will have perfect results every time.

         
    Rubber stamping clipart save money by sending your own artwork direct to a stamp manufacturer

     

    : By following a few simple guidelines you can save money by creating rubber stamp artwork that a stamp manufacturer can download without any design input, stamp manufacturers love it when artwork arrives that is ‘ready’ for production. You may currently be paying $12.00 for an unmounted, mass produced stamp in the shops, buying the same size stamp direct from a rubber stamp manufacturer will be about $9.00 and be custom made for you! The following design guidelines assume that you have scanned a drawing into your computer or have located a piece of artwork and imported the image. Design Guidelines The easiest stamp to make from a manufacturing point of view is one where the artwork has a line thickness that does not fall below the minimum required. The minimum line thickness that is recommended is 0.2mm (0.00787 inch or 0.57 point), if it does fall below this, the ‘wall strength’ of that part of the stamp is compromised and may become distorted. Having said this, you can convert an image with fine lines to one suitable for stamp making. Computer programs work with image data in a number of different ways, for example programs like CorelDraw work with both Vector images (lines) and Bitmap images (pixels), CorelDraw is also the preferred program for making rubber stamps from images. When scanning a drawing into your computer it will always load as a bitmap image, (a bit like a photograph in a newspaper). This can be sent directly to a stamp manufacturer as long as it is a black and white scan and the line thicknesses do not fall below the minimum. If the lines are too thin you can convert the bitmap image into vector data by applying a trace to the image. Programs that have tracing ability place a vector line around the lines or can be set to follow the lines, these lines can then have a thickness applied to make them suitable for rubber stamp making. Complex drawing and illustrations can also be made into rubber stamps, these may not contain many lines and look more like photographs. It is best to send a few different options of these to your stamp manufacturer, one option would be to increase the brightness of the image then convert the bitmap to a simple black and white image. Here it is best to select a rubber stamp manufacturer that is familiar with these types of images, see below recommendations. File Formats All images that enter your computer have an extension relating to what format they are in. You may have an image from a scan, a clipart disk or downloaded from a clipart service. Some are. eps and. wmf files (Vector line format more common for logos or line drawings) and others jpeg an. gif (Bitmap pixel photos and illustrations) Both image formats can produce excellent stamps, however simple images are always best in. eps and. wmf format to allow you to easily manipulate line thickness in the event the lines are too thin. Online Clipart Services There are many online clipart services that provide excellent clipart for rubber stamping, the best images are from services that are subscription based that charge a yearly or per image fee. If this does not suit and you really want to save money you should find out which service your rubber stamp manufacturer belongs to, it costs nothing to search through the clipart service that he belongs to as he will be the person downloading the images. This bit of lateral thinking and finding the right manufacturer will save you lots of money because you will never have to pay for the clipart. Clipart is one of the best services that some manufacturers subscribe to, I estimate that over 3 million images at Clipart are suitable for stamp production and they are fine with manufacturers using the images for rubber stamps. The craft stamp industry is very large indeed and most people are still buying stamps that are mass produced because they don’t know how to get a ‘custom made’ stamp manufactured. So if you are into card making or scrapbooking and want to find that ‘special stamp’ you should find yourself a manufacturer, it doesn’t matter where they are in the world as unmounted stamps are thin and lightweight and can be posted easily. A network of stamp manufacturers that offer stamps made from online clipart services can be found online, stampsearch. au have various manufacturers that will make unmounted stamps from clipart or from your own artwork and send the finished stamps anywhere in the world.

         
    Rubber stamps

     

    There are several different methods of producing rubber stamps. The most cost effective method of making rubber stamps is vulcanizing. This process involves the creation of a rubber mould into which is poured the raw rubber stamp gum. The gum is placed on top of the mould and the stamp is then formed with a press. This is a relatively cheap method of stamp creation as many stamps can be produced quickly with the one mould. The only major expense in this process is the cost of making the plates for the mould. Once this is done the raw materials are relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately this is not quite as cost effective when one-off custom rubber stamps are required. When a higher quality stamp is required for specific purposes laser engraving is the process of choice. Laser engraving produces uniform thickness and surfaces that are free from blemishes and this is essential when the stamps are required for printed images. Rubber stamp making, while once only used for businesses, has become a hobby where many people are creating their own rubber stamps for craft projects. To do this they generally use a process where liquid polymers are crafted into stamps that are then affixed to wooden handles. There is quite a lot of information available now for the hobbyist explaining the techniques required to create good rubber stamps using the liquid polymer method. It can be a little involved for a beginner but once mastered excellent quality rubber stamps can be custom made for a relatively low cost. There are also books available that have ideas for decorative or art stamps that seems to be gaining in popularity with crafts people. Rubber stamp making has progressed considerably with the modern processes and raw materials that are available now and this has been partially responsible for the increase in the popularity of rubber stamp making.

         
    Russian traditional porcelain gzhel location and history of production

     

    : Gzhel is historical name for few villages located less than 100 miles Eastward of Moscow near historical Kasimov road. Near this place well known deposit of kaolin (white porcelain clay) located, and Gzhel clay is well known for its whiteness and quality. It was this deposit which was used by creator of imperial Russian porcelain, Dmitry Vinogradov, to create well known Lomonosov porcelain at XVIII-th century. Kasimov road got its name due to Kasimov town. Kasimov was established near 1152 by Duke Yuri Dolgorukiy and named Gorodetz - Mesherskiy. At that times town was used as eastern fortress at the borders of young Russia, located at Eastern border, at the river Oka. At 1376 town was completely destroyed during Mongols invasion. Later, after the disintegration of Mongols empire, it was on border with Kazan khanate. Czar “Basil II the dark” used the town for political purposes and provided it as a gift and residence for khan Kasim, who escaped from golden horde. Son was “dissident” member of Khans dynasty, who, later, took part in many military battles against golden horde on the side of Russia. The town and neighborhood – as a result, got the name “Kasim kingdom” – khans dynasty kingdom inside Russia, under the rule of Moscow Czar. For centuries small town was residence of pro-Russian khans, mix of cultures, bridge between east and west. This was road used by duke Dmitry Donskoy in his military campaigns against golden horde. But it was not military road – more importantly, it was heavily used for trade, and each military campaign ended with new waves of trade. So was Kasimov road – road from Moscow to East, silk road of the ancient Russia. Road always was heavily used for trade. Goods was delivered from central Asian countries, through Caspian sea basin, by Volga river, than by Oka river. Than, delivered by Kasimov road to Moscow and westward. Location, resources and history determined the well known folk art of Gzhel – national Gzhel porcelain. Archeological excavations prove that the craft of pottery has existed in Gzhel since the beginning of the 14th century. In the second half of the 17th century, Afanasy Grebenshchikov, a merchant, built a manufacture where he made various kinds of majolica earthenware. For his ware, he used the famous white porcelain clay (Gzhel), as well as the experience of potters from Gzhel. Upon returning to their homes, the craftsmen began establishing their own majolica manufactures. Till nowadays Gzhel items produced in almost any village in the region of Gzhel. One and a half thousand years ago anonymous Chinese potter from province Kao-Ling got inspiration: He have alloyed local white clay (named kaolinum) with sand and shpate, and according to the poet it shined like a snow. It was possible due to already then Chinese had furnaces in which the temperature reached 1500 Celsigrade. At Russia up to the Peter I all ceramics, switching and porcelain was called "tseninoj", arisen from this Chinese "tsy". Russians have began to use porcelain since XVI century. For example, Tsarevitch John Ioannovich had porcelain suleja (a vessel with a narrow throat). "Tsenina" (porcelain from China) was used by Boris Godunov (1588). Many researchers believe that tradition to paint porcelain with blue under glazed cobalt paints appeared at Gzhel due to influence from China, influence, penetrated by Kasimov road, where Gzhel region is located till nowadays.

         
    Scented candles and their soothing power

     

    Are you sick and tired of thinking of the perfect gift to give to your friends on their birthdays? Maybe you want to give something a lot more personalized aside from your homey but boring batches of chocolate chip cookies. You hate the thought of giving out generic gifts because you also very much abhor receiving run-of-the-mill gifts that go straight in your basement. It's high time you learn some do-it-yourself potential gift items that truly make the recipients feel honored to have you as a friend. One time, while I was out shopping, I came across this quaint specialty shop downtown which sells exquisite how-to book on scented candles. The hard-bound book, which include materials for trial, is fairly cheap so I immediately purchased it and went home delighted. The first batch of candles I made wasn't exactly perfect but was good enough to display at my room. If you're the kind of person who likes romantic candlelight dinner dates or whose idea of relaxation involves quiet reading time by the nook, then the scented ones are for you. These candles come in variety of shapes, sizes and yes, scents that can surely fascinate anyone. Not only are these scented accessories a beauty to behold, they also have the ability to soothe you after a tiring day at work. One has the option to perfume these wax-made products using either synthetic fragrance or essential oils. Both smell terrific but the latter produce more aromatic scents that can generally ease stress. Essential oils, originating from barks and stems of certain plants and flowers like jasmine, lavender, cedar wood, calendula, and lemon grass, lend unique vibrancy and authentic sensuality to a candle. Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are less expensive but also very appealing. Do scented candles really have certain health benefits or do they also have negative effects on your body? Actually, there are particular kinds or methods of producing candles which are thought of as harmful. Candle experts agree that wicks that are made from metal are dangerous because they often cause lead poisoning and air pollution. Always make sure you purchase a candle made from paper, hemp, or cotton wicks as they are more health and nature-friendly. Beeswax and soy varieties are also safer to use instead of paraffin. When buying questionable products, meticulously ask the vendor about the candle's method of preparation or the ingredients used. Make sure the ones you buy don't have chemical additives. Better yet, do your own ration of the candle. Through personally sourcing the materials and preparing them yourself, you can be assured you're using and giving your loved ones only the best.

         
    Scrap book enthusiasts turn to photo jewelry making

     

    Scrap booking is all the rage because people love their photographs and want to show them off. The popularity of scrap booking has now run over into another area, and scrap book enthusiasts have found a new passion: Custom Made Photo Jewelry. By creating one of a kind custom made photo jewelry pieces people can wear their photos and take them wherever they go. Photo Jewelry is like wearing your scrapbook. One of the most popular photo jewelry items is a spin off on the popular Italian Charm Bracelets. These are called Italian photo charms. They are sold as a blank bracelet and the customer adds their own photos and creates a beautiful, long lasting piece of jewelry that they can wear. A kit can be purchased that includes everything needed to make a complete customized photo bracelet at home for less than $20. Easy Photo Resizer software is included in these kits to make the whole process easy and fun. The photo charm craze has really taken off. People from 8 to 80 have created their own custom photo bracelets and are proudly wearing them everyday. They are very easy to make. There are many different sizes and styles of photo charms too. Hearts, circles, squares, large or "mega" charms, photo charm necklaces and more. Here is a basic idea of how the photo charms are made: 1. Use easy photo charm resizer software to resize your photos. 2. Print out photos on any color printer after reading easy to follow instructions on resizing and printing. 3. After cutting out your perfectly sized pictures you will attach the pictures to the charms with bonding glue. The charms you will be using have a raised frame on top and are designed especially for making photo charms. 4. Next mix special coating in included cups and apply to charm. 5. In as little as 24 hours they are dry and ready wear and impress your friends. Once people get the hang of making Italian Photo Charms many of them buy bulk wholesale supplies and make the bracelets and individual photo charms to sell. This can be a great home business idea for stay at home moms, retirees, college students and others that want to make extra money selling the custom made photo jewelry that they create. It can also be an add on to an existing photography business or mall jewelry kiosk. Every possible kind of business from people who go to pet shows and make custom photo jewelry for pet owners to baby photographers who sell the photo jewelry to proud new parents are selling these custom made photo charms. If you love scrap booking do yourself a favor and check out the world of photo jewelry making.

         
    Scrap paper for scrapbooking

     

    I never throw away my scrap paper. I buy both 8x8 and 12x12 paper. I buy both patterned paper and cardstock. When I frame a photo, I have at least ѕ of a sheet of paper left. If I cut a border for the page, I have at least ѕ of a sheet of paper left. Even if I cut a 12x12 paper down to 8x8, I still have ј of a sheet left. So what can you do with all of these scraps? One of my favorite things to do is to cut out shapes with hole punches. I then attach the punches on the scrapbook pages. I have hole punches that are circles, squares, diamonds and hearts. If you make a 6x6 album, you’ll have tons of papers just the right size. Recipe albums make great gifts. Write or type your recipes on an index card or any colored paper and then cut to fit the album. You’ll find you can use many of your scraps when making these small albums. I like putting borders on my pages. I often put a border on either the left or the right hand side of the page. You only need a strip 12x1 or 8x1 to do this. I’ve also put a strip of paper across the middle of the page horizontally. This requires a scrap only 1/3” thick. I make the middle page borders very narrow. Coluzzle makes alphabet templates. It only takes a small amount of paper to cut out letters to attach to your pages. Now comes the question of storage. I’ve seen folks spend hours sorting scraps. Personally I would rather spend those hours adding new pages to my scrapbook. A few systems that I’ve found that work are accordion style folders. You can use a different slot for various colors. I do not sort my paper by solids and patterns, I just pick the predominant color and that’s where the paper gets sorted. You can also buy sheet protectors and a 3 ring binder and sort by color this way. Again, some folks I know sort by solids and patterns. I’ve never taken the time to sort my scraps this way. The final system that I know can work is the small rollaway storage carts. I’ve seen them with 10-16 small drawers. They are very compact and can easily be rolled into a closet or corner. With storage carts you can also store small items like cutting templates, hole punches and scissors. When your scraps are organized, you’ll find that you’ll use them more, saving you money on buying new supplies.

         
    Scrapbook ideas for mothers day

     

    Here is the basic idea for any scrapbook, for Mother’s Day just add more personal stuff like memories that would special to her. Favorite photos, colors, flowers, a lock of hair, things that would show her how much she means to you. A scrapbook is a wonderfully personal Mother's Day gift. 1. Sort your photos and select a theme to work on, generally, 5-7 photos fit on a two-page spread and 3-5 photos fit on a single page. Select only the best photos to highlight the event, feeling or moment you want to convey. 2. Select 2-3 colors of safe paper that will complement colors found in the photographs. Experiment with different color combinations to find the perfect colors to enhance your photographs. You may want to include stationary or decorative paper that supports the theme of your pages. 3. Choose a photo to be your focal point. As a general rule, select photos with sharp images, vivid colors, and well-lit subjects. 4. Shape and mat your photos to add extra prominence to your focal point. You can do this easily by matting your photo with a wider border than the others, or double or triple-matting it. While shaping your photos, keep in mind that simple shapes such as rectangles, ovals, circles, and squares are among the most eye-pleasing shapes. If irrelevant or distracting details appear in the background, simply trim them out. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean you have to cut out all of the background—frequently, ordinary items pictured in the background will bring a flood of memories essential to journaling and reminiscing. 5. Add journaling. No page is complete without adding your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Take a few minutes to write down not only the "who" and "when," but also the "what" and "why." 6. Arrange photos, journaling, and titles on your page. As you arrange these elements, pay close attention to the direction your eye moves. In general, well-designed pages are well balanced and will follow a natural flow that mimics the letter Z. To check the balance, imagine that your layout is on a scale. Does one side tip the scale? Once you're pleased with the layout, simply adhere the elements to the page. 7. Try a few extras. As you get more comfortable with scrap booking, try your hand with some embellishments — stickers, die cuts, rubber stamps, and punches are among the most popular page accents. Use these items sparingly — you don't want them to overpower your photos.

         
    Scrapbooking scrapbook ideas projects and crafts galore

     

    Scrapbook Ideas and Projects Scrap books have always been a popular home based craft. Today there are so many great ideas for a scrapbook that making them are irresistible. Scrapbooking has grown in favor in recent years. Here are some tips on making scrapbooks: First off, most scrapbook topics should be creative, fun to make and reflect the artist’s personality. There are a host of topics that many people choose, but the sky’s the limit. You can make a scrapbook about anything. Many people choose to make scrapbooks about big events in their lives, such as a wedding, honeymoon, birthdays, newborn babies and children. However, don’t stop there, create whatever you enjoy. For instance creating a scrapbook on the seasons, or if you love a holiday such as Halloween or the 4th of July, Christmas, Birthdays, any holiday or reason will do. Ideas for scrapbooking are endless. You are only limited by your imagination and the craft and scrapbooking project, ideas, articles and books you find. There are many products that cater to scrapbooking, such as entire kits that include the book, some ideas on creating your scrapbook, and the bubble quotes seen in cartoons to add a funny comment above a picture. You can also buy these individual pieces separately or make them yourself. Always keep in mind that a scrapbook is an extension of you and your loved ones. So have fun, be creative and take pleasure in the joy of scrapbooking. I personally have been the recipient of many lovely cards created for me by my daughter. The thought, time and effort put into these lovely objects add to my pleasure. I have taken her scrapbooking to another level - I save them all. I asked her to make me a craft/scrapbook box. They hold her creations safely and provide me with good storage for these treasures.

         
    Scrapbooking ideas and getting started

     

    Scrapbooking is one of the fastest growing craft activities. Everyone has photographs and bits and pieces of their lives that they would like to preserve. Scrapbooking is an excellent way to do this. You will not have to look far to pinpoint which parts of your life you would like to treasure in a scrapbook. To begin scrapbooking, choose a theme or group of themes on which to base your material. There are many possibilities on which you could base your scrapbooks, but a good rule of thumb is to scrapbook things which are of importance and have sentimental value to you. Many people begin their scrapbooking by chronicling their wedding day photos and small mementos such as wedding invitations, guests lists, and perhaps dried flowers. Another excellent topic for a scrapbook would be an activity or club that a person cherishes. Sports and similar activities are great scrapbook ideas. The birth of a child is a time that is precious to all parents. Scrapbooking ideas for a new baby include baby shower photos and invitations, ultrasound pictures, and perhaps even ribbons and balloons. Any items of sentimental value can easily be incorporated into your scrapbook. Most parents like to continue this theme with scrapbooks that follow the growth and development of their child. A collection of team photos, rosters, and team memorabilia would create a permanent record of these special times in a person's life. You could even consider having teammates or club members 'autograph' your scrapbook beside team or individual photos. Possible scrapbooking themes do not end with weddings or sports activities. If you're planning a surprise party for someone special, here's a tip that will make the event unforgettable for them. Create a scrapbook! Ask each guest to write a letter, or bring a copy of a photograph that will have special meaning to the guest of honor. Include a copy of the invitation, pictures of the planning process and before party preparations, as well as a list of the food, guests, etc. This will become a treasured memento of the day. Don't forget to ask someone to be the "designated photographer" or buy several disposable cameras and let guests take pictures during the party. These can be developed and added to the scrapbook later. Family reunions and activities are fantastic themes for scrapbooks. Family photos, amusing happenings or anecdotes, and a schedule of events are great ways to remember the treasured times spent with family. Bringing your scrapbooks to each year's reunion is sure to spark conversation and fond memories. You could even create a scrapbook to be given away to the family member who brings the oldest family photo or as a prize for the oldest or youngest family member present. There are numerous scrapbooking ideas based on various aspects of your life. Office parties, job promotions, and starting your own business are fun scrapbooking concepts. Work related scrapbooks give you an opportunity to introduce a bit of light-heartedness into what is normally a professional, routine atmosphere. Caricatures of staff members, business cards, photos, and humorous quotes from coworkers are excellent ideas for a work related scrapbook. Your coworkers will surely be impressed and appreciate your efforts. The possible themes for scrapbooks based on your life are almost endless. The only requirement for scrapbooking is that you base them on the people and activities that are important in your life. Over time, your scrapbooks can become an important tradition to you and your family. Scrapbooks can invoke laughter, tears, and most importantly, create quality time spent with your friends and family reminiscing about the precious moments in your lives.

         
    Scrapbooking with kids and teens

     

    As adults, when we think of scrapbooks, we immediately think of photographs. When we look online, we find albums filled with photographs. Of course many of the layouts we see are filled with embellishment but the central focus is the photographs. Kids and teens also enjoy scrapbooking. Scrapbooks do not have to be photographs. Here are several ideas for both kids and teens: • Lyrics to songs • Photos from magazines • Postcards • Greeting cards • Collector cards • Classmate photos from school • School reports • Photos off the web of a favorite television star or musician • CD covers Kids and teens enjoy collecting all types of things that can be put into scrapbooks. Older kids of course can use all of your scrapbooking supplies. You might be amazed at the creativity teens show through scrapbooking. Young children often do better with very small scrapbooks, and your scrap paper. They can glue it, cut it and add it to their treasures. For the older kids, you may want to consider copying whatever they wish to scrapbook onto acid free and lignin free paper so that it does not turn yellow and crack. Kids and teens both love stickers. We have always watched for sales on stickers. Over the years we have bought more than our fair share of stickers. For very young children, I don’t think it’s necessary to worry about the stickers being acid free. I have from time to time found stickers that come 1000 to a box. I’ve bought those and had the younger kids use them in their scrapbooks. One of my daughters actually created a wonderful album of all of her stickers. It came out beautiful. The pages were nothing but stickers. Another idea for kids making scrapbooks is to use homemade albums versus the store bought albums. Start with a piece of colored cardstock for the cover. Punch three holes in the side of the cardstock and then add pages. You can either use white cardstock as your base, or full sheets of scrapbook paper. Punch holes in each page. Use ribbon through the holes to tie it all together. Not only do the kids love these scrapbooks but they can make wonderful handmade gifts to give to others. It really is possible to scrapbook at almost any age, and with almost anything as your focal point. Next time the kids say “I’m bored” suggest they create a scrapbook.

         
    Setting up your craft show booth

     

    Have you ever walked into a store and immediately been so frustrated that you couldn't even begin to think about spending your money there? Things are haphazardly strewn about, there is little organization, and then to top it all off, when you walk up to an item that you might consider - it has no price tag on it. Don't let this happen to your craft show booth. You need to keep in mind the same principles of good marketing and merchandising when you set up for a craft show. The first thing you need to do is have a plan. That means putting together an idea of what your craft show booth is going to look like in advance. I've seen so many people just lug their craft show items around in the back of a big van with a few extra stands and tables to place them on. These are the same people that ask, "why didn't I sell anything this weekend?". Planning your craft show booth involves a couple of things: first, you want to talk to the craft show organizer to see how much space you have, and if there are any restrictions to what you can have in or around your booth. Also, ask if you have a reliable power supply to run your booth. This is important. The next thing you want to do is to get a floor plan of where your booth is located so you can figure out the best set up to keep people moving in and through your craft show display. When you go to set up you craft show booth for the show, there are a couple of things you MUST keep in mind: No clutter! Keep your crafts well organized into specific areas. If you are a knitter and you have sweaters for kids and adults, you don't want them together because people will be frustrated with having to sort through the kids sweaters to find the one adult one in the pile. Spend time perfecting your merchandising skills. If you have a special stained glass window hanging, it would be time well spent to purchase or build a window that you can display in your booth with one of your window hanging's in it. When people see the item in action, they can picture it in their own homes, or they can picture using it. If they can do this, then they are more likely to part with the money to buy it. Keep items no lower than waist level - No one really wants to bend over after they have been on their feet all day at a craft show. Keep items within a person's reach and they will be more likely to pick it up and examine it closely - which leads to more purchases. Leave the floor area for extra stock (in boxes) that you can fill your racks with. Price everything you have - Make it easy for people to buy your crafts. If you don't have a price, they may think twice about taking the time to ask - they may just go elsewhere to purchase something at this craft show. Eliminate log jams. There is nothing worse than having people frustrated by the lack of good flow in a craft show booth. Try and create a natural flow for people to look at your craft show items, be nudged along by others coming through, and right through to the till at the end. If you create to many spaces where people are bottle-necked or they have trouble maneuvering to see different crafts, you are limiting your sales. Keep your aisles wide and keep everything streamlined. The frustrated customer does not spend their money in a craft show booth that frustrates them. Remember, you are running a business. Think of that store that you despise going into versus the one where everything flows so nicely, the displays are appealing and all of the price tags are on the items for sale. Make your craft show booth resemble the store you like - and you'll find that people will spend more money on your crafts!

         
    Sewing machine purchasing

     

    Technology has made the sewing machine, once a high priced item, very affordable for most sewing applications. The only major decisions are choosing between a traditional or embroidery sewing machine and how powerful you require it to be. The more power provides a quicker job and longer lifespan of the machine. Only a handful of companies compose a very large percentage of the sewing machine market. These include Singer, Brother, Husqvarna Viking, White, and Pfaff. All of these brands have a product range from the entry level to expert quality. As with any buying decision, the history of reliability and warranty features are the most important considerations. Deciding where to purchase is the next step after deciding on the brand and model you want. Buying from a local retail location offers the ease of returning a product that is damaged at the start or within its warranty period. You can save money purchasing from online stores or an Ebay auction. However, the money saved may not be worth the risk of the trouble you may go though if something should go wrong. Sewing machines have more moving parts than the average electric device. The more moving parts, the higher chance of a problem during operation. Embroidery sewing machines are generally more expensive than traditional sewing machines. A traditional Singer can be had for around $150. The embroidery Singers range from $600 to over $3000. Singer is the most popular brand, but in second place are Brother sewing machines. They also have a range from the inexpensive $100 price point up to the industrial grade $10,000 embroidery models. The average non-commercial sewing machine, regardless of brand, is around $300 which is sufficient for the majority of consumers. My advice is to check consumer feedback sites like epinions and magazines like Consumer Reports so you can make an informed decision based on the experience and research of others.

         
     
         
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